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
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 12 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the protection of the right to education in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 15 March 2018

UK support to the Palestinian Authority helps to employ vetted education public servants in the West Bank, including teachers. This enables around 25,000 young Palestinians to receive an education each year. Additionally, UK support to the UN Relief and Works Agency assists in the provision of basic education to around 500,000 children across the region. The UK will continue to urge the Israeli authorities to ease movement and access restrictions across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, not least because of the impact that the restrictions have on children and the continuity of their education.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 12 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jerusalem: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made representations to his Israeli counterpart on the new legislation passed by the Knesset on 7 March 2018 which allows the Israeli Minister of Interior to revoke the permanent residency status from Palestinian residents of Jerusalem; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 15 March 2018

Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli authorities on 15 February, noting the importance of ensuring that the legislation is compatible with Israel’s obligations under international human rights law.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 13 March 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN: Melrose
Commons
If he will use his powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to intervene in the takeover bid for GKN by Melrose.
A
Answered by: Greg Clark
Answered on: 13 March 2018

Under the Enterprise Act 2002, Ministers can only intervene in mergers that raise public interest concerns on the grounds of national security, financial stability and media plurality.

Public interest interventions are quasi-judicial in nature. It is important that Ministers act, and are seen to be acting impartially, on the basis of an open mind and on the evidence available.

It is therefore not appropriate for me to comment.

I continue to monitor this situation closely.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Funeral Payments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment Scheme her Department (a) received and (b) accepted in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) England in 2016-17.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 07 March 2018

Table 1 below gives the number of applications received and number of awards for Funeral Expenses Payments in England and in the West Midlands government office region in 2016/17.

Table 1: applications received and awards for Funeral Expense Payments in England and West Midlands, 2016/17

England

West Midlands

Applications received

35,900

4,400

Awards

21,200

2,600

Source: Policy, Budget and Management Information System

Notes:

  • The number of applications and awards are rounded to the nearest 100.
  • The applications figures are based on applications received by DWP, not applications processed. Some applications may have been withdrawn before a decision was made.
  • The award figures include awards made after review, reconsideration or appeal following an initial refusal.
  • These figures do not include applications which were processed clerically and have not been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System.
  • The number of awards made in each year is not equal to the number of people who made applications or received awards in that year. An individual may make multiple applications in a given time period.
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Calais
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with her counterpart in the French Government on unaccompanied children in Calais vulnerable to (a) human trafficking and (b) modern slavery; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 07 March 2018

The UK and France regularly discuss unaccompanied asylum seeking children and their vulnerabilities, including the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking at both official and ministerial level.

The UK and France signed a Treaty on 19 January at the UK-France summit, which agreed a ‘whole of route’ joint package of co-operation on migration, aimed at further strengthening our shared border and reducing the number of illegal migrants at northern French ports, as well as reducing illegal migration and tackling modern slavery and human trafficking.

As part of the Treaty, we announced a number of specific measures in respect of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children. This includes the allocation of a £3.6 million development fund, as part of the UK’s overall £45.5m funding commitment, to identify projects which support claims through the Dublin process and ensure that those with no prospect of transferring to the UK are informed of their options.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Department for Transport
Taxis: Assistance Animals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that taxi and mini cab drivers do not discriminate against assistance dog owners.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 06 March 2018

Under sections 168 to 173 of the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs), who do not hold a medical exemption certificate, to refuse the carriage of an assistance dog. Drivers convicted of doing so may face a fine of up to £1,000 in addition to any sanction imposed by the licensing authority such as suspension or revocation of a licence.

The Department is currently considering the responses to the consultation on the draft Accessibility Action Plan which will inform the updated Best Practice Guidance for taxi and PHV licensing authorities. It is the Department’s expectation that the guidance will include a recommendation that authorities should use their existing powers to require prospective drivers to complete disability awareness and equality training to ensure drivers have the skills, knowledge and understanding to provide all passengers with the assistance they require.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Buildings
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress has been made in negotiations to revise the NHS England Premises Costs Directions; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 06 March 2018

The negotiations, between NHS England and the General Practitioners’ Committee of the British Medical Association, on revisions to the NHS Premises Costs Directions have recently concluded.

The Department is currently preparing revised Directions.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Burial: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of child burial charges on parents living in poverty.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 06 March 2018

The Department has not made an assessment of the impact of child burial charges on parents in poverty.

Funeral Expenses Payments are available to help parents, and others, on certain income-related benefits with the costs of funerals, and will pay the full fees levied for adult or children’s burials or cremations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Department for Education
Students: Mental Illness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of people who left their undergraduate degree course for mental health reasons in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 06 March 2018

Mental health is a priority for this government. The Children and Young People’s Mental Health green paper outlines the government’s plans to set up a new national strategic partnership focused on improving the mental health of 16-25 year olds, encouraging more coordinated action, innovation and robust evaluation of mental health services. One recommendation in the green paper is for the partnership to provide a systematic strategy to improve what we know about student mental health by encouraging improvements in data linkage and analytics. Data is available from the Higher Education Statistical Agency on the number of higher education students who leave their course early for health reasons, but the data does not make it possible to distinguish mental health reasons specifically.

The department is working closely with Universities UK on the programme of work on Mental Health in Higher Education, which has included work with the Institute for Public Policy Research to strengthen the evidence-base on mental health in higher education.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Home Office
Asylum: LGBT People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) lesbian, (b) gay, (c) bisexual and (d) transgender asylum seekers have been granted refugee status in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

While the information relating to sexual orientation and gender identification of foreign nationals who are granted refugee status is not routinely recorded, the Home Office remains committed to publishing information on the number of people claiming asylum on the basis of sexual orientation.

While the Department does not hold pre-July 2015 data in a reportable format and does not currently break down the data into the separate lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender categories, experimental data on asylum claims lodged on the basis of sexual orientation, including the number of claimants who were granted asylum, between 1 July 2015 and 31 March 2017 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/asylum-claims-on-the-basis-of-sexual-orientation

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Cabinet Office
Civil Servants: Official Secrets
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants have been (a) disciplined, (b) subject to criminal charges, and (c) dismissed for offences under the Official Secrets Act 1989 in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 06 March 2018

All breaches of information are taken seriously and recorded by each individual department. The Civil Service Management Code (4.2.1) states ‘Departments and agencies must remind staff on appointment, retirement or resignation that they are bound by the provisions of the criminal law, including the Official Secrets Acts, which protect certain categories of official information, and by their duty of confidentiality owed to the Crown as their former employer’.

Where a law has been broken or potentially broken, it is reported to the police and they would take forward any investigation. Subsequent actions would be a matter for the police and the courts.

Other than in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive governments not to comment on breaches of security.


Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
West Bank: Demolition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 February to Question 127853, on West Bank: Demolition, what steps his Department is taking to (a) prevent the re-occurrence of demolitions of classrooms in the West Bank and (b) work with international partners and organisations to provide alternative facilities for children directly affected by those demolitions.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 March 2018

​I most recently raised our concerns about the demolitions of Palestinian property with the Israel Ambassador on 27 February. The Government supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or eviction in Area C of the West Bank through our funding to the Norwegian Refugee Council legal aid programme. Additionally, we are supporting four communities, comprising of nearly 500 Palestinian families living in Area C, to remain on their land through improved infrastructure and access to community services, including education and health, in areas which have an outline plan in the Israeli approval process.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Diplomatic Service
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what guidance his Department provides to UK diplomatic posts overseas on the official terminology that should be used to refer to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 March 2018

​The British Government officially refers to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and considers them to consist of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza, based on 1967 borders.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Department for Transport
Community Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage community transport (a) providers and (b) users to respond to his Department’s consultation on the use of section 19 and section 22 permits for road passenger transport in Great Britain.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 05 March 2018

The consultation document was sent out to the Community Transport Association, wider community transport stakeholders and local authorities on the day of the launch notifying them of the publication. Officials in the Department are also working closely with relevant interested stakeholders, including the Community Transport Association and local authorities, on a series of regional events during the consultation period.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Home Office
Musicians: Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) musicians and (b) artists have been refused entry into the UK due to them being deemed not conducive to the public good.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 March 2018

The Home Office does not hold the information in the format requested.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 27 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Golan Heights: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications of Israel’s plans to hold local elections in the Golan Heights; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 March 2018

​Whilst we have not made an assessment on this specific issue, we consider the Golan Heights to be Occupied Territory. We continue to call on Israel, as the occupying power, to uphold its obligations under international law. This includes abiding by UN Security Council Resolution 497 (1981) and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of family reunification on (a) the wellbeing and (b) integration of child refugees living in the UK.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 02 March 2018

Family reunion for refugees in the UK is a very important issue and one which we must approach with sensitivity and compassion. The Government’s policy objective is to support the principle of family unity by bringing together pre-flight families separated by conflict or oppression.

We are currently discussing our approach to family reunion with non-governmental organisations, and as part of that we are reviewing existing research on the wellbeing and integration of refugees living in the UK.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 February 2018
Home Office
Firearms: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that medical practices comply with published guidance on the medical requirements for obtaining a firearms license.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 02 March 2018

The arrangements for providing medical information as part of the firearms licensing process, introduced in 2016, are voluntary and we know that there is significant variation in how GPs respond to the police request for this information.

We have been in discussions with the police, the relevant medical bodies, and representatives of shooting organisations about how greater consistency can be achieved across England and Wales.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 December 2017 to Question 118941, on Gaza: Fisheries, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction of the temporary nine nautical mile limit to six nautical miles.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 March 2018

We have not made any specific assessment on this issue.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Home Office
Fire Stations: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many operational fire stations there have been in the West Midlands in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Home Office publishes station numbers, provided by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Home Office
Fire and Rescue Services: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many firefighters per 100,000 residents there were in the West Midlands in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Home Office collects and publishes firefighter statistics and publishes population statistics for fire and rescue authorities using the Office for National Statistics’ Mid Year Estimates.

The former are currently available to March 2017 and the latter to June 2016 and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables in tables FIRE1101 and FIRE1401.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Home Office
West Midlands Fire Service: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the West Midlands Fire Authority on funding for the West Midlands Fire Service.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Government consulted all Local Authorities on the provisional Local Government Settlement which was published in December 2017. All responses were considered in advance of laying the Final Local Government Settlement which was debated and approved by the House on 7 February.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Home Office
Police Stations: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many operational police stations there were in the West Midlands in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Home Office does not hold this information. Decisions about the most effective use of available resources, including the number and operating hours of police stations, are a matter for Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables locally, tailored to the needs of the local community.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Home Office
Fire and Rescue Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has of trends in the comparative number of (a) incidents attended by fire services and (b) fire-fighters in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) England.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The Home Office collects and publishes firefighter and incident attended statistics. The former are currently available to March 2017 and the latter to September 2017 and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables in tables FIRE0102 and FIRE1101.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Territories: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General on Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, published on 26 January 2018, what discussions he has had with his counterparts at the UN about the three companies identified in that report as involved in activities in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and what discussions he has had with representatives of any of the three companies identified in that report.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 February 2018

Neither the Foreign Secretary nor I have had any discussions with counterparts at the UN about the three companies identified in that report, and have had no discussions with representatives of any of the three companies identified in that report.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: EU Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on (a) the establishment of the European Commission's €42.5m assistance package to the occupied Palestinian territories and (b) the allocation of funding from the the assistance package to projects in East Jerusalem.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 February 2018

The €42.5 million package is financed by the European Commission with the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) which is one of the main sources of support from the European Union (EU) to the Palestinians. All decisions on the allocation of ENI funding go through the ENI Committee in Brussels, at which the UK is represented by officials. The ENI Committee discussed the allocation of €42.5 million to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the allocation of €14.9 million of this to projects in East Jerusalem, on 29 September 2017. Additionally, the EU held discussions on this new package of support with representatives from EU Member States in Jerusalem, including the UK.

We regularly discuss support to the OPTs with EU institutions and other Member States in the relevant Council working groups, including the Council working party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) and the Mashreq/Maghreb Working Party (MaMa).

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 21 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: Sustainable Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his policy is on sustainability reporting for UK businesses.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 28 February 2018

Currently, all UK registered companies, except those entitled to the small companies exemption, are required to file a strategic report as part of their annual report.

This must include, to the extent necessary for an understanding of the development, performance or position of the company’s business, information relating to environmental matters. Quoted companies are also required to report, within their strategic reports, on:

  • the impact of the company’s business on the environment, and
  • social, community and human rights issues.

Many UK companies choose to go further than this within their annual reports which the current flexible company law framework supports.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Right to Buy Scheme: Birmingham Northfield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will list the housing associations within Birmingham Northfield constituency that are eligible for the regional pilot of the Right to Buy for housing association tenants.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 28 February 2018

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot will give thousands more housing association tenants the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of home ownership. The Government is currently engaging with the National Housing Federation and housing associations in the Midlands, and more details on the pilot will be announced in due course.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Government of Israel on the approval of permits for Palestinians seeking medical treatment outside Gaza in 2017.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 27 February 2018

Our Embassy to Tel Aviv raised the issue of medical permits for Gaza with the Israeli authorities on 21 February. As I informed the House on 20 February, we have previously raised concerns about ambulance and permit delays with the Israeli authorities, and we will continue to do so. We have also, consistently urged the Israeli Government to ease movement and access restrictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Government of Israel on WHO reports on the number of Palestinian patients who have died while awaiting permits to travel outside Gaza for medial treatment.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 27 February 2018

While we have not raised this specific aspect, our Embassy to Tel Aviv raised the general issue of medical permits for Gaza with the Israeli authorities on 21 February. As I informed the House on 20 February, we have previously raised concerns about ambulance and permit delays with the Israeli authorities, and we will continue to do so. We have, also, consistently urged the Israeli Government to ease movement and access restrictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We are supporting the UN Access Coordination Unit to work with the Israeli Government, Palestinian Authority and aid agencies to facilitate humanitarian access in the OPTs.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 21 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Environmental Protection: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to Guidance for business on environmental key performance indicators, published by his Department on 25 July 2012, whether he intends to publish his Department's findings from that consultation.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 27 February 2018

The guidance “Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting” was published in June 2013 and is available on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-reporting-guidelines-including-mandatory-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reporting-guidance.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 February 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
High Rise Flats: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent representations he has received from Birmingham City Council on funding to carry out extensive works to 213 tower blocks on the advice of West Midlands Fire Service; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 27 February 2018

The Department has received and responded to several letters from Birmingham City councillors about general works they are undertaking to enhance the safety of their residential blocks.

If any local authority has carried out assessments and identified essential measures to address building specific issues, then they should get in touch with the Department with further details. This will allow Department officials to discuss the position and work with them on the way forward.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of British citizens currently detained in Sudan following the protests that began on 7 January 2018.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 27 February 2018

Our Embassy in Khartoum is aware of two dual British-Sudanese nationals that have been detained following recent protests in Sudan. We continue to press the Government of Sudan to allow consular access to these two individuals, as well as to one dual Australian-Sudanese national as part of the UK’s agreement to provide consular assistance to Australian nationals in Sudan.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the level of access to legal advice for detainees in Sudan following the protests that began on 7 January 2018.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 27 February 2018

We understand that many of those detained following recent protests have had some access to legal advice. We continue to make clear to the Government of Sudan our expectation that all detainees will be treated in accordance with international standards, which includes full access to legal advice.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Rohingya
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Burmese Government on allegations of the bulldozing of Rohingya mass graves; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 27 February 2018

During his visit in February 2018 to Burma the Foreign Secretary saw first-hand Rohingya villages which had been razed. The FCO accepts that has been ethnic cleansing. The Foreign Secretary expressed his deep concern over the human tragedy of the Rohingya to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting in Naypyidaw on 11 February. He lobbied that Burmese authorities carry out a full, credible and independent investigation into the violence in Rakhine and hold to account those responsible for human rights violations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 08 February 2018
Prime Minister
Hong Kong: Elections
Commons
To ask the Prime Minister, whether she discussed the disqualification of candidates from Hong Kong elections with the Government of China during her recent visit to that country.
A
Answered by: Mrs Theresa May
Answered on: 26 February 2018

I refer the hon. Member to the press release issued on 1 February following my meeting with President Xi and which is available on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-meeting-with-president-xi-1-february-2018.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Hospitals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment her Department has made of the provision of fuel for hospitals in Gaza; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 26 February 2018

We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. In January 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed that power shortages are placing an increasing burden on the health sector, and has recently reported that some hospitals and clinics have been partially closed in order to rationalise fuel. The UK will continue to monitor the effect electricity shortages are having on the health sector and is tracking the UN’s emergency indicators. We urge all parties to take the necessary practical steps to improve conditions, including restoring the availability of electricity as a matter of urgency. The UK is supporting approximately 1 million Gazans by addressing critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza, including basic health care.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Department for International Development
Rohingya: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the levels of education available for Rohingya refugee children.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 26 February 2018

The UK recognises that there is a pressing need to improve education in the Rohingya camps. DFID is one of the largest contributors to the Education Cannot Wait initiative, investing £30m between 2016 and 2018. It has already committed US$3 million (£2.2 million) for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to help cover emergency educational needs. DFID is also supporting education experts and organisations to work with the Ministries of Education in Bangladesh and Burma to agree a curriculum and certification process for Rohingya children in Cox’s Bazar.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Borders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect on health outcomes of the time taken to grant exit permits for Palestinians in Gaza seeking medical treatment elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territory or abroad; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently reported that 2017 saw the lowest rate of approvals of security permits for patients wishing to access healthcare outside of Gaza since WHO began monitoring in 2008, with 54% of patient applications approved on time. They report this has resulted in delays in care for patients, with potentially life threatening consequences. We continue to monitor the situation in Gaza closely and call on the Israeli government to ease restrictions further and for Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt to work together to ensure a durable solution for Gaza.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Borders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent estimate she has made of the number of humanitarian and development items that have been delayed in entering or denied entry to Gaza by the Israeli authorities in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The Department is aware of delays and denials of entry of items into Gaza. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is not currently consolidating data on these delays. We have requested UN OCHA to establish a mechanism for the collection of this data. DFID enables reconstruction efforts in Gaza through our support to the Materials Monitoring Unit of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism to monitor the import, storage, supply and use of construction materials. We welcome recent Israeli announcements to ease restrictions on the importation of material into Gaza for much needed infrastructure projects such as the proposed Central Gaza Desalination Plant and other waste water plants under construction, which many international donors are supporting.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 20 February 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the reduction of bilateral funding from her Department to the Occupied Palestinian Territories from £83,358,000 in 2014 to £22,729,000 in 2016.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The figures quoted in the question are from the Statistics for International Development (SID) publication (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development). SID publishes the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) on a calendar year basis in line with the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation, Development Assistance Committee’s definitions. However, DFID allocates budgets on a financial year basis (1 April – 31 March). This can result in some discrepancies between financial data presented according to the calendar year compared to the financial year.

In 2014 and 2015 DFID’s spend in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) spiked due to our provision of immediate humanitarian assistance for those affected by the Gaza conflict in the summer of 2014 and subsequent early recovery and reconstruction assistance. In the 2016/17 financial year DFID provided over £68 million in funding to the OPTs to help build Palestinian institutions, deliver essential services and support economic development. We remain committed to providing support to the OPTs.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 20 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Human Rights Council
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government’s priorities are for the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2018.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The UK is strongly committed to the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide. As such, the government's priority for all sessions of the UN Human Rights Council is to ensure that it holds to account those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, that it effectively addresses threats to human rights, and strengthens safeguards and protections for the future.

At the 37th session, the UK will again table a resolution on Syria and host a panel event considering the impact of attacks against schools on access to education, and will negotiate resolutions on Burma, Iran, DPRK, Libya, South Sudan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, among others. Thematic resolutions will include texts on privacy, torture, and freedom of religion or belief.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 20 February 2018
Department for International Development
Disaster Relief
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions her Department has had with the Start Network on humanitarian emergencies and the (a) financial and (b) logistic support needed to address them.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The Start Network manages the Start Fund, a pooled fund for humanitarian response that focuses on rapid response to underfunded, and small-medium scale emergencies. Since the START Network’s inception, DFID has been the largest donor to the Start Fund, contributing £46 million since 2014, and has helped the START Network grow in size and influence.

DFID sits on the Strategic Advisory Board of the START Fund Council which provides strategic oversight of the fund. The Department attended the most recent Start Fund Council meeting in the Hague in November 2017.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 20 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the civil war in Syria on civilians in Idlib and Ghouta.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 February 2018

​An estimated 400,000 people (including 200,000 children) trapped in Eastern Ghouta are suffering from indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery shelling which, as well as destroying many homes, have struck schools and medical facilities. Over 700 people are reported to remain in need of urgent medical treatment. Over 2.5 million people live in the Idlib area, including over 1.1 million Internally Displaced People. Intensification of hostilities has displaced approximately 270,000 people within Idlib since 15 December 2017. Already this year the UN report at least nine attacks on medical facilities, in some cases hospitals which were treating casualties wounded in attacks on other medical facilities were then struck. We call on the regime to end these attacks and allow full humanitarian access.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 February 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: International Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which multilateral projects in the Gaza Strip her Department helps fund; and how much is disbursed from the public purse for each such project.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 22 February 2018

In Gaza, the UK has provided £1.9 million to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support approximately 1 million Gazans by providing clean water, rehabilitating sanitation facilities and promoting hygiene standards to stop the spread of disease. Additionally, the UK is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza. In 2017/18 we have so far provided around £50 million to UNRWA across the region.

The European Union (EU) is currently supporting six development projects in Gaza through multilateral bodies including UNICEF and UNRWA, totalling over €58 million. The EU is also supporting a number of humanitarian projects in Gaza. The UK’s financing share of EU expenditure varies year on year but has been approximately 15%.

The UK also provides core un-earmarked contributions to multilateral bodies such as UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross and is a shareholder in a number of major international financial institutions, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, which are working across the West Bank and Gaza.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 08 February 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
West Bank: Demolition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Israeli Government on the demolition of EU-funded structures in the village of Abu Nuwar in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 20 February 2018

​Officials from our Embassy to Tel Aviv most recently discussed the issue of demolitions of Palestinian property with the Israeli authorities on 19 February. On 6 February, the EU released a local statement expressing strong concerns about demolition by the Israeli authorities of parts of the school of the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar. Demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; call into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution; and, in all but the most exceptional cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department for Education
Children: Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle loneliness and social isolation among school-aged children.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 08 February 2018

On 17 January the Government announced that my hon. Friend, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society will lead a cross-government group which will take responsibility for driving action on loneliness. The Department will work as part of the group looking at what can be done to tackle loneliness and social isolation, especially for the most vulnerable children.

The Department is funding a £700,000 pilot investigating ways to set up effective peer support for mental health and wellbeing in schools, and is also providing £1.5 million to support anti-bullying projects, such as the Diana Award Ambassador programme.

The Department is currently conducting a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, which will be made statutory in primary and secondary schools respectively.

The Government is also consulting on the green paper ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ which includes further proposals to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, supported by over £300 million of funding. The green paper is available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transforming-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-provision-a-green-paper.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for International Development
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to improve the effectiveness of the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 February 2018

The UK is providing £1.3 million to the UN’s Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) this financial year (2017/18) to facilitate commercial shipping into Yemen’s Red Sea ports and provide assurances against weapons smuggling. We have seconded UK experts to UNVIM in Djibouti to increase the number of inspections of commercial vessels.

Yemen imports 90% of its food and fuel, so it is essential that the Red Sea ports of Hodeidah and Saleef remain fully open to commercial and humanitarian imports to help the millions of people who don’t have enough to eat. We continue to call on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to allow full and unhindered commercial and humanitarian access for food, fuel and medical supplies throughout Yemen.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Ministry of Justice
Hunting: Prosecutions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions there have been for hunting foxes with hounds in each local authority area in England and Wales in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 07 February 2018

This information is not held centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health Services: Mothers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of support available to new mothers with post-natal mental health conditions.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 07 February 2018

This Government is committed to improving perinatal mental health services for women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year, so that women are able to access the right care at the right time and close to home.

The Department is investing £365 million from 2015/16 to 2020/21 in perinatal mental health services, and NHS England is leading a transformation programme to ensure that by 2020/21 at least 30,000 more women each year are able to access evidence-based specialist mental health care during the perinatal period. This includes access to psychological therapies and specialist community or inpatient care.

A key element of the programme is to increase awareness and skills across the workforce, supporting better identification of perinatal mental illness, early intervention and consequently improved recovery rates. In addition, there are over 570 perinatal mental health visitor champions. Their role is to support health visitors with the identification and management of anxiety, mild to moderate depression and other perinatal mental disorders, and knowing when to refer on.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the effects of loneliness on health.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 07 February 2018

Loneliness can have a significant impact on physical and mental health.

The Department will be working closely to support the Minister for Sport and Civil Society in developing the cross-Government strategy on loneliness.

A number of existing Department-supported programmes can help to address loneliness, including dementia friendly communities, Dementia Friends, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, the Carers Action Plan and social prescribing.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 31 January 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of guidance to help staff in GP surgeries recognise loneliness in patients.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 07 February 2018

The Department and NHS England have not made an assessment of the effectiveness of published guidance to general practitioners around loneliness in patients.

The Department will work closely to support the Minister for Sport and Civil Society in developing the cross-government strategy on loneliness.

A number of existing Department-supported programmes can help to address loneliness, including dementia friendly communities, Dementia Friends, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, the Carers Action Plan and social prescribing.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Humanitarian Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that full humanitarian and commercial access to Hodeidah port is granted and maintained by the Saudi-led Coalition.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 February 2018

We welcome the announcement on 22 January by the Saudi-led Coalition of an initiative to address the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Improving humanitarian access to all of Yemen is key to alleviating the continuing crisis. Continued access for commercial supplies including food and fuel through the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef remains critical to ensuring that the Yemeni people get the supplies they so desperately need. The UK will continue pressing all parties for complete and unhindered commercial and humanitarian access to all of Yemen.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Peace Negotiations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage progress on the peace talks between the parties to the conflict in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 February 2018

The UK is playing a leading role in diplomatic efforts, including bringing together key international actors to try to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. As part of this we proposed the Presidential Statement passed at the UN Security Council in June this year, which called for an end to the fighting and a return to UN-led peace talks. We are now working urgently with our international and regional partners to ensure that the Security Council's words are converted into action. We call on all parties to respect these unified and clear demands from the international community. More recently, the Foreign Secretary hosted a meeting of his US, Saudi and Emirati counterparts in our Embassy in Paris on 23 January. They discussed ways of addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, countering weapons smuggling and refocusing the political track to move towards a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia on the location of and inspection system for the 17 safe-passage corridors from six points of entry announced on 22 January 2018.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 February 2018
We continue to engage with the Saudi-led Coalition on its Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Plan (YCHOP). Improving humanitarian access to all of Yemen is key to alleviating the crisis. Continued access for commercial supplies including food and fuel through the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef is critical to ensuring that the Yemeni people get the supplies they so desperately need. The Coalition has publicly stated that corridor originating points will include Al Khadara, Al Tuwal, Hodeidah, Mokha, Aden and Marib.
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Rohingya
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the likelihood of the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission being implemented; and what steps he is taking to assist with the implementation of those recommendations.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 05 February 2018

Implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations is essential to create conditions for refugee returns to take place voluntarily, in safety and in dignity. The UK has welcomed the Burmese Government's establishment of Rakhine Advisory Commission Implementation Committee and an Advisory Board, but recognises that implementation will be a long-term process, and that much more progress is required. I confirmed that the UK was ready to support the Burmese government with the implementation of the report when I welcomed its publication on 25 August 2017. The Foreign Secretary reiterated this offer when he spoke to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on 21 October 2017. I have encouraged progress by the Rakhine Advisory Board in recent meetings with its member,s Dr Suriakiart Sathirathai on 3 January, and Lord Darzi on 1 February.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 31 January 2018
Department for International Development
USA: UNRWA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the reduction in US funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency on assistance for (a) Palestinian refugees in Syria, (b) people living in the West Bank and (c) people living in Gaza.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 February 2018

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I provided on 30 January 2018 to Question number 125084.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 31 January 2018
Department for International Development
UNRWA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the number and proportion of people dependent on UN Relief and Works Agency funding in (a) Gaza, (b) the West Bank, (c) Syria, (d) Jordan and (e) Lebanon.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 February 2018

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has a unique mandate to provide essential support and protection for over five million registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. All registered Palestinian refugees can access UNRWA services; According to UNRWA’s latest field of operations map in 2017, there are 618,128 in Syria, 532,173 in Lebanon, 2,286,643 in Jordan, 997,173 in the West Bank, and 1,435,616 in Gaza.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 31 January 2018
Department for International Development
USA: UNRWA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government plans to increase its funding for UN Relief and Works Agency in the light of the reduction in funding from the US Administration.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 February 2018

UK officials are working closely with the UN Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) and other donors to assess how best to ensure the continuity of essential services to Palestinian refugees at this time, in line with humanitarian principles. The UK remains firmly committed to supporting UNRWA, and has so far provided around £50 million in 2017/18 based on the Agency meeting rigorous performance indicators. The UK will monitor the impact of any cuts to UNRWA’s services closely.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Rohingya
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is an independent international investigation of the allegations against the Burmese military for their actions against the Rohingya community in Burma.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 02 February 2018

The immediate task is to support those building evidence and testimony. The Government is considering how to support effective co-ordination, through an international or local mechanism, of those organisations already collecting testimony in Bangladesh. The UK will provide capacity building to Bangladeshi stakeholders on gathering and preserving evidence of sexual violence, in line with the International Protocol on Investigation and Documentation of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The UK co-sponsored the resolution at the Human Rights Council in March 2017 that set up a Fact Finding Mission to look into the human rights situation in Burma, including Rakhine. It will issue its initial report in mid-March, and final report in September 2018. Any judgement on whether crimes under international law have occurred is a matter for judicial decision, rather than governments or non-judicial bodies, but the UK government will work closely with the international community, to ensure any wrongdoers are brought to account.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 30 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Hong Kong and China on the disqualification of Agnes Chow from elections in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 02 February 2018

​As my department's statement has made clear, the right to stand for election is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 26 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. I am concerned by the rejection of Agnes Chow's nomination for the forthcoming Legislative Council by-election, and believe that Hong Kong's rights and freedoms as set out in the Joint Declaration, and enshrined in the Basic Law, should be fully respected.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of freedom available for civil society groups operating in Bangladesh.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 01 February 2018

​Civil society groups in Bangladesh face increasing difficulties in doing their work. For example, the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act 2016 provided the Banglasesh Government with increased powers to restrict the activities of civil society groups, and required NGOs to register with the NGO Affairs Bureau in order to receive foreign funds. As we have heard from NGOs seeking to form part of the Rohingya crisis response, these permissions can be difficult to obtain.

The UK routinely raises our concerns regarding restrictions on civil society with the Government of Bangladesh most recently during the drafting of the Foreign Donations Act. I have also made clear to the Government of Bangladesh the need to more quickly grant permissions for NGOs seeking to form part of the Rohingya crisis response.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the (a) level, (b) sources, and (c) effect of political violence in Bangladesh.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 01 February 2018

In recent years there has been an increase in extremist-linked violence in Bangladesh, notably the attack on Holey Bakery in July 2016 in which 22 civilians were killed. Other extremist attacks against minority religions, and secular targets, have been a frequent occurrence. In the period leading up the last general election in 2014, and around its anniversary in 2015, violence linked to a number of political parties led to deaths. The Government of Bangladesh has also been accused of political violence. Human rights organisations allege abuses by law enforcement agencies including extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. They allege that these have primarily been aimed at suspected terrorists but, in the case of disappearances, have increasingly targeted political opposition figures.

I have been clear with the Bangladeshi government that human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies are deeply concerning, and these only serve to increase the risk of radicalization. I raised our human rights concerns with Foreign Secretary Haque and High Commissioner Quaunine in November 2017. I have also been clear with my counterparts that upcoming elections in Bangladesh must be free, fair and pluralistic.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for International Development
Burma: Thailand
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January to Question 123667, what discussions she has had from the Burmese Government on the safety and security of (a) refugees and (b) internally displaced people returning from camps on either side of the Thai-Burma border.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 February 2018

Officials from the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Burma regularly raise issues of safety and security of displaced people and access for humanitarian assistance to the Burmese government at local and national levels. These discussions are generally not specific to those returning from the Thai-Burma border, where returns have been few.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for International Development
Burma: Internally Displaced People and Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January to Question 123667, what recent estimate she has made of the (a) number of Burmese refugees in camps in Thailand and (b) number of internally displaced people in camps in Eastern Burma.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that the total verified refugee population in the camps in Thailand in December 2017 was 99,956. The Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018 recognises 5,616 displaced persons in Kayin State, 15,006 in Shan State, and 91,739 in Kachin State, in Eastern Burma. It notes that “accurate IDP numbers are difficult to ascertain” in the South East, beyond the 5,616 recently displaced in Kayin.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for International Development
Burma: Thailand
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 23 January to Question 123667 on Burma: Thailand, when her Department last reviewed the level of funding it has allocated to support for internally-displaced people and refugees on the Thai-Burma border; and what the timescale was for that funding.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The Department for International Development (DFID) reviewed the level of funding for refugees on the Thai-Burma border in 2017. Between 2012-16 DFID provided £1.35 million per year to International Rescue Committee (IRC) and The Border Consortium (TBC) for the refugee camps. Following review, our funding for 2017 was £1.1 million. The reduction in funding was proportionally smaller than the decrease in the number of refugees in the camps since 2012. DFID’s support to displaced and conflict-affected communities in South East Burma is now largely through our contribution to livelihoods and health multi-donor trust funds rather than through our humanitarian programme. We continue to keep needs under review.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for International Development
Bangladesh: Migrant Camps
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2017 to Question on Bangladesh: Rohingya, what recent discussions she has had with her Bangladeshi counterparts on the proximity of (a) borehole drilling and (b) toilets to water sources in refugee camps.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 February 2018

My Department is aware some agencies and NGOs have not previously followed international standards in terms of borehole drilling depths and location of latrines in relation to water sources. My officials followed up in November and December with the appropriate coordination groups, such as the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector Group and Senior Coordinator’s Office, to reinforce the need for all agencies and NGOs to adhere to minimum standards in this area to protect people’s health.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for International Development
Bangladesh and Burma: International Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the levels of humanitarian access available to organisations operating in Bangladesh and Burma.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 01 February 2018

We are one of the largest bilateral donors to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, with a total contribution of £59 million, and we have been working with the Government of Bangladesh to facilitate the important work of NGOs. In Burma we continue to press for better humanitarian access. We are working through the Red Cross and the World Food Programme to provide some emergency assistance but we would like to do more. Many urgent needs are not being met because of government restrictions on access.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Poverty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on levels of child poverty.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The impact of Universal Credit cannot be considered in isolation. Tackling child poverty and disadvantage is a priority for this government and Universal Credit is a key component of a broader strategy to move Britain to a higher wage, lower welfare and lower tax society. This strategy includes increasing the personal tax allowance and introducing the national living wage.

In line with this strategy, Universal Credit is designed to strengthen incentives for parents to move into and progress in work, and it is working. Universal Credit claimants move into work faster and spend more time looking for work.

In addition, Universal Credit provides improved support for childcare for parents, enabling them to reclaim up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs, which is expected to help 500,000 additional families at a cost of around £350m per year.

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced a number of further improvements to Universal Credit which will help ensure that claimants are supported until they receive their first monthly Universal Credit payment.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
HM Treasury
Poverty: Children
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the cost of living on levels of child poverty.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The proportion of people in absolute poverty is at record lows. Since 2010 there are 600,000 fewer people in absolute poverty, including 200,000 fewer children. Work is the most effective way out of poverty and unemployment has not been lower since 1975. There is more to do and the government is committed to supporting families with the cost of living. At the Autumn Budget, the government announced that from this April the National Living Wage will increase by 4.4% and the personal allowance to £11,850. The government has also frozen fuel duty for the eighth successive year. Last April, the government published its “Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families” strategy. This focused on measures that tackle the root causes of poverty, in particular workless households and educational attainment.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 26 January 2018
HM Treasury
Poverty: Children
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department plans to take in response to the recent findings of the End Child Poverty coalition on the levels of child poverty in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The proportion of people in absolute poverty is at record lows. Since 2010 there are 600,000 fewer people in absolute poverty, including 200,000 fewer children. Work is the most effective way out of poverty and unemployment has not been lower since 1975. The government is also taking action to boost the household incomes of low earners. From this April, the National Living Wage will increase to £7.83. Over 1.6 million people are expected to benefit and this is equivalent to a pay rise of £2000 for a full-time worker since its introduction. There is more to do and the government is committed to delivering a country that works for everyone. Last April, the government published its “Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families” strategy. This focused on measures that tackle the root causes of poverty.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Corruption
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) level of corruption in Bangladesh and (b) effectiveness of attempts to reduce the level of corruption in that country.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 31 January 2018

Corruption is a serious problem in Bangladesh. In their latest Corruption Perceptions Index (2016), Transparency International ranked Bangladesh 145 out of 176 countries. Their score has remained consistently poor in recent years. While the Government assesses that Bangladesh's legal framework for addressing corruption is largely in place, enforcement is inadequate. We are working with Bangladesh to strengthen its public financial management and to increase domestic transparency and accountability.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Marriage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of child marriage laws in Bangladesh.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 31 January 2018

​The Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 was an important step in legally defining and attempting to prevent child marriage in Bangladesh. However, we remain concerned by a number of special provisions within the law that can lead to child marriage, including in the event of pregnancy.

The High Commission in Dhaka raised our concerns regarding child marriage and the provisions with Government of Bangladesh during the legislation's passage through Bangladesh's parliament, and the UK has consistently called on the Government of Bangladesh to do more to prevent child marriage in the country.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of violence against women and girls in Bangladesh.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 31 January 2018

​Bangladesh still witnesses high levels of violence against women and girls. Over 80% of married Bangladeshi women report suffering abuse – physical, sexual, emotional or financial – from a partner at least once during their marriage. UK Overseas Development Assistance supports womens' and girls' education, health and economic empowerment. DFID funding in Bangladesh has also supported more than 54,000 female victims of violence get access to medical and/or legal assistance.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wildlife: Smuggling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether criminals make use of cyber-crime in the illegal wildlife trade.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 31 January 2018

Criminals are known to make use of cyber tools, including internet sale platforms, to facilitate the illegal wildlife trade. The National Wildlife Crime Unit assists law enforcers in their investigations and helps prevent and detect wildlife crime, including cybercrime.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Department for International Development
Bangladesh: Non-governmental Organisations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department provides to small non-governmental organisations based in Bangladesh.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 30 January 2018

DFID supports a number of small NGOs in Bangladesh through our projects and programmes, through the UN and other intermediaries. This ensures that DFID’s work is making best use of local knowledge and expertise to engage at the grass-roots level. Some of our work with small NGOs has been stopping violence against women and girls, protecting children, and supporting the rights of marginalised people.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Department for Transport
Roads: Driverless Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the findings of KPMG's Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, published in January 2018, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that UK roads are ready for autonomous vehicles.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 30 January 2018

The Department welcomes publication of the KPMG index, which ranks the United Kingdom in the top five nations for overall autonomous vehicle readiness. The index reflects our excellence in technology and innovation and highlights the very strong industry partnerships and academic research this Government has established, as well as our exemplar status in terms of regulation.

The more moderate perceived performance in enabling autonomous vehicle infrastructure is due, largely, to a low overall score for 4G coverage. Although substantial improvements in 4G coverage have been achieved recently, reliable coverage across our road networks is a Government priority, demonstrated by the 2017 Conservative manifesto commitment to improve coverage on major roads as well as railways. The Department continues to work closely both with the Government’s Digital Implementation Taskforce to ensure delivery of this commitment, and with the industry to determine what the enabling requirements for automated vehicles will be.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Sanctions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 December 2017 to Question 115475 on Burma: travel restrictions, whether he raised Burma and formalised travel sanctions on Burmese military leaders at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in December 2017.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 30 January 2018

The situation in Burma was not on the agenda for the December 2017 meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. In the Answer [cited by the Honourable Gentleman], the Government committed to considering additional measures with EU partners if the Burmese authorities failed to heed the calls of the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of 6 November. It was not possible to make this determination in time to allow discussion at the December Foreign Affairs Council, as the UN Secretary-General did not report to the Security Council until the following day.

Following the Secretary-General's report, we are assessing, with EU partners, whether targeted EU sanctions against individual senior military officers would be effective in changing the behaviour of the Burmese military.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Sexual Offences
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department’s capacity needs assessment on the investigation and documentation of sexual violence in Burma has been completed.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 30 January 2018

The capacity needs assessment in Bangladesh was completed on 3 December 2017. It provided valuable recommendations for the government on issues of political engagement, international coordination, support for survivors, evidence gathering and prevention of further crimes including sexual violence and human trafficking. The FCO and DFID are working closely together to action the recommendations, with most now already being implemented in partnership with domestic and international partners.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Department for International Development
USA: UNRWA
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with his US counterpart on that Administration’s decision to withhold funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that decision on programmes operating in the Middle East.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 30 January 2018

The UK has discussed the situation in detail with the United States, all other main donors, and host Governments in the context of the recent United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Advisory Commission. The UK has highlighted our concern about the impact on the activities of UNRWA that any unexpected reductions or delays in predicted donor disbursements might have.

My officials are working closely with UNRWA, the United States, and other European Union partners to understand the risks to UNRWA’s programmes and to ensure the continuity of services for Palestinian refugees. The UK is concerned about the impact on UNRWA’s activities whenever unexpected reductions or delays in predicted donor disbursements occur and, in particular, how this may disproportionally affect the most vulnerable refugees. We are liaising with UNRWA on their plans for service continuity. UNRWA has publically stated their determination to continue services in all their fields of operations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the potential takeover of GKN on the UK's automotive and aerospace industries.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 30 January 2018

This is a commercial matter for the companies involved, however the Government is closely monitoring the situation. If necessary, the Government can intervene in takeovers on public interest grounds, covering national security, financial stability or media plurality.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN: Melrose
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he was made aware of the attempted takeover of GKN by Melrose; and whether he has met with any of the parties involved.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 30 January 2018

GKN announced on 12 January that it had been approached by Melrose. Since then I have spoken on an impartial basis to both companies, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
GKN: Melrose
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK economy of the potential takeover of GKN by Melrose.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 30 January 2018

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave him today to Question 125100.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 January 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadcasting: Equality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to promote regional diversity in broadcasting.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 29 January 2018

This government is committed to spreading jobs and prosperity throughout the UK, and it is important that our broadcasting sector provides for and reflects the whole country. As part of this, we have made clear that Channel 4 must make a greater regional impact. We are in discussions with Channel 4 about how they should do this, and we will set out next steps soon.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 23 January 2018
Department for Transport
Driverless Vehicles: 4G
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the readiness of the UK's 4G infrastructure to enable autonomous vehicles to operate on UK roads.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 29 January 2018

Ofcom conducts annual analysis of mobile coverage across the UK, including road networks. However, more detailed assessment is necessary to understand the digital connectivity requirements of connected and automated vehicles, including the role 4G networks can play. At this early stage, there remains debate in industry about what level of digital connectivity will be necessary to enable self-driving vehicles and what the optimal telecommunications technologies will be. Digital connectivity is a key issue, and earlier this month, the Department commissioned research to analyse how ‘digital demand’ will evolve over time and across different road environments. The findings are due in the summer. The Department is also supporting the Government’s digital implementation task force in their work to consider how best to deliver the Conservative manifesto commitment (2017) to improve mobile coverage across major roads, and continue to fund a range of world leading trials and test beds across the UK.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Members: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter of 8 December 2017 from the hon. Member for Birmingham Northfield on President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 29 January 2018

A response has been sent.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 January 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the levels of (a) availability and (b) use of psychoactive substances in prisons in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 26 January 2018

We take a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in our prisons. Anyone found with contraband will be subject to disciplinary action and police investigation. We are taking unprecedented action to stop the supply and use of drugs. This is based on a multi-agency approach working closely with health partners and law enforcement agencies. We are the first prison jurisdiction in the world to have developed a test for psychoactive substances and have over 300 dogs to detect psychoactive substances.

We have invested £3m in enhancing our intelligence capability to identify the organised crime groups and individuals behind supply routes, and are using this intelligence to work with the police to disrupt them

Data on the number of finds of Psychoactive Substances has been recorded on the HMPPS Incident Reporting system since October 2015, so whole year data is only available for 2016 and 2017.

Testing for psychoactive substances was only in place across the whole prison estate from September 2016 onwards. Figures for 2017/18 will be published in the Annual HMPPS Digest in July 2018.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 22 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ivory: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether a timetable has been set for the introduction of an ivory ban in the UK; and when he plans to publish the outcome of his Department’s consultation on banning UK sales of ivory.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 26 January 2018

The Government’s consultation on proposals to ban UK sales of ivory closed on 29 December last year and we received over 70,000 responses. We are currently analysing the information provided and will publish our response to the consultation shortly.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 January 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Thyroid Gland: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that medicines approved for patients with thyroid conditions are competitively priced.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 January 2018

The costs of branded medicine are controlled by the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme and the statutory scheme for branded medicines. For unbranded generic medicines, the Department encourages competition between suppliers to keep prices down. In primary care, community pharmacies are incentivised to source products at the lowest possible cost and in secondary care, competitive tenders ensure value-for-money to the National Health Service.

Where competition does not appear to be working, the Department alerts the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Where the CMA finds that a company has breached competition law by charging excessive prices, it can impose a fine as well as order companies to reduce their prices. In those instances the Department can and does seek damages and invests that money back into the NHS.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Rabbits: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in ensuring protection for the welfare of domestic rabbits.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 25 January 2018

We have not carried out any specific assessment of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to rabbits. However, when the 2006 Act was reviewed in 2010 and when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs carried out its review “Animal Welfare in England: Domestic Pets” there were no specific recommendations made relating to rabbits. New regulations on the sale of pet animals including rabbits will include a requirement that all licensed sellers must provide information about the animals on sale. New guidance will accompany the new regulations which will provide minimum enclosure sizes for all licensed sellers of rabbits.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 January 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Prisons: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to treat and support prisoners who are addicted to psychoactive substances.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 25 January 2018

NHS England is working closely with Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service to ensure establishment-level resilience to psychoactive substances, through a co-ordinated approach to both supply reduction and demand reduction.

The UK Drug Misuse and Dependence Clinical Guidelines were recently updated by an independent expert working group, following a public consultation. The guidelines were published in July 2017. The Guidelines require that (as a part of a comprehensive assessment) there is confirmation of use of psychoactive substances and identification of the degree of problem use or dependence. This would usually be followed by abstinence-oriented psychosocial interventions.

The Guidelines are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/673978/clinical_guidelines_2017.pdf

NHS England is due to publish the revised prison Substance Misuse Service Specification shortly. This specification modernises and updates expectations in relation to the management of individuals with drug-related issues, including specifically, responses to psychoactive substances. The responses range from helping to build resilience to prevent use, management during acute intoxication (including ambulance transfer to acute hospital setting), psychosocial interventions and longer term strategies to prevent and avoid use.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 January 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Channel Four Television: Location
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) Birmingham City Council and (b) the West Midlands Combined Authority on the potential relocation of Channel 4 outside London.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 25 January 2018

We received a number of submissions to the Channel 4 regional consultation from individuals and local authorities across the UK. No decisions have been taken. The government is working with Channel 4 on how it can best increase its regional impact, and we will set out next steps in due course.

Grouped Questions: 124029
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 16 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Saudi Arabia on the effect of Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen on the civilian population.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 24 January 2018

We are acutely aware that during armed conflict, civilians often pay a heavy price. It is essential that all parties to the conflict in Yemen, including Houthi forces, comply with International Humanitarian Law (IHL). We regularly raise the importance of IHL compliance with the Saudi-led Coalition, and when allegations of IHL are made, we insist that they are investigated and that any lessons are acted upon. We have also provided training to support the ability of the Saudi-led Coalition to comply with IHL.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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 January 2018
Department for International Development
Burma: Thailand
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to internally-displaced people and refugees on the Thailand-Burma border.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 January 2018

Since 2012 DFID has provided up to £16.2 million of support for internally-displaced people and refugees on the Thai-Burma border. This programme addresses basic humanitarian needs and equips refugees and displaced people with the knowledge and skills for return and reintegration to Burma.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 17 January 2018
HM Treasury
Red Diesel: Public Consultation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the outcomes of his Department’s red diesel call for evidence, which ran from 20 March 2017 to 30 June 2017.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 22 January 2018

The purpose of this call for evidence was to improve the government’s understanding of how red diesel is used. We are now considering what next steps to take.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 21 December 2017
Department for International Development
Israel and Occupied Territories: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what criteria her Department employ to select projects and organisations to receive funding for people-to-people work in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 08 January 2018

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I provided on 25 October 2017 to Question number 108895.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 December 2017
Department of Health
Breastfeeding: Health Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The Government is committed to supporting breastfeeding through the Healthy Child Programme, as the health benefits are clear for mothers and their babies. We would still like to see more mothers breastfeeding and doing so for longer and are working with our partners including Public Health England (PHE), NHS England and UNICEF to achieve this goal.

The promotion of breast feeding is one of the six high-impact areas for health visiting, with health visitors supporting parents around infant feeding. PHE is working with local services to create breastfeeding friendly communities, with midwives and health visitors promoting best practice, and through the Start4Life campaigns to provide parents with trusted National Health Service advice. This includes the Start4Life ‘Breastfeeding Friend’ (an interactive Facebook Messenger ‘ChatBot’), and the Start4Life website available at:

https://www.nhs.uk/start4life

The latter contains a range of leaflets and resources available which professionals can order for free and provides a dedicated breastfeeding helpline.

PHE and UNICEF UK have developed a toolkit to support commissioning of evidence-based interventions to improve breastfeeding rates across England, including provision of effective professional support to mothers and their families through implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative in every maternity unit. PHE is encouraging Local Maternity Systems across the country to include plans to increase the number of babies breastfed at six months within their transformation plans.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 12 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on the limits imposed on fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 20 December 2017

While we have not raised this issue recently with the Israeli authorities, we have previously welcomed temporary extensions of fishing zones off Gaza, and continue to encourage the Israeli authorities to implement further measures to improve the situation in Gaza. The UK would like to see a permanent increase in the size of the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza, in line with the limit of 20 nautical miles stipulated in the Oslo accords.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 December 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iraq: Marriage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Government of Iraq on (a) instances of child marriage in that country and (b) proposals on Iraq’s civil and family law governing child marriage.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 20 December 2017

We are concerned about child marriage and proposed changes to civil and family law governing child marriage in Iraq. In November 2017 we urged the Government of Iraq at senior levels to reconsider proposed amendments to legal provisions governing marriage, which could have seen the age of marriage reduced to nine, and we issued a public statement. The proposed amendments to the law were removed from the Parliamentary agenda. We will continue to monitor the situation.

The UK is at the forefront of international efforts across the world to end Child and Early Forced Marriage. Through DFID's global £39 million "Accelerating Action to End Child Marriage" programme we are strengthening legal frameworks, and supporting the necessary associated shift in behaviours to end the practice.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 01 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Game: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of enforcement of the Code of Practice for the welfare of game birds, published by his Department in 2009.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 19 December 2017

The welfare of gamebirds is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds, as required by the Act. The Act and Defra’s Code are enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

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