Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 16 July 2019
Treasury
Employment: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2019 to Question 268953 on Employment: Taxation, which elements of the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) online guidance tool were tested; how were they tested; and who tested them.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 23 July 2019

All elements of the Check Employment Status for Tax service (CEST) were thoroughly tested.

In a series of workshops, officials and external experts, including lawyers, tax and IT professionals, developed the set of rules that underpin the tool. The workshop participants agreed the key relevant facts and points of law and then tested the rules that went into the tool to ensure it gave the correct answer. Those rules were then tested against live and settled cases.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish a response to the consultation on Off-payroll working rules from April 2020.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 05 July 2019
The Government consulted on the detailed operation of the off-payroll reform earlier this year, and met over 100 affected businesses and their representatives. The Government is considering the responses to that consultation; these will be taken into account in the design of the draft Finance Bill legislation, to be published on 11 July.
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 25 June 2019
Treasury
Employment: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Check Employment Status for Tax Tool ahead the roll-out of the Off-Payroll rules to the private sector.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 03 July 2019

Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) is an online guidance service, published on Gov.UK alongside HMRC’s more detailed guidance on employment status. HMRC developed CEST to help all engagers and individuals to determine employment status and decide whether the off-payroll rules apply.

HMRC’s CEST service has been rigorously tested against known case law and settled cases, and HMRC stand by the result if it is used in accordance with their guidance.

HMRC continue to enhance CEST in response to stakeholders’ concerns. Improvements will be made to language and presentation and include guidance to ensure questions are clearly understood. Changes are being tested with tax specialists and users of the service to ensure they meet individuals’ and businesses’ needs.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 16 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Ministers of Religion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) prisoners and (b) chaplains employed within prisons there are of each religion or belief.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 24 May 2019

The Prison Act 1952 enshrines in law the statutory duties of a prison chaplain. These tasks, which must be undertaken daily, are incorporated into Prison Rules and Young Offender Rules. They are explained in detail in Prison Service Instruction 05/2016 Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners.

We recognise and respect the right of prisoners to register and practice their faith while serving their prison sentence. Chaplaincy plays a critical and unique role in the work of prisons and life of prisoners. It provides not only faith advice but pastoral care in support of HM Prison and Probation Service’s commitments to decency, safety and rehabilitation.

A breakdown of prisoner population by religion is provided in the quarterly Offender Management statistics publication on GOV.UK. The latest publication can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-october-to-december-2018. The relevant extract of those statistics is provided in the following table:

Table 1.5: Prison population by religion and sex

31-Mar-18

30-Jun-18

30-Sep-18

31-Dec-18

31-Mar-19

Percentage change March 2018 to 2019

Males and Females

83,263

82,773

83,005

82,236

82,634

-1%

All Christian

39,839

39,541

39,784

39,293

39,515

-1%

Anglican

13,971

13,808

13,755

13,496

13,480

-4%

Free Church

776

764

782

758

737

-5%

Roman Catholic

14,334

14,277

14,246

14,094

14,160

-1%

Other Christian

10,758

10,692

11,001

10,945

11,138

4%

Muslim

12,847

12,894

12,868

12,894

13,008

1%

Hindu

379

354

350

361

343

-9%

Sikh

625

632

634

638

611

-2%

Buddhist

1,517

1,518

1,569

1,575

1,619

7%

Jewish

480

488

477

482

477

-1%

Other religious group

1,724

1,777

1,782

1,838

1,876

9%

Non recognised

10

11

12

6

7

**

No religion

25,711

25,393

25,413

25,053

25,034

-3%

Not recorded

131

165

116

96

144

10%

Chaplains may work on a full-time, part-time, sessional or voluntary basis. A breakdown of Chaplains in employed in prisons and by faith, is provided below.

Number of chaplains (headcount) employed by HM Prison and Probation Service1, as at 31 March 2019.

Headcount

Prison Service establishments

Religion

Number of chaplains

Christian

242

Muslim

118

Sikh

12

Hindu

3

Unknown2

99

Total

474

Notes to Table

  1. A substantial amount of Chaplaincy services within the public sector Prison Service are provided by non-employed staff on a sessional basis, which are not included in the figures presented in this table. Chaplains fill roles in bands 5 and 7 or above under the Fair and Sustainable structures.
  2. These are mostly managing Chaplains where the religion of the post is not specified.
  3. Only includes chaplains working in prisons and therefore will not match published data which includes Chaplains who work in other areas of HMPPS, such as at Headquarters.

Information on the private estate is not held centrally. The total number of chaplain staff since 2010 can be found in the HMPPS Workforce Statistics Bulletin. The latest publication on the number of Chaplains can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hm-prison-and-probation-service-workforce-quarterly-march-2019 Information on the religious affiliation of chaplains is not published.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[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: 11 April 2019
Home Office
Foreign Nationals: Saudi Arabia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Saudi Arabian citizens or former Saudi Arabian citizens have been put under police protection in the UK since 2015; and how many of those have been put under police protection from October 2018 until now.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 24 April 2019

It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on the security arrangements for individuals. To do so could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned. This includes numbers related to those in receipt of protection measures.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[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: 11 April 2019
Home Office
Foreign Nationals: Saudi Arabia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many complaints have been made to the police by Saudi Arabian citizens, or former Saudi Arabian citizens, who felt threatened or sought advice as a result of intimidation they believed was from the Saudi Arabian Government in each year for which information is available.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 24 April 2019

The Home Office do not hold this data and therefore cannot provide a
response to the request.

Whilst reported notifiable crimes are recorded and published annually in the crime statistics, recorded and published crimes do not go into the detail of the nationalities of individuals reporting these crimes.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[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: 11 April 2019
Home Office
Foreign Nationals: Saudi Arabia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Saudi Arabian citizens were deported from the UK in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017 and (d) 2018; and how many such citizens have been deported from October 2018 to date.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 24 April 2019

The number of enforced returns from the UK by year and country of nationality is published in table rt_02 (returns data tables, volume 1) in ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending December 2018’, available from the GOV.uk website at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781113/returns1-dec-2018-tables.ods


The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. Information on those deported is not separately available and therefore the published statistics refer to all enforced returns.

Information for January to March 2019 will be published in May 2019.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Department for Transport
Gatwick Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Aviation Policy Framework, published by the Government in March 2013, what assessment he has made of the implications of the statement in that policy that the provision and funding of surface access infrastructure and services to airports is primarily the responsibility of the airport operator, on the specific division of responsibility for these enhancements between airport operators and central government in relation to Gatwick; and if he will a statement.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 04 April 2019

The Government published its Aviation Strategy 2050 consultation document in December 2018. Among other things, the document makes the case that airports are ‘unique’ multi-modal transport hubs, and should be recognised and treated as such.

As the document sets out, the Government believes that the provision and funding of surface access infrastructure and services to airports is primarily the responsibility of the airport operator. But where there are significant non-airport public user benefits from changes and enhancements to the infrastructure and services, the Government has made clear it would consider making a funding contribution to reflect these.

The Government will continue to review and update the current appraisal methodology to enable assessment of the validity of its funding policy.

The Aviation Strategy 2050 consultation is due to close on 20 June 2019, and the Government encourages all stakeholders to respond to this consultation.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 25 March 2019
Home Office
Asylum: Religion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress his Department has made on the (a) production and (b) rollout of compulsory training on religion or belief claims for all asylum assessors, announced in October 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 02 April 2019

The Home Office have worked closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Asylum Advocacy Group (AAG) for many years, to help improve their approach to religious based claims and have recently worked with them to develop and produce a specialist training package.

The aim of this course is to ensure that where religion or belief is raised in an asylum claim, asylum decision makers appropriately consider all the available evidence in accordance International, European & Domestic law and Home Office Asylum Policy, when interviewing asylum applicants and making decisions on their claims.

The course will be rolled out to Asylum Senior Caseworkers and Technical Specialists in April 2019 and all asylum Decision Makers over the course of the subsequent three months.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[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: 04 February 2019
Home Office
Knives: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of knife crimes in which victims were killed or wounded were associated with the supply of illegal narcotic drugs in each year from 2015.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 07 February 2019

The Home Office does not collect the data requested.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[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: 07 January 2019
Department for Transport
Members: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Reigate of 18 December 2018 on 2019 fare changes in the Redhill area.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 10 January 2019

The Honourable Gentleman’s letter was received by the department on 24 December, and we aim to respond to all correspondence within 20 working days. However, I am pleased to confirm that I have already responded.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Home Office
Prostitution: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2018 to Question 175782 on Prostitution, to list the institutions that tendered unsuccessfully for funding to carry out research into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 November 2018

The Home Office is unable to list the institutions that tendered unsuccessfully for funding to carry out research into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. This is commercially sensitive information owned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, who formally commissioned the research. Equally, the research application itself is commercially sensitive and belongs to the University of Bristol. It is for them to decide whether to publish information within it.

During the application process, a question on approach to conducting the research in an impartial manner was given the highest weighting in scoring. The University of Bristol has therefore set out in detail how they will ensure ideological neutrality in their approach to this work.

Grouped Questions: 187983
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Home Office
Prostitution: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2018 to Question 175781 on Prostitution, if he will publish the assurances given by the Centre for Gender and Violence Research during the tendering process that their research would satisfy the criteria for the research project to be conducted in an impartial manner.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 November 2018

The Home Office is unable to list the institutions that tendered unsuccessfully for funding to carry out research into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. This is commercially sensitive information owned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, who formally commissioned the research. Equally, the research application itself is commercially sensitive and belongs to the University of Bristol. It is for them to decide whether to publish information within it.

During the application process, a question on approach to conducting the research in an impartial manner was given the highest weighting in scoring. The University of Bristol has therefore set out in detail how they will ensure ideological neutrality in their approach to this work.

Grouped Questions: 187979
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 16 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Torture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether it is his policy to (a) reassess UK security (i) assistance to and (ii) co-operation with Governments that appoint individuals accused of involvement in torture to senior positions on security bodies and (b) withdraw that assistance when those allegations are deemed credible.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 23 October 2018

The Government applies its Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) guidance to any assistance provided overseas. The OSJA guidance is a framework to assess and manage any human rights risks associated with UK assistance . OSJA assessments completed for specific projects or cases are regularly reviewed and updated in line with developments in the country concerned. This informs how the assistance is pursued.

In countries where Her Majesty's Government is regularly engaged in security and justice assistance, the relevant diplomatic mission maintains an in-country assessment and provides it to all interested departments or agencies to aid them and provide consistency in the OSJA process.

The OSJA guidance was updated in January 2017. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office engaged with a number of human rights organisations (including members of the Foreign Secretary's Advisory Group on Human Rights), as part of the revision. I am confident that the new OSJA process remains the most comprehensive and demanding tool of its type anywhere in the world.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 09 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Professions: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish his Department's response to the consultation on the regulation of medical associate professions in the UK.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 17 October 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the development of a modern health and care workforce as part of the continuing drive to provide safe, accessible and high quality care for patients and service users. A key part of this is ensuring that proportionate assurance processes are in place for both existing and new roles.

As my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced on the Department’s Talk Health and Care online platform on Friday 12 October, we will be introducing statutory regulation for physician associates and physicians’ assistants (anesthesia). In taking this forward, we will look to develop a framework to which other Medical Associate Professions could be added at a later date as the case arises.

The Department will be publishing its full response to the consultation shortly.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 09 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Intelligence Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has undertaken a review of Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments in relation to intelligence sharing with the US as a result of the appointment of Gina Haspel to Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 17 October 2018

The revised Overseas Security and Justice Assistance guidance was published in January 2017. It is the longstanding policy of successive governments not to comment on intelligence matters. The UK-US relationship is grounded in our history and shared traditions. In both countries, intelligence work takes place within a strong legal framework.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Prostitution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Department's competitive tender process for a research project on the impact of sex work in the UK, whether (a) an assessment was made of the campaigning activities of those academic institutes that bid and (b) criteria were applied in that process to ensure academic independence.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Home Office has provided £150,000 to fund research specifically into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. The research was awarded via fair and open competition. As part of the tendering process, each applicant was asked how they would conduct this work in an impartial manner.

Each of the bidders that applied to carry out this work had previous experience of researching issues related to prostitution and sex work, and set out relevant experience in their application. This was reviewed by the Department before the award was made.

The University of Bristol were awarded the contract and are currently undertaking the work.

As part of the research, the University of Bristol research team are running a survey to seek input from those with a range of views and experiences. Officials and Ministers are regularly monitoring the progress of the research, and it will be reviewed prior to publication in spring 2019.

Grouped Questions: 175782 | 175783 | 175784
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Prostitution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department made an assessment of the evidence on the Nordic model which the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at Bristol University submitted to the 2016 Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into prostitution before awarding that university a contract to carry out research into the impact of sex work in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Home Office has provided £150,000 to fund research specifically into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. The research was awarded via fair and open competition. As part of the tendering process, each applicant was asked how they would conduct this work in an impartial manner.

Each of the bidders that applied to carry out this work had previous experience of researching issues related to prostitution and sex work, and set out relevant experience in their application. This was reviewed by the Department before the award was made.

The University of Bristol were awarded the contract and are currently undertaking the work.

As part of the research, the University of Bristol research team are running a survey to seek input from those with a range of views and experiences. Officials and Ministers are regularly monitoring the progress of the research, and it will be reviewed prior to publication in spring 2019.

Grouped Questions: 175781 | 175783 | 175784
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Prostitution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to ensure the objectivity of the research commissioned by his Department into the impact of sex work in the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Home Office has provided £150,000 to fund research specifically into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. The research was awarded via fair and open competition. As part of the tendering process, each applicant was asked how they would conduct this work in an impartial manner.

Each of the bidders that applied to carry out this work had previous experience of researching issues related to prostitution and sex work, and set out relevant experience in their application. This was reviewed by the Department before the award was made.

The University of Bristol were awarded the contract and are currently undertaking the work.

As part of the research, the University of Bristol research team are running a survey to seek input from those with a range of views and experiences. Officials and Ministers are regularly monitoring the progress of the research, and it will be reviewed prior to publication in spring 2019.

Grouped Questions: 175781 | 175782 | 175784
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Prostitution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has in place to review the final report of his Department's research project into the impact of sex work in the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Home Office has provided £150,000 to fund research specifically into the nature and prevalence of prostitution in England and Wales. The research was awarded via fair and open competition. As part of the tendering process, each applicant was asked how they would conduct this work in an impartial manner.

Each of the bidders that applied to carry out this work had previous experience of researching issues related to prostitution and sex work, and set out relevant experience in their application. This was reviewed by the Department before the award was made.

The University of Bristol were awarded the contract and are currently undertaking the work.

As part of the research, the University of Bristol research team are running a survey to seek input from those with a range of views and experiences. Officials and Ministers are regularly monitoring the progress of the research, and it will be reviewed prior to publication in spring 2019.

Grouped Questions: 175781 | 175782 | 175783
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