Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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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: 19 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Orphan Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a new orphan medicines pathway at NICE to enable orphan medicines which do not qualify for the highly specialised technology evaluation programme to be appraised.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 27 April 2020

There are no current plans to establish a further National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) assessment programme for orphan medicines. Where companies are willing to price their drugs fairly in a way that reflects the benefits they bring to patients, NICE has been able to recommend a number of orphan medicines for routine NHS funding through its technology appraisal programme. NICE is reviewing its methods for the development of technology appraisal and highly specialised technology recommendations, including the methods for the assessment of medicines licensed for rare diseases. The creation of an Innovative Medicines Fund will also build on the success of the Cancer Drugs Fund and support access to the most advanced medicines for patients with rare diseases.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Orphan Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he made of the effect of the (a) introduction of the ultra-orphan pathway by the Scottish Medicines Consortium and (b) additional factors and modifiers for orphan medicines and medicines that have evidence of achieving a substantial improvement in life expectancy and/or quality of life considered by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in relation to informing methods and processes at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 27 April 2020

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is responsible for the review of the methods it uses in the development of its technology appraisal and highly specialised technology recommendations in England. NICE has advised that additional factors and modifiers that may affect NICE’s decisions, including factors relevant to orphan medicines and medicines that substantially improve health and/or life expectancy, are being considered within its methods review. This review will give consideration to approaches in other health technology assessment bodies, including the devolved administrations.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Technology
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence plans to publish the full outputs of the task and finish groups engaged in the development of its health technology evaluation review.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 27 April 2020

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has advised that it is considering the most appropriate way to publish the relevant information supporting the methods review work. Details will be released in due course.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 March 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Women's Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the ongoing judicial proceedings against women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia; and whether UK officials have been granted access to attend the trial sessions.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 27 March 2020

We are concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights priority country, particularly because of the use of the death penalty and restrictions on women's rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief. We will continue to call for political detainees, including women's rights defenders, to be given adequate legal representation. We have pressed for due process and raised concerns over the use of solitary confinement and the use of torture. The UK attends trials of international importance in all countries where permitted. The UK, along with other embassies in Saudi Arabia, has requested and been denied access to each and every trial we have been aware of since October 2018, with the exception of the trials for those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 March 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Saudi Arabia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Saudi citizens applied for asylum in the UK in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 27 March 2020

The Home Office publishes data on the number of asylum applications received by the UK in the chapter ‘How many people do we grant asylum or protection to?’ in the quarterly ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Data on the number of asylum applications broken down by nationality are available in tables Asy_D01 of the ‘Asylum applications, initial decisions and resettlement datasets’.

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to the year ending December 2019.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘summary tables’. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’. https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?keywords=immigration&content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=relevance

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 04 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Human Papillomavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether human papillomavirus screening is able to identify specific strains of that virus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 12 March 2020

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is the primary screening test used in the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme. This can be reviewed at the following links:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/human-papilloma-virus-hpv/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cervical-screening-programme-overview

While there are many different types of HPV, the screening programme in England uses tests to detect for HPV 16, 18 and several other high-risk HPV types. HPV 16 and 18 are the two most common high-risk strains of HPV that are found in 99.8% of cervical cancer cases. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/cervical-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Two.

The results from a HPV screen test will indicate to the individual whether they are HPV positive or negative and the next steps.

HPV infection is very common and most abnormalities that develop as a result will clear themselves without intervention or treatment.

Grouped Questions: 24996
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 04 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Human Papillomavirus: Vaccination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps Public Health England plans to take to assess the effectiveness of the HPV vaccination programme.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 12 March 2020

Public Health England (PHE) is conducting surveillance activities to monitor the effectiveness of the National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Programme. The current HPV vaccine protects against two high-risk HPV types, HPV16 and HPV18 which cause around 80% of cervical cancers in the United Kingdom and two low-risk HPV types, HPV6 and HPV11 which cause most genital warts.

Surveillance conducted among young sexually active women in England has compared changes in the number of women who have a HPV infection over time since the introduction of the HPV vaccination.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 04 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Human Papillomavirus: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination status of the patient will be recorded under the new HPV primary screening programme.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 12 March 2020

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is the primary screening test used in the National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme. This can be reviewed at the following links:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/human-papilloma-virus-hpv/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cervical-screening-programme-overview

While there are many different types of HPV, the screening programme in England uses tests to detect for HPV 16, 18 and several other high-risk HPV types. HPV 16 and 18 are the two most common high-risk strains of HPV that are found in 99.8% of cervical cancer cases. This can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/cervical-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Two.

The results from a HPV screen test will indicate to the individual whether they are HPV positive or negative and the next steps.

HPV infection is very common and most abnormalities that develop as a result will clear themselves without intervention or treatment.

Grouped Questions: 24994
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 05 February 2020
Home Office
Cannabis: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many schedule 1 (a) domestic and (b) import licences cannabis and cannabis-based products were granted in 2019.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 12 February 2020

In 2019, the Drugs and Firearms Licensing unit issued to premises in Great Britain 362 domestic licences covering possession of schedule 1 drugs.

Controlled drug import licences are issued for individual consignments with reference to the drug substance(s) contained in the shipment. An import licence can cover up to four different types of drug substance or preparation. A total of 452 import licences for shipments containing cannabis or with a controlled cannabinoid content were issued in 2019.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on housing developments of the Campaign to Protect Rural England report titled, A housing design audit for England, published on 21 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 10 February 2020

The Department welcomes the report and the research team provided evidence to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission and that their findings have informed the 45 recommendations from the commission. The Government will respond to in due course.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the proposed White Paper on planning will include guidance on the benefits of designing (a) higher density developments and (b) highways that are sensitive to their surroundings.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 10 February 2020

Guidance on design issues is not within the remit of the Planning White Paper. The purpose of the White Paper will be to make the planning process clearer, more accessible and more certain for all users, including homeowners and small businesses. It will also address resourcing and performance in Planning Departments. Designing at higher densities and making effective use of land, and the creation of highways that take into account place-making, are covered by our National Planning Policy Framework. These are also referenced within our recently published National Design Guide and are intended to form part of the forthcoming National Model Design Code.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that local planning authorities reject planning applications which do not comply with the guidance set out in (a) the National Design Guide and (b) paragraph 130 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 10 February 2020

Within the National Planning Policy Framework, and the National Design Guide, the importance of design quality and how it can be achieved was emphasised. Steps we have taken to ensure this is reflected in decision making include convening the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, which published its final report and recommendations on 30 January and which we will respond to in due course. We have also committed to producing the National Model Design Code this year which will set detailed standards for key elements of successful design.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 27 January 2020
Home Office
Cannabis: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) high-THC cultivation licences, (b) low-THC cultivation licences, (c) Schedule 1 domestic licences and (d) Schedule 1 import licences were granted in 2019.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 04 February 2020

In 2019, the Drugs and Firearms Licensing unit issued to premises in Great Britain (a) 33 low THC licences to cultivate low THC cannabis (b) 20 licences to cultivate high THC cannabis (c) 362 domestic licences covering possession of schedule 1.

Import licences are issued for individual drug substances as opposed to by schedule of drug. Thousands of drug substances could fall within schedule 1 control so it is not possible to provide a figure for the number of ‘schedule 1’ import licences granted.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 15 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are circumstances under which Specialist Importers of cannabis-based products for medicinal use are permitted to import that product in bulk.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 January 2020

Unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) may only be imported to meet the special clinical need of individual patients. It is not currently possible to import bulk quantities of these products. This restriction forms part of the checks and balances that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs asked the Government to put in place when rescheduling CBPMs to minimise the risk of misuse and diversion.

The Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency has received 242 notifications for the importation of unlicensed CBPMs from specialist importers in the past 12 months.

Unlicensed medicines, including CBPMs are not assessed by the MHRA for quality, safety and efficacy, but must be notified to the MHRA prior to import and meet basic production standards.

Importers registered with the MHRA can import active pharmaceutical ingredients where intended for the production of a medicinal product for use in humans.

Grouped Questions: 3662 | 3663 | 3664
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 15 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many notifications the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has received from (a) pharmacies and (b) Specialist Importers on importation orders for unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 January 2020

Unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) may only be imported to meet the special clinical need of individual patients. It is not currently possible to import bulk quantities of these products. This restriction forms part of the checks and balances that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs asked the Government to put in place when rescheduling CBPMs to minimise the risk of misuse and diversion.

The Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency has received 242 notifications for the importation of unlicensed CBPMs from specialist importers in the past 12 months.

Unlicensed medicines, including CBPMs are not assessed by the MHRA for quality, safety and efficacy, but must be notified to the MHRA prior to import and meet basic production standards.

Importers registered with the MHRA can import active pharmaceutical ingredients where intended for the production of a medicinal product for use in humans.

Grouped Questions: 3661 | 3663 | 3664
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 15 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has assessed the (a) safety and (b) quality of unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 January 2020

Unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) may only be imported to meet the special clinical need of individual patients. It is not currently possible to import bulk quantities of these products. This restriction forms part of the checks and balances that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs asked the Government to put in place when rescheduling CBPMs to minimise the risk of misuse and diversion.

The Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency has received 242 notifications for the importation of unlicensed CBPMs from specialist importers in the past 12 months.

Unlicensed medicines, including CBPMs are not assessed by the MHRA for quality, safety and efficacy, but must be notified to the MHRA prior to import and meet basic production standards.

Importers registered with the MHRA can import active pharmaceutical ingredients where intended for the production of a medicinal product for use in humans.

Grouped Questions: 3661 | 3662 | 3664
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 15 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are circumstances under which Specialist Importers may import cannabis-based active pharmaceutical ingredients for use in the manufacturing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 January 2020

Unlicensed cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) may only be imported to meet the special clinical need of individual patients. It is not currently possible to import bulk quantities of these products. This restriction forms part of the checks and balances that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs asked the Government to put in place when rescheduling CBPMs to minimise the risk of misuse and diversion.

The Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency has received 242 notifications for the importation of unlicensed CBPMs from specialist importers in the past 12 months.

Unlicensed medicines, including CBPMs are not assessed by the MHRA for quality, safety and efficacy, but must be notified to the MHRA prior to import and meet basic production standards.

Importers registered with the MHRA can import active pharmaceutical ingredients where intended for the production of a medicinal product for use in humans.

Grouped Questions: 3661 | 3662 | 3663
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