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: 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
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Education
Religion: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Commission on Religious Education's report entitled Religion and Worldviews: The Way Forward a national plan for RE, published in September 2018, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the recommendation in that report to rename the subject to religion and worldviews.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 12 October 2018

The Department welcomes the Commission for Religious Education’s report and will carefully consider the merits of the report’s recommendations, one of which is to rename the subject ‘religion and worldviews’. At present, religious education is compulsory for pupils in all age groups in state-funded schools. It has an important role in developing children’s knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and in fostering understanding among different faiths and cultures.

Grouped Questions: 175786
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Education
Religion: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Commission on Religious Education's report entitled Religion and Worldviews: The Way Forward a national plan for RE, published in September 2018, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the conclusion in that report that all young people should have a statutory national entitlement to the study of religion and worldviews.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 12 October 2018

The Department welcomes the Commission for Religious Education’s report and will carefully consider the merits of the report’s recommendations, one of which is to rename the subject ‘religion and worldviews’. At present, religious education is compulsory for pupils in all age groups in state-funded schools. It has an important role in developing children’s knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and in fostering understanding among different faiths and cultures.

Grouped Questions: 175785
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: 12 September 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: ICT
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 4 September 2018 to Question 167103 on Palestinians: ICT, what plans she has to promote the development of Palestinian IT firms and strengthen their capability to work with British businesses after the Palestinian Market Development Programme ceases in October 2019.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 09 October 2018

The programme support provided to Palestinian IT firms from the Palestinian Market Development Programme (PMDP) will cease in October 2018. The Department for International Development (DFID) has recently announced a new £38 million economic development programme for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Part of this new programme will continue to provide support to Palestinian IT firms to connect with British businesses, for the twelve months following the completion of the PMDP. Following this, DFID will review if further support to the Palestinian IT sector is warranted and if the UK is best placed to support it.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 23 July 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: ICT
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to (a) assist the development of the IT sector in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and (b) foster links between UK and Palestinian companies.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 04 September 2018

The Department for International Development funds the Palestinian Market Development Programme (PMDP) which is currently supporting 18 Palestinian IT firms to strengthen their capability to work with British businesses. As part of this assistance PMDP is also working closely with the Portland Trust, the Palestinian Information Technology Association, the Palestinian Business Council and the Palestinian UK Country Trade Representative to develop business links between these firms and British businesses.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 24 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Deployment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what criteria his Department use to determine whether an international deployment of the Armed Forces is designated combat or non-combat.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 04 September 2018

There is no official definition of combat and non-combat operations or a set list of criteria. Each operation is considered in the round to determine its nature.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 20 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Disability: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the gap between demand and funding for health services for disabled children and their families; what steps he is taking to address any such gap; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 25 July 2018

The commissioning of health and social care services for children with disabilities is the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups and local authorities respectively. Local commissioners are best placed to assess the needs of the local population, and to mitigate any shortfalls.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new statutory framework requiring local authorities and clinical commissioning groups to commission jointly services for children with special educational needs and disability, across health, social care and education. Since 2014, £327 million has been given to local areas to support implementation of these new arrangements, in addition to the high needs budget for placements for pupils with complex special educational needs which is £6 billion this year, the highest it has ever been.

Every local area’s arrangements are being inspected jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, in addition to their role inspecting providers.

There are no plans to establish a disabled children’s fund. Funding for the National Health Service will grow on average by 3.4% in real terms each year from 2019/20 to 2023/24; by 2023/24 the NHS budget will increase by over £20 billion a year in real terms compared with today.

Grouped Questions: 166436
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 20 July 2018
Department for Education
Children: Social Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the gap between demand and provision of social care services for disabled children and their families; what steps he is taking to address any such gap; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 July 2018

Working Together to Safeguard Children (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2) sets out how local authorities should provide effective, evidence-based services to protect and promote the welfare of children, including disabled children. The guidance was updated on July 4 2018 and states that it is better to provide services addressing needs early, rather than reacting later. The statutory duty to provide short breaks, introduced in 2011, falls on local authorities. In the transition up to 2015, £880 million was provided to local authorities; funding for short breaks is now is an un-ring-fenced part of the wider local government finance settlement.

The 2015 Spending Review made available more than £200 billion until 2020 for councils to deliver the local services their communities want to see, including services for disabled children. In February, Parliament confirmed the 2018-19 settlement for local government which has provided a £1.3 billion increase in resources to local government over the next two years - £44.3 billion in 2017-18 to £45.6 billion in 2019-20. This recognises both the growing pressure on local government's services and higher-than-expected inflation levels.

The Department for Education has committed almost £270 million since 2014 in addition to the core local government funding settlement, to help local authorities learn from what works and to support improvement in the children's social care sector. This includes £200 million for the Innovation Programme, which is funding the Ealing project to provide interventions in the form of therapeutic breaks, to disabled children and young people that reduce the risk of escalation, and provide long-term solutions to children and families. Learning from innovation projects is published on the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme website (http://innovationcsc.co.uk).

The government is conducting a review of the relative needs and resources of local authorities that will develop a robust, up-to-date approach to distributing funding across all local authorities in England at local government finance settlements, including for children’s services. To inform the review, the Department for Education and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government have jointly-commissioned a data research and collection project on cost and demand pressures for children’s services, to understand local authorities’ relative funding needs. We are working towards implementation in 2020-21, while keeping this date under review as our work progresses.

Grouped Questions: 166435
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 20 July 2018
Department for Education
Children: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will establish a disabled children’s fund to improve early intervention services such as short breaks for disabled children.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 July 2018

Working Together to Safeguard Children (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2) sets out how local authorities should provide effective, evidence-based services to protect and promote the welfare of children, including disabled children. The guidance was updated on July 4 2018 and states that it is better to provide services addressing needs early, rather than reacting later. The statutory duty to provide short breaks, introduced in 2011, falls on local authorities. In the transition up to 2015, £880 million was provided to local authorities; funding for short breaks is now is an un-ring-fenced part of the wider local government finance settlement.

The 2015 Spending Review made available more than £200 billion until 2020 for councils to deliver the local services their communities want to see, including services for disabled children. In February, Parliament confirmed the 2018-19 settlement for local government which has provided a £1.3 billion increase in resources to local government over the next two years - £44.3 billion in 2017-18 to £45.6 billion in 2019-20. This recognises both the growing pressure on local government's services and higher-than-expected inflation levels.

The Department for Education has committed almost £270 million since 2014 in addition to the core local government funding settlement, to help local authorities learn from what works and to support improvement in the children's social care sector. This includes £200 million for the Innovation Programme, which is funding the Ealing project to provide interventions in the form of therapeutic breaks, to disabled children and young people that reduce the risk of escalation, and provide long-term solutions to children and families. Learning from innovation projects is published on the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme website (http://innovationcsc.co.uk).

The government is conducting a review of the relative needs and resources of local authorities that will develop a robust, up-to-date approach to distributing funding across all local authorities in England at local government finance settlements, including for children’s services. To inform the review, the Department for Education and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government have jointly-commissioned a data research and collection project on cost and demand pressures for children’s services, to understand local authorities’ relative funding needs. We are working towards implementation in 2020-21, while keeping this date under review as our work progresses.

Grouped Questions: 166434
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 20 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Disability: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a disabled children’s fund to improve health services for disabled children.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 25 July 2018

The commissioning of health and social care services for children with disabilities is the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups and local authorities respectively. Local commissioners are best placed to assess the needs of the local population, and to mitigate any shortfalls.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new statutory framework requiring local authorities and clinical commissioning groups to commission jointly services for children with special educational needs and disability, across health, social care and education. Since 2014, £327 million has been given to local areas to support implementation of these new arrangements, in addition to the high needs budget for placements for pupils with complex special educational needs which is £6 billion this year, the highest it has ever been.

Every local area’s arrangements are being inspected jointly by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, in addition to their role inspecting providers.

There are no plans to establish a disabled children’s fund. Funding for the National Health Service will grow on average by 3.4% in real terms each year from 2019/20 to 2023/24; by 2023/24 the NHS budget will increase by over £20 billion a year in real terms compared with today.

Grouped Questions: 166433
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 28 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June to Question 151020, what the exceptional circumstances under which a strategic plan can successfully demonstrate a need for changes to green belt boundaries are.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 05 July 2018

For the first time, the Government has proposed that the new National Planning Policy Framework set out that a local authority, before planning to alter a Green Belt boundary, should show that it has examined all other reasonable options for addressing its identified development needs: making as much use as possible of brownfield and under-used land; optimising density; and discussing with neighbouring authorities whether they could take some of the necessary development, as agreed in a Statement of Common Ground. Beyond that, it is for the local authority to state which factors amount to exceptional circumstances. The local authority should also have regard to the purposes of Green Belt and the need for Green Belt boundaries that will endure. At examination of the revised Plan, the planning inspector will assess the soundness of any proposed change to a Green Belt boundary. Consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework closed on 10 May and, after carefully considering the comments received, we will issue the revised version before summer recess.

We are not proposing to alter the ‘very special circumstances’ test a local authority applies when it receives a planning application for inappropriate development on Green Belt land. It should generally refuse planning permission for such development, but it will be for the authority to determine whether there are very special circumstances in the case, and what weight to give to each. Even if a proposal is of a type listed in the Framework as not inappropriate in Green Belt, it may still not be successful if there are other grounds warranting refusal of permission.

Grouped Questions: 158649
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 28 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to paragraphs 142-3 of the draft National Planning Policy Framework, what are the very special circumstances that can lead to proposals for the Green Belt to be successful; and under what other circumstances would such proposal be successful.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 05 July 2018

For the first time, the Government has proposed that the new National Planning Policy Framework set out that a local authority, before planning to alter a Green Belt boundary, should show that it has examined all other reasonable options for addressing its identified development needs: making as much use as possible of brownfield and under-used land; optimising density; and discussing with neighbouring authorities whether they could take some of the necessary development, as agreed in a Statement of Common Ground. Beyond that, it is for the local authority to state which factors amount to exceptional circumstances. The local authority should also have regard to the purposes of Green Belt and the need for Green Belt boundaries that will endure. At examination of the revised Plan, the planning inspector will assess the soundness of any proposed change to a Green Belt boundary. Consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework closed on 10 May and, after carefully considering the comments received, we will issue the revised version before summer recess.

We are not proposing to alter the ‘very special circumstances’ test a local authority applies when it receives a planning application for inappropriate development on Green Belt land. It should generally refuse planning permission for such development, but it will be for the authority to determine whether there are very special circumstances in the case, and what weight to give to each. Even if a proposal is of a type listed in the Framework as not inappropriate in Green Belt, it may still not be successful if there are other grounds warranting refusal of permission.

Grouped Questions: 158648
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether Development Management Plans from local planning authorities that fail to meet their full Objectively Assessed Housing Need are not classified as unsound by (a) his Department and (d) the Planning Inspectorate solely on the grounds that greenfield sites on Green Belt land have not been recommended for release.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 15 June 2018

The failure to release Green Belt would not in itself be a reason that a plan would be found unsound. Where authorities are not proposing to meet all of their identified housing need, they should show what options they have explored for meeting their need, and only release Green Belt land if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

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: 21 May 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Cadets
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make funds available to enable cadet adult instructors to attend Stonewall train-the-trainers courses to enable detachment commanders to identify a need to find assistance for cadets identifying to them as being LGBT.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 24 May 2018

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) sponsored Cadet Forces are inclusive organisations which help young people achieve their potential by offering a range of challenging and exciting activities based on the values and ethos of the Armed Forces.

We are committed to equality of opportunity for young people and adults alike, recognising diversity within our membership and regarding it as one of our greatest strengths. As an example of our commitment, specific Gender Identity guidance has been produced for all MOD Cadet Forces which is also signposted during safeguarding training for Cadet Force adult volunteers.

The MOD has no current plans to fund Stonewall train-the-trainers courses for Cadet Force adult volunteers.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 13 April 2018
Department for Education
Faith Schools: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of school-age children who live in the catchment area of only a state-funded faith school.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 23 April 2018

All mainstream state funded schools, including faith schools, must comply with the School Admissions Code. This requires all admissions authorities to publish admission arrangements, which detail how, in the event of more applications than places, allocation of places will be prioritised. Admission authorities may choose to give priority to children living within a designated catchment area, but not all will set a catchment.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Ministry of Justice
Crime Prevention: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether it remains his policy for prisons to give permission for young people referred by (a) police and (b) young offending teams to visit prisons as part of the KeepOut crime diversion scheme; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 13 March 2018

The Review of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales, published in December 2016, considered the use of programmes in which either prison officers or prisoners themselves attempted to deter children from criminality by showing or explaining the realities of life in prison. The report of the Review expressed concern at the use of such programmes in England & Wales, in the light of international evidence that such interventions can increase the likelihood of offending among children and young people.

In view of the report’s examination of this issue, HM Prison & Probation Service reviewed these programmes and decided that they should no longer be facilitated.

Grouped Questions: 129050
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Ministry of Justice
Crime Prevention: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department has issued to Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service on young people at risk of offending visiting prisons under (a) the KeepOut crime diversion scheme and (b) other initiatives.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 13 March 2018

The Review of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales, published in December 2016, considered the use of programmes in which either prison officers or prisoners themselves attempted to deter children from criminality by showing or explaining the realities of life in prison. The report of the Review expressed concern at the use of such programmes in England & Wales, in the light of international evidence that such interventions can increase the likelihood of offending among children and young people.

In view of the report’s examination of this issue, HM Prison & Probation Service reviewed these programmes and decided that they should no longer be facilitated.

Grouped Questions: 129049
Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Clinical Priorities Advisory Group
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement by NHS England on 18 December 2017 on new specialised treatments, on which date the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group will meet in May 2018 to consider new recommendations.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 27 February 2018

The Clinical Priorities Advisory Group is meeting on 14, 15 and 16 May to consider new recommendations on specialised treatments.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the announcement by NHS England on 18 December 2017 on new specialised treatments, what estimate he has made of the annual expenditure for new medicines approved for funding as a result of the November 2017 prioritisation process.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 27 February 2018

With reference to the announcement made by NHS England on 18 December 2017 on new specialised treatments for funding as a result of the November 2017 prioritisation process, NHS England estimate that in excess of £3 million annual expenditure for new medicines was approved.

Q
Asked by Crispin Blunt
(Reigate)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance is issued by NHS England to manufacturers on the negotiation of medical outcomes-based commercial agreements for products undergoing review by the specialised commissioning prioritisation process.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 27 February 2018

The published guidance about the specialised commissioning clinical prioritisation process is published on the NHS England website. This can be found here at:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/spec-comm-service-development-policy.pdf

Where a product is already in scope of a framework tender process run by the commercial medicines unit instructions on offer submissions are provided via the standard supplier portal as part of the tender process in the usual way. No general guidance has been issued to manufacturers.

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