Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, between which dates his Department carried out due diligence checks on Seaborne Freight prior to issuing a contract to that company.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Formal checks were undertaken on all bidders during December.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has confirmed as part of due diligence checks whether Seaborne Freight became VAT registered.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

All companies operating out of the UK are required to comply with relevant VAT legislation.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has sought any written assurances from representatives of Seabourne Freight's (a) bank, (b) legal representatives and (c) accountants on that company’s ability to comply with its contract with the Government.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes. Written assurances were sought from a number of representatives as part of the contractual arrangements.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has commissioned a formal credit check on Seaborne Freight from an established credit-check company.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes. This was conducted as part of due diligence undertaken on Seaborne Freight.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has sought advice from Baltic Exchange or any other shipping brokers in relation to the capacity of Seaborne Freight to run a cross-channel ferry service.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

The Department was supported by advice from a number of external advisers.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department’s contract with Seaborne Freight includes provisions that require that company to (a) lease or (b) purchase ships.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Yes.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his working assumption that Seaborne Freight will use ships for its proposed cross-channel ferry operation operating under the UK flag.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

This is a commercial decision for any vessel operator, including Seaborne Freight.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to approve an operating manual covering the safety standards of ships to be used by Seaborne Freight for cross-channel ferries; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Seaborne Freight will be required to comply with the same stringent International Maritime Organization safety standards that are applied to all vessels. In the UK these are enforced by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Ramsgate Port: Channel Ferries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) infrastructure and (b) dredging work is required at the Port of Ramsgate to enable the operation of ferry services contracted by his Department; and what (a) private and (b) public institutions will fund those works.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

Maintenance dredging is currently in progress. Additionally, limited works are needed to restore the readiness of the port for regular ro-ro services, including appropriate Border Force facilities. Seaborne and my Department are working closely with Thanet Council to ensure that the Port will be ready to accept new services.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what payments from the public purse are due to Seaborne Freight under the contract issued by his Department for provision of ferry services between Ramsgate and Ostend (a) in advance of ferry services being provided and (b) in the event of the company being unable to fulfil the contract.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

No payments are due either in advance of ferry services being provided or in the event of the Company being unable to fulfil the contract.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will list the third party organisations that undertook due diligence on Seaborne Freight in advance of his Department’s awarding of a contract to that company for ferry services.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 January 2019

The third party organisations who provided external advice were Deloitte UK, Slaughter & May and Mott MacDonald.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has received any written assurances from Thanet District Council or Kent County Council that they have completed any due diligence checks on Seaborne Freight.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 11 January 2019

The contract to provide additional ferry capacity is between the Government and Seaborne Freight and therefore Government has carried out necessary due diligence.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 December 2018 to Question 201109, whether he plans to make representations to his Israeli counterpart on allegations that Israeli security forces impersonated humanitarian workers while conducting a military operation inside the Gaza Strip in November 2018.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 08 January 2019

​Whilst we do not have plans to raise these allegations, we routinely make clear to the Israeli authorities our concerns about their conduct of the occupation.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Middle East: Peace Negotiations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for the middle east peace process of recent trends in the level of incitement and intolerance in Israel towards Palestinians and Muslims; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 December 2018

​We are gravely concerned by the ongoing and increasing violence in the West Bank. We condemn the recent terrorist attacks in the Old City of Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The continued incitement against Israel by Hamas and other actors is deeply concerning. The calls for the murder of Palestinian politicians are unacceptable. President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to non-violence and a negotiated two-state solution. We continue to urge the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to avoid engaging in, or encouraging, any type of action or language that makes it more difficult to achieve a culture of peaceful coexistence and a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of access to superfast fibre broadband in (a) Birmingham Northfield, (b) Birmingham and (c) the West Midlands; and what steps he is taking to improve such access.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 20 December 2018

According to Thinkbroadband (http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/england), 96.8% of premises in Birmingham Northfield constituency currently have access to Superfast Broadband. Similarly, 96.8% of premises in the city of Birmingham has access to Superfast broadband.

The West Midlands area is slightly higher with 97% of premises having this access. This is up from 60% in 2010. All three areas currently sit above the UK average.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of using alternative and emerging technologies such as G.fast to support the roll-out of superfast and ultrafast broadband.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 20 December 2018

The UK has good digital connectivity to meet the needs of today’s consumers. This includes G.fast technology, which is used by Openreach to deliver ultrafast speeds of more than 100 Mbps, using their existing part-copper infrastructure.

However, the Government is clear that demand for faster, more reliable and resilient broadband will rise and that the UK needs to increase the number of full fibre connections to deliver a nationwide gigabit capable broadband network by 2033. Our Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), published in July 2018, set out a strategy for delivering that ambition. This includes direct investment into full fibre through the £190 million Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Challenge Fund and the £67 million Gigabit Voucher Scheme. At Budget, the Chancellor announced a further £200 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to pilot innovative approaches to deploying full fibre in rural areas.

The Government is also working to improve mobile broadband. We are committed to extending geographic coverage to 95% of the UK by 2022, and to becoming a world leader in 5G, with the majority of the population covered by a 5G signal by 2027. As part of this, Government is investing £200 million in a 5G Testbeds and Trials programme.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on allegations that Israeli security forces impersonated humanitarian workers while conducting a military operation inside the Gaza Strip in November 2018; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 19 December 2018

Whilst we have not discussed this specific issue, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv are in regular discussions with the Israeli authorities on the situation in Gaza, most recently on 4 December.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 13 December 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of changes to levels of funding on the adequacy of provision of special needs education.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 19 December 2018

We have listened to the concerns of local authorities and others about high needs cost pressures. That is why we will provide additional high needs funding allocations for all local authorities, totalling £250 million over 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. This brings the total allocated for high needs this year to £6.1 billion and £6.3 billion in 2019 to 2020. We recognise that the high needs budget faces significant pressures and this additional investment will help local councils to manage those pressures.

Of course, extra funding cannot be our only response and we have also set out plans to support local authorities in their role of providing strategic leadership and oversight of the provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We will continue engaging with local authorities, health providers, families, schools and colleges to build our understanding of what is driving the cost pressures on high needs budgets and to work with the sector to help manage them.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on average waiting times for access to psychological therapies for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder in (a) Birmingham, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 18 December 2018

The information requested is attached. It is taken from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) dataset held by NHS Digital.

The data shows that waiting times for IAPT services for people with post-traumatic stress disorder are decreasing both nationally and in West Midlands clinical commissioning groups.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a National Health Service programme that offers a range of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-approved therapies for treating people with depression or anxiety.

All historical IAPT publications, including annual data, are available at the following link:

http://www.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

Further information about the IAPT dataset is available at the following link:

http://www.digital.nhs.uk/iapt

PQ201564,PQ201573 attached data (Excel SpreadSheet, 50.33 KB)
Grouped Questions: 201573
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in waiting times for access to psychological therapies for people with post-traumatic stress disorder in (a) Birmingham and (b) England.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 18 December 2018

The information requested is attached. It is taken from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) dataset held by NHS Digital.

The data shows that waiting times for IAPT services for people with post-traumatic stress disorder are decreasing both nationally and in West Midlands clinical commissioning groups.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is a National Health Service programme that offers a range of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-approved therapies for treating people with depression or anxiety.

All historical IAPT publications, including annual data, are available at the following link:

http://www.digital.nhs.uk/iaptreports

Further information about the IAPT dataset is available at the following link:

http://www.digital.nhs.uk/iapt

PQ201564,PQ201573 attached data (Excel SpreadSheet, 50.33 KB)
Grouped Questions: 201564
Expand all answers
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