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 Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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 December 2018
Treasury
Bankruptcy: Tax Avoidance
Commons
What estimate he has made of the number of people who will be made bankrupt as a result of the 2019 Loan Charge.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 11 December 2018

The Government recognises the charge on DR loans will have a significant impact on some people who have used schemes where loans were used to avoid paying tax on earnings.

An impact assessment was published when the measure was announced at Budget 2016.

HMRC wants to help people put things right and has an outstanding track record of helping people, but it can only help those who come forward.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 27 November 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animal Products: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the total cost to the public purse is of processing and issuing a permit for the importation of a hunting trophy for species listed in Appendix I, II and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 03 December 2018

The UK licensing service for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is subject to the policy of full cost recovery so that it is not a burden on the public purse. Where an import permit is required, applicants need to pay a fee. Details of these import permit fees can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/355264/cites-ag-ct-01.pdf

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 November 2018
Treasury
Private Finance Initiative
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his Department's definition is of privately financed in relation to infrastructure projects.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 19 November 2018

Private finance is a way to deliver infrastructure projects in which the private sector invests equity and/or lends in order to facilitate the development, delivery, and/or operation of a project, asset or entity with the expectation of earning a return on the investment.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 13 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Heathrow Airport: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the expansion of Heathrow Airport on the ability of the UK to meet the net-zero emissions target by 2050.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 19 November 2018

Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5 degrees, published in October, we commissioned advice from our independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), on its long-term emissions reduction targets, including on the setting of a net zero target. This commission asks for evidence from the CCC on how reductions might be delivered in key sectors of the economy and the expected costs and benefits of different scenarios.

The Committee will also publish a report on aviation in Spring 2019. As set out in the Committee’s recent progress report, this will include consideration of the potential to reduce aviation emissions over the period to 2050 and beyond.

The Government will consider carefully the Committee’s advice on both these issues when it is received. Subject to this review, the Government will consider whether it is appropriate to review the Airports National Policy Statement, in accordance with Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to introduce legislation proposals to set the target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 19 November 2018

Following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on the impacts of climate change of 1.5 degrees on 8 October, we commissioned our independent experts, the Committee on Climate Change, to provide their advice on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long-term emissions reduction targets, including on setting a net zero target. The letter requesting the CCC’s advice is available here.

We will consider the Committee’s evidence-based advice carefully when it is received in Spring 2019. We believe that is the right way to approach such an important question.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 14 November 2018
Treasury
Heathrow Airport: Railways
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what level of capital funding he plans to allocate for the delivery of improvements to rail access related to the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 19 November 2018

The Government’s position in relation to funding Surface Access at airports is set out in the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework and reiterated in the Airports National Policy Statement which was designated in June 2018. Where a scheme is not solely required to deliver airport capacity and has a wider range of beneficiaries, the Government, along with relevant stakeholders, will consider the need for a public funding contribution alongside an appropriate contribution from the airport on a case by case basis. The Government is supporting Heathrow Surface Access schemes subject to the development of a satisfactory business case and the agreement of acceptable terms with the Heathrow aviation industry.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 09 November 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Railways
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the capital contribution required by his Department to ensure the delivery of (a) southern rail access and (b) western rail access into Heathrow airport.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The Government’s position in relation to funding Surface Access at airports is set out in the 2013 Aviation Policy Framework and reiterated in the Airports National Policy Statement which was designated in June 2018. Where a scheme is not solely required to deliver airport capacity and has a wider range of beneficiaries, the Government, along with relevant stakeholders, will consider the need for a public funding contribution alongside an appropriate contribution from the airport on a case by case basis. The Government is supporting these schemes subject to the development of a satisfactory business case and the agreement of acceptable terms with the Heathrow aviation industry.

In line with the published Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, my Department is developing the Business Case for the Western Rail Link to Heathrow. Network Rail intends to apply for planning powers in 2019, and details of the scheme funding will be published.

In May 2018, my Department launched a Market Sounding to test the market’s appetite to share the risk of development for a proposed Southern Rail Link to Heathrow in order to reduce the burden on taxpayers and fare payers. A summary of responses will be published later in the Autumn.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 09 November 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Air Traffic
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) air pollution, (b) noise pollution and (c) congestion of lifting the air traffic movement cap at Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The Appraisal of Sustainability that accompanies the Airports National Policy Statement provides a strategic assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of expansion, including a) air quality and b) noise.

Following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, it is down to an applicant for development consent to undertake a detailed assessment of the environmental impacts of their scheme, and to put forward an appropriate package of mitigation measures.

On c), the Airports National Policy Statement is also clear that an applicant for development consent should set out the mitigation measures that it considers are required to minimise the effect of expansion on the existing surface access arrangements. Any application, and its accompanying airport surface access strategy, must include details of how the applicant will increase the proportion of journeys made to the airport by public transport, cycling and walking.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 09 November 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Pollution Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that expansion at Heathrow airport is compatible with legal air quality limits.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 November 2018

Following designation of the Airports National Policy Statement, it is now down to an applicant for development consent to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality impacts of the scheme, including during construction, and put forward to the Planning Inspectorate an appropriate package of mitigations that addresses air quality impacts and demonstrates compliance with air quality obligations.

In order to grant development consent, the Secretary of State would need to be satisfied that, including any mitigations, the scheme would be compliant with legal obligations.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 09 November 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has received assurances from Heathrow Airport that there are no plans to increase landing charges; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The Secretary of State has set out a clear expectation that airport charges should remain close to 2016 levels under expansion, and Heathrow Airport Limited has stated that it will seek to meet this challenge. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also confirmed in April 2018 that there are credible scenarios in which landing charges could remain close to 2016 levels in real terms.

As the scheme design and regulatory framework continue to develop, the CAA will scrutinise all proposals for expansion to ensure that, in line with its primary duty, they are in the best interest of the consumer. The CAA has confirmed that this could include a small increase in airport charges if that was required to unlock the wider consumer benefits of expansion.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 09 November 2018
Department for Transport
Department for Transport: Private Finance Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's definition is of private finance in relation to infrastructure projects.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 14 November 2018

Private finance is a way to deliver infrastructure projects in which the private sector invests equity and/or lends in order to facilitate the development, delivery, acquisition, and/or operation of a project, asset or entity with the expectation of earning a return on the investment commensurate with the risk.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 26 June 2018
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what impact assessment his Department has conducted on the effect of the 2019 Loan Charge on (a) the economy and (b) public services.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 02 July 2018

The charge on disguised remuneration loans is targeted at artificial avoidance schemes where earnings were paid in the form of loans, which are never intended to be repaid, made by a third party, which is often based offshore (“disguised remuneration” schemes).

It is unfair to ordinary taxpayers to let anybody benefit from contrived tax avoidance of this sort, and that is why this Government has taken action to ensure that everybody pays the taxes they owe.

The charge on DR loans is specifically targeted at these avoidance schemes and is not expected to have any significant impacts on the economy or public services.

The Government recognises that the charge on DR loans will have a significant impact on some people who have used DR schemes. HMRC wants to help people put things right. It is actively encouraging anybody who is worried about being able to pay what they owe to get in touch with them as soon as possible. HMRC will consider all personal circumstances to agree a manageable and sustainable payment plan wherever possible.

Further information on the impacts of the policy can be found in the ‘Disguised remuneration: further update’ policy paper published on 22 November 2017: www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-further-update/disguised-remuneration-further-update.

Grouped Questions: 157729
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[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: 26 June 2018
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the 2019 Loan Charge on the (a) mental health and (b) livelihoods of people affected by that Charge.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 02 July 2018

The charge on disguised remuneration loans is targeted at artificial avoidance schemes where earnings were paid in the form of loans, which are never intended to be repaid, made by a third party, which is often based offshore (“disguised remuneration” schemes).

It is unfair to ordinary taxpayers to let anybody benefit from contrived tax avoidance of this sort, and that is why this Government has taken action to ensure that everybody pays the taxes they owe.

The charge on DR loans is specifically targeted at these avoidance schemes and is not expected to have any significant impacts on the economy or public services.

The Government recognises that the charge on DR loans will have a significant impact on some people who have used DR schemes. HMRC wants to help people put things right. It is actively encouraging anybody who is worried about being able to pay what they owe to get in touch with them as soon as possible. HMRC will consider all personal circumstances to agree a manageable and sustainable payment plan wherever possible.

Further information on the impacts of the policy can be found in the ‘Disguised remuneration: further update’ policy paper published on 22 November 2017: www.gov.uk/government/publications/disguised-remuneration-further-update/disguised-remuneration-further-update.

Grouped Questions: 157728
Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hitachi
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safety record of Hitachi in relation to its nuclear power projects throughout the world.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

Nuclear power is proven technology with modern reactors capable of producing safe and secure low carbon electricity. Any reactor deployed in the UK must meet the robust independent regulatory requirements which include early assessment of the safety, security and environmental impacts of reactor designs through the Generic Design Assessment (GDA), prior to any application for a site-specific statutory Nuclear Site Licence. This is a robust process taking several years to complete, which ensures that all aspects of new station design are thoroughly assessed prior to construction and operation.

Hitachi’s UK ABWR reactor completed GDA in December 2017 and full details of that assessment are available at www.onr.org.uk/new-reactors/uk-abwr/index.htm.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake a public consultation on the use of funding from the public purse in support of a nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018, the Government has decided to enter into negotiations with Hitachi over the Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project. As part of these negotiations Government is considering direct investment into the project. Details of any Government investment are subject to negotiation and yet to be decided.

The Secretary of State made the statement at the earliest opportunity and committed to keeping Parliament informed during the negotiations, although due to the commercially sensitive nature of the negotiations, it is not appropriate to consult publicly on the details of the financing arrangements.

As set out in the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018 it remains the Government’s objective in the longer term that new nuclear projects, like other energy infrastructure, should be financed by the private sector.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Nuclear Power: Cost Effectiveness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria his Department plans to use to assess the value for money of financing arrangements for a new nuclear programme.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Government published a value for money assessment for Hinkley Point C at the time of the deal being signed and will carry out a value for money assessment for any future new nuclear project before a final deal is agreed.

The Government will, at the appropriate time, publish this assessment which would set out the criteria used to determine value for money of the financing arrangements.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Wylfa Power Station: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Oral Statement of 4 June 2018, on Nuclear Power, Official Report, column 76, if he will publish the direct investment being considered for Wylfa Newydd.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in Parliament on 4 June 2018, Hitachi and the UK Government have decided to enter into negotiations in relation to the proposed Wylfa Newydd project and Government is considering direct investment into the project. Details of any Government investment are subject to negotiation and yet to be decided.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals—including, but not limited to, value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements. These negotiations are commercially sensitive and no final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Wylfa Power Station: Cost Effectiveness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made a comparative assessment of the value for money of (a) Wylfa Newydd nuclear project and (b) a low-carbon alternative electricity generator.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 June 2018

As announced in my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018, the Government has decided to enter into negotiations with Hitachi over the Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project. No final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project.

The Government published a value for money assessment for Hinkley Point C at the time of the deal being signed and will carry out a value for money assessment for any future new nuclear project before a final deal is agreed.

As the Government sent out in its response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Hinkley Point C on 25th January 2018, a review of the strategic case for new nuclear would form a key part of the value for money case for any proposed new nuclear project (as it was for Hinkley Point C). This would include a comparison across different technologies.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Air Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of expansion at Heathrow Airport on (a) particulate emissions and (b) nitrogen oxide levels.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 June 2018

The Appraisal of Sustainability (AoS) that accompanies the proposed Airports National Policy Statement (NPS) provides a strategic level assessment of the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts of expansion, including on air quality. The AoS has been published on the DfT’s website and the relevant information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/appraisal-of-sustainability-for-the-proposed-airports-national-policy-statement

Should the proposed Airports NPS be designated, then it would be for the promoter to undertake a detailed assessment of the air quality effects of the scheme, and put forward an appropriate package of mitigation measures.

Q
Asked by Zac Goldsmith
(Richmond Park)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Job Creation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the long-term sustainability of any jobs created by expansion at Heathrow Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 June 2018

The Department for Transport has estimated the number of additional local jobs expected to be created by airport expansion in both 2030 and 2050. The Heathrow Northwest Runway scheme is expected to generate between 57,000 and 114,000 additional local jobs by 2030, and between 39,000 and 78,000 additional local jobs by 2050.

Additional jobs are a result of higher passenger traffic being generated at the airport. Expansion at Heathrow will lead to a significant increase in passenger numbers, which will continue beyond 2050. This is expected to create local jobs that are sustainable in the long-run.

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