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
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmacy: Sheffield Hallam
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average payments to community pharmacies were in Sheffield Hallam in (a) 2016-17 and (b) 2017-18.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The average payments to community pharmacies in the Sheffield Hallam constituency were:

£632,488 per year in 2016/17; and

£628,579 per year in 2017/18.

These payments to pharmacies are to reimburse them for the cost of dispensed products and to remunerate them for the provision of nationally commissioned, advanced and enhanced services under the community pharmacy contractual framework, and some local services commissioned by NHS England.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmacy: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the closure of community pharmacies.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 September 2018

There remains good access to community pharmacies with 88% of the population able to access their local pharmacy on foot within 20 minutes. To help maintain access to face-to-face National Health Service pharmaceutical services in areas with fewer pharmacies the Government introduced a Pharmacy Access Scheme (PHAS), under which pharmacies eligible for the scheme receive a ‘top-up’ payment, thus requiring them to make smaller efficiency savings than other non-PhAS pharmacies.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 23 July 2018
Treasury
Equitable Life Assurance Society: Compensation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will revise upwards the level of compensation paid to people who experienced financial loses as a result of the mismanagement of Equitable Life.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 10 September 2018

Around £1.5bn tax free has already been allocated to the Equitable Life Payment Scheme, which closed to new claims in 2015. There are no plans to reopen the Payment Scheme or to allocate further funds to it.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 23 July 2018
Women and Equalities
Public Sector: Equality
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to amend the Equalities Act 2010 so that the provisions of that Act on the public sector equality duty apply to Parliament and to hon. Members.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 07 September 2018

As the honourable Member notes, the functions of Parliament are currently exempt from the Public Sector Equality Duty. Making the functions of Parliament and of individual Members subject to the duty would make Parliamentary functions subject to compliance requirements by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the control of the Courts, raising constitutional questions.

Ministers of the Crown, when formulating policy, are acting as part of the Government and are therefore subject to the duty, as are Government Departments when preparing the policies behind primary legislation.

The Government has no plans to change this position.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 23 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Qatar: Working Conditions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Emir of Qatar on improving working conditions and valuing the human rights of workers in Qatar.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 04 September 2018

Ministers were able to discuss a range of issues with His Highness the Amir of Qatar during his visit in July. Qatar has made significant progress to improve the situation for its migrant workers since it won the right to host the World Cup. The International Labour Organisation opened an office in Doha this year to work with Qatar on migrant workers’ rights. The issue of conditions for migrant workers in Qatar is one we regularly raise with our counterparts and we are ready to offer further support to Qatar in its efforts.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 12 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nicaragua: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Nicaraguan Government on recent protests in that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 June 2018

The UK has been very clear with the Nicaraguan Government that they must take responsibility for ending the current violence and protecting human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

These messages have been delivered in two meetings between the Head of Latin America Department and the Presidential Advisor on International Relations, and in a public statement by the British Ambassador to Nicaragua on 5 June that was featured by the Nicaraguan press. We also raised our concerns at the Organisation of American States General Assembly on 5 June in Washington where the UK is a Permanent Observer.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise our concerns with the Nicaraguan Government at every opportunity.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Taner Kılıç
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he raised the case of the chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç, during the recent visit of President Erdogan to the UK.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 31 May 2018

​We have raised the detention of Taner Kilic with the Turkish Government at all levels. Most recently the Prime Minister discussed the case with President Erdogan during his recent visit to the UK. We urge Turkey to ensure Mr Kilic's release from pre-trial detention and to bring his case to a transparent, fair conclusion.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 27 April 2018
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Tuberculosis
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to tackle tuberculosis overseas.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 03 May 2018

The UK Government is helping lower and lower middle income countries achieve the ambitious 2035 targets of WHO’s End TB Strategy. We do so by increasing access to, and use of, effective diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, including drug resistant TB. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria is the principal mechanism the UK uses to finance our contribution to combat TB. We have pledged up to £1.1 billion for 2017-2019 to this Fund, which will support treatment for 800,000 people with TB. We also invest in research and product development into more effective diagnosis and treatment. Finally, we support countries to strengthen health systems that can deliver quality TB programmes.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 27 April 2018
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Drug Resistance and Tuberculosis
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether any representatives from her Department plan to attend the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and Anti-Microbial Resistance in September 2018.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 03 May 2018

The High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis at the September United Nations General Assembly will be an important moment to galvanise international political commitment to tackling TB and anti-microbial resistance. The government will have appropriate representation at this meeting.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 12 March 2018
Department for Education
English Language: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to English for Speakers of Other Languages classes in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 20 March 2018

Funding for adult education, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), is not allocated by subject at the national level. Instead, education providers have the freedom and flexibility to use their Adult Education Budget (AEB) allocation to meet the needs of their local communities, including through the provision of ESOL classes. Unemployed adults who are looking for work are eligible for full funding; all other learners are co-funded with the government contributing 50% of the course fee.

The table attached sets out the funding spent on ESOL from the AEB over the past five years based on what providers delivered. The table also shows the funding for English language projects by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The department cannot show future subject-specific allocations, as this is for each provider to determine based on local demand and need on an annual basis. In addition, from 2019/20, the government is devolving approximately 50% of the AEB to eight Combined Authorities and London (subject to meeting readiness conditions). These areas will have responsibility for determining adult English language and other adult further education provision in their local areas.

There are a number of other funding sources for ESOL and English language provision, including through Home Office funding for English language as part of its commitment to help vulnerable people integrate into their local communities.

ESOL from AED Funding Table (Word Document, 18 KB)
Grouped Questions: 131907
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 12 March 2018
Department for Education
English Language: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to English for Speakers of Other Languages classes in each of the next five years.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 20 March 2018

Funding for adult education, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), is not allocated by subject at the national level. Instead, education providers have the freedom and flexibility to use their Adult Education Budget (AEB) allocation to meet the needs of their local communities, including through the provision of ESOL classes. Unemployed adults who are looking for work are eligible for full funding; all other learners are co-funded with the government contributing 50% of the course fee.

The table attached sets out the funding spent on ESOL from the AEB over the past five years based on what providers delivered. The table also shows the funding for English language projects by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The department cannot show future subject-specific allocations, as this is for each provider to determine based on local demand and need on an annual basis. In addition, from 2019/20, the government is devolving approximately 50% of the AEB to eight Combined Authorities and London (subject to meeting readiness conditions). These areas will have responsibility for determining adult English language and other adult further education provision in their local areas.

There are a number of other funding sources for ESOL and English language provision, including through Home Office funding for English language as part of its commitment to help vulnerable people integrate into their local communities.

ESOL from AED Funding Table (Word Document, 18 KB)
Grouped Questions: 131906
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 13 March 2018
Treasury
NatWest: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will meet with representatives of NatWest to discuss the potential effect on that bank's elderly and vulnerable customers of the proposed closure of its Millhouses branch in Sheffield.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 20 March 2018

The decision to open and close a bank branch remains a commercial judgement for banks, which the Government does not intervene in. However, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The Access to Banking Protocol Standard commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

The independent financial services regulator - the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - requires firms to treat their customers fairly, including the elderly and the vulnerable, and has broad and robust powers to enforce breaches of its rules. The FCA’s Handbook requires firms to identify particularly vulnerable customers, and to deal with such customers appropriately.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Department for Transport
Manchester-Sheffield Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when construction work is planned to start on Network Rail's Hope Valley Capacity Order.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 06 March 2018

On 13 February 2018, the Secretary of State announced his decision to provide Network Rail Infrastructure Limited with the legal powers to construct, operate and maintain new passing facilities and associated railway infrastructure on the Hope Valley route between Bamford and Hathersage and at Dore. Network Rail have completed the single option design for the railway infrastructure scheme proposed in the Hope Valley and the timetable for further work on this scheme will be announced in due course.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Department for Transport
Manchester-Sheffield Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has allocated funding for Network Rail's Hope Valley Capacity Order.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 05 March 2018

On 13 February 2018, the Secretary of State announced his decision to provide Network Rail Infrastructure Limited with the legal powers to construct, operate and maintain new passing facilities and associated railway infrastructure on the Hope Valley route between Bamford and Hathersage and at Dore. The position on funding for this scheme is as set out in the Secretary of State’s decision letter of 13 February 2018 which is available on the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/network-rail-hope-valley-capacity-order

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Department for Transport
Manchester-Sheffield Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timetable is for train operating companies to operate increased services on Network Rail's Hope Valley Capacity Order.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 05 March 2018

The Department’s value for money assessment includes assumptions about the financial merits of increasing the number of passenger services on this route. This assessment will need to be refreshed as part of taking forward further work on this scheme. Decisions about future franchise changes will be assessed on their merits as part of this further work.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
HM Treasury
British Airways: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many audits have been carried out by HMRC on British Airways in relation to its pilots' time away from base allowance in the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The administration of the tax system, including where appropriate the repayment of tax or duties, is a matter for HM Revenue and Customs. It would not be appropriate for Treasury Ministers to become involved in specific cases.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 22 February 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Mental Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what level of training is offered to decision-makers in his Department on better understanding the mental health situation of claimants.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 01 March 2018

The DWP provides role specific training which allows decision makers to reach decisions using a wide range of evidence, and in accordance with the relevant law. They work closely with Health Care Professionals, who undertake medical assessments and supply medical information and evidence to enable a decision to be reached.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Parking: Private Sector
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what legislation regulates the operation of private car parks.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 22 February 2018

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banned the clamping of vehicles by private parking companies and introduced the principle of vehicle keeper liability. Currently, the private parking industry operates under a system of self-regulation.

Sir Greg Knight has introduced a Private Members’ Bill that seeks to create an independent code of practice for private parking companies. The Government fully supports Sir Greg’s Bill, which will seek to get the fairest deal for motorists and will help tackle rogue private parking operators.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 25 January 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Carillion: Insolvency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the liquidation of Carillion on the viability of small businesses in (a) Yorkshire (b) Sheffield and (c) Sheffield Hallam constituency.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 31 January 2018

We have established a taskforce to support businesses affected by the liquidation of Carillion. The taskforce includes representatives from leading business bodies, the construction sector, unions, banks and government to advise how to mitigate impacts on the supply chain and employees. My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have held four meetings with them so far and we have already made good progress in exchange of information and collaborations and to identify key actions that need to be taken.

The Official Receiver, who is independent of Government, is currently gathering information on this with the support of PwC special managers.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 12 January 2018
Department for Transport
Taxis: Assistance Animals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the draft accessibility action plan for private hire vehicle passengers with assistance dogs.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 22 January 2018

The draft Accessibility Action Plan consultation ran from 24 August 2017 to 22 November 2017. The Government will publish a response in the spring, following careful analysis of the consultation responses received. The final Accessibility Action Plan will be published in the summer.

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