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: 12 January 2018
Department for Transport
Taxis: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department's working group on taxi and private hire licensing plans includes in its remit disability equality training for drivers.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 22 January 2018

The Task and Finish group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles was established by the then Minister of State for Transport, John Hayes, and has received submissions from a number of disability representation organisations. I look forward to receiving the group’s findings soon.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 09 January 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Financial Institutions: Pensions
Commons
To ask The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of banks and building societies that utilise a clawback feature on their occupational pensions.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 January 2018

The Government does not currently collect this data. Information on the number of banks and building societies that utilise a pension integration or “clawback” feature on their occupational pension is not collated centrally and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

No estimate has been made of the cost to the public purse of the longstanding practice of private pensions operating integrated pension scheme arrangements.

Grouped Questions: 121747
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 09 January 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
HSBC: Pensions
Commons
To ask The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of any additional state benefits claimed by HSBC/Midland Bank pensioners as a result of the clawback of their occupational pension.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 January 2018

The Government does not currently collect this data. Information on the number of banks and building societies that utilise a pension integration or “clawback” feature on their occupational pension is not collated centrally and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

No estimate has been made of the cost to the public purse of the longstanding practice of private pensions operating integrated pension scheme arrangements.

Grouped Questions: 121746
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 12 December 2017
Department for Transport
Manchester-Sheffield Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to eliminate the single line bottleneck through Dore & Totley station on the Hope Valley railway route between Sheffield and Manchester.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 20 December 2017

As part of the Great North Rail Project, the Hope Valley and Dore capacity schemes will increase track capacity to allow a more frequent service, accommodating three fast trains an hour between Sheffield and Manchester. This scheme is currently subject to a Transport and Works Act Order application, to which the Department is currently considering.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 11 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
High Rise Flats: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what criteria his Department has used to assess Sheffield City Council's request for funding for the installation of sprinklers in that city's tower blocks.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 19 December 2017

As we have said, we will consider the removal of financial restrictions for local authorities where these stand in the way of essential fire safety work being done, and we are currently in discussion with Sheffield City Council about this.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 21 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes: Sheffield City Region
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for how long he expects the Sheffield City Region's Early Integrated Employment Support pilot to be paused.
A
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 18 December 2017

Following developments within the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, in particular some constituent members signalling that they no longer support the deal, the Government believes that the most sensible approach is to pause our work on the innovation pilot. This, we hope, will give further time for local issues to be considered and resolved, giving greater clarity on the future of the partnership and the extent of continuing local support for the pilot from all constituent members of the Combined Authority.

Despite taking the decision to pause this work, the Government remains fully committed to the Sheffield City Region devolution deal. Our main ambition is to work collaboratively to realise all elements of the devolution deal and to deliver the innovation pilot as soon as possible, once all partners have been able to recommit to the agreement.

We will keep this situation under close review with the hope that work on the innovation pilot can continue at the earliest viable opportunity.

Grouped Questions: 114988
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 22 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes: Sheffield City Region
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of unemployment in the Sheffield City Region of the Government's decision to pause the Early Integrated Employment Support pilot.
A
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 18 December 2017

Following developments within the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, in particular some constituent members signalling that they no longer support the deal, the Government believes that the most sensible approach is to pause our work on the innovation pilot. This, we hope, will give further time for local issues to be considered and resolved, giving greater clarity on the future of the partnership and the extent of continuing local support for the pilot from all constituent members of the Combined Authority.

Despite taking the decision to pause this work, the Government remains fully committed to the Sheffield City Region devolution deal. Our main ambition is to work collaboratively to realise all elements of the devolution deal and to deliver the innovation pilot as soon as possible, once all partners have been able to recommit to the agreement.

We will keep this situation under close review with the hope that work on the innovation pilot can continue at the earliest viable opportunity.

Grouped Questions: 114874
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department has issued on the provision and supervision of prisoners' family contact.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 14 December 2017

The Prison Rules 1999 require Governors to actively encourage prisoners to maintain outside contacts and meaningful family ties, where appropriate. This is integral to the prisoner’s right to family life as well as their rehabilitation. Visits are seen as crucial to sustaining relationships with close relatives, partners and friends, where appropriate, and help prisoners maintain links with the community.

The following details the guidance that has been issued to date on the provision and supervision of family contact:

  • Prison Service Instruction 49/2011 (Prisoner Communication Services) – this policy details the statutory entitlement of prisoners to send and receive letters and sets out that they must have opportunity to make telephone calls;
  • Prison Service Instruction 16/2011 (Providing Visits and Services to Visitors) – gives details of statutory entitlements to visits and the environment that these take place in, as well as who is eligible, and provides guidance on examples of good practices to be adopted by prisons;
  • Prison Service Instruction 15/2011 (Management and Security at visits) – details the policy around management of security at visits. It details who can visit, provision for searches and security and also policy for visit that take place in a special or closed visiting room or a similar closed environment, where necessary, and
  • Prison Service Instruction 30/2013 (Incentives and Earned Privileges) – details, how in accordance with the Prison Rules 1999, prisoners can earn additional social visits (above the statutory minimum set out in the Prison Rules).

The government is committed to supporting prisoners to establish or maintain relationships with their families and significant others where appropriate. The Lord Farmer, published his report in August, produced on behalf of the Government, which we have warmly welcomed. Work has already commenced on taking forward some of the important recommendations from this review.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what funds have been made available for support services in Sheffield for women who have left prison in the last 12 months; and what funds she plans to make available for that purpose in the next 12 months?
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 14 December 2017

We are developing a strategy for female offenders to improve outcomes for women in the community and in custody. This will also consider how we can improve early intervention and diversion to avoid vulnerable women entering the criminal justice system.

Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) are contractually required to provide services for female offenders that they are managing in the community, and to deliver resettlement services to offenders both before and following release from prison. As part of our reforms to probation, we have given providers the flexibility to innovate and do what works to reduce reoffending, and to tailor rehabilitative support to the particular needs of offenders locally. These services are provided in Sheffield by South Yorkshire CRC.

As part of their supply chain, South Yorkshire CRC have contracted with Changing Lives, a consortium of local organisations, to deliver bespoke interventions for female offenders. The CRC are also working closely with Community Safety Partnerships to improve outcomes for women who have been either a victim of domestic violence or are a sex worker.

We have a robust contract management and assurance process in place for CRCs, and continue to assess their performance through a range of service levels, including their delivery of Through the Gate and how they are addressing the specific needs of female offenders.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the proportion of women who have been homeless after leaving prison in the last three years.
A
Answered by: Dr Phillip Lee
Answered on: 14 December 2017

It is a cross-Government priority to address female offenders’ housing and support needs given the link between homelessness and re-offending.

Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) are required to facilitate access to housing and support services for the female offenders that they are managing. This includes working together with local partners to help women find and maintain accommodation as part of a package of support tailored to meet their individual needs.

The table below shows the proportion of women under CRC supervision recorded as homeless, based on releases from prison who are. There is no equivalent Settled Accommodation on Release metric for the NPS so data on NPS releases has not been included.

Revised recording to capture data for this metric was not introduced until August 2015, so data prior to this are not available. National coverage of accommodation status was not sufficient to report data until the period Jan-Mar 2016 onwards.

Releases of Female Allocated Persons (of a CRC) From Custody

Quarter

Jan-Mar 2016

Apr-Jun 2016

Jul-Sep 2016

Oct-Dec 2016

Jan-Mar 2017

Apr-Jun 2017

Releases

1,143

1,055

1,050

972

1,092

1,087

Recorded as Homeless1

103

132

126

134

164

227

% of Releases recorded as homeless

9.0%

12.5%

12.0%

13.8%

15.0%

20.9%

Notes:

1Cases where the Accommodation Status recorded on the day of release was: Homeless (any), Squatting or No fixed Abode were counted as homeless.

Not all releases have an Accommodation Status recorded; of this dataset, between 16% and 5% of releases in each quarter did not record an accommodation status.

The reported proportion homeless increases over the reported period (9% to 21%), however the rate of non-recording has decreased due to HETE initiative (16% to 5%).

It cannot be assumed that homelessness has increased.

Because recording of Accommodation Statuses at release in London CRC is too low to be reliable, London CRC has been excluded from this dataset.

Releases at Licence Expiry (without post-sentence supervision), releases following a period on remand without a custodial sentence, and releases outside of HMPPS authority (e.g. release for deportation, release to an address in Scotland or Northern Ireland) are not in this dataset.

This dataset records each release separately; if an offender is released more than once, they will appear more than once in this dataset.

Releases of persons who are not Allocated Persons of a CRC (i.e. offenders managed by the NPS) are not included in this dataset.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 05 December 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Ministers of Religion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if the Government will take steps to ensure the continued provision of quality assured chaplaincy services in prisons by maintaining the guidelines set out in PSI 5/2016 and incorporating them into any future policy framework.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 13 December 2017

PSI 05/2016 Faith and Pastoral Care of Prisoners is not in the first tranche of PSIs to be deregulated. When it is replaced by a Policy Framework I am confident that Governors will have the guidance they need to ensure the delivery of chaplaincy services that meet the pastoral and faith needs of prisoners. Discussions are already under way to see how the present Assurance and Compliance quality assurance process may be developed to support delivery of chaplaincy services in the future.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 05 December 2017
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Ministers of Religion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will include access to chaplaincy in its performance measures for prisons on time spent out of cells engaging in purposeful activity.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The Chaplaincy manually records prisoner attendance at Chaplaincy services. Prisoner attendance at Chaplaincy is normally counted as purposeful activity in the same way as any other intervention that involves time out of cells.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 06 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons there are differences between the timelines of his Department's Universal Credit Transition Roll-Out Schedules published in (a) November 2016 and (b) November 2017.
A
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 13 December 2017

As announced by the Secretary of State in his Oral Statement, to accommodate the changes in the scope of Universal Credit announced in the Budget, it has been necessary to make changes to the rollout plan.

We have carefully revised the rollout plan to ensure we continue safely and gradually to rollout this important welfare reform, and this will mean a slight change in date for when Universal Credit Full Service will be rolled out in some Jobcentres.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
War Crimes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people convicted of war crimes are detained in the UK; and how many people have been so detained in the last 10 years?
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 07 December 2017

The United Kingdom has sentence enforcement agreements with a number of international courts and tribunals. Under these arrangements the UK is currently holding one person convicted of war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Previously three prisoners convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have served all or part of their sentence in the United Kingdom in the last 10 years. A further prisoner convicted by ICTY was held here prior to this period. These four prisoners are no longer detained in the UK.

Grouped Questions: 116713
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 30 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
War Crimes: Yugoslavia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many convicted criminals have been imprisoned in the UK after trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 07 December 2017

The United Kingdom has sentence enforcement agreements with a number of international courts and tribunals. Under these arrangements the UK is currently holding one person convicted of war crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Previously three prisoners convicted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) have served all or part of their sentence in the United Kingdom in the last 10 years. A further prisoner convicted by ICTY was held here prior to this period. These four prisoners are no longer detained in the UK.

Grouped Questions: 116622
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Department for Transport
East Coast Rail Franchise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the early termination of the East Coast rail franchise?
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 06 December 2017

As with all recent franchise awards, Stagecoach Group PLC committed parent company support to inject funds into the franchise in circumstances where it doesn’t perform as predicted. We will hold them to that commitment in full.

From 2020 we intend to re-let the franchise as the East Coast Partnership, one of the first of a new generation of integrated regional rail operations. This will include appropriate contributions from the new private partner under a long-term competitively procured contract.

We are always looking for the best ways to achieve value for money for the taxpayer and the best results for passengers. Reforms will build on the best of the public and private sectors, with private sector involvement bringing innovation, investment and competition.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 28 November 2017
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Pneumonia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help end childhood deaths from pneumonia by 2030.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 December 2017

The UK is the largest donor to Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that provides developing countries with Pneumococcol to vaccinate against pneumonia. 109 million children were vaccinated between 2010 and 2016, thanks to Gavi’s support, saving an estimated 762,000 lives.

DFID supports Gavi’s Pneumococcol Advanced Market commitment which reduces costs, enabling 58 countries to introduce vaccinations. We also support countries to build stronger health systems that can respond to existing disease burdens and emerging health issues, including pneumonia.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 28 November 2017
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 05 December 2017

The UK Government has committed to saving 1.4 million children’s lives by immunising 76 million children against killer diseases by 2020. Through the Ross Fund we are leading a major new global research programme. This will accelerate the development of vaccines and drugs to eliminate some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, as well as saving lives from malaria and TB.

DFID supports countries to build stronger health systems, which will be able to respond to the existing disease burden and emerging health issues.

Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 22 November 2017
Cabinet Office
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the number of people suffering chronic loneliness (a) nationally and (b) in Sheffield.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 30 November 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 212.61 KB)
Q
Asked by Jared O'Mara
(Sheffield, Hallam)
Asked on: 20 November 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the net change in funding will be for schools in Sheffield under the new funding formula in the next 12 months.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 28 November 2017

In 2018-19, Sheffield local authority will see a funding increase across the schools, high needs, and central school services blocks of 2.7%, or £10.0 million. Within this, the schools block element will also see a 2.7% increase in 2018-19, or £8.3 million, and every school in Sheffield will attract at least a 0.5% per pupil increases under the national funding formula. When the national funding formulae are fully implemented, Sheffield would see an increase of up to 7.9%, or £29 million. This information is available in the summary table at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding-formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs.

These increases are subject to changes in pupil data; we will publish updated allocations for 2018-19 in December, which take account of the latest pupil numbers from the October 2017 census.


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