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 2019-21 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
(Preston)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to assess the financial effect of the 2019 loan charge on people facing repayment costs during the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Preston)
[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: 02 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to provide Local Resilience Forums with local operational control for covid-19 tracking and tracing.
Q
(Preston)
[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: 02 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to ensure that Local Resilience Forums receive (a) positive, (b) negative and (c) void covid-19 test results within three hours of those tests being taken.
Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 18 March 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Government Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support independent convenience store (a) owners and (b) workers affected by the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 30 March 2020

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support UK businesses. For example, from 1 April 2020 businesses of all sizes in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months. In addition to the Small Business Grant Scheme, we will also provide small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors with a higher grant of £25,000 per business, if they have a rateable value of under £51,000.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access financial support, so they can continue to pay their employees’ salaries where they may otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as furloughed workers. The Government will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

On 26 March, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, which will support individuals and members of partnerships whose income has negatively been impacted by the Coronavirus. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The Scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

We have also made changes to the welfare system, increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 a year. We have suspended the minimum income floor for 12 months – meaning every self-employed person can now access Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to statutory Sick Pay.

Public Health England have published further advice for employers and employees regarding Covid-19 at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Q
(Preston)
[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: 28 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Suicide
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many serving Armed Forces personnel have committed suicide in the last (a) month, (b) two months, (c) six months, (d) year and (e) two years; and in which service branches those suicides occurred.
A
Answered by: Johnny Mercer
Answered on: 04 March 2020

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 February 2020 to Question 1237 to the hon. Member for Newport East (Jessica Morden).

1237 - Armed Forces Suicide (Word Document, 32.56 KB)
Q
(Preston)
[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: 28 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health: Veterans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the trends in the level of mental health issues experienced by former armed forces personnel; and how much funding his Department plans to allocate to the (a) treatment of and (b) suicide prevention for those personnel in the next three years.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 04 March 2020

Veteran mental health needs are very often no different to those of the general population. Data has shown that most patients suffer from common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and readily make use of the mainstream mental health services provided throughout the United Kingdom.

In England, bespoke veteran mental health services receive £10.2 million funding each year. This will increase by an extra £5 million which will go towards developing a High Intense Service to help veterans nearing crisis.

Every local authority has a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place and we are investing almost £600,000 in 2019/20 to support local authorities to strengthen their plans. From 2019/20, we are also investing £57 million in suicide prevention through the NHS Long-Term Plan. This will see investment in all areas of the country by 2023/24 to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services.

Q
(Preston)
[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 February 2020
Cabinet Office
Domestic Abuse: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) applications were made under the right to ask element of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) (b) disclosures were made as a result of the DVDS application and (c) proactive disclosures were made under the right to know element of that scheme to people who had not made an application for DVDS in each year since the introduction of that scheme in March 2014 in (a) Lancashire and (b) each police force area.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The information requested falls under the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 162.73 KB)
UKSA Response - table (Excel SpreadSheet, 147.5 KB)
Grouped Questions: 21152 | 21154
Q
(Preston)
[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 February 2020
Cabinet Office
Domestic Abuse: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many disclosures made under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme were made within the 35 day time limit in each year since the introduction of the scheme in (a) Lancashire and (b) in each police force in England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The information requested falls under the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 162.73 KB)
UKSA Response - table (Excel SpreadSheet, 147.5 KB)
Grouped Questions: 21151 | 21154
Q
(Preston)
[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 February 2020
Home Office
Domestic Abuse: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timescale is for reviewing and updating the guidance on the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme; and whether she plans to introduce a (a) monitoring process to ensure that applicants are correctly assessed as being at immediate risk of harm and (b) standardised procedure across all police forces in England and Wales to protect potential victims from harm.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 02 March 2020

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and the Government is committed to doing everything we can to tackle it.

The Domestic Abuse Bill includes proposals to place the guidance underpinning the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS, also known as “Clare’s Law”) on a statutory footing. The guidance is currently under review and will be issued after the Bill gains Royal Assent, to coincide with commencement. We plan to make a draft of the statutory guidance available for Lord’s Committee Stage.

As part of this review, we are working with police and the College of Policing to consider the issue of the timeliness of disclosure and effective safety planning, in particular where there is an identified risk of harm to the applicant.

Placing an express duty on police to have regard to the revised guidance is intended to improve its consistent application across all police forces.

Q
(Preston)
[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 February 2020
Cabinet Office
Homicide
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) men and (b) women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The information requested falls under the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 162.73 KB)
UKSA Response - table (Excel SpreadSheet, 147.5 KB)
Grouped Questions: 21151 | 21152
Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 13 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Junior Doctors: Bullying and Harassment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent guidance he has issued to NHS hospitals on the bullying and harassment of junior doctors.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 27 February 2020

All National Health Service organisations should have in place a bullying and harassment policy that is easily accessible to staff – such as junior doctors - and is monitored regularly by senior managers.

The NHS Social Partnership Forum, chaired by Departmental ministers, has led a collective call to action to tackle bullying and harassment in the NHS. Working with NHS system leaders, NHS employers, staff and their trades unions, it encourages and supports the leadership and culture change required to eradicate bullying and harassment.

A ‘new offer’ will be published later this year alongside the final NHS People Plan and will detail the support that all NHS staff can expect to receive from their employer – including how the NHS will tackle bullying and harassment.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 13 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Junior Doctors: Bullying and Harassment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what reports his Department has received of (a) bullying and (b) harassment of junior NHS doctors working in hospitals.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 27 February 2020

The 2019 NHS Staff Survey published on 18 February 2020 shows that 14.6% of medical and dental staff in the National Health Service have personally experienced an instance of bullying, harassment or abuse from a manager; 21.3% from a colleague. These figures have decreased by 1.2% and 0.3% from the 2018 NHS Staff survey, respectively. This follows work that is being done by the NHS Social Partnership Forum working with NHS system leaders, NHS employers, staff and their trade unions to support the leadership and culture change required to eradicate all forms of bullying and of harassment.

However, this level of bullying and harassment is still unacceptably high. The final NHS People Plan, to be published later this year, will set out further action to tackle bullying and harassment as part of making the NHS the best place to work.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 12 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Peat Bogs: Fires
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the burning of peatland in England.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The Government has always been clear on the need to end burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats and we are looking at how legislation could achieve this.

Progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and we continue to work with them constructively.

Our intention has always been to legislate if a voluntary approach failed to deliver.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 12 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to reduce the risk of flooding in flood risk areas by maintaining (a) peatland, (b) natural dams and (c) other natural catchment areas and defences.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The use of nature based solutions is an important part of the Environment Agency’s (EA) strategy in strengthening resilience to flood and coastal erosion risk. Nature based solutions can include activities in different areas of a catchment for example:

  • Upper slopes (tree planting, leaky debris dams and peatbog restoration)

  • Mid-catchment (flood washlands and river re-connection and naturalisation)

  • Coastal (management and creation of coastal marsh and sand dune systems)

Nature based solutions that are appropriately designed and situated, can help manage flood and coastal risks, often alongside other measures. Nature based solutions can also provide benefits to the natural environment, including but not limited to habitat creation, increased biodiversity and improved water quality. Approximately 40 projects in the EA’s core Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Investment programme include natural flood risk management elements and we expect the use of nature based solutions to increase.

Defra has a £15 million programme of 58 projects piloting the effectiveness of nature based solutions. These projects are testing new approaches to help determine where natural measures can be most effective at improving resilience to flood risk. Additionally, since 2003, the Moors for the Future Partnership has transformed over 32 square kilometres of bare and eroding peat in the Peak District and South Pennines through re-vegetation, grip and gully blocking, and sphagnum planting.

Finally the Government’s Agriculture Bill introduced to the House of Commons on 16 January sets out an ambitious and effective system based on the principles of ‘public money for public goods’. This new scheme will enable land managers to enter into agreements to be paid for delivering a range of public goods set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. This includes mitigation of and reduced risk from environmental hazards, such as flooding which could be achieved through natural flood management.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 12 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to flood defence schemes in (a) Lancashire, (b) Yorkshire and (c) Oxfordshire in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The Government is investing £2.6 billion to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion between April 2015 and March 2021. This will better protect 300,000 homes in that period.

In the last five years the Environment Agency (EA) has invested £137 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Lancashire.

In the last five years the EA has invested £261.3 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Yorkshire. This is the total spend for the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

In the last five years the EA has invested £18.9 million on flood and coastal erosion management schemes in Oxfordshire.

Financial Year

Total Government spend (£m)

Lancashire

Oxfordshire

Yorkshire

2014-15

32.7

6.4

47.7

2015-16

30.4

4.1

44.7

2016-17

34.7

2.3

44.7

2017-18

18.3

5.2

51.1

2018-19

20.9

0.9

73.1

Total

137.0

18.9

261.3

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the quarterly payment schedule of student finance on universal credit calculations for claimants who are responsible for one or more children; and whether she plans to halt the reduction of payments for those claimants whilst the fluctuations in income are adequately assessed.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Most full-time students in education do not qualify for Universal Credit. Students are able to access funding to support their education courses through various loans and grants, which are the responsibility of the Department for Education. It is important that Universal Credit does not duplicate this support, which is designed for their needs unlike the social security system. Exceptions are made only where students have additional needs that are not met through the student support system.

The full year’s award of student’s maintenance loan/grant is averaged out over the academic year. This average usually covers 10 monthly Assessment Periods as no student income is taken into account during the summer break. The amount taken into account is subject to a £110 disregard in each of these Assessment Periods, which is equivalent to that provided under Legacy Benefits, which includes an amount to cover the cost of books, travel and equipment.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fraudulent cases of universal credit advance were (a) recorded and (b) processed at Jobcentres in (i) Preston, (ii) Blackburn, (iii) Blackpool and (iv) Bolton; what the value was of those fraudulent claims; and how much each claimant had to repay as a result of a fraudulent claim made on their behalf by a third party in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 14 February 2020

I estimate that providing the information you request would incur disproportionate costs.

However, let me assure you that the Department takes this issue very seriously. We have set up a dedicated team to investigate this type of fraud and are proactively addressing it by using messaging on social media to remind people of the importance of safeguarding their identity, as well as shutting down social media sites that promote this fraud.

We have also made changes to the Universal Credit advance application process. Universal Credit claimants who wish to apply for a new claim advance are now required to attend a face to face interview. This change will help protect claimants from identity fraud and becoming victims of third party scams.

If a claimant has been the victim of a scam, and has not benefited from an advance in any way, they will not be asked to repay it. In these cases, we will seek recovery from the perpetrator of the scam. The Department considers all cases on their own merits and decisions are made on the strength of the evidence provided.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Vaccination: Medical Records
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to (a) improve the accuracy of patient records for immunisations and (b) standardise the invite-reminder systems utilised by GP practices across England.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 13 February 2020

To improve patient record accuracy, the National Health Service is developing a platform that will enable immunisation information to be shared across approved systems. Following this, work will be initiated to support the delivery of reminder functionality that is of use to both GP practices and to individuals. This is in addition to updates to the 2020/2021 general practitioner (GP) contract, published on 6 February, which aim to ensure that call/recall services are being delivered in line with published standards and to move towards text-based reminders.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Electronic Cigarettes: Children and Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of vaping amongst children and young people; and what the implications are for the NHS with respect to the future treatment of young and adult patients with disorders associated with vaping.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 13 February 2020

While experimentation with e-cigarettes is not uncommon among young people, current and regular use remains low. E-cigarettes in the United Kingdom are tightly regulated by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) and the Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015 (NIP). These regulations aim to reduce the risk of harm to children; to protect against any risk of renormalisation of tobacco use; and to provide assurance on relative safety for users. The regulations include restrictions on mainstream TV and radio advertising; prevent sale to under 18s; and limit both tank sizes and nicotine content.

We are monitoring youth use closely and will take action, if necessary, to ensure that regular use among children and young people does not increase, and that e-cigarettes do not become a gateway to tobacco use. The Government has a statutory obligation to conduct post implementation reviews of TRPR by May 2021 and NIP later this spring. We continue to keep the evidence base on e-cigarettes under review and the next Public Health England annual review is due to be published later this month.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Department for Education
Private Education: Personal Records
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to collect and publish data relating to the progress of pupils at independent schools on a similar basis to the data collected for secondary maintained schools and academies.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 13 February 2020

There are no plans to collect or publish such data.

The Department’s progress measures, particularly Progress 8, aim to capture the progress that pupils make from the end of Key Stage 2 to the end of Key Stage 4. They are a type of value added measure, which means that pupils’ results are compared to the actual achievements of other pupils nationally with similar prior attainment.

As pupils at independent schools are not required to take end of Key Stage 2 tests, we are unable to include independent pupils in the calculation of Progress 8 scores. We do publish other attainment headline measures on independent schools. The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 require that independent schools enable pupils to make good progress according to their ability, and this is checked during inspections of all independent schools.

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