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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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: 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.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP patients in (a) Preston, (b) the North West and (c) England failed to secure a same-day appointment with their GP practice in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 12 February 2020

The data on the number of patients that have failed to secure a general practice appointment is not collected or held centrally.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 17 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Opiates: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to tackle the over-prescription of opioids by GPs in deprived areas.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 30 January 2020

Guidance on opioid dependence is published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and was refreshed in July 2019. NICE is leading the development of new guidelines for safe prescribing of drugs associated with dependence. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reviews how healthcare providers are using NICE guidelines and quality standards to prescribe safely.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care introduced prominent addiction warnings for all opioid medicines in 2019. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is seeking voluntary compliance from industry and, if necessary, the changes will be mandated. Packs including the warnings on product labelling began to be seen by patients in late 2019.

In September 2019 Public Health England published an evidence review of medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal. Alongside ongoing improvements to medicines safety and the use of prescribed drugs, NHS England and national partners are developing actions to reduce prescription medicine dependency.

A national review of overprescribing in the National Health Service is being led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge and will be published in 2020. The review is looking at patients taking multiple medicines unnecessarily, the role of digital technologies in reducing overprescribing, and the increased role for alternatives to prescribing and other forms of care.

The UK Commission on Human Medicines Opioid expert working group is a comprehensive independent scientific review that will make recommendations this year about further regulatory action and information for clinicians and patients.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 21 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Vacancies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many vacant GP places there are in (a) Preston, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West; and what (i) short- and (ii) long-term steps he is taking to tackle the shortage of GPs throughout the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 30 January 2020

The data requested is not available in the format requested. NHS Digital publishes vacancy data for England only. Only a small proportion of practices in England provide data to NHS Digital on the vacancies they hold. The published data is therefore of limited use and cannot be disaggregated into vacancies by region or local area.

We recognise general practice is under pressure nationally and that is why we have committed to growing the workforce by 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals. This is in addition to the 20,000 primary care professionals NHS England will provide funding towards through Primary Care Networks. The full People Plan, published later this year, will set out a broader strategy for a sustainable general practice workforce and how we will meet our commitments through both recruitment and retention programmes.

Growing the workforce will mean larger teams of staff providing a wide range of care options for patients and will free up more time for doctors to focus on those with more complex needs. This, alongside additional support and increasing the use of technology in general practice, will create an extra 50 million appointments a year by 2024/25 and improve patient access to primary care services.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 17 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) alcohol and (b) drug-related deaths have there been in the last five years in (i) Preston, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 29 January 2020

A total of 358 alcohol-related deaths in Preston, 3,075 alcohol-related deaths in Lancashire and 18,757 alcohol related-deaths in the North West occurred in the last five years for which data is available (2014 – 2018). This data is available on the Local Alcohol Profiles for England webpage published by Public Health England which can be viewed at the following link:

https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/local-alcohol-profiles

Drugs poisoning deaths are published by the Office for National Statistics for overlapping three-year periods and are shown in the following table. They cannot be summed to create figures for other time periods:

Year

Preston

Lancashire

North West

2012-14

22

234

1530

2013-15

27

240

1658

2014-16

31

265

1758

2015-17

39

283

1835

2016-18

39

299

1888

They can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/drugmisusedeathsbylocalauthority

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 17 January 2020
Department for Education
Pre-school Education: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to allocate additional funding for the provision of early years childcare.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 27 January 2020

The Government plans to spend £3.6 billion to support early education in the financial year 2020-21. Details of how this funding is distributed across local authorities was published in December 2019 and can be found here:

https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/single-funding-statement/latest/dedicated-schools-grant/download-funding/2020-to-2021.

The funding allocations for local authorities are based on actual take-up of the entitlement hours. Therefore, allocations for 2020-21 will be updated, first in summer 2020 using updated data from the January 2020 schools and early years censuses, and then in summer 2021 using January 2021 census data for the final allocation.

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: 20 January 2020
Department for Education
Teachers: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many qualified teachers are employed in schools run by (a) the local education authority, (b) free schools and (c) academies in Lancashire; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of the number of qualified teachers at each of those categories of schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 27 January 2020

In Lancashire in 2018, there were 9,2081 full-time equivalent (FTE) qualified teachers employed in state-funded schools. The breakdown of this into local authority maintained, free schools and academies are as follows:

FTE qualified teachers[1]

Local-authority-maintained schools[2]

7,618

Free schools

82

Academies

1,509

It is a top priority of the Government to ensure the whole country has a strong teaching workforce. Last year the Department launched the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy – the first ever integrated strategy ensuring there are excellent teachers for every child. The strategy includes the biggest teaching reform in a generation, the Early Career Framework (ECF). The ECF provides new teachers with the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by £130 million a year in funding when fully rolled out in 2021. We have also committed to plans to raise starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23, putting teaching on a par with other top graduate professions.

Implementation of the national recruitment and retention strategy will support all schools. However, we recognise that some schools and local areas face greater challenges with recruitment and retention than others. We are making every effort to refocus national teacher recruitment and retention programmes to ensure they address local variations in teacher supply, so that more schools can benefit from tried and tested programmes.

This includes targeting interventions to support teacher recruitment and retention in all school types in Lancashire. Over £20 million of scholarships funding has been made available in 2017-19 to support teachers and leaders in Category 5 and 6 areas to take up a National Professional Qualification (NPQ), doubling our initial intended investment. The aim of the investment is to retain good teachers and leaders in these areas and support their professional development. Burnley and Pendle are areas that received this support in Lancashire.

In addition to this, the Department has set aside £30 million in tailored support for schools struggling with teacher recruitment and retention. This support is designed to help schools improve existing recruitment and retention plans, join national programmes, build local partnerships or fund new initiatives. Three schools in Lancashire local authority are currently receiving this support.

[1] Figures have been rounded to whole numbers.

[2] Includes a small number of centrally employed staff.

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: 20 January 2020
Department for Education
Academies: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many academies are rated by Ofsted as (a) inadequate and (b) requires improvement in (i) Preston constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the North West; and what steps he is taking to improve educational outcomes for pupils in these areas.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 27 January 2020

The information requested is published by Ofsted and is set out in the tables attached. The first table shows the number of academies in Preston, Lancashire and the North West that are rated as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. The second table shows the national breakdown for all school types in England.

As at 31 August 2019, the two academies in Preston constituency were both rated as ‘outstanding’ and 95% of the academies in the Lancashire local authority were rated as ‘good’ or 'outstanding’. Nationally, 86% of all schools in England were rated as either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Where an academy’s performance is a cause for concern, the Department will respond. Where Ofsted have inspected an academy and issued it with an ‘inadequate’ rating, the Department has powers to take decisive action to bring about school improvement, including whether it is in the school’s best interests to be transferred to a stronger academy trust, with the capacity to deliver strong and rapid school improvement. For ‘requires improvement’ schools, including academies, the Department has published a School Support Offer for the academic year 2019/20. The offer provides support from a National Leader of Education and other funded support for schools, based on published criteria. The details of the School Support Offer are available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-improvement-support-for-the-2019-to-2020-academic-year.

There are currently no academies in Preston constituency that were rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’. In Lancashire, however, there was one academy (Fulwood Academy) that was rated as ‘inadequate’ in February 2018 and one academy (Penwortham Priory Academy) that was rated as ‘inadequate’ in July 2017.

The Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire is overseeing and monitoring the steps that Fulwood Academy is taking to secure improvements, in line with the Schools Causing Concern guidance published at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-causing-concern--2.

Penwortham Priory Academy meets the eligibility criteria for the School Support Offer, which provides support from a National Leader of Education. Eligible schools are supported by the Teaching School Council to access this support.

5338_table_1 (PDF Document, 107.06 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: 20 January 2020
Department for Education
Academies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the costs incurred by local education authorities as a result of schools becoming academies; and what criteria his Department uses to risk assess the financial health and governance standards of (a) trusts and (b) sponsors planning to take on new academies.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 27 January 2020

The Department does not routinely collect data on costs incurred by local authorities as a result of schools becoming academies.

The Department reviews a broad range of data and intelligence when assessing the financial health and governance of trusts and sponsors planning to take on academies. This includes trusts’ audited accounts and other financial returns, and key risk indicators such as whether trusts are subject to Financial Notices to Improve, or concerns about financial health, governance, qualified accounts or potential compliance issues.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 14 January 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of (a) suicide and (b) non-suicide fatalities on the mainline railway network in Great Britain.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 21 January 2020

There were 268 incidents of suicide on the national rail network during 2018/19. The level has been relatively static over the past five years, with approximately 250 incidents of suicide each year. This represents 4% of the total number of suicides nationally.

The trauma and devastation caused by suicide and the social impact on all those affected is immense. In addition, there is a significant operational and financial impact to the industry. There were 846,740 delay minutes linked to fatalities (which includes non-intentional deaths as well as suicide) on the railway during 2018/19, with associated costs more than £68m.

There is concerted activity by the rail industry to manage the risk and put in place suicide prevention strategies.

The industry’s suicide prevention programme is a partnership between Network Rail (NR), the Samaritans, the British Transport Police (BTP) and the wider industry. The programme also works closely with other suicide prevention experts, national agencies and charities such as Public Health England and the National Suicide Prevention Alliance to develop and maximise its impact. This programme has been recognised as an exemplar externally, and the previous Suicide Prevention Minister met rail representatives to discuss how learning from it can be shared more widely.

As a result of this work, there were nearly 2,000 lifesaving interventions on rail last year. Six people were saved for every one that took their life.

I was also pleased to see that over one hundred railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales took part in the Samaritans’ Brew Monday earlier this week, with volunteers handing out teabags to commuters and people passing by so they can share a cup of tea with someone they care about and to help people become better listeners.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 14 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to assess the mental health of (a) primary and (b) secondary school aged children.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 January 2020

The Department has committed to conduct a survey every seven years on the prevalence of mental health conditions in children and young people. The most recent survey is the ‘Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017’, published in November 2018.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 14 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Suicide: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding he plans to allocate to the prevention of child suicide over the next five years.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 21 January 2020

We are taking action to prevent child suicide through continued increasing investment in mental health services. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, mental health services will continue to receive a growing share of the National Health Service budget, with funding to grow by at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. Spending for children and young people’s mental health services will grow faster than the overall spend on mental health, which will itself be growing faster than the overall NHS budget.

This increased funding will ensure that by 2023/24, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS-funded mental health services and school– or college-based mental health support teams.

We are also investing £57 million specifically in suicide prevention and bereavement services in all areas of the country by 2023/24.

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: 15 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to ensure that developers take responsibility for structural defects on new build properties.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 21 January 2020
Holding answer received on 20 January 2020

We are committed to ensuring that developers take responsibility and treat new build homebuyers fairly. Where structural defects are found developers and warranty providers must take swift action to put these right.

The Government will introduce legislation to require developers of new homes to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman. Last year, we consulted on the design and delivery of a New Homes Ombudsman and we will publish the response soon, setting out a way forward.

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: 15 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to assist owners of new build properties with structural defects when insurance companies fail to accept liability.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 20 January 2020

The responsibility to set right any defects with the building work lies with the person who carried out the work. Warranties provide insurance against defects. It is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority to regulate new build warranties and protect consumers.

To provide effective redress for owners of new build homes we will introduce legislation to require developers to belong to a New Homes Ombudsman.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 09 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Tobacco: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that labelling on imported tobacco products complies with UK legislation.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 17 January 2020

All tobacco products imported into the United Kingdom are required to adhere to existing UK tobacco legislation. This is enforced by local authority trading standards officers.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 07 January 2020
Department for Education
Academies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what his policy is on the academies programme for the next five years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 14 January 2020

The Government's vision is to continue developing a world-class school-led system by giving school leaders the freedom to run their schools in the way they know best. The academies programme can provide opportunities for this through its key principles of autonomy, accountability and collaboration.

Academies will continue to be the at the core of the Government's flagship schools reform policies. Over 7 in 10 sponsored academies that have been inspected by Ofsted are now judged 'Good' or 'Outstanding'. Prior to converting to academies, only 1 in 10 of these schools were judged ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

The Government wants to ensure that the opportunities afforded by the academies programme are spread to those areas that are not currently benefitting.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 06 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Burial
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of burials in England could be classified as natural burials for the most recent period in which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 13 January 2020

This information is not centrally recorded.

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: 07 January 2020
Department for Education
Schools: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to increase the funding streams of all schools in England.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 13 January 2020

The Department has committed to increase core schools funding by £2.6 billion next year, and by £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively. This has enabled a 5% increase to school funding next year alone, which will continue to be allocated via the National Funding Formula – ensuring that funding is based on schools’ and pupils’ needs and characteristics. On top of this, the Department will provide £1.5 billion per year to fund additional pension costs for teachers. As a result, every school will attract an increase to their core schools funding per pupil next year.

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