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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 41-60 out of 84
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to (a) investigate and (b) take action against companies who utilised the loan charge method of tax avoidance.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Disguised Remuneration (DR) is a type of contrived tax avoidance where loans are paid, usually via an offshore trust, in place of ordinary remuneration with the sole purpose of avoiding income tax and National Insurance contributions. The loans are provided on terms that mean they are unlikely to be repaid. They are no different to normal income and are and always have been taxable.

Since their first use, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have opened tens of thousands of enquiries into DR schemes used by both companies and individuals, warned about use of these schemes in a number of Spotlight publications, successfully litigated cases through the courts and agreed settlements to help taxpayers exit tax avoidance.

The Government introduced targeted anti-avoidance legislation in 2011 to put beyond doubt the ineffectiveness of DR schemes. The Loan Charge was announced at Budget 2016 as part of a package of measures to tackle the use of DR schemes and gave taxpayers the choice of either repaying their loan in full, agreeing settlement terms with HMRC, or paying the Loan Charge.

The Government will continue to tackle this type of tax avoidance vigorously and on 19 March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of mass-marketed tax avoidance schemes. This strategy outlines HMRC and Government ambitions to drive promoters of tax avoidance out of business.

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: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israeli Settlements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on its proposed annexation of the West Bank.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The Foreign Secretary reiterated our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory during a call with Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Gantz on 20 May and Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 2 June. As we made clear at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 20 May, we are concerned by reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves toward annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to renewed efforts to restart peace negotiations, and contrary to international law.

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: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israeli Settlements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on taking economic steps in response to the Government of Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 11 June 2020

We continue to work closely with international partners to advocate a two-state solution and encourage a return to meaningful negotiations between both parties. I reiterated, at the virtual meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee with Israel, the Palestinians, the EU, and the wider international community on 2 June, our concerns about reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law.

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: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israeli Settlements: Companies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the United Nations Human Rights Office report on business activities related to settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, published on 12 February 2020, reference A/HRC/43/71.
A
Answered by: James Cleverly
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The UK, along with a number of other European countries, opposed the creation of the UN Human Rights Office's database. Ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The British Government neither encourages nor offers support to such activity.

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: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Homicide
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the UN on the (a) murder of George Floyd and (b) deaths of black men by armed police officers and members of the public in the US.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 11 June 2020

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have been clear that the death of George Floyd was appalling, inexcusable and deeply distressing and we understand the strength of feeling around this issue. Domestic security policy is a matter for the US.

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: 08 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the US Administration on threats to use military force against US citizens to suppress peaceful protests in that country.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 11 June 2020

Domestic security policy is a matter for the US. Our Embassy in the US has raised the issue of the protests with the US Administration. The violence we have seen is clearly very alarming. People must be allowed to protest peacefully - peaceful protest remains a vital part of a democratic society and we understand the strength of feeling around this issue.

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Treasury
Tax Avoidance
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.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 10 June 2020

Taxpayers who are liable to pay the Loan Charge have until 30 September 2020 to submit their Self-Assessment return for 2018-19 including details of their Loan Charge liability.

HMRC have made a clear commitment to support all taxpayers who need help to manage their disguised remuneration (DR) liabilities, including those affected by COVID-19. This includes those due to pay the Loan Charge as well as those settling their DR affairs with HMRC. Taxpayers do not have to pay everything in one go. Where a taxpayer cannot pay in full on time, HMRC will seek to agree a payment by instalments with them. The payment plan agreed will be based on what they can afford and there is no upper limit on how long HMRC can potentially spread payments.

HMRC have set up a helpline to support any businesses and self-employed taxpayers concerned about paying their tax, due to 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: 09 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason prior to the publication of the 2 June 2020 Public Health England report entitled Disparities on the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 a section was removed which included evidence from more than 1,000 organisations and individuals suggesting that discrimination and poorer life chances played a part in the increased risk of covid-19 among those with BAME backgrounds; and whether he plans to publish that section.
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
Coronavirus: Disease Control
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.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 08 June 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

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
Coronavirus: Screening
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.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 08 June 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

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.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 41-60 out of 84
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100