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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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
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 July 2018
Department for Education
Children: Food Poverty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had and with whom on the number of children who are at risk of experiencing hunger during school summer holidays in 2018.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 24 July 2018

The government recently announced a programme of research and pilots across the country that will explore ways of supporting children from disadvantaged families to access free enrichment activities and healthy food during school holidays.

This programme of work will investigate how to provide a balanced programme for the most disadvantaged school-age pupils, combining engaging activity with a healthy and nutritious meal. Work is already underway and further piloting in 2019 will follow the initial research taking place in the 2018 summer holidays.

In developing this programme of work, I met with both the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent North and with the right hon. Member for Birkenhead, and my officials have met with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss this important issue.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 19 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Israeli Government on the (a) passage of the Nation State Law by the Israeli Knesset and (b) implications of that law on the rights and status of minority groups.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 24 July 2018

​The Nation-State Bill has passed through the Knesset into law. The final wording of the legislation did not contain the clause which would have explicitly allowed a community composed of people of the same faith or nationality to maintain an exclusive community. As part of their regular diplomatic work with Israeli authorities and legislators, British diplomats in Israel discussed the (Nation-State Bill) alongside other legislation and developments. Israel's long standing commitment to equality for all its citizens is one of its great strengths as a fellow democracy. As friends of Israel we would be concerned about any development that would undermine this commitment

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 19 July 2018
Department for International Development
UNRWA: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the funding shortfall for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees on front line services in (a) the West Bank, (b) Gaza, (c) Jordan, (d) Lebanon and (e) Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 24 July 2018

UNRWA has a twin-track approach to addressing the funding shortfall: raising additional money from donors; and identifying those programme ‎activities which can be merged with its core activities or reviewing non-core activities which can be picked up by other providers. The UK supports UNRWA’s approach, and has increased our funding for UNRWA this year to £38.5 million so far.

Emergency Appeal activities currently being reviewed are:

1. West Bank

  • Emergency interventions such as cash for work activities, community mental health and mobile health work;

2. Gaza

  • Community mental health programmes and the job creation project;

3. Jordan & Lebanon

  • Palestinian refugees from Syria in Jordan and Lebanon will continue to receive UNRWA support, and the delivery of UNRWA’s core services are funded until late August;

4. Syria

  • UNRWA core services are currently funded until late August, and emergency services are secure until the end of 2018.
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 19 July 2018
Department for International Development
Syria: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent estimate she has made of the number of refugees who have been displaced from Yarmouk refugee camp; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 24 July 2018

The recent Assad regime offensive on Yarmouk camp has resulted in the displacement of approximately 6,000 residents according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s assessment.

When access permits, DFID is supporting the UN, NGOs and other partners to deliver life-saving assistance to those who remain in Yarmouk and those who were displaced following the siege, by providing food, healthcare, water and other life-saving relief.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 19 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the distribution of land allocations between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 24 July 2018

​The UK considers all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law, and a barrier to a two-state solution.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 16 July 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Reconstruction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has had with international counterparts on the (a) Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism and (b) planned review of that programme.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

My officials are discussing the future of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism with international counterparts, including the UN. On July 17th the UK met the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General to discuss the priorities of the planned review.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 16 July 2018
Department for International Development
West Bank: Internally Displaced People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to (a) victims of forcible transfer and (b) people at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

The UK supports Palestinian communities at risk of forcible transfer in Area C of the West Bank through our legal aid programme, which helps residents challenge decisions in the Israeli legal system. In around 97% of the cases supported by this programme demolitions and evictions have been suspended. Additionally the UK supports nearly 500 Palestinian families living in Area C to remain on their land by improving infrastructure and enabling access to education and health services.

We are currently considering how best we can further support Palestinian communities at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank, and I will update the House once this is confirmed.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 July 2018
Department for International Development
Burma: Internally Displaced People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent estimate she has made of the number of internally displaced persons within Rakhine State, Burma.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

UNHCR reports that there are 128,000 internally displaced persons in Central Rakhine. Figures for northern Rakhine are difficult to gather as the Burmese government has restricted access for the UN and other agencies. The UK Government continues to push for access at every opportunity.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Right to Buy Scheme: Birmingham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will list the housing associations with properties within (a) Birmingham Northfield constituency and (b) Birmingham who are eligible for the Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands pilot scheme for housing association tenants; and how many tenants he estimates will take part in that scheme in both of those areas.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 23 July 2018

The Voluntary Right to Buy Midlands Pilot will be launching later in the summer, and ahead of the launch we will announce details of the housing associations who will be taking part in the pilot, and how eligible tenants will be able to apply for the scheme.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 17 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza: Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on that country's decision to reduce the fishing area off the coast of Gaza from six to three nautical miles; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised our concerns regarding the additional restrictions imposed on Gaza with the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on 18 July. The further restrictions that Israel has placed on Gaza will have an detrimental effect on the ordinary citizens of Gaza. A further deterioration in the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza is in no-one’s interests. Israel should therefore reverse this decision.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Balloons and Sky Lanterns: Litter
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the legislation regulating the release of helium-filled balloons and sky lanterns.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 July 2018

There is no legislation that specifically regulates the release of helium-filled balloons and sky lanterns.

The National Association of Balloon Artists and Suppliers, the trade association for the balloon industry, has published a code of conduct to minimise the environmental impact of balloon releases. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute has published a code of practice for sky lanterns to help ensure that they are manufactured to be safe and are sold responsibly.

Local councils have powers to restrict or regulate the release of balloons and sky lanterns on land that they control. Councils can also take an individual to court, or issue a fixed penalty notice, if they believe them to be guilty of a littering offence.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 17 July 2018
Ministry of Justice
Post-mortems
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's guidance on the practice of second post-mortems in accounting for recent technological advances.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 23 July 2018

The Chief Coroner, who is responsible for issuing guidance to coroners, intends to issue revised guidance on the practice of second post-mortems later this year. This will replace existing guidance (Home Office Circular 30/1999 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20040722015642/http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs/hoc9930.html).

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 17 July 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to publish the first quarterly update and progress report on her Department's People for Peaceful Change project in the occupied Palestinian territories before the House rises for summer recess.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

DFID is committed to ensuring the transparency of all UK official development assistance. The first annual review for this programme has been completed and submitted for publication on the Dev-Tracker website. It can take up to two months for the document to appear on the website. The first Quarterly Update will be distributed to interested Parliamentarians before summer recess.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 18 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the decision of the Israeli Government not to attend the adoption of its recent Universal Periodic Review report at the UN Human Rights Council; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv have expressed our deep concern to officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressing that the Universal Periodic Review deserves universal respect.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 18 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Human Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the Government of Israel to act upon the three recommendations that the UK made to that country at its recent Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made clear to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Universal Periodic Review deserves universal respect. Israeli officials have informed us that they will engage with the Universal Periodic Review process, and have noted the three recommendations made by the UK at Israel’s recent Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 18 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Occupied Territories: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 2286 and the protection of medical facilities and personnel in the context of the occupied Palestinian territory.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

​We regularly raise issues relating to medical facilities and personnel with the Israeli authorities. We have stressed the need for safe and unimpeded passage for medical personnel. In particular we raise our concerns about medical facilities in Gaza, and medical permits, with the office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). The UK has announced £1.5 million in funding for International Committe of the Red Cross appeal, which will help to treat patients in 11 hospitals under pressure in Gaza

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 18 July 2018
Department for International Development
Gaza: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to extend long-term assistance to Gaza’s health system in order to address the needs of patients with complex limb injuries who require specialist treatment and rehabilitation.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 23 July 2018

Our current support to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supports the delivery of surgical equipment, drugs and disposables and physical rehabilitation services to around 4,000 Gazans rendered disabled following the recent surge in violence. To help disabled people regain mobility the ICRC will also continue to support the Artificial Limb Centre in Gaza. Our support in the longer term looks to address the underlying causes of humanitarian strife and raise living standards by focussing on increasing trade and job creation, enabling greater movement and access for people and goods, and enhancing the supply of electricity and clean water. Nevertheless, the UK stands ready to provide further urgent health assistance in Gaza, if required.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gaza and West Bank: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the use of the death penalty in (a) the West Bank and (b) Gaza; and what representations he has made to the Palestinian Authority on that subject.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 11 July 2018

​The UK welcomes the Palestinian signature of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as an important step towards the abolition of the death penalty. We are aware of the use of the death penalty by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The UK continues to oppose the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and works towards global abolition of the death penalty.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 02 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Members: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to respond to the letter of 16 May 2018 from the hon. Member for Birmingham Northfield on arms trade licenses.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 10 July 2018

A response has been sent.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority on the actions of Palestinian security forces during the demonstrations in Ramallah on 13 June 2018; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 June 2018

Our Consul General to Jerusalem raised our concerns over the actions of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and police during the demonstration held in Ramallah on 13 June with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the PA on 21 June. He urged the need for an investigation to understand what happened, to learn the lessons, and to enable appropriate action in light of the investigation.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Laith Abu Zeyad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority on the detention and treatment of Amnesty International staff member Laith Abu Zeya by Palestinian Authority security forces; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 June 2018

Whilst we have not raised the case of Laith Abu Zeyad, our Consul General to Jerusalem raised our concerns over the actions of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and police during the demonstration held in Ramallah on 13 June with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the PA on 21 June. He urged the need for an investigation to understand what happened, to learn the lessons, and to enable appropriate action in light of the investigation.​

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Leishmaniasis
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the levels of Leishmaniosis in (a) the West Bank, (b) Gaza and (c) Palestinian refugee camps in (i) Lebanon, (ii) Jordan and (iii) Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The implementing partner for DFID’s People for Peaceful Change Programme monitors the incidence and prevalence of both cutaneous and visceral leishmaniosis cases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan. There were 5175 reported cases of cutaneous Leishmaniosis in the West Bank between 1990-2016. There have not been any reports about the disease spreading in Gaza therefore it is considered a free area. Assessments show Leishmaniosis levels in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria are low. Camps across the region may experience seasonal variation due to sand-fly populations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when she plans to publish the first quarterly update and progress report on her Department's People for Peaceful Change project in the occupied Palestinian territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The expected publication of the People for Peaceful Change project quarterly update is by the end of June.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 15 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the expansion of Heathrow Airport on the (a) economy of (i) the West Midlands, (ii) Birmingham and (b) sustainability of (A) Birmingham Airport and (B) East Midlands Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Department has undertaken an economic assessment of the effect of a new runway at Heathrow at a national level, taking account of all regions. Businesses from across the UK, including the West Midlands, will benefit as an expanded Heathrow delivers greater connectivity for both passengers and freight, with nearly six million additional trips from passengers outside of London and the South East being made via an expanded Heathrow in 2040.

The Government is clear that while a Northwest Runway at Heathrow will help to secure the UK’s status as a global aviation hub, regional airports will continue to develop their point-to-point networks. The department’s aviation forecasts show that passenger numbers and international flights at airports outside of London are expected to increase by 80 per cent and 71 per cent respectively between 2016 and 2050 with a third runway at Heathrow. These forecasts show demand exists for airports such as Birmingham and East Midlands to continue to grow alongside any expansion in the South East, while individual airport commercial strategies could help them to grow even further.

Lastly, as the Secretary of State set out in his oral statement on 05 June, any new operational runway at Heathrow is still a number of years away. This is why the Government supports airports beyond Heathrow, like Birmingham and East Midlands Airports, making best use of their existing runways. However, the Government recognises that the development of airports can have positive and negative effects, including on noise levels. We consider that any proposals should be judged on their individual merits by the relevant planning authority, taking careful account of all relevant considerations, particularly economic and environmental.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Justice
Voyeurism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what representations he has received from civil society groups on making the practice of up-skirting a sexual offence.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 15 June 2018

My department have received representations from a range of stakeholders to make upskirting a specific criminal offence and have met with campaigners to discuss their concerns.

I share their determination to ensure that the intrusive practice of up-skirting is tackled robustly and that is why I am pleased to confirm that, following detailed review of the law by my department, the Government has committed to supporting Wera Hobhouse’s PMB. This creates two new offences specifically covering the practice of upskirting and will strengthen the law, close any potential gaps and better protect victims.

Alongside this, I continue to support work across government - with police, prosecutors and others - to make sure this degrading offence continues to be prosecuted as effectively as possible.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Chronic Illnesses: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the financial effect of prescription charges on people with long-term health conditions.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 June 2018

We have no current plans to review the list of medical conditions which provide for exemption from prescription charges because arrangements exist to ensure that prescriptions are affordable for everyone. A broad range of prescription charge exemptions are in place, for which someone with a long-term condition and cystic fibrosis may qualify. To support those with greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, prescription prepayment certificates are available. A holder of a 12 month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Grouped Questions: 151050
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Cystic Fibrosis: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing prescription charges for people with Cystic Fibrosis.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 June 2018

We have no current plans to review the list of medical conditions which provide for exemption from prescription charges because arrangements exist to ensure that prescriptions are affordable for everyone. A broad range of prescription charge exemptions are in place, for which someone with a long-term condition and cystic fibrosis may qualify. To support those with greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, prescription prepayment certificates are available. A holder of a 12 month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Grouped Questions: 151049
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Childline
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the role of NSPCC's Childline in the provision of early mental health support; and what steps is his Department taking to support that organisation.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Government welcomes the work of the NSPCC’s Childline. The Government supports the NSPCC through an £8 million grant over four years (up to 2020), as a contribution to funding both ChildLine and the NSPCC’s National Helpline, for anyone with concerns or worries about a child.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Education
Open University: Student Numbers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to higher education funding on student numbers at the Open University in each year since 2011.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 13 June 2018

The government recognises the decline in part-time study within the sector, and is aware of the impact this has had on the Open University. That’s why the government is committed to supporting part time students and since 2012, it has paid the tuition fees of students studying on part-time courses up-front through a system of subsidised fee loans.

In addition, new part-time students attending degree level courses from August 2018 onwards will, for the first time, be able to apply for up-front loans to help them with their living costs. Subject to the development of a robust control regime, these loans will be extended to students on distance learning courses from August 2019.

The government continues, through the Office for Students (previously Higher Education Funding Council for England), to provide direct grant funding to support successful outcomes for part-time students. This was worth £72 million in the current academic year (2017/18), and the Open University received a sizeable amount of this funding.

This funding reflects the particular costs associated with recruiting and retaining part-time students and includes funds to support successful outcomes for part-time students. The Open University received £48 million to support teaching activity in 2017/18.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Football: Sportsgrounds
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent representations his Department has (a) made to and (b) received from professional football clubs in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Scotland on the potential introduction of safe-standing at sports stadiums.
A
Answered by: Tracey Crouch
Answered on: 13 June 2018

Representations have been received from the following football clubs about the possible introduction of certain types of accommodation which could facilitate standing at parts of their respective grounds: Bristol City, Peterborough United, Grimsby Town, Shrewsbury Town and West Bromwich Albion. Representations about the all-seater policy have also been received from Southampton City Council.

I also met Andrew R T Davies, Leader of the Conservative Party at the Welsh Assembly in 2015 to discuss standing at football in Wales. Standing at football matches in Scotland is a matter for the relevant Scottish authorities.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Home Office
Football: Russia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK police officers will be in Russia for the 2018 World Cup to provide advice, assistance and protection to UK citizens.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 13 June 2018

A UK policing delegation will travel to Russia, at the host country’s request, to provide assistance to host police. The size of the UK policing delegation has been specified by the Russian authorities. We do not disclose the number for operational reasons.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Transport
Cycling: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of cycling uptake among ethnic minority groups; and what steps he is taking to encourage an increase in that uptake among those groups.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 13 June 2018

On the 18 January 2018 the Department for Transport published Walking and Cycling Statistics for England which contain figures on the proportion of adults that cycle, by ethnicity, frequency and purpose for England between 2015-2016 (see pp14-15). The full report can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/674503/walking-and-cycling-statistics-england-2016.pdf

This Government wants to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey, for everyone. The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in April 2017, aims to increase cycling and walking activity, including among under-represented groups. It also commits the Government to monitoring the extent to which people from different age groups, genders and ethnic backgrounds are taking up cycling and walking.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Saudi-led coalition's compliance with international humanitarian law in relation to the conflict in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 11 June 2018

We regularly raise, at the highest levels, the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with Saudi Arabia. The UK takes allegations of IHL violations extremely seriously. We encourage the Saudi-led Coalition to ensure that any such allegations are thoroughly investigated. Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations of IHL, and that lessons will be acted upon. The Coalition has the best insight into its own military procedures and is able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations. This also allows the coalition to really understand what may have gone wrong and apply any lessons learnt in the best possible way. The Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team has announced the findings of a total of 55 investigations, with the most recent released on 5 March.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) protect and (b) support civilians in Yemen; and what recent estimate he has made of the number of civilian casualties in that country since the conflict began.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 11 June 2018

​We continue to call on all sides to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL). We are aware of reports of alleged violations of IHL by actors in the conflict and take these very seriously. It is important that credible allegations of violations of IHL are investigated.

Addressing the continuing humanitarian crisis is a top priority for this Government. In 2017/18 the Government committed £205 million in aid to Yemen, making the UK the third largest humanitarian donor to Yemen, and the second largest to the UN appeal. We prioritised life-saving interventions including food and nutrition support to 1.7 million people and clean water and sanitation for an expected 1.2 million people. On 3 April, we announced an additional £170 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen for 2018/2019. This funding will meet the immediate food needs of 2.5 million Yemenis, and comes on top of over £400 million in bilateral support since the conflict began in 2015.

We do not maintain records of casualty figures for the conflict in Yemen. Gathering data is extremely challenging considering the complexities of the situation and the challenges faced by humanitarian monitors across the country. Estimates by the UN and NGOs vary considerably.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Railways
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Bill on (a) British citizens residing in Hong Kong, (b) Hong Kong civil society and (c) the principle of one country two systems.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 22 May 2018

​The economic case for the High Speed Rail Link is clear. However, we believe it is important that the final arrangements for a joint border checkpoint on the territory of the Special Administrative Region are consistent with the principles of 'One Country, Two Systems' and with Hong Kong's Basic Law. We will continue to monitor developments closely and to discuss arrangements for consular assistance at the high speed rail terminal with the Hong Kong authorities as the legislative process progresses.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for International Development
Yemen: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of (a) recent trends in the capacity of the health services in Yemen to treat (i) cholera and (ii) diphtheria cases and (b) the effect of those trends on the rate of cases of each disease.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 22 May 2018

The deterioration of health facilities in Yemen remains deeply concerning. Only 22% of health facilities – half of which are either closed or not fully functional – can treat communicable diseases, such as cholera and diphtheria. The ability of health services to treat these diseases is further complicated by the on-going conflict, access obstructions, and the non-payment of salaries to public sector workers.

UK aid of £170 million to Yemen this financial year (2018/19) includes support to the UN and NGOs for tackling the underlying causes of cholera by providing emergency food, nutrition support, and clean water and sanitation to millions of people in Yemen.

DFID continues to monitor the rate of new cholera and diphtheria cases, as well as the health response in Yemen. In total, 1,097,962 suspected cholera cases have been reported between 27 April 2017 and 13 May 2018, causing 2,286 deaths. Between 13 August 2017 and 5 May 2018, 1,703 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported, causing 90 deaths.

The UK also supported the first ever phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen which was completed on 15 May in the south of the country, helping protect more than 450,000 men, women and children. In her statement on 15 May, the International Development Secretary urged all parties to the conflict to allow the next phase of the vaccination campaign to proceed and to enable full and unhindered access including in the north of the country.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 10 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furs: Farms
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of animal welfare in fur farms in (a) Poland, (b) Finland, (c) China and (d) France that export fur to the UK.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 May 2018

The Government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and, after we leave the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations relating to fur imports. Strict rules apply to fur farming in the EU and there are legal frameworks for the farming of fur animals in some non-EU countries, including minimum standards and welfare inspections. Many major fur companies also have their own standards that they audit with their producers.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department has issued to online marketplaces on the regulations that apply the sale of animals.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 17 May 2018

We are in the process of drafting guidance that will accompany the new regulations which will update the laws on the selling of animals as pets, including online. This will be available in due course and well before the new regulations come into force on 1 October. The guidance will be available to local authorities and all vendors of pet animals.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furs: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the ban on the sale of cat, dog and seal fur to other species.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 17 May 2018

The Government shares the British public’s high regards for animal welfare and, after we leave the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations banning the import of cat and dog fur and products, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

The Government has pressed for higher animal welfare standards worldwide to phase out cruel and inhumane fur farming and trapping practices in other parts of the world, which are banned here.

Grouped Questions: 142350
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 10 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Theft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Theft Act 1968 on deterring the theft of pets.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 17 May 2018

Under the Theft Act 1968, the maximum penalty for the theft of a pet is 7 years’ imprisonment.

The Sentencing Council updated its guidelines in relation to sentencing for theft offences in February 2016.

The guidelines take account of the emotional distress and therefore harm that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim and accordingly recommends higher penalties for such offences.

Since 6 April 2016, all dogs in England and Wales must be microchipped and registered to an approved database by the time they are eight weeks old. In addition to reuniting lost or stolen dogs with their owners, this will also help to reduce the numbers of strays that have to be kennelled and re-homed by local authorities and dog re-homing charities.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 14 May 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Directors: Codes of Practice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timetable is for the Financial Reporting Council to (a) complete its review and (b) publish an updated version of the UK Corporate Governance Code.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 17 May 2018

In February 2017, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced plans for a comprehensive review of the UK Corporate Governance Code, and delivery of this review implements part of the Government’s wider Corporate Governance Reform package announced in August 2017. The FRC’s public consultation closed on 28 February 2018. Responses are being considered and the FRC is on track to publish an updated Code with supporting guidance in July 2018.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 02 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Denmark, (b) Sweden and (c) Germany on deposit return schemes for single use drinks containers.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 May 2018

The Minister responsible for this policy area, Minister Coffey, visited Norway, Sweden and Denmark late last year to find out more about the deposit return schemes (DRS) in those countries, including meeting the then Danish Minister for Environment and Food to discuss the Danish DRS.

The Secretary of State has not had any specific discussions on DRS with his counterparts in Denmark, Sweden or Germany

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 11 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Omar Shakir
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the deportation order against Omar Shakir the Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 16 May 2018

We have not raised this issue. It is for the Government of Israel to decide its immigration policy. The UK’s immigration policies and controls are similarly protected.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 02 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a deposit return scheme for aluminium cans.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 15 May 2018

From 2 October to 20 November 2017, an independent working group set up under the Litter Strategy for England held a call for evidence on measures to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling. This included metal drinks containers that are sold sealed and used for the sale of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, often for consumption ‘on the go’. It involved seeking evidence on the costs, benefits and impacts of deposit and reward and return schemes. Early this year, Ministers received and reviewed the working group’s report summarising its call for evidence and recommendations. This can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/drinks-containers-reducing-litter-and-increasing-recycling-call-for-evidence.

The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a deposit return scheme in England, subject to a consultation later this year. The consultation will look at the details of how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to increase recycling rates.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 02 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Allergies: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has (a) made to and (b) received from manufacturers representations on supply problems affecting the availability of EpiPens.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 May 2018

Departmental officials have been in regular contact with the supplier of Epipens, Mylan, and are working closely with them to resolve the supply situation as quickly as possible. Supplies are currently available, although limited, and are being closely managed to ensure that pharmacies can obtain stock to fulfil prescriptions for patients.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 03 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Allergies: Medical Treatemnts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of NHS stocks of EpiPens; and what steps he is taking to ensure pharmacies can meet demand for EpiPens.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 May 2018

Departmental officials have been in regular contact with the supplier of Epipens, Mylan, and are working closely with them to resolve the supply situation as quickly as possible. Supplies are currently available, although limited, and are being closely managed to ensure that pharmacies can obtain stock to fulfil prescriptions for patients.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Theft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many people have been prosecuted for pet theft in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 09 May 2018

This information is not held centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Records of prosecutions for offences under section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 do not provide breakdowns of the item or animal stolen.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 30 April 2018
Department for Education
Pupils: Period Poverty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect of period poverty on girls in schools.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 09 May 2018

Officials at the Department for Education are in regular contact with officials in the Department for Work and Pensions about a number of issues including sanitary protection provision in schools. Ministers responsible for these issues are kept regularly updated.

Our current sex and education guidance encourages schools to make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls to cope with menstruation, including requests for sanitary protection. In addition, schools teach pupils about puberty in science lessons, and many schools cover the topic through personal, social and health education. Schools have discretion over how to use their funding, and can make sanitary products available to pupils if they identify this as a barrier to attainment or attendance. We support schools in addressing the needs of disadvantaged pupils through pupil premium funding, worth almost £2.5 billion of additional funding this year alone.

The recently published analysis of absence statistics shows that while absence rates amongst girls do increase after a certain age, there is no evidence to suggest that this is related to pupils being disadvantaged. This suggests period poverty does not have a significant, nation-wide impact on attendance.

The Department for Education also collaborates closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which recently announced that through the current round of the Tampon Tax Fund the government will provide £1.5 million for the ‘Let’s Talk. Period.’ project, delivered by Brook Young People across England. The project will identify vulnerable and disadvantaged young women who struggle to afford sanitary products through the organisation’s existing community services and a network of local partners, including schools. The project will develop resources to educate girls about menstruation and hand out pre-paid cards allowing girls and young women in need to access free sanitary products at local distribution points.

We will continue to communicate on a regular basis with all interested government departments and devolved administrations as we continue to keep this issue under review.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 30 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Canine Distemper
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department has issued on the inspection of dogs for distemper on arrival in the UK.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 09 May 2018

Canine Distemper is not a notifiable disease in the United Kingdom (UK) or the European Union (EU) and there is no requirement for dogs entering the country to be inspected or tested for the disease. There is a requirement for pets entering the UK to undergo identification and documentary checks to ensure that an adequate health preparation has taken place prior to entering the country.

There is no official guidance with regard to distemper, however, the department stresses good practice for owners and kennels to protect their dogs against the virus given that there is a vaccine available globally. The guidance titled “Getting your Pet Vaccinated” has been published by the British Veterinary Association in relation to vaccinations suitable for the protection of pets which Defra promotes.

All pet dogs moving to the UK for sale or rehoming must be examined by an Official Veterinarian (OV) in the country of origin prior to embarkation to ensure compliance with the Balai Directive for commercial movements. The OV must certify that the animal does not show any signs of disease within 48 hours of travelling.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 30 April 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Food Banks
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans he has to respond to the recommendations in the Trussell Trust report, Is universal credit truly universal?, on foodbank use; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 09 May 2018

People use food banks for many and varied reasons, and it would be misleading to link them to any single cause. Work offers people the best opportunity to get out of poverty and to become self-reliant; adults in working families are around four times less likely to be in poverty than those in workless families. This is why we are undertaking the most ambitious reform to the welfare system in decades - so that it supports people to find and to stay in work. While there are no official statistics on food bank usage, recent data from the Trussell Trust shows that the majority of users are out of work.

As a safeguard for people needing more support, we have a well-established system of hardship payments, benefit advances and budgeting loans. Universal Credit has introduced a further package of measures announced at the Autumn Budget 2017, such as making advances of up to 100 per cent of the indicative award available and increasing the repayment period to 12 months, removing the 7 waiting days, providing an additional payment of 2 weeks of Housing Benefit to support claimants when they transition to UC, and changing how claimants in temporary accommodation receive support for their housing costs.

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