Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Leicester South)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Climate Change and Environment Protection: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the teaching of (a) environmental protection and (b) climate change in schools.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January 2018, sets out the ambition to improve the environment within a generation. As part of the plan the Department for Education (DfE) has worked with Defra and Natural England on the Children and Nature Programme, a £10 million programme which aims to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to the natural environment. The programme has been designed to make it possible for schools to undertake a range of activities in natural spaces, such as learning about nature and how to care for the natural environment. This programme complements the scope that already exists to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum, in particular in science and geography lessons.

Defra and the DfE regularly work together on ways to make children aware of issues that impact on the environment and how they can help tackle them. There is scope to study environmental issues throughout the curriculum. For example, in primary school science, pupils are taught that environments can change and this can pose a danger to living things. In geography at key stage 3, pupils will look at how human and physical processes interact to influence and change landscapes, environments and the climate. In GCSE, science pupils will consider the evidence and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change. In 2017, we introduced new environmental science A level for those students who want to study this area of science in more detail.

Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seas and Oceans: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve global ocean conservation.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The UK is working both domestically and internationally to improve global ocean conservation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG14. Internationally, we are leading calls to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030. We are on track to protect 4 million square kilometres of ocean across our Overseas Territories by 2020, and are backing an Ascension Island bid to protect 100% of its offshore waters. To support achievement of the “30by30” target, the UK is working hard to secure the agreement of a new Implementing Agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in 2020.

Domestically, 36% of English inshore and offshore waters are protected within Marine Protected Areas. In addition, we have consulted on a further 41 Marine Conservation Zones. Sites to be designated will be in place by 7 June.

We are also working to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and are leading global efforts to tackle the problem through our support of the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. In April 2018, we launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), which we co-lead with Vanuatu. The CCOA encourages its 25 member countries to take steps to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, significantly reduce single use plastic carrier bags by 2021 and implement a ban of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products by 2021.

The Government’s forthcoming International Ocean Strategy will set out our plan to work with our international partners to secure a sustainable, prosperous and secure ocean future.

Q
Asked by Ruth Cadbury
(Brentford and Isleworth)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Boats
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what impact assessment has been undertaken to examine the effect of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals for older passenger boats on trends in the level of Environment Agency lock fees.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The Environment Agency’s (EA) boat registration charge proposals for 2019-2021 were approved by Ministers in October 2018, before the Maritime and Coastguard Agency published its consultation on proposed amendments to the technical requirements applicable to UK domestic passenger vessels.

EA charge proposals from 2021 will be subject to a full public consultation and also a business impact target assessment. The EA has committed to involving stakeholders in developing these proposals, in particular engaging the marine trade, through British Marine – the UK industry body which represents the interests of passenger boat operators.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Fylde
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of houses protected in the Fylde constituency as a result of (a) work done to Dock Road pumping station and (b) the Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The number of houses better protected from flooding as a result of (a) work done to Dock Road pumping station is 652 and (b) the Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme is 2,347.

Q
Asked by Mark Menzies
(Fylde)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Flood Control: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 7 February 2019 to Question 218283, what funding has been allocated to the flood defence works in that Answer and related works in (a) the Fylde Coast and (b) Lancashire.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Funding has been allocated as follows to the flood defence works referenced in the answer of 7 February 2019 to PQ 218283:

  • £22,000 to the completed embankment improvements to the south of Moss Side, and £15,000 to embankment improvements to the north of Moss Side, which are planned for April 2019.

  • £138,000 for forecast maintenance costs in 2019/20 in areas such as Main Drain and Liggard Brook, including £57,000 for channel maintenance and £81,000 operating costs for pumping stations and tidal outfalls.

  • Over £20 million to the Fairhaven and Church Scar Coast Protection Scheme.

  • £1.2 million to the Starr Hill Sand Dunes project.

The Environment Agency is delivering a joint capital programme with other Risk Management Authorities to better protect over 34,000 homes from flooding in Lancashire between 2015 and 2021 at an estimated cost of £100 million. This programme has already delivered better protection to nearly 28,000 homes and over 1,000 businesses.

In addition to the capital programme, in 2018/19 £3 million was allocated in Lancashire for maintaining flood risk assets such as flood basins and embankments. This level of investment is expected to continue until 2021 to ensure these assets are in the right condition to protect people and homes.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Public Footpaths: Bicycles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will provide guidance on the rights of cyclists to walk a bicycle along a public footpath.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

There are no current plans to provide guidance of this nature. Management of rights of way, including footpaths, rests with the relevant local authority. The expectation is for local authorities, whenever possible, to look at the needs of all users including cyclists.

Q
Asked by John Grogan
(Keighley)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste Disposal: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to strengthen the powers the environment agency has to determine whether a person or a company is fit and proper to be granted a licence regarding the disposal or incineration of waste.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 18 April 2019

Last year the Government committed to implementing measures to raise the standard of operator competence at permitted waste sites by strengthening the Environment Agency’s assessment and enforcement powers.

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/reducing-crime-at-sites-handling-waste-and-introducing-fixed-penalties-for-waste-duty-of-care/outcome/government-response

We are now delivering on these published commitments. In January we passed legislation requiring all waste facilities to have a written management plan to minimise the risks of pollution to the environment.

www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/1227/part/3/made

In March we widened the scope of past offences the Environment Agency can consider when assessing competence for applications for waste facility permits:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/relevant-conviction-guidance-for-permit-applications-for-waste-activities-and-installations-only/relevant-convictions-for-waste-environmental-permits

In the coming months we will update Core Guidance to strengthen the Environment Agency’s enforcement capabilities when considering operators’ past performance. Further measures to tackle crime and low levels of performance in the waste industry are set out in our Resources and Waste Strategy.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of people affected by the proposals for airspace change at Heathrow.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 18 April 2019

The precise noise impacts will depend on the final flight path designs which must be approved through the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Airspace Change Process.

As part of this regulatory process, Heathrow will need to provide detailed assessments of the number of people who are expected to be affected by its airspace proposals, including the number of newly affected people as well as those who may benefit. These assessments will form part of the information the airport will include in its formal airspace change process consultations.

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2019 to Question 234706 on Offenders: Electronic Tagging, how many monitoring starts under the existing monitoring scheme there have been in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 17 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

Information on the number of electronic monitoring starts for 2015 to 2018 is contained within the table below. Data for the year ending March 2019 will be provided in the next HMPPS Annual Digest, due to be published in July 2019. Data for 2014 is of poor quality and not available.

Table: New electronic monitoring order notifications by order type, England and Wales, for the years ending March 2015 to March 2018 (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

Numbers

12 months ending March

Type of Order

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOTAL NOTIFICATIONS

71,930

r

69,204

r

63,455

r

58,128

Bail

20,143

r

18,618

r

15,707

r

15,008

Court Sentence

40,798

r

39,665

r

36,811

r

30,570

Post Release

10,194

r

10,067

r

10,390

r

12,005

Immigration

775

r

822

r

503

492

Specials

20

32

44

53

Source: EMS Contractor data

r - Figures have been revised since previous reports were published. The differences are generally small and due to the provisional nature of the data when published previously.

(1) These figures are drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

(2) Includes orders for subjects on bail, sentenced to a court order, released from custody on licence, immigration orders managed by the Home Office, and a small number of Special orders.

(3) One subject may be given multiple orders over the course of the year. In these figures each is counted individually. I.e. one person with four orders counts as four.

(4) Comprises notifications of new electronic monitoring orders received by the EM contractor that started between April 2014 and March 2018. In some cases the monitoring equipment may never have been installed, e.g. if the subject is taken into custody prior to installation. These cases are included in the total.

(5) Figures for the year ending March 2018 are provisional

Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2019 to Question 234706 on Offenders: Electronic Tagging, who the decision-makers will be that will apply the necessary reasonableness, proportionality and necessity tests for use of the 1,000 GPS tags available at any one time.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 17 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

GPS tags are available nationally for eligible post-custody cohorts. For Home Detention Curfew cases, the prison governor is the decision maker. We have provided prison governors with guidance about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring. For prisoners serving a Life Sentence, Imprisonment for Public Protection or Extended Determinate Sentence, the decision rests with the Parole Board. We have provided the Parole Board with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring.

GPS tags are also being rolled out for use in courts, as a requirement of a Community Order, a Suspended Sentence Order or Court-imposed bail. In these cases, the decision will rest with the Judiciary. We have provided the independent Judiciary with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring

Grouped Questions: 241429
Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 05 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Electronic Tagging
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 28 March 2019 to Question 234706 on Offenders: Electronic Tagging, whether new policy guidelines will be issued to assist decision makers on deciding which offenders will be given GPS tags.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 17 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

GPS tags are available nationally for eligible post-custody cohorts. For Home Detention Curfew cases, the prison governor is the decision maker. We have provided prison governors with guidance about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring. For prisoners serving a Life Sentence, Imprisonment for Public Protection or Extended Determinate Sentence, the decision rests with the Parole Board. We have provided the Parole Board with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring.

GPS tags are also being rolled out for use in courts, as a requirement of a Community Order, a Suspended Sentence Order or Court-imposed bail. In these cases, the decision will rest with the Judiciary. We have provided the independent Judiciary with information about the capabilities and uses of location monitoring

Grouped Questions: 241428
Q
Asked by Gill Furniss
(Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough)
[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: 05 April 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Whirlpool Corporation: Tumble Dryers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many affected Whirlpool customers the Office for Product Safety and Standards contacted as part of its review of the company's handling of its tumble dryer safety issue announced in November 2015.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Office for Product Safety and Standards review focussed on engineering assessment of Whirlpool tumble dryers and expert analysis of data including fire and incident data from Fire and Rescue Services, Which? and Whirlpool. It also reviewed whether Whirlpool’s consumer outreach programme was adequate.

The review included input from scientific, legal and product safety experts including from the Government’s Health and Safety Laboratory and the BEIS Chief Scientific Advisor.

Interviews with consumers did not form part of the review.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number and proportion of residential property transactions that do not complete the legal purchase process in the latest period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Government does not collect data on the number of housing transactions which fall through. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the fall through rate is around 25 per cent, which is why the Government is working with industry to trial reservation agreements which will increase commitment between buyers and sellers and should reduce the failure rate.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Department for International Development: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many non-disclosure agreements his Department has entered into with departmental staff in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Department for International Trade (DIT) was set up in July 2016. There have been no non-disclosure agreements signed with employees working for DIT or UK Export Finance (UKEF) since this date.

Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Education
Construction: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Construction Industry Training Board is taking to increase take-up rates of short courses among school leavers.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Construction Industry Training Board provides support for young people to access apprenticeships, and is involved in developing the Construction technical route, with the Design Surveying and Planning T level to be offered from September 2020. We believe that these substantive vocational qualifications rather than short courses are the best route to provide young people with the experience and skills needed to secure a career in the construction industry.

Apprentices are employed and earn a wage so do not require financial assistance. Data on the take-up of apprenticeships is included in the March 2019 apprenticeships and levy statistics available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789653/Apprenticeship-and-levy-statistics-Mar2019_.pdf.

​The CITB is currently investing over £20 million in piloting the Construction Skills Fund, a short course that is aimed at supporting non-traditional routes into construction (such as ex-offenders or the long-term unemployed), who we believe are most likely to benefit from this approach, which may then lead on to more substantive qualifications such as an apprenticeship.

Grouped Questions: 242713 | 242714
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Education
Construction: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of recent trends in the take-up rates among school leavers of short courses promoted by the Construction Industry Training Board.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Construction Industry Training Board provides support for young people to access apprenticeships, and is involved in developing the Construction technical route, with the Design Surveying and Planning T level to be offered from September 2020. We believe that these substantive vocational qualifications rather than short courses are the best route to provide young people with the experience and skills needed to secure a career in the construction industry.

Apprentices are employed and earn a wage so do not require financial assistance. Data on the take-up of apprenticeships is included in the March 2019 apprenticeships and levy statistics available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789653/Apprenticeship-and-levy-statistics-Mar2019_.pdf.

​The CITB is currently investing over £20 million in piloting the Construction Skills Fund, a short course that is aimed at supporting non-traditional routes into construction (such as ex-offenders or the long-term unemployed), who we believe are most likely to benefit from this approach, which may then lead on to more substantive qualifications such as an apprenticeship.

Grouped Questions: 242712 | 242714
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Education
Construction: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what financial assistance is available to school leavers from low-income households undertaking short courses that are promoted by the Construction Industry Training Board.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Construction Industry Training Board provides support for young people to access apprenticeships, and is involved in developing the Construction technical route, with the Design Surveying and Planning T level to be offered from September 2020. We believe that these substantive vocational qualifications rather than short courses are the best route to provide young people with the experience and skills needed to secure a career in the construction industry.

Apprentices are employed and earn a wage so do not require financial assistance. Data on the take-up of apprenticeships is included in the March 2019 apprenticeships and levy statistics available at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/789653/Apprenticeship-and-levy-statistics-Mar2019_.pdf.

​The CITB is currently investing over £20 million in piloting the Construction Skills Fund, a short course that is aimed at supporting non-traditional routes into construction (such as ex-offenders or the long-term unemployed), who we believe are most likely to benefit from this approach, which may then lead on to more substantive qualifications such as an apprenticeship.

Grouped Questions: 242712 | 242713
Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Secondment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 March 2019 to Question 234783 on Department for International Development: Secondment, what teams within his Department the five requested roles from the Department for International Development will be in.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 17 April 2019

Staff on secondment from the Department for International Development to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for EU exit purposes are being assigned to roles in the Directorate-General for EU Exit.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Department for International Development: Secondment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 25 March 2019 to Question 234783 on Department for International Development: Secondment, what teams within his Department the 21 requested roles from the Department for International Development will be in.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 17 April 2019

The Department for International Development has deployed 21 staff into EU Exit priority roles in the Department for International Trade as of 16th April 2019.

Of these, 19 staff have been deployed into Trade Policy Group, 1 into Analysts and 1 into Human Resources.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many Foreign Office employees were (a) seconded and (b) permanently transferred to the Department for Exiting the European Union (a) between June 2016 and December 2018, and (b) between December 2018 and April 2019.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 17 April 2019

26 Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff were loaned to the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) between June 2016 and December 2018.

Fewer than five Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff were loaned to DExEU between December 2018 and 10 April 2019.

No Foreign and Commonwealth Office employees transferred permenently to DExEU between June 2016 and 10 April 2019.

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