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
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Indonesia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether he plans to make increased trade with Indonesia conditional on the removal of virginity tests for women applying to the Indonesian military.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The UK has a strong history of protecting human rights and promoting our values globally. We were the first country to produce a National Action Plan to implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We will continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations.

As we develop our independent trade policy, we recognise the need to maximise benefits of trade whilst staying true to our values.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Honduras
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to negotiate a free trade deal with Honduras.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 17 June 2019

As we leave the EU, the Government is seeking to replicate the effects of the EU’s existing trade agreement with Central America, which includes Honduras. We are working together with Central American partners to ensure that we are prepared for all possible scenarios.

Discussions are on-going and the Government will inform Parliament as soon as our discussions have concluded, ahead of ratification.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made in negotiating a free trade deal with Israel.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 17 June 2019

On 18th February 2019, the Secretary of State for International Trade signed the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement, which ensures continuity in our trade and investment relationship after the proposed Implementation Period, or if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Securing continuity is the strongest foundation on which to build further on our successful trading relationship.

The UK is committed to strengthening our excellent bilateral relationship through the dedicated trade promotion team at our Embassy in Tel-Aviv. We continue to engage with the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and liaise with the government to maximise future trade opportunities.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements: Malawi
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps he has taken to negotiate a free trade deal with Malawi after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Malawi.

The UK has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with Eastern and Southern Africa States (ESA). As Malawi has not acceded to the ESA-EU EPA it is not party to the transitioned UK EPA although it is eligible to do so in the future.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Togo
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress has he made on strengthening the trade relationship with Togo after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Draft Answer

As the Prime Minister set out during her visit to Africa last Summer, which I accompanied her on, the Government is committed to advancing our trade relationship with Africa. DIT has set up the Africa Trade Services Unit to act as the single point of contact for UK companies exporting to Africa. The Unit responds to all Africa trade enquiries, including those related to Togo to improve companies’ trading capabilities and promote trade.

The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018 enables the UK to put in place a trade preferences scheme for developing countries that maintains duty-free, quota-free access to Least Developed Countries, including Togo.

Q
Asked by Hugh Gaffney
(Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill)
Asked on: 10 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fraud: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to improve public awareness of scams in Scotland.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Responsibility and funding to provide consumer advice, education and advocacy was devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 2016. The Scottish Government fund Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) to deliver. BEIS remains responsible for funding the delivery of national and cross-border enforcement in Scotland through Trading Standards Scotland (TSS).

CAS and TSS are currently working together to deliver the annual Scams Awareness campaign in Scotland which runs from 10th to 23rd June to raise awareness, educate consumers and encourage the reporting of scams. TSS also worked with Policy Scotland, local Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch on the “Shut out Scammers” campaign in April this year to tackle doorstep crime and bogus callers.

Much of the work undertaken by TSS is targeted at preventing scams; tackling rogue traders; and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
Asked on: 12 June 2019
Wales Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, on how many occasions his Department has received representations from the UK Statistics Authority on his Department's presentation and use of statistics in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Alun Cairns
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Details on the UK Statistics Authority’s interventions are published in the correspondence, publications, and issues log sections of their website since 2010.

The Authority’s Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) also carry out regular assessments and systemic reviews, details of which can also be found on the Authority’s website.

In September 2018, the Authority published the first annual summary of its interventions for the financial year 2017/18. The report for 2018/19 will be published in the autumn.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
Asked on: 13 June 2019
Wales Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how many meetings he has held with his Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser between 1 March 2019 and 31 May 2019.
A
Answered by: Alun Cairns
Answered on: 17 June 2019

None. The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales does not have a Chief Scientific Adviser.

Q
Asked by Neil Gray
(Airdrie and Shotts)
Asked on: 13 May 2019
Women and Equalities
Department for Transport: Equality
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress her Department has made on achieving Sustainable Development Goal 10 to reduce inequality within and among countries in respect of inequality within the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The UK will present a Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the United Nations in July 2019, setting out the UK’s contribution to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at home and abroad. The report will include the Government’s progress in supporting delivery of Goal 10 to reduce inequality within and among countries and will include an assessment of the UK’s efforts to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all and reduce inequalities of outcome and discriminatory laws, policies and practices.

Q
(Bristol East)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Soya Beans: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans the Government has to set baseline import standards and due diligence requirements on companies importing soy.
A
Answered by: George Hollingbery
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Imports of fruit and vegetables, including soy and soy-based products, from outside the European Union must meet the same standards as food produced in the EU.

Maintaining safety and public confidence in the food we eat is of the highest priority. Without exception, imports must meet all the relevant UK product rules and regulations. The EU Withdrawal Act will transfer onto the UK statute book all current EU food safety and animal welfare standards.

Q
(Tooting)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Women and Equalities
Gender Recognition
Commons
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Government consultation on Reform of the Gender Recognition Act which closed on 22 October 2018, when the Government plans to publish (a) that consultation's findings and (b) its response to those findings.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 14 June 2019

From 3 July to 22 October 2018, the Government ran a public consultation on reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in order to make the gender recognition process less bureaucratic and intrusive for the people that use it.

We have had an exceptional response rate to the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, receiving over 100,000 responses. We are considering these responses and the next steps. We will set out our response to the consultation later this year. This will include publishing the consultation results.

Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Home Office
Radicalism: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the May 2019 Royal United Services Institute report into international financing of UK right-wing extremist organisations entitled Fundraising for Right-Wing Extremist Movements: How They Raise Funds and How to Counter It.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The UK has a strong reputation for tackling terrorist financing, using a range of disruptive tools and capabilities to prevent the movement of terrorist finance into and out of the UK. The Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Task Force brings together the financial sector with government to better detect and disrupt terrorist funding.

The 2017 Criminal Finance Act also strengthened law enforcements ability to identify, investigate and disrupt terrorist finance activity and work effectively with private sector partners.

The Government remains committed to tackling Right-Wing Extremism and extremist fundraising. We continue to consider all emerging evidence and analysis of financing for extremist causes, including that of the Extremism Analysis Unit.

Grouped Questions: 259926
Q
Asked by Lyn Brown
(West Ham)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Home Office
Radicalism: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will put in place a strategy to support the (a) identification and (b) disruption by Government bodies of fundraising for (i) those organisations identified in the May 2019 Royal United Services Institute report entitled Fundraising for Right-Wing Extremist Movements: How They Raise Funds and How to Counter It and (ii) other right-wing extremist movements.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The UK has a strong reputation for tackling terrorist financing, using a range of disruptive tools and capabilities to prevent the movement of terrorist finance into and out of the UK. The Joint Money Laundering Intelligence Task Force brings together the financial sector with government to better detect and disrupt terrorist funding.

The 2017 Criminal Finance Act also strengthened law enforcements ability to identify, investigate and disrupt terrorist finance activity and work effectively with private sector partners.

The Government remains committed to tackling Right-Wing Extremism and extremist fundraising. We continue to consider all emerging evidence and analysis of financing for extremist causes, including that of the Extremism Analysis Unit.

Grouped Questions: 259925
Q
(Monmouth)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department for Education
Pupils: Gender Recognition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to issue guidance to schools on handling allegations of misgendering of pupils.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 14 June 2019

​The Department has published guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act. This includes a duty on schools not to discriminate unlawfully due to the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

As part of the Government’s LGBT Action Plan, the Department has committed to ensuring that schools have access to the guidance they need to support LGBT pupils. This includes a commitment to updating the Equality Act guidance. Also, in the LGBT Action Plan is a commitment that Government Equalities Office will work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to publish comprehensive guidance for schools on how to support transgender pupils.

Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Public Health England sexually transmitted infection data, published June 2019; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

It is concerning to see the increase in sexually transmitted infections, and we would encourage people to practice safe sex by using condoms and to access their free, local sexual health services if they consider themselves to be at risk of infection. Local authorities have been mandated to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services and are best placed to understand and meet the public health needs of their local communities.

Data published by Public Health England show that more people are accessing sexual health services, with attendances increasing by 7% between 2017 and 2018. This continues the trend of increases in attendances seen over the past five years. To help manage the overall increase in demand, online services are increasingly being commissioning to manage lower risk and asymptomatic patients. These services also have the potential to reach groups not currently engaged with clinic services.

Grouped Questions: 260587
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) local and (b) national services for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of sexually transmitted infections are delivered to those groups with greatest sexual health needs.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

It is concerning to see the increase in sexually transmitted infections, and we would encourage people to practice safe sex by using condoms and to access their free, local sexual health services if they consider themselves to be at risk of infection. Local authorities have been mandated to commission comprehensive open access sexual health services and are best placed to understand and meet the public health needs of their local communities.

Data published by Public Health England show that more people are accessing sexual health services, with attendances increasing by 7% between 2017 and 2018. This continues the trend of increases in attendances seen over the past five years. To help manage the overall increase in demand, online services are increasingly being commissioning to manage lower risk and asymptomatic patients. These services also have the potential to reach groups not currently engaged with clinic services.

Grouped Questions: 260586
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Chlamydia: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason chlamydia testing rates have reduced by 22 per cent since 2014.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Local authorities monitor the performance of local sexual health contracts. This information is not collected by Public Health England (PHE).

It is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening. PHE supports local areas through facilitated chlamydia care pathway workshops. These workshops enable local commissioners and providers to explore and review local chlamydia activities, and create data driven action plans to improve service provision and outcomes.

Grouped Questions: 260589
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Chlamydia: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening services.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Local authorities monitor the performance of local sexual health contracts. This information is not collected by Public Health England (PHE).

It is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure ease of access to chlamydia screening. PHE supports local areas through facilitated chlamydia care pathway workshops. These workshops enable local commissioners and providers to explore and review local chlamydia activities, and create data driven action plans to improve service provision and outcomes.

Grouped Questions: 260588
Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what urgent steps the Government will take to tackle increases in rates of (a) gonorrhoea and (b) syphilis.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

In June 2019, Public Health England (PHE) published a Syphilis Action Plan to improve the detection, surveillance and clinical management of syphilis at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/syphilis-public-health-england-action-plan

To reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhoea and syphilis, PHE launched the ‘Protect Against STIs’ health promotion campaign in 2017/18 to promote condom use and positive sexual relationships among 16 to 24-year olds. This campaign can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/protect-against-stis-use-a-condom/home

Additionally, HIV Prevention England has been contracted to deliver a HIV prevention programme aimed at gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men; black Africans; and other groups in whom there is a higher or emerging burden of infection. This programme promotes, among other behaviours, condom use and awareness of STIs including gonorrhoea and syphilis. More information on this programme can be found at the following link:

http://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/

Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Gonorrhoea: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the risk to public health of drug resistant gonorrhoea.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Drug resistance in gonorrhoea increases the likelihood of treatment failure and ongoing transmission. There have been three documented treatment failures in England reported to date and all were eventually cured successfully. Public Health England (PHE) undertakes comprehensive surveillance through the gonococcal resistance to antimicrobials surveillance programme to enable early detection and management of antibiotic resistance in gonorrhoea. It uses this intelligence to advise on national gonorrhoea treatment guidelines ensuring they remain effective. PHE also investigates outbreaks and individual cases of extensively drug resistant gonorrhoea and potential treatment failures to ensure effective management and control spread. Further information can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gonococcal-resistance-to-antimicrobials-surveillance-programme-grasp-report

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