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
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish their Regional Trade Plans.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 August 2019

Regional Trade Plans (RTPs), set out an overseas region’s overarching strategy, key objectives and priorities, which will drive the delivery of Her Majesty’s Government’s trade objectives overseas. Currently, the RTPs are internal documents, but the Department for International Trade intends to publish executive summaries of the RTPs in due course.

Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Digital Technology: Innovation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to incentivise more innovative digital projects in the UK.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 02 August 2019

The Industrial Strategy set out our commitment to becoming the world’s most innovative economy, ensuring the UK is the best place for researchers and innovators throughout Britain. We are already delivering record increases in public sector R&D investment — an extra £7bn committed by 2021/21 — with a target to reach 2.4% of GDP investment in R&D across the whole economy by 2027.

The government is supporting organisations that promote digital innovation. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is incentivising innovation, including in digital projects, by bringing together world-class UK research with business investment to develop new technologies. The Digital Catapult, an advanced digital technology innovation centre, receives funding to drive the early adoption of digital technologies to make UK businesses more competitive. It provides physical and digital facilities for experimentation and brings small companies, corporates, researchers and investors together through innovation programmes.

We are also helping innovative companies to access funding to expand and develop new projects. This includes the £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme, delivered through the British Business Bank, which will support innovative UK companies to access the long-term investment they need to grow and expand worldwide.

The Industrial Strategy also supports the development of projects in specific sectors through Sector Deals: long term partnerships between industry and the government. These have included commitments to develop several digital projects to improve productivity in sectors ranging from Rail to Creative Industries to Tourism.

Q
Asked on: 15 July 2019
Department for Transport
Pedestrians: Safety
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to pedestrians on pavements of the wing mirrors on buses and other large vehicles; and what steps they will take to ensure that pedestrians are not at risk of being struck by the wing mirrors of such vehicles.
A
Answered on: 24 July 2019

The Government has not made an assessment of the risk to pedestrians on pavements of the wing mirrors on buses and other large vehicles, as this level of detail is not collected in road traffic collision information.

Vehicle regulations are made at an international level and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation 46 already includes provisions to protect pedestrians with regard to the mirror of a moving vehicle.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Intelligence Services: Languages
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people whose first language is not English are employed by each of the intelligence agencies; what languages they speak; and what assessment they have made of the adequacy of language proficiency in the intelligence services.
A
Answered on: 22 July 2019

​The Government has a longstanding policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Fairhead on 23 January (HL12726) and Viscount Younger of Leckie on 4 July (HL16484), whether the Department for International Trade's Regional Trade Plans include recommendations for implementation which reflect the views of the private sector; whether equal consideration is given to the recommendations of small and medium-sized enterprises in addition to those of large organisations; and why they do not currently intend to publish Regional Trade Plans in full.
Answered on: 17 July 2019

To achieve a forward-looking Global Britain the Department for International Trade works with both UK and overseas businesses of all sizes to drive an increase in trade. Regional Trade Plans are strategic documents which drive the delivery of our Departmental objectives overseas and have been developed by teams who work regularly with businesses in their regions and in the UK. These views are reflected in regional priorities in the Plans.

We intend to publish a summary of Regional Trade Plans, which will consolidate more detailed internal plans.

Q
Asked on: 10 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electric Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans UK regulators are implementing to ensure continuity of electricity supplies from national and local grids to supply electric cars during rush hour journeys.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 17 July 2019

The Government is committed to making sure consumers have secure, affordable and clean energy now and in the future.

The Capacity Market secures the capacity required to meet peak demand, including demand for electric vehicles, in a range of scenarios through auctions held four- and one-year ahead of delivery. Although currently in a standstill period, the Capacity Market has already procured the bulk of the electricity capacity we need up to 2022.

In addition, the Government has taken powers in the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 to mandate that charge points sold or installed in the UK must be smart enabled – allowing demand for charging of electric vehicles to be shifted, where appropriate, to off-peak times.

Finally, Ofgem regulates network companies to ensure that they deliver a safe, reliable network whilst investing for the future and providing value for money for consumers. This includes ensuring that networks can reliably deliver the energy that consumers need, including for charging electric vehicles.

Q
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Embassies: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the recording of events surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, what assessment they have made of the adequacy of security measures to prevent surveillance of UK embassies and consulates.
A
Answered on: 15 July 2019

​It is our policy not to comment publicly on the security measures that protect our people, properties and information.

Q
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Jamal Khashoggi
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Goudie on 27 June, what repercussions the UK has indicated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would follow should international judicial norms not be followed in all matters relating to the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
A
Answered on: 11 July 2019

The British Government condemns Jamal Khashoggi's killing in the strongest possible terms. The Government remains clear that anyone found responsible must be held fully accountable. The ongoing Saudi judicial process is an important element in the process to establish accountability. We expect it to proceed in line with internationally recognised legal standards. The UK attends the trial as part of a group of international observers. We attend all trials of international concern where host governments permit us to do so. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on an ongoing legal process.

Q
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department for International Development
International Assistance: Blockchain
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to making full use of the capabilities of blockchain-based smart contracts to protect the supply chain and ensure that major international aid and development projects are fully transparent, and that funding is secure.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 July 2019

DFID is committed to best practice in the use of new digital technologies and we have set a vision for doing development in a digital world in our Digital Strategy. We have commissioned several reports to understand the effectiveness and potential of emerging blockchain technologies for international development. DFID also has several proof of concept pilots in design and implementation to test the potential of blockchain in, for example, humanitarian supply chains, tracking of UK aid funds, and to incentivise and reward environmentally sustainable farming practices. DFID is learning from these pilots and other projects to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of delivering aid.

DFID’s contracts are tendered in accordance with the EU Public Procurement Directive and the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2015, the focus of which is to ensure open and fair competition between bidders. This means our contracts are competitively tendered following a set of standard processes set out in the regulations. This competitive approach helps ensure value for money in the delivery of UK aid. British companies have continued to be very successful in this competitive market with UK firms winning 80% of our contracts in 2018/19.

Grouped Questions: HL16770 | HL16771
Q
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department for International Development
International Assistance: Blockchain
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to help fund the further assessment and development of blockchain technologies for major infrastructure and international development projects, and (2) to ensure that the UK remains a centre of excellence and is a preferred jurisdiction for such contracts.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 July 2019

DFID is committed to best practice in the use of new digital technologies and we have set a vision for doing development in a digital world in our Digital Strategy. We have commissioned several reports to understand the effectiveness and potential of emerging blockchain technologies for international development. DFID also has several proof of concept pilots in design and implementation to test the potential of blockchain in, for example, humanitarian supply chains, tracking of UK aid funds, and to incentivise and reward environmentally sustainable farming practices. DFID is learning from these pilots and other projects to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of delivering aid.

DFID’s contracts are tendered in accordance with the EU Public Procurement Directive and the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2015, the focus of which is to ensure open and fair competition between bidders. This means our contracts are competitively tendered following a set of standard processes set out in the regulations. This competitive approach helps ensure value for money in the delivery of UK aid. British companies have continued to be very successful in this competitive market with UK firms winning 80% of our contracts in 2018/19.

Grouped Questions: HL16769 | HL16771
Q
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department for International Development
International Assistance: Blockchain
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support UK companies that are developing blockchain technology for the delivery of major international development contracts.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 July 2019

DFID is committed to best practice in the use of new digital technologies and we have set a vision for doing development in a digital world in our Digital Strategy. We have commissioned several reports to understand the effectiveness and potential of emerging blockchain technologies for international development. DFID also has several proof of concept pilots in design and implementation to test the potential of blockchain in, for example, humanitarian supply chains, tracking of UK aid funds, and to incentivise and reward environmentally sustainable farming practices. DFID is learning from these pilots and other projects to ensure that the UK remains at the cutting edge of delivering aid.

DFID’s contracts are tendered in accordance with the EU Public Procurement Directive and the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2015, the focus of which is to ensure open and fair competition between bidders. This means our contracts are competitively tendered following a set of standard processes set out in the regulations. This competitive approach helps ensure value for money in the delivery of UK aid. British companies have continued to be very successful in this competitive market with UK firms winning 80% of our contracts in 2018/19.

Grouped Questions: HL16769 | HL16770
Q
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Business: Billing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to use blockchain-based smart-contracts to ensure that small and medium sized enterprises are protected from late payment by larger companies in the supply chain.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Government recognises the impact late payments can have on businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises.

Blockchain technology is one solution of how this can be tackled.. For example, smart contracts can initiate payments based on digitally approved work or digitally tracked goods delivery. This enables businesses to be paid automatically, reducing the need for invoicing and preventing delays in payments. The technology ensures a high level of transparency for all parties involved, and helps prevent organisations from taking unilateral actions to alter original contracts.

The Government is supporting the development of blockchain technology in the UK and officials in the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport are exploring potential pilot projects with government departments. The Department for Business recently published the government response on the call for evidence to end late payments to small businesses. Many SMEs supply to government and, as one of the UK's largest corporate buyers, it is our responsibility to ensure suppliers are paid promptly and to examine where the use of technology can help with this.

Q
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Home Office
Home Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to reassess the working structure of the Home Office.
Answered on: 08 July 2019

Her Majesty’s Government has no such plans. Nonetheless, in common with all large organisations, the Home Office makes marginal adjustments to its structures routinely.

Q
Asked on: 18 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 9 January (HL 12726), whether the Trade Commission Regional Trade Plans include recommendations for implementation; if so, how any such recommendations are being implemented; whether they will now publish the Regional Trade Plans; and if not, why not.
Answered on: 04 July 2019

Regional trade plans (RTPs) are internal departmental documents which set out a region’s overarching strategy, objectives and priorities. They are developed in collaboration between overseas and UK based officials, and are assessed yearly. Where the Department for International Trade operates, UK overseas posts also have a plan to deliver our vision for a Global Britain, which provides the detail of how an RTP will be implemented in each market.

It is the Department’s intention to publish a public version of the plans in due course.

Q
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China and Iran: British Nationals Abroad
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the respective Nationality Acts of (1) China, and (2) Iran, on British dual nationals, in particular their impact on general safety, vulnerability to blackmail and security risks; what advice they give those dual nationals when travelling to those countries; and what protection they give to those when affected.
A
Answered on: 04 July 2019

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) produces country-specific travel advice for British nationals. The travel advice for China and Iran contains specific information for British dual nationals. The FCO advises British-Iranian dual nationals against all travel to Iran. The assistance the FCO can provide to British nationals is set out in the public guide, "Support for British nationals abroad: a guide", which also contains information on how we can help dual nationals. Consular assistance is tailored to the individual circumstances of each case, though the FCO cannot normally help dual nationals when they are in the country of their other nationality. Further advice for British-Chinese dual nationals in China is also available on GOV.UK.

Q
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sanctions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 20 June, whether they can provide examples of the evidence on which they based their answer; and what assessment they have made of whether leaders of countries targeted by UK sanctions care about the effects of such sanctions on citizens of those countries.
A
Answered on: 04 July 2019

​Sanctions are designed to effect a change in behaviour through coercing or constraining an individual or entity, or sending a clear political signal of international discontent at particular behaviour. Linking behaviour change to sanctions explicitly is challenging as it is difficult to judge the extent of the influence of sanctions alone as they are always deployed as part of a broader strategy, accompanied by other policy tools. The majority of sanctions implemented by the UK are EU and UN sanctions. It is difficult to assess the personal opinions of the political leadership of countries which have been sanctioned; however, sanctions are carefully targeted and not intended to be punitive in nature.

Q
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
Army: Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to recruit Junior Soldiers to cyber apprenticeships.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 04 July 2019

Junior soldiers are signed up for an apprenticeship when they join, which will be specific to the trade they wish to specialise in. The Army does not currently offer a 'Cyber' apprenticeship but does offer other apprenticeships relevant to those who work in this area.

Cyber security is vital to defence and training our personnel is of paramount importance to us. The Defence Cyber School, which celebrated its first-year anniversary in March, is a centre of excellence for cyber training established to meet the needs of defence and its partners, addressing all aspects of cyber training and education.

Q
Asked on: 20 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they approve export licences for the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia.
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The Department for International Trade is responsible for licensing the export of arms and military equipment. All export licence applications for arms exports to Saudi Arabia are approved where they are assessed to be consistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria which were announced to Parliament by the then Business Secretary on 25 March 2014. All relevant information, from a wide range of sources, is taken into account when assessing export licence applications, including the capability of the equipment to be exported, the end-user and stated end-use, and the risk of misuse or diversion to undesirable end-users.

Q
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Disinformation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to combat advances in digital technology to counter difficult-to-detect digital manipulations of audio or video recordings.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 03 July 2019

The Government recognises the challenges and potential dangers of digitally manipulated content. We are considering these issues carefully as part of the Government’s plan to tackle wider forms of online manipulation and disinformation.

Our Online Harms White Paper sets out the actions we expect companies to take to limit the spread of disinformation on their platforms.

Q
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Staff
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, what is the percentage breakdown of public sector employees by (1) gender, and (2) ethnicity, for each region of the United Kingdom.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 28 June 2019

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Dear Viscount Waverley,


As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what the percentage breakdown of public sector employees is by (1) gender, and (2) ethnicity for each region of the United Kingdom (HL164444).


Estimates of employees by sector of employment are available from the Annual Population Survey (APS), a household survey of people in the UK. In the APS, the distinction between public and private sector is based on respondents’ views about the organisation for which they work. This may differ from how we would classify them for the headline measure of public sector employment. The APS also collects information regarding respondents’ sex and ethnicity.

Table 1 contains estimates of the percentage of public sector employees broken down by sex within each region. Table 2 contains estimates of the percentage of public sector employees broken down by ethnicity within each region. Both breakdowns use APS data for April 2018 to March 2019, the latest period for which data are available.

As the data are quite extensive, copy of both tables have been placed in the House of Commons Library.


Yours sincerely,


John Pullinger

UKSA Final Response (Excel SpreadSheet, 16.02 KB)
Q
Asked on: 13 June 2019
Department for Transport
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit (1) the distance that drones may travel, and (2) the height that drones may reach to 125 metres, to reduce the risk of potential issues in airspace.
A
Answered on: 27 June 2019

The Air Navigation Order 2016 already prohibits flying small unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight or above 400ft, which is just over 121 metres, without permission or an exemption from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Q
Asked on: 12 June 2019
Home Office
Surveillance: Unmanned Air Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the use of drones on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, piracy, kidnappings and other offences combatted by surveillance technologies.
Answered on: 26 June 2019

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for the Police and other law enforcement agencies.

Q
Asked on: 13 June 2019
Department for Transport
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations that require manufacturers to have a signalling beacon on all (1) drones, and (2) other flying toys.
A
Answered on: 26 June 2019

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have published new product standards for drones which will become fully applicable by 2022. Some of these standards include the mandatory requirement for drones to be fitted with a geo-awareness software before being placed on the market. This software will notify the pilot when the drone is entering a restricted zone and when it’s coming close to other aircraft. This new requirement will ensure that our airspace is safely shared and managed more effectively to maintain the UK’s strong air safety record.

Q
Asked on: 12 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Business: Cybercrime
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance and support they provide to businesses in relation to cyber security; and whether they intend to introduce systems for businesses to assess the adequacy of (1) their protection against cyber threats, and (2) their cyber security skills.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 24 June 2019

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) was created in 2016 as part of the Government's five-year, £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy and provides guidance and support to businesses and public sector organisations on all matters relating to cyber security. This includes the Small Business Guide, a Response and Recovery guide, a toolkit for Boards and an "Exercise In a Box" to help organisations assess their cyber resilience. Through the Cyber Essentials Scheme, companies are already able to assess whether they have put in place security measures to protect themselves against the majority of untargeted cyber attacks.

We are undertaking a comprehensive review of the UK’s cyber regulatory and incentives landscape. This builds on our last review in 2016, to understand what has worked well, and where further action is needed to drive the necessary improvements in cyber security behaviours and practices. This will be done with acknowledgement of the broader asks being placed on business as we look to grow and secure the digital economy. It will include consideration of whether and how businesses should be required to assess the adequacy of their cyber security and whether they have the skills they need to manage cyber security risk.

Q
Asked on: 12 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commonwealth: Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK High Commissioner or a trade official attended the recent Commonwealth SME Summit in Nairobi; if not, why not; and if so, what conclusions they drew from that summit.
A
Answered on: 24 June 2019

​A representative of the British High Commission in Nairobi attended the Intra-Commonwealth SME Trade Summit in Nairobi in May, which noted the trend for the rising value of digital processes in SMEs' production and the need for SMEs to adapt to the increased global competition through digital technologies. The conclusions drawn included the need for Governments to promote national data policies and devise policies designed to protect infant domestic e-commerce platforms from the practices of larger, established companies. A recurring theme was the need to build SME digital capacity, with a role for tech hubs and incubators. In March, the UK also co-chaired the first meeting of the Digital Cluster of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment when Kenya joined representatives from 18 other Commonwealth countries to discuss how the Commonwealth can support development and increase trade by creating a more enabling environment for digital trade.

Q
Asked on: 10 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sanctions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the successes which can be attributed to their sanctions policies.
A
Answered on: 20 June 2019

The UK plays a leading role in the development and implementation of sanctions in the EU and the UN. Sanctions are always used as part of a broader political strategy and are designed to change, coerce or send a political signal regarding particular behaviour(s). Whilst linking behaviour change explicitly to sanctions can be challenging, we have some evidence to suggest that sanctions on individuals can lead to their removal from positions of power and reduce their ability to carry out harmful actions. Collective sanctions through the UN or EU, for example the sanctions against the GRU officers who carried out the attack in Salisbury last year, also send a strong political signal that the EU condemns their behaviour.

Q
Asked on: 13 June 2019
Department for International Trade
Export Credit Guarantees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications for support were approved by UK Export Finance in each of the last five years; and for each such application what was its (1) value, (2) destination country, and (3) sector.
Answered on: 20 June 2019

UK Export Finance (UKEF) publishes details of its support including value, destination country and sector on an annual basis. For 2014-15 this information was published in UKEF’s Annual Report and Accounts. From 2015-16 onwards this information has been published alongside Annual Report and Accounts as transparency data. This information is available on UKEF’s website.

The table is taken from UKEF’s 2017-18 Annual Report and Accounts and shows a five-year summary of facilities issued.

2017-18

2016-17

2015-16

2014-15

2013-14

Facilities issued

580

483

593

588

613

Details of UKEF’s support for the last year will be published once its 2018-19 Annual Report and Accounts is laid before Parliament.

The 2017-18 data can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/718494/uk_export_finance_businesses_supported_in_2017_to_2018.csv/preview

The 2016-17 data can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/630876/uk-export-finance-businesses-supported-list-2016-2017-1.csv/preview

The 2015-16 data can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-export-finance-business-supported-2015-16/uk-export-finance-business-supported-2015-16

The 2014-15 data can be accessed here on page 70-83: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/436270/10417-TSO-UKEF_-Annual_Report_and_Accounts_2014-15-ACCESSIBLE07__2_.pdf

Q
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 15 February (HL13545), what discussions they have had with the government of Russia about their compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty; what was the outcome of those discussions; when they took place; whether further such discussions are planned; and if so, when.
A
Answered on: 26 April 2019

​North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Allies first expressed concerns about Russian non-compliance with its Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty obligations in 2014. In the last two years, there has been an intensification of Allied activity to encourage Russia to return to compliance.

Since the US, and subsequently Russia, suspended their participation in the Treaty, we have not discussed INF directly with Russia. During the NATO-Russia Council in January 2019 we and our Allies made clear that NATO is united on the need for Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty.

Q
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Department for Exiting the European Union
European Parliament Members
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to ensure that British members of the European Parliament (1) do not disrupt the work of that parliament, and (2) are able to represent British interests appropriately in discharging their duties; and what steps they are taking as a result of any such assessment.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The European Council Decision, taken in agreement with the UK on 11 April, includes a duty of sincere cooperation in relation to the extension of Article 50. This includes reference to “the commitment by the United Kingdom to act in a constructive and responsible manner throughout the extension”. The full Decision can be found here: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/04/10/20190410-european-council-decision-on-extension/.

If the Withdrawal Agreement has not been ratified by 22 May, we have a legal obligation to hold European Parliament elections as a Member State, as set out under EU treaties, and we will uphold these obligations. We have therefore already started making the necessary domestic preparations in order to prepare for this potential outcome. However, as the Prime Minister has said, we will make every effort to ensure the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by 22 May so that we do not need to hold these elections.

Q
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for International Trade
Arms Trade: Yemen
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each application.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 17 April 2019

All arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria).

The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.

Q
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Cultural Heritage: Export Controls
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the Waverley Criteria for export controls on objects of cultural interest.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The Government has no such plans. The Waverley criteria continue to be the standard against which cultural objects, which are the subject of an export licence application, are judged to determine their national importance and whether an opportunity should be provided to retain them in the UK for the enjoyment of the public. The criteria continue to be held in high esteem.

Q
Asked on: 01 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brunei: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they intend to make to the government of Brunei about its decision to impose death by stoning as a punishment for adultery and gay sex; and whether they intend to ban hydrocarbon imports from that country until it alters that policy.
A
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Brunei's Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dato Erywan, on 4 April in order to express the UK's deep concern over Brunei's decision to implement the final phases of the Sharia Penal Code.

The Minister for Asia-Pacific delivered a statement to the House of Commons on 4 April addressing the UK position on the implications of Brunei's decision.

We have repeatedly lobbied Brunei about their plans to introduce hudud punishments. The Minister for Asia-Pacific raised this with the Sultan and Bruneian ministers during his visit to Brunei Darussalam in August 2018.

Commonwealth Heads of Government most recently met in the UK in April 2018. His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam was present. A communique issued by the leaders included the most progressive language yet on LGBT rights, complimented by an historic speech from the Prime Minister. The UK strongly supports and defends the rights of the LGBT+ community globally. The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and all its forms. The UK upholds international human rights laws relating to torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

The UK does not import hydrocarbons from Brunei. We believe that open and honest discussions, rather than boycotts, is the best way to encourage Brunei to uphold their international human rights obligations and to respect individual freedoms.

Q
Asked on: 21 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 18 March (HL14232), which specific media sources were used to inform the response; and whether they agree with the conclusions and views expressed elsewhere in those articles.
A
Answered on: 04 April 2019

This figure was obtained from the ‘Statement by the Royal Court: Anti Corruption Committee Concludes Its Tasks’ released by the Saudi Press Agency, which is available on their website.

We maintain investigations must be fairly conducted and comply with international standards.

Q
Asked on: 14 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Community Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what initiatives they plan to implement to unite communities across the UK post-Brexit.
Answered on: 26 March 2019

In March 2018, the government published the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper which set out our ambitious goal to build strong integrated communities where people - whatever their background - live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities. This is especially important as we leave the European Union and seize the opportunity to create the kind of country we want to be: a global, outward-looking, connected nation. On 9 February 2019, we published the Integrated Communities Action Plan alongside the government’s response to the consultation on the Green Paper. The Action Plan builds upon the proposals set out in the Green Paper and commits the government to deliver over 70 policy actions by the end of this Parliament.

Q
Asked on: 07 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
EU Grants and Loans: Cornwall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plan they have to replace the EU Objective 1 funding programme, with particular regard to Cornwall.
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The Government continues to develop the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The new Fund will seek to improve productivity and reduce economic inequalities. We will consult widely on the fund and the Government encourages all interested parties to take part in this process.

Q
Asked on: 04 March 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of detainees that remain in detention as part of the government of Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption drive; where those detainees are being held; and what assessment they have made of whether an appropriate judicial process is being followed.
A
Answered on: 18 March 2019

We understand from media reports at least 56 people remain under investigation. We maintain investigations must be fairly conducted and comply with international standards.

Q
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a policy in place for whether any nation takes precedence over another when determining when someone with dual nationality is to be deprived of citizenship.
Answered on: 06 March 2019

There is no policy for prioritising nationality when deciding whether to deprive an individual with dual nationality of their British citizenship.

When making a decision to deprive an individual of British citizenship, the law requires that such a decision may not be made if it would make the individual stateless. This is compatible with the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Government cannot comment on the use of deprivation by other countries.

Grouped Questions: HL13945
Q
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is ever their policy to make an individual stateless by depriving them of their citizenship; what assessment they have made of the impact on an individual with dual nationality of being deprived of their citizenship of both countries; whether they provide guidance to officials for such a scenario; and if so, what is that guidance.
Answered on: 06 March 2019

There is no policy for prioritising nationality when deciding whether to deprive an individual with dual nationality of their British citizenship.

When making a decision to deprive an individual of British citizenship, the law requires that such a decision may not be made if it would make the individual stateless. This is compatible with the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Government cannot comment on the use of deprivation by other countries.

Grouped Questions: HL13944
Q
Asked on: 12 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Regeneration: Cornwall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support the regeneration of the economy of Cornwall; and whether they will list the specific projects they will undertake for that purpose.
Answered on: 26 February 2019

The Government’s ambitious, modern Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

We are working with areas across the UK who are developing Local Industrial Strategies, including Cornwall, and we hope to deliver these everywhere by 2020. These strategies will be developed locally through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and agreed with the Government.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been allocated £78.23 million as part of their growth deal to support economic growth in the area.

There are also two Enterprise Zones in Cornwall. Aerohub+, a split site covering Newquay airport and Goonhilly Earth Station with a focus on Aerospace and Space, and Marine Hub which has a focus on marine technology. They are both progressing well and the site at Newquay airport has attracted several companies including CIS UK Ltd and Apple Aviation.

Q
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Home Office
Proceeds of Crime
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government under which circumstances, if any, they intervene to block requests for assets to be remitted to foreign government organisations either from the UK or British overseas territories.
Answered on: 25 February 2019

Under proceeds of crime legislation, asset sharing and repatriation is ultimately the Government’s decision following the recovery of assets/money under a court order it is a matter of how to then dispose of those recovered moneys. In confiscation cases, the UN Convention Against Corruption requires a full return to victim States and the EU Framework Decision on confiscation orders requires a 50% share in cases in excess of 10,000 Euros.

There are other bilateral and multilateral international agreements that encourage the sharing of recovered assets. The UK does not require an international agreement to share or repatriate assets and does so on request on an ad hoc basis. The presumption is that 50% is shared with the requesting country. There are few cases so far, but none have been refused.


The Government does not intervene with similar cases involving the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies.

Q
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 5 February (HL Deb, cols 1495–9), what is their response to the government of Russia's non-compliance with that Treaty; and what assessment they have made of reports of INF Treaty non-compliant launchers being moved onto Europe's eastern borders with Russia.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2019

NATO first expressed concerns about Russian non-compliance with its Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty obligations in 2014. We now fully support the assessment that Russia's covert testing, production and fielding of the 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile system is a material breach of the INF Treaty.

We, along with NATO Allies, support the US decision to suspend its participation in the INF Treaty and start the treaty's formal withdrawal process. A situation whereby the US was fully aiding by the INF Treaty and Russia was not, was not sustainable. Following the US announcement, NATO issued a statement declaring full support for US action and urging Russia to use the six month withdrawal period to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty.

Q
Asked on: 06 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
INF Treaty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 5 February (HL Deb, cols 1495–9), what assessment they have made of whether (1) Germany, (2) Hungary, (3) Poland, (4) Bulgaria, (5) Slovakia, and (6) the Czech Republic have destroyed or dismantled any INF Treaty missiles they hold; and if so, whether they are concerned by those countries' actions in that regard.
A
Answered on: 15 February 2019

Only the US, Russia and a small number of other Soviet successor states are bound by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Treaty initially eliminated all of their intermediate-range (500km-5,500km) ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles. By 1991, all US and Soviet Union missiles covered by the Treaty had been eliminated.

All NATO Allies support the finding of the US that Russia is now in material breach of the Treaty, citing its covert testing, production and fielding of 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems. We are working closely with Allies to review the security implications of Russian intermediate-range missiles and will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of the Alliance's overall deterrence and defence posture.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to enable Juan Guaidó to become the interim President of Venezuela.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

We are working closely with EU partners, regional organisations such as the Lima Group and like-minded international partners to ensure a peaceful resolution to the current crisis and a return to democracy. We urge all Venezuelans to recognise Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela until new presidential elections that are free and in accordance with international democratic standards are held.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Venezuela: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister has received a letter dated 26 January from Juan Guaidó, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, relating to a request to halt financial transactions from the Bank of England to Venezuela; and if so, what will be their response.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

I can confirm that Mr Guaido wrote to the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of England on 26 January. The Bank of England is an independent institution. Decisions about such issues are a matter for the Bank of England.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Cross Border Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the State Institute of Drugs and Good Practices of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, whether they plan to cooperate with the government of Russia on other issues in the future; and if so, what are those plans.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2019

Although planned high-level contact with Russia has been suspended, it remains important that we continue to engage with Russia; avoid misunderstandings; push for change where we disagree; and cooperate where it is in the UK national interest.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Cross Border Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are currently collaborating with the government of Russia on any projects or programmes; and if so, what are those projects or programmes.
A
Answered on: 11 February 2019

The only joint project between the two governments is the UK-Russia Year of Music, which will be delivered by the British Council. The Russian Government is not a partner in any other project activity.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2019
The Senior Deputy Speaker
Parliamentary Estate: Proof of Identity
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what consideration has been given to requiring all visitors to the Parliamentary estate to present photo identification before entry.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2019

There are over one million visitors to Parliament each year. Visitors access the estate for many reasons. These include: to meet with a Member or a member of staff; to attend a Member-sponsored meeting or meetings at official level; to give evidence to a Committee; to lobby; to attend debates in both Houses (in the Chambers and Committees); to attend functions and banqueting events; to take a tour (both paid-for and democratic free tours); or as part of an Education Service visit. Many visits do not need to be pre-booked. In order to promote open access to Parliament controls are kept proportionate to the security risk. Photo identification by visitors is not currently deemed proportionate and if introduced would need to be verified, significantly delaying the admission of visitors to Parliament and resulting in lengthy queues at peak times.

All non-passholders are subject to search and screening measures before entering the estate. The Parliamentary Security Department do not comment publicly on the details of security measures.

The Director of Security for Parliament is content to meet with any members who wish to discuss specific concerns.

Q
Asked on: 15 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Zimbabwe: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the current protests in Harare, (2) the police tactics used in response to those protests, and (3) the potential impact on the stability of that country of the government of Zimbabwe’s decision to increase fuel prices by 150 per cent.
A
Answered on: 29 January 2019

While we condemn the violent behaviour of some protestors, and unlawful acts such as arson and looting, we are deeply concerned that Zimbabwe’s security forces have acted disproportionately in response. In particular, there are disturbing reports of use of live ammunition, intimidation and excessive force. On 17 January the Minister for Africa summoned the Zimbabwean Ambassador to highlight our concern at the ongoing situation in Zimbabwe.

Comprehensive and difficult economic reforms are necessary to address Zimbabwe’s economic challenges. However, the Government must implement these as part of a broad strategy, seeking the advice of the International Monetary Fund.

Q
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 20 September 2018 (HL10343), whether they have now received the regional trade plan of each of Her Majesty's Trade Commissioners; and if so, whether they will publish those plans.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 23 January 2019

All of Her Majesty’s nine Trade Commissioners have completed their first Regional Trade Plans, which set out how each region will meet the Department’s objectives overseas. These have all been discussed at the Departmental Board. Over the coming months, Trade Commissioners will be refreshing their plans to ensure they remain fully updated.

The Department for International Trade does not intend to publish Regional Trade Plans at present, as they are internal documents. However, for the future, we are considering what information may be appropriate to publish and when.

Grouped Questions: HL12727
Q
Asked on: 09 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 20 September 2018 (HL10343), which Trade Commissioners, if any, have not yet submitted their regional trade plan.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 23 January 2019

All of Her Majesty’s nine Trade Commissioners have completed their first Regional Trade Plans, which set out how each region will meet the Department’s objectives overseas. These have all been discussed at the Departmental Board. Over the coming months, Trade Commissioners will be refreshing their plans to ensure they remain fully updated.

The Department for International Trade does not intend to publish Regional Trade Plans at present, as they are internal documents. However, for the future, we are considering what information may be appropriate to publish and when.

Grouped Questions: HL12726
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