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 by Tim Farron
(Westmorland and Lonsdale)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy: Rural Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with energy providers on promoting renewable energy use in rural homes.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

Ministers regularly discuss a range of issues with energy suppliers.

The Rural Community Energy Fund provides funding for feasibility studies for rural communities to develop, own and generate their own energy. The Feed-in Tariff scheme also remains open for projects across the UK, including community projects.

There remains up to £100m of support for small scale renewables through the Feed-in Tariff up to 2019. As we set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, we are currently considering options for our approach to small scale low carbon generation beyond 2019. We will make a statement on future support for small scale renewables in due course.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EURATOM
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which components of Euratom's work programme will the UK participate in following the current negotiations; and whether those will include regulation, safety, energy coordination, and long term research and development of fusion and nuclear waste policies.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government’s strategy is to seek a close association with Euratom, to the mutual benefit of the UK and the EU, and to provide maximum continuity for the civil nuclear sector. The components of this future relationship with Euratom are subject to negotiations with the EU. The UK will also seek to fully associate itself with the Euratom Research and Training Programme, including the Joint European Torus (JET) and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and recognises that such an association would necessarily involve an appropriate financial contribution in line with other associated countries.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost to the public purse so far of the national pilot scheme for the 26–30 railcard; and what estimate they have made of the potential cost to the public purse of making the scheme available throughout England.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The 26-30 Railcard trial is being carried out by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), an association which includes all British rail companies and Network Rail. RDG are investigating the impact of the trial which will inform decisions moving forward regarding a potential roll out across Great Britain.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what, if any, subsidy they provide to train operating companies for the operation of the 16–25 railcard scheme.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

As set out in franchise agreements with train operators, the Department for Transport will receive a premium from them or pay out a subsidy based on a range of various measures that the franchisee is asked to deliver, of which railcards are one. It is not possible to disentangle all of the individual elements that contribute to a Train Operating Company’s subsidy.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of people who will apply for a 26–30 railcard once fully rolled out throughout England.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The 26-30 Railcard trial is being carried out by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), an association which includes all British rail companies and Network Rail. RDG initially made available 10,000 tickets for the first wave of this trial followed by a further 10,000 for the second wave. They are investigating the trial and evaluating its impact which will help inform the decision making process regarding a potential roll out across Great Britain.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
First TransPennine Express
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have agreed to the use on some routes operated by TransPennine Express of trains which are not able to accommodate wheelchairs; and what assessment they have made of whether those trains are compliant with disability rights legislation.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Rail North Partnership team (which manages the franchise on behalf of the Department and Transport for the North) have been advised by TransPennine Express that they do not intend to operate Mk3 coaches in passenger carrying service.

Q
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their plans for delivering full-fibre to the premises broadband connections to the majority of homes and businesses by 2025; and what proportion of homes and businesses they plan to reach by (1) 2020, and (2) 2022.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, launched in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, will set out the regulatory and policy changes that are needed to support investment in full fibre networks and deliver on the Government’s ambition, as announced by the Chancellor in his CBI speech for fibre rollout: 15 million premises covered by 2025 with a national network by 2033. The Report is due to be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: HL8503 | HL8504
Q
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional investment will be available to deliver their plans for full-fibre to the premises broadband connections to the majority of homes and businesses by 2025.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, launched in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, will set out the regulatory and policy changes that are needed to support investment in full fibre networks and deliver on the Government’s ambition, as announced by the Chancellor in his CBI speech for fibre rollout: 15 million premises covered by 2025 with a national network by 2033. The Report is due to be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: HL8502 | HL8504
Q
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish a response to their Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review consultation which closed in January.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, launched in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, will set out the regulatory and policy changes that are needed to support investment in full fibre networks and deliver on the Government’s ambition, as announced by the Chancellor in his CBI speech for fibre rollout: 15 million premises covered by 2025 with a national network by 2033. The Report is due to be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: HL8502 | HL8503
Q
(Hayes and Harlington)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 11 June 2018
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will publish the names of the regulatory bodies that (a) report to and (b) are overseen by each Government department.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 21 June 2018

From summer 2017 all Departments are required to publish Accounting Officer System Statements containing the names of bodies operating at arm’s length from central government departments, including those with regulatory functions. These statements are to be reviewed annually and republished when there are any material changes.

The statements can be found at :

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/accounting-officer-system-statements

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 12 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking: Public Consultation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Written Ministerial Statement HCWS690 of 17 May 2018, what the timetable is for (a) the consultation on the principle of whether non-hydraulic fracturing shale exploration development should be treated as permitted development, (b) the consultation on the inclusion of shale production projects in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime and (c) the consultation on the establishment of a new Shale Environmental Regulator.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government set out in the Written Ministerial Statement HCWS690 of 17 May 2018, that we will progress manifesto commitments by holding an early stage consultation in summer 2018, on the principle of whether non-hydraulic fracturing shale exploration development should be treated as permitted development, and in particular on the circumstances in which this might be appropriate.

We will consult in summer 2018 on the criteria required to trigger the inclusion of shale production projects into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime. The UK regulatory regime for shale gas is considered among the most robust and stringent in the world. However, we acknowledge that it is also complex, with three regulators, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Oil and Gas Authority, all with responsibilities for regulation. We will set up a Shale Environmental Regulator on a virtual basis from the summer. This will bring the regulators together to act as one coherent single face for the public, mineral planning authorities and industry,

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 12 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Natural Gas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) implications for his policies of the Debunked: The G20 Clean Gas Myth report of 11 June 2018 and (b) compatibility of the UK’s investment in the extraction of gas with its commitments on the Paris climate change agreement.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The UK must have safe, secure and affordable supplies of energy with carbon emissions levels that are consistent with the carbon budgets defined in our Climate Change Act and our international obligations.

We believe that gas has a key part to play in meeting these objectives both currently and in the future. In part as a result of the UK’s diverse range of energy sources, which include natural gas, we have had competitively-priced energy since 1990 whilst reducing carbon emissions across the economy by 49% – a leading performance among developed nations.

Gas still makes up around a third of our current energy usage and every scenario proposed by the Committee on Climate Change setting out how the UK could meet its legally-binding 2050 emissions reduction target includes demand for natural gas.

As set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, innovations in technologies such as Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) have the potential to decarbonise this energy supply still further and prolong its role in our energy mix.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 12 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on its plans to reform the Renewable Heat Incentive.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

On 22 May 2018, amendment regulations came into force, completing the main suite of RHI reforms that were announced in December 2016. On 29 May 2018, the Department published the government response to a consultation in Autumn 2017 on further changes to the non-domestic RHI, and laid the associated regulations. Together these reforms are designed to improve value for money, prevent gaming, shift deployment towards technologies needed for long-term decarbonisation of heat and to strengthen consumer protection.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
New Businesses: Females
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the availability of funding for female entrepreneurs.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 21 June 2018

This Government is committed to ensuring that all businesses and business owners have the right support. There are now approximately 1.2 million women-led small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.

The Government’s assessment is that funding, both equity and debt, is widely available to support entrepreneurs regardless of their gender. The report Small Business Finance Markets 2017/18 published by the British Business Bank notes that the value of equity investment (up 79%), asset finance (up 12%) and peer-to-peer business lending (up 51%) used by smaller businesses all showed significant growth in 2017.

There are 38 Growth Hubs across England providing support to help businesses start-up and grow. The Business Support Helpline also provides information and guidance to people across England - 45% of users in 2015/16 were women.

The Government-backed British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans provide funding and support to new entrepreneurs, of which 39% have been issued to women. The British Business Bank is also conducting research to identify ways to overcome the specific barriers faced by female-led Businesses in accessing Venture Capital. In collaboration with the Enterprise Research Centre they are gathering data from over 50 VC firms and are now commissioning behavioural research in this area.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Non-governmental Organisations: EU Grants and Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on the ability of UK registered non-governmental organisations to apply for funding under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights 2014-2020, established under European Parliament and Council Regulation No. 235/2014 (a) during the transitional period and (b) after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 21 June 2018

Council Regulation No. 236/2014 on the common rules and procedures for the EU’s Instruments for financing External Action applies to the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (established under Council Regulation No 235/2014). The Common Implementing Regulation sets no nationality requirement to be eligible for funding under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. Non-governmental organisations should be unaffected by UK Exit both during the Implementation Period and after the UK has left the EU.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nabeel Rajab
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations his Department has made to the Bahraini authorities on the Bahraini Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the sentence against the human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

Our Embassy in Bahrain has closely monitored the trials of Mr Rajab. Officials from the Embassy regularly attend Mr Rajab's court hearings, including the latest appeal verdict hearing. We have raised this case at senior levels. I am aware that there is now an opportunity for Mr Rajab's legal team to apply to the Court of Cassation to hear an appeal on this latest sentence. Our officials will continue to monitor the case closely.

I expressed my concerns on the sentence in my written statement of 21 February. I also reiterated the UK's call for Bahrain to protect freedom of expression for all its citizens, in line with their international obligations.

Q
(Rotherham)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Internet: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 26 April 2018 to question 136923 on Internet: Children, what criteria is planned to be used to define online services which are likely to be accessed by children.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 21 June 2018

It will be for the Information Commissioner's Office to determine what criteria is used to define online services which are likely to be accessed by children as they are responsible for developing the new age-appropriate design code.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what progress he has made on deploying trade envoys to (a) the Middle East, (b) Asia, (c) Latin America, (d) North America, (e) Africa and (f) the Caribbean.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys do an extremely important job and make a vital contribution on a voluntary basis. They support UK companies to win business, as well as promoting the UK as a destination of choice for inward investment.

There are currently 30 Trade Envoys covering around 60 markets including in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, North America, Africa and the Caribbean. Trade Envoys are deployed regularly to their respective markets to promote British trade across the world and in the last financial year (17/18) made 52 official overseas visits.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of days which have been lost nationally in the workplace due to poor musculoskeletal health in each year for which information is available.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 21 June 2018

In 2016, there were 30.8 million working days lost due to musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems). This represents just over a fifth (22.4%) of all working days lost in that year.

The following table presents Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for the number of days lost through sickness absence as a result of musculoskeletal problems, for all people in employment in the United Kingdom aged 16 and over from 2009 - 2016. A day is defined as 7.5 hours.

Year

Total days lost (millions)

2009

39.3

2010

39.4

2011

35.4

2012

33.8

2013

30.6

2014

35.6

2015

32.8

2016

30.8

Source: Sickness absence in the labour market; ONS March 2017


https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/labourproductivity/articles/sicknessabsenceinthelabourmarket/2016#toc

Q
(Gillingham and Rainham)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Education
Apprentices: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress the Government has made in increasing BAME participation in apprenticeships in line with its BAME 2020 vision to increase participation by 20 per cent.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 21 June 2018

In 2016/17, 11.2 per cent of apprenticeship starts were from a black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) background. This is the highest reported over the past seven years, and considerably higher than the previous year of 10.5 per cent, but there is still more to do.

In February we launched a new partnership with five major cities in England, supported by city mayors, to make sure apprenticeships are accessible to individuals from all backgrounds.

Our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, now comprised of over 55 members, continues to influence the behaviour of other employers to support more people from underrepresented groups, including members of BAME communities, to access apprenticeships.

Statistics covering latest in-year data relating to apprenticeships can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/further-education-and-skills-march-2018.

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