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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Asked on: 12 June 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Budget: Contributions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that any dispute regarding the UK's payment of its share of EU liabilities upon departure from the EU will be adjudicated upon by the European Court of Justice.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 22 June 2018

We have made rapid progress in reaching agreement on the financial settlement text of the Withdrawal Agreement. As part of this agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the current budget plan up to 2020, and pay its fair share of liabilities, principally EU pensions, accrued by the end of that period. In return, the UK will receive a share of funds paid into the EU budget, and benefit from its share of relevant EU assets.

For specific areas of the financial settlement, existing enforcement mechanisms will apply, namely to our participation in programmes funded by the 2014-20 EU budget plan and to our contributions to the 2019-2020 budgets which are subject to the applicable EU rules.

Any disputes concerning the Withdrawal Agreement will be dealt with through the dispute resolution provisions agreed as part of that Withdrawal Agreement. These are subject to ongoing negotiation.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) public, (2) private, (3) self-regulatory, and (4) other bodies have regulatory responsibility for companies, company law, corporate governance, accounting standards, audit and auditors.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The following UK bodies have regulatory responsibility for companies, company law, corporate governance, accounting standards, audit and auditors:

Public Bodies (under the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000):

Bank of England (including the Prudential Regulation Authority)

Companies House

Financial Conduct Authority

Financial Reporting Council

Insolvency Service

Other:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Association of International Accountants

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Takeover Appeal Board

Takeover Panel

This answer does not consider obligations on companies and other businesses generally such as employment regulation, environmental regulation or for reasons of public safety, or those bodies that have general responsibilities in respect of criminal investigations and prosecutions. The categorisation of bodies reflects the categorisation used for government accounting purposes and the application of the requirements of managing public money.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which non-statutory bodies, including the Takeover Panel and Financial Reporting Council, have been given statutory powers under the Companies Act 2006 and other financial services legislation; and which bodies perform comparable functions voluntarily.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

In addition to the Takeover Panel and the Financial Reporting Council, the following non-statutory bodies have statutory powers or functions under the Companies Act 2006 or perform comparable voluntary functions:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Association of International Accountants

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Takeover Appeals Board

There are no non-statutory bodies that have powers under financial services legislation.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Cabinet Office
Absent Parents: Suicide
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers.
A
Corrected answer by: Lord Young of Cookham
Corrected on: 22 June 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 20 June 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

​The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply. and I will place the response in the Library of both houses.

Letter from John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, to The Lord Pearson of Rannoch, dated 15 June 2018.

Dear Lord Pearson,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am replying to your Parliamentary Question asking about the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers (HL8615).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes suicide rates for the UK, constituent countries, regions and local authorities in England and Wales in an annual bulletin[1].

The information we hold on deaths is limited to what is recorded on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a doctor, provided to the registrar by the informant at the time of death registration, or recorded by a coroner following their inquest into the cause and circumstances of the death. We can provide the number of suicides per year by legal marital status, but we have no available information on whether the deceased was (a) separated at the time of death, that is, living apart from their partner; or (b) was a father or mother.

Table 1 attached provides the numbers and crude rates per 100,00 persons of deaths due to suicide, by sex, for each year between 2000 and 2016 in England and Wales. The rates are broken down by marital status recorded at death. A copy has been placed in the House of Lords Library.

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2016registrations

A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 20 June 2018

​The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply. and I will place the response in the Library of both houses.

Letter from John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, to The Lord Pearson of Rannoch, dated 15 June 2018.

Dear Lord Pearson,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am replying to your Parliamentary Question asking about the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers (HL8615).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes suicide rates for the UK, constituent countries, regions and local authorities in England and Wales in an annual bulletin[1].

The information we hold on deaths is limited to what is recorded on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a doctor, provided to the registrar by the informant at the time of death registration, or recorded by a coroner following their inquest into the cause and circumstances of the death. We can provide the number of suicides per year by legal marital status, but we have no available information on whether the deceased was (a) separated at the time of death, that is, living apart from their partner; or (b) was a father or mother.

Table 1 attached provides the numbers and crude rates per 100,00 persons of deaths due to suicide, by sex, for each year between 2000 and 2016 in England and Wales. The rates are broken down by marital status recorded at death. A copy has been placed in the House of Lords Library.

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2016registrations

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
New Businesses: Females
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make it easier for female entrepreneurs to secure capital.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 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-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: 14 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 plans the Government has to set up an alternative fund or to increase existing funding made available to UK registered non-governmental organisations working in the field of democracy and human rights to replace funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights 2014-2020 after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 22 June 2018

​Future spending decisions on UK priorities when we leave the European Union, - including human rights and democracy - are yet to be made and will depend on future circumstances.

Q
Asked by Ian Blackford
(Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Treasury
Mortgages: Young People
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what specific plans he has to tackle the rise of mortgage debt for young people which take account of the relatively higher level of such debt than in previous generations.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The share of households, including young people, with mortgage debt-servicing-ratios above 40% of income – the level often associated with a higher risk of repayment difficulties – remains low at 1.5%, and well below the levels seen before the financial crisis. Secured debt as a proportion of income was 104% in Q4 2017, down from a peak of 120% in Q1 2008.

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee’s (FPC) 2014 owner-occupier mortgage market recommendations guard against the risk of a marked loosening in underwriting standards and a significant increase in the number of highly indebted households, including among younger households. These include a limit on lending at high loan-to-income ratios, and the requirement that all new mortgage loans are stress-tested against the effect of a rise in interest rates.

The FPC will continue to monitor risks to UK financial stability from UK household indebtedness and regularly reviews the calibration of its macroprudential tools.

Q
Asked by Teresa Pearce
(Erith and Thamesmead)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Treasury
Wholesale Trade: Alcoholic Drinks
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many wholesalers have applied for registration under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme since that scheme was introduced by HMRC on 1 January 2016.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Since the introduction of the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme on 1 January 2016, HMRC has received 9,984 applications for approval. This includes a small number of applications from non-wholesale businesses.

Over the same period, HMRC has rejected 811 applications for approval under the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme. This includes applications from businesses covered by an exemption, such as retailers who make wholesale sales unintentionally.

Grouped Questions: 153805
Q
Asked by Teresa Pearce
(Erith and Thamesmead)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Treasury
Wholesale Trade: Alcoholic Drinks
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many wholesalers have had their registration application rejected under the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme since that scheme was introduced on 1 January 2016.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Since the introduction of the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme on 1 January 2016, HMRC has received 9,984 applications for approval. This includes a small number of applications from non-wholesale businesses.

Over the same period, HMRC has rejected 811 applications for approval under the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme. This includes applications from businesses covered by an exemption, such as retailers who make wholesale sales unintentionally.

Grouped Questions: 153804
Q
(Rotherham)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Rule of Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the rule of law in Hong Kong of the interference in that juristiction's judiciary by mainland China.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The Government's position was set out by the Foreign Secretary in his foreward, “The rule of law and independence of the judiciary is the foundation on which Hong Kong’s success and prosperity is built. This reporting period has seen a large number of cases related to the political system come before Hong Kong’s courts, including the disqualification of a further four legislators. The judiciary in Hong Kong remains in high esteem. It will be vital that the Hong Kong SAR Government is seen to use the system of justice fairly in all cases.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Minimum Wage: Non-payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who have not been paid the national minimum wage are able to access HMRC's online complaints system.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The Government is clear that anyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should receive it. We have increased the HMRC enforcement budget to £26.3 million for 2018/19, up from £13 million in 2015/16.

Since the introduction of an online complaints system in January 2017, there has been a significant increase in the number of NMW complaints received by HMRC. BEIS has been running a UK-wide campaign to raise awareness of the NMW and to encourage individuals who may have been underpaid to make a complaint. Individuals can also call the ACAS helpline (on 0300 123 1100) for free and confidential advice, and to make a complaint.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Members: Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department holds information on how many hon. Members have been contacted by HMRC for advertising unpaid work in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 22 June 2018

HMRC routinely contacts employers who advertise unpaid internships, signposting them to National Minimum Wage guidance to help ensure they are compliant. It has contacted over 1,000 employers in this way over the last year. We do not publish the names of employers involved in HMRC compliance or investigation activities, except where they have been found to be in breach of the law and have repaid all monies owed to workers.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Health Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if will place in the Library the (a) outcomes and (b) resulting changes from NHS England’s inquiry into type 1 diabetes structured education.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 June 2018

There has not been a specific inquiry into type 1 structured education, although NHS England is funding an expansion of T1 structured education as part of transformation funding.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for International Trade
Overseas Investment: Treaties
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Answer of 25 November 2016 to Question 53832 on Overseas Investment: Treaties, what recent steps he has taken to prepare a framework for future bilateral investment agreements after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The Government is currently reviewing its trade and investment policy. We are considering a range of options in the design of future bilateral trade and investment agreements. Until the UK leaves the EU, we will remain subject to EU trade & investment agreements and policy.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to promote musculoskeletal health.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Whilst not all musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are preventable, physical activity can play an important part in reducing risk of developing certain MSK disorders and managing MSK symptoms. Regular physical activity that meets national guidelines on frequency and intensity can reduce an individual’s risk of developing joint and back pain by 25% and can improve symptoms for people with MSK conditions.

MSK health is a priority for Public Health England (PHE) and a number of tools and resources have been produced to raise awareness of the risk factors associated with MSK health and the evidence based interventions to prevent, detect and treat MSK conditions. Information has been aimed at the public and the National Health Service/public health workforce through marketing campaigns such as One You, Making Every Contact Count and through the PHE Health Matters blog available at the following links:

www.nhs.uk/oneyou/

www.makingeverycontactcount.co.uk/

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/public-health-matters/

The Department works with PHE, NHS England and local authorities to promote physical activity. The ‘Providing physical activity interventions for people with musculoskeletal conditions’ report, published in March 2017 is the result of collaboration between Arthritis Research UK, PHE, NHS England and the Department. The report reviews the benefits of physical activity both for people with MSK conditions and wider society and provides a framework that supports a tiered approach to intervention. More information can be found at the following link:

www.arthritisresearchuk.org/policy-and-public-affairs/policy-reports/physical-activity-report.aspx

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Deficiency Diseases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the proportion of people who are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) provides information on intakes of vitamins and minerals and blood indicators of status.

Latest NDNS data (2014/15-2015/16) show that mean vitamin D intakes were a fifth to a third of the recommended amount in all age groups, and low blood vitamin D levels were seen in 26% of older children (11-18 years) and 17% of adults (19-64 years).

Low blood folate levels, indicating risk of anaemia, were found in 28% of older girls, 15% of older boys and 7% of adults.

54% of older girls and 27% of adult women had low iron intakes, and iron deficiency based on blood samples was found in 9% of older girls and 5% of adult women.

There was also evidence of low intakes of vitamin A, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, potassium and selenium in some age groups.

Results of the NDNS are available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

Q
Asked by Vernon Coaker
(Gedling)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 June 2018
Home Office
Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) children and (b) adults referred to the National Referral Mechanism are currently waiting for a (a) reasonable grounds and (b) conclusive grounds decision.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Data on the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) are published regularly by the National Crime Agency, available via the following link:
http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/publications/national-referral-mechanism-statistics The 2017 Annual Report of NRM statistics includes data on the outcomes of NRM decisions.

Q
Asked by Ben Lake
(Ceredigion)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fisheries: Quotas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to review the UK's fishing quotas.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Leaving the EU provides an opportunity to secure a fairer share of the fish in our waters. We have instigated a comprehensive programme of research to inform this process.

We will set out our vision for sustainable fisheries management in a fisheries White Paper shortly and introduce a Fisheries Bill later this session.

Q
Asked by Jon Trickett
(Hemsworth)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Transport
Department for Transport: Liability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on how many occasions his Department has been unable to notify Parliament of the particulars of a liability and thus fulfil the required 14 days’ notice prior to that liability going live in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 22 June 2018

During the past twelve months, the Department was unable to give full Parliamentary notification prior to a contingent liability going live on two occasions, as follows:

  • Indemnity and loan facility to the administrators of Monarch Airlines, to support the repatriation of UK passengers stranded overseas when the airline collapsed. This liability was created shortly after Monarch entered administration in the early hours of Monday 2 October 2017. As Monarch was still trading up until this date, which fell during a Parliamentary recess, there was no possibility of giving the House advance notice of the liability. The Secretary of State gave an oral statement to the House on Monday 9 October 2017 (the first sitting day thereafter) and letters detailing the liability, which was commercially sensitive at the time, were sent to the chairs of the Transport and Public Accounts committees subsequently.

  • Undertakings given to Great Western Railways relating to the future operations of Heathrow Express, where due to the highly commercial and confidential nature of the negotiations with Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) and First Greater Western Limited (FGW) and the need to conclude the deal quickly it was not possible to notify Parliament prior concluding the agreements and the liabilities going live. The liabilities were necessary in order to secure the deal that delivers significant benefits to the Department, such as the savings generated from not building a replacement depot for Heathrow Express rolling stock at Langley as part of the HS2 scheme. The Secretary of State gave a written statement to the House (HCWS748) on the matter on 11 June 2018.
Q
Asked by Vernon Coaker
(Gedling)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 June 2018
Home Office
Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many victims of modern slavery have had their weekly allowance reduced from (a) £65 to £37.75 and (b) £65 to £17.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 22 June 2018

Currently, potential victims of modern slavery who are supported through the Adult Victims of Modern Slavery Care Contract usually receive £65 per week to cover their subsistence needs.

Some modern slavery victims are also asylum seekers and in normal circumstances, this group is supported under separate arrangements provided for in Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Asylum seekers receiving support under these arrangements usually receive £37.75 per week to cover their essential needs, the amount provided for in the Asylum Support Regulations 2000.

No published figures are available, but a single person with no dependants, previously supported under the Care Contract but who has transferred to support under Part 6 of the 1999 Act, is likely to be receiving £37.75 per week. Lower amounts are provided only if the person has access to other income or assets liable to be taken into consideration under the 2000 Regulations.

Plans to fully harmonise the subsistence rates provided to modern slavery victims with the rates provided to asylum seekers were announced in October last year and the implementation plans are currently being developed. The changes will result in reductions to the rates for adults, but increases for their dependent children and additional support for those leaving the support system after final confirmation of whether they are victim of modern slavery.

Victims will also continue to receive other support separately, including legal aid, counselling, NHS medical and dental service.

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