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 Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of STIs.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The numbers of people in England who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in each of the last five years are listed below:

Year

Number of people diagnosed with STI

2012

450,430

2013

451,948

2014

451,948

2015

436,928

2016

417,584

In 2017/18, Public Health England (PHE) conducted a social media campaign targeted at young people aged 16-24 years old which aimed to promote condom use by highlighting the risks and consequences of acquiring an STI. The 'Protect Against STIs' campaign will continue throughout 2018/19 subject to the relevant approvals.

PHE’s national HIV Prevention and Sexual Health Promotion Programme issues contracts to HIV Prevention England (HPE) to conduct HIV prevention activities in populations most at risk of HIV infection and to the Family Planning Association to provide sexual and reproductive health information for the general population.

Since 2012 the national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme has provided quadrivalent vaccines that also protect against HPV types 6 and 11 which are the most common causes of genital warts, to young girls. In April 2018, PHE and NHS England have been tasked to implement a nationwide HPV vaccination programme for men aged 45 years or younger who have sex with other men which will be delivered through sexual health clinics.

Grouped Questions: 136164
Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Benzodiazepines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent addiction to Xanax.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Local authorities (LAs) are responsible for assessing the need for drug prevention and treatment services in their area and commissioning services to meet that need. Public Health England (PHE) is currently working across Government and with expert networks and other groups to gather information following recent reports about rises in alprazolam (Xanax) use among young people and that benzodiazepines (including alprazolam) are also used in some parts of the country by adults who already misuse other drugs.

PHE also works with LAs, providing data, advice and other bespoke support for the needs assessment and commissioning process.

The Government’s drug strategy, published in July 2017, sets out a balanced approach which brings together police, health, community and global partners to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with a drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around. Further information is available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628148/Drug_strategy_2017.PDF

Q
(South Shields)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Education
Children: Care Homes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a regulatory requirement for Ofsted to inspect children’s homes before they reopen.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Ofsted has the powers and discretion to determine when to inspect a children’s home. Whilst there is not a regulatory requirement for Ofsted to inspect children’s homes before they reopen, it is Ofsted’s continuing practice to visit the provider before they reopen to ensure the provider and premises remain fit for registration. Any changes in such practice would be subject to discussion with the department.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Donors: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has assessed the potential merits of producing a strategy to support research into the barriers and motivations affecting BAME organ, blood and stem cell donation; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 25 April 2018

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is responsible for the collection, manufacturing and issuing of blood products to the National Health Service in England; for organ and tissue donation in the United Kingdom; and for the British Bone Marrow Registry, to which it recruits registered blood donors to be potential stem cell donors.

NHSBT has ongoing strategies to recruit more blood, organ and stem cell donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in order to address the health inequalities faced by patients from those communities. These strategies are informed by research; for example, in 2013 NHSBT commissioned a report by Optimisa Research to understand attitudes and behaviours towards organ donation. Research conducted in 2015 by ESRO Ltd revealed some of the barriers and motivations of people from BAME communities towards blood donation. Copies of these reports are attached.

NHSBT strategies include targeted marketing activity, events, education resources, PR and media work and engagement with faith organisations. The impact of these strategies is evaluated on an ongoing basis to inform future work.

There will be a new national campaign to increase the number of BAME organ donors later this year. The Department sponsors Anthony Nolan and NHSBT to improve equity of access to unrelated donor stem cell transplantation for BAME patients.

PQ136190 attached document (PDF Document, 1.16 MB)
PQ136190 attached document (PDF Document, 2.24 MB)
Q
Asked by Jack Lopresti
(Filton and Bradley Stoke)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Transport
Driving: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to ensure that UK driving licence holders are able to use those licences in EEA countries after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Chris Grayling
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Irrespective of the outcome of our negotiations, our ratification of the 1968 Vienna Convention and 1949 Geneva Convention will ensure that UK licence holders can continue to drive after exit throughout the EU and EEA using an international driving permit document if necessary.

However, in the negotiations on transport we will be seeking to ensure that through the mutual recognition of driving licences, UK motorists can continue to drive throughout the EU and EEA after we have left. Such a deal is in the interests of both sides.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Treasury
Overseas Trade
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans the Government has in place to ensure the efficiency of border arrangements for the import of components in complex supply chains from non-EU countries.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Future customs arrangements depend on the outcome of the negotiations. The Government remains clear that the UK’s future customs arrangements should be as frictionless as possible, ensuring that traffic continues to flow as freely as possible at all ports. HM Revenue and Customs has engaged with a large number of businesses and ports to understand what may impact them in future, to identify any customs challenges they may face and to support businesses with the necessary education and guidance structures to be ready for future customs arrangements.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many real-time continuous glucose monitoring devices were used (a) in each clinical commissioning group and (b) across England in the most recent year for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The information requested is not centrally held.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the variation in (a) access and (b) uptake of insulin pumps across England.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

NHS Digital is able to provide the attached data that details the percentage of people with Type 1 diabetes on pump therapy by participating specialist service in England in the year 2015-16.

PQ136195 attached document (Word Document, 24.04 KB)
Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has been made of the variation in (a) access and (b) uptake of testing strips for people with diabetes across England.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

NHS England has advised that it is not aware of any assessments nationally regarding variation in access and uptake of testing strips for people with diabetes across England.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of people with diabetes in England are given a choice of their preferred glucose monitor.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The information requested is not centrally held.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Prescription Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local NHS formularies in delivering best outcomes for people with diabetes.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

NHS England has advised that it is not aware of any assessments nationally on the effectiveness of local National Health Service formularies in delivering best outcomes for people with diabetes.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) guidance and (b) incentives are provided to GPs to ensure people with Type 1 Diabetes have access to proven technologies to support self-management.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Treatments may be brought into routine use in the National Health Service after their efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness have been appropriately demonstrated. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is responsible for assessing new technologies and interventional procedures, as well as producing guidelines for best practice of treatment and care.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning diabetes services. In doing so, CCGs need to ensure that the services they provide are fit for purpose, reflect the needs of the local population, are based on the available evidence, and take into account national guidelines. This should include consideration of access to diabetes technologies.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with NICE on undertaking its appraisal of technology for Type 1 Diabetes.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

Departmental officials meet regularly with colleagues in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and NHS England to discuss potential topics for referral to its technology appraisal work programme, including potential topics relating to drugs for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. In February 2018, Departmental Ministers asked NICE to develop technology appraisal guidance on the use dapagliflozin, empagliflozin and sotagliflozin for the treatment of type 1 diabetes and this appraisal is now underway. Once a technology appraisal topic has been referred to NICE, NICE develops its guidance independently based on a thorough assessment of the available evidence and in consultation with stakeholders, including the Department.

Q
(Knowsley)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using artificial pancreas to improve outcomes for people with Type 1 Diabetes.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre in Cambridge is pioneering the development and use of the ‘artificial pancreas,’ a portable medical device that replaces the missing insulin in the body, reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). The prototype system is currently being tested by people in their own homes.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Treasury
Ports: Imports and Exports
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure a friction-free border for non-EU (a) imports and (b) exports at UK ports.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The UK delivers a highly effective customs service and is well-respected across the world, using procedures that are risk based and which maximise automation to deliver a swift and seamless service to the UK’s legitimate international trade. The UK has sought consistently to minimise business burdens and make trade as frictionless as possible.

As the UK leaves the EU, we remain on course to deliver an effective customs, VAT and excise system that enables trade to flow, HMRC to collect revenues, and the UK to have a secure border.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Transport
Aviation: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to ensure the maintenance of commercial air services after 30 March 2019 in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal and Future Partnership Agreement.
A
Answered by: Chris Grayling
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The importance of air services to the UK economy is recognised across Government and we are working closely with the aviation sector to ensure its ongoing success. This includes through securing a good deal with the EU and third countries where air services are currently governed by EU agreements.

We are also, as a matter of common sense, working on alternatives to a negotiated agreement, to ensure that no matter the outcome flights will continue.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of the UK to substitute domestically produced (a) food and (b) fish for imports once the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The Government is pursuing a unique and ambitious economic partnership that provides the greatest possible tariff free and frictionless trade with the EU.

There are sectors where the UK could, in the medium term, increase its production and processing of certain agricultural products to displace imports from the EU These include beef, pork, dairy, fruit and vegetables including through increased glasshouse production. The government will consider how best to support these sectors to take advantage of the opportunities of leaving the EU and becoming an independent country in control of our own agricultural policies in future.

The UK has a high degree of food security with access to a diverse range of sources of supply, including domestic production. The UK’s current production to supply ratio is 76% for indigenous-type foods and 60% for all foods. This has remained steady over the last decade and is not low in the context of the past 150 years.

Q
Asked by John Redwood
(Wokingham)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Treasury
Smuggling: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps his Department has taken to control smuggling at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 25 April 2018

HMRC is not a border agency and does not police the Irish Land Boundary however, it deploys a wide range of intervention measures to ensure that it can effectively detect, deter and disrupt attacks on the tax system. Any anti smuggling operations at the Border are highly targeted and are undertaken on the basis of intelligence and risk profiling. Multi-agency cross border cooperation is a key element in combatting Cross Border smuggling and HMRC work closely with partner law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border. HMRC are a key partner in the Joint Agency Taskforce (JATF) established in 2016 under the auspices of the Stormont House Agreement (SHA). The JATF comprises Law Enforcement Agencies from across the island of Ireland is focussed on tackling border criminality and HMRC are active participants in both the strategic oversight and operational groups. HMRC also play a proactive role in the Organised Crime Task Force, chairing the Cross Border Fuel Fraud Group and also co-chair a Cross Border Excise Fraud Group.

Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's plastic deposit return scheme on small retailers.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 25 April 2018

The Government has confirmed that it will introduce a DRS in England, subject to consultation later this year. The consultation (accompanied by an impact assessment) will look at the details of how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to increase recycling rates. Building on the working group’s call for evidence, we will be seeking further views on the potential impacts of a DRS on small retailers when we consult on this policy.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prison Officers: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions his Department has had with unions representing prison officers on the new pension scheme since its introduction in 2015.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 25 April 2018

This House recognises the significant role that prison officers play within the criminal justice system and the physical and often dangerous nature of their work.

Since the introduction of the new Civil Service Pension Scheme in 2015, HM Prison and Probation Service has held lengthy discussions with the Prison Officers Association (the trade union for prison officers) over the changes made under the new scheme introduced in 2015, and has offered a new pension package for frontline prison staff, allowing them a reduced retirement age of up to three years – from 68 to 65 with no cost to the employee. The POA balloted their membership on the offer, but voted to reject it.

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