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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

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.
Showing 51-100 out of 63969
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the roll-out of universal credit does not result in people in rented housing being in arrears.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Research shows that many people come onto Universal Credit with pre-existing rent arrears.

We also know that arrears are usually temporary and the majority of claimants do succeed in paying their rent, managing their monthly payments and clearing their arrears over time. In our research, the proportion of Universal Credit claimants who were in arrears at the start of their claim fell by a third after four months.

We have made changes to help people financially until their first payment. Advances are available to provide financial support and these can now be repaid over a course of 12 months and can consist of up to 100 per cent of the indicative monthly award. We have also abolished waiting days and now provide 2 weeks of housing support to claimants moving to Universal Credit from Housing Benefit.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in total, how many applications have been made to the HS2 Business and Local Economy Fund; and how many of those applications have been successful.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

There have been ten applications to the HS2 Business and Local Economy Fund to date.

Of these, five are in the smaller category (£10,000-£75,000) and five are in the larger category (£75,001 and above). The larger category has a two stage process: Expression of Interest stage and Stage 2.

Of the five smaller applications, two have been approved (totalling £148,785), two are in the process of being assessed by Groundwork UK and one was unsuccessful. Of the five larger applications, one was encouraged through to Stage 2 of the process (i.e. invited to submit a full application), one is in the process of being assessed by Groundwork UK and three were unsuccessful.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations he has received from (a) not-for-profit and (b) other organisations eligible to apply for the HS2 Business and Local Economy Fund on the eligibility criteria for that fund.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Department for Transport has no record of having received representations from (a) not-for-profit or (b) other organisations eligible to apply for the HS2 Business and Local Economy Fund on the eligibility criteria for that fund.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with HS2 Ltd on ensuring that eligibility criteria for the Business and Local Economy Fund is not unnecessarily restrictive and that appropriate organisations are able to access that fund.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The eligibility criteria for the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) were established prior to the Fund’s launch in January 2017, following collaboration between officials at my Department, HS2 Ltd, Groundwork UK and the Independent Panel.

The criteria are based on best practice in the grant making sector and are designed to ensure the right balance has been set between safeguarding public funds and maximising the quality and quantity of applications in pursuit of the Fund’s objective: to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to support local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is considering a review of the Business and Local Economy Fund eligibility criteria to maximise the ability of appropriate organisations such as not-for-profit and non-statutory bodies to access the grants available.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The objective of the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) is to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to support local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.

Organisations and groups are eligible to apply for funding if they are formally established for public benefit, are not-for-profit and can show that they meet the minimum requirements for safeguarding public money. Both statutory and non-statutory bodies may apply.

My officials meet regularly with HS2 Ltd, Groundwork UK and the Independent Chair of the BLEF to monitor progress and ensure its objective is being met. To this end, all elements of the Fund (including eligibility criteria) are kept under regular review.

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Education
Higher Education: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to increase the representation of ethnic minority students in higher education in (a) England and (b) Birmingham.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 16 July 2018

We have seen record numbers of English 18 year old black and minority ethnic (BME) students going into higher education over recent years and entry rates for all ethnic groups increased in 2017, reaching the highest recorded levels. Improving access and outcomes in higher education for ethnic minority students is a priority for government.

Through the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA), the government has introduced sweeping reforms to tackle equality of opportunity. This includes the Transparency Duty, which will for the first time, require all universities to publish applications, offer, acceptance, dropout and attainment rates of students by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background.

The HERA places a statutory duty on the new regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), to promote equality of opportunity for disadvantaged and under-represented groups in higher education, not just access. This includes non-continuation and attainment levels of students from those backgrounds. Through our first guidance on access and participation plans, we have asked the OfS to encourage providers to build on the work already underway aimed at increasing the success of ethnic minority groups in higher education.

In addition, the HERA has created a Director for Fair Access and Participation so that widening access and participation for disadvantaged students is at the core of OfS functions.

The OfS’s regulatory framework will include the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework, which will assess providers on how well they are delivering positive outcomes for all students, including those from under-represented groups.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Rare Diseases: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the merits of the single technology appraisal process for evaluating gene therapies for rare diseases.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

We have made no such assessment. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has not evaluated any gene therapies through its technology appraisal programme. NICE published highly specialised technologies guidance recommending use of Strimvelis, a gene therapy, for the treatment of adenosine deaminase deficiency–severe combined immunodeficiency in February 2018.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the merits of innovative funding arrangements for new products with a high upfront one-off costs for example gene therapy and car-T therapies.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

NHS England is engaging with a number of manufacturers of cell and gene therapies to explore alternative funding models. These discussions are taking place within the scope of NHS England’s remit to consider commercial propositions:

- where the net budget impact is forecast to exceed £20 million in any of the first three years of routine commissioning once the company has established a cost effective price with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE);

- for drugs entering the cancer drugs fund; and

- for highly specialised technologies.

Commercial propositions are developed on a case by case basis respecting longstanding industry agreements with the National Health Service on commercial confidentiality to ensure they offer the best outcomes for patients and taxpayers compared to alternatives. NHS England’s approach takes into account available evidence on outcomes from treatments, the nature of the market place, international approaches to pricing, NICE recommendations and rules for reimbursement in England, and the data and administrative burden for the NHS in ensuring such arrangements can be effectively transacted.

This approach has also been informed by the findings of work led by NICE on exploring the assessment and appraisal of regenerative medicines and cell therapy products and the subsequent observations about implications for commercial arrangements.

NHS England is working in close collaboration with clinical stakeholders, service providers, NICE and drug manufacturers to ensure patients can benefit from these innovative technologies in a safe, cost-effective and affordable manner. These new treatments pose complex new challenges in terms of new service delivery and funding models and require an approach which recognises the potential but uncertainty surrounding the clinical evidence due to the novelty of these treatments and how the associated risks can be shared between both parties.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications have been made to the HS2 Need to Sell Scheme from urban areas; and how many of those applications have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Information is only held in respect of Need to Sell (NTS) applications for each individual phase of HS2 without distinction as to whether a property is located in an urban or rural area. Information could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.

We also consider that disclosing low numbers of applications would identify individuals whose property was purchased under the NTS scheme and those applicants have an expectation that this information would remain confidential.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will compel HS2 Ltd to publish the internal guidance used by the independent panel of professionals to assess applications under the HS2 Need to Sell scheme including the section on the assessment of a compelling reason to sell.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Guidance issued to the independent panel which assess applications made under the HS2 Need to Sell scheme has been published and is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568959/Need_to_sell_scheme_-_panel_guidancev.pdf

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the clarifications called for by the House of Lords Select Committee on the High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill on the interpretation and application of the compelling reason to sell condition of the HS2 Need to Sell scheme have now been made; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Guidance was republished on the Need To Sell (NTS) scheme in August 2017 in light of recommendations made by the House of Lords Select Committee. The guidance provides more detailed information on the types of compelling reasons applicants may have to sell their property, and examples of the documentary evidence that should be provided to support each element of their application.

The guidance has subsequently been reviewed on several occasions, most recently in June 2018, to ensure the scheme remains transparent and guidance is accessible.

Statistics are also published on examples of compelling reasons cited within unsuccessful and successful NTS applications which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-phase-one-exceptional-hardship-scheme-applications-statistics

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the determination of a compelling reason to sell under HS2’s Need to Sell scheme involves a means-test of the applicant and their immediate family members.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The financial circumstances of an applicant to the HS2 Need to Sell (NTS) scheme, or an immediate family member, would be examined only if relevant to an application.

The NTS scheme panel require a summary of an applicant’s compelling reason, or reasons, to sell with each element of their case being supported by documentary evidence.

Q
Asked by Keir Starmer
(Holborn and St Pancras)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will compel HS2 Ltd to make available, if necessary, in redacted form, summaries of and explanations for the decisions made on applications under the Need to Sell scheme.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 16 July 2018

As confirmed in its response to the Phase 2b property scheme consultation, published in July 2017, the Government has concluded that publishing individual decisions would lead to an unacceptable risk of individual applicants being identifiable, even following redaction.

We are committed to keeping this area under review. We have made available more detailed guidance and statistics on compelling reasons to sell within successful and unsuccessful applications in order to better support applicants.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 14 June 2018 to Question 152260 on Army: Recruitment, if he will update the spreadsheet detailing paid advertisements on Facebook for the calendar year 2016 to include the target cities and regions for each advertisement where such locations were specified.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 July 2018

As advised in the response I provided the hon. Member on 14 June 2018 to Question 152260, information on Social Media advertisements is not held centrally and is provided to the Department by an external contractor. The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people aged (a)15, (b)16 and (c) 17 applied to join the British Army in (i) 2015, (ii) 2016, (iii) 2017 and (iv) to date in 2018.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The number of people aged 15, 16 and 17 who applied to join the Army in the requested years is shown in the following table:

Recruiting Year

Age at Contact

Number

2015-16

17

7,290

16

6,930

15

3,740

2016-17

17

9,400

16

8,500

15

4,980

2017-18

17

7,900

16

7,230

15

4,130

Notes:

Data is a single service estimate and not an official statistic, figures for 2017/18 are provided with low confidence due to implementation issues with the Defence Recruiting System between November 2017 and March 218.

Data includes Regulars, Reserves, Other Ranks and Officers.

For presentational purposes the figures have been rounded to ten to improve the clarity of output and convey an appropriate level of precision to users.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place the Capita brief provided to the advertising agency commissioned to produce the This is Belonging advertising campaign launched in January 2018 in the Library.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 16 July 2018

I will consider placing a copy of the Capita brief provided to the advertising agency in the Library of the House once Ministry of Defence officials have reviewed it in order to ensure there are no commercial sensitivities.

Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department’s priorities are for the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161557 | 161558 | 161559 | 161560 | 161561
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a new medicines fund in the 2019 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme using the rebates from that scheme to ensure uptake of new branded medicines in the NHS; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161556 | 161558 | 161559 | 161560 | 161561
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it a priority for his Department during the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme negotiations to increase uptake of new branded medicines.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161556 | 161557 | 161559 | 161560 | 161561
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has had made of the potential merits of raising the 2019 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme exemption threshold for smaller companies.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161556 | 161557 | 161558 | 161560 | 161561
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reintroducing a taper for smaller companies into the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161556 | 161557 | 161558 | 161559 | 161561
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to undertake an assessment of the effect on smaller companies of any changes introduced in the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. We have been listening to industry feedback and discussing how the medicines market is likely to evolve over the next five years. These discussions have now moved into a more formal phase and are commercially sensitive. The Government will update Parliament if and when agreement is reached.

Grouped Questions: 161556 | 161557 | 161558 | 161559 | 161560
Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Ombudsman
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to his answer of 9 January 2018 to Question 119694 on Housing: Ombudsman, if he will ask the Housing Ombudsman Service to make a statement on the (a) reasons why it did not meet its target that the average time taken to reach a final determination on complaints submitted in 2017-18 should be six months and (b) steps being taken to achieve this target in 2018/19.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The average case time for determining complaints by the Housing Ombudsman service was reduced from a nine month average in 2016-17, to eight months at the end of 2017-18. The Housing Ombudsman reports on determination times in its published Annual Report, which noted difficulty in recruitment and retention of temporary case workers impacting on this delivery. The Housing Ombudsman aims to reduce determination times further and is committed to achieving the six-month target in 2018-19. The steps it is taking to achieve this are set out in the Business Plan 2018-19 published and available on their website: https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Business-plan-2018-19.pdf

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Ombudsman Service: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many FTE staff were employed by the Housing Ombudsman Service in each of the last four years; and how many such FTE staff were employed as (a) caseworkers, (b) adjudicators and (c) review managers in each of those years.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

As reported in the Housing Ombudsman’s Annual report and Accounts, the average annual FTE employed by Housing Ombudsman Service in the last four years is as follows:

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

51

54

61

68.2

As at 31 March, the number of staff employed as a) Dispute Resolution Advisors, b) Adjudicators and c) Dispute Resolution Managers is as follows:

FTE Caseworkers in post

31/3/15

31/3/16

31/3/17

31/3/18

Adjudicators

12.2

17.2

20

24.5

Dispute Resolution Advisor

17.6

18

16.8

12.2

Dispute Resolution Manager

4

2

3.9

6

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Ombudsman Service: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on what date controls on the headcount at the Housing Ombudsman Service were imposed; and who authorised that decision.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

There are currently no controls on the headcount at the Housing Ombudsman. In 2010 controls were put in place on the headcount in line with MHCLG’s spending controls. These controls were approved by the Secretary of State at the time. In April 2017 the headcount controls were removed in line with the Department’s commitment to a collaborative partnership with its arm’s-length bodies, although the Housing Ombudsman is still expected to manage within its delegated pay budgets.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Ombudsman
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons a permanent Housing Ombudsman is not currently being recruited.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The recruitment is being reconsidered in view of the increasing importance of the Housing Ombudsman and we will be advertising the role in due course. Interim arrangements are in place to ensure the continued delivery of the Housing Ombudsman Service.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Ombudsman Service: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will commission research into the (a) effectiveness and (b) usefulness of the requirement under the Localism Act 2011 that all complaints to the Housing Ombudsman Service should be through a designated person or designated tenant panel.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

It is very important that tenants have quick and easy ways to put things right when they have a problem. We will be publishing a Green paper shortly that will be considering these important issues for tenants.

Access to swift and effective redress is important for all housing consumers and is why earlier this year we consulted on strengthening this across housing. We are considering the responses and will respond in due course.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Ombudsman Service: Complaints
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will ask the Housing Ombudsman Service to publish data on the number of complaints that have been (a) made and (b) upheld against (i) Clarion Housing Group and its subsidiaries and (ii) Genesis Housing in each of the last four years.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The attached tables set out the complaints made and upheld against Clarion Housing Group and Genesis Housing in each of the relevant years. As Clarion was formed in 2016-17 following the merger of a number of housing associations, figures relating to their complaints are therefore broken down by individual landlord and for the group as a whole.

One of the Housing Ombudsman’s strategic objectives is to support landlords and residents to resolve more complaints locally through early resolution. In 2017-18, 79 per cent of the complaints they dealt with were closed at this stage. In 2017-18, 7,087 cases were closed by the Housing Ombudsman, and of those, 5,467 were closed through local resolution while the complaint was going through the landlord’s complaints procedure. These cases did not need to go on to be formally determined by the Housing Ombudsman.

Table showing complaints PQ 161505 (Word Document, 25.63 KB)
Q
Asked by Keith Vaz
(Leicester East)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: War Crimes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the allegations of war crimes made against the Houthis in Taiz, Yemen; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 16 July 2018

​We are concerned by reports of alleged International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations by the Houthis, including attacks on civilians and blockages of humanitarian aid in Taiz. We have regularly addressed our concerns about the Houthis' compliance with IHL in Parliament, most recently on 3 July in the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Q
Asked by Keith Vaz
(Leicester East)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: War Crimes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he made of allegations of war crimes made against the Houthis during the conflict in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 16 July 2018

​We are concerned by reports of alleged International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations by the Houthis, including attacks on civilians in Aden and Taiz; intimidation of UN ships attempting to dock at Aden; the use of schools and hospitals for military purposes; the use of child soldiers; and the targeting of aid workers and restrictions on humanitarian access. We have regularly addressed our concerns about the Houthis' compliance with IHL in the Parliament, most recently on 3 July in the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) community or (b) equivalent orders each offender sent to prison in each of the last three years for less than 12 months had previously been given.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Ministry of Justice has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Treasury
Financial Services: Payments
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's consultation on Cash and digital payments in the new economy, published on 13 March 2018, when his Department plans to respond to that consultation; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 16 July 2018

In January 2018, European Union legislation (PSDII) introduced a mandatory ban on surcharging for the vast majority of consumer cards - Visa and MasterCard - with the Government extending the ban to all retail payment instruments. The intention is to make the rules around surcharging less confusing for customers and reduce the chances of the customer being taken advantage of by any unscrupulous firms.

This builds on action already taken by the Government through the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, which set out to improve transparency to facilitate competition and address excessive payment surcharges.

Government has not made a formal assessment of the impact of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharge) Regulations. However, in Spring, the Government launched a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. It sought information on how the shift from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. As part of this call for evidence, views on the surcharging ban were provided. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

Grouped Questions: 161548 | 161549
Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Treasury
Credit Cards: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to tackle excessive card payment surcharges.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 16 July 2018

In January 2018, European Union legislation (PSDII) introduced a mandatory ban on surcharging for the vast majority of consumer cards - Visa and MasterCard - with the Government extending the ban to all retail payment instruments. The intention is to make the rules around surcharging less confusing for customers and reduce the chances of the customer being taken advantage of by any unscrupulous firms.

This builds on action already taken by the Government through the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, which set out to improve transparency to facilitate competition and address excessive payment surcharges.

Government has not made a formal assessment of the impact of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharge) Regulations. However, in Spring, the Government launched a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. It sought information on how the shift from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. As part of this call for evidence, views on the surcharging ban were provided. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

Grouped Questions: 161547 | 161549
Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Treasury
Credit Cards: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharge) Regulations 2012 in tackling excessive card payment surcharges.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 16 July 2018

In January 2018, European Union legislation (PSDII) introduced a mandatory ban on surcharging for the vast majority of consumer cards - Visa and MasterCard - with the Government extending the ban to all retail payment instruments. The intention is to make the rules around surcharging less confusing for customers and reduce the chances of the customer being taken advantage of by any unscrupulous firms.

This builds on action already taken by the Government through the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, which set out to improve transparency to facilitate competition and address excessive payment surcharges.

Government has not made a formal assessment of the impact of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharge) Regulations. However, in Spring, the Government launched a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. It sought information on how the shift from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. As part of this call for evidence, views on the surcharging ban were provided. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

Grouped Questions: 161547 | 161548
Q
(Barnsley East)
[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: 06 July 2018
House of Commons Commission
House of Commons: Catering
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many Catering Services team staff are on each pay grade; and how many are at each such pay grade by gender and ethnicity.
A
Answered by: Tom Brake
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The total number of House of Commons employees in the Catering Services team is 255. The table sets out the number of females in that team and the number who have declared themselves as being from BAME background. Numbers below 10 have been redacted to ensure anonymity.


Pay Grade


Total


Female


Female %


BAME


BAME %


SCS / A–E


25


15


60%


*


*


CGA1 – CGC


35


13


37%


*


*


CGD1


28


13


46%


10


36%


CGD2


73


29


40%


22


30%


CGE / CGCM


94


46


49%


51


54%



255


116


45%


*


*

Q
(Ashfield)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Justice
Small Claims: Legal Representation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people self-represented in the small claims court in the last 12 months for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 16 July 2018

In the 12 months to March 2018, the most recent period for which data are available, 42,682 people self-represented in the small claims court.

Note: These data are a subset of published statistics (table 1.6) available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/714288/civil-justice-stats-main-tables-jan-mar-2018.xlsx and the caveat at footnote 2 of those published data also applies to the data provided in the answer above. ‘Self-representation’ is determined by the field 'legal representation' in the HMCTS case management system being left blank.

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Revenue Accounts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to his Answer of 6 July 2018 to Question 160268 on Housing Revenue Accounts, how many of the 104 eligible authorities are in the (a) South East, (b) North West, (c) east of England, (d) West Midlands, (e) South West, (f) Yorkshire and the Humber, (g) East Midlands and (h) North East.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Of the 104 local authorities with a Housing Revenue Account that are eligible to bid for the additional borrowing programme: (a) 29 are in the South East, (b) 4 are in the North West, (c) 20 are in the East of England, (d) 5 are in the West Midlands, (e) 11 are in the South West, (f) 3 are in Yorkshire and the Humber, (g) 2 are in the East Midlands, (h) 1 is in the North East.

Q
Asked by John Grogan
(Keighley)
Asked on: 06 July 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Public Holidays
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Northern Rail and Transpennine on the provision of services on Boxing Day 2018; and what the outcome of those discussions was.
A
Answered by: Joseph Johnson
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Rail North Partnership has had discussions with the operators regarding the provision of Boxing Day services for 2018. At this time, following the announcement yesterday regarding the timetable for the December change date, we are unable to confirm the plans for Boxing Day in 2018.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
High Rise Flats: Yorkshire and the Humber
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much funding will be allocated for the improvement of safety measures in tower blocks in Yorkshire and the Humber.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government will fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe Aluminium Composite Material cladding systems that have failed large scale tests, commissioned by Government in 2017 on social residential buildings 18 metres and over owned by councils and housing associations, with costs estimated at £400 million.

On 3 July, we published on the Government website further details on how councils and housing associations can apply for the funding. The guidance confirms the scope of the fund, provides more detail on how it will operate and sets out the information required, when applying. Funding will be allocated on a building-by-building basis, once building owners have submitted applications.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Railways: Trees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with (a) Network Rail and (b) the Secretary of State for Transport on Network Rail's programme to target all leaf fall trees for removal alongside its tracks.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met the Chief Executive of Network Rail and the Minister of State for Transport on 9 May. Following this discussion the Department for Transport commissioned an independent review to look at Network Rail’s vegetation management regime.

The Government’s Tree Champion will discuss this review with the Minister of State for Transport in due course.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Treasury
Insurance: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the implications are for his policies of recent research showing insurers quoting higher premiums for people with names common among ethnic minorities.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government is determined that insurers treat customers fairly, and firms are required to do so under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules. In addition, the Equality Act 2010 prohibits insurers from discriminating on the basis of ethnic origin.

The FCA is currently conducting detailed discovery work into pricing practices used by insurers to develop a clear understanding of current market practices. This discovery work is looking at the techniques, strategies and rating factors used by insurers in the insurance market. Once concluded, this work will enable consideration of whether any further intervention is required.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Private Rented Housing: Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what mechanisms are in place to hold landlords to account for discrimination in the private rented sector.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, agents and landlords must not advertise or let a property in a way which discriminates against individuals on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. If a tenant can prove that they have been discriminated against on these grounds, they can bring legal proceedings against their landlord.

It is important that these requirements are clearly understood and, on 26 June 2018, we published a new “How to Let “guide to help landlords better understand their rights and responsibilities. We also updated the “How to Rent” guide, which was first introduced in 2015, to support tenants to understand and exercise their rights.

Q
Asked by Fiona Bruce
(Congleton)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for International Development
Syria: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support and resettle (a) Yazidi, (b) Christian and (c) other religious or ethnic minority Syrian refugees.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Department for International Development work alongside the Home Office on the resettlement of refugees. The UK works in accordance to the humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality which means that we do not take into consideration the ethno-religious origins of people requiring assistance as we resettle solely on the basis of needs, identified by UNHCR through their established submission categories.

To protect the privacy of those being resettled and to support their recovery and integration, we limit the amount of information made publicly available and therefore do not publish a religious and ethnic breakdown of those who have been resettled.

The Home Office are working with UNHCR and other partners to intensify their outreach to groups that might otherwise be reluctant to register for fear of stigma/ discrimination and those who may be unaware of the safe space and options available to them. This includes all religious minorities.

Q
Asked by Andrew Jones
(Harrogate and Knaresborough)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Hospitals: Waiting Lists
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what policies he plans to bring forward to enable more hospitals to meet the targets on waiting times for (a) A&E treatment, (b) cancer treatment and (c) planned operations and care.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government’s Mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 is clear that it is to maintain and improve performance against core patient access standards including accident and emergency (A&E), cancer and planned operations and care-Referral to Treatment (RTT).

The Government expects the National Health Service to deliver the actions set out in the NHS Planning Guidance for 2018-19 – in full – as key steps towards fully recovering performance against core access standards. This means treating a quarter of a million more patients in A&E, halving the number who have the longest waits for treatment and working towards reducing the number of patients waiting overall. We gave the NHS top priority in the 2017 budget with an additional £2.8 billion of funding for the NHS between 2017-18 and 2019-20, and this has been reflected in the mandate.

To provide the NHS with financial stability, the longer-term plan, announced last month will see NHS funding increase by £20.5 billion per year by 2023/24, the end of the first five years compared with today.

Q
Asked by Andrew Jones
(Harrogate and Knaresborough)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for International Development
Bananas: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help prevent the extinction of the banana plant.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 16 July 2018

DFID is investing in technologies to identify ways to control the spread of banana diseases, including Panama Disease, in Africa and Asia, as part of a global effort to tackle this problem.

DFID is major funder of the international research organisation, the Consultative group on International Agricultural Research (CCIAR), which is currently working to address Panama Disease (TR4) as well as other emerging disease and pest threats in developing countries.

Although the disease cannot currently be eradicated, this research aims to develop effective control measures and to identify banana varieties that are not susceptible to the disease. These are being tested in countries like Mozambique and Myanmar that are already affected by Panama Disease.

Q
(Brighton, Kemptown)
[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: 09 July 2018
Cabinet Office
Intelligence Services: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the last review was made of the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 16 July 2018

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the Prime Minister’s Written Ministerial Statement of 28 June (HCWS808).

Q
Asked by David Duguid
(Banff and Buchan)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Coastal Erosion: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans next to meet with representatives of the Scottish Government to discuss coastal erosion in the north-east of Scotland.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Secretary of State has no plans to meet representatives of the Scottish Government to discuss coastal erosion in North East of Scotland. Responsibility for management of coastal erosion is devolved to the governments of the four nations of the UK. Coastal Erosion in this region is a matter for the Scottish Government.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of badger culling on the control of bovine TB.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice on the outcome of 2017 cull indicates that industry-led culling can deliver the level of effectiveness required to be confident of achieving bovine TB disease control benefits.

A peer-reviewed scientific study showed a significant reduction in TB breakdowns after two years of badger control in the first two cull areas. Culling was associated with 21% reduction in TB incidence in the Somerset cull area and a 58% reduction in the Gloucestershire cull area. The paper is available at the following link:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.3254

Assessments of the effectiveness of all badger culls undertaken from 2013 to 2017 have been published and can be found on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bovine-tb-controlling-the-risk-of-bovine-tb-from-badgers

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of plastic pollution on flora and fauna in oceans.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 16 July 2018

A five-year-long Defra-funded study found that microplastics can cause harm to marine life. In response to this evidence, we introduced one of the world’s strongest microbead bans. We are continuing to look at other sources of microplastics, and have a monitoring programme running looking at microplastics in sediment and biota.

The UK has a widely respected UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme in place. This scheme investigates the causes of death of stranded cetaceans around the UK coast, improving our understanding of, and ability to tackle, key threats. In the UK, ingestion of marine litter has been implicated in the death of one individual (a Cuvier’s beaked whale in 2015) since the inception of the UK strandings programme in 1990 (this covers the examination of 3586 individuals over that time period).

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 09 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Germany: Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of members of the armed forces who will be stationed in Germany in support of NATO.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 16 July 2018

On current plans there will be approximately 140 UK defence personnel based at NATO Headquarters and installations in Germany after 2019. The exact number will fluctuate due to the routine rotation of personnel, and, in the longer term, the number is also subject to change as part of the ongoing NATO adaptation programme that will affect the distribution of NATO and UK personnel across the Alliance.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 51-100 out of 63969
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100