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 Mr Peter Bone
(Wellingborough)
[N]
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Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 May 2018
Cabinet Office
Prime Minister
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with whom he would plan to co-ordinate the delivery of Government objectives in the event that the Prime Minister was temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 25 May 2018

Coordination of the delivery of government business occurs through the Cabinet Committee system as set out in the Cabinet Manual. In the event the Prime Minister is unable to attend Cabinet or any of its Committees the Committees may proceed in her absence chaired by the next most senior minister in the order of precedence. In the event of the permanent incapacity of the Prime Minister, the appointment of a new Prime Minister is a matter for Her Majesty The Queen acting under the Royal Prerogative.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 11 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
India: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of India about the Indian states which have passed laws criminalising religious conversions, including whether those laws are ultra vires.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

It is not a criminal offence voluntarily to convert to a different religion in India. However, some states have passed legislation making this process more difficult. The UK remains committed to promoting and defending freedom of religious belief for individuals of all faiths and beliefs, including in India. The British High Commission in New Delhi and our wider network across India monitor closely any reports of incidents against religious minorities.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Abduljalil Abdulla al-Singace
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain regarding the mistreatment in prison of Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace and allegations that he is being denied access to necessary medical treatment by prison authorities.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

We have raised this case at a senior level. The UK has a continuing dialogue with the Government of Bahrain in which we raise individual cases.

The UK encourages those with concerns about treatment in detention to report these to the relevant human rights oversight bodies. We urge these bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations. The UK continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kosovo: Rule of Law
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, in particular in establishing an independent judiciary and prosecution service, and in preventing (1) the corruption of officials, and (2) the trafficking in persons and drugs.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) has made a significant contribution to supporting Kosovo's judicial, prosecutorial and law enforcement systems. Despite a challenging operational environment, we assess that EULEX has tried many criminal cases including serious and organised crime, and war crimes, which Kosovan institutions would have struggled to address in isolation. EULEX's formal work on trafficking ceased several years ago. However, it is EU Member States collective view that the time is right for its judicial and prosecutorial functions to cease, and other functions gradually to transition to other institutions. We welcome the fact that cases and capability will continue to be transferred to Kosovan institutions as part of that transition.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Conflict Prevention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for spending more on conflict prevention even where this may cause a reduction in conflict and post-conflict aid.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The British Government is committed to preventing conflict across the globe, as I highlighted during my speech to the UN General Assembly High Level Event on Sustaining Peace in April. We welcome the report by the World Bank and United Nations (UN) 'Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict'', which confirms that preventing violent conflicts saves lives and is cost-effective, and that it could save the international community up to US$70 billion a year on average.

The UK uses a variety of tools to address the causes of conflict (including diplomatic and programmatic) and we work closely with partners to optimise effective bilateral and multilateral intervention. This is done principally through the UN which is the key mechanism for maintaining international peace and security and resolving disputes. Through our permanent seat on the UN Security Council, we push for earlier and more effective action to prevent conflicts.

A key tool for the British Government in addressing the cause of conflict is the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) launched in 2015. This financial year (2018-19), CSSF is spending £1.2 billion in over 70 countries to support programmes that tackle the root causes of conflict. Additionally, the UK spends 0.7 percent of its Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance, which we have enshrined in law. We have committed to invest at least 50 percent of the Department for International Development's budget in fragile states and regions.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to end the alleged genocide of English-speaking Cameroons; and whether they will consult with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria, the UNHCR and the Catholic bishops of the Cameroons about appropriate measures to enable refugees in Nigeria to return home or be re-settled.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

We continue to urge the Government of Cameroon to pursue an inclusive and purposeful dialogue to address Anglophone grievances.

During her recent visit to Cameroon the Minister for Africa (Mrs Baldwin) met with the Prime Minister and the Ministers of External Relations, Territorial Administration, and Defence where they discussed the ongoing tensions in Cameroon's Anglophone regions. She reinforced the importance of respecting human rights in a challenging security environment.

During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting the Foreign Secretary met Cameroonian Prime Minister Yang and pressed for urgent action to resolve the dispute and associated violence. The Minister for Africa also met with Commonwealth Minister Mbayu and gave the same message. She confirmed that the UK stands ready to help and engage with international organisations such as the UNHCR and the Catholic Church in resolving the crisis, including the refugee situation, through dialogue.

Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Sudan: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest assessment of the situation in South Sudan.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The situation in South Sudan is appalling. Conflict has killed thousands and forced over 4 million to flee their homes. It has created a humanitarian catastrophe, food insecurity is at its worst in South Sudan's seven year history. An estimated 7 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year.

Only political stability can end the humanitarian crisis. We welcome the resumption of the High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) talks on 17 May. However, we are disappointed that the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) signed by all parties in December has not held, and that the HLRF has so far failed to generate serious commitments from the parties to compromise.

We strongly condemn ongoing violations of the COHA, and urge the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to take immediate action to ensure that those who undermine the peace process face consequences for their actions, to leave the parties in no doubt about the region's commitment to peace.

Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Maung Maung Soe
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Canada following that government's decision to impose targeted sanctions against Major General Maung Maung Soe of Burma because of his role in human rights violations against the Rohingya people.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The Government continues to work closely with Canada and other key partners to address the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State, Burma. The Foreign Secretary and Canadian Foreign Minister Freeland discussed the humanitarian crisis last month during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and co-chaired a Foreign Minister level discussion on the issue. They discussed the situation further in a telephone call on 10 May.

Q
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Middle East on 19 April (HC135976), what assessment they have made of the ability of an organisation that investigates complaints made regarding its own conduct to be accountable, independent and transparent.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018
We will judge any proposal for an investigation on its merits. We urge that any investigation be independent and transparent, its findings be made public and, if wrongdoing is found, that those responsible be held to account.
Q
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel regarding reports of defence lawyers in Israel arguing that the prosecution of Israeli military personnel for illegally killing Palestinians would constitute selective enforcement of the law.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

We have not raised this issue with the Israeli authorities.

Asked on: 15 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Leah Sharibu
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about Leah Sharibu, abducted by the Al Barnawi faction of Boko Haram on 19 February from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State; and what they know of her wellbeing.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Vice President Osinbajo on 26 February and extended an offer of additional UK assistance following the abductions from Dapchi. The Prime Minister also raised the Dapchi abductions with President Buhari on 16 April. The Government of Nigeria has said they are making all efforts to secure Leah's release. We continue to call for the release of all those abducted by Boko Haram – including the remaining Chibok girls. Attacks on schools and abductions of children are abhorrent and must stop.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 December 2017 (HL4196), whether they continue to provide financial support to armed opposition groups in Syria.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The UK continues to provide a range of support to Syrians to help save lives, bolster civil society, counter extremism, promote human rights and accountability, and lay the foundations for a more peaceful future. As part of this, we continue to provide some support to projects involving armed moderate opposition groups in Syria. This is in the form of non-lethal assistance and lifesaving support, helping them to protect civilians from the threats of criminality and extremism.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 December 2017 (HL4196), whether they were also providing support to the local administration of Douma before the eviction of extremist groups from that town.
A
Answered on: 25 May 2018

To protect the safety of individuals and communities who have received UK assistance during the Syrian conflict, we do not identify particular locations of our support.

Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Cathedrals: Repairs and Maintenance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 14 May (HL Deb, col 412), what are the 57 cathedrals; and how much funding was allotted to each cathedral from the First World War fund.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The 57 Church of England and Catholic Cathedrals awarded grants under the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund are:

Cathedrals

Total awarded

Cathedrals

Total awarded

Cathedrals

Total awarded

Arundel RC

£181,929

Lichfield

£1,490,000

Southwark

£837,765

Birmingham

£498,927

Lincoln

£1,225,000

Southwark RC

£552,000

Birmingham RC

£227,000

Liverpool

£1,035,000

Southwell

£586,000

Blackburn

£587,701

Liverpool RC*

£753,541

St Albans

£667,610

Bradford

£686,502

Manchester

£725,000

St Edmundsbury

£650,000

Bristol

£214,000

Newcastle

£161,786

St Pauls

£280,000

Canterbury

£400,000

Newcastle RC

£167,887

Truro

£1,050,000

Carlisle

£575,000

Northampton RC

£35,000

Wakefield

£746,934

Chelmsford

£526,822

Norwich

£748,730

Wells

£606,802

Chester

£794,752

Norwich RC

£189,900

Westminster RC

£690,000

Chichester

£650,000

Nottingham RC

£330,000

Winchester

£1,000,000

Clifton RC

£1,400,000

Peterborough

£738,061

Worcester

£876,750

Coventry

£1,266,629

Plymouth RC

£1,142,496

York Minster

£800,000

Derby

£1,393,039

Portsmouth

£952,836

Durham

£1,167,651

Portsmouth RC

£79,800

Ely

£1,192,060

Ripon

£783,788

Exeter

£852,547

Rochester

£823,592

Gloucester

£956,040

Salford RC

£553,000

Guildford

£962,204

Salisbury

£1,135,000

Hereford

£920,000

Sheffield

£545,077

Lancaster RC

£12,870

Sheffield RC

£490,328

Leicester

£433,775

Shrewsbury RC

£530,866

* Roman Catholic

Q
Asked by Alex Burghart
(Brentwood and Ongar)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for Transport
Driverless Vehicles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport of 14 May 2018, Official Report, column 99, if he will make an assessment of the compatibility of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic with the (a) testing and (b) use of fully autonomous vehicles.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 25 May 2018

Like many other countries who have ratified the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, the 1968 Convention on Road Traffic, or both, the Government considers that neither convention prohibits the testing or use of automated vehicles. This applies to all automated vehicles, including fully automated ones where a person only decides whether to use the automated vehicle, schedules the journey, and chooses destinations.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for Education
Children's Centres
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's announcement of 30 April 2018 on early language skills, what best practice his Department has identified for the effective use of children’s centres to improve outcomes.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The social mobility action plan, ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, sets a clear direction for all those who have a part to play, including those responsible for children’s centres. Our focus now is on delivering this, including through £10 million investment to build the evidence base for what works, and the £8.5 million local government programme, working with the Local Government Association. Through this programme of local authority peer support and challenge we will work with sector leaders to identify best practice in closing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, including through children’s centres.

The peer review programme will explore the effectiveness of a range of local services, including the use of children’s centres, in improving early language outcomes for disadvantaged children at age five. Further information about the funding for the programme will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 144986
Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for Education
Children's Centres
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's announcement on 30 April 2018 on early language skills, how much of the £8.5 million Early Years Social Mobility Peer Review Programme he expects to be spent on the development of effective strategies to improve outcomes through the effective use of children’s centres.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The social mobility action plan, ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, sets a clear direction for all those who have a part to play, including those responsible for children’s centres. Our focus now is on delivering this, including through £10 million investment to build the evidence base for what works, and the £8.5 million local government programme, working with the Local Government Association. Through this programme of local authority peer support and challenge we will work with sector leaders to identify best practice in closing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, including through children’s centres.

The peer review programme will explore the effectiveness of a range of local services, including the use of children’s centres, in improving early language outcomes for disadvantaged children at age five. Further information about the funding for the programme will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 144985
Q
(North Swindon)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Ministry of Justice
Magistrates: Age
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to increase the maximum age for magistrates.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 25 May 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 Thelma Walker
(Colne Valley)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for Education
Children: Disadvantaged
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) all children and (b) children eligible for free school meals reached a good level of development at the age of five in Colne Valley constituency in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 25 May 2018

The requested data is in the attached table.

Q
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Home Office
Immigration: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many reports of immigration crime his Department received from hon. Members in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 May 2018

Data is available from 30 September 2012. Since that time Members of Parliament have reported immigration abuse 19 times in 2012, 113 in 2013, 101 in 2014, 219 in 2015, 162 in 2016, 73 in 2017 and 36 to date in 2018.

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