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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Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[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: 08 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Disqualification
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the number of hardship payment awards to sanctioned claimants of universal credit was in each conditionality category for (a) live and (b) full service claimants in each month since August 2015.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 January 2019

The information requested by each conditionality group is not readily available for Universal Credit Full and Live Service claimants and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Sanctions are only used in a small percentage of cases, and that is when people fail to meet their agreed commitments without good reason. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

However, the information that is readily available is displayed in the table below. This shows the number of Universal Credit Full Service sanction decisions which were followed by a Recoverable Hardship Payment during 2017 and 2018.

Sanction decision month

Number of UC Full Service sanction decisions which were followed by a Recoverable Hardship Payment1

Number of people on Universal Credit2

Jan-17

100

437,751

Feb-17

0

458,742

Mar-17

0

481,592

Apr-17

100

504,748

May-17

400

513,481

Jun-17

300

527,535

Jul-17

300

551,088

Aug-17

400

574,802

Sep-17

300

601,921

Oct-17

400

623,565

Nov-17

300

650,145

Dec-17

200

692,039

Jan-18

600

717,523

Feb-18

500

762,909

Mar-18

500

801,401

Apr-18

700

856,280

May-18

400

902,317

Jun-18

1100

961,643

Jul-18

2200

1,019,181

Aug-18

2400

1,093,073

Notes:

  1. The information provided in the provided table is based on preliminary analysis of internal management information and may be subject to future revision. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Subsequently, figures in the table that are 0 are less than 50.
  2. The number of people on Universal Credit is published on Stat-Xplore. (stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk)

Q
(Oxford 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: 22 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her speech entitled, Universal Credit: personal welfare, delivered on 11 January 2019, how many recipients of universal credit where the woman is the payee are recorded as lead carers in relation to their claimant commitment.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 March 2019
Holding answer received on 28 January 2019

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Grouped Questions: 211355
Q
(Oxford 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: 22 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with referenced to her speech entitled Universal Credit: personal welfare delivered on 11 January 2019, how many recipients of universal credit where payments go to the woman’s bank account are in paid work.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 March 2019
Holding answer received on 28 January 2019

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Grouped Questions: 211354
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claims had a deduction applied in the most recent month for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Under Universal Credit there is a co-ordinated approach to deductions from benefit, which simplifies the current complex arrangements.

The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their gas, electricity and water cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services.

Work has been done to increase awareness of advances and access to them for claimants, and to support this, new guidance has been issued to staff.

This guidance makes it clear that claimants should be made aware of advances, made aware of their maximum entitlement and informed that their entitlement will be adjusted over the relevant recovery period to take this into account. This increased awareness has resulted in around 60% of eligible new claims to Universal Credit receiving an advance in October 2018, providing further financial support until their first payment.

Of all eligible claims* to Universal Credit Full Service due a payment in October 2018, 53% (532,000 claims) had a deduction to their standard allowance.

Of these 532,000 claims with a deduction:

a) 53% (284,000 claims) had deductions up to 20% of the Standard Allowance (28% of all eligible claims).

b) 21% (113,000 claims) had deductions between 21% and 30% of the Standard Allowance (11% of all eligible claims).

c) 24% (129,000 claims) had deductions between 31% and 40% of their Standard Allowance (13% of all eligible claims).

d) 1% (6,000 claims) had deductions above 40% of their Standard Allowance (0.6% of all eligible claims).

Notes:

*Eligible claimants are claimants that have satisfied all the requirements of claiming Universal Credit; they have provided the necessary evidence, signed their claimant commitment and are eligible and have recieved their first payment.

These figures do not include sanctions or fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

Claim numbers may not match official statistics caseloads due to small methodological differences.

Claim numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000

Grouped Questions: 218207
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
Asked on: 07 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claims that had a deduction applied had (a) up to 20 per cent, (b) between 21 and 30 per cent, (c) between 31 and 40 per cent and (d) more than 41 per cent deducted in the latest period for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Under Universal Credit there is a co-ordinated approach to deductions from benefit, which simplifies the current complex arrangements.

The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their gas, electricity and water cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services.

Work has been done to increase awareness of advances and access to them for claimants, and to support this, new guidance has been issued to staff.

This guidance makes it clear that claimants should be made aware of advances, made aware of their maximum entitlement and informed that their entitlement will be adjusted over the relevant recovery period to take this into account. This increased awareness has resulted in around 60% of eligible new claims to Universal Credit receiving an advance in October 2018, providing further financial support until their first payment.

Of all eligible claims* to Universal Credit Full Service due a payment in October 2018, 53% (532,000 claims) had a deduction to their standard allowance.

Of these 532,000 claims with a deduction:

a) 53% (284,000 claims) had deductions up to 20% of the Standard Allowance (28% of all eligible claims).

b) 21% (113,000 claims) had deductions between 21% and 30% of the Standard Allowance (11% of all eligible claims).

c) 24% (129,000 claims) had deductions between 31% and 40% of their Standard Allowance (13% of all eligible claims).

d) 1% (6,000 claims) had deductions above 40% of their Standard Allowance (0.6% of all eligible claims).

Notes:

*Eligible claimants are claimants that have satisfied all the requirements of claiming Universal Credit; they have provided the necessary evidence, signed their claimant commitment and are eligible and have recieved their first payment.

These figures do not include sanctions or fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

Claim numbers may not match official statistics caseloads due to small methodological differences.

Claim numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000

Grouped Questions: 218206
Q
(Sheffield South 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: 25 February 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Citizens' Juries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress he has made on the implementation of the Innovation in Democracy Programme; and what the timeframe is for the announcement of the successful local authorities.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Innovation in Democracy Programme is an important part of the Civil Society Strategy announced last year. The successful pilot locations will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 228562
Q
(Sheffield South 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: 05 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Citizens' Juries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress has been made on the Innovation in Democracy Programme; and what the timescale is for announcing the successful local authorities.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Innovation in Democracy Programme is an important part of the Civil Society Strategy announced last year. The successful pilot locations will be announced in due course.

Grouped Questions: 225397
Asked on: 06 March 2019
Department for Education
Pre-school Education: Staff
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Education Policy Institute The early years workforce in England, published on 17 January; and what steps they intend to take in response to that report in particular the need to ensure increased (1) skills, (2) diversity, and (3) pay levels in the early education workforce.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 20 March 2019

We have noted the findings of the report published by the Education Policy Institute. We are already working with the sector on a number of the issues highlighted in their report. In March 2017, we published the attached early years workforce strategy, the government's plans to support employers to attract, retain and develop early years staff to deliver high quality provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-workforce-strategy. As a result of the strategy, we have worked with sector stakeholders to develop criteria for new more robust level 2 qualifications, considered how the gender diversity of the workforce can be improved, as well as developing new career pathways information to support careers advice, recruitment and staff development: https://www.cache.org.uk/media/1417/dfe-career-pathway-map-v17.pdf. The career pathways map is attached.

We are supporting employer trailblazer groups to develop new apprenticeship standards for the early years workforce and have announced a £20 million investment in professional development and training for early years practitioners in pre-reception settings in disadvantaged areas.

Employers in the early years sector are responsible for setting the pay and conditions for their employees, within the statutory requirements set by government (for example, national minimum wage).

HL14293_Early_years_workforce_strategy (PDF Document, 638.42 KB)
HL14293_Early_years_career_progression_map (PDF Document, 590.19 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Hain
Asked on: 06 March 2019
Northern Ireland Office
Terrorism: Northern Ireland
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 5 March (HL13923), whether the remarks by that Minister on 30 October 2018 (HL Deb, col 1311) about the early provision of pensions for those who were severely physically injured in the Northern Ireland Troubles still stand, namely "That is not to put it into the long grass or put it away, but to recognise that it must be progressed" and "We will guarantee within six months. So, yes, we will be able to do it within six months and I hope that that will therefore give some comfort to noble Lords that we take this matter with the utmost seriousness and we will move it forward"; and from when the guarantee of “within six months” will apply.
A
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Noble Lord will recall that this answer was given in response to questions from Baroness O’Loan and Lord Cormack about how long the Victims Commissioner would take to produce her advice. The Victims Commissioner has indicated that she is on track to give us full advice by the end of March. As I have previously stated, the scope of that advice includes “a proposal for, or options for, the type of pension which should be provided including consideration of a two-phased approach to delivery with a physical injury pension being rolled out first followed by psychological (and any risks of this approach)”. As the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has indicated, the UK Government’s priority in Northern Ireland continues to be the restoration of the NI Executive. If, despite best efforts, the NI Executive has not been restored by the time updated advice on a pension has been provided by the Victims Commissioner, the Northern Ireland Office will consider how this matter can be progressed in the absence of NI Executive Ministers.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 07 March 2019
Department for Transport
Seaborne Freight
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 6 March (HL14064), whether conversations involving officials and Arklow Shipping took place before the Department for Transport entered into an agreement or signed heads of forms with Seaborne Freight.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 20 March 2019

Support from Arklow formed part of the conditions precedent to the contract. Information from Arklow was provided in accordance with the condition of the initial agreement.

Q
Asked by Norman Lamb
(North Norfolk)
Asked on: 08 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Chief Scientific Advisers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many meetings he had with his Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser between 1 December 2018 and 28 February 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Chief Scientific Adviser had no meetings with my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State between 1 December 2018 and 28 February 2019. The Chief Scientific Adviser met with the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation on 29 January 2019.

Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling: Students
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the National Union of Students’ gambling survey, published on 25 February, that (1) three in five students have gambled in some way over the past 12 months, (2) almost one in ten have used all or some of their student loan to gamble, and (3) four per cent of respondents owed over £20,000 as a result of gambling.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 20 March 2019

All operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with licence conditions. These include requirements to prevent underage gambling, offer tools to help consumers manage their gambling and offer the facility to self-exclude.

The publication Gambling Behaviour in Great Britain 2016, which is based on the Health Surveys and reports participation and problem gambling rates, indicated that that rates of low risk gambling were highest among those aged 16 to 24 (5.8%), and we support measures to offer additional protections to this group. NUS has recently announced Gamban, software blocking gambling websites and apps, will be made available for free to students.

The Commission welcomed the work done by the National Union of Students (NUS) to explore gambling behaviour among those at university students, but noted that caution must be taken to use these results in context, as the research did not seek to be representative of the population, and used methodology which may slightly over-estimate the role of gambling in students’ lives.

The Gambling Commission’s Young People Survey 2018 looked at gambling behaviour by 11-16 year olds. The most popular activities were those in which children could take part legally, for example private bets with friends. All operators must have effective policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling, and the Commission has a range of powers to act in the case of failures. The survey found that in some instances parents and guardians were facilitating gambling, for example, buying lottery tickets or scratchcards on behalf of a child under 16.

Grouped Questions: HL14425
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the National Union of Students’ gambling survey, published on 25 February, that 29 per cent of respondents were under the age of 16 when they had first gambled.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 20 March 2019

All operators providing gambling facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with licence conditions. These include requirements to prevent underage gambling, offer tools to help consumers manage their gambling and offer the facility to self-exclude.

The publication Gambling Behaviour in Great Britain 2016, which is based on the Health Surveys and reports participation and problem gambling rates, indicated that that rates of low risk gambling were highest among those aged 16 to 24 (5.8%), and we support measures to offer additional protections to this group. NUS has recently announced Gamban, software blocking gambling websites and apps, will be made available for free to students.

The Commission welcomed the work done by the National Union of Students (NUS) to explore gambling behaviour among those at university students, but noted that caution must be taken to use these results in context, as the research did not seek to be representative of the population, and used methodology which may slightly over-estimate the role of gambling in students’ lives.

The Gambling Commission’s Young People Survey 2018 looked at gambling behaviour by 11-16 year olds. The most popular activities were those in which children could take part legally, for example private bets with friends. All operators must have effective policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling, and the Commission has a range of powers to act in the case of failures. The survey found that in some instances parents and guardians were facilitating gambling, for example, buying lottery tickets or scratchcards on behalf of a child under 16.

Grouped Questions: HL14424
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Gambling Commission’s Gambling participation in 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes survey findings that (1) there has been a three per cent decline in the proportion of respondents who think that gambling is fair and can be trusted, compared to 2017, and (2) 71 per cent of respondents think that gambling is dangerous for family life.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 20 March 2019

Millions of people enjoy gambling responsibly, but this must be balanced against the need to protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm. We recognise there are risks associated with gambling, which is why there is a strong regulatory framework designed to prevent harm, as well as provisions to support those who do experience harm.

Regulation of gambling in Great Britain is governed by the licensing objectives in the Gambling Act 2005, which include keeping gambling fair and open and protecting children and vulnerable people. All gambling companies providing facilities to customers in Great Britain must be licensed by the Gambling Commission and comply with its licence conditions and codes of practice. The Gambling Commission monitors operators to ensure that they comply with their licence conditions and can take regulatory action where there is evidence of a breach.

The government's Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures looked at protections on gaming machines, online gambling and gambling advertising and set out a comprehensive package of measures to further strengthen these.

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hinkley Point B Power Station: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2019 to Question 226169 on Hinkley Point B Power Station: Closures, what plans the Government has to replace the 965 megawatts generation capacity of Hinkley Point B; and what the timescales are for implementing the replacement of that capacity.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 20 March 2019
Holding answer received on 14 March 2019

There are a range of options for replacing this capacity over the coming decades. This Government remains committed to delivering secure, low cost electricity to consumers. We agreed to the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C, which will provide 3.2 gigawatts of secure, low carbon electricity for at least 60 years and power nearly 6 million homes. We also procured over 3GW of offshore wind in a single Contract for Difference auction in our 2017 auction – at a price of £57.50 per megawatt hour.

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hartlepool Power Station: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2019 to Question 226166 on Hartlepool Power Station: Closures, what plans the Government has to replace the 1185 MW generation capacity of Hartlepool; and what the timescales are for the replacement of that capacity.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 20 March 2019
Holding answer received on 14 March 2019

There are a range of options for replacing this capacity over the coming decades. This Government remains committed to delivering secure, low cost electricity to consumers through a diverse energy mix including renewables and nuclear new build. We agreed to the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C, which will provide 3.2 gigawatts of secure, low carbon electricity for at least 60 years and power nearly 6 million homes.

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Heysham 1 Power Station: Closures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March to Question 226167 on Heysham 1 Power Station: Closures, what plans the Government has to replace the 1155 megawatts generation capacity of Heysham 1; and what the timescales are for that replacement capacity.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 20 March 2019

There are a range of options for replacing this capacity over the coming decades. This Government remains committed to delivering secure, low cost electricity to consumers through a diverse energy mix including renewables and nuclear new build. We agreed to the first new nuclear power station in a generation at Hinkley Point C, which will provide 3.2 gigawatts of secure, low carbon electricity for at least 60 years and power nearly 6 million homes.

Q
(Sevenoaks)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the March 2019 UK Onshore Oil and Gas report entitled Home grown UK shale gas: a bigger opportunity; and whether he has made an estimate of the date on which the UK will become a net exporter of gas.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 20 March 2019

The Government is supportive of developing the shale gas industry in the UK in a safe and sustainable way. It is not yet known how much of the UK shale gas resource will ultimately be recoverable, or what rates of extraction, deliverability or reliability could be assumed if shale sources are found to be viable. Therefore the likely impact on UK natural gas imports and exports is not yet known.

The Government will continue to work with responsible companies prepared to invest in this industry as they proceed with the exploration process, to test the size and value of the potential reserves. We monitor the progress of the shale gas industry and will revise our estimates, as appropriate, as the industry develops.

Q
Asked by Liam Byrne
(Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy: West Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the UK’s renewable energy supply in the last 12 months was generated from the West Midlands metro area.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 20 March 2019

BEIS holds data for electricity generation from renewable sources at a local authority level. We do not hold data for renewable heat production or liquid biofuel production at this level of regional disaggregation. The latest available figures are for 2017, these are published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/regional-renewable-statistics.

271 GWh of electricity was generated from renewable sources in the West Midlands metropolitan area in 2017. This accounted for 0.3 per cent of the UK total. This is calculated as an aggregate of the generation within the following local authority areas: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

2078 GWh of electricity was generated in the West Midlands region from renewable sources in 2017. This accounted for 2.1 per cent of the UK total.

Data for 2018 will be published in September 2019.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 11 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Electricity Interconnectors: Planning Permission
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether an interconnector development has taken place as a result of a decision by the Planning Inspectorate; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 20 March 2019

No application for consent for an interconnector has been submitted under the Planning Act 2008 regime.

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