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
(Tottenham)
Asked on: 04 June 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Written Questions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to respond to Question 136374, tabled on 17 April 2017 by the hon. Member for Tottenham; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 26 September 2018

The response for UIN 136374 was answered on the 6th September 2018.

Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Home Office
Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many victims of modern slavery are resident in the UK.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 September 2018

Assessing the true scale of modern slavery in the UK is problematic given the hidden nature of the crime. Current Home Office estimates place the number of victims of modern slavery between 10,000-13,000 in the UK.


The most recent assessment of the nature and scale of modern slavery is the 2017 annual report, which quotes this figure. A link to the 2017 report can be found https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/652366/2017_uk_annual_report_on_modern_slavery.pdf

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost to the public purse has been of his Department hiring additional staff to cover issues related to the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 September 2018

By its nature, EU exit work is complex and cross-cutting, involving multiple directorates and teams within in the Department. Given the interactions between EU exit work and the Department’s other priorities, it would not be possible to give an accurate figure on how many new staff in the Home Office have responsibilities relating to exiting the EU.

Therefore, it would be at disproportionate effort to provide the cost for the recruitment of new members of staff relating to EU exit.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff in his Department have been transferred to the (a) Department for Exiting the European Union and (b) Department for International Trade as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 September 2018

The location of members of staff on loan to another government department is not recorded centrally and therefore to determine how many members of Home Office staff are on loan to (a) Department for Exiting the European Union and (b) Department for International Trade can only be provided a disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
Asked on: 24 July 2018
Home Office
Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of reports made to Action Fraud have been reviewed by (a) a computer system and (b) a member of staff in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 25 September 2018

No reports are dismissed by a computer system. All reports submitted to Action Fraud are processed through an automated triage system that is designed to ensure that resources are targeted at those cases that have the most viable lines of enquiry. An automated process is required due to the large number of cases received (approximately 42,000 per month) to provide an efficient and effective response.

Crime reports to Action Fraud are assessed and triaged through the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) data analytics system which identifies links between seemingly unconnected fraud and cyber crime incidents from all over the country. Having received a report, the first phase of the crime assessment is automated using a computer based algorithm which scores the report’s suitability to be investigated against a number of criteria. This triaging ensures a consistent national approach to the assessment of fraud and cyber crime reports and effective targeting of resources. Some of these criteria include the victim’s vulnerability, whether the identity of the offender is known, if there is evidence available to support this (e.g. a confirmed bank account money has been paid to), or the volume of reports made about a specific offender.

Reports with the highest viability scoring are then referred for further action by a crime reviewer. The crime reviewers will then undertake further work to identify whether there are sufficient lines of enquiry for the matter to be disseminated to law enforcement. Where opportunities for further action are identified, these crimes are referred to a local police force or other partner agency.

During the financial year 2017/2018 there were a total 294,984 reports. Of these reports 113,488 were both system and crime reviewer assessed, the remainder (181,496) were assessed solely by the automated system.

During the financial year 2016/2017 there were a total 280,706 reports. Of these reports 128,564 were both system and crime reviewer assessed, the remainder (152,142) were assessed solely by the automated system.

During the financial year 2015/2016 there were a total 234,201 reports. Of these reports 117,179 were both system and crime reviewer assessed, the remainder (117,022) were assessed solely by the automated system.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 07 September 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Design
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has plans to implement the recommendations of the Report of the Zahid Mubarek inquiry, published in June 2006, in the design of new prisons.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 25 September 2018

We have undertaken a comprehensive review of the evidence on prison design and consulted widely to ensure the design of new prisons is safe, secure and decent. The design of the new prisons are predominantly single cell and we will ensure that prison operators undertake the appropriate security and safety procedures including cell sharing risk assessment.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what further progress has been made to secure the permanent release in Iran of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, following her temporary release on furlough in August.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

We remain very concerned about all our dual nationals detained in Iran. We continue to raise their cases with the Iranian Government at every opportunity, as the Minister for the Middle East did with the Deputy Foreign Minister in Tehran recently. We will make decisions in line with what we believe will produce the best outcomes in their cases. I refer the noble Lord to the Foreign Secretary’s comments in the House of Commons on 4 September.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Education
Mature Students: Part-time Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of mature students studying part-time for level 4 and level 5 qualifications in England.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 25 September 2018

Studying part-time and later in life can bring considerable benefits for individuals, employers and the economy. For the first time this academic year, part-time students will be able to access full-time equivalent maintenance loans.

The Review of Post-18 Education and Funding will look at how we can encourage learning that is more flexible, like part-time, distance learning and commuter study options.

In addition, the Department for Education is undertaking a review of level 4 and 5 education, focusing on how technical qualifications at this level can better address the needs of learners and employers.

As part of the review, we want to ensure that any considerations are properly addressed and that provision helps support progression for learners of all backgrounds, including young people and more mature learners looking to upskill or retrain.

We expect to publish level 4-5 proposals for consultation alongside the conclusion of the Post-18 Review in early 2019.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Transport
Aviation: Drunkenness
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the risk posed to aviation and passenger safety by intoxicated air passengers.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 25 September 2018

The Civil Aviation Authority, as the UK’s aviation safety regulator, keeps the risks posed to aviation and passenger safety under review. The Government has also committed to improving the consumer experience as a whole as part of the Aviation Strategy, due for publication mid-2019. Both safety and disruptive passenger behaviour have been specifically identified as key issues to explore and address as the strategy is developed.

There are strong legal provisions in place to deal with the problem of disruptive behaviour. The main legislation under UK law relating to the rules of conduct on board aircraft is the Air Navigation Order (ANO), which carries severe penalties for disruptive behaviour. It is an offence under the ANO to enter an aircraft when drunk, or be drunk in an aircraft, carrying a maximum of two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. In addition, the UK has state of landing and state of operator jurisdiction, which means that disruptive passengers on any flight that touches down within the UK can be charged and, if necessary, prosecuted.

This is an issue that the Government is taking very seriously, the Home Office will shortly be publishing a Call for Evidence on revoking licensing laws to help address the problem of drunk and disorderly airline passengers.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Military Intervention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions of the report by Human Rights Watch Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen, published 24 August, that the Joint Incidents Assessment Team of the Saudi–UAE coalition lacks credibility and fails to provide credible, impartial and transparent investigations into alleged coalition laws-of-war violations; and whether, following that report, they intend to conduct their own investigation into the impact of air strikes and potential violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

The UK regularly encourages Saudi Arabia to conduct thorough and conclusive investigations into reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law. The Coalition Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) is unparalleled in the region.

We welcome the release by the JIAT of the outcome of over 85 investigations into incidents of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law in Yemen. We continue to believe that Saudi Arabia has the best insight into their own military procedures, in line with the standards we set for ourselves and our allies.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: War Crimes
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in its report Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014, published 17 August, that it has reasonable grounds to believe that individuals in the government of Yemen and the Saudi–UAE coalition may have conducted attacks in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution that may amount to war crimes.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

This UN report further underlines the deeply concerning human rights situation in Yemen and the importance of reaching a political solution to this conflict. We believe it is important to give the Group of Eminent Experts more time to fully examine the conflict and to ensure that its conclusions accurately reflect the conduct of all parties in future reporting. The UK joined the consensus on the Resolution that established the Group of Eminent Experts last year and we hope the UN Human Rights Council will renew its existing mandate this year.

We regularly raise the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition. The Saudi-led Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team has so far announced the findings of over 85 investigations.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Furniture: Fire Resistant Materials
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their response to the September 2016 consultation on necessary fire safety changes to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; and what account they will take of the December 2017 Chemosphere article Flame retardants in UK furniture increase smoke toxicity more than they reduce fire growth rate.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 25 September 2018

The Department will publish its response to the consultation in due course.

This will take account of the responses received, the views of experts from across government including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and the Fire Services, as well as a range of evidence from external sources such as academic papers.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fire Resistant Materials
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the development of materials and products that meet fire safety requirements without the use of chemical flame retardants.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 25 September 2018

The existing regulatory framework already allows for the use of materials and products that deliver consumer safety from fires, without using chemical flame retardants and the Government continues to welcome innovative approaches that deliver safe outcomes for consumers.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Furniture: Fire Resistant Materials
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings they have held or attended since the end of the consultation on the changes to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 in November 2016 to discuss possible proposals; with whom; on what dates, and what, if any, were the outcomes.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 25 September 2018

Details of ministerial meetings with external bodies are published on the Gov.uk website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings. A copy is also attached.

Officials meet regularly with stakeholders with an interest in product safety to hear their views on a range of product safety issues including the fire safety of furniture.

BEIS Ministers meetings 2016-2018 (Word Document, 1.25 MB)
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Political Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made, or intend to make, to the government of Bahrain about reports that the political prisoners Hajer Mansoor, Medina Ali and Najah Ahmed Yusuf are suffering in their cells from second-hand smoke and are banned from taking part in activities related to the Muharram religious festival; and, following any such representations, what assurances they have received that they will be moved to another cell and allowed to observe Muharram fully.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

Our Embassy in Bahrain and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continue to monitor the case of Hajer Mansoor, Medina Ali and Najah Ahmed Yusuf. We have raised the cases at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain.

We understand family members of Mrs Mansoor have been in direct contact with the oversight bodies. The UK continues to encourage the oversight bodies in Bahrain to carry out thorough and swift investigations into any claims of mistreatment or other concerns about treatment in detention.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hassan Mushaima
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement issued by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy on 10 September in relation to the investigation conducted by the Bahraini Ombudsman into the case of political prisoner Hassan Mushaima.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office notes the statement issued by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy on 10 September. As the Minister for the Middle East (Mr Burt) made clear in his response to a debate in the other place on 11 September, the Government of Bahrain have released a detailed public statement regarding the access to healthcare that Mr Mushaima has received since he has been in detention, and we have received categorical assurances that, in his case and others, there is and has been access to appropriate medical care while in detention. We have also received similar assurances regarding visitation rights and access to reading and writing materials.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Political Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain about the Bahraini Ombudsman’s failure to ensure that political prisoner, Ali Hajji, has access to (1) family visits without a glass barrier; and (2) adequate medical care, following his hunger strike in response to his treatment in prison.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our Embassy in Bahrain continue to closely monitor the case of Ali Hajji and have raise it with the Government of Bahrain. We encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to raised them with the appropriate Bahraini human rights oversight body. We continue to encourage the oversight bodies in Bahrain to carry out thorough and swift investigations into any such claims.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to make any public condemnation of the human rights abuses taking place in Bahrain during the current session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

We do not currently plan to refer to Bahrain at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

As the Minister for the Middle East (Mr Burt) made clear in his response to a debate in the other place on 11 September, the depth and breadth of our relationship with Bahrain means we can, and do, express our concerns about human rights in a frank and open way at senior levels. We do so publicly, but more often do so in private discussions.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks made in the opening statement of the 39th session of the Human Rights Council by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 10 September in relation to Bahrain; and whether they will join her call for Bahrain to release human rights defenders who are detained including Nabeel Rajab.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office notes the remarks made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her opening statement on 10 September. The Minister for the Middle East (Mr Burt) expressed his concerns on the five year sentence handed to Mr Rajab in his written statement of 21 February. We understand there is now an opportunity for Mr Rajab's legal team to apply for an appeal through the judicial system, and our officials will continue to monitor the case closely.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: UN Human Rights Council
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to support Bahrain’s candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council in October.
A
Answered on: 25 September 2018

​It is a longstanding policy of successive governments not to release the voting intentions of the United Kingdom at United Nations elections.

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