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 Steve Reed
(Croydon North)
[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: 24 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Buildings: Insulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2019 to Question 259244 on Buildings: Insulation, whether the BS 8414 test of a High Pressure Laminate cladding system has been carried out; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 18 July 2019
Holding answer received on 27 June 2019

The Large scale BS 8414 test including Class B-s1,d0 High Pressure Laminate panels with stone wool insulation was carried out on the 11 July 2019 and the test report is now available online.

This was announced in the Written Minsiterial Statement on 18 July HCWS1757 that can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-07-18/HCWS1757/.

Q
(Greenwich and Woolwich)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Low Emission Zones: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to support ultra-low emission zones in England in the (a) current and (b) previous financial year.
A
Corrected answer by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Corrected on: 18 July 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 15 July 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

London is the only city considering an Ultra Low Emission Zone. Oxford has proposed a Zero Emission Zone. Oxford City Council has received £50,000 for a feasibility study to consider measures to reduce NO2 levels. It has also received £122,500 for city-wide communication programmes to support achievement of zero-emissions delivery freight, and £128, 500 for testing of low cost Zephyr sensor packages to compare with current sensors and improve data.

Outside London, only Oxford City Council is considering the establishment of an ultra low emissions zone. Oxford City Council has received £50,000 for a feasibility study for a zone. It has also received £122,500 for city-wide communication programmes to support achievement of zero-emissions delivery freight, and £128, 500 for testing of low cost Zephyr sensor packages to compare with current sensors and improve data.

A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 15 July 2019

London is the only city considering an Ultra Low Emission Zone. Oxford has proposed a Zero Emission Zone. Oxford City Council has received £50,000 for a feasibility study to consider measures to reduce NO2 levels. It has also received £122,500 for city-wide communication programmes to support achievement of zero-emissions delivery freight, and £128, 500 for testing of low cost Zephyr sensor packages to compare with current sensors and improve data.

Outside London, only Oxford City Council is considering the establishment of an ultra low emissions zone. Oxford City Council has received £50,000 for a feasibility study for a zone. It has also received £122,500 for city-wide communication programmes to support achievement of zero-emissions delivery freight, and £128, 500 for testing of low cost Zephyr sensor packages to compare with current sensors and improve data.

Asked on: 04 July 2019
Department for Transport
Noise: Pollution
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce noise both in the internal environment, in particular, with regard to underground trains, and the external environment, with greater use of noise barriers.
A
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The Government believes that it is important to minimise the noise impacts of the railway on its neighbours and on passengers. We have actively contributed to the development of the new European noise technical specification for interoperability that sets limits on noise from new and upgraded rolling stock.

In the Government's most recent rail innovation competition, £2.75m of funding was awarded to projects aimed at reducing environmental impacts such as noise pollution. One of these projects will develop a noise barrier with an innovative design that will deflect noise upwards in order to reduce noise at a level comparable to a barrier of three times the height.

Transport for London is responsible for the London Underground and its noise impacts.

Asked on: 04 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Devolution
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Lord Heseltine Empowering English Cities, published on 2 July; and whether they intend to provide a response.
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Lord Heseltine brought forward a motion in the House of Lords on the subject of this report on 17th July. It is a thought provoking report full of excellent ideas on devolution within England. I committed afterwards to share a record of the debate with every government department such is its importance. The Department is carefully considering its recommendations.

Asked on: 04 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Indian Ocean Territory: Sovereignty
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision of the United Nations General Assembly that the decolonisation of Mauritius has not been lawfully completed because the detachment of the Chagos Archipelago was not based on the free and genuine expression of the will of the people of Mauritius; whether they accept that decision; and if not, why not.
A
Answered on: 18 July 2019

It is disappointing that Mauritius’ claim that the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is part of Mauritius, which we strongly refute, should have been referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by the UN General Assembly. It is an accepted international principle that States should not be compelled to have their bilateral disputes adjudicated upon by the ICJ without their consent. Circumventing this principle sets a dangerous precedent. BIOT has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. No international court or tribunal has ever found UK sovereignty to be in doubt. Mauritius agreed to the detachment of the islands in 1965, in return for certain benefits including a UK commitment, which we stand by, to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. Mauritius affirmed that agreement numerous times following independence, and in March 2015 a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Arbitral Tribunal ruled the agreement to be internationally binding.

Asked on: 04 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN General Assembly
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times they have not complied with decisions of the United Nations General Assembly.
A
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Under the United Nations Charter, the UN General Assembly passes resolutions that make recommendations to Member States. These resolutions are not legally binding. While resolutions express the view of the General Assembly as a whole, those Member States which vote against or abstain on individual resolutions are not legally committed to implement their respective contents. Of the 313 resolutions adopted during the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (2017-18), 234 were adopted by consensus (i.e. without a vote). Of the remaining 79 which were adopted by vote, the UK voted in favour of 44, against 25 and abstained on 10 occasions.

Asked on: 04 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
South Africa: Lions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of South Africa about the practice of canned hunting of lions.
A
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP raised this issue with the Government of South Africa in 2016.

Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 05 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Wellingborough Prison: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2019 to Question 253599 on Glen Pava Prison and Wellingborough Prison: Contracts, on what date his Department plans to launch the mini-competition for the operation of the prison at Wellingborough.
A
Corrected answer by: Robert Buckland
Corrected on: 18 July 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 15 July 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The number of people convicted for offences under s41 of the Dentistry Act 1984 (“Unregistered person carrying on the business of dentistry”) over the last 3 years was 2; 1 in each of 2016 and 2017. It is not possible to identify whether these offences were specific to teeth whitening in centrally held data on court proceedings. We launched the mini-competition for the operation of the first new Resettlement Prison at Wellingborough on Friday 12 July 2019 and anticipate making the award to the successful operator in July 2020.

A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The number of people convicted for offences under s41 of the Dentistry Act 1984 (“Unregistered person carrying on the business of dentistry”) over the last 3 years was 2; 1 in each of 2016 and 2017. It is not possible to identify whether these offences were specific to teeth whitening in centrally held data on court proceedings. We launched the mini-competition for the operation of the first new Resettlement Prison at Wellingborough on Friday 12 July 2019 and anticipate making the award to the successful operator in July 2020.

Q
Asked by Lord Grocott
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Mayors: Cost Effectiveness
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 4 July (HL Deb, col 1524), what assessment they have made of (1) the comparative costs of directly elected mayoral systems and traditional systems of local government administration, and (2) whether directly elected mayoral systems represent value for money.
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The Government’s comparative assessment of the models of local governance is that only the mayoral model provides that single point of accountability necessary if significant powers and budgets are to be devolved to an area, and it is for local areas to decide whether such an arrangement would be of benefit and value to their local communities.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
Syria: International Assistance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the research paper by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House Principled Aid in Syria: A Framework for International Agencies, published in July.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

We welcome the recent Chatham House paper, and note the report’s concerns over alleged Assad regime interference in the delivery of humanitarian aid, including the risk of diverting aid for military and political purposes.

Our aid contribution in Syria is targeted towards those most in need and distributed, impartially, in line with humanitarian principles. On this basis, our partners do work in regime-controlled areas. However, DFID does not work directly with the Assad regime, and our programmes have a range of safeguards in place to mitigate the risks of regime interference and aid diversion.

These measures include independent third-party monitoring of programmes and tight financial controls, which include requiring our partners to record and provide detailed information and evidence about the use of funds. We have a high degree of confidence in these measures, but will continue to keep this position under review.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
Women and Children First UK: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of Women and Children First UK in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

DFID has provided no core funding to Women and Children First UK in the years referenced.

DFID provided £110,983 non-core funding to Women and Children First UK through the Global Poverty Action Fund during 2016/17. Indirect funding through sub agreements with tier one partners is not centrally held and could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
World Health Organisation: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of the World Health Organization in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Contributions are as follows:

Year*

Core (£millions)

Non–core (£ millions)

16/17

28.54

125.27

17/18

28.54

125.27

18/19

30.6m

137.24

*WHO operates on a biennium financing cycle. Figures above are based on WHO biennium years (16-17 and 18-19).

Contributions are split into two separate years in response to this PQ. For example, UK total core contribution to the WHO biennium of 2016 - end 2017 was approx. £57.07m but has been divided in two (£28.54m) to show our approximate contribution for 2016 and 2017.

UK core contribution also includes UK assessed contributions in years 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19.Assessed contributions are contributions that must be paid by Member states to retain membership of WHO and participation in its governance. Contributions are assessed each biennium based on each member state’s relative wealth and GDP. These contributions constitute, by their nature, core funding.

The UK non-core contribution is comprised of a number of programmes across DFID, Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) including Public Health England (PHE). Focus areas include support to Polio Eradication amongst other health areas.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
UNAIDS: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

All funding to UNAIDS in the periods requested have been core-funding as follows:

Year

Core funding

2016/17

£15m

2017/18

£15m

2018/19

£15m

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
UNICEF: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of UNICEF in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Details of Her Majesty's Government (HMG) spending on international development is available online in Statistics on International Development. Please note that data is published by calendar year and not HMG financial year.

The report shows that the UNICEF received the following funding:

2016

2017

Core

£48m

£48m

Non-Core

£354m

£400m


2018 data on non-core funding will be published later this year. Core funding for 2018 remained steady at £48m.

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The table below shows DFID’s financial contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the timeframe specified. All of DFID’s contributions are provided as core funding.

Financial Year

Core funding (£ millions)

2016/17

153

2017/18

317

2018/19

360

Q
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for International Development
UN Women: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they made to (1) the core, and (2) non-core, funding of UN Women in (a) 2016–17, (b) 2017–18, and (c) 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

Details of Her Majesty's Government (HMG) spending on international development is available online in Statistics on International Development. Please note that data is published by calendar year and not HMG financial year.

The report shows that the UN Women received the following funding:

Year

Core (£ millions)

Non-core (£ millions)

2016

12.5

8.3

2017

12.5

6.8

2018 data on non-core funding will be published later this year. Core funding for 2018 remained steady at £12.5m.

Q
(Haltemprice and Howden)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Home Office
Intelligence Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 2 July 2019 to Question 268377 on Intelligence Services, what immediate and substantial mitigating actions were taken by MI5 to address the concerns raised.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 18 July 2019

I cannot discuss the sensitive details of the mitigating actions that MI5 have undertaken, as doing so could cause significant damage to national security.

As the Home Secretary said in his Written Ministerial Statement of 9 May, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner is satisfied that they are sufficient for him to continue lawfully to approve decisions to issue warrants to MI5.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradley
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners' Release: Curfews
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of (1) assessing, (2) monitoring, and (3) any additional support in the community required for, prisoners released under Home Detention Curfew.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 18 July 2019

This information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. An assessment of the specific use of staff time would be required in order to estimate the costs involved.

Asked on: 09 July 2019
Home Office
Police
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the structure of the territorial police forces in England and Wales, in particular regard to (1) the standard of performance, (2) public satisfaction, and (3) ensuring that the full range of expert services, subject to a proportionate and necessary senior command structure, is available throughout the country.
Answered on: 18 July 2019

The Government has no current plans to review the structure of territorial police forces in England and Wales.


More can be done within the current organisational and leadership structures to improve police performance and ensure services meet public expectations.


The Government supports HMICFRS’ ongoing assessments of forces, measuring performance and identifying areas to improve. Through the Police Transformation Fund we have also supported collaboration arrangements, for example, via the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Specialist Capabilities Programme which is developing new approaches for the provision of specialist capabilities across police force boundaries to tackle a range of criminality.

Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, with UNESCO, to raise global education standards.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 July 2019

In alignment with the Global Goal for education (SDG4), DFID is helping tackle the learning crisis: millions of children unable to read and do maths despite years at school. DFID works to strengthen the quality of education and the effectiveness of education systems so that all children have access and opportunity to learn.

UNESCO is the UN’s specialized agency for education and UN lead on SDG4. DFID works with UNESCO towards our shared goal of ensuring quality education for all. DFID provides a voluntary contribution of £7.8m to support the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) and the UNESCO published Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report). The UIS provides comparable, publicly available data on learning outcomes. The GEM Report is an independent, policy focused monitoring report, it is a key tool for pushing progress towards the Global Goals.

Our support to the UIS and the GEM Report is being used to create vital data, evidence and tools to assess whether children are learning, who is being left behind and whether SDG4 is being achieved. It allows the international community to report progress on SDG4 education indicators on learning and equity and enables policy makers to know whether SDG4 is on track and where to direct policy intervention.

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