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 Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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: 31 October 2018
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2018 to Question 184345 on Serious Violence Taskforce: Social Media, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the content hosted by (a) Kik Messenger, (b) Snapchat, (c) Telegram, (d) Viber, (e) Wickr and (f) Whatsapp on their encrypted messaging apps in relation to county lines activity.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 05 November 2018

We recognise the role online messaging platforms can play in facilitating gang violence and county lines activity and in June this year the Home Secretary announced a new £1.4m police capability to take action against violent content hosted on social media and disrupt gang activity online.

Our Serious Violence Strategy also sets out the role of social media in driving serious violence and we are working with a range of social media companies, the police and partners to consider what actions to take in tackling online violent content and will broaden our engagement with online platforms and companies if needed as our understanding of the issue grows.

Grouped Questions: 186160
Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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: 31 October 2018
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2018 to Question 184345 on Serious Violence Taskforce: Social Media, how he plans to develop engagement with (a) Kik Messenger, (b) Snapchat, (c) Telegram, (d) Viber, (e) Wickr and (f) WhatsApp in relation to the use of encrypted messaging apps for county lines activity.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 05 November 2018

We recognise the role online messaging platforms can play in facilitating gang violence and county lines activity and in June this year the Home Secretary announced a new £1.4m police capability to take action against violent content hosted on social media and disrupt gang activity online.

Our Serious Violence Strategy also sets out the role of social media in driving serious violence and we are working with a range of social media companies, the police and partners to consider what actions to take in tackling online violent content and will broaden our engagement with online platforms and companies if needed as our understanding of the issue grows.

Grouped Questions: 186159
Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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: 26 October 2018
Home Office
Serious Violence Taskforce: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 25 October 2018 to Question 182082 on drugs: crime, whether invitations extended to representatives from (a) Kik Messenger, (b) Snapchat, (c) Telegram, (d) Viber, (e) Wickr and (f) other social media and messenger sites to attend the meeting of the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary on 11 June 2018.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 31 October 2018

Representatives from Google and Facebook were invited to attend the Se-rious Violence Taskforce on 11 June to present the action being taken to tackle violent content online.

This reflects levels of concern about the content hosted by these platforms, as well as their more developed engagement with the issue of online serious violence including through their membership of our social media action group.

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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 October 2018
Home Office
Drugs: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent meetings (a) he and (b) his officials have had with representatives of (i) Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp, (ii) Kik Messenger, (iii) Snapchat, (iv) Telegram, (v) Viber, (vi) Wickr and (vii) other social media and messenger sites on the use of their encrypted messaging apps for county lines drugs dealing.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 25 October 2018

The National County Lines Working Group brings together a range of agencies including law enforcement to assess the trends in county lines and action that should be taken. This ensures that we are up to date on the latest developments involving county lines reported by the police and National Crime Agency.

In June this year, the Home Secretary announced funding of £1.38m to support a new national police capability to tackle gang related activity on social media which will be operational shortly. Representatives from Google and Facebook also attended a meeting of the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary in June to present the action they are taking to tackle gang related content online.

Grouped Questions: 182081
Asked on: 13 September 2018
Home Office
Harassment: Social Media
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to address threats of physical violence made through social networking sites.
Answered on: 27 September 2018

The Government is clear that internet companies must go further and faster to tackle illegal content online.

As part of our work to deliver the Serious Violence Strategy, we have established a social media action group to bring together Government, social media companies, police, and community groups to tackle violent material available via social media.

The social media companies represented include Google (YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The group meets regularly and has received updates on the development of the new police capability to tackle gang related content online, which was announced by the Home Secretary on 17 June.

On 17 June the Home Secretary announced funding of £1.38m to support a new national police capability to tackle gang related activity on social media. The new social media hub will be established within MPS, transforming the current capability and extending its reach to other forces.

On 11 June 2018, representatives from Google and Facebook attended a meeting of the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary, to present the action being taken to tackle violent content online.

Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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 September 2018
Home Office
Gangs: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations he has received from (a) Facebook, (b) Google, (c) YouTube, (d) Twitter, (e) WhatsApp, (f) Snapchat and (e) other social media companies on his Department’s social media hub to tackle gang-related online content; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 10 September 2018

As part of our work to deliver the Serious Violence Strategy, we have established a social media action group to bring together Government, social media companies, police, and community groups to tackle violent material available via social media. The social media companies represented include Google (YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The group meets regularly and has received updates on the development of the new police capability to tackle gang related content online, which was announced by the Home Secretary on 17 June.

The Home Secretary has not met social media companies to specifically discuss violent online material. However on 11 June 2018, representatives from Google and Facebook attended a meeting of the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary, to present the action being taken to tackle violent content online.

Grouped Questions: 170665
Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
Asked on: 05 September 2018
Home Office
Crime: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2018 to Question 124503 on Crime: Social Media, whether he has recently met with representatives of (a) Facebook, (b), Google, (c) YouTube, (d) Twitter, (e) Snapchat and (f) other social media platforms to discuss tackling the prevalence of videos and other social media content that glorifies gang and knife crime.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 10 September 2018

As part of our work to deliver the Serious Violence Strategy, we have established a social media action group to bring together Government, social media companies, police, and community groups to tackle violent material available via social media. The social media companies represented include Google (YouTube), Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The group meets regularly and has received updates on the development of the new police capability to tackle gang related content online, which was announced by the Home Secretary on 17 June.

The Home Secretary has not met social media companies to specifically discuss violent online material. However on 11 June 2018, representatives from Google and Facebook attended a meeting of the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary, to present the action being taken to tackle violent content online.

Grouped Questions: 170664
Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[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: 27 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 20 February 2018 to Question 127841, on Army: Recruitment, if he will publish (a) a copy of the digital file or a link to each social media asset used in paid campaigns by his Department for Army recruitment advertisements and (b) each platform those assets were published on in (i) 2015-16 and (ii) 2016-17.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 01 June 2018
Holding answer received on 16 April 2018

The social media platforms used for direct paid marketing in Recruiting Year (RY) 2015-16 and RY 2016-17 were Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

The attached spreadsheet provides posting dates and links to the materials used on these sites. Digital files of adverts that have been removed are not held by the Department.

While gathering input to answer this Question it was found that there were errors with the figures provided in the previous response to Questions 127841 and 127842 due to inaccurate information provided by an external contractor.

The following table shows the total spend for web advertising and the disaggregated spend for each type of advert over the last three years.

RY 2015-16

RY 2016-17

RY 2017-18 (as of 30 September 2017)

Job Boards

£640,000

£620,000

£440,000

Display

£970,000

£1,360,000

£940,000

Search

£460,000

£380,000

£170,000

Paid Social

£370,000

£920,000

£440,000

Total

£2,440,000

£3,280,000

£1,990,000

For presentational purposes, figures have been rounded to the nearest £10,000 to improve the clarity of output and convey an appropriate level of precision.

Definitions for each type of advert:

Job Boards – job advertising sites, which are used to promote Army jobs.

Display – banner adverts that appear on websites.

Search – the cost to return an advert on search engine sites Google and Bing, which will appear higher up search listings.

Paid Social – content paid to be placed on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

A breakdown of costs for each website used for job boards, search and paid social advertising is attached. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £1,000.

Display and search advertisements are placed through the Cabinet Office Media Buying Agency. For display advertising they use algorithms to target audiences, rather than advertising on specific websites, meaning adverts may appear on a number of online platforms that carry advertising. As of 21 September 2017, there were 1,173 approved websites listed on the latest Cabinet Office Government Whitelist.

It was also found that there were errors with the figures provided in the response to Questions 127844 and 127845. The total spend for Army recruitment advertising over the past three financial years (FY) on Facebook and Twitter is shown in the table below. There was no spend on Snapchat.

FY 2015-16

FY 2016-17

FY 2017-18 (Up to 31 December 2017)

Facebook

£262,000

£640,000

£480,000

Twitter

£2,000

£178,000

£41,000

For presentational purposes, figures have been rounded to the nearest £1,000 to improve the clarity of output and convey an appropriate level of precision.

The figures above include £2,000 spent boosting Facebook posts in 2016-17 and £19,400 in 2017-18.

The target audience for boosted Facebook posts are those aged between 16 and 24 for the Regular Army and between 16 and 35 for the Reserves that have expressed an interest in a career with the British Army.

Social Media Platforms (Excel SpreadSheet, 64.39 KB)
Army Recruitment Advertisements (Excel SpreadSheet, 21.03 KB)
Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[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 February 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the total spend was on army recruitment advertising via (a) Facebook, (b) Snapchat and (c) Twitter in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 February 2018

The total spend for Army recruitment advertising over the past three years on Facebook and Twitter is shown in the table below. There was no spend on Snapchat.

Financial Year 2015-16

Financial Year 2016-17

2017-18 (Up to 31 December 2017)

Facebook

£844,000

£1,076,000

£481,000

Twitter

£161,000

£218,000

£41,000

The figures above include £2,000 spent boosting Facebook posts in 2016-17 and £19,400 in 2017-18.

The target audience for boosted Facebook posts are those aged between 16 and 24 for the Regular Army and between 16 and 35 for the Reserves that have expressed an interest in a career with the British Army.

For presentational purposes, figures have been rounded to the nearest £1,000 to improve the clarity of output and convey an appropriate level of precision. Figures are a single Service estimate.

Grouped Questions: 127845
Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
[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 February 2018
Ministry of Defence
Army: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has spent to boost posts on the Army Jobs Facebook page in each of the last three years; and what the target audience was for each of those posts.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 20 February 2018

The total spend for Army recruitment advertising over the past three years on Facebook and Twitter is shown in the table below. There was no spend on Snapchat.

Financial Year 2015-16

Financial Year 2016-17

2017-18 (Up to 31 December 2017)

Facebook

£844,000

£1,076,000

£481,000

Twitter

£161,000

£218,000

£41,000

The figures above include £2,000 spent boosting Facebook posts in 2016-17 and £19,400 in 2017-18.

The target audience for boosted Facebook posts are those aged between 16 and 24 for the Regular Army and between 16 and 35 for the Reserves that have expressed an interest in a career with the British Army.

For presentational purposes, figures have been rounded to the nearest £1,000 to improve the clarity of output and convey an appropriate level of precision. Figures are a single Service estimate.

Grouped Questions: 127844
Q
Asked by Joan Ryan
(Enfield North)
[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: 23 January 2018
Home Office
Crime: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with representatives from (a) Facebook, (b) Google/YouTube, (C) Twitter, (d) Snapchat and (e) other social media platforms on tackling the prevalence of videos and other forms of social media content that glorify gang and knife crime.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 29 January 2018

The Home Office is aware that gangs make use of a number of social media platforms to incite violence and taunt rival gangs and we work closely with the police to identify good practice in tackling this issue and to encourage the police to take action. Operation Domain is an ongoing successful Metropolitan Police Service project taking action against gang-related activity online, working with social media companies to remove relevant content.

The Government has been clear that social media companies should be going further and faster when taking down content. Ultimately, this material should not be made available in the first place. I intend to meet these companies in due course.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 July 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Advertising
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department has spent on advertising on social media in each month since January 2016.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 14 July 2017

Since January 2016, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have spent the following amount on social media.

Date

Spend

January 2016

£10,979

February 2016

£40,466

March 2016

£132,073

April 2016

£37,610

May 2016

£33,291

June 2016

£40,364

July 2016

£9,383

August 2016

£42,983

September 2016

£13,107

October 2016

£19,016

November 2016

£12,046

December 2016

£10,880

January 2017

£12,116

February 2017

£11,678

March 2017

£130,717

April 2017

£136,318

May 2017

£0

June 2017

£0

These figures represent gross social media advertising spend excluding fees, commission and VAT. ‘Social’ channels are defined as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat (traded as display) and Twitter. These figures represent total spend for each month by DECC, BIS and now BEIS since January 2016.

Government advertising supports the government’s priorities and helps deliver its programmes, from raising awareness of the National Minimum and Living Wage, to encouraging young people to apply for apprenticeships. The media in which we place government advertising are selected for their ability to most effectively reach our target audience.

Government advertising is purchased by our media buying partner, Carat. Carat has held the contract for UK government media buying since January 2015.

Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
[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 July 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Social Networking: Privacy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent discussions she has had with the Information Commissioner's Office on the data protection and privacy implications of the Snap Map feature available to users of the Snapchat service.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 11 July 2017

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for the protection of personal data and the right to privacy. The Secretary of State and I also met with the Information Commissioner last week to discuss data protection. The Government understands the concerns that have been raised and have discussed Snap Map with the ICO.

Grouped Questions: 3356 | 3357
Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 July 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Social Media: Data Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the child protection implications of the Snap Map service available to users of Snapchat; and if she will take steps to ensure that children and vulnerable people who use that service have their location data protected from unofficial third parties.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 11 July 2017

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for the protection of personal data and the right to privacy. The Secretary of State and I also met with the Information Commissioner last week to discuss data protection. The Government understands the concerns that have been raised and have discussed Snap Map with the ICO.

Grouped Questions: 3204 | 3357
Q
Asked by Anna Turley
(Redcar)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 06 July 2017
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Social Media: Privacy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make representations to Snap Inc. about the data protection and privacy implications of the Snap Map feature available to users of the Snapchat service.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 11 July 2017

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for the protection of personal data and the right to privacy. The Secretary of State and I also met with the Information Commissioner last week to discuss data protection. The Government understands the concerns that have been raised and have discussed Snap Map with the ICO.

Grouped Questions: 3204 | 3356
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