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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UIN

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 Nic Dakin
(Scunthorpe)
Asked on: 25 September 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Travel
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much money has been claimed by Members for travel costs to return to Parliament following the Supreme Court ruling on the Government's prorogation of Parliament.
A
Answered by: Sir Charles Walker
Answered on: 30 September 2019

IPSA provides funding for MPs to travel in order to fulfil their parliamentary duties. This includes travel from anywhere in the UK back to Westminster, for parliamentary reasons. Following the Supreme Court’s judgement and the resumption of Parliament on 25 September 2019, IPSA also funded MPs’ travel costs from other countries where necessary, in order for them to return to Parliament.

In accordance with the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses, MPs have a period of 90 days from when they incur a cost to submit a claim for reimbursement, accompanied by evidence. It will therefore not be possible to assess how much money has been claimed by MPs for their travel back to Parliament as a result of the Supreme Court’s judgement until 90 days after the 25 September 2019.

Q
(Broxbourne)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Stargardt's Disease
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) prevalence and (b) adequacy of treatment options for the retinal degenerative disease Stargardt's.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The Department does not hold prevalence figures of retinal degenerative disease Stargardt's in England at present. The Government is working with Public Health England‘s National Congenital Anomaly and Rare Disease Registration Service (NCARDRS) which collects information about people with congenital abnormalities and rare diseases and covers the whole of England. NCARDRS is working to expand its data collection and work with interested parties to advance data collection including Stargardt's retinal degenerative disease.

Services for patients with retinal degenerative disease Stargardt's are provided by local clinical commissioning groups. There is currently no curative treatment available for patients. Patients are advised to reduce the speed of degeneration by avoiding exposure to bright light and wearing sunglasses.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
[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: 03 July 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Allowances
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much the new system for reimbursing hon. Members' expenses cost to implement.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 10 July 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

The original April 2016 business case for IPSA’s new IT system, IPSA Online, estimated a cost of £4.641 million. IPSA expected the programme to be completed in 2017-18. The full costs incurred to ensure IPSA could go live with IPSA Online at the beginning of the current financial year were £8.253 million.

The increase in cost was due in part to the unexpected General Election of June 2017 which diverted IPSA work for up to nine months to supporting MPs who left or joined parliament, and increased supplier costs. Costs also increased following a change of suppliers in September 2018 to improve the quality of IT support. Testing the system took longer than anticipated in order to ensure it was fully secure and free of technical problems. The increases in cost have been partly mitigated by savings elsewhere in IPSA’s budget. A full internal audit of the programme is currently taking place. IPSA will report to the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA later in the year on the overall costs and benefits of IPSA Online.

IPSA is committed to supporting MPs and their staff during this transition and will make appropriate adjustments to improve the system as it beds in, while ensuring strong financial control, improvements in value for money, and high data quality and data security.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
[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 July 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: ICT
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if the Commission will make an estimate of the cost to the public purse of the new IPSA system.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 10 July 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

The original April 2016 business case for IPSA’s new IT system, IPSA Online, estimated a cost of £4.641 million. IPSA expected the programme to be completed in 2017-18. The full costs incurred to ensure IPSA could go live with IPSA Online at the beginning of the current financial year were £8.253 million.

The increase in cost was due in part to the unexpected General Election of June 2017 which diverted IPSA work for up to nine months to supporting MPs who left or joined parliament, and increased supplier costs. Costs also increased following a change of suppliers in September 2018 to improve the quality of IT support. Testing the system took longer than anticipated in order to ensure it was fully secure and free of technical problems. The increases in cost have been partly mitigated by savings elsewhere in IPSA’s budget. A full internal audit of the programme is currently taking place. IPSA will report to the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA later in the year on the overall costs and benefits of IPSA Online.

IPSA is committed to supporting MPs and their staff during this transition and will make appropriate adjustments to improve the system as it beds in, while ensuring strong financial control, improvements in value for money, and high data quality and data security.

Q
Asked by Royston Smith
(Southampton, Itchen)
Asked on: 18 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Internet
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what estimate his Department has made on the potential cost incurred by MPs' offices in answering web-based inquiries generated by (a) 38 Degrees and (b) other websites in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 25 June 2019

I have asked IPSA to provide this reply.

IPSA is the statutory body responsible for regulating and paying the salaries, business costs and expenses of MPs. This includes regulating and paying the salaries of staff members who work for MPs.

Each MP is allocated a budget from which their staffing costs are paid. The current staffing budget for MPs in London constituencies is £166,930; and for non-London MPs, the budget is £155,930.

In the 2018-19 financial year, MPs spent £91.1 million on staffing costs, including employment costs and other staffing services.

IPSA does not hold information on the cost attributable to staff members carrying out specific activities such as responding to web-based inquiries generated by 38 Degrees or other websites.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 10 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Location
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, for what reason the Authority did not consider locations for its offices outside London and the South-East.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 June 2019
Holding answer received on 18 June 2019

When moving offices, IPSA considered locations only in London and the South East, as evidence from other public bodies shows that organisations that relocate by a significant distance tend to lose more staff. IPSA is a small organisation and wished to retain its staff in order to continue uninterrupted its support to MPs, including regular meetings between them and their IPSA account managers, and its assurance to the public about MPs’ spending.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
[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: 10 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Offices
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2019 to Question 257645 on Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Buildings, which organisation's commercial interests would be prejudiced; and in what manner by disclosing the size of IPSA's office and the rate paid per metre.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 June 2019
Holding answer received on 18 June 2019

It is common practice for landlords to prohibit the publication of commercial agreements reached with their tenants. This is the case regarding the lease signed by IPSA and its landlord. IPSA is nonetheless a public body accountable to Parliament and its accounts are audited by the National Audit Office and scrutinised by the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA in order to provide assurance that value for money has been obtained. The Speaker’s Committee is scheduled to meet in July 2019 to discuss IPSA’s finances and other matters.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 12 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Allowances
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the system for reimbursing MPs expenses; and if IPSA will make it its policy to reinstate the previous system for the reimbursement of expenses.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 June 2019
Holding answer received on 18 June 2019

IPSA considered a range of options for its new system of reimbursing MPs’ business costs and expenses. The system selected is more integrated and efficient than its predecessor systems, and holds the personal data of MPs and their staff more securely. The software selected is widely used in the United Kingdom, including in many public bodies. Prior to its launch in April, the effectiveness of the system was thoroughly tested, including by MPs and their staff. Its benefits include:

- A ‘single sign-on’ capability to allow MPs and their staff to access the system directly through their secure parliamentary account without an additional logon.

- MPs and staff no longer need to send paper receipts and invoices to IPSA, but can scan or photograph them and upload them digitally onto the system. This improves data security and means that IPSA can process and reimburse claims more quickly.

- MPs’ staff members can now be reimbursed directly by IPSA for their own expenses rather than via their MPs.

- MPs and their staff are now able to amend their personal details, including any change of name or address, on the new system themselves, without needing to submit a form to IPSA.

- The new system allows claims from different budgets to be submitted on the same form, rather than having to submit multiple forms.

- MPs and their staff have constant access to financial information about the amounts left in their budgets and the status of any repayments or amounts owed, rather than waiting a monthly financial statement from IPSA.

As of 13 June, 612 MPs have successfully submitted claims on the new system. IPSA is committed to supporting and training MPs and their staff as they become accustomed to the new online claims system. IPSA does not intend to make it its policy to reinstate the previous system.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 12 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Email
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what estimate he has made of the number of emails from hon. Members sent to IPSA in June 2019 that have not received a response within three days; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 June 2019
Holding answer received on 18 June 2019

IPSA has a key performance target to respond to 90 per cent of emails within five working days. Between 1 June and 13 June, IPSA responded to 88 per cent of the 563 emails received within this target. IPSA has recently brought in five temporary staff to help improve its response times following the introduction of a new finance, payroll and expenses system in April 2019.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 12 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Working Hours
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what steps he is taking to help ensure that IPSA has sufficient resources to extend its working hours so that (a) telephone calls can be answered during the hours the House sits and (b) responses can be given to emails from MPs within three to five working days.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 June 2019
Holding answer received on 18 June 2019

IPSA’s December 2018 user survey found that 68 per cent of MPs and their staff were satisfied with the support that they receive from IPSA on the phone, up from 53 per cent in 2017. Since the introduction of its new online finance and expenses system in April 2019, IPSA has experienced a higher-than-normal volume of calls, with some calls taking up to 45 minutes as MPs and their staff familiarise themselves with the new system. To respond to this increased demand, IPSA has recruited five temporary staff to answer the phone to MPs, and has temporarily closed its phone lines at 4pm in order to respond to the queries raised. IPSA expects to re-open its phone lines until 5pm when this demand subsides.

IPSA has a key performance target to respond to 90 per cent of emails within five days. In 2018-19, IPSA responded to over 85 per cent of the 54,500 letters and emails that were received within five working days of receipt. In April 2019, following the introduction on the new system, IPSA only replied to 70 per cent of emails within this target. The additional temporary staff will also address this increased demand.

IPSA’s performance is monitored by the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA which approves IPSA’s budget and targets, including how it responds to MPs’ queries.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: ICT
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2019 to Question 253492 on Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: ICT, what the evidential basis is for the assertion that the new system will save time for Members and their staff.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 13 June 2019
Holding answer received on 10 June 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

As the system is new, IPSA continue to work closely with MPs and their staff to help them understand how IPSA Online works, and how to realise the full benefits. We are continuing to hold group and one-to-one training in Parliament and have staff available on the phone to answer queries. IPSA are conducting a survey to gather more feedback about the new system, with plans for further improvements in due course. IPSA will report to the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA later in the year on the overall costs and benefits of IPSA Online.

During the development of the new system, IPSA Online, IPSA carried out usability testing to look at how long a range of tasks and functions would take, compared with the old claims system. Based on this testing, IPSA found that improvements in the new system would take MPs and their staff about 30 per cent less time, due to the simplification of processes and forms. Feedback collected at training sessions also indicated that MPs’ staff expected IPSA Online to be easier and quicker to use than the old system.

MPs and their staff members will also benefit from the following time-saving changes:

- ‘Single sign-on’ capability enables MPs and their staff to access IPSA Online directly through their secure parliamentary account without an additional logon.

- The new system allows claims from different budgets to be submitted on the same form, rather than having to submit multiple forms.

- Because MPs and staff no longer need to send paper receipts and invoices to IPSA, but can scan or photograph them and upload them digitally onto the system, we can process and reimburse claims more quickly.

- Staff members can now be reimbursed directly by IPSA for their own expenses, so that MPs no longer need to wait to pay staff once they themselves have been reimbursed.

- Additional information is available to them directly, for example on the amounts left in budgets and the status of any repayments or amounts owed, so MPs and their staff no longer need to wait for a monthly financial statement or contact IPSA staff to ask about these issues.

- MPs and their staff are now able to amend their personal details, including any change of name or address, on the new system themselves, without needing to submit a form to IPSA

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 23 May 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Buildings
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the Answer of 20 May 2019 to Question 253493 on Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Location, how many staff are located in the new premises at 85 Strand; how much floor space those staff occupy; at what rate per square metre; which locations were considered outside London for new premises; and what the comparable cost would have been in locating those staff outside London.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 05 June 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

IPSA currently has 69 members of staff. It included in its office requirements space for up to 76 staff in order to provide flexibility for periods where there is a higher volume of work and therefore a need for additional temporary staff, such as General Election periods.

To disclose the size of the office or rate paid per square metre would be prejudicial to commercial interests. IPSA’s annual accounts are laid in Parliament and published each year, and will provide information about operational costs.

Before choosing its offices at 85 Strand, IPSA considered potential premises in Croydon and Milton Keynes, as well as Stratford and Canary Wharf in London, but determined that the selected location provided the prospect of better support to MPs and better value for money for the taxpayer.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 13 May 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: ICT
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the Answer of 7 May 2019 to Question 249206 on Members: Allowances, what the (a) forecast and (b) final cost was of the new IPSA IT system; and what assessment was made of additional costs that would be incurred by MPs' staff to work on the new system.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 May 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

The original April 2016 business case for IPSA’s new IT system, IPSA Online, estimated a cost of £4.641 million. At that time, IPSA expected the programme to be completed in 2017-18. The full costs of the system are now forecast to be £8.253 million.

The increase in cost was due in part to the unexpected General Election of June 2017 which diverted all IPSA work for up to nine months to supporting MPs who left or joined parliament, and increased supplier costs. Costs also increased following our change of suppliers in September 2018 to improve the quality of IPSA’s IT support. IPSA also spent longer than anticipated on testing the new system so that IPSA could have confidence that it would be fully secure and free of technical problems. The increases in cost have been partly mitigated by savings elsewhere in IPSA’s budget.

The new system administers MPs’ pay and business costs more efficiently and effectively, providing improved support to MPs and their staff while saving taxpayers’ money. MPs and their staff will benefit from these improvements by being able to access information and make changes to their staffing budget or office leases without needing to contact IPSA staff. They can now also access IPSA’s system directly through their secure parliamentary digital account without an additional logon. MPs and staff no longer need to send IPSA paper receipts and invoices through the post, but can scan and photograph them and upload them to IPSA digitally. The new system can also reimburse MPs’ staff directly rather than via the MP. On the basis of the experience so far, IPSA estimate that MPs will need to spend around 30 per cent less time overall on the new system than they did on the old one.

However, IPSA recognise that many MPs and their staff still need to get used to the new system. IPSA are therefore conducting group and one-to-one training in Parliament and have staff available on the phone to answer queries. IPSA are putting on more such training sessions in response to demand, with a regular presence in Portcullis House.

IPSA will shortly conduct a survey to gather more feedback about the new system, with plans for further improvements in due course. IPSA will report to the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA later in the year on the overall costs and benefits of IPSA Online.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
Asked on: 13 May 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Buildings
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what the cost has been of the move by IPSA to new premises in central London; and what assessment was made of the potential merits of moving the organisation to a cheaper location outside London.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 20 May 2019

I have asked IPSA to reply.

IPSA moved into new office premises at 85 Strand in March 2019. The forecasted cost of this move is £732,900. This budget was approved by the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA in January 2018. IPSA’s Annual Accounts for the 2018-19 financial year are being finalised and will be laid in Parliament in November. The Speaker’s Committee will have an opportunity to scrutinise this and other expenditure.

After reviewing properties on the market, the offices selected met IPSA’s criteria and offered the best value for money to the taxpayer over the long term, with competitive running cost over the life of the lease after completing initial fit-out work. Locations outside of London were considered. IPSA concluded that basing IPSA’s office in London and within reasonable distance of Parliament would ensure that IPSA can provide a better support to MPs and their staff, including regular meetings between them and their IPSA account managers.

Q
Asked by John Spellar
(Warley)
[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: 30 April 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Allowances
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what involvement did the Speaker's committee had in the formulation of the new claims system for hon. Members' allowances.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 07 May 2019

As part of its role to approve IPSA’s Estimate, in March 2016, the Speaker’s Committee approved funds for a wide-ranging improvement programme, including plans for a new IT system, IPSA Online. This took into account longstanding feedback from MPs and their staff about the need to modernise and improve IPSA’s systems and processes. In subsequent years, the Speaker’s Committee has scrutinised progress on this programme via the annual Estimate approval process, as well as other formal and informal updates.

The Speaker’s Committee had no direct input into the design of IPSA Online, but has received regular updates on the key features of the system and IPSA’s plans for engagement and training activities.

More generally, IPSA engaged with MPs and staff members throughout the development of IPSA Online through activities including surveys, meetings, usability testing and training sessions, in order to take account of their needs and preferences. IPSA is committed to ongoing liaison with MPs and their staff to gain further feedback on the new system now that it has been launched.

Q
(Broxbourne)
[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 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Marine Environment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to lead efforts to tackle the global problem of marine plastic pollution; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 01 April 2019

Reducing plastic pollution in our ocean requires global action. This is why we are leading efforts to tackle the global problem through our support of the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. In April 2018 we launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), which we co-lead with Vanuatu. The CCOA encourages its 25 member countries to take steps to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics, significantly reduce single use plastic carrier bags by 2021 and implement a ban of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products by 2021.

We are also championing action to protect the ocean from plastic pollution through a support package worth over £55 million. This is being used to boost global research and tackle plastic pollution in developing countries in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production).

We want to lead by example which is why we published the Resources and Waste Strategy for England in December last year that sets out our plans to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a more circular economy. On 18 February we launched a suite of consultations to overhaul the waste system. These actions build on the commitment in the 25 Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

Q
Asked by Ian Murray
(Edinburgh South)
Asked on: 07 March 2019
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Members: Finance
Commons
To ask The Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if the Committee will undertake a survey of hon. Members on the (a) cost and (b) resources allocated by hon. Members to responding to e-mails from (i) 38 Degrees and (ii) other campaigning organisations; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 14 March 2019

The Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority (IPSA) was established to ensure MPs have the funding and support they need to conduct their parliamentary duties effectively. IPSA is also responsible for setting the level of the MPs’ Staffing Budget and for periodically consulting on all aspects of its expenses scheme, including on Members’ staff expenditure. At these times, Members and others are invited to respond to IPSA’s consultations and to suggest amendments to its scheme.

It is for individual MPs themselves to decide how their own staffing arrangements best support their work and how they respond to campaigning organisations such as 38 Degrees.

In respect of oversight of IPSA’s budgets, the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is in place to approve its annual estimates of resources. In addition, the Administration Committee meets representatives from IPSA to consider its support for Members and the way it operates its scheme.

Q
(Broxbourne)
Asked on: 07 January 2019
House of Commons Commission
House of Commons: Governing Bodies
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many House of Commons bodies include lay members.
A
Answered by: Tom Brake
Answered on: 30 January 2019

I take the hon. Gentleman’s question to be referring to bodies whose membership includes Members of the House. On this understanding, the following bodies have lay members:

  • Committee on Standards
  • Administration Estimate Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
  • Members Estimate Audit Committee
  • Fire Safety Committee


There are also two statutory bodies whose secretariats are based in the House of Commons and whose membership includes Members and non-Members:

  • House of Commons Commission
  • Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority


There are also two bicameral bodies whose membership includes Members and non-Members:

  • The Shadow Sponsor Board responsible for commissioning the Restoration and Renewal Programme
  • Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Board
Q
(Broxbourne)
[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: 07 January 2019
House of Commons Commission
Parliamentary Estate: Alcoholic Drinks
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reasons the Commission has restricted the sale of alcohol in parliamentary cafeterias selling food; and how that policy is intended to promote responsible alcohol consumption.
A
Corrected answer by: Tom Brake
Corrected on: 17 January 2019
Holding answer received on 11 January 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 11 January 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The House of Commons Commission has agreed a number of actions to promote responsible alcohol consumption on the Parliamentary Estate. On 19 March 2018, the House of Commons Commission endorsed the recommendations of the Administration Committee to help to promote responsible drinking in Commons catering venues. The Commission also agreed to return to this matter on a six-monthly basis. The Commission did so on 29 October 2018, also giving due weight to the reference to access to alcohol within the Dame Laura Cox report on bullying and harassment. On 17 December 2018 the Commission agreed a number of actions to promote responsible alcohol consumption on the Parliamentary Estate. These included increasing the range of non-alcoholic drinks and lower strength beers available, training and supporting staff to refuse to serve customers when necessary, expanding and encouraging alcohol-free areas including all six House of Commons cafeterias (Bellamy's, Courtyard Café, Debate, Jubilee Café, Members' Tea Room, Terrace Cafeteria), discouraging Members and staff from drinking in offices after bars are shut, and not running promotional advertisements.

A
Answered by: Tom Brake
Answered on: 11 January 2019
Holding answer received on 11 January 2019

The House of Commons Commission has agreed a number of actions to promote responsible alcohol consumption on the Parliamentary Estate. On 19 March 2018, the House of Commons Commission endorsed the recommendations of the Administration Committee to help to promote responsible drinking in Commons catering venues. The Commission also agreed to return to this matter on a six-monthly basis. The Commission did so on 29 October 2018, also giving due weight to the reference to access to alcohol within the Dame Laura Cox report on bullying and harassment. On 17 December 2018 the Commission agreed a number of actions to promote responsible alcohol consumption on the Parliamentary Estate. These included increasing the range of non-alcoholic drinks and lower strength beers available, training and supporting staff to refuse to serve customers when necessary, expanding and encouraging alcohol-free areas including all six House of Commons cafeterias (Bellamy's, Courtyard Café, Debate, Jubilee Café, Members' Tea Room, Terrace Cafeteria), discouraging Members and staff from drinking in offices after bars are shut, and not running promotional advertisements.

Q
(Broxbourne)
Asked on: 19 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what powers his Department has devolved to the Mayor of London to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 08 January 2019

The Greater London Authority (GLA) Act sets out the Mayor of London’s powers in relation to housing and planning which can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/24/contents (section 6 and 7).

The Act determines that the Mayor must prepare and publish a London Housing Strategy, which outlines plans for tackling rough sleeping and homelessness in the capital. This can be found here: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2018_lhs_london_housing_strategy.pdf

We are currently funding the GLA to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the capital in a number of ways including:

  • £3.3 million as part of the Rough Sleeping Initiative funding with an additional £3 million provisionally allocated for 2019-20.
  • £3.3 million of Rough Sleeping Grant funding including a mental health initiative, the Safe Connections project and the London Cross-Borough Accommodation Network.
  • £50 million of funding to provide accommodation for homeless individuals and families as an alternative to hostel accommodation through the Move on Fund.

In addition to this, at Spring Statement 2018, the Chancellor announced that we will be providing London with an additional £1.67 billion from the Affordable Homes Programme to support the Mayor to build a further 26,000 affordable homes – two-thirds will be homes for rent.

This has increased our investment in London to over £4.8 billion for at least 116,000 affordable homes by March 2022.

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. No one should ever have to sleep rough and that is why this summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy. This sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

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