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
(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.

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: 17 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pigmeat
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of England's pig stock slaughtered annually do not pass vet inspections for release into the human food chain.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 October 2018

The proportion of total condemnations was 0.12% for pigs in Food Standard Agency approved slaughterhouses in England.

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: 17 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Cattle
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of England's total cattle stock slaughtered annually do not pass vet inspections for release into the human food chain.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 October 2018

The proportion of total condemnations was 0.40% for cattle in Food Standard Agency approved slaughterhouses in England.

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: 17 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Sheep
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of England's total sheep stock slaughtered annually do not pass vet inspections for release into the human food chain.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 October 2018

The proportion of total condemnations was 0.17% for sheep in Food Standard Agency approved slaughterhouses in England.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 09 October 2018
Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
Parental Leave
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what assessment has been made of the effect of IPSA's family leave policy on the (a) provision of adequate office arrangements for Members and (b)(i) physical and (ii) mental health of parliamentary staff returning from such leave.
A
Answered by: Mr Charles Walker
Answered on: 11 October 2018

I have asked the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to reply.

Letter from Marcial Boo, chief executive of IPSA, 10 October 2018:

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) provides Family Leave Guidance in relation to staff employed by MPs, a copy of which can be found on our website at: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ipsa-for-mps/guidance.

This document provides guidance on maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave, KIT/SPLIT days and caring leave. This is not a policy, but guidance to MPs on the statutory entitlements. As the legal employers of their staff, MPs are responsible for matters of individual staffing arrangements, such as approving instances of family leave and ensuring that they comply with relevant employment legislation.

As the document is guidance rather than a policy, and relates only to the statutory entitlements, we have not undertaken any specific assessment of its effects. However, IPSA encourages responsible employment and any necessary expenditure by MPs on the health and welfare of their staff, including their mental health. MPs can claim the cost of staff health and welfare costs, such as occupational health assessments, from their staffing budgets. We also undertake Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) in relation to major changes to our Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses. We last undertook an EIA in March 2017 which concluded that changes proposed to our Scheme were likely to have a small positive impact on MPs’ staff in relation to pregnancy and maternity. A copy of that report can be found on our website at: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/publications/consultations/review-of-the-mps-scheme-of-business-costs-and-expenses.

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: 11 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Coeliac Disease: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the potential savings to the NHS budget of limiting access to gluten-free food via prescription.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The estimate of savings to be made by reducing the National Health Service provision of gluten free foods to breads and mixes is £4.1 million per annum. The details of how this was calculated are set out in the published Impact Assessment.

The impact assessment can be found at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/678190/GF_foods_impact_assesment.pdf

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: 03 July 2018
Treasury
Fuels: Excise Duties
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate the Government has made of the amount of fuel duty which has not accrued to the public purse as a result of the freeze in duty introduced in the March 2011 Budget.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 06 July 2018

To support British households and businesses, at Autumn Budget 2017, the government froze fuel duty for the eighth successive year. Since public finances are based on the assumption that fuel duty will increase with RPI at every Budget, any increase below this represents a cost to the Exchequer. Successive freezes since 2011 have saved the average driver £620 compared to what it would have been with RPI increases.

Since 2011, the announced freezes to fuel duty have meant the Exchequer has not collected around £46 billion in revenues through to 2018-19. For the purposes of comparison, this is around twice as much as we spend on all NHS nurses and doctors each year.

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: 02 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Coeliac Disease: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the (a) advantages and (b) disadvantages of removing access to gluten-free foods on prescription.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 05 July 2018

An assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of removing access to gluten-free foods on prescription was undertaken by the Department in the impact and equality impact assessments. The impact assessments can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/678190/GF_foods_impact_assesment.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/678183/Equality_impact_assessment_-_GF_food.pdf

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: 02 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Coeliac Disease: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his policy is on CCGs discontinuing prescriptions for gluten-free food; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 05 July 2018

Clinical commissioning groups hold the budget for primary care prescribing. It is their responsibility to give prescribing guidance to their member general practitioner practices, taking into account best practice, national guidance and the needs of their local populations.

Q
(Broxbourne)
Asked on: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Landfill
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether England is projected to meet its share of the UK's targets for reducing waste sent to landfill sites.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 April 2018

UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill in 2016 was similar to that in 2015, remaining at approximately 7.7 million tonnes or 22% of the 1995 baseline value. The UK is therefore still on track to meet the EU target to restrict BMW landfilled to 35% of the 1995 baseline by 2020.

Waste infrastructure credits (formerly waste PFI credits) were used to fund infrastructure to manage waste higher up the waste hierarchy, and thereby contribute to England meeting its share of EU landfill directive targets for the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste from landfill. The Government did not make use of the PFI funding regime after 2010 when it was assessed that there was a high level of confidence that England’s contribution to meeting the landfill diversion targets would be met via the existing infrastructure along with that in the construction pipeline.

Grouped Questions: 136241
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: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Incinerators
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Government ceased to make available waste infrastructure credits in relation to incineration; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 April 2018

UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill in 2016 was similar to that in 2015, remaining at approximately 7.7 million tonnes or 22% of the 1995 baseline value. The UK is therefore still on track to meet the EU target to restrict BMW landfilled to 35% of the 1995 baseline by 2020.

Waste infrastructure credits (formerly waste PFI credits) were used to fund infrastructure to manage waste higher up the waste hierarchy, and thereby contribute to England meeting its share of EU landfill directive targets for the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste from landfill. The Government did not make use of the PFI funding regime after 2010 when it was assessed that there was a high level of confidence that England’s contribution to meeting the landfill diversion targets would be met via the existing infrastructure along with that in the construction pipeline.

Grouped Questions: 136240
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: 17 April 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Waste Management
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government plans to introduce any proposals in the revised National Planning Policy framework to make changes to the Waste Planning Policy; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 23 April 2018

As part of the consultation on the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework, the Government has asked at question 42 if any consequential changes should be made to the National Planning Policy for Waste, as a result of the proposed changes to the Framework. The consultation closes on 10 May 2018. We welcome views on this issue in response to the consultation.

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: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste Management
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when the Government plans to publish its Waste and Resources Review; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 April 2018

The Government plans to publish a world leading Resources and Waste Strategy by the end of the year.

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: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Incinerators
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 December 2017 to Question 117198, on Incinerators, for what reason the UK's on-stream incineration capacity is underused compared with the permitted capacity; and for what reason there is a similar difference in the East of England.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 April 2018

The Environment Agency’s latest Waste Management in England Statistics show that 11.64 million tonnes of waste were incinerated in England in 2016, compared to a permitted capacity of 15.48 million tonnes. For operational incinerators in the East of England only, those figures were 1.19 million tonnes incinerated compared to 1.42 million tonnes of capacity.

There are several reasons for the difference between throughput and permitted capacity. The permitted capacity relates to the waste managed at the site and not the actual throughput of the facility as the site might have more than one processing facility. Throughput will also vary depending on the wastes heat value, its composition, the maintenance regime of the facility and the delivery of waste from clients. To allow for these variances permitted capacity is normally higher than the actual processing capacity. It would not be financially viable for plants to run under capacity.

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: 17 April 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to promote the recycling of waste instead of using (a) landfill and (b) incineration.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 23 April 2018

The 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our commitment to make it easier for people to recycle and to increase the quantity and quality of materials collected. Through the Framework for Greater Consistency, the Waste and Resources Action Programme is working with industry and local authorities to promote improved recycling performance and to ensure that a consistent set of core materials are collected by all local authorities. We want to accelerate this process and want householders to benefit from having comprehensive waste and recycling collections which ensure that products are recycled as much as possible and high quality materials are returned to the economy. We will set out measures to support this in our Resources and Waste Strategy to be published later this year.

Q
(Broxbourne)
Asked on: 27 March 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Land Registry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of new registrations with HM Land Registry were registered within the 25 day period in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 05 April 2018

Since 1 April 2017, 16.5% of applications made to HM Land Registry to register a new title were completed within 25 days. HM Land Registry have been working to reduce the oldest cases in the system and the average age of all pending applications to register a new title is 26.5 days.

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