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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Asked on: 05 December 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Service Industries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the growth of the services sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 14 December 2018

On 28 November, Her Majesty’s Government published detailed economic analysis assessing the potential impact on trade flows and the UK economy of Brexit in the long run. This analysis does not model any short run disruption or immediate operational impacts.

The Government has taken steps to smooth the transition into our new relationship with the EU, including an implementation period. This provides certainty for businesses and citizens, facilitating the transition to the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Ministry of Defence
Galileo System
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the Galileo project on security and defence co-operation with the EU after Brexit.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The UK has made an unconditional commitment to maintain Europe's security, which is why we are seeking a new, ambitious future security partnership with the EU to tackle the common threats we face and safeguard our citizens. The Political Declaration sets out a comprehensive future security partnership, which provides for close, flexible and scalable cooperation that will allow UK and EU efforts to be combined, when it is in our mutual interests. This includes UK participation in EU missions on a case by case basis, consideration of how best the UK and the EU might cooperate on international development, consultation on sanctions, and the voluntary and timely exchange of intelligence. The deal ensures that cooperation can be scaled up in the event of a crisis.

The UK has made clear that it could only justify continued participation in the Galileo programme on a basis that would enable us to rely on Galileo for our national security. The offer on the table from the European Commission does not meet our stated security or industrial requirements and, on this basis, the Prime Minister has confirmed the UK will not use Galileo for defence or critical national infrastructure after we leave the EU.

Non-participation in Galileo will not have any immediate impact on UK defence and security capabilities. The encrypted Galileo service is not due to be active until the mid-2020s, and the UK will retain access to US GPS services as it does at present. We are working on options for a national alternative to Galileo to guarantee our satellite positioning, navigation and timing needs are met in the future. The Government has invested £92 million of Brexit readiness money for the design and development of the UK programme.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Clinical Trials: EU Law
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the EU Clinical Trials Regulation, due to come into effect in 2019, will apply to clinical trials in the UK after Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The Government values the strong collaborative partnerships that we have across the European Union in the areas of science, research and innovation, and as part of Exit negotiations is working to ensure that we have the best possible environment in which to support clinical trials and new medicines after we leave the EU.

Regarding the EU’s new Clinical Trials Regulation (CTR), the CTR is expected to be implemented during 2020 and would therefore apply to the United Kingdom under the terms of the time-limited implementation period. If the new regulation does not come into force during the implementation period, or in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Government has confirmed that UK law will remain aligned with parts of the EU’s CTR legislation that are within the UK’s control.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Energy Drinks: Labelling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to introduce statutory requirements on companies who produce energy drinks to use more prominent labelling on such products after Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 13 December 2018

We are considering the opportunities offered by exiting the European Union, which include giving us greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented on packaged food and how it should be displayed, and we will work alongside industry and other stakeholders to decide what will be next for labelling. We want to build on the success of our current labelling scheme and ensure we are using the most effective ways to communicate information to families.

Asked on: 05 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5G
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to invest in the development of 5G network infrastructure.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 13 December 2018

We are committed to becoming a world leader in 5G, and for the majority of the population to have access to a 5G signal by 2027. Government recognises that 5G will require substantial industry investment, and that the vast majority of capital investment required to rollout 5G will need to come from the private sector.

However, the government can help foster the development of the ecosystem and is doing so through its 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme. Government has so far allocated £200 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund to the Programme to help establish new business models and revenue streams which in turn could lead to accelerated private sector investment.

Asked on: 28 November 2018
Department for International Trade
Foreign Investment in UK
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to implement a long-term strategy to help attract foreign direct investment in UK small towns.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has no Foreign Direct Investment strategy specifically for small towns. However, as part of the Department’s FDI Strategy, launched in April this year, DIT works with local partners through the High Potential Opportunities programme to identify emerging clusters, sub-sectors, supply chain gaps or other strategic opportunities that have the greatest potential to deliver economic benefits – across the whole of the UK. This includes local communities and small towns. The Department’s FDI strategy focuses on delivering new ways to target support for those FDI projects that create the most value for investors and the national wealth.

Asked on: 28 November 2018
Department for Education
Manufacturing Industries: Training
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to invest in the development of workers’ skills to help boost productivity in the manufacturing sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 12 December 2018

We are committed to making the UK one of the best places in the world to grow a manufacturing business. Through our Industrial Strategy, we will make sure that we are using all the tools we have to stimulate manufacturing growth. That includes using major new investment in research to support innovative manufacturing businesses across the country and encouraging inward investment into the parts of the country where we need increased growth.

We are working with employers to jointly design and deliver policies and programmes, which will make the skills system more responsive to employer needs, while giving individuals the skills they need to succeed.

This includes making apprenticeships longer, better, with more off-the-job training and proper assessment at the end, as well as introducing T levels, which will offer a high quality and rigorous technical alternative to academic education. We are also establishing Institutes of Technology to help meet higher level technical skills needs. In addition, we are developing a new National Retraining Scheme; an ambitious, far-reaching programme, which will give adults the skills they need to thrive as the economy changes.

Information on the UK’s Industrial Strategy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/the-uks-industrial-strategy.

Asked on: 12 December 2018
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports that the United States’ economy may be heading into a recession, and (2) the impact this could have on UK–US trade.
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Treasury
Overseas Trade: BRIC Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to strengthen financial ties with (1) India, and (2) China, after Brexit.
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Treasury
Multinational Companies: Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to collect more tax revenue from large multinational companies.
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Treasury
Financial Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports that Switzerland may be offered temporary access to EU stock markets, and (2) the implications that any decision on a "Swiss-style" equivalence arrangement could have on the UK financial sector after Brexit.
Asked on: 27 November 2018
Treasury
Cryptocurrencies
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans for market regulation of crypto-currencies.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 11 December 2018

The government established the Cryptoassets Taskforce - comprised of HM Treasury, the FCA, and the Bank of England – earlier this year, to explore the risks and potential benefits of cryptoassets and consider the appropriate response. The Taskforce’s report sets out the path forward with respect to cryptoasset regulation in the UK.

The government will:

  • bring cryptoasset exchanges and custodian wallet providers within the scope of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation through the transposition of the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), and consult on going beyond the requirements of 5MLD;

  • consult on whether the regulatory perimeter requires extension in relation to cryptoassets that have comparable features to specified investments but that fall outside the perimeter; and

  • issue a consultation to further explore whether and how exchange tokens and related firms, such as exchanges and wallet providers, could be regulated effectively.

Asked on: 27 November 2018
Treasury
Interest Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of the impact of Brexit on interest rates and mortgage defaults.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 11 December 2018

The Bank of England has operational independence to set monetary policy. As set out in its latest assessment, the MPC’s “monetary policy response to EU withdrawal, whatever form EU withdrawal takes, will not be automatic and could be in either direction and will depend on the balance of effects on supply, demand and the exchange rate.”

The latest Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey (Q3) indicates that default rates on secured loans to households have fallen over the past 18 months and are expected to remain unchanged in the next quarter.

Asked on: 28 November 2018
Department for Transport
Aviation: USA
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when any planned post-Brexit aviation arrangements agreed between the UK and the United States will be implemented; and whether they anticipate that date will be (1) at the March 2019 deadline for EU withdrawal, or (2) at the end of the transition period.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 11 December 2018

New, bilateral, air services arrangements between the UK and US will come into effect once the EU-US Air Transport Agreement ceases to apply to the UK.

Asked on: 11 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Kosovo: Serbia
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of diplomatic tensions between Kosovo and Serbia; and whether they would support a membership application from Kosovo to join the EU.
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: Billing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following their consultation, Creating a responsible payment culture: a call for evidence on tackling late payment, published on 4 October, whether they have any plans to introduce penalty measures on companies who make late payments to small businesses; and if so, what are those measures.
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Department for Education
Apprentices
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that they meet their target of creating three million apprenticeships by 2020.
Asked on: 11 December 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence Equipment: Production
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to increase UK arms production.
Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Social Media: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have for the regulation of social media companies.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 10 December 2018

The government is publishing a White Paper on Online Harms this winter, as a precursor to legislation. This White Paper will set out a range of legislative and non-legislative measures detailing how we will tackle online harms and will set clear responsibilities for social media companies and others to keep UK citizens safe.

Asked on: 26 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Audit: Competition
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the invitation to comment by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Competition and Markets Authority Statutory Audit Market on the impact of increased choice in the audit market.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 10 December 2018

It is for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as an independent competition body, to assess responses to its invitation to comment. The Government looks forward to the CMA’s provisional findings, due to be published in due course.

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