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
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Leishmaniasis
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the levels of Leishmaniosis in (a) the West Bank, (b) Gaza and (c) Palestinian refugee camps in (i) Lebanon, (ii) Jordan and (iii) Syria.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The implementing partner for DFID’s People for Peaceful Change Programme monitors the incidence and prevalence of both cutaneous and visceral leishmaniosis cases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan. There were 5175 reported cases of cutaneous Leishmaniosis in the West Bank between 1990-2016. There have not been any reports about the disease spreading in Gaza therefore it is considered a free area. Assessments show Leishmaniosis levels in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria are low. Camps across the region may experience seasonal variation due to sand-fly populations.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when she plans to publish the first quarterly update and progress report on her Department's People for Peaceful Change project in the occupied Palestinian territories.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The expected publication of the People for Peaceful Change project quarterly update is by the end of June.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 15 June 2018
Department for Transport
Heathrow Airport: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the expansion of Heathrow Airport on the (a) economy of (i) the West Midlands, (ii) Birmingham and (b) sustainability of (A) Birmingham Airport and (B) East Midlands Airport.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Department has undertaken an economic assessment of the effect of a new runway at Heathrow at a national level, taking account of all regions. Businesses from across the UK, including the West Midlands, will benefit as an expanded Heathrow delivers greater connectivity for both passengers and freight, with nearly six million additional trips from passengers outside of London and the South East being made via an expanded Heathrow in 2040.

The Government is clear that while a Northwest Runway at Heathrow will help to secure the UK’s status as a global aviation hub, regional airports will continue to develop their point-to-point networks. The department’s aviation forecasts show that passenger numbers and international flights at airports outside of London are expected to increase by 80 per cent and 71 per cent respectively between 2016 and 2050 with a third runway at Heathrow. These forecasts show demand exists for airports such as Birmingham and East Midlands to continue to grow alongside any expansion in the South East, while individual airport commercial strategies could help them to grow even further.

Lastly, as the Secretary of State set out in his oral statement on 05 June, any new operational runway at Heathrow is still a number of years away. This is why the Government supports airports beyond Heathrow, like Birmingham and East Midlands Airports, making best use of their existing runways. However, the Government recognises that the development of airports can have positive and negative effects, including on noise levels. We consider that any proposals should be judged on their individual merits by the relevant planning authority, taking careful account of all relevant considerations, particularly economic and environmental.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Palestinians: Demonstrations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority on the actions of Palestinian security forces during the demonstrations in Ramallah on 13 June 2018; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Laith Abu Zeyad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority on the detention and treatment of Amnesty International staff member Laith Abu Zeya by Palestinian Authority security forces; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Justice
Voyeurism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what representations he has received from civil society groups on making the practice of up-skirting a sexual offence.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 15 June 2018

My department have received representations from a range of stakeholders to make upskirting a specific criminal offence and have met with campaigners to discuss their concerns.

I share their determination to ensure that the intrusive practice of up-skirting is tackled robustly and that is why I am pleased to confirm that, following detailed review of the law by my department, the Government has committed to supporting Wera Hobhouse’s PMB. This creates two new offences specifically covering the practice of upskirting and will strengthen the law, close any potential gaps and better protect victims.

Alongside this, I continue to support work across government - with police, prosecutors and others - to make sure this degrading offence continues to be prosecuted as effectively as possible.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Chronic Illnesses: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the financial effect of prescription charges on people with long-term health conditions.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 June 2018

We have no current plans to review the list of medical conditions which provide for exemption from prescription charges because arrangements exist to ensure that prescriptions are affordable for everyone. A broad range of prescription charge exemptions are in place, for which someone with a long-term condition and cystic fibrosis may qualify. To support those with greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, prescription prepayment certificates are available. A holder of a 12 month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Grouped Questions: 151050
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Cystic Fibrosis: Prescriptions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing prescription charges for people with Cystic Fibrosis.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 June 2018

We have no current plans to review the list of medical conditions which provide for exemption from prescription charges because arrangements exist to ensure that prescriptions are affordable for everyone. A broad range of prescription charge exemptions are in place, for which someone with a long-term condition and cystic fibrosis may qualify. To support those with greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, prescription prepayment certificates are available. A holder of a 12 month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Grouped Questions: 151049
Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Childline
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the role of NSPCC's Childline in the provision of early mental health support; and what steps is his Department taking to support that organisation.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 14 June 2018

The Government welcomes the work of the NSPCC’s Childline. The Government supports the NSPCC through an £8 million grant over four years (up to 2020), as a contribution to funding both ChildLine and the NSPCC’s National Helpline, for anyone with concerns or worries about a child.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Education
Open University: Student Numbers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to higher education funding on student numbers at the Open University in each year since 2011.
A
Answered by: Mr Sam Gyimah
Answered on: 13 June 2018

The government recognises the decline in part-time study within the sector, and is aware of the impact this has had on the Open University. That’s why the government is committed to supporting part time students and since 2012, it has paid the tuition fees of students studying on part-time courses up-front through a system of subsidised fee loans.

In addition, new part-time students attending degree level courses from August 2018 onwards will, for the first time, be able to apply for up-front loans to help them with their living costs. Subject to the development of a robust control regime, these loans will be extended to students on distance learning courses from August 2019.

The government continues, through the Office for Students (previously Higher Education Funding Council for England), to provide direct grant funding to support successful outcomes for part-time students. This was worth £72 million in the current academic year (2017/18), and the Open University received a sizeable amount of this funding.

This funding reflects the particular costs associated with recruiting and retaining part-time students and includes funds to support successful outcomes for part-time students. The Open University received £48 million to support teaching activity in 2017/18.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Football: Sportsgrounds
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent representations his Department has (a) made to and (b) received from professional football clubs in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Scotland on the potential introduction of safe-standing at sports stadiums.
A
Answered by: Tracey Crouch
Answered on: 13 June 2018

Representations have been received from the following football clubs about the possible introduction of certain types of accommodation which could facilitate standing at parts of their respective grounds: Bristol City, Peterborough United, Grimsby Town, Shrewsbury Town and West Bromwich Albion. Representations about the all-seater policy have also been received from Southampton City Council.

I also met Andrew R T Davies, Leader of the Conservative Party at the Welsh Assembly in 2015 to discuss standing at football in Wales. Standing at football matches in Scotland is a matter for the relevant Scottish authorities.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Home Office
Football: Russia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many UK police officers will be in Russia for the 2018 World Cup to provide advice, assistance and protection to UK citizens.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 13 June 2018

A UK policing delegation will travel to Russia, at the host country’s request, to provide assistance to host police. The size of the UK policing delegation has been specified by the Russian authorities. We do not disclose the number for operational reasons.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Transport
Cycling: Ethnic Groups
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of cycling uptake among ethnic minority groups; and what steps he is taking to encourage an increase in that uptake among those groups.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 13 June 2018

On the 18 January 2018 the Department for Transport published Walking and Cycling Statistics for England which contain figures on the proportion of adults that cycle, by ethnicity, frequency and purpose for England between 2015-2016 (see pp14-15). The full report can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/674503/walking-and-cycling-statistics-england-2016.pdf

This Government wants to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey, for everyone. The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, published in April 2017, aims to increase cycling and walking activity, including among under-represented groups. It also commits the Government to monitoring the extent to which people from different age groups, genders and ethnic backgrounds are taking up cycling and walking.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Saudi-led coalition's compliance with international humanitarian law in relation to the conflict in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 11 June 2018

We regularly raise, at the highest levels, the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) with Saudi Arabia. The UK takes allegations of IHL violations extremely seriously. We encourage the Saudi-led Coalition to ensure that any such allegations are thoroughly investigated. Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations of IHL, and that lessons will be acted upon. The Coalition has the best insight into its own military procedures and is able to conduct the most thorough and conclusive investigations. This also allows the coalition to really understand what may have gone wrong and apply any lessons learnt in the best possible way. The Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team has announced the findings of a total of 55 investigations, with the most recent released on 5 March.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Yemen: Armed Conflict
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) protect and (b) support civilians in Yemen; and what recent estimate he has made of the number of civilian casualties in that country since the conflict began.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 11 June 2018

​We continue to call on all sides to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL). We are aware of reports of alleged violations of IHL by actors in the conflict and take these very seriously. It is important that credible allegations of violations of IHL are investigated.

Addressing the continuing humanitarian crisis is a top priority for this Government. In 2017/18 the Government committed £205 million in aid to Yemen, making the UK the third largest humanitarian donor to Yemen, and the second largest to the UN appeal. We prioritised life-saving interventions including food and nutrition support to 1.7 million people and clean water and sanitation for an expected 1.2 million people. On 3 April, we announced an additional £170 million in response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen for 2018/2019. This funding will meet the immediate food needs of 2.5 million Yemenis, and comes on top of over £400 million in bilateral support since the conflict began in 2015.

We do not maintain records of casualty figures for the conflict in Yemen. Gathering data is extremely challenging considering the complexities of the situation and the challenges faced by humanitarian monitors across the country. Estimates by the UN and NGOs vary considerably.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hong Kong: Railways
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Bill on (a) British citizens residing in Hong Kong, (b) Hong Kong civil society and (c) the principle of one country two systems.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 22 May 2018

​The economic case for the High Speed Rail Link is clear. However, we believe it is important that the final arrangements for a joint border checkpoint on the territory of the Special Administrative Region are consistent with the principles of 'One Country, Two Systems' and with Hong Kong's Basic Law. We will continue to monitor developments closely and to discuss arrangements for consular assistance at the high speed rail terminal with the Hong Kong authorities as the legislative process progresses.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 16 May 2018
Department for International Development
Yemen: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of (a) recent trends in the capacity of the health services in Yemen to treat (i) cholera and (ii) diphtheria cases and (b) the effect of those trends on the rate of cases of each disease.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 22 May 2018

The deterioration of health facilities in Yemen remains deeply concerning. Only 22% of health facilities – half of which are either closed or not fully functional – can treat communicable diseases, such as cholera and diphtheria. The ability of health services to treat these diseases is further complicated by the on-going conflict, access obstructions, and the non-payment of salaries to public sector workers.

UK aid of £170 million to Yemen this financial year (2018/19) includes support to the UN and NGOs for tackling the underlying causes of cholera by providing emergency food, nutrition support, and clean water and sanitation to millions of people in Yemen.

DFID continues to monitor the rate of new cholera and diphtheria cases, as well as the health response in Yemen. In total, 1,097,962 suspected cholera cases have been reported between 27 April 2017 and 13 May 2018, causing 2,286 deaths. Between 13 August 2017 and 5 May 2018, 1,703 suspected cases of diphtheria have been reported, causing 90 deaths.

The UK also supported the first ever phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in Yemen which was completed on 15 May in the south of the country, helping protect more than 450,000 men, women and children. In her statement on 15 May, the International Development Secretary urged all parties to the conflict to allow the next phase of the vaccination campaign to proceed and to enable full and unhindered access including in the north of the country.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 10 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furs: Farms
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of animal welfare in fur farms in (a) Poland, (b) Finland, (c) China and (d) France that export fur to the UK.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 18 May 2018

The Government shares the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and, after we leave the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations relating to fur imports. Strict rules apply to fur farming in the EU and there are legal frameworks for the farming of fur animals in some non-EU countries, including minimum standards and welfare inspections. Many major fur companies also have their own standards that they audit with their producers.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what guidance his Department has issued to online marketplaces on the regulations that apply the sale of animals.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 17 May 2018

We are in the process of drafting guidance that will accompany the new regulations which will update the laws on the selling of animals as pets, including online. This will be available in due course and well before the new regulations come into force on 1 October. The guidance will be available to local authorities and all vendors of pet animals.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furs: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the ban on the sale of cat, dog and seal fur to other species.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 17 May 2018

The Government shares the British public’s high regards for animal welfare and, after we leave the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations banning the import of cat and dog fur and products, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

The Government has pressed for higher animal welfare standards worldwide to phase out cruel and inhumane fur farming and trapping practices in other parts of the world, which are banned here.

Grouped Questions: 142350
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