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 Guto Bebb
(Aberconwy)
Asked on: 07 March 2019
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she has held discussions with Palestinian officials on recent reports that the Palestinian Authority will reduce the salaries of its public sector workers but continue paying salaries for the families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 14 March 2019

DFID officials are aware of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) plans to make partial salary payments to public sector officials earning 2,000 NIS (£425) or above a month. We are in the process of assessing the implications for PEGASE beneficiaries (who are vetted health and education public servants) including through discussions with the PA. The UK continues to support a stable PA which can act as an effective partner for peace with Israel, through financial assistance that exclusively supports the salaries of vetted public servants in the West Bank in the health and education sectors. This move does not affect the robust financial safeguards that ensure UK financial aid only reaches intended beneficiaries, meaning aid is not allocated to Prisoner or Martyr payments. The UK government continues to press the PA to reform the prisoner payments system to become more needs-based, transparent and affordable.

Q
Asked by Guto Bebb
(Aberconwy)
Asked on: 15 January 2019
Home Office
Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when his Department plans to publish the results of its 2014 public consultation on the review of Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 23 January 2019

The government will issue a response to the consultation on the review of Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in due course.

Q
Asked by Guto Bebb
(Aberconwy)
Asked on: 14 January 2019
Wales Office
Bangor University: Chemistry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to the Answer of 4 January 2018 to Question 205241, what discussions he has had Bangor University on the proposed closure of its chemistry department; and if he will he make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alun Cairns
Answered on: 22 January 2019

I share your concern around the proposed closure of the Chemistry department at Bangor University and the impact this could have on Welsh language provision of undergraduate chemistry courses.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales Nigel Adams MP has spoken with the Dean of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Bangor University on this issue, and I am planning a number of trips to Welsh universities over the coming months. The University has provided assurances that students currently studying at the university will be unaffected and we will raise concerns of future provision with the Vice Chancellors and the Welsh Government’s Education Minister.

Q
Asked by Guto Bebb
(Aberconwy)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Wales Office
Bangor University: Chemistry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with representatives from Bangor University on the effect of that university's proposed closure of its chemistry department on the development of skills in North Wales as set out in the North Wales Growth Deal; and if will he make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alun Cairns
Answered on: 10 January 2019

We have regular discussions with Universities in North Wales regarding the North Wales Growth Deal, and the UK Government Minister for Wales recently visited Bangor University on 15 November 2018. However, growth deals are locally led and it is for the region to determine the impact of such developments on their proposals.

Q
Asked by Guto Bebb
(Aberconwy)
Asked on: 11 October 2018
Home Office
Police: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will assess the potential merits of increasing the police pension entitlement for widows from post-retirement marriages.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 18 October 2018

The current police pension scheme provides survivor benefits regardless of the timing of a member’s marriage. In keeping with other public service pension schemes, this was not the case before 1978, when different rules applied.

Successive governments have made a general presumption against making retrospective changes to public service pension schemes. Therefore there is no entitlement relating to service before 1978 and there are no plans to change this.

Q
(North Durham)
[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 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the independent report written by the hon. Member for Ludlow entitled Growing the contribution of defence to UK prosperity, published by his Department on 9 July 2018, if he will issue a formal response to each recommendation made in that report.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 16 July 2018

I am grateful to my hon. friend the Member for Ludlow for his work in undertaking this review, which supports both the National Security Objective to Promote Prosperity as well as the goals set out the Industrial Strategy White Paper published last November. This is an important piece of work. The Government will now consider his recommendations in detail and publish a response in due course.

Q
(North Durham)
[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 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Patrol Craft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2018 to Question 160710 on Patrol Craft, whether his Department exempted the orders for Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessels from international competition under Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 16 July 2018

Yes.

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 10 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Type 26 Frigates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if will list each of the long-lead items required for the first eight T26 frigates.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Ministry of Defence has ordered long-lead items for the first batch of three Type 26 Frigates. This included investment in the wider supply chain and covered key equipment purchases including the diesel generators, gas turbines and steering gear systems.

We will define the list of long-lead items required for the remaining five ships and place the orders at the appropriate time.

Q
Asked by Rosie Cooper
(West Lancashire)
[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
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the quality of service provided by contracts outsourced by his Department.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 16 July 2018

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 23 April 2018 to Question 136457.

136457 - WQnA on MOD Contracts (Word Document, 22.05 KB)
Q
(North Durham)
[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
Ministry of Defence
Trident Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the value of efficiencies created for the Dreadnought class ballistic missile submarine as a result of cooperation with the United States.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The UK has benefited greatly from the long-standing collaboration on nuclear deterrence and nuclear propulsion with the US. Under the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, both nations are able to exchange information and material which enables us to maintain safe, secure and effective nuclear stockpiles, propulsion and weapons systems. Collaboration and co-operation brings enormous advantages for both parties.

Q
Asked by Dr David Drew
(Stroud)
Asked on: 05 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Serco
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many current contracts his Department has with Serco; and what the (a) value, (b) start date and (c) end date of each of those contracts is.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 13 July 2018

The Ministry of Defence has 31 contracts with Serco; a full list is in the attached table.

In some instances, the contract end date is in the past. This could either be because outstanding payments are still to be made under the terms of the existing contract, or the contract has been extended and the database has not yet been updated to reflect this.

Under longstanding convention, the list includes contracts with AWE Management Limited, in which Serco has a 24.5% share. For completeness, the list also includes contracts with AWE plc. The figure provided is the attributable share of that contract value to Serco.

It should also be noted that since January 2011, details of central Government contracts above the value of £10,000 have been published on Contracts Finder. Contracts published prior to 26 February 2015 can be viewed at:

https://data.gov.uk/data/contracts-finder-archive

Those published after 26 February 2015 can be viewed at:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

Contracts with Serco (Word Document, 28.86 KB)
Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
European Defence Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what involvement the UK is planned to have in the EU's new defence fund and defence industrial programme.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 10 July 2018

As the Prime Minister stated in Munich, the UK wants to agree a future relationship with the European Defence Fund, including the European Industrial Development Programme. The UK has always participated in European collaborative programmes and we support this new mechanism for managing collaboration.

Our track record shows we have much to offer and our defence industry is world-class. We have a key role to play in European defence and security.

We are open to considering all options for participation in the EDF and the Government will be guided by what delivers the greatest economic advantage to the UK and UK industry.

Q
(Romford)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Rifles
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when his Department is planning to replace the current SA80 standard service rifle.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 10 July 2018

The Ministry of Defence is currently upgrading 5,000 SA80 A2 models to the A3 model, with the intent to upgrade more weapons in the future. This upgrade delivers significant enhancements whilst extending the out of service date beyond 2025. No decision has been taken on the replacement of the SA80 A3 model.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 02 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence Equipment: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the total value is of all contracts in US dollars for military equipment purchased by the Ministry of Defence since 23 June 2016; and if he will list (a) those contracts with a value of more than US$10 million, (b) their individual value and (c) the date on which the invoice for each contract was settled.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

The information is not held in the format requested. Ministry of Defence contracts with US suppliers are generally through a company's UK subsidiary and are priced in sterling. Any conversion would be an inaccurate representation of the contract value.

Q
(Oxford East)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) findings, (b) safety improvement notices and (c) immediate safety requirements were issued by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator in each year since 2010; and how many have not been formally closed out.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

Since 2010 the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) has issued five safety improvement notices and has not issued any immediate safety requirement notices. Prior to April 2015 the DNSR Annual Assurance Reports, available on GOV.uk, detail the assurance activity conducted by the Regulator. Since this date the reports and contents have been redacted in full, to ensure our capabilities are not compromised. Detailed information on findings for the period specified is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Such detailed information would be subject to security classification that would limit disclosure.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the planned publication date is for the next Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator annual assurance report.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton) on 3 July 2018 to Question 157649.

Nuclear Weapons: Safety (Word Document, 26.38 KB)
Q
(Ribble Valley)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Airbus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the value is of Airbus goods sourced from outside the EU under the Government's defence contract with that company.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

The Ministry of Defence does not hold information on the contracts delivered by Airbus subsidiaries outside the European Union, nor the source of the goods provided under those arrangements; both are primarily a matter for Airbus.

Q
(North Durham)
[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: 04 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish each defence procurement exercise his Department has exempted from international competition under Article 346 of the Treaties on the Functioning of the European Union since August 2011.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

All information and records related to these exemptions are sensitive and classified. The information requested cannot be provided as excessive efforts must be applied by the Ministry of Defence to cleanse sensitive data from these records in order to publish the information openly and therefore information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Q
(North Durham)
[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: 04 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State’s letter to the Chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, on the procurement of Fleet Solid Support ships, dated 29 May 2018, what assessment has he made of the compatibility of the Korean Development Bank’s Ocean Value-Up Fund with EU state aid rules.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

State aid is generally prohibited under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, apart from under a small number of specific exemptions stipulated by legislation. For state aid to be deemed illegal it must meet clearly defined criteria.

The Korean Development Bank's Ocean Value-Up Fund is designed to assist small and medium sized shipping companies in placing orders for new vessels and the purchase of used ones. It is not available to ship construction yards and does not provide support for the construction in South Korean shipyards of vessels procured by third parties.

Q
(North Durham)
[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: 04 July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State’s letter to the Chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, on the procurement of Fleet Solid Support ships dated 29 May 2018, whether the preservation of industrial capability can be classified to be a national security interest for the purpose of invoking Article 346 exemptions.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 09 July 2018

Preserving industrial capability can be used as a measure to protect a nation's security interests under the Article 346 exemption in certain circumstances. For example, there is a requirement to protect our freedom of action to design, integrate and build Royal Navy warships, as this is critical to national security. All procurement decisions are still subject to value for money considerations.

In the case of the Fleet Solid Support ships, the Article 346 exemption does not apply, because, as outlined in the 29 May 2018 letter to the Chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, the ships are not deemed to be warships and there is no national security interest in limiting the competition to UK companies.

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