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, Ladywood)
Asked on: 21 March 2018
Home Office
Immigration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department holds information on the number of applicants who apply for indefinite leave to remain who are unsuccessful on their first application but who are successful on a subsequent attempt.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 26 March 2018

We are unable to provide the information requested as this would involve undertaking a manual trawl of individual cases which would incur disproportionate cost.

The number of applications for indefinite leave to remain is published as part of the Migration Transparency data, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data InC 02 for all routes with a 6 month service standard.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Democratic Republic of Congo: International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he has taken in partnership with his international counterparts to encourage the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to adhere to the terms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The Government is deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Following the violent clampdown on protestors on 31 December and 21 January, the UK released statements condemning the violence and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

We continue to support the UN Joint Human Rights Office in their work to document human rights abuses and violations and to hold those responsible to account.

The UK supported a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in June 2017 mandating an international investigation into the violence in the Kasai regions. We have repeatedly told the DRC Government that this investigation must be allowed to operate unobstructed, to hold those responsible in the Kasais to account.

We have also called upon the DRC Government, as an HRC member, to demonstrate its commitment to the highest human rights standards and take decisive action against human rights abuses and violations.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Democratic Republic of Congo: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on military intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the supply of humanitarian assistance to its citizens.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The British Government regularly discusses support to humanitarian operations by the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, with our international counterparts including with the Secretary General’s Special Representative, Leila Zerrougi. We will ensure that support to humanitarian operations remains part of MONUSCO’s mandate when it is renewed this month.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 12 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: ICT
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the use of online booking services for GP appointments on the ability of over 75 year olds to access GP care.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 20 March 2018

The Department prepared an equality impact assessment when introducing online booking services for general practitioner (GP) appointments. In addition, local NHS England, or the clinical commissioning group, where the responsibility is delegated to them, carry out their own assessments to take account of their GP practice populations’ needs.

Online services are not a replacement for face to face or telephone interactions, but another complementary way to access services. NHS England’s initial findings show that older people are more frequent users of online services and over 75s regularly register to use the service. In addition, carers of those who are much older are able to access appointment and order prescriptions on their behalf (with appropriate authorisation and safeguards).

The use of online services frees up staff to spend more time with those who do not wish to use online services and prefer to continue using the phone or come to the practice in person to make appointments.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Home Office
Zimbabwe: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of the removal of Robert Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe on the safe return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe who are active members of the Movement for Democratic Party.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

All asylum and human rights applications from Zimbabwean nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.

Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw. This is based on evidence taken from a range of reliable sources, including reputable media outlets; local, national and international organisations, including human rights organisations; and information from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Country policy and information notes are published on the gov.uk website and kept under constant review, updated periodically.

We have been assessing the situation in Zimbabwe since President Mnangagwa took office, including his Government’s priorities and any changes in the country. The Home Office plans to issue an update on its position imminently.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 21 November 2017
HM Treasury
Electric Vehicles: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what tax yield has been to the Exchequer of the benefit in kind taxation of electric cars in (a) 2015/16 and (b) 2016/17.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 29 November 2017

HMRC publishes tax liabilities on company cars by CO2 emissions and fuel type in National Statistics Table 4.4, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/analysis-of-company-cars-by-co2-emissions-and-fuel-type

The tax yield in the line ‘less than 95g/km’ is primarily made up of the tax yield from solely electric and electric hybrids. The latest published figures cover the 2014-15 tax year. Figures for 2015-16 will be published in June 2018.

The estimated Exchequer impact from the change in appropriate percentages for zero emission cars from April 2020 was set out at in the policy costings document for Autumn Statement 2016. Please see page 23 of; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571402/Policy_Costings_AS_2016_web_final.pdf

Grouped Questions: 114878
Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 21 November 2017
HM Treasury
Electric Vehicles: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on the tax yield to the Exchequer of the reduction to 2 per cent of the benefit in kind taxation of electric cars.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 29 November 2017

HMRC publishes tax liabilities on company cars by CO2 emissions and fuel type in National Statistics Table 4.4, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/analysis-of-company-cars-by-co2-emissions-and-fuel-type

The tax yield in the line ‘less than 95g/km’ is primarily made up of the tax yield from solely electric and electric hybrids. The latest published figures cover the 2014-15 tax year. Figures for 2015-16 will be published in June 2018.

The estimated Exchequer impact from the change in appropriate percentages for zero emission cars from April 2020 was set out at in the policy costings document for Autumn Statement 2016. Please see page 23 of; https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571402/Policy_Costings_AS_2016_web_final.pdf

Grouped Questions: 114877
Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Landlord and Tenant
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of existing legislation to allow landlords to access let properties to rectify problems that threaten the safety of other residents and the wider community.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 15 November 2017

The Housing Act 1988 provides that it is an implied term of every assured tenancy that a tenant shall give the landlord access to the property in order to carry out any necessary repairs. This approach strikes a reasonable balance between the tenant's right to peaceful enjoyment of their home and the landlord's ability to gain access to their property when a repair needs to be carried out.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 13 November 2017
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce dangerous journeys for unaccompanied child refugees with family in the UK.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 15 November 2017

The Government strongly supports the principle of family unity, and we have a comprehensive framework in place for refugees and their families to be safely reunited in the UK without the need for dangerous journeys.

Our family reunion policy allows children to join their refugee parents, and there are also specific provisions in the Immigration Rules that allow extended family members lawfully resident in the UK to sponsor unaccompanied children where there are serious and compelling circumstances. We have reunited over 24,000 partners and children with their families under our family reunion policy in the last five years. Further, those children recognised by UNHCR as

refugees can join close family members in the UK through our Mandate

resettlement scheme.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 24 October 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment Schemes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support his Department offers to people over 25-years old to re-enter the job market.
A
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 01 November 2017

Jobcentre Plus has a flexible support model to provide support and District Managers have discretion on how to target interventions. The model has three elements: a core regime of regular face-to-face meetings; flexible work coach support; and a flexible menu of support options.

Where Jobcentre Plus District Managers identify gaps in skills or other provision they have discretion to purchase extra support to meet particular needs using the Flexible Support Fund.

Jobcentre Plus work coaches can advise claimants on the localised provision and support available, either by employment sector or skills/employability.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 16 October 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
High Rise Flats: Fire Extinguishers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many requests his Department has received from (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) other social housing providers for financial support to fit sprinkler systems in high-rise tower blocks since the Grenfell Tower fire; and what his Department's response was to each of those requests.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 23 October 2017

We have been clear that building owners are responsible for funding fire safety measures, but councils should contact us if they have any concerns about funding fire safety works. Government will consider financial flexibilities for local authorities who need to undertake essential fire safety work to make a building safe.

32 local authorities have contacted the Department regarding work to ensure fire safety in tower blocks. We have not rejected any requests for support for essential works to make a building fire safe, and will consider further from local authorities as they provide it.

Housing associations that are concerned about their ability to meet these costs should contact the Social Housing Regulator. So far, no housing associations have contacted the Regulator with concerns about their financial viability as a result of having to meet these costs.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 05 September 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Disclosure of Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons people receiving Access to Work grants do not receive a monthly statement setting out the amount of their remaining allowance.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 13 September 2017

The IT that is currently used to administer Access to Work (AtW) is not configured to issue monthly statements. We are continuing to develop the AtW digital service and we are testing new features and improvements with users as part of this process.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether hoists are refundable under the Access to Work scheme.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The support that Access to Work provides is considered on a case-by-case basis, dependent on individual work-related needs caused by disability or health conditions. Support can include specialist equipment, which may potentially include a ‘hoist’ if such an item is deemed to be necessary for the individual’s needs and appropriate within the terms of Access to Work guidance.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, why Access to Work claim forms require certification by an employer or support worker.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The Department for Work and Pensions has an obligation to handle public resources to high standards of probity, including standards of accountability and transparency, and this duty requires that there are clear audit trails for transactions involving public funds. In order to meet the necessary standards, we have to ensure that the evidence supporting decisions regarding Access to Work awards is current and relevant.

Access to Work can provide support of up to a maximum of £42,100 per year beyond that which is required from employers as reasonable adjustments. The process of deciding and recording an award requires a number of pieces of evidence, including evidence of what reasonable adjustment has been put in place by an employer.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Self-employed
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how self-employed people can meet the Access to Work certification requirement by an employer or support worker.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 12 September 2017

The criteria for meeting the Access to Work certification requirement for self-employment are laid out in the Access to Work DWP Staff Guide, which is publicly available on GOV.UK through the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-staff-guide

In the current guidance, for Access to Work purposes, a self-employed person is classed as someone who is:

  • operating a business either on their own account or in partnership; or working for an employer on a self-employed contractual basis’
  • operating a franchised business on a self-employed basis
  • running a business that satisfies the past or prospective viability tests (such as achieving a minimum level of turnover each year - this level is currently set at the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) of £5,824 per annum), and
  • possessing a Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR)

Self-employed people can meet the Access to Work certification requirement by providing a UTR; and either of the following:

  • accounts for an established businesses; or,
  • a business plan of a standard acceptable to a bank or other financial institution.
Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 04 September 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons Access to Work claim handlers make separate payments to customers who have multiple such allowances rather than making a single payment.
A
Answered by: Penny Mordaunt
Answered on: 12 September 2017

We have interpreted this question to relate to the current process for making payments to customers.

At present, once an award has been agreed, individual costs are reimbursed retrospectively rather than a single lump sum payment being issued in advance.

We recently conducted a voluntary trial of a cash ‘Personal Budget’ model for Access to Work awards, which tested the response of Access to Work users to more direct control of their awards. We are using evidence from this trial to develop a further trial of personal budgets which we intend to launch shortly.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
Asked on: 20 July 2017
Department for Education
Asylum: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to publish the safeguarding strategy for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 07 September 2017

The safeguarding strategy on unaccompanied and refugee children will be published this autumn.

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