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
(Sheffield South East)
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Genetics: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which diagnostic tests will whole genome sequencing replace, particularly for blood cancers.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 05 July 2019

During 2019, the National Health Service will begin to offer whole genome sequencing (WGS) as part of clinical care for:

- Seriously ill children likely to have a rare genetic disorder;

- People with one of 21 rare conditions where current evidence supports early adoption of WGS as a diagnostic test; and

- People with specific types of cancer for which there is likely to be the greatest patient benefit from using WGS – children with cancer, sarcoma and acute myeloid leukaemia.

WGS will only replace existing diagnostic tests once the testing is demonstrated to be clinically safe to replace existing diagnostic testing. Initially, existing diagnostic testing will continue to be performed alongside WGS testing where clinically appropriate. This will continue until WGS is able to fully support clinical decision making within clinically appropriate timescales.

Current testing for blood cancers includes a number of diagnostic tests, the current expectation is that WGS will not be used to replace tests that require very fast turnaround times (under 24 hours) or high sensitivity.

WGS and non-WGS testing that will be available as part of clinical care is outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/national-genomic-test-directories/

The UK Genetic Testing Network (UKGTN) published the NHS Directory of Genetic Disorders/Genes for Diagnostic Testing, which evaluated and recommended genetic tests for rare and inherited disorders for the National Health Service across the UK. However, there was not an equivalent for cancer genomic testing. The National Genomic Test Directory specifies which genomic tests are commissioned by the NHS in England, the technology by which they are available, and the patients who will be eligible to access to a test.

The National Genomic Test Directory will be updated on an annual basis and NHS England will implement a clear and transparent process, supported by a Clinical and Scientific Expert Panel, to determine which tests are available within the NHS. This will include reviewing any tests that may be retired or replaced by more modern technology, such as WGS. As the price of WGS falls and the clinical evidence improves, we envisage that it will be extended to more conditions and therefore more patients.

Grouped Questions: 270282 | 270283
Q
(Sheffield South East)
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Genetics: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the National Genomic Test Directory directly replaces the NHS Directory of Genetic Disorders/Genes for Diagnostic Testing.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 05 July 2019

During 2019, the National Health Service will begin to offer whole genome sequencing (WGS) as part of clinical care for:

- Seriously ill children likely to have a rare genetic disorder;

- People with one of 21 rare conditions where current evidence supports early adoption of WGS as a diagnostic test; and

- People with specific types of cancer for which there is likely to be the greatest patient benefit from using WGS – children with cancer, sarcoma and acute myeloid leukaemia.

WGS will only replace existing diagnostic tests once the testing is demonstrated to be clinically safe to replace existing diagnostic testing. Initially, existing diagnostic testing will continue to be performed alongside WGS testing where clinically appropriate. This will continue until WGS is able to fully support clinical decision making within clinically appropriate timescales.

Current testing for blood cancers includes a number of diagnostic tests, the current expectation is that WGS will not be used to replace tests that require very fast turnaround times (under 24 hours) or high sensitivity.

WGS and non-WGS testing that will be available as part of clinical care is outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/national-genomic-test-directories/

The UK Genetic Testing Network (UKGTN) published the NHS Directory of Genetic Disorders/Genes for Diagnostic Testing, which evaluated and recommended genetic tests for rare and inherited disorders for the National Health Service across the UK. However, there was not an equivalent for cancer genomic testing. The National Genomic Test Directory specifies which genomic tests are commissioned by the NHS in England, the technology by which they are available, and the patients who will be eligible to access to a test.

The National Genomic Test Directory will be updated on an annual basis and NHS England will implement a clear and transparent process, supported by a Clinical and Scientific Expert Panel, to determine which tests are available within the NHS. This will include reviewing any tests that may be retired or replaced by more modern technology, such as WGS. As the price of WGS falls and the clinical evidence improves, we envisage that it will be extended to more conditions and therefore more patients.

Grouped Questions: 270281 | 270283
Q
(Sheffield South East)
Asked on: 27 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Genetics: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how will new tests be added to the National Genomic Test Directory.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 05 July 2019

During 2019, the National Health Service will begin to offer whole genome sequencing (WGS) as part of clinical care for:

- Seriously ill children likely to have a rare genetic disorder;

- People with one of 21 rare conditions where current evidence supports early adoption of WGS as a diagnostic test; and

- People with specific types of cancer for which there is likely to be the greatest patient benefit from using WGS – children with cancer, sarcoma and acute myeloid leukaemia.

WGS will only replace existing diagnostic tests once the testing is demonstrated to be clinically safe to replace existing diagnostic testing. Initially, existing diagnostic testing will continue to be performed alongside WGS testing where clinically appropriate. This will continue until WGS is able to fully support clinical decision making within clinically appropriate timescales.

Current testing for blood cancers includes a number of diagnostic tests, the current expectation is that WGS will not be used to replace tests that require very fast turnaround times (under 24 hours) or high sensitivity.

WGS and non-WGS testing that will be available as part of clinical care is outlined in the National Genomic Test Directory at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/national-genomic-test-directories/

The UK Genetic Testing Network (UKGTN) published the NHS Directory of Genetic Disorders/Genes for Diagnostic Testing, which evaluated and recommended genetic tests for rare and inherited disorders for the National Health Service across the UK. However, there was not an equivalent for cancer genomic testing. The National Genomic Test Directory specifies which genomic tests are commissioned by the NHS in England, the technology by which they are available, and the patients who will be eligible to access to a test.

The National Genomic Test Directory will be updated on an annual basis and NHS England will implement a clear and transparent process, supported by a Clinical and Scientific Expert Panel, to determine which tests are available within the NHS. This will include reviewing any tests that may be retired or replaced by more modern technology, such as WGS. As the price of WGS falls and the clinical evidence improves, we envisage that it will be extended to more conditions and therefore more patients.

Grouped Questions: 270281 | 270282
Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 14 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Genetics: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of patients that will benefit from whole genome sequencing in the first year of its introduction; and what steps is he taking to ensure the adequacy of trained professionals to provide that service.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 19 June 2019

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the National Health Service has committed to sequencing 500,000 whole genomes by 2023/24.

During 2019, the NHS will begin to offer whole genome sequencing (WGS) as part of clinical care for:

- Seriously ill children likely to have a rare genetic disorder;

- People with one of 21 rare conditions where current evidence supports early adoption of WGS as a diagnostic test;

- People with specific types of cancer for which there is likely to be the greatest patient benefit from using WGS – children with cancer, sarcoma and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

As the price of whole genome sequencing falls and the evidence improves, we envisage that it will be extended to more conditions and therefore more patients.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 13 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Audit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the failure of EY to complete local authority audits within the required time limits.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 18 June 2019

We are aware of this issue, affecting 19 local government bodies and, together with Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd, are monitoring the situation. It is not acceptable for a professional services firm like EY to be unable to meet its contractual obligations to the statutory timetable and we expect the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible.

The forthcoming review of the local audit regime will consider the implications of our audit policy, including the timeliness of audit completion.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 13 June 2019
Department for Transport
Charter Flights: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 249823, Civil Aviation Authority, what recent estimate he has made of the scale of unlawful passenger transport operations.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 18 June 2019

The CAA, as the independent safety regulator, has not made an estimate of the scale of unlawful passenger transport operations.

There are strict rules in place that require commercial air transport operations to be operated by the holder of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and an Operating Licence (OL). It is an offence to operate a commercial air transport flight without an AOC or OL.

Since 2016, the CAA’s investigations and enforcement team has received 21 allegations of illegal public transport. The CAA investigates such allegations and will prosecute people where there is sufficient evidence, and where it is in the public interest to do so. The CAA also conducts spot check visits to airfields and public events where aeroplane and helicopter operations take place, and where it finds evidence that a flight may have operated illegally it has the power to detain an aircraft and, where appropriate, take enforcement action.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 13 June 2019
Department for International Trade
BeoutQ
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 8 April to Question 239902 on Saudi Arabia: Sports, Question 239903 on BeoutQ and Question 239904 on BeoutQ , what steps the Saudi Arabian Government has agreed to take as a result of those representations.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 18 June 2019

HM Government Ministers and HM Ambassador in Riyadh continue to make representations on beoutQ and the Saudi Arabian Government has confirmed they are looking into the matter.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 13 June 2019
Department for Education
Academies: Private Finance Initiative
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the current value is of PFI contracts for academy schools that are managed by local authorities; and how much Government funding is allocated to local authorities to undertake that work.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 June 2019

After a school undergoes conversion to an academy, it is no longer managed by local authorities. In the majority of cases, local authorities typically charge a fee to the schools and academies within a private finance initiative (PFI) contract in respect of local authority management of the PFI contract. The Department does not hold details on these fees. For further information, please contact the relevant local authority.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 14 May 2019
Department for Transport
East Midlands Rail Franchise: Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2019 to Question 244025 and the Answer of 8 May 2019 249827 on East Midlands Rail Franchise: Rolling Stock , what assurances he has received from the train operator as to which type of diesel trains will replace the current fleet on Midland Main Line intercity services; and where those trains will be procured from.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 May 2019

Abellio’s bid contained assurances regarding the availability, capability and characteristics of the rolling stock that will be introduced on the Midland Mainline. With regard to the procurement of these trains, I refer the Honourable member to the answer given on 8 May [249827].

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 14 May 2019
Department for Transport
Railways: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 249824 on Railways: Sheffield, which organisation holds the information requested.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 May 2019

Network Rail, who produce industry performance data, may hold the information requested.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 14 May 2019
Department for Transport
Railways: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 249824 on Railways: Sheffield, what information his Department holds on train punctuality.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The Department holds various punctuality reports relating to the main industry punctuality measures that have been used historically, the Public Performance Measure and Cancellations and Significant Lateness. This information is held at train operator level, and down to the level of groups of services run by an operator. We do not hold data for individual routes themselves.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 14 May 2019
Department for International Trade
Saudi Arabia: Sports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what representations he has made to the Saudi Government on reports that live sports broadcasting rights are allegedly being stolen in that country.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 20 May 2019

I refer the Hon. Member for Sheffield South East to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme on 8 April 2019, UIN: 239902/239903/239904.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
Asked on: 01 May 2019
Department for Transport
Aviation: Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 18 April 2019 to Question 245611 on Aircraft: Accidents, when (a) he and (b) his ministerial colleagues last had discussions with the football sector on safety and compliance issues in respect of commercial aircraft flights.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 13 May 2019

The Secretary of State and his ministerial colleagues have not had discussions with representatives of the football industry on safety and compliance issues in respect of commercial air flights.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 01 May 2019
Department for Transport
Civil Aviation Authority
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the last date was on which the Civil Aviation Authority conducted a campaign to (a) raise awareness of the dangers of illegal public transport operations and (b) guide consumers on what to look for when chartering an aircraft to ensure the flight is legal; how many illegal operators were identified; how many successful prosecutions there were of illegal operators arising from that campaign; what the outcomes were; how many airfields were revealed to be hosting illegal activity; and what steps (i) he and (ii) the CAA has taken to place an obligation on airfield operators to report suspicions of illegal public transport operations to the (A) CAA and (B) police.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 08 May 2019

The CAA last conducted a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal public transport operations, and to guide consumers on what to look for when chartering an aircraft to ensure the flight is legal, in 2013. The CAA is planning further work to educate consumers about the rules, and the potential risks of illegal charter flights.

It is not possible to link work aimed at raising awareness directly to specific enforcement actions. The CAA will prosecute people where there is sufficient evidence, and where it is in the public interest to do so, but enforcement action will vary depending on the circumstances of the incident. It includes educating individuals or organisations on the regulations to avoid breaches, a formal warning, the revocation of licences, approvals or certificates, or criminal investigations and prosecutions.

The CAA publishes the detail and outcome of all successful prosecutions since 2005 on its website at https://www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/About-us/Enforcement-and-prosecutions/. These include successful prosecutions for illegal public transport. Earlier this year, the CAA assisted with the prosecution of an individual in the Manchester Crown Court for, among other things, illegal public transport.

Both the CAA and the police encourage the reporting of potential illegal activity at airfields and provide a number of channels, including confidential reporting, for concerns to be reported.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 01 May 2019
Department for Transport
Railways: Sheffield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what proportion of trains between (a) Sheffield and London and (b) London and Sheffield arrived on time between (i) April 2017 and March 2018 and (ii) April 2018 and March 2019.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 May 2019

The Department does not hold data on what proportion of trains between London and Sheffield and Sheffield and London arrived on time between April 2017 and March 2018 and April 2018 and March 2019 as it does not have a requirement for information on the performance of specific journeys.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 01 May 2019
Department for Transport
East Midlands Rail Franchise: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2019 to Question 245609 on Railways: Franchises, whether the recent bidders for the East Midlands Trains franchise were subject to different requirements from those of previous bidders in respect of their responsibilities for pension contributions (a) now and (b) at a later date.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 May 2019

No. Since privatisation, train operators have always been, and will continue to be, responsible for paying employer pension contributions required under the schedule of contributions applicable during their franchise term. There are no plans to change this arrangement.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 01 May 2019
Department for Transport
East Midlands Rail Franchise: Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 23 April 2019 to Question 244025 on East Midlands Rail Franchise: Rolling Stock, what type of train will replace existing rolling stock; and which train routes those trains will be transferred from.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 May 2019

The procurement of the trains that replace the current rolling stock is matter for the new operator.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[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: 01 May 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2019 to Question 245610, how many forms of cancer have no maintenance drug available at any stage in the treatment plan.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 08 May 2019

The information requested is not available.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[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: 18 April 2019
Department for Transport
Railways: Franchises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the requirement was for companies to cover pension costs as part of the franchising arrangements was first introduced.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The Railways Pension Scheme was established in 1994, replacing the previous British Rail scheme. Contributions in to the Railways Pension Scheme are split according to a shared cost arrangement, whereby employers (the Train Operating Companies) pay 60% and employees pay the remaining 40%. Since franchising arrangements were first introduced Train Operating Companies have been, and continue to be, responsible for paying employer pension contributions during a franchise term.

Q
(Sheffield South East)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

[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: 18 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 April 2019 to Question 242692 on Cancer: Drugs, what steps the Government is taking to give timely NICE and NHS approval to enable access to maintenance medication for people with cancer.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 25 April 2019

Through its technology appraisal programme, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) makes recommendations for the National Health Service on whether drugs and other treatments represent an effective use of NHS resources. NHS England is legally required to fund cancer drugs recommended in NICE technology appraisal guidance.

The Government wants patients with cancer to be able to benefit from rapid access to effective new drugs, including for maintenance treatment. Under arrangements introduced in 2016, NICE now develops technology appraisal guidance for the NHS on all new cancer drugs. Wherever possible, NICE aims to issue draft guidance on new cancer drugs before licensing and to publish final guidance within 90 days of licensing.

Funding is available through the Cancer Drugs Fund from the point at which NICE draft recommendations are published, or if the drug is not currently licensed, from the point of licensing. This ensures patients are able to benefit from effective new cancer drugs as quickly as possible.

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