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 2019-21 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)
[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: 15 July 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to issue guidance to residential care homes on visitor access to residents; and whether he plans to remove restrictions on care home visitors when shielding is lifted at the beginning of August 2020.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 06 August 2020
Holding answer received on 20 July 2020

The Government published guidance on visiting care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic on 22 July 2020. This guidance is available on GOV.UK.

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: 23 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Public Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the evidential basis for the Government's decision (a) to require passengers to wear face coverings on public transport and (b) not to extend that requirement to customers in shops.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 August 2020
Holding answer received on 29 June 2020

The Government has always been clear that its highest priority in managing this national crisis is protecting the public and the National Health Service. On 15 June, the Government website published clear guidance on passengers wearing mandatory face coverings when travelling on public transport in England. The advice details the evidential basis for requiring passengers to wear face masks on transport, and broadly states that there is strong evidence suggesting that social distancing, hand hygiene and isolation measures offer the best protection from the spread of the disease.

From Friday 24 July, members of the public must wear a face covering when visiting a shop or supermarket. Guidance on this was published on 14 July.

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: 15 July 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to undertake a public health campaign on (a) the need to wear face masks (i) on public transport and (ii) in shops and (b) the correct way to wear them.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 August 2020
Holding answer received on 20 July 2020

The Government is running a major proactive communications campaign on face coverings to alert the public where they are now required to wear a face covering, who is exempt from wearing one, and how to wear one correctly. As part of this campaign, we are prioritising the need to communicate who is exempt from wearing one. We are actively engaging with stakeholders including disability charities to communicate new guidance to their members as well as highlighting this message to the general public on social media and via broadcasting opportunities.

The Government is also communicating the key difference between face coverings and medical grade personal protective equipment, highlighting that face coverings protect others, they do not protect the wearer, and so other behaviours, such as social distancing and hand washing, are crucial.

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: 06 July 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Bowling: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when ten-pin bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Nigel Huddleston
Answered on: 30 July 2020

Bowling alleys will be able to reopen from 1 August provided they have written a Covid-19 risk assessment.

We have worked closely with stakeholders to develop further Covid-19 Secure reopening guidance for venues such as bowling alleys. Specific guidance on bowling alleys has been published within UKHospitality’s ‘Covid-19 Secure Guidelines for Hospitality Businesses’. We continue to meet regularly with the wider sector through the Cultural Renewal Taskforce’s Sport and Visitor Economy working groups.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

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: 15 July 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 30 June 2020 to Question 46544, how many care home staff have been tested for covid-19 to date.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 29 July 2020
Holding answer received on 20 July 2020

As of 8 July 2020, there had been an estimated 741,021 tests on workers in the United Kingdom in social care settings and their symptomatic household members for COVID-19 through Departmental testing routes. There have been an estimated 352,946 tests on care home residents for COVID-19 through Departmental testing routes in the UK.

An estimated 100,900 care home residents in England had been tested for COVID-19 through Public Health England testing routes.

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: 15 July 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference his oral contribution of 7 July 2020, Official Report, column 837, in light of the decision to require face masks to be worn in shops whether is plans to issue a badge or pass for people exempted from wearing a mask in shops or on public transport.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 20 July 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is 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: 30 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2020 to Question 57092 on Children: Maintenance, whether the redeployment of staff led to the decision by the Child Maintenance Service to suspend initiating new enforcement action; and what assessment he has made of the effect of that suspension on parents.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 14 July 2020
Holding answer received on 06 July 2020

The CMS has made temporary changes to services to ensure we continue to support separated parents as part of our wider efforts to provide financial support through the welfare system.

Taking substantial enforcement action relies on third parties, including Her Majesty’s courts, bailiffs and the banks, which are currently not in a position to support significant enforcement action. We are committed to working with third parties to pursue enforcement action as soon as possible, where necessary.

Those found to be abusing the system at this difficult time can be subjected to the full extent of our enforcement powers.

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: 30 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Meat: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to investigate the reasons for the number of covid-19 outbreaks in abattoirs and other meat processing facilities.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 13 July 2020
Holding answer received on 06 July 2020

Public Health England (PHE) local health protection teams respond to notifications of suspected outbreaks in meat processing plants (including abattoirs) by undertaking a risk assessment, providing public health advice, including on infection prevention and control and social distancing measures, and advising on the testing of employees. In doing so, an assessment is made as to whether transmission may be occurring in or outside the workplace.

An enhanced outbreak investigation protocol has been developed which will allow PHE to further understand the factors relating to infection transmission in meat-related food production and abattoir settings to ascertain potential routes of transmission: within the workplace through a more detailed understanding of the workforce, the working environment and working practices; staff and environmental biological sampling; factors outside the workplace, such as transport arrangements, housing, employment conditions.

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: 06 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Personal Care Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when tattoo parlours will be permitted to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 09 July 2020

Hairdressers and barbers in England were able to reopen from 4 July to offer hairdressing services. Other close contact services, like tattoo parlours, remain closed until further notice. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his speech on 3rd July, stated that a timetable for the reopening of these closed sectors would be set out this week.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

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: 06 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Personal Care Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when nail parlous will be permitted to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 09 July 2020

Hairdressers and barbers in England were able to reopen from 4 July to offer hairdressing services. Other close contact services, like nail parlours, remain closed until further notice. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in his speech on 3rd July, stated that a timetable for the reopening of these closed sectors would be set out this week.

We appreciate that this is difficult for some businesses. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence, remembering that the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be.

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: 06 July 2020
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which body is responsible for enforcing the wearing of face masks on buses; and what powers of enforcement that body has.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 09 July 2020

We have worked with the police, operators, and trade unions to agree a six-stage approach to ensuring compliance. Operators will be responsible for the first five stages (Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enable use, and Entry/Exit restrictions). Enforcement by the police or TfL authorised personnel will be the last resort if a passenger fails to comply at other stages.

Our initial approach to enforcement has been to focus on communications to encourage compliance. Operators (and the police) have new powers to deny access to a service, to direct someone to wear a face covering, or direct someone to leave a service if they are not wearing a face covering. Operators have discretion over whether they choose to use these powers; they do not have an obligation to do so.

If passengers fail to comply, as a last resort the Police and TfL authorised personnel have a power to issue a fixed penalty notice of £100 under the PHA Regulations, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. The police also have the power to remove passengers from vehicles and use reasonable for if necessary to do so, as well as the power to direct an individual who has responsibility for a child aged 11 or over to ensure that the child complies with the regulations.

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: 06 July 2020
Department for Transport
Public Transport: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to issue badges or passes to people who have received a letter from the NHS exempting them from wearing a face mask on public transport.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 09 July 2020

We do not plan to issue badges or passes to show that people are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering on public transport in England.

Several operators have badge or lanyard schemes in place that can help people communicate that they are exempt. These are intended to be tools to give people more confidence when engaging with transport staff. However, badges or similar are not obligatory and it is sufficient for people to communicate with transport operator staff that they are exempt. We have been working closely with operators to make sure they are communicating this approach to their passengers and staff (Guidance can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators#face-coverings).

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 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his announcement on 28 April 2020 that residents and staff of care homes would be tested for covid-19, how many tests on those (a) residents and (b) staff have been undertaken; and what proportion of those (a) residents and (b) staff have been tested since that date.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 30 June 2020
Holding answer received on 18 May 2020

We are rapidly increasing our capability to deliver and successfully process test results all around the country. As at 7 June 2020, we have successfully delivered over one million individual test kits to our care homes. We will continue to upscale and meet the needs of all those in care settings.

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: 23 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sunday Trading: Opening Hours
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the finding of the Usdaw survey, published on 18 June 2020, that 92 per cent of retail workers do not want the six-hour Sunday trading cap removed; and what plans he has to take that finding into account considering extension of Sunday trading hours.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 29 June 2020

There are currently no plans to increase Sunday trading hours, although we will keep measures like this under review as we examine ways to support the economy and consumers to manage the impact of covid-19. The views of retail workers and their representatives are an important consideration whenever considering a policy change relevant to the sector. Shop employees (except those employed to work exclusively on Sundays) have the right to opt out of Sunday working.

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: 23 June 2020
Department for Education
Education: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has any plans to assess the effect of differing levels of access to digital technology on pupils' access to education during the school closure period.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Department is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops and tablets to children and young people who need devices. In May, the Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers.

Earlier this month, the Department started inviting academy trusts and local authorities to order their devices for disadvantaged year 10 pupils.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC, which is broadcasting lessons on television via the red button, and may choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The Department’s remote education guidance includes examples of how schools can support pupils without internet access by, for example, providing physical work packs.

Grouped Questions: 63226
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: 23 June 2020
Department for Education
Primary Education: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to address barriers to access to online education for disadvantaged primary school children.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 29 June 2020

The Department is providing over 200,000 laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops and tablets to children and young people who need devices. In May, the Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers.

Earlier this month, the Department started inviting academy trusts and local authorities to order their devices for disadvantaged year 10 pupils.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC, which is broadcasting lessons on television via the red button, and may choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The Department’s remote education guidance includes examples of how schools can support pupils without internet access by, for example, providing physical work packs.

Grouped Questions: 63225
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: 23 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hospitality Industry: Social Distancing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 57088 on Hospitality Industry: Social Distancing, what the (a) identity and (b) powers are of the relevant enforcing authorities.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 29 June 2020

As is the case now, individual business owners will be responsible for ensuring their customers adhere to social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Depending on the business, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities enforce health and safety in these workplaces and will monitor compliance including through inspections and following up on concerns raised by individuals with them.

They can take action against any business who isn’t complying with their legal health and safety obligations, including providing guidance and issuing enforcement notices to require them to take the necessary action or taking further action, including fines, if they continue to not comply.

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: 23 June 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hospitality Industry: Social Distancing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 57088 on Hospitality Industry: Social Distancing, what measures are planned to protect customers and employees; and how those measures will be enforced.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 29 June 2020

We have now published (23 June) new guidance for pubs, restaurants, and bars. This supports my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 June for their reopening from 4 July, provided they are COVID-secure. The guidance was developed following consultation with representatives from the industry.

The guidance sets out various measures for these businesses to consider including calculating the maximum number of customers they can provide services to in a socially distanced manner, reconfiguring seating areas, setting up handwashing facilities, providing clear communications about the rules indoors and outdoors, considering contactless payment methods, adjusting working practices to minimise staff and customer contact, and using outdoor spaces as much as possible.

The guidance is non-statutory but does not change existing obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities. Employers have a duty under UK law to protect the health and safety of their workers and other people who might be affected by their business. This includes considering the risks that COVID-19 represents.

As is the case now, individual business owners will be responsible for ensuring their customers adhere to social distancing guidelines wherever possible.

Depending on the business, the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities enforce health and safety in these workplaces and will monitor compliance including through inspections and following up on concerns raised by individuals with them.

They can take action against any business who isn’t complying with their legal health and safety obligations, including providing guidance and issuing enforcement notices to require them to take the necessary action or taking further action, including fines, if they continue to not comply.

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 June 2020
Department for Education
Home Education: Sheffield South East
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2020 to Question 57089 on Home Education: Sheffield South East, how many laptops were requested by Sheffield City Council for children with social workers; and how many of those laptops have been delivered.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 25 June 2020

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best place to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to schools and local authorities began in May and will continue throughout June. As of 14 June, we have shipped over 100,000 laptops and 20,000 4G routers, including 1,777 to Sheffield City Council for children with a social worker and care leavers.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers we have delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts as of 14 June, which can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

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 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Park Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the Government's timeline is for the opening of sites for static caravans owned as a second home.
A
Answered by: Nigel Huddleston
Answered on: 24 June 2020

People will be allowed to travel to second homes - including static caravans - for overnight stays in England from 4 July, in Phase 3 of the government’s recovery strategy

My Department has been working closely with the holiday accommodation sector, including the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA), through the Visitor Economy Working Group to produce guidance on the reopening of the tourism sector. This will include guidance on reopening hotels, caravans and other guest accommodation. The guidance will be published shortly.


VisitEngland are working on a common industry standard quality mark. While work is ongoing, it will be designed to complement COVID-19 Secure Guidelines produced by the Government.

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