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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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 Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2020 to Question 68687, what formula was used to determine how much funding local authorities received from the Coronavirus Discretionary Grant Fund.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 22 July 2020

Each of the 314 billing authorities currently involved in the delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Fund will receive a fixed minimum allocation for the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund as a 5% uplift of the value of its in-scope hereditaments as identified at 3 May 2020. Individual letters were issued to all 314 Local Authorities on 20 May 2020 with a detailed explanation of their allocation.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government Finance: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer (b) District Councils’ Network on the Government’s plan to tackle the financial challenges faced by (i) borough and (ii) district local authorities.
A
Answered by: Mr Simon Clarke
Answered on: 21 July 2020

On 2 July the Secretary of State announced a further £500 million in unringfenced grant funding for councils to meet pressures they are facing in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our unprecedented package includes £4.3 billion for councils’ spending pressures, comprising £3.7 billion of unringfenced grants and the £600 million Infection Control Fund, bringing the total amount of additional support for councils, businesses and local communities to almost £28 billion.

The Government is also meeting 75p in the pound of lost income such as parking fees and museum entry charges, where that loss of income is more than a council could have been expected to plan for. For many councils, this will be a significant portion of the income lost as result of the pandemic, particularly where these income streams make up a disproportionate portion of income relative to the size of the authority.

I regularly speak to the District Councils’ Network and individual councils. I can offer the reassurance that our aim is that all councils will be funded for their Covid-19 pressures and placed on a stable financial footing.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Protective Clothing: Manufacturing Industries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he is taking steps with UK manufacturers to ensure that the country is self-sufficient in PPE production and supporting British enterprises; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 17 July 2020

Lord Deighton is leading the Government effort to unleash the potential of British industry to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for the health and social care sectors to create self-sufficient production of PPE for the United Kingdom. We are building up UK manufacturing with signed contracts to manufacture over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons.

This includes Survitec, a survival technology company, who began producing gowns at the beginning of June; Bolle, who manufacture protective eyewear, will make 6.5 million visors over the course of the pandemic; Jaguar Land Rover are now manufacturing 14,000 visors/week for healthcare staff; Don & Low will be manufacturing 12 million metres squared of fabric for gowns over the next six months, with the first delivery expected later this month; Burberry is manufacturing non-surgical gowns at its factory in Castleford and sourcing masks through its supply chain. To date, the company has donated over 100,000 pieces of PPE to the National Health Service and healthcare charities.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 03 July 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to review the criteria for distributing and allocating funding through the Discretionary Grant Fund to local councils for supporting businesses during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 13 July 2020

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not liable for business rates or rates reliefs.

Local authorities are responsible for defining the precise eligibility for this Fund and may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, subject to those businesses meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

We are asking local authorities to prioritise the following types of businesses for grants from within this funding pot:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks, and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment.
  • Bed & breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates.
  • Charity properties in receipt of Charitable Rate Relief, which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant are not eligible for this fund. Businesses who are eligible for or in receipt of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are now eligible to apply for this scheme.

There is currently no plan to change eligibility criteria for this scheme. Officials are keeping in close contact with local authorities to monitor the progress of the scheme.

Guidance for Local Authorities was published 13 May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Home Office
Visas: China
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to introduce a visa ban on officials from the Peoples Republic of China entering the UK in response to the Chinese Government's policies in relation to human rights in Hong Kong.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 07 July 2020

All those coming to the UK are assessed against the immigration rules and must meet the suitability and eligibility requirements. All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Elephants: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what funding his Department has allocated to programmes to help protect Asian elephants living in the wild.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 01 July 2020

Defra has provided over £4.2 million in funding for Asian elephants living in the wild since 2015 through the Darwin Initiative and the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund. These are competitive Defra grant schemes funded entirely through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The IWT Challenge Fund and the Darwin Initiative have committed £2.9 million and £1.3 million respectively for Asian elephants since 2015 through 14 separate projects. These include a project seeking to reduce the illegal ivory trade in Cambodia, and a project supporting Nepal’s world-leading community anti-poaching efforts.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pregnancy: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to introduce financial support to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 62388
Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pregnancy: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on parents of babies born needing neonatal care during the outbreak.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The Government recognises that these are challenging times for everyone, but that it is an especially stressful time for parents with babies in neonatal intensive care units.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, services have been working hard to support parents to care for their babies as much as possible while still ensuring that services are safe.

The Department has no plans to introduce a bespoke fund to cover subsistence costs for parents with a baby receiving neonatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government is providing funding for the charity Bliss to support families with babies that require neonatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Government’s United Kingdom-wide £750 million package of support for the voluntary sector announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 2020.

Grouped Questions: 62387
Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Myanmar: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take diplomatic steps to hold the Myanmar military to account for the killing, maiming sexual violence against children identified in the UN Secretary-General's Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, published on 9 June 2020.
A
Answered by: Nigel Adams
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The UK is clear that the Myanmar Military is responsible for gross human rights violations across the country. This includes grave violations against children. On 23 June, I [Minister Adams] spoke to the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation. I [Minister Adams] encouraged Myanmar to continue to engage with the International Court of Justice process, and highlighted the need for dialogue to deescalate the conflict in Rakhine which has seen a significant increase in crimes against children in the first half of this year. The UK has already imposed sanctions, through the EU, on members of the Myanmar military responsible for serious human rights violations. The UK led the international effort to establish the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM), which will collect and preserve evidence for us in future domestic or international accountability processes.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Airports: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what dates he had discussions with chief executives of UK airports in (a) March, (b) April, (c) May and (d) June 2020.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 19 June 2020

In recognition of the challenging times that the aviation sector continues to face due to Covid-19, the Secretary of State has kept an open dialogue with UK airports. Engagement has included regular structured round tables with the Minister for Aviation as well as one-to-one calls, considered on a case by case basis. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual engagements or their frequency.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Hospitality Industry and Tourism: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the 14-day quarantine period on the (a) tourism, (b) travel and (c) hospitality sectors.
A
Answered by: Nigel Huddleston
Answered on: 19 June 2020

We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, UKInbound and the ABTA, to closely monitor COVID-19’s impact on the tourism, travel and hospitality sectors. No impact assessment has been made by my Department.

The Home Office commissioned Her Majesty's Treasury to assess the economic impacts of the mandatory 14 day self-isolation requirement. The Department for Transport fed into this analysis and ensured that the significant impact of the policy on the transport sector was reflected.

We appreciate that the quarantine measures will present difficulties for these sectors. The quarantine policy will be reviewed regularly and the first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June. We are also working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so people from the UK can go abroad and tourists can come here.

Tourism and hospitality businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package. These include the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan schemes, as well as business rates relief and grants for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Travel: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the 14-day quarantine period on the financial viability of businesses in the travel sector.
A
Answered by: Nigel Huddleston
Answered on: 19 June 2020

We remain in regular contact with stakeholders, including UKHospitality, UKInbound and the ABTA, to closely monitor COVID-19’s impact on the financial health of businesses in the travel sector. This includes holding discussions about the effect of the 14-day quarantine period.

The Home Office commissioned Her Majesty's Treasury to assess the economic impacts of the mandatory 14 day self-isolation requirement. The Department for Transport fed into this analysis and ensured that the significant impact of the policy on the transport sector was reflected.

We appreciate that the quarantine measures will present significant difficulties for the travel and tourism sectors. The quarantine policy will be reviewed regularly and the first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June. We are also working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so people from the UK can go abroad and tourists can come here.

Travel businesses and workers can access the Government’s economic support package. These include the recently extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, generous loan schemes and VAT payment deferrals for firms.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Treasury
Aviation and Tourism: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what meetings (a) he and (b) his ministers have had with representatives from (a) UK airports, (b) airlines and (c) tourism bodies since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 19 June 2020

Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions, and similarly the Department for Digital, Media, Sport and Culture are working with employers, delivery partners and industry groups to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on sectors like tourism and its workers.

As we look forward, we welcome views from representatives and the Treasury will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors, and to consider how best to support the economic recovery.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Treasury
Tourism and Travel: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to protect jobs in the (a) aviation, (b) travel and (c) tourism sectors after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is closed in October 2020.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 19 June 2020

The Government recognises the extreme disruption the necessary actions to combat Covid-19 are having on businesses and sectors like aviation, travel and tourism.

The Treasury’s priority is to support the economy through the immediate crisis. That is why the Chancellor has already announced unprecedented support for individuals and businesses, to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable in this current economic emergency. This includes changes to our welfare system with Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay; grant schemes such as the Discretionary Grant Fund; a range of government-backed and guaranteed loan schemes; the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

These measures aim to protect the productive capacity of our economy and to enable a strong and sustainable recovery from this crisis. The government has since set out a cautious roadmap for how it intends to gradually reopen our economy, whilst continuing to suppress the outbreak.

As we look forward, we will continue to monitor the impact of government support with regard to supporting public services, businesses, individuals, and sectors, and consider how best to support the economic recovery.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Transport
Aviation: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on establishing air bridges to other countries.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 19 June 2020

The Government is actively considering the concept of international travel corridors, including air bridges, and how they could be implemented in practice along with other measures.

Ultimately, we will be guided by the science, and the health of the public will always come first.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 27 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Blood Cancer: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people with blood cancer have received a letter asking them to shield at home for 12 weeks from (a) NHS England and (b) their local clinical care team; and how many of those people have (i) chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and (ii) Myeloproliferative neoplasms.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 June 2020

As of May 2020, 164,427 patients had been identified in the category “people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment” by NHS Digital, and received a letter asking them to shield at home for 12 weeks. The information about how many patients in this category identified locally is not held centrally.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Home Office
Travel: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many checks have been made by the police on people subject to a 14-day quarantine period after arriving in the UK.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 18 June 2020

New measures introduced on 8 June require all passengers arriving in the UK, who do not fall under a specified exemption, to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce cases of COVID-19 being brought in from abroad and to help prevent a devastating second wave of the disease.

An assurance service is contacting a random sample of non-exempted arrivals to check compliance. Where there is reason to suspect that an individual is not complying, details will be passed to the relevant police force who will consider enforcement action. Police will continue to take the 4 ‘E’s approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. Guidance on enforcement activity is issued by the College of Policing. Interpretation of that guidance and any subsequent action is an operational decision for the police.

We have seen high levels of compliance with the rules to date, and expect that the majority of people will continue to do the right thing and abide by these measures.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect of the 14-day quarantine period on international trade and exports.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Department for International Trade has ensured that the economic impact assessment, led by the Treasury, reflects the impacts the regulations are having on UK imports and exports, as well as the wider economy, and that there are specific and targeted exemptions to mitigate the impact.

Exemptions exist for those who provide vital services to the UK, such as road haulage and freight workers, to ensure the supply of goods is not impacted, and medical professionals who are travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for International Trade
Trade: Aviation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the importance of UK aviation to the Government’s international trade priorities.
A
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 17 June 2020

The Government recognises the importance of UK aviation, both as a source of exports and as a facilitator of international trade and investment. UK airports support the movements of high-value goods which, in 2019, accounted for half of all UK exports of goods by value to non-EU countries.

Air freight plays an important role in supply chains and in ensuring that essential goods can continue to be brought in and out of the UK without disruption. The Government is continuing to monitor air freight capacity.

The Department for International Trade engages with other government departments, UK suppliers from across the aviation industry, and trade associations to support exports and investment and understand industry requirements and capabilities.

Q
Asked by Henry Smith
(Crawley)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Treasury
Aviation: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with representatives of the aviation industry on business rates relief.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 16 June 2020

Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of stakeholders across sectors as part of ongoing policy development and implementation.

Ministers and officials from the Department for Transport are in regular contact with airlines, airports and unions to understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on the sector and its workers.

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