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
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of concerns expressed by the UN and other international actors that Ali Al-Arab and Ahmed Al-Malali were convicted and sentenced to death in Bahrain based on confessions they gave under torture; and (1) what representations they have made to the King of Bahrain, and (2) what other steps they are taking, to prevent their execution.
A
Answered on: 20 May 2019

We are closely following the cases of Mr Almalali and Mr Alarab and have raised the cases with the Bahraini Government. The UK's position on the use of the death penalty is longstanding and clear; we oppose its use in all circumstances and countries. The Government of Bahrain are fully aware of our position. The British Government consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs. We urge allegations of this nature to be reported to the appropriate national human rights oversight bodies and continue to encourage these oversight bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any such concerns or allegations.​

Grouped Questions: HL15648
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the failure of oversight bodies in Bahrain to investigate allegations of the torture and coerced confessions of Ali Al-Arab and Ahmed Al-Malali.
A
Answered on: 20 May 2019

We are closely following the cases of Mr Almalali and Mr Alarab and have raised the cases with the Bahraini Government. The UK's position on the use of the death penalty is longstanding and clear; we oppose its use in all circumstances and countries. The Government of Bahrain are fully aware of our position. The British Government consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs. We urge allegations of this nature to be reported to the appropriate national human rights oversight bodies and continue to encourage these oversight bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any such concerns or allegations.​

Grouped Questions: HL15647
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 01 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Bahrain
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports that a delegation headed by the director of Bahrain’s Jau Prison, Brigadier General Abdul Salam al-Araifi, visited correctional facilities in the UK before Easter, by whom the visit was funded; and if it was funded by the Government, from which funding stream this came.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 16 May 2019

In April 2019, a delegation of officials from Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior visited HMP Berwyn and HMP Whitemoor. This delegation included Brigadier Abdulsalam al-Arifi, the Director General of Reformation and Rehabilitation in Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior. HMP Berwyn and Whitemoor provided complimentary refreshments for the delegation during their visits, at a cost of approximately £69.00 total. All other costs associated with the visit were borne by the delegation.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 16 May 2019
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Keen of Elie on 10 May (HL15362), if such data on the waiting times for appeal hearings on Personal Independence Payment claims are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost, how they determine whether (1) claims are being dealt with in a timely manner, and (2) the resources allocated to deal with appeals are adequate to meet the backlog of appeal claims.
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 01 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sayed Alwadaei
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the open letter published in the Guardian on 11 April, signed by human rights organisations, lawyers and MPs, relating to the situation of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and his family in Bahrain.
A
Answered on: 14 May 2019

We are aware of the letter that was published by The Guardian on 11 April and subsequent refutation from the Bahraini Embassy. We have raised the cases of Bahraini nationals Hajer Mansoor Hassan, Sayed Nazar Al Wadaei, and Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor at senior levels with the Bahraini Government. The Bahraini Government has been clear these convictions are not related to activities of Mr Al Wadaei and have given details on charges. The Government of Bahrain has given categorical assurances that Ms Mansoor has had access to medical treatment, and will continue to receive access to appropriate medical care as guaranteed by the constitution of Bahrain. We shall continue to monitor this case closely.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 01 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Najah Ahmed Yousif
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made about the allegations of torture and sexual assault by officers of Bahrain’s National Security Agency on political prisoner Najah Yusuf; and whether they have communicated directly with the National Security Agency Ombudsman about such allegations.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2019

Our Embassy in Manama continues to monitor the case of Najah Ahmed Yusuf and has raised her case at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 01 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Gulf States: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 3 April (237139), what are the objectives of the Integrated Activity Fund.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2019

The Integrated Activity Fund was introduced in the 2015 Spending Round to enable activity when funding from core departmental, or other sources, cannot be made available to service the British Government's Gulf Strategy. It is intended to support the delivery of flexible, cross-cutting and sustained investment in the region.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Home Office
Police: Data Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 24 April (HL15195), what guidance they have provided to police forces in England following the concerns raised by the Information Commissioner’s Office about the introduction of technology allowing the police to gather data from mobile phones or laptops by overriding passwords possibly being unlawful.
Answered on: 10 May 2019

The police are operationally independent of the Home Office and the use of their powers to investigate crime, including operational guidance, is a matter for them.

Current guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stresses that decisions to access mobile phones have to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing reasonable lines of inquiry with the right to privacy. Mobile phones of complainants and witnesses may only be accessed with their informed consent.

The NPCC and the CPS will engage with stakeholders, including the In-formation Commissioner’s Office, on this issue.

Grouped Questions: HL15363
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Yorkshire and the Humber
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in the Yorkshire Region have been waiting (1) up to six months, (2) six to 12 months, (3) 12 to 24 months, and (4) over 24 months, for an appeal hearing on their Personal Independence Payment claims.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 10 May 2019

The data requested are not available centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Latest figures for Personal Independence Payment (to December 2018) indicate that since it was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made. Of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at Tribunals.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Home Office
Police: Data Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any police forces, other than Police Scotland, have used, or are planning to use "cyber kiosks" which can override passwords to access data.
Answered on: 10 May 2019

The police are operationally independent of the Home Office and the use of their powers to investigate crime, including operational guidance, is a matter for them.

Current guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) stresses that decisions to access mobile phones have to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing reasonable lines of inquiry with the right to privacy. Mobile phones of complainants and witnesses may only be accessed with their informed consent.

The NPCC and the CPS will engage with stakeholders, including the In-formation Commissioner’s Office, on this issue.

Grouped Questions: HL15361
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Home Office
Police: Data Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the legality of police forces using "cyber kiosks", such as those recently bought by Police Scotland and which can override passwords to access data.
Answered on: 10 May 2019

Current legislation, principally provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, allow data to be accessed from a mobile device when there are reasonable grounds to believe it contains evidence of an offence, but only then in adherence with data protection and human rights obligations.

Current guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service stresses that decisions to access mobile phones have to be made on a case-by-case basis, balancing reasonable lines of inquiry with the right to privacy. Mobile phones of complainants and witnesses may only be accessed with their informed consent.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 25 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Bahrain
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Abdulsalam al-Arifi, the General Director of Bahrain's Jau Prison, has visited prisons in the UK recently; if so, which prisons he visited; and what was the purpose of each such visit.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 10 May 2019

In April 2019, a delegation of officials from Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior visited HMP Berwyn and HMP Whitemoor. This delegation included Brigadier Abdulsalam al-Arifi, the Director General of Reformation and Rehabilitation in Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior. The visit was arranged in support of Bahrain’s efforts to develop rehabilitation programmes.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 24 April 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Exhibitions: North of England
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they contributed to the Great Exhibition of the North.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 May 2019

The Great Exhibition of the North was the biggest event held in England in 2018 and Newcastle-Gateshead welcomed approximately four million people to the city over the summer of 2018.

Government contributed £6m to the Exhibition. Through sponsorship deals and funding bids, we increased the total budget for the Exhibition was £14m.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 24 April 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Exhibitions: North of England
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the chair of the Great Exhibition of the North was appointed; and who made the final decision on that appointment.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 May 2019

Sir Gary Verity was appointed as Chair of the Great Exhibition of the North by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 24 April 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Exhibitions: North of England
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether one of their representatives sat on the Board of the Great Exhibition of the North; and if so, who.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 May 2019

Two representatives from the department sat on the board of the Great Exhibition. Helen Judge, Director General acted as Vice Chair of the Board and Martyn Henderson, Project Director of the Great Exhibition.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 24 April 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Exhibitions: North of England
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what remuneration the chair of the Great Exhibition of the North received for that role; and how much was claimed in expenses by the chair.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 09 May 2019

DCMS had a contractual relationship with Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) to help support work on the Great Exhibition of the North.

Under this contract, DCMS paid WtY £445k between May 2016 and October 2018. This funding was for Sir Gary Verity’s role as Chair of GEOTN, and for associated support services, including logistical and communications support, from WtY.

During his tenure as Chair of the Great Exhibition of the North, WtY claimed £5014.95 (inc VAT) in expenses. These expenses were claimed by WtY related directly to Sir Gary Verity and members of the Welcome to Yorkshire team for expenses incurred during all stages of the Great Exhibition.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 24 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Yorkshire and the Humber
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in the Yorkshire Region are waiting for an appeal hearing for their Personal Independence Payment claims.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 09 May 2019

The information requested is set out in the table below.

Number of Outstanding cases with a status of Ready to List1 - Yorkshire Region2

Date

Personal Independence Payment3

31 December 20184

4637

1 Ready to list includes cases waiting to be listed to a Tribunal hearing, these cases may already have had an initial hearing and be awaiting a subsequent hearing. The data in the answer are the number of cases ready to list. The actual number of live PIP appeals in the Yorkshire region as at 31 December 2018 is 7421. This figure includes those cases which are not yet ready to list as they are awaiting, for example, further evidence or a response from the DWP.

2Social Security & Child Support (SSCS) appeals are usually registered to the venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. We cannot retrieve data based on an appellant’s actual home address but can produce reports detailing the number of cases that are dealt with at one of our Regional centres or heard at a specific venue. Cases relating to the Yorkshire Region are attributed to the following SSCS venues: Leeds, Barnsley, Doncaster, Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull, Scarborough, Sheffield, Wakefield and York.

3PIP (which replaced Disability Living Allowance) was introduced on 8 April 2013, and also includes Personal Independence Claims (reassessments).

4Latest data, which are available, in line with published statistics.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale management system and are the best data available.

These data may differ slightly to that of the published statistics as they were run on a different date.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will include Bahrain as a Human Rights Priority Country in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights and Democracy Report 2018; and if so, on what basis.
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sayed Alwadaei
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they did not refer to reprisals against family members of human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights and Democracy Report 2017; and whether they intend to refer to such reprisals in the Human Rights and Democracy Report 2018.
Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 09 May 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hajer Mansoor Hassan
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 April (HL15262), what steps they will take to verify the “categorical assurances” they have received that Ms Mansoor will continue to receive access to appropriate medical care.
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