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
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Ministry of Defence
VJ Day: Anniversaries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans her Department has to commemorate far east prisoners of war on the anniversary of VJ day.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Government and the nation continue to recognise and be thankful for all those who served in the Far East during the Second World War. We recognise the sacrifices made and the horrors to which our personnel were subjected.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to ensuring that ex prisoners of war from the Far East Campaign remain in the public consciousness as much as those who served in other campaigns. The MOD, in conjunction with The Royal British Legion, will look to mark the 75th anniversary of 'Victory over Japan Day' on 15 August 2020 in an appropriate way.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Property: Ownership
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a statutory time limit for property management companies to issue a certificate of ownership to a new owner after selling a property.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The Government expects certificates of compliance to be issued within a reasonable period of time. Legislation is already in place specifying the governance of ownership certificates and their use in support of planning applications. Applicants are legally required to notify the owners of a site when they submit their planning application, so that they have the opportunity to comment. An ownership certificate confirming that other owners have been appropriately notified must be signed when submitting a planning application. It is an offence to issue a false ownership certificate knowingly or recklessly under section 65(6) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Public Health: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the value was of reductions to the local authority public health grant in each year since 2014; and what estimate he has made of trends in the level of funding for that grant in the next three years.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Year

Public Health Grant Allocation (£ billion)

Change in budget (£billion)

2013/14

2.663

-

2014/15

2.795

+0.128

2015/16*

3.031

+0.236

2016/17

3.387

+0.356

2017/18**

3.304

-0.083

2018/19

3.219

-0.085

2019/20

3.134

-0.085

Notes:

*Funding public health services for children aged 0-5 was transferred from the National Health Service to local authorities from October 2015.

** Figures from 2017/18 include funding retained by the Greater Manchester local authority as part of a business rate retention pilot not allocated as grant.

Future funding for local authority public health function will be a matter for the Spending Review.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Property: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of amending legislation on the transfer of ownership of high hazard sites to third parties.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 20 May 2019

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) which require the Competent Authority (which is HSE and the relevant environmental body acting jointly) to be notified in the event of certain changes about a site, including its permanent closure or change of operator name.

HSE has no plans to amend this legislation.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she make it her policy to provide autism awareness training for staff in (a) her Department and (b) Jobcentres.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 20 May 2019

DWP has a Diversity and Equality Policy Statement. Every person working for the Department has a personal responsibility for implementing and promoting these commitments in their day-to-day dealings with customers, with each other and with employers and partners. Inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable.

DWP have developed Autism Awareness training for all DWP operational staff, using information from the National Autistic Society. This training explains what Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are and how they may impact on a claimants’ daily life, including how this impacts individuals differently. This helps DWP staff be aware of how they can offer appropriate support. The training also focuses on what support DWP can provide to help customers with ASD secure employment, highlighting the tailored support available and focusing on what positive strengths customers with ASD can offer a prospective employer.

Within the Fundamental Learning Journey for all DWP Operational roles, we have learning for Supporting Vulnerable Adults (hosted by Civil Service Learning), Safeguarding children and for Adults and Equality and Diversity.

There is DWP technical learning specifically for staff who need to look at medical evidence for particular medical conditions as part of their job role. This covers the likely care needs for more common medical conditions and signposts to more detailed guidance.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Mental Illness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what provision her Department makes for universal credit claimants who are held on restriction under the Mental Health Act 1983.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 17 May 2019

Entitlement to Universal Credit (UC) takes into account individual claimant circumstances, such as income, savings, assets and living arrangements. Should a claimant be held under the Mental Health Act 1983 they may not be eligible for UC.

All claimants, including those who with mental health conditions, receive continuous tailored support through their personal work coaches, and all Departmental staff working with claimants complete extensive training that prepares them for their role. Specific training is provided for working with different vulnerable groups, with guidance to signpost claimants to relevant support, and these circumstances will be recorded on a claimant’s online account.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Department for Transport
Bus Service Operators Grant
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2018 to Question 159654, what the timescale is for the next phase of the bus service operators grant reform process.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 17 May 2019

It is still our intention to reform the Bus Service Operators Grant when time allows. We are currently in the process of digitalising the existing paper-based claim process in line with Governments Digital by Default agenda.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 November 2018 to Question 193494 on Employment: Autism, if she will make it her policy to disaggregate data on Access to Work statistics to identify the number people with Autism Spectrum Disorders in those data sets.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 17 May 2019

We do not currently have plans to make adjustments to the primary medical condition categories used in Access to Work. The categories we use are consistent with the categories used in the Labour Force Survey. This is so we can compare our data to the disability employment rate.

As explained in the Answer of 27 November 2018 to Question 193494, when a person with Autism Spectrum Disorders receives support through Access to Work, it will be for a specific issue or condition – e.g. a Mental health condition, difficulty in speaking, etc. – rather than Autism Spectrum Disorder. Access to Work customers may have more than one disability or condition, and it is the condition for which they are receiving support that is recorded on the Access to Work system as their primary health condition.

The Access to Work statistics have been developed using guidelines set out by the UK Statistics Authority, but are still undergoing development and are therefore designated as experimental statistics. We are exploring the scope for potential modification following user feedback about the usefulness of the data.

Users are invited to comment on the development and relevance of these statistics and can send feedback to: access.toworkstatistics@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 10 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 November 2018 to Question 193498 on Employment: Autism, over what time period was the Neurodiversity Toolkit was developed; what processes were used to develop that toolkit; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that toolkit on closing the autism employment gap.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 17 May 2019

In 2016, DWP contracted Autism Alliance UK to assemble an Autism Task Group to develop a new Autism and Neurodiversity Toolkit. Membership of the group comprised people with Neuro-diverse conditions, medical professionals/academics and a number of organisations, including: the National Autistic Society, Autism Alliance UK, Autism Plus and Dyscovery Centre.

Within three months, the toolkit was ready to be quality assured by the Hidden Impairments National Group. The toolkit was launched by Philip Rutnam (Civil Service Disability Champion) during Autism Awareness Week, in April 2017.

The toolkit is available to all Civil Servants; helping them to better understand how to support people with Autism or Neuro-diverse conditions. It is hosted on Autism Alliance UK’s website, and is updated regularly by them with professional help and guidance.

As was explained in the Answer of 27 November 2018 to Question 193495 on Employment: Autism, no formal assessment has been made on the impact of the Toolkit on the autism employment gap.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 08 May 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
HIV Infection: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to increase the availability of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in (a) Bristol and (b) England.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 16 May 2019

In February 2019, additional HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Impact trial allocation places were released to those sexual health clinics in Bristol, the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Concord Clinic participating in the PrEP trial.

These additional places in Bristol are part of the overall expansion of 13,000 additional PrEP trial places across England, increasing the total number of places to 26,000 for participating clinics. The trial website can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.prepimpacttrial.org.uk/join-the-trial

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to assess the effectiveness of the local supported proof of concept initiative in closing the autism employment gap.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 12 April 2019

Proofs of Concept are not designed to provide evidence of impacts on national employment trends. Rather, they allow us to test whether a policy idea is deliverable.

The Local Supported Employment Proof of Concept is a relatively small scale programme exploring how combining central and local budgets enables Local Authorities to scale up delivery of Supported Employment. The initiative is designed to support people with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or who are in contact with secondary mental health services. By working with local authorities, there may be an opportunity for DWP to drive a much stronger focus on job outcomes and on evidence-based commissioning using the Supported Employment model.

We are currently considering our next steps to build on this Proof of Concept.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to tackle the underemployment of people diagnosed with autism.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 12 April 2019

DWP is committed to helping people with health conditions and disabilities, including autism move nearer to the labour market and, when ready, into work, by building more personalised tailored employment and health support.

The majority of DWP’s schemes and programmes are focused on helping people, including people diagnosed with autism, prepare for and enter work. For example:

  • The Work and Health Programme, which rolled out between November 2017 and March 2018, will support around 275,000 people over five years - the majority whom (around 220,000) will be disabled people who can volunteer for the programme at any time.

  • The new Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, which is due to be rolled out across England and Wales at the end of 2019, will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for people with both disabilities and complex barriers to employment who are considered by DWP work coaches to be more than 12 months from the labour market without intensive support

  • The Local Supported Employment proof of concept is currently exploring how we can combine central and local budgets to scale up delivery of Supported Employment locally. This initiative is designed to explore how a matched funding model could support people with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or who are in contact with secondary mental health services.

Disabled people who are already working, or who are about to enter work, can apply for in-work support from Access to Work scheme. The scheme has a Hidden Impairment Support Team that provides advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions like autism, as well as offering eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.

In addition, DWP is engaging with employers through the Disability Confident scheme - supporting them to feel more confident about both employing disabled people, including autistic people, and supporting disabled employees to realise their potential. Over 11,500 employers have signed up to the scheme so far.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to collect and publish data on the employment status of adults diagnosed with autism.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 10 April 2019

Department for Work and Pensions officials are considering how to robustly measure the employment rate among autistic people, including whether it might be possible to collect this information through the Labour Force Survey.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Taxis: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of implementing recommendation 11 of the Task and Finish Group report on Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles published in September 2018.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 09 April 2019

As outlined in the Government’s response to the report of the Chair of the Task and Finish Group, published in February 2019, Government is considering carefully how the restriction of out-of-area journeys by taxis and private hire vehicles proposed might work in practice, with a view to legislating.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Shared Spaces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his provides to local authorities on the development of shared space schemes where pedestrians and cyclists, but not motorists, are required to share pavement space.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The situation in which pavements are shared by cyclists and pedestrians is known as shared use rather than shared space. The Department for Transport issued guidance on the development of these schemes in ‘Local Transport Note 1/12: Shared use routes for pedestrians and cyclists’. It stresses the importance of high quality, inclusive design which addresses the needs of all users, including older people and disabled people. It also emphasises that shared use proposals require careful consideration, and that designers need to ensure that introducing cycling to an existing pedestrian route does not make conditions significantly worse for pedestrians.

Local Transport Note 1/12 is available from the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/shared-use

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 03 April 2019
Department for Transport
Shared Spaces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on the development of shared space schemes where cyclists and motorists are required to share highway space.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 09 April 2019

The Department for Transport issued guidance on the design of cycling infrastructure in ‘Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design’. This provides advice on a wide range of measures, including how to provide facilities for cyclists on-road.

Local Transport Note 2/08 is available from the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-208

The Department is currently updating 'Local Transport Note 2/08: Cycle Infrastructure Design'.

Guidance on providing for cyclists on the trunk road network is available in ‘Interim Advice Note 195/16: Cycle Traffic and the Strategic Road Network’, which is available at:

http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/ians/pdfs/ian195.pdf

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans he has to lengthen the time a refugee family reunion visa is valid for.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Government issues a 30-day visa to all non-EEA nationals coming from overseas to stay in the UK for more than six months to enable them to collect their biometric residence permit from the Post Office, following their arrival in the UK. When a family reunion application is made, individuals can specify within a 90-day window when they would like the visa to be valid from. This is to take account of their need to make the necessary travel arrangements. The Government considers that the existing time periods for family reunion visas remain appropriate and we have no plans to review it.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department provides to families who have been reunited through refugee family reunion to access the social security system.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 05 April 2019

Those who have joined a family member in the UK through refugee family reunion are entitled to the same support as any other person. As with anyone else, they will be assessed to ascertain whether they have complex needs and whether they require additional support to access DWP services.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Refugees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on collaboration between the Home Office and her Department to ensure that refugees are able to access the employment support and social security benefits that they are entitled to.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions is working in partnership with the Home Office to improve processes for refugees claiming benefits. In order to achieve this aim we have set up the Post Grant Appointment Scheme (PGAS).

The scheme involves contacting persons at the point when they are granted refugee status to see if they wish to apply for benefits and require assistance to do so. If they say they do, an appointment at a local DWP office is arranged for them.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support his Department provides to families who have been reunited through refugee family reunion.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 04 April 2019

Those granted under refugee family reunion provisions are entitled to work and have access to mainstream benefits on broadly the same basis as British Citizens. Their refugee sponsor can also apply for a refugee integration loan to support their integration into the community and help rebuild their lives here.


On 9 February 2019, the Government published the Integrated Communi-ties action plan, which includes measures to enable integration for recent migrants and refugees.

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