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
(Bristol West)
[N]
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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: 20 May 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Retail Trade: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what criteria the Government is using to decide which retail businesses can open on 1 June 2020; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 02 June 2020

Since 1 June, outdoor markets and car showrooms have been able to open. The transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and in open spaces and the COVID-secure guidelines can be more easily followed.

All other non-essential retail will be able to reopen from 15 June if the scientific and medical advice allows and they are able to follow the COVID-secure guidelines. This provides shops and other retail branches enough time to put in place the necessary social distancing measures and hygiene standards.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what changes he is making to the requirement for heavy goods vehicle drivers to be periodically tested for a Certificate of Professional Competence while test centres are closed as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support independent local (a) print, (b) online and (c) broadcast news providers during the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, what recent assessment he has made of whether HMRC's Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol meets the 2018 edition of British Standard 8300.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, how many HMRC staff have been granted Health Related Special Leave because they are awaiting reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 to be made at the HMRC Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Treasury
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 29 November 2017 to Question 115096 on Revenue and Customs: Disability, how many HMRC staff have been granted Health Related Special Leave (formerly Disability Adjustment Leave) because they are awaiting reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 to be made at the HMRC Regional Centre in 3 Glass Wharf, Bristol, since September 2019.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Health and Safety Executive inspectors are operating in Bristol.
Q
(Bristol West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 June 2020
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people facing possession proceedings for their home are able to access the advice of a duty solicitor if court proceedings take place online or by phone.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking with the Department for Education to ensure that the required (a) equipment and (b) technology to participate in school work is provided to asylum-seeking families with children living in National Asylum Support Service supplied accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The children of asylum seekers have access to the same educational services as all other children living in the UK.

The government has committed over £100 million to support remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access. This specifically includes: children in Year 10 who are preparing for examination; children receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children; or care leavers.

In addition, where individuals in these groups do not have internet connections, we will be providing them 4G wireless routers to ensure they can learn at home.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying to remove the EU State Aid cap on the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme for sectors that are not affected by state aid rules.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The Government keeps its business support schemes including the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality scheme under constant review. This is why we have updated guidance to Local Authorities administering the scheme, and why, based on feedback from our stakeholders, we launched the Discretionary Grant Scheme to allow Local Authorities to support businesses which did not meet the criteria for the Small Business Grant Fund or Retail Leisure and Hospitality scheme.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 13 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Health and Safety Executive: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 13 May 2020, HCWS234 on Construction update, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of staffing at the Health and Safety Executive to (a) monitor and (b) enforce the guidance provided in that written statement.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Individual employers and those in control of construction sites have a legal responsibility of ensuring appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from Covid-19 on construction sites. Nevertheless, the Government recognises the important role that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plays as Great Britain’s health and safety regulator and has announced that additional funds are being made available to support them in their regulatory work relating to Covid-19. HSE is currently developing plans for carrying out proactive checks of workplaces including construction sites to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. In addition, HSE continues to address reported workplace concerns with employers, including those relating to Covid-19.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 22 May 2020
Department for Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Command Paper 239 entitled Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery Strategy, if he will consider allowing community spaces such as church halls and community centres to offer space for groups for pre-school age children due to move to primary school in September.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Treasury
Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Immigrants
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether self-employed people who have No Recourse To Public Funds as an immigration condition are able to apply for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The revised guidance published alongside the legal direction is clear that grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are not counted as ‘access to public funds’ and that taxpayers on all categories of visa can claim the SEISS grant. This treatment of SEISS grant payments aligns with that of payments from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Small Businesses: Government Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when Bristol City Council will receive guidance on the top up to local business grants scheme announced on 2 May 2020.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The Government has announced that up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants supporting businesses and local economies across England. Guidance, intended to support Local Authorities in administering the Discretionary Grants Fund, was published 13th May.

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding

This will not replace existing guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

The additional Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs but not liable for business rates or rates reliefs. We are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local Authorities are responsible for defining 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. Businesses seeking information should refer to their Local Authority for further information on their discretionary scheme. Businesses already in receipt of the SBGF, RHLGF or Self-employed Income Support Scheme are not eligible.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Rett UK: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allocating funding to Rett UK to enable it to maintain the provision of providing support to people with Rett syndrome.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 21 May 2020

On 8 April 2020 the Chancellor announced £750 million to support the charity sector in response to COVID-19. This fund comprises three elements:

- £360 million will be allocated by central government to charities in England based on evidence of service need. This will include up to £200 million support for hospices, with the rest going to organisations like St John Ambulance and the Citizens Advice Bureau as well as charities supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse, or disabled people. The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury to work through which voluntary sector organisations are making an essential contribution to the COVID-19 response and may be eligible for funding;

- £370 million will support charities working with vulnerable people. In England, this support will be provided through the National Lottery Community Fund. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working with the National Lottery Community Fund to develop eligibility, application and assessment criteria for this part of the fund, which will be launched imminently. Applicants will be assessed on the extent to which they meet the objectives of the fund, which are to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and to reduce the burden on the public services, including the National Health Service; and

- The Government will match the public donations to the BBC Big Night In fundraising event, which took place on 23 April, starting with a contribution of at least £20 million to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

Charities can also access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme; and, they are able to benefit from the three-month VAT deferral scheme. Charity shop premises will benefit from the new enhanced retail rate relief at 100%.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that access to (a) WiFi, (b) smartphones and (c) other digital devices are provided for asylum seekers living in National Asylum Support Service supplied accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 21 May 2020

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs. The level of the cash allowance provided take into account communication needs, including the cost of buying and using a mobile phone. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels. We are looking at practical ways of providing internet access to this group and other ways to enable them to communicate effectively. Our accommodation providers can and have provided mobile phones to those who do not have one.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 21 May 2020
Department for Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to provide (a) financial and (b) other support to students who have lost income and are struggling to pay their rent during the covid-19 outbreak.
Q
(Bristol West)
[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: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Older People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people aged over 70 who had no underlying health conditions have (a) needed hospital treatment, ( b) needed ICU treatment or (c) died as a result of covid-19.
Q
(Bristol West)
[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: 20 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Care Homes: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to care homes on the (a) clinical and (b) other criteria that should be taken into account on whether a resident with symptoms of covid-19 should be taken to hospital for treatment.
Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 24 April 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that asylum seekers have adequate space and facilities to self isolate if those people have symptoms of covid-19 while living in shared Home Office-provided accommodation for asylum-seekers.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 18 May 2020

We are carefully following PHE Guidance which recommends that separate rooms should be provided for symptomatic people, or they should be moved to hotels.

Those with underlying health conditions and people over 70 years of age should also be moved to the appropriate hotel accommodation following PHE guidance, unless individuals do not wish to be moved. We are reviewing each case on an individual basis and continue to work with our providers to ensure the guidance is followed. If an asylum seeker enters the country displaying symptoms we have dedicated , sole use accommodation that allows them to self-isolate before moving into the asylum accommodation estate

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