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
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Tuberculosis: Drug Resistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to provide financial support for research to small and medium-sized enterprises developing new tools for the (a) prevention, (b) diagnosis and (c) treatment of drug-resistant TB.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The Department funds research mainly through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). As the most integrated clinical research system in the world, we drive research from bench to bedside for the benefit of patients and the economy. The NIHR funds high quality research to improve health, trains and supports health researchers, provides world-class research facilities, works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all, and involves patients and the public at every step.

The NIHR’s research programmes provide a flexible source of funding for researchers, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with the aim of improving public and patient health and care. Our Invention for Innovation (i4i) and Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programmes accept applications from SMEs as lead applicants collaborating with a National Health Service and/or academic partner. Other NIHR programmes accept applications from SMEs as co-applicants.

Through the NIHR, the Government is also investing in research infrastructure in the NHS to ensure that we have the right facilities and people for a thriving research environment. The NIHR enables SMEs to access experts and develop collaborations within our world-leading infrastructure, supporting them to translate fundamental biomedical research into the clinical setting, run studies in the NHS and develop new treatments, diagnostics and medical devices.

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including drug resistant tuberculosis (TB); it is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.

Research on TB and drug resistant TB is supported by the Department nationally through the NIHR and internationally through support for research programmes delivered through other Government departments.

Currently, a major part of the NIHR’s contribution to TB research is the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) on Respiratory Infections at Imperial College London. This started in 1 April 2014 and has received funding of £4.21 million. The HPRU is a collaboration between Public Health England, Imperial College and Oxford University and undertakes research on diagnostics, surveillance, treatment and management of TB.

Globally, the Department for Health and Social Care supports research on TB by SMEs through the Department for International Development (DFID). DFID is the UK Government’s lead to the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) a not-for-profit product-development-partnership dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of better, faster-acting and affordable TB drugs; and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), which includes TB as one of its priority diseases. In 2017, the Department also provided financial support for research with a £4.5 million one off contribution through its Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) budget to the TB Alliance. The TB Alliance and FIND work with many different partners in the public, private (i.e. industry including SMEs), academic, and philanthropic sectors in a wide range of countries across the globe to develop new treatments and diagnostics for TB, including drug sensitive and drug resistant TB.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 03 September 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many non-resident parents are in maintenance arrears through the Child Maintenance Service; and what amount of money is outstanding in such arrears in North East Fife constituency.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 10 September 2018

The department does hold data on the number of non-resident parents who are in maintenance arrears through the Child Maintenance Service and the amount of money which is outstanding in such cases. However this information is not routinely collated at constituency level and could only be provided at a disproportionate cost.

You may be interested in the Child Maintenance Service Statistics: Regional Tables which are published quarterly. These tables contain the number of parents using the service and measures of compliance for the Collect and Pay service at local authority level.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-aug-2013-to-mar-2018-experimental

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, following the publication of the 2018 Aid Transparency Index, what steps his Department is taking to improve the transparency of the Official Development Assistance for which it is responsible.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 11 July 2018

We are undertaking a review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) performance in the Aid Transparency Index. As part of this, the FCO is in discussion with 'Publish What You Fund', and other Whitehall Departments. These discussions, consultations with the aid transparency community experts and our ongoing programme of work towards the Government target to be “Good” or “Very Good” by 2020, have identified a number of areas for improvement in both our data production and programme documentation.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 03 July 2018
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, following the publication of the 2018 Aid Transparency Index, what steps her Department is taking to meet its goal of helping all departments to achieve a good or very good rating in that index by 2020.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 10 July 2018

DFID has helped develop guidance on publishing to the International Aid Transparency Initiative open data standard (IATI), and continues to provide advice and tailored training to other government departments. The Department hosted transparency workshops in 2016, 2017, and again in July 2018. Transparency is regularly discussed at the cross-Whitehall Official Development Assistance (ODA) Ministerial meetings, which the Secretary of State co-Chairs. Transparency is also discussed at the regular cross-Government Senior Officials Group on ODA and also covered at operational level at cross-Government ODA Learning Days.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 21 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Conflict Prevention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to implement pillar two of the Responsibility to Protect principle in order to protect civilians caught up in conflict overseas.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 29 June 2018

The UK uses its range of diplomatic, development, humanitarian and security tools, both bilaterally and within multilateral fora such as the United Nations, to encourage, persuade and support States to exercise their responsibility to protect their populations. This is consistent with the UN Secretary-General's suggestions on the forms of action under Pillar II that States might take in "helping States build capacity to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 21 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Military Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 May 2018 on Saudi Arabia, HCWS716, whether he sought legal advice on the UK Government's role in providing information, advice and assistance to Saudi Arabia against the threat of Houthi missiles; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 29 June 2018

​Legal advice was sought prior to the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 May.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 21 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Sandwich Islands: Environmental Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to protect the natural environment in the South Sandwich Islands with a view to establishing a reserve around the islands.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 29 June 2018

The protection of the South Sandwich Islands is one of the key objectives of the South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area (MPA), which was designated in 2012. This sustainable-use MPA provides for a very small fishery of toothfish around the South Sandwich Islands, which is conducted in line with research protocols to support the scientific monitoring of the toothfish around the Territory.

There is also a notional catch allocation for krill, based on the scientific advice of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, but this has not been fished in over 25 years. The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is currently undertaking the first 5-year review of the MPA and will be considering scientifically-based recommendations on how to ensure the MPA continues to deliver its conservation objectives.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 21 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Military Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to his Written Statement of 23 May 2018, Official Report, HCWS716, whether the Government's new agreement with Saudi Arabia includes providing information, advice and assistance for Saudi or Saudi-led coalition military operations in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 28 June 2018

​Her Majesty's Government is working with Saudi Arabia to mitigate the threat from missiles fired from Yemen across the border into Saudi Arabia.

UK personnel are providing information, advice and assistance limited to this objective.

For reasons of operational security further details of this support are not being provided.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 21 June 2018

I meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Bedouin
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has had discussions with his Israeli counterpart on the proposed removal of Palestinian families from Khan Al-Ahmar in order to expand the Kfar Adumim settlement; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Foreign Secretary raised the issue of the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 6 June. He also issued a statement on 1 June calling on Israel to reconsider its proposals to demolish the village and expressing concern that Israel was planning to expand the settlement of Kfar Adumim beside Khan al-Ahmar. I visited the village during my visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 30 May. I met with the Israeli Minister of Planning on 31st May and I emphasised the UK’s concern at the village’s imminent demolition.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 14 June 2018
Scotland Office
Scotland Office: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: David Mundell
Answered on: 19 June 2018

I meet with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of matters that relate to Scotland.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions meets with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Transport
Department for Transport: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Secretary of State for Transport meets with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Chancellor frequently has confidential discussions with his Cabinet colleagues on all aspects of public expenditure. Spending plans are published alongside the main fiscal events at the Autumn Budget and Spring Statement.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for International Trade
Department for International Trade: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions he has had with Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 19 June 2018

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade meets with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

None of the Department’s funding is subject to the Barnett formula.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 11 June 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Political Parties: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will publish a list of the meetings he has had with representatives of Northern Ireland's political parties in each of the last three months; and if he will include in that list (a) who he met with and (b) the date on which those meetings took place.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 15 June 2018

Details of formal Ministerial meetings on Departmental business are published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which are publicly available on GOV.UK.

Over the past months, the Government has met a range of stakeholders in Northern Ireland, including representatives of a number of political parties, and assured them that the Government will uphold our commitments made to the people of Northern Ireland and the Belfast Agreement.


Since the referendum there have been nine meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations. Prior to the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive in January 2017, these meetings were attended by Ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive. We would have liked this engagement to continue, and we are working hard to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland as soon as possible. In the absence of an Executive, the JMC(EN) has been attended by senior officials from the Northern Ireland Civil Service. We are committed to working to ensure Northern Ireland interests are represented in the meantime.

Q
(North East Fife)
[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: 24 May 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Committee of the Regions: UK Delegations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, how many vacancies there are on the UK delegation to the Committee of the Regions; and when he plans to fill those vacancies.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 04 June 2018

The UK delegation to the Committee of the Regions currently has vacancies for 10 members and for 7 alternate members.

Nominations are being reviewed as a matter of urgency and we expect the process to be completed soon, enabling the new members to start contributing to the work of the Committee.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 21 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Biodiversity
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 26 April to Question 136459, on British Overseas Territories: biodiversity, what the outcomes of the discussions on possible replacements for the EU's financing instrument for biodiversity funding were; and whether further Ministerial level discussions have since taken place.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 30 May 2018

Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Her Majesty's Treasury, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Exiting the European Union, are actively engaging in discussions concerning a possible replacement for BEST funding. A number of options are being considered, and the Government plans to involve the Overseas Territories in these discussions. Ministers will have the opportunity to conduct further discussions on this topic as matters develop over the coming months.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 14 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Capital Punishment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Bahraini counterpart on the continued use of the death penalty in that country.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 22 May 2018

​I refer the hon Gentleman to the answer given to question 139942 on 10 May 2018. The UK has a continuing dialogue with the Government of Bahrain on a range of issues. The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty. It is the Government's longstanding position to oppose capital sentences in all circumstances and countries. We continue to make this clear to the Government of Bahrain. The UK welcomes the decision of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa on 26 April to commute four death sentences.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Department for Transport
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many cases are awaiting a decision of the Medical Committee at the DVLA; and what the average waiting time is for resolution of those enquiries.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 14 May 2018

The length of time taken to deal with an application depends on the medical condition and whether further information is required from medical professionals, such as a driver’s GP. In the financial year 2017/18, it took an average of 32 days to make a decision on a medical case, down from 37 days in the previous financial year.

The DVLA has made major improvements in the length of time taken to deal with medical cases. In the last year, additional doctors have been recruited, taking the number employed from 22 to 35. In addition, ten nurses and additional casework staff have also been recruited to deal with the complex medical casework.

In the last year the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) dealt with over 750,000 medical cases. It is not possible to provide the number of cases requiring medical investigation, with more than 14,000 cases being received each week.

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