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
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Treasury
Arts: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the financial support that is required to assist people working in the (a) TV, (b) film and (c) other creative industries during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport on a range of topics. The Government has announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to support self-employed individuals adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme opened on 13 May, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May or within six working days of completing a claim. Creative sector businesses are eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan scheme. In addition, the Arts Council in England has made up to £160 million of emergency funding available for cultural organisations and individuals during the outbreak.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 May 2020
Treasury
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to extend the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to (a) newly self employed and (b) new start-ups and enable qualification for that scheme to be income assessed on an early submission of a 2019-20 tax return.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 21 May 2020

The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. It means the UK has one of the most generous self-employed COVID-19 support schemes in the world.

It has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the SEISS. This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons.

The Government recognises that those who started trading more recently will not have submitted a tax return for the 2018-19 tax year, and it considered alternative approaches. HMRC would not be able to distinguish genuine self-employed individuals who started trading in 2019-20 from fake applications by fraudulent operators and organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the SEISS.

The self-employed can benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. They may also have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 15 May 2020
Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 May 2020 to Question 43059, on Revenue and Customs: Coronavirus, whether HMRC is investigating employers that are accused of breaching national minimum wage regulations.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 20 May 2020

Everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) should be able to receive it.

HMRC continue to discharge their legal obligations and essential functions during the COVID-19 outbreak and will do everything possible to protect individuals, businesses and the economy during this difficult time.

HMRC continue to enforce the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in order to ensure that workers are being paid the wages to which they are legally entitled.

HMRC encourage any worker who suspects they are being paid less than the NMW to contact ACAS on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 04 May 2020
Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish a list of the investigations by HMRC that have been suspended as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 13 May 2020

It would not be appropriate for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to publish detailed information about their operational response during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, HMRC have made clear that they will support legitimate businesses and individuals, while taking tough action against serious criminal activity and those promoting avoidance schemes.

It is right that HMRC does everything possible to protect individuals, businesses and the economy during this difficult time. That includes prioritising work to support businesses and individuals.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 21 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Wagner Group: Sanctions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of sanctions against PMC Wagner, its founder Dmitry Utkin, and businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
A
Answered by: Wendy Morton
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The UK is concerned about the reporting of Russia's alleged use of mercenaries and other proxy actors globally, and we continue to look into and consider this activity. There are currently no EU or UK sanctions on these individuals or entities. During the Transition Period, EU sanctions will continue to apply in the UK and we will look to carry over existing EU Russia sanctions, at the end of this period.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 21 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Clyde Naval Base: Security
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which contractor is responsible for perimeter security at Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport; and what the financial value is of that contract.
A
Answered by: Jeremy Quin
Answered on: 02 March 2020

While the Ministry of Defence use private contractors where appropriate to undertake fencing and perimeter upkeep, the Naval base Commander at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde is responsible for security of the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport, using Ministry of Defence Police, Ministry of Defence Guard Service and Armed Forces personnel to provide security monitoring, patrols and proportionate response.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 1951, whether his Department's definition of unpaid working time includes unpaid work trials.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 27 February 2020

The Government is clear that anyone entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW) should receive it. We are committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the NMW/NLW.

It is important to ensure that all working time is considered for minimum wage purposes. Employers are responsible for recognising and recording all working time for their workers. However, not all time constitutes working time. Government guidance entitled Calculating the Minimum Wage provides further information.

A work trial that it is for recruitment purposes and that it is reasonable and not of excessive duration would probably not constitute “work” under a worker’s contract. An unpaid trial lasting more than one day is probably illegal in all but exceptional circumstances and would therefore entitle the individual to be paid at least the minimum wage.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 21 February 2020
Treasury
Beer: Excise Duties
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the Society of Independent Brewers on continuation of the existing scheme for small breweries' relief.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The Treasury is reviewing Small Brewers Relief (SBR). As part of this review, Ministers and Treasury officials have met regularly with the Society of Independent Brewers.

Details of ministerial meetings can be found on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 13 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work: Minimum Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to (a) record and (b) name businesses that breach national minimum wage rules as a result of unpaid work trials.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 24 February 2020

The Government is clear that anyone entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW) should receive it. We are committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the NMW/NLW.

The current law makes clear that anyone who carries out “work” for an employer is entitled to the NMW/NLW. Where HMRC enforcement officers identify that there has been an underpayment, including for breaches related to unpaid working time, they may issue a Notice of Underpayment instructing the employer to pay the workers the arrears they are owed, and a penalty of up to 200% of those arrears.

In cases where the total arrears are over £500, the Government considers publicly naming the employer via the NMW Naming Scheme. We publicly name in most eligible cases (almost 95%), and exemption from naming is only granted in the very limited circumstances set out in the NMW enforcement policy document on gov.uk.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Weapons: Military Bases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2020 to Question 10395 on Nuclear Weapons: Military Bases, whether funding for defence projects (a) has and (b) will be reduced to fund the additional £1.35 billion required for projects set out in the NAO's report entitled, Managing infrastructure projects on nuclear-regulated sites, published on 10 January 2020.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 13 February 2020

The costs have been managed through business as usual budgetary processes within the Nuclear Enterprise, alongside changes in forecast costs elsewhere in the wider defence equipment programme, against overall funding available. Consequently, identifying specific funding decisions for individual projects is not possible.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Armed Conflict: Civilians
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans to publish outcome of his Department's review of the Government's strategy on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 06 February 2020

The Government is finalising work on the review of its approach to the Protection of Civilians (PoC) in Armed Conflict. We were unable to meet the previously stated publication date as we were required to adhere to the rules governing the publication of documentation in the run up to the December 2019 General Election. We will aim to publish a document outlining the Government's approach to the PoC by the end of April 2020

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 30 January 2020
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Weapons: Military Bases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January to Question 3807 and with reference to the key findings on page 7 of the NAO's report entitled Managing infrastructure projects on nuclear-regulated sites, published on 10 January 2020, which projects managed by his Department funding will be re-allocated from to fund the £1.35 billion combined cost increase in respect of the three projects examined by the NAO.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 05 February 2020

The £1.35 billion cost increase reported in the NAO publication 'Managing Infrastructure on Nuclear-Regulated sites', represent the difference between initial cost estimates and the latest position for the projects reviewed. These costs have been absorbed and accounted for through business as usual budgetary processes within the Enterprise.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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 January 2020
Ministry of Defence
HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent estimate he has made of the cost of (a) HMS Queen Elizabeth and (b) HMS Price of Wales.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 29 January 2020

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to Question 7177 from the hon. Member for Llanelli (Nia Griffith) on 28 January 2020.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (Word Document, 22.3 KB)
Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 January 2020
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Weapons: Military Bases
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the key performance findings on page 7 of the National Audit Office report, Managing infrastructure projects on nuclear-regulated sites, published on 10 January 2020, whether funding will be reallocated from other defence projects to cover the additional £1.35 billion cost increase associated with the three projects examined and reviewed by the National Audit Office.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 24 January 2020

Like any large organisation we allocate funds to those activities that are the highest priority.

We are committed to strengthening the management of nuclear programmes, including investing significantly in infrastructure and working closely with regulators and industry partners.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 January 2020
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Weapons: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department plans to review its safety procedures for transporting nuclear weapons and radioactive materials.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 24 January 2020

The transportation of Defence Nuclear Material, which includes nuclear weapons, is carried out to the highest standard in accordance with stringent safety regulations. These procedures are continuously reviewed to ensure all operations are carried out safely and securely.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 January 2020
Treasury
Funerals: Pre-payment
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to publish the results of his Department's consultation entitled, Regulation of pre-paid funeral plans: consultation on a policy proposal, that closed on 25 August 2019.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 23 January 2020

The government launched a call for evidence on the regulation of pre-paid funeral plans in June 2018 which found that the market is not operating as it should. The government found evidence of harm to consumers and found that there is broad support among funeral plan providers for the voluntary system of regulation to be replaced by a compulsory regulatory regime for the sector.

Under the previous government we committed to ensuring that customers of pre-paid funeral plans are properly protected and consulted on a new legislative framework to bring the pre-paid funeral plan market within the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority. The consultation closed on 25 August and a response to the consultation will be published in due course.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 16 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Russia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to make an assessment of the current effectiveness of the Budapest Memorandum.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 23 January 2020

In the Budapest Memorandum, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons, Russia joined the United Kingdom and the United States in reaffirming their obligation to "refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations." Russia is in clear breach of those commitments as well as a number of other international obligations and commitments, including under the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act.

The United Kingdom remains willing to engage on the basis of the Budapest Memorandum and in March 2014 the then Foreign Secretary took part in a Budapest format ministerial meeting. Russia refused to take part in that meeting, and has continued to refuse to engage despite the Budapest Memorandum committing them to such talks.

We remain strong and active supporters of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. This includes building the resilience and capacity of the Ukrainian armed forces through Operation Orbital, and playing a leading role in maintaining sanctions against Russia.

Q
(Glasgow South)
[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 January 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Minimum Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when her Department plans to publish the outcomes of the review of the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme announced in June 2019.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 23 January 2020

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. This is why we have more than doubled the compliance and enforcement budget for the NMW and NLW to £27.4 million for 2019/20, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16.

I have reviewed the National Minimum Wage Naming scheme and the Department will shortly publish the outcome of that review. This will detail the changes we are making to the scheme to ensure its continued effectiveness as a deterrent to non-compliance. Following this, we will resume the naming of employers who breach NMW legislation.

Grouped Questions: 5462
Q
(Glasgow South)
[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 January 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Minimum Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when her Department plans to publish its next list of employers for National Minimum Wage breaches under the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 23 January 2020

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. This is why we have more than doubled the compliance and enforcement budget for the NMW and NLW to £27.4 million for 2019/20, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16.

I have reviewed the National Minimum Wage Naming scheme and the Department will shortly publish the outcome of that review. This will detail the changes we are making to the scheme to ensure its continued effectiveness as a deterrent to non-compliance. Following this, we will resume the naming of employers who breach NMW legislation.

Grouped Questions: 5461
Q
(Glasgow South)
[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: 15 January 2020
Treasury
Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy for HMRC to record the number of complaints it receives on unpaid work trials.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 20 January 2020

HMRC take seriously and investigate all complaints from workers referred by the Acas helpline, or received via the online complaints form.

Complaint-led National Minimum Wage (NMW) cases often involve a range of different NMW breaches. It is only possible to determine the full extent of any underpayments, and the underlying reasons for these breaches, at the conclusion of an investigation.

In conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, HMRC publish information on completed investigations in an annual compliance and enforcement report. The latest report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-living-wage-and-national-minimum-wage-government-evidence-on-compliance-and-enforcement-2018

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