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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 89
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
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: 18 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his Department's policy to include an assessment of the effect of unpaid work trials on levels of employment as part of the review of the international evidence on the impacts of minimum wages published on 13 March.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The National Living Wage (NLW) has helped to deliver the fastest wage growth for the lowest paid in 20 years, and in April 2019, alongside the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates, will increase above inflation and average earnings. Collectively, over 2.1 million workers will benefit from the minimum wage rates. In Glasgow South, there are an estimated 1,600 workers currently benefiting from the minimum wages.

At Spring Statement 2019, the Government announced an important step in its aspiration to end low pay, by appointing Professor Arindrajit Dube to undertake a review of the latest international evidence on minimum wages. The review will be considering the implications of this international evidence for UK minimum wage policy.

The Government is clear that National Minimum Wage legislation already protects workers by proscribing unpaid work trials that are excessive and not part of a genuine recruitment process. The Government published new guidance in December 2018 that clarifies the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers.

Grouped Questions: 233606
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: 18 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the review of the international evidence on the impacts of minimum wages, published on 13 March 2019, if he will make it his Department's policy to ban unpaid work trials at the outset of employment.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The National Living Wage (NLW) has helped to deliver the fastest wage growth for the lowest paid in 20 years, and in April 2019, alongside the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates, will increase above inflation and average earnings. Collectively, over 2.1 million workers will benefit from the minimum wage rates. In Glasgow South, there are an estimated 1,600 workers currently benefiting from the minimum wages.

At Spring Statement 2019, the Government announced an important step in its aspiration to end low pay, by appointing Professor Arindrajit Dube to undertake a review of the latest international evidence on minimum wages. The review will be considering the implications of this international evidence for UK minimum wage policy.

The Government is clear that National Minimum Wage legislation already protects workers by proscribing unpaid work trials that are excessive and not part of a genuine recruitment process. The Government published new guidance in December 2018 that clarifies the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers.

Grouped Questions: 233568
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: 06 March 2019
Ministry of Defence
Iraq: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition, published in June 2018, what role British personnel played in interrogations at Abu Ghraib while the prison was under the control of the United States Administration.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 11 March 2019

Three members of the UK Armed Forces were deployed to Abu Ghraib during the period January - April 2004. During their time there, they interviewed a small number of prisoners. All activity conducted by UK personnel at Abu Ghraib was in accordance with domestic and international law and the Geneva Conventions.

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: 06 March 2019
Ministry of Defence
Iraq: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether British personnel stationed at Abu Ghraib (a) made an assessment of and (b) produced a report on the conditions in which prisoners at that facility (i) lived and (ii) were treated; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 11 March 2019

The UK personnel that deployed to Abu Ghraib had been briefed to report any concerns to the UK chain of command and keep records in accordance with UK policy. They did not report any allegations or incidents of abuse taking place during their deployment to Abu Ghraib.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Cabinet Office
Electronic Warfare: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on countering non-kinetic threats.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 18 February 2019

My officials have regular discussions with the Scottish Government on a range of issues, including and relating to countering non-kinetic threats.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 11 February 2019
Cabinet Office
Electronic Warfare: Public Sector
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to support public sector agencies in dealing with hybrid and non-kinetic threats.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 18 February 2019

Public Sector agencies can access a full range of guidance and support on a wide range of threats from the UK's national technical authorities: the National Cyber Security Centre for cyber security, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) for physical and personnel security and UKNACE for counter eavesdropping.

Alongside this support public sector agencies benefit from protection against certain threats, for example through the Active Cyber Defence measures provided free of charge to the public sector as detailed in the NCSC's recent annual review.

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: 07 February 2019
Treasury
Minimum Wage: Non-payment
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many staff in HMRC are allocated to investigating non-payment of the minimum wage.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact Acas, in confidence, on 0300 123 1100 or submit a query online using the link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints

The government increased NMW enforcement funding from £20 million per annum in 2016/17, to £26.3m in 2018-19. This additional investment enabled a significant expansion of resources dedicated to enforcing the minimum wage: there were 424 staff in post in HMRC’s NMW teams as at 31 March 2018.

In addition, other staff across HMRC contribute to enforcing NMW, including lawyers, technical advisers, and those specialising in criminal investigations. HMRC does not record the specific numbers of those staff involved beyond those identified above.

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: 07 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her Department's policy to refer claimants of universal credit to foodbanks.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 12 February 2019

The Government spends over £90 billion a year on welfare benefits for people of working age, to ensure a strong safety net for those who need it. This includes a well-established system of hardship payments and benefit advances. We have also introduced a range of measures to help put more money in claimant’s pockets quicker, such as removing waiting days and, from July 2020, introducing a new two-week run on for income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Jobcentre managers have discretion to work with a wide range of external partners, including food banks, where they are invited to do so. And there are established arrangements in place which allow local staff to signpost a customer to a foodbank where a customer has expressed an interest in using one, but will only do so once they have exhausted all other routes of support.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much money spent by his Department has been counted as UK aid spending; and what programmes that money has been allocated to within his Department.
A
Answered by: Gavin Williamson
Answered on: 07 February 2019
Holding answer received on 04 February 2019

The Ministry of Defence has an annual Official Developmental Assistance target of £5 million, of which approximately £6.12 million was spent in the calendar year of 2017 – a breakdown by programme is below. 2018 figures are currently undergoing a regular assurance process and will be published in April 2019.

Programme

£ million*

Defence Education Programmes

£3.74

Britjish Forces Cyprus: Refugee Camp

£0.63

UK Hydrographic Office Charting Support

£0.86

Locally Employed Civilian Training: Afghanistan

£0.86

Royal Navy: Disaster Relief Training

Less than £0.05

'Askari Serpent': Local Vaccination Programmes

£0.10

*Figures rounded to 2 decimal places.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Professional Organisations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to create of an Armed Forces Association for service personnel and veterans.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 04 February 2019

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to create an Armed Forces Association.

I am satisfied that the interests of members of the Armed Forces as employees are suitably represented by the Chain of Command, SSAFA - the Armed Forces Charity, the Royal Naval Association, the Royal Air Force Association, the Veterans Association and a great many more Regimental Associations and groups around the country. Many of these associations also represent the veterans' community. Along with the various Service-facing charities, the above-mentioned associations will all have regular access to the Chain of Command and Ministers to represent their members' interests.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many staff have been appointed to prepare his Department for the UK leaving the EU without a deal; and how much has been spent on such preparations to date.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 04 February 2019

The Ministry of Defence currently has a small central team of 12 civil servants who deal exclusively with Defence issues relating to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

This central team draws on subject matter experts across the Department.

The Ministry of Defence continually reviews workforce plans and reprioritises as necessary.

To date, a total of 28 military planners have been posted to other Whitehall Departments to assist with contingency planning for leaving the EU. Military planners offer unique skills and operational planning experience and will be involved in a variety of tasks tailored to the needs of the requesting Department. Staff across the Department are integrating ongoing contingency planning into their day-to-day work in recognition of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

At the Autumn Budget 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer committed £3 billion over the next two financial years to helping Departments and the Devolved Administrations to prepare.

HM Treasury allocated £12m of EU Exit funding to the Ministry of Defence for 2018/19. This will fund the administrative, legal and infrastructure requirements for Defence of leaving the EU, including for our bases and people in Europe. It also includes funds to preserve three Offshore Patrol Vessels for the security and enforcement of UK waters and fisheries. The breakdown of this funding will be confirmed within the Supplementary Estimates 2019/20 in early 2020.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using multi-annual spending plans instead of annual budgets.
A
Answered by: Gavin Williamson
Answered on: 04 February 2019

The Department maintains a 10-year plan of activity and spending intended to deliver the Government's strategic direction. These plans are typically developed in the context of a multi-year financial settlement and longer-term planning assumptions agreed with Her Majesty's Treasury.

The Department allocates indicative budgets across business areas over 10-years as the basis for planning. These plans are reviewed and adjusted annually as part of the Annual Budget Cycle process, which also confirms the budget settlement for each business area for the start of each financial year. More significant changes in plans are typically limited to significant fiscal or policy events such as a spending review. This approach of annual reviews of plans allows the Department to respond dynamically to emerging risks to delivery against strategic direction or financial pressures.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
European Defence Agency
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Government’s policy is on pursuing an Administrative Arrangement with the European Defence Agency.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 31 January 2019

It is important that UK and European industry can continue to work together to deliver the capabilities we need to keep us safe. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has a central coordinating role in the development of the EU's defence capabilities. As outlined in the Political Declaration, the UK will seek an Administrative Arrangement with the EDA that would enable us to participate in EDA projects and programmes where it is of mutual benefit, to further our defence cooperation opportunities.

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: 10 December 2018
Ministry of Defence
Saudi Arabia: Joint Exercises
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many RAF personnel took part in the Green Flag Exercise with the Royal Saudi Air Force; for what reason that exercise took place; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 13 December 2018

Exercise Saudi British Green Flag is a regular training event, designed to demonstrate the UK's commitment to regional security and is an opportunity to show how the UK and Saudi Arabia can work together if required. The latest iteration involved 208 RAF personnel.

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: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last received a request from the Government of Ukraine for a telephone conversation with the President of that country.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The FCO received a request on 27 November for a telephone conversation between the Prime Minister and President Poroshenko, to discuss the situation around the Sea of Azov. The Prime Minister is receiving regular updates on this issue, is following events closely and will engage President Poroshenko as events continue to unfold. Our full diplomatic network is engaging on an international response. We are in very close contact in Kyiv. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Klimkin on 29 November, when he reaffirmed the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary also participated in a lunch with EU Foreign Ministers and FM Klimkin in the margins of the 10 December EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

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: 07 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he last spoke with President Poroshenko of Ukraine; and what issues were discussed at that time.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 12 December 2018

The Prime Minister spoke to President Poroshenko on 24 May, when they discussed the Minsk Agreements and the situation in eastern Ukraine.

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 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work: Conditions of Employment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to ensure that people who are asked to complete work trials at the outset of employment are classed as workers.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 20 November 2018

Individuals on work trials who are asked to complete work for an employer are likely to be classed as ‘workers’ and are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Work trials may only be unpaid if they are part of a genuine recruitment exercise. An unpaid trial work period lasting a few hours may be reasonable and legal, but an unpaid work trial lasting more than one day is probably excessive and therefore illegal in all but exceptional circumstances. The Government has consulted with employers and trade unions on how to ensure greater clarity and better practice over work trials. We have just finalised new guidance that will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 190918 | 190919
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 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work: Minimum Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to ensure that the November 2018 Government document Calculating the Minimum Wage includes guidance for people who are asked to complete unpaid work trials at the outset of employment.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 20 November 2018

Individuals on work trials who are asked to complete work for an employer are likely to be classed as ‘workers’ and are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Work trials may only be unpaid if they are part of a genuine recruitment exercise. An unpaid trial work period lasting a few hours may be reasonable and legal, but an unpaid work trial lasting more than one day is probably excessive and therefore illegal in all but exceptional circumstances. The Government has consulted with employers and trade unions on how to ensure greater clarity and better practice over work trials. We have just finalised new guidance that will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 190917 | 190919
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 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work: Working Hours
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's definition is of the word excessive in relation to the number of hours people are asked to complete for unpaid work trials.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 20 November 2018

Individuals on work trials who are asked to complete work for an employer are likely to be classed as ‘workers’ and are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Work trials may only be unpaid if they are part of a genuine recruitment exercise. An unpaid trial work period lasting a few hours may be reasonable and legal, but an unpaid work trial lasting more than one day is probably excessive and therefore illegal in all but exceptional circumstances. The Government has consulted with employers and trade unions on how to ensure greater clarity and better practice over work trials. We have just finalised new guidance that will be published in due course.

Grouped Questions: 190917 | 190918
Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Saudi Arabia: Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what guidance the Government provides to (a) Saudi-based UK military personnel and (b) private contractors to the MoD under Saudi armed forces project on reporting suspicions of violations of international humanitarian law.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 31 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

Military personnel, wherever they are serving, would be expected to report any concerns about possible violations of international humanitarian law through submissions to their chain of command.

We expect any UK-contractors providing support under the Saudi Armed Forces Projects who might witness or otherwise receive information on violations of international humanitarian law to report it through their companies.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 89
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100