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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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)
[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.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Shipbuilding: River Clyde
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government plans to support the construction of a frigate factory on the River Clyde.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 30 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

The previously proposed Modern Dock Hall, referred to colloquially as the 'Frigate Factory', was thoroughly investigated by BAE Systems but ultimately they concluded that the cost and level of associated risk did not represent value for money. The Ministry of Defence was consulted and agreed with their conclusion.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy was clear that all Royal Navy warships will be built and integrated in the UK. The Type 26 frigates are being built on the Clyde, securing a total of 4,000 jobs across the UK supply chain and 20 years of work. Since 2010 this Government has invested more than £6 billion in shipbuilding in the UK, securing thousands of jobs. In 2018-19 we expect to spend in excess of £750 million supporting the fleet.

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: 30 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine: Politics and Government
Commons
What discussions he has had with his Ukrainian counterpart on the political and security situation in eastern Ukraine; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 30 October 2018

Russian aggression continues to destabilise the political and security situation in eastern Ukraine. On 15 October, the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed to Foreign Minister Klimkin our commitment to support Ukraine, including through Operation Orbital. They also discussed militarisation in the Sea of Azov, and the detention of Ukrainian political prisoners held illegally by Russia.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Military Intervention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether restrictions have been placed on the work of Saudi-based UK (a) military personnel and (b) private contractors to his Department, in relation to the (i) preparation, (ii) maintenance and (iii) operational use of air-delivered weapons used in the conflict in Yemen.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 29 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

UK-contracted personnel, including UK military personnel on secondment to BAE Systems, support the safe storage and issue of weapons from their place of storage to an end user, in accordance with long-standing government-to-government arrangements.

They do not load weapons for operations in Yemen, nor are they involved in the planning of operational sorties.

The UK Government operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what preparations his Department has made for the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 29 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

The Ministry of Defence continues to work closely with the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and other Government Departments to ensure that we can address the implications and realise the opportunities of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, including the effect on our Armed Forces.

Grouped Questions: 181294
Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government is taking to improve (a) housing and (b) lodgings for armed forces personnel.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 29 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

Quality accommodation is very important for Defence and a key enabler of operational capability. The Ministry of Defence continues to make improvements to the Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA) estate.

In addition to routine maintenance, we have invested in improving energy efficiency through the provision of new boilers, doors and windows, roofs, and external wall insulation.

Additionally, we have installed thousands of new kitchens and bathrooms to provide our Armed Forces and their families with modern facilities. The number of properties that meet the Government Decent Homes standard has increased significantly and now sits at more than 95% of our total stock.

The Single Living Accommodation Modernisation project, has been one of the largest new build and refurbishment projects in the UK and has delivered successful renovations and constructions on 52 locations from Scotland to Cornwall over the last 15 years with over £1.2 billion invested; and we continue to invest in both of these areas.

In parallel, we are developing new accommodation options for service personnel through the Future Accommodation Model programme.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Political Parties and Trade Unions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will review his Department's policy on the right of armed forces personnel to join a (a) trades union and (b) political party.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 29 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

Regular Armed Forces personnel may become members of civilian trade unions and political parties. Armed Forces personnel are however not permitted to participate in industrial action or take any active part in the affairs of political organisation, party or movement. Personnel are expected to abide by Queen's Regulations and act in accordance with Service values and standards.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 18 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the armed forces of the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 29 October 2018
Holding answer received on 26 October 2018

The Ministry of Defence continues to work closely with the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and other Government Departments to ensure that we can address the implications and realise the opportunities of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, including the effect on our Armed Forces.

Grouped Questions: 180805
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 October 2018
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make it his policy to waive fees charged for people applying for renewal of leave to remain.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 29 October 2018

Fees can be waived for applications for leave to remain and renewal of leave to remain in certain specified human rights categories. These are listed in the fee waiver: Human Rights–Based and other specified applica-tions guidance which can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Where the application fee is waived the biometric enrolment fee is also waived. The Government has no plans to introduce a general waiver from paying the biometric enrolment fee for applicants who are resubmitting their biometrics.

Grouped Questions: 183430
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 October 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: English Language
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make it his policy to abolish his Department's requirement for additional English language tests for applicants (a) seeking renewal of leave to remain and (b) who have already passed the first English language test.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 29 October 2018

We expect those coming to the UK on a family visa with only basic English to become more fluent over time, to support their integration.

A2 level English language requirement under the family Immigration Rules applies to applications for further temporary leave to remain as a partner or parent, after 30 months in the UK on a five-year route to settlement.

Tests that exceed the required A1 level on entry to the partner or parent route, met at A2 level or above, may be re-used at the next application stage.

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 October 2018
Home Office
Immigration: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make it his policy to waive fees charged to people who are re-submitting biometrics as part of their leave to remain application.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 29 October 2018

Fees can be waived for applications for leave to remain and renewal of leave to remain in certain specified human rights categories. These are listed in the fee waiver: Human Rights–Based and other specified applica-tions guidance which can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Where the application fee is waived the biometric enrolment fee is also waived. The Government has no plans to introduce a general waiver from paying the biometric enrolment fee for applicants who are resubmitting their biometrics.

Grouped Questions: 183420
Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 15 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence Police: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason the enhanced effective pension age of 60 years has not been introduced for Ministry of Defence Police Officers following a recent requirement for those officers to comply with College of Policing fitness standards.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 23 October 2018

Treasury and Cabinet Office Ministers have previously given consideration to the merits of introducing an enhanced effective pension age of 60 years for Ministry of Defence Police Officers, but have not been minded to make such a change on the grounds that this would conflict with a key principle of the Government pension reforms that increased longevity requires longer working lives.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Ministry of Defence
Territorial Waters: North Atlantic Ocean
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the security of UK waters in the North Atlantic.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 23 October 2018

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) keeps the security of UK waters in the North Atlantic under constant review, we consider the activity of both state and non-state actors. I shall not go into further detail for reasons of safeguarding national security. As part of NATO the MOD and the Royal Navy work seamlessly with Allies to keep our waters safe and secure.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 17 October 2018
Cabinet Office
Cybercrime
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to improve the UK’s cyber security.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 23 October 2018

The 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy sets out in detail the Government’s approach to improve the UK’s cyber security. This includes a wide range of measures to defend our people, deter our adversaries and develop the capabilities we need to ensure the UK remains the safest place to live and do business online.

One of the most visible elements of the strategy is the creation of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to improve our prevention and response capability and ensure that citizens and business have the best advice on how to protect themselves. For more on their role, the NCSC’s second Annual Review can be found at https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/annual-review-2018.

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