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: 29 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Blood: Donors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the rules are on blood donations for men who have sex with men who also use PrEP.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 02 May 2019

NHS Blood and Transplant implements a three-month deferral period for men who have sex with men, irrespective of whether an individual routinely takes pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk against infection with HIV. This deferral period is based on expert independent advice, provided by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, to protect donors and the patients who receive donated blood.

At a population level, men who have sex with men have a higher risk of acquiring a blood-borne virus or a sexually transmitted disease. Using PrEP can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV but it does not eliminate it. PrEP also does not reduce the risk of an individual becoming infected by other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and hepatitis, and subsequently transmitting these infections through donated blood.

NHS Blood and Transplant appreciates that any deferral is disappointing if an individual would like to save lives by giving blood. NHS Blood and Transplant is currently working with LGBT+ groups to explore more individualised assessments and hope to report their findings towards the end of 2020.

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: 02 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the recent report of the Electoral Commission into the activities of Vote Leave, whether the Government has plans to set up a judge-led public inquiry to investigate the alleged fraud committed by Vote Leave during the EU referendum 2016.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 24 April 2019

There are no plans to establish a public inquiry. The independent Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. It regulates the spending of, and donations and loans, to political parties and other campaigners.

It is not acceptable for any organisation to breach electoral procedures – and it is regrettable that fines have been levied on multiple groups on both sides of the referendum campaigns. Pro-Remain groups outspent pro-Leave groups by £4 million in the referendum campaign.

With 17.4 million votes to leave the European Union, more people voted for Brexit than have ever voted for anything else in the United Kingdom. Almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the referendum. The result was a bigger popular vote than won by any government in history. The will of the British people must be respected and delivered. The public delivered a clear verdict and that is what the Government is implementing.

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 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it Government policy to revoke Article 50 as a result of (a) the recent report of the Electoral Commission into the activities of Vote Leave, and (b) Vote Leave's decision to drop its appeal against alleged fraud committed during the EU referendum in 2016.
A
Corrected answer by: Chloe Smith
Corrected on: 23 April 2019
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 15 April 2019.
The correct answer should have been:

The consultation Protecting the Debate: Intimidation, Influence and Information was launched last
year. We are currently reviewing the responses and we will issue a response in due course.

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The consultation Protecting the Debate: Intimidation, Influence and Information was launched last
year. We are currently reviewing the responses and we will issue a response in due course.

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 09 April 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Pipelines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on Nordstream 2.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 15 April 2019

​We have significant concerns about the Nordstream 2 pipeline. It is not necessary to meet future European demand for gas and could harm European energy security and the interests of Ukraine. For this reason, I regularly raise our concerns in discussions with key partners, including in the EU. I recently discussed this important issue with my Danish counterpart and will continue to raise it in such conversations.

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 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make it his policy to establish a public inquiry into the handling of UK nuclear submarine decommissioning.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 15 April 2019

We have no plans for a public inquiry.

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 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the conclusions of the Electoral Commission's report into the activities of Vote Leave and the alleged fraud committed during the EU referendum in 2016.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

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 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission since Vote Leave's decision to drop its appeal against electoral offences committed during the EU referendum in 2016.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

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 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has received representations from the Metropolitan Police in relation to its investigations into the alleged fraud committed by Vote Leave during the EU referendum in 2016.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 10 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Vote Leave: Election Offences
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the (a) recent report of the Electoral Commission into the activities of Vote Leave and (ii) alleged fraud committed by Vote Leave during the 2016 EU referendum.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Where it has reason to believe that electoral law has been breached it has the power to investigate, impose sanctions, or refer to the police. The Government has no involvement with Electoral Commission investigations. The Electoral Commission has produced recommendations on campaign finance which the Government is considering. These are not specific to individual cases but are about the wider system.

The Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn. The Government is committed to finding a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

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.

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