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
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 19 October 2018
Home Office
Armed Conflict: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assistance his Department has (a) requested and (b) received from the European Counter-Terrorism Centre on apprehending foreign fighters.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 20 November 2018

The Government values the role of Europol in helping law enforcement agencies coordinate investigations into serious and organised cross border crime and terrorism. That includes the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) which was set up in 2016 as an operations centre and hub of expertise for EU Member States at Europol. Since September 2017 the UK has embedded UK Police Officers within the ECTC and works closely with our European partners through the centre.

Information exchange between UK authorities and Europol is well-established and takes place on a daily and routine basis on a wide range of criminal activity. This includes information sharing to tackle the threat of terrorism and cooperation continues to assist UK efforts to tackle cross-border terrorist activity impacting on the UK.

We cannot comment specifically on the assistance that the Department has requested and received from the ECTC as this is operationally sensitive information.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 05 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that a claimant will not receive less money in benefits as a result of moving to universal credit under the managed migration process.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 16 November 2018

Welfare claimants whose circumstances remain the same will not see their benefit entitlement reduced as a direct result of being moved on to Universal Credit through managed migration, as they will receive transitional protection. This will ensure that claimants who are managed migrated will have total entitlement to Universal Credit that is at least as great had been their total entitlement to existing benefits at the point they are migrated, so safeguarding their benefit entitlement until their circumstances change.

Claimants whose entitlement is less in Universal Credit than their legacy entitlement will receive transitional protection to ensure their benefit allowance remains the same at the point of transition. The other claimants who are migrated onto Universal Credit as part of managed migration will receive the same or an increased entitlement as they receive on legacy benefits.

Additionally, we have announced that Tax Credits claimants with capital in excess of the £16,000 capital threshold will now receive a 12-month grace period during which they can receive transitional protection if eligible.

We have also announced that, from 16 January 2019, we will prevent those claimants who are, or have been within the past month entitled to an award of an existing benefit that includes a Severe Disability Premium (SDP), from naturally migrating to Universal Credit following a change of circumstances. These claimants will continue to receive the relevant legacy benefit(s) appropriate to their change of circumstance and will only move to Universal Credit via managed migration (and therefore be eligible to transitional protection), safeguarding their existing benefit entitlement.

We will also provide both an on-going monthly payment to eligible claimants who have already lost the SDP as a consequence of moving to Universal Credit and an additional monthly payment to cover the period since they moved. Eligibility for these payments will depend on a number of criteria being satisfied, which include whether the basic qualifying conditions for SDP continue to be met.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 01 November 2018
Home Office
UK Border Force: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional funding has been allocated to the Border Force at UK airports to ensure it is adequately funded after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 08 November 2018

BF received £91.7m ring-fenced funds from HM Treasury in 2018-19 to prepare for EU Exit. BF’s 2019-20 allocation for EU Exit is expected to be confirmed by HM Treasury before the start of the 2019-20 financial year.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 01 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions: Consumer Information
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to consult on proposals for mandatory participation in pensions dashboards by pension providers.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 08 November 2018

As set out in the Autumn Budget, The DWP will consult on the detailed design for pensions dashboards, and on how an industry-led approach could harness innovation while protecting consumers. As part of the consultation, due to be published shortly, the DWP will explore how to maximise the participation of pension schemes.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 30 October 2018
Home Office
Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effect of any differences in the definition of serious crime would have on (a) criminal justice and (b) police cooperation between the EU and the UK after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 07 November 2018

The Government has made a strong case for an ambitious and mutually beneficial future partnership with the EU that covers: mechanisms for rapid and secure data exchange, practical measures to support cross-border operational cooperation, and continued UK cooperation with EU law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

Negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU in the area of criminal justice and law enforcement cooperation is ongoing so we cannot pre-judge the outcome, but at this stage there is no reason to expect that differences in the definition of serious crime will be an issue.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Home Office
Passports: Biometrics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on UK citizens using ePassport gates after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 November 2018

We keep the border and immigration system under regular review however the Government has no plans to change the use of e-passport gates by UK citizens.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 29 October 2018
Home Office
UK Border Force: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of (a) the adequacy of the resourcing allocated to Border Force and (b) the effect of the UK leaving the EU on that resourcing.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 November 2018

Border Force will always ensure it has the necessary resources to keep the border secure and will respond flexibly to emerging requirements through ongoing assessments of operational needs.

Border Force has recruited a Readiness Task Force to provide operational resilience to the frontline and allow existing staff to undertake EU exit related training. The c.300 multi-disciplinary Border Force officers will be fully deployed by the end of the year.

An additional c.600 Border Force officers are being recruited in 2018/19 to respond to the new requirements it will face as a result of EU Exit and to provide resilience at key locations.

Q
(Torfaen)
[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
Burma: Politics and Government
Commons
What recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Myanmar.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 30 October 2018

The Foreign Secretary visited Burma in September, including Rakhine. The situation is grave. He met Aung San Suu Kyi and told her clear accountability for those responsible for atrocities was critical. The UK initiated the EU’s new sanctions on seven military commanders and a strengthened arms embargo. The Foreign Secretary told the Foreign Affairs Council we would likely need to take further action in response to the UN Fact Finding Mission report. We are now discussing options for further EU sanctions with member states, including whether to sanction the Commander-in-Chief and his Deputy.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 19 October 2018
Home Office
Counter-terrorism: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assistance his Department has (a) requested and (b) received from the European Counter-Terrorism Centre on removing online terrorist propaganda.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 29 October 2018

The UK continues to lead international efforts to prevent terrorist use of the internet. In the UK, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) refers content to online platforms that is assessed to contravene those platforms’ terms and conditions. Following referrals from CTIRU, online platforms have removed over 300,000 pieces of terrorist-related material since its inception in February 2010.


This successful model was replicated within the EU as a response to the international nature of the online threat. The UK was instrumental in the formation of the European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), which went live in July 2015 following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The EU IRU is one initiative of the European Counter-Terrorism Centre, part of Europol.


The UK continues to work closely with the EU and other international partners to push industry to take a more proactive approach to detecting and removing terrorist content from their platforms. The UK and the EU IRU share information, evidence and best practice on an ongoing basis to prevent terrorist use of the internet.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 19 October 2018
Home Office
Armed Conflict: British Nationals Abroad
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Directive 2017/541 on apprehending foreign fighters under Article 9 of that Directive.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 29 October 2018

The UK did not opt in to Directive 2017/541 on combating terrorism. UK effec-tiveness on combating terrorism and countering travelling for the purpose of terrorism, as referred to by Article 9 of Directive 2017/541 is not governed through this EU legislation. The UK already has strong domestic legislation in place and opting in would not have increased further public protection.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 19 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the process is for an appeal against the findings of a Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency investigation.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 26 October 2018

The Cavity Insultation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), an independent commercial organisation, has a standardised customer journey and resolution process which is detailed on their website: https://ciga.co.uk/consumer-concerns. Should a customer believe that CIGA staff have not followed this process they can raise a concern directly with the Chief Executive Officer or alternatively with CIGA’s Consumer Focus Non-Executive Director.

If a Guarantee has been issued, but CIGA have not responded in a manner that is satisfactory to the consumer, the guarantee allows for any dispute between the householder and CIGA to be referred to arbitration. The Independent Arbitration service for customers is provided by the independent Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). Their role is to provide a formal way to resolve disputes between CIGA or CIGA-registered installers and their customers, when other attempts to resolve a dispute have been unsuccessful.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 11 October 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Insulation: Sales Methods
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals for compulsory training to tackle the way companies sell cavity wall insulation to vulnerable people; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 23 October 2018

There are currently no plans to bring in new legislation relating to selling to vulnerable consumers. Trading Standards Officers can already take action against salesmen who use misleading practices and aggressive pressure selling, such as those that might be used by a seller seeking to exploit the elderly and disabled. Since the implementation of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 consumers have been able to take action against such traders to get their money back.

Beyond these regulations, my Department is working with industry to improve consumer protection for cavity wall insulation and other energy efficiency work by developing new standards and launching a more robust government endorsed quality scheme through TrustMark. This reflects the recommendations of the independent Each Home Counts review, which identified an important need for an independent, all-encompassing mark of quality that consumers can rely upon and trust.

The new quality scheme will be underpinned by rigorous standards and a code of conduct to tackle mis-selling, poor design and installation. This is a voluntary scheme for registered business delivering to households under the existing Government endorsed TrustMark scheme, but Government wants to encourage consumers to choose these trusted traders and for business to get on-board. In future, we intend to incorporate the quality mark as a requirement of Government schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Q
(Torfaen)
[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: 16 October 2018
Home Office
Airports: Biometrics
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to support trials of new biometric technologies at UK airports.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 22 October 2018

The Home Office continues to explore a range of digital options to improve the security and efficiency of our visa and border systems. These proposed changes are part of the government’s commitment to ensure the security of the UK border for the safety and benefit of customers and taxpayers.

Q
(Torfaen)
[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: 16 October 2018
Home Office
Airports: Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the effect on reducing immigration queuing times at airports allowing passengers from five eyes partner countries to use ePassport gates would have.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 22 October 2018

We keep our border and immigration system under regular review to understand what changes can made to improve the passenger experience without reducing border security.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Publications: Exports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to support the British comic book industry in overseas markets.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 16 October 2018

As part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal, the government has established an industry-led Trade and Investment Board, comprising members from across the creative industries - including the publishing sector which covers the british comic book industry - which will oversee development and delivery of an export strategy with ambitious targets. The Board’s trade activities have been supported by at least £4 million this financial year.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data the Government collects on the (a) number and (b) nature of unsolved crimes of fraud that have been reported to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Home Office collects data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, based at the City of London Police, on the number of recorded fraud offences reported to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre and on how these crimes have been resolved.

The most recently published data showing volumes of fraud recorded and type of resolutions are for the year ending March 2018 which are available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/740625/prc-fraud-open-data-march2018-tables.ods

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Home Office
Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to improve the rate of crimes reported to the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre that are solved.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Government has invested in a new IT analytics engine for the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre (formerly Action Fraud) and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The victim reporting process has been greatly improved through the implementation of a streamlined, more intuitive online portal for crime reporting.

The analytics engine within the NFIB has been significantly upgraded. This will lead to more reports being automatically scored, with more, higher quality disseminations to forces, and better identification of vulnerable victims. The system will also be linked live with forces, so data and intelligence can be shared in real time. We expect to see improvements in the quality and number of disseminations to forces and the ability of forces to investigate and feedback on how they have progressed investigations.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Prescription Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the report of the Drug Repurposing Group that was submitted to his Department in December 2017.
A
Answered by: Matt Hancock
Answered on: 16 October 2018

The Government will respond to the recommendations made in the Association of Medical Research Charities’ report - Facilitating adoption of off-patent, repurposed medicines into NHS clinical practice - in due course.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 08 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the adequacy of optimal care pathways for each of the less survivable cancers.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 16 October 2018

We are committed to improving the treatment and care of all cancers, including those that have historically poor outcomes. We recognise that progress in improving survival rates for these cancers has been slow and survival rates remain low. For many of these cancers we do not currently have the answer, and the focus needs to be on research and innovation, and ensuring that proven innovations, once they are discovered, are adopted swiftly across the health service. The National Health Service bases such advice on that provided from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Clinical commissioning groups and providers are encouraged to commission services in line with the latest NICE guidance.

In October 2018, the Government announced a package of measures that will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028. The plan will radically overhaul screening programmes, provide new investment in state of the art technology to transform the process of diagnosis, and boost research and innovation. For example, new targeted lung health check programmes will see people at risk of lung cancer offered smoking cessation interventions and enable more people to have curative treatment. This is part of the long-term plan for the NHS and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition of 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.

Q
(Torfaen)
Asked on: 21 August 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Rohingya: Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle religious persecution of the Rohingya.
A
Answered by: Mark Field
Answered on: 11 September 2018

The British Government continues to be deeply concerned by religious persecution and violence against Rohingya in Burma. The Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations reiterated the UK's concerns about the persecution faced by Rohingya when he chaired a meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 August. I called for the Burmese Government to take steps to create the conditions needed in Rakhine State for Rohingya to return in my meeting with the Burmese Ambassador on 11 July and in a call with the Burmese Minister for International Co-operation on 17 August. The British Embassy continues to support projects in Burma addressing the drivers of prejudice and inter-communal violence.

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