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
(Blackpool 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: 17 June 2019
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to publish the timetable for the independent review of the Prevent programme.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 20 June 2019

Work is underway to appoint the Independent Reviewer of the Prevent Strategy, define the Terms of Reference for the Review, and to recruit a secretariat to support this work. The House will be informed of the arrangements for the Review, including the Reviewer and the Terms of Reference, by 12 August 2019, as required by the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. The final report, recommendations and the Government response are due by August 2020.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 11 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Doctors: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of the number of people undertaking doctoral training.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The Government’s target to reach a total of 2.4% of GDP invested in R&D by 2027 will mean increasing the numbers of highly trained people working in research and innovation including those undertaking doctoral training.

Business-academia collaborations, decisions by internationally mobile companies to locate their R&D functions in the UK and the development of industrial clusters of companies all rely on access to pools of talented researchers. In addition, industrial clusters, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, are often co-located in regions where there are also high quality research intensive universities. This co-location enables the flow of graduates and post-graduates between institutions and companies.

More broadly, a 2015 review on the impacts of doctoral training found that the overwhelming majority of doctoral graduates continued to be involved in the creation of new knowledge, innovation and development of new products and processes, both in the academic and business sectors. Employers highly valued the specialists knowledge and problem-solving skills possessed by doctoral graduates. https://www.ukri.org/files/skills/full-report-idc-pdf/

Q
(Blackpool 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: 11 June 2019
Treasury
London Capital and Finance
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to establish an ad hoc compensation scheme for people affected by the collapse of London Capital and Finance.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 17 June 2019

The administrators for London Capital & Finance (LCF) are currently estimating recoveries for investors affected by LCF’s failure.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), as the compensation scheme of last resort, can only provide compensation for claims connected with certain types of regulated activities. They are working closely with LCF’s administrators and the Financial Conduct Authority to understand more about LCF’s activities and whether there are grounds for compensation.

If there are circumstances that give rise to potentially valid claims, the FSCS will communicate this on their website. They have invited LCF investors to register for updates on their website. More information on this can be found at https://www.fscs.org.uk/failed-firms/lcf/.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 11 June 2019
Treasury
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making mini-bonds subject to the provisions of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 17 June 2019

On 23 May, the Treasury formally directed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to launch an independent investigation into the events at London Capital & Finance (LCF), a mini-bond issuer that entered administration on 30 January 2018, and approved the FCA’s appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to lead it.

Alongside the independent investigation, the Government announced it would review a number of the wider policy questions raised by the events at LCF.

Grouped Questions: 263059
Q
(Blackpool 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: 11 June 2019
Treasury
Investment: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing Government regulations on mini-bonds.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 17 June 2019

On 23 May, the Treasury formally directed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to launch an independent investigation into the events at London Capital & Finance (LCF), a mini-bond issuer that entered administration on 30 January 2018, and approved the FCA’s appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to lead it.

Alongside the independent investigation, the Government announced it would review a number of the wider policy questions raised by the events at LCF.

Grouped Questions: 263058
Q
(Blackpool 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: 17 June 2019
Home Office
Higher Education: Radicalism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government plans to redraft the Higher Education Prevent Duty Guidance following the Court of Appeal’s verdict that paragraph 11 is unlawful; and if he will consult with organisations from the higher education sector on that redraft.
Q
(Blackpool 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 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Postgraduate Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions has he had with (a) university groups and (b) UK Research and Innovation on the sustainability of current funding for PHD qualifications.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 13 June 2019

I regularly meet with universities, university groups and UKRI to discuss a number of issues. The government’s target to reach a total of 2.4% of GDP invested in R&D by 2027 will mean increasing the numbers of highly trained people working in research and innovation, including PhD graduates. In 2017/18, UKRI’s direct funding was supporting around 22,000 studentships, about 22% of the UK total. In addition, Research England’s QR Research Degree Programme (RDP) supervision fund provides more than £250 million of annual funding contributing to the costs that universities face in supervising research degree programmes.

In many cases, this investment is also made in partnership, leveraging further support from higher education institutions and industry to maximise the impact from the public investment. For example, in 2019, UKRI invested £100m in 16 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in Artificial Intelligence, based at 14 UK universities with 300 partners. Project partners are investing £78 million in cash or in-kind contributions and partner universities are committing a further £23 million, resulting in an overall investment of more than £200 million.

Given the large commitments partner universities make to these investments, we are mindful of the need to maintain sustainability. UKRI is currently developing a plan for the delivery of the government’s 2.4% target with stakeholders to ensure that we not only achieve these ambitious targets but do so in a manner that is sustainable and ensure long-term impact.

Q
(Blackpool 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 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Technology: Postgraduate Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK economy of the Government's Industrial Strategy proposals to increase the number of people undertaking a high-tech PhD.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 13 June 2019

The Government has made significant progress in delivering our Industrial Strategy commitments. Through the Industrial Strategy, the Government has committed to increasing overall investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and 3% in the longer term.

In order to reach the 2.4% R&D target, we need to continue to attract, retain and develop research talent. This is why the government is investing in talent programmes delivered by the National Academies and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The Government has increased its investments in PhDs to support the delivery of this target and the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges including:

  • In 2017, we announced funding of £300m over four years to increase the number of PhDs and fellowship programmes which will develop research talent and attract the brightest minds to the UK.
  • In April 2018, we announced a sector deal between government and industry that will put the UK at the forefront of the AI industry. As part of this, UKRI has invested £100m in 16 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) to support 1000 new AI PhDs.

Alongside this, UKRI invests in CDTs more broadly, including the recent £446m investment in 75 CDTs across the engineering and physical sciences.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 23 May 2019
Department for Education
Hadlow College
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the insolvency of Hadlow College, what discussions (a) he and (b) the Education and Skills Funding Agency has had with (i) staff and (ii) student representatives at Hadlow College on protecting learner provision for existing students.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Students are at the heart of the new education administration regime: its primary objective is to avoid or minimise disruption to the studies of existing students.

During the education administration, Hadlow College will continue to operate as usual and communications with students and staff have been a priority. The administrators have led communications with staff, including briefing sessions, a letter to all staff and a meeting with the University and College Union.

We understand from administrators that there are no student representatives other than the student governors. Therefore, in discussion with college management, the administrators have decided to communicate to students mostly through teachers as it was felt that this approach was least disruptive. College staff have been actively encouraged to update and answer questions from their students. The college also wrote to existing students, parents and guardians and prospective students to assure them that classes, exams and enrolments are continuing as normal. Students have been encouraged to submit queries either directly to the college communications team or via their teachers.

Earlier this year, we established a panel of insolvency practitioners to work on further education (FE) insolvencies, following a procurement process which, among other things, looked at FE sector experience. The firm appointed for Hadlow College’s insolvency is BDO, which has experience of the FE sector. Additionally, the administrators can draw on a wide range of other education expertise, including governors and staff at the college, the FE Commissioner’s team and the wider sector.

Grouped Questions: 257650
Q
(Blackpool 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: 23 May 2019
Department for Education
Hadlow College
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the insolvency of Hadlow College, what steps he will take to ensure that the education administrator appointed will have a broad knowledge of the further education sector.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Students are at the heart of the new education administration regime: its primary objective is to avoid or minimise disruption to the studies of existing students.

During the education administration, Hadlow College will continue to operate as usual and communications with students and staff have been a priority. The administrators have led communications with staff, including briefing sessions, a letter to all staff and a meeting with the University and College Union.

We understand from administrators that there are no student representatives other than the student governors. Therefore, in discussion with college management, the administrators have decided to communicate to students mostly through teachers as it was felt that this approach was least disruptive. College staff have been actively encouraged to update and answer questions from their students. The college also wrote to existing students, parents and guardians and prospective students to assure them that classes, exams and enrolments are continuing as normal. Students have been encouraged to submit queries either directly to the college communications team or via their teachers.

Earlier this year, we established a panel of insolvency practitioners to work on further education (FE) insolvencies, following a procurement process which, among other things, looked at FE sector experience. The firm appointed for Hadlow College’s insolvency is BDO, which has experience of the FE sector. Additionally, the administrators can draw on a wide range of other education expertise, including governors and staff at the college, the FE Commissioner’s team and the wider sector.

Grouped Questions: 257649
Q
(Blackpool 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: 23 May 2019
Department for Education
Higher Education: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to introduce the teaching excellence framework by subject level for the 2019-20 academic year.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Dame Shirley Pearce is currently conducting an independent review of the operation of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), as required by section 26 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. She has spent several months collecting evidence through a “call for views” and an extensive series of listening sessions and we expect her to report in the summer. Alongside the review, the Office for Students (OfS) has been carrying out the second year of a pilot of subject-level TEF. This will conclude shortly and the OfS will publish its findings. We will await Dame Shirley’s recommendations, and take account of the evidence from the subject-level TEF pilot, before making a decision on the next phase of the TEF.

Grouped Questions: 257652
Q
(Blackpool 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: 23 May 2019
Department for Education
Higher Education: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the timeframe is for the publication of the report on the independent review of the teaching excellence framework.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Dame Shirley Pearce is currently conducting an independent review of the operation of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), as required by section 26 of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. She has spent several months collecting evidence through a “call for views” and an extensive series of listening sessions and we expect her to report in the summer. Alongside the review, the Office for Students (OfS) has been carrying out the second year of a pilot of subject-level TEF. This will conclude shortly and the OfS will publish its findings. We will await Dame Shirley’s recommendations, and take account of the evidence from the subject-level TEF pilot, before making a decision on the next phase of the TEF.

Grouped Questions: 257651
Q
(Blackpool South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 21 May 2019
Department for Education
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason Government funding was withdrawn for the Quality Assurance Agency's regulatory and Quality Assurance licensing of Access Validating Agency's for the new academic year 2019-20.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 04 June 2019

Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the Office for Students cannot pay the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to regulate or quality assure Access Validating Agency’s or Access to Higher Education Courses beyond 31 July 2019.

The department has spoken with the QAA to discuss how it is adapting to the conclusion of these historic contracts and will hold further discussions later in the year.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 16 May 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when his Department plans to publish the Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2018.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 21 May 2019

The timetable for this year's Apprenticeship Pay Survey has been adjusted to allow the survey to be merged with the department's Apprenticeship Evaluation Survey. Apprenticeship Pay Survey fieldwork has been completed, and reporting is underway. The government will publish results in due course.

Q
(Blackpool 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: 16 May 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of (a) universities and (b) the education sector on sharing data on an applicant's (i) pupil premium status and (ii) ethnicity directly with universities for the purpose of widening access and participation in higher education.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Widening access and participation in higher education is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

We have made real progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in higher education. However, we know that more needs to be done to maximise the potential of the talent of future applicants to higher education courses, so it is vital that we build on this progress.

Higher education providers need to use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage in order to effectively address disparities in access and participation in higher education. We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as POLAR, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) multiple equality measure and participation in outreach activities.

To this end, we are working with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.

We want institutions to consider a broad range of information in their offers, including the context in which a student’s results were achieved. We are committed to helping universities progress in their efforts to improve access and successful participation for under-represented groups.

Grouped Questions: 255278 | 255279 | 255280
Q
(Blackpool 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: 16 May 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) the Office for Students and (b) UCAS on the transmission of data on an applicant's (i) pupil premium status and (ii) ethnicity directly to universities for the purpose widening access and participation in higher education.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Widening access and participation in higher education is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

We have made real progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in higher education. However, we know that more needs to be done to maximise the potential of the talent of future applicants to higher education courses, so it is vital that we build on this progress.

Higher education providers need to use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage in order to effectively address disparities in access and participation in higher education. We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as POLAR, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) multiple equality measure and participation in outreach activities.

To this end, we are working with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.

We want institutions to consider a broad range of information in their offers, including the context in which a student’s results were achieved. We are committed to helping universities progress in their efforts to improve access and successful participation for under-represented groups.

Grouped Questions: 255277 | 255279 | 255280
Q
(Blackpool 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: 16 May 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of how additional indicators of a pupil's disadvantage and under-representation in higher education can be made accessible to universities in order to widen participation and help such pupils access work.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Widening access and participation in higher education is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

We have made real progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in higher education. However, we know that more needs to be done to maximise the potential of the talent of future applicants to higher education courses, so it is vital that we build on this progress.

Higher education providers need to use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage in order to effectively address disparities in access and participation in higher education. We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as POLAR, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) multiple equality measure and participation in outreach activities.

To this end, we are working with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.

We want institutions to consider a broad range of information in their offers, including the context in which a student’s results were achieved. We are committed to helping universities progress in their efforts to improve access and successful participation for under-represented groups.

Grouped Questions: 255277 | 255278 | 255280
Q
(Blackpool 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: 16 May 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Admissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of the extent to which sharing data on additional indicators of an applicant’s disadvantage and under-representation in higher education, including pupil premium status, free school meals eligibility and ethnicity can enable universities to make further progress on widening access and participation in higher education.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Widening access and participation in higher education is a priority for this government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in higher education should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background or where they grew up.

We have made real progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in higher education. However, we know that more needs to be done to maximise the potential of the talent of future applicants to higher education courses, so it is vital that we build on this progress.

Higher education providers need to use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage in order to effectively address disparities in access and participation in higher education. We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as POLAR, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) multiple equality measure and participation in outreach activities.

To this end, we are working with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.

We want institutions to consider a broad range of information in their offers, including the context in which a student’s results were achieved. We are committed to helping universities progress in their efforts to improve access and successful participation for under-represented groups.

Grouped Questions: 255277 | 255278 | 255279
Q
(Blackpool 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: 08 May 2019
Treasury
UK Asset Resolution
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the safeguards and mechanisms put in place by his Department and the Financial Conduct Authority between 2012 and 2018 in respect of the sale of UKAR loans to ensure that loan holders were able to transfer or get better terms from other regulated lenders instead of those companies to whom AKAR had sold their loans.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 13 May 2019

Customers have always been protected in UKAR asset sales. The government and UKAR consider the fair treatment of customers a priority for all asset sales and have always included customer protections in line with or that exceeded industry best practice for transactions of this nature.

Bidders were required to agree to customer protections, which were non-negotiable, before the bids were assessed on price. These protections included: adherence to the Financial Conduct Authority’s principle of Treating Customers Fairly; where customers were on Standard Variable Rate mortgages, purchasers were restricted in the changes they could make to the Standard Variable Rate for 12 months; and, mortgage books that were sold had to be administered by Financial Conduct Authority regulated companies, and no changes could be made to the terms and conditions of any of the loans that had been sold.

In addition to requiring bidders to agree to the protections outlined above, UKAR undertake due diligence on bidders, their proposed servicers and legal title holders of the loans to ensure that they have the necessary policies, procedures and governance in place to treat customers fairly.

The details of all NRAM mortgage sales can be found on gov.uk. Both active and non-active lenders are invited to participate in UKAR sales to ensure a competitive process. In relation to the latest asset sale, UKAR’s advisors proactively invited the top 25 active lenders to participate. Notwithstanding this, UKAR have not received a bid from an active lender that covered the full portfolio of assets being sold.

Whether to offer customers new mortgage products is a commercial decision for lenders and government does not intervene in individual cases.

That said, the government welcomes the voluntary agreement entered into last year by UK Finance working with the FCA. Under this agreement, 59 authorised lenders representing 93 per cent of the UK’s residential mortgage market have agreed common standards to help existing borrowers on reversion rates who are up-to-date with repayments but, because of stricter affordability criteria, are currently ineligible, to move to an alternative product provided by their lender, where said lender is able to offer alternative products.

HM Treasury has also worked closely with the FCA on their Mortgages Market Study and their planned changes to affordability assessments. These changes remove the regulatory barriers which previously might have prevented borrowers from accessing new mortgage deals, regardless of whether they are with active or inactive lenders. HM Treasury will continue to work closely with the FCA once the changes to their rules are implemented, to monitor the impact this will have on the market.

Grouped Questions: 251932 | 251933 | 251934
Q
(Blackpool 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: 08 May 2019
Treasury
UK Asset Resolution
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment (a) his Department and (b) the Financial Conduct Authority have made of the legal responsibility of TSB and other banks whose organisation or subsidiary have bought loans from UKAR to allow people who had such loans but are not their customers to transfer or switch to another mortgage loan provider.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 13 May 2019

Customers have always been protected in UKAR asset sales. The government and UKAR consider the fair treatment of customers a priority for all asset sales and have always included customer protections in line with or that exceeded industry best practice for transactions of this nature.

Bidders were required to agree to customer protections, which were non-negotiable, before the bids were assessed on price. These protections included: adherence to the Financial Conduct Authority’s principle of Treating Customers Fairly; where customers were on Standard Variable Rate mortgages, purchasers were restricted in the changes they could make to the Standard Variable Rate for 12 months; and, mortgage books that were sold had to be administered by Financial Conduct Authority regulated companies, and no changes could be made to the terms and conditions of any of the loans that had been sold.

In addition to requiring bidders to agree to the protections outlined above, UKAR undertake due diligence on bidders, their proposed servicers and legal title holders of the loans to ensure that they have the necessary policies, procedures and governance in place to treat customers fairly.

The details of all NRAM mortgage sales can be found on gov.uk. Both active and non-active lenders are invited to participate in UKAR sales to ensure a competitive process. In relation to the latest asset sale, UKAR’s advisors proactively invited the top 25 active lenders to participate. Notwithstanding this, UKAR have not received a bid from an active lender that covered the full portfolio of assets being sold.

Whether to offer customers new mortgage products is a commercial decision for lenders and government does not intervene in individual cases.

That said, the government welcomes the voluntary agreement entered into last year by UK Finance working with the FCA. Under this agreement, 59 authorised lenders representing 93 per cent of the UK’s residential mortgage market have agreed common standards to help existing borrowers on reversion rates who are up-to-date with repayments but, because of stricter affordability criteria, are currently ineligible, to move to an alternative product provided by their lender, where said lender is able to offer alternative products.

HM Treasury has also worked closely with the FCA on their Mortgages Market Study and their planned changes to affordability assessments. These changes remove the regulatory barriers which previously might have prevented borrowers from accessing new mortgage deals, regardless of whether they are with active or inactive lenders. HM Treasury will continue to work closely with the FCA once the changes to their rules are implemented, to monitor the impact this will have on the market.

Grouped Questions: 251931 | 251933 | 251934
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