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
(Kensington)
[N]
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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 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Coroners
Commons
What his policy is on the provision of legal aid for inquests.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 23 April 2019

We published our review of legal aid for inquests on 7 February. The evidence confirmed the inquest process should remain about fact finding and establishing the truth rather than apportioning blame.

We are working on raising the awareness of legal aid for representation at inquests by publishing new guidance for bereaved people. Legal aid for inquests is available through the Exceptional Case Funding scheme, and we are working to simplify the application process for this.

We are committed to ensuring bereaved families are properly supported and able to participate in the inquest process. We believe families should be at the heart of the coronial process.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 23 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Prime Minister's letter to Sir Martin Moore Bick of 10 May 2018 announcing her intention to appoint two additional panel members to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for Phase 2, and the Grenfell Tower inquiry's subsequent update on 17 April 2019 explaining that preliminary work, for Phase 2 has already started, if he will appoint the two additional panel members to the Grenfell Tower inquiry.
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 18 April 2019
Prime Minister
Grenfell Tower: Fires
Commons
To ask the Prime Minister, if she will set a date for the meeting she agreed to with bereaved Grenfell families four months ago.
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Home Office
Members: Correspondence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to reply to my letter dated 28 January 2019 on a visa application for a young person bereaved by the Grenfell Tower fire.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 04 April 2019

A reply was sent on 1 April.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate his Department has made of the average length of time taken for consideration of a case of deprivation of citizenship has been in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 04 April 2019

We do not hold data required to answer the question in the requested format.

Grouped Questions: 238381
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 28 March 2019
Home Office
British Nationality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate his Department has made of the maximum length of time taken for consideration of a case of deprivation of citizenship since 2010.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 04 April 2019

We do not hold data required to answer the question in the requested format.

Grouped Questions: 238380
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 21 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the proportion of (a) employment and support allowance, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) universal credit claimants who have (i) accepted and (ii) not accepted that her Department has taken into account their personal circumstances when deciding upon the claimant commitments which apply to their claim.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 29 March 2019

As part of the process of making a claim, all JSA (including New Style), New Style ESA and Universal Credit claimants discuss and agree a claimant commitment statement as part of the conditions of their claim.

The Department does not hold information on the reasons why a claimant commitment is or is not accepted by the claimant. Where a claimant commitment is not accepted, for any reason, a claim cannot be made, unless reasonable adjustments apply.

The reasonable requirements in a Claimant Commitment are based on the appropriate conditionality group for the claimant, and the Work Coach is able to tailor the requirements to include adjustments or easements for personal circumstances. If a claimant and their Work Coach are unable to agree on the reasonable requirements in their claimant commitment, they can request another Work Coach to review this.

Q
(Kensington)
[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: 26 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS
Commons
What recent assessment he has made of the effect on the NHS of the UK leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 26 March 2019

As a responsible Government, we are continuing to prepare for all eventualities. We have put detailed ‘no deal’ contingency plans in place for the continuity of supply of medicines and medical products, continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements, and the health and social care workforce.

We recognise that a ‘no deal’ exit would affect a wide range of areas across the health and care system, and the Department is working hard to mitigate these risks.

We are asking the National Health Service, and everyone in the health and social care system, to continue their planning. We are confident that if everyone does what they need to do, the potential risks of leaving without a deal can be mitigated successfully.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Work Capability Assessment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People of 22 January 2019, Official Report, column 106WH on the satisfaction ratings of disability benefit claimants, if she will commission independent research on the satisfaction rates of claimants who have recently undergone a work capability assessment.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

Research with claimants who have recently undergone a Work Capability Assessment is undertaken by a different organisation to the provider delivering the assessments. The telephone survey is voluntary and is based on a set of questions agreed with the department.

The Department also undertakes its own survey which is designed to monitor claimant satisfaction with the services offered by the department and to enable claimant views to inform improvements to the delivery of benefits and services. This information is published on gov.uk.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 30 May 2018 to Question 146988 on the revised wording of the ESA65B letters sent to employment support allowance claimants’ GPs, on what date the meeting took place at which the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to that revised wording.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to the revised wording of the ESA65B on 4 August 2016.

The Department is committed to ensuring all of its communications are clear, accurate and understandable and we continuously improve our letters. We engage regularly with the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities and take into account all of the feedback we receive.

We have received comments from a number of sources including MPs, stakeholder organisations and GPs on the current version of the ESA65B letter and will take all of their feedback into account when revising it.

Grouped Questions: 228790
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will consult the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities on the wording of the ESA65B letter to claimants’ GPs after a Work Capability Assessment that finds them fit for work.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to the revised wording of the ESA65B on 4 August 2016.

The Department is committed to ensuring all of its communications are clear, accurate and understandable and we continuously improve our letters. We engage regularly with the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities and take into account all of the feedback we receive.

We have received comments from a number of sources including MPs, stakeholder organisations and GPs on the current version of the ESA65B letter and will take all of their feedback into account when revising it.

Grouped Questions: 228789
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 25 February 2019
Cabinet Office
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has spent on legal representation for (a) bereaved, (b) survivor and (c) local resident core participants since the inquiry was set up.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 04 March 2019

The independent Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry is committed to publishing its costs on a regular basis. Costs for Phase 1 will be published once Phase 1 has completed.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 21 February 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste: Exports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of waste exporters who have not demonstrated that the importer of their waste operates to human health and environmental protection standards that are broadly equivalent to the standards within the EU.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 28 February 2019

There is a system of international rules on waste shipments. The UK is a Party to the United Nations Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The Convention provides a global system for controlling the export of hazardous wastes and wastes collected from households. The requirements of the Basel Convention have been implemented in UK law by the EU Waste Shipment Regulations (Regulation (EC) 1013/2006) and the UK Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007. The legislation requires that those involved in the shipment of waste take all necessary steps to ensure waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling or recovery.

In 2017 the Environment Agency (EA) inspected over 1,000 shipping containers and returned 367 of these to their site of loading. This stopped over 7,000 tonnes of waste not fit for export at ports, and they also prevented nearly 9,000 tonnes of waste from reaching ports.

As part of the Producer Responsibility system for packaging, WEEE and batteries waste streams, the EA is informed annually about the overseas sites exporters intend to use. Companies exporting to non-EU and non-OECD countries are asked to provide evidence that each overseas re-processor is suitably permitted and operates to broadly equivalent standards. Follow up assessment by the EA may include discussions with the competent overseas authority and the other devolved agencies. A list of acceptable evidence to support broadly equivalent standards has been created from this process. The list is regularly reviewed and shared externally with operators to ensure a consistent approach. As a result of our assessment, 95 overseas sites were refused approval for 2018.

The agency uses a wide range of sources of intelligence to create a risk profile of these exporters which feeds into our compliance monitoring programme of visits and desk top monitoring. In 2017, 3.9m Tonnes (around 40%) of the estimated 10m Tonnes of Green List waste exported from the UK was exported by accredited packaging exporters, and subject to these checks.

We recognise we need to do more to eliminate improperly-handled exports of wastes. Firstly, we need to grow our domestic waste industry so that we can handle more of it at home, reducing exports as far as possible. Secondly, we need to ensure strict controls are in place so that the waste we do have to export is dealt with properly.

As part of the recently published Resources and Waste Strategy, Defra has committed to reviewing the regulatory framework covering waste exports. This will review the quality of exports for recycling and ensure that exports of all wastes are recycled at sites operating to equivalent standards to those required in the UK. The review is scheduled to take place this year and will consider options for the mandatory submission of ‘Annex VII’ paperwork (details of the waste being exported and all parties involved in its shipment and recovery overseas) in advance of shipments taking place. The review will also look at any associated IT systems required and charges needed for compliance monitoring activity.

Other measures that we are developing include improved provision for waste repatriation, and charging higher fees to improve compliance. These changes aim to ensure any waste we do send abroad is fit for recycling and that it is recycled to equivalent standards as required in the UK. This should create a more level playing field for domestic recyclers as well as reducing the chances of exported waste being mishandled.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 20 February 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2019 to Question 215257, on NHS: drugs, what information his Department holds on the level of medicine shortages in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 26 February 2019

Medicines shortages are a routine issue that the Department constantly manages. The Department works closely with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the pharmaceutical industry, NHS England and others operating in the supply chain to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise.

The Department receives regular reports from the pharmaceutical industry about impending medicine supply issues that may affect United Kingdom patients. From January 2019, it became a mandatory requirement that the pharmaceutical industry must report this information to us in a timely manner. However, not all the issues of which the Department are notified will result in a medicine shortage as the supply team will work behind the scenes using a host of tools to help mitigate and prevent an issue from impacting patients.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 13 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
USA: INF Treaty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the US administration on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty since the US has suspended its obligations to that treaty.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 February 2019

We have been discussing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the US for a number of years as part of our continuous dialogue on security issues. The US also initiated a series of meetings on INF with close Allies in 2017 and 2018, during which we discussed the US approach and exchanged detailed information on the Russian violation and how we might best achieve our shared policy objectives.

We support the US decision to suspend its participation in the INF Treaty and start the treaty's formal withdrawal process. A situation whereby the US was fully abiding by the INF Treaty and Russia was not, was not sustainable. Following the US announcement, NATO issued a statement declaring full support for US action and urging Russia to use the six month withdrawal period to return to full and verifiable compliance to preserve the INF Treaty.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 13 February 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: INF Treaty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Russian Government on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty since the US suspended its obligations to that treaty.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 20 February 2019

NATO Allies first expressed concerns about Russian non-compliance with its INF Treaty obligations in 2014. In the last two years, there has been an intensification of Allied activity to encourage Russia to return to compliance.

We have not discussed INF directly with Russia since the US, and subsequently Russia, suspended their participation in the Treaty. However, we and our Allies stated our shared concerns during the NATO-Russia Council in late January.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 13 February 2019
Ministry of Defence
USA: INF Treaty
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if the Government will commit to not allowing US cruise missiles to be based in the UK after the US has suspended its obligations from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.
A
Answered by: Gavin Williamson
Answered on: 19 February 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Europe and the Americas (Sir Alan Duncan) on 12 February 2019 to Question 217100 to the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr Lloyd Russell-Moyle).

217100 - USA: Nuclear Weapons (Word Document, 22.07 KB)
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 13 February 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Radioactive Waste: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to monitor the import of nuclear waste to the UK after the UK has left Euratom.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 19 February 2019

Under any exit scenario, shipments of radioactive waste and spent fuel will continue to be supervised and controlled by the respective environment agencies of the UK when the UK leaves the EU. The UK will continue to meet its obligations for the reporting of import and export of radioactive waste under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, to which the UK is a Contracting Party, and as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In a deal scenario, the Withdrawal Agreement includes an agreement with the EU that provisions of Euratom will continue to apply in the UK during the implementation period until the end of 2020, including the movement of radioactive waste and spent fuel. If a deal is reached, future arrangements in relation to the movement of radioactive waste and spent fuel will be subject to negotiation with the European Union on our future relationship.

If the UK does not reach a deal with the EU, the Government has put in place regulations, the Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) 2019 Regulations, to regulate the shipment of radioactive waste. These Regulations broadly replicate the existing 2008 Regulations of the same name and will apply the current procedures for third countries to EU member states.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 31 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the frequency with which pharmacies and hospitals experience drug shortages.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 February 2019

The production of medicines is complex and highly regulated and materials and processes must meet rigorous safety and quality standards.

The Department has well established processes to manage and mitigate the small number of medicines shortages that may arise due to manufacturing or distribution issues.

It should be noted that over two million prescription items are dispensed in England every day and the vast majority are not subject to supply problems.

Our number one priority is to ensure the continued supply of medicines which is why we continue to work closely with industry and partners in the health system to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised when they do arise.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 08 January 2019
Ministry of Defence
Nuclear Reactors: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on what dates safety cases for the operation of the PWR2 Steam Raising Plant were submitted by his Department for regulatory approval.
A
Answered by: Stuart Andrew
Answered on: 16 January 2019

The PWR2 Naval Reactor Safety Case is a live document which is maintained through-life to justify and ensure continued safe operation of the reactors in our submarines. It is a requirement that a major stand alone review of each Safety Case is undertaken at approximately ten-year intervals. The last periodic full review was completed in 2014.

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