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 2019 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
(Christchurch)
Asked on: 11 February 2020
House of Commons Commission
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, on how many occasions since June 2019 reports have been made on the missing towel dispenser in the men's lavatory on the ground floor of Norman Shaw North; for what reasons no action has been taken in response to those reports; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 24 February 2020

Parliamentary Maintenance Services Team (PMST) has three recorded instances of this roller towel being reported to its Helpdesk – on 18/06/19, 09/09/19 and 16/10/19.

On each occasion a reactive works request was correctly raised and a tradesperson attended; however this particular roller towel is located in a stainless steel housing which means our standard roller towels do not fit so we were unable to resolve the issue on our initial visit and the requests were incorrectly closed.

PMST apologises for this oversight and is pleased to confirm that a new modified roller towel has now been installed. In addition PMST has reviewed its procedures to minimise any re-occurrence of reactive works requests being closed incorrectly.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 February 2020
House of Commons Commission
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission consulted the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards before making its recommendations of 10 February 2020 on the creation of an independent panel to consider complaints made against hon Members; and whether the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards supports the Commission's preferred option.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 24 February 2020

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (PCS) was fully consulted during the process of drawing up options for implementing the third Cox recommendation. The House of Commons Commission cannot speak on behalf of the PCS who is independent, but the option selected by the Commission was the one which commanded most widespread support during that consultation process, including from the PCS.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if her Department will support a referral to the Competition and Markets Authority of alleged unfair and anti-competitive practices by some owners and operators of residential park home sites in England; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 24 February 2020

The Government is committed to tackling consumer rip-offs and bad business practices. The Department is engaging with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to follow up the evidence gathered by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on park homes regarding alleged unfair practices. The Government plans to consult with the Consumer Protection Partnership to review this evidence and agree what actions can be taken. The Consumer Protection Partnership is a network bringing together consumer bodies covering all aspects of consumer protection and includes the Competition and Markets Authority as a member.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what savings have accrued to his Department as a result of UK NHS Pharmacy 2 U service; and what steps his Department is taking to increase the levels of use of that service.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 February 2020

No such assessment has been made of savings accrued as a result of the Pharmacy 2U service.

Under the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework five-year deal, funding has been agreed for the period 2019/20 to 2023/24. Irrespective of the payments made to any specific pharmacy, the total funding for National Health Service pharmaceutical services is to remain at £2.592 billion per year for that period, albeit that a shift in spend from dispensing to more clinical services is expected.

The current Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework outlines our future vision for community pharmacy playing an expanded role in the delivery of health and care in England. Patient choice from which community pharmacy they access NHS pharmaceutical services will continue.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what definition of scale-up businesses her Department uses; and what steps she is taking to support those businesses.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 24 February 2020

We define scaleups using the OECD definition of high growth, i.e. an enterprise with a cumulative average annual growth in employees or turnover greater than 20 per cent per annum over a three-year period, and with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the period.

Scaleups play an important role in the UK economy: they generate around 20% of all turnover in the economy and around 15% of employment, and Scale Ups can play a role in driving innovation. The number of scaleups has risen overall by 25% over the 5 years to 2018 to 33,860.

We have taken a number of actions to create the right conditions for businesses to achieve their potential to grow to scale, including:

  • Supporting over £7bn of finance to over 91K smaller businesses through the British Business Bank (as at June 2019).
  • improving the support available through local Growth Hubs to help businesses to overcome the challenges they face in scaling up; and
  • using cutting edge data science techniques to identify high potential firms and connect them the right help at the right time.
Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 05 February 2020
Home Office
Naturalisation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timeframe is for the decision on the application by a senior NHS Consultant with Case ID Number 24910589 for naturalisation as a British citizen which was acknowledged on 13 February 2019; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 12 February 2020

This decision will be concluded by 12 February 2020.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 05 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Landlords: Registration
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many landlords in England are registered on the Government's rogue landlord database; and what his estimate is of the number of rogue landlords who are not yet registered; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 12 February 2020
Holding answer received on 10 February 2020

There are 18 individual landlords and property agents and five companies currently registered on the database for offences committed since 6 April 2018.

For mandatory inclusion on the database a landlord must be convicted of a banning order offence and receive a banning order. If the landlord receives a conviction for a banning order offence or receives two of more civil penalties for a banning order offence within a 12 month period then the local authority has the discretion to include the landlord on the database. The database is intended for the worst and most persistent offenders, who neglect their responsibilities to provide tenants safe homes.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 05 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses in multiple occupation are licensed by local authorities; and what estimate he has made of the number of unlicensed houses in multiple occupation in England; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 12 February 2020
Holding answer received on 10 February 2020

The Department gathers data from local authorities on the estimated number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) annually. According to our most recent data covering 2018-2019, there are an estimated 516,000 HMOs.

There are an estimated 140,000 properties which are licensable under mandatory HMO licensing, of these there are an estimated 76,000 currently unlicensed. Mandatory licensing applies to properties with five or more people from two or more households who share facilities, such as a kitchen and bathroom. Landlords are required to obtain a licence for these properties. Other HMOs may be subject to additional licensing by local authorities where there are 3 or more people sharing facilities. HMO licensing protects tenants from overcrowding and poor housing conditions.

It is a duty of local authorities to ensure all licensable properties are licensed and that landlords who illegally let out unlicensed properties are prosecuted. Government is working with local authorities to support them to meet this duty through using the powers available to them.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 February 2020
Cabinet Office
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many prosecutions have been brought against people alleged to have been in breach of UK electoral law in each of the last five years for which information is available.
Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 05 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Poultry Meat: Chlorine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 7113 on Food: Chlorine, whether the Food Standards Agency advises that chlorinated water can be used as a rinsing aid to control process hygiene during the washing of chicken; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 10 February 2020

The Food Standards Agency advice is that no substance other than potable water can be used to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases.

Any substance to be used to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases must be specifically approved for that purpose. Chlorine has not been approved for this intended purpose and so cannot be used as a rinsing aid to control process hygiene during washing by food businesses to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Parole
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners serving IPP sentences have been the subject of recall appeals which are still awaiting determination; and what is the longest period for which any appellant has been waiting.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 28 January 2020

There is no formal appeal mechanism for any offender following recall from licensed supervision in the community. Consequently, no recalled IPP prisoner is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against recall and the concept of a recalled prisoner awaiting the outcome of an appeal does not apply.

However, whilst there is no appeal mechanism, every recalled Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners has a right to a review of his/her fresh period of detention on recall, and it falls to the independent Parole Board to undertake that review – that is, to assess when it is safe to re-release the recalled IPP prisoner into the community on licence. The Board is required to conduct post-recall reviews without undue delay, but there is no set maximum period within which a review must be completed.

Officials on behalf of the Secretary of State refer the cases of recalled offenders to the Parole Board within 28 days of their return to custody; it is for the independent Parole Board to determine how and when reviews will be conducted. The timing of a review will depend on the nature and circumstances of each case, having particular regard to what information is necessary to conduct the full risk assessment required to determine whether the offender is safe to be re-released. Recalled offenders have the right to submit representations to the Parole Board, against the decision to recall them, as part of the review process.

Public safety is the priority and the Parole Board may only direct release once it is satisfied that detaining the offender is no longer necessary for the protection of the public.

Grouped Questions: 7111
Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Parole
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to set a maximum period within which an oral hearing for an appeal against recall on an Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence must be heard; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 28 January 2020

There is no formal appeal mechanism for any offender following recall from licensed supervision in the community. Consequently, no recalled IPP prisoner is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against recall and the concept of a recalled prisoner awaiting the outcome of an appeal does not apply.

However, whilst there is no appeal mechanism, every recalled Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners has a right to a review of his/her fresh period of detention on recall, and it falls to the independent Parole Board to undertake that review – that is, to assess when it is safe to re-release the recalled IPP prisoner into the community on licence. The Board is required to conduct post-recall reviews without undue delay, but there is no set maximum period within which a review must be completed.

Officials on behalf of the Secretary of State refer the cases of recalled offenders to the Parole Board within 28 days of their return to custody; it is for the independent Parole Board to determine how and when reviews will be conducted. The timing of a review will depend on the nature and circumstances of each case, having particular regard to what information is necessary to conduct the full risk assessment required to determine whether the offender is safe to be re-released. Recalled offenders have the right to submit representations to the Parole Board, against the decision to recall them, as part of the review process.

Public safety is the priority and the Parole Board may only direct release once it is satisfied that detaining the offender is no longer necessary for the protection of the public.

Grouped Questions: 7110
Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to prevent such prisoners being released with a drug dependency being subject to immediate recall as a result of that drug dependency.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 28 January 2020

The decision to recall an offender from the community, whether that be from an indeterminate or a determinate licence, is based on a thorough assessment of risk in the round, and a relapse into substance misuse is not necessarily a justification for recalling the offender immediately. The Probation Service will take into account the individual circumstances of each case and will consider alternatives to recalling offenders from the community where appropriate, based on the level of risk the offender poses.

Those with drug dependency problems often have complex needs, particularly health needs that benefit best from cross-organisation co-operation. Health and justice partners are working closely to improve support and continuity of care when an offender leaves prison, and this is one of the three overarching objectives of the National Partnership Agreement between HM Prison and Probation Service, Ministry of Justice, Public Health England, NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care.

Protection of the public is our priority, and offenders will be recalled to prison if that is assessed as necessary to protect the public from further serious offending.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Chlorine
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will bring forward regulations on the sale of salad washed in chlorine; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 28 January 2020

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that chlorinated water is widely used to wash salad, particularly in ready to eat salad, and can be used by food business operators as a rinsing aid to control process hygiene during product washing.

There are currently no plans to legislate beyond the existing legal requirements as laid down in General Food Law which states that all foods sold to consumers must be safe. Any technologically unavoidable residue remaining in the food must not present a health risk. The FSA regularly reviews the situation.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Royal Bournemouth Hospital: Accident and Emergency Departments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 13 January 2020 to Question 944 on Royal Bournemouth Hospital: Accident and Emergency Departments, what the annual capacity of each hospital was in 2019.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 28 January 2020

We cannot provide the annual capacity in 2019 as there is no agreed current or historic physical capacity information for accident and emergency departments.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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 January 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent comparative assessment his Department has made of the costs and benefits of the use of solar thermal collectors as alternatives to water heated by heat pumps and solar PV panels; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 14 January 2020
Holding answer received on 13 January 2020

The use of electricity from solar PV to heat water is most commonly achieved by directly heating water in a thermal store using an immersion heater rather than a heat pump. As heating water with heat pumps and solar PV panels is relatively uncommon, and this method is not considered to be a potential major source of renewable heat generation in the future, the Department has not made a comparative assessment of the costs and benefits of the use of solar thermal collectors against water heated by heat pumps and solar PV.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 09 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Continuing Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to ensure that a rapidly deteriorating condition that may be entering a terminal phase under paragraph 16 of the Fast Track Pathway Tool for NHS Continuing Healthcare is interpreted to exclude all patients other than those confined to bed and within a few days of death; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 14 January 2020

The National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and National Health Service-funded Nursing Care sets out the policy for the use of the Fast Track Pathway Tool.

The Fast Track Pathway Tool must only be used when the individual has a rapidly deteriorating condition and may be entering a terminal phase.

The completed Fast Track Pathway Tool should be supported by a prognosis, where available. However, strict time limits that base eligibility on a specified expected length of life remaining should not be imposed:

- ‘rapidly deteriorating' should not be interpreted narrowly as only meaning an anticipated specific or short time frame of life remaining; and

- ‘may be entering a terminal phase’ is not intended to be restrictive to only those situations where death is imminent.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 09 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
David Duckenfield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the estimated cost is to HM Courts & Tribunals Service of each of the three trials of David Duckenfield on charges of manslaughter arising from the Hillsborough tragedy; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 14 January 2020

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to PQ 31 on 7 January 2020. In relation to the cost to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) this was a high-profile case which required additional resources to support its operation, however, the information requested is not held centrally as HMCTS does not record or allocate operating costs at individual case level and is therefore unable to provide the costs requested.

Each case held is assessed for any additional requirements needed to support the operation of the Court proceedings which are deemed a pre-requisite to ensure that a fair and equitable trial is held and access to justice maintained.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 09 January 2020
Home Office
David Duckenfield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the estimated cost to the police service in England is of each of the three trials of David Duckenfield on charges of manslaughter arising from the Hillsborough tragedy and the work preparatory to those trials.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 14 January 2020

The overall cost of Operation Resolve, the police-led investigation into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, is estimated at £61.5 million since it was established in 2012.

Since charges were first brought in June 2017, the cost of Operation Resolve has been £15.2 million (including £3 million of estimated costs in 2019/20). The Home Office does not hold disaggregated data for the cost of each of the trials themselves, nor does it hold data pertaining to the costs of proceedings prior to Operation Resolve, as these were not sponsored by the Home Office.

Q
(Christchurch)
[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: 09 January 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to change the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme so that hot water from solar thermal collectors can be used to support a home's heating needs under that scheme; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 14 January 2020

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is tax-payer funded, and supporting solar thermal for space heating would not represent good value for money. This is because solar thermal systems are normally only capable of meeting a portion of a house’s heat demand (so a backup space heating system would be required), and are not as cost-effective in space heating when compared to other technologies.

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