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.
Showing 1-20 out of 180
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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: 03 September 2019
Treasury
Pensions: Chronic Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people affected by terminal illness who are unable to claim their personal pensions early.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The government does not hold this data.

Subject to scheme rules, individuals may be able to make early withdrawals from their personal pension in the event that they are expected to live less than a year. These withdrawals can be made free of tax provided certain conditions are met.

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: 03 September 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
OYO
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to OYO's UK website for lettings and bookings for guest houses and bed and breakfast outlets, if she will make an assessment of the appropriateness of the business model and practices of that company.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Any concerns should be raised directly with the Department, DCMS (who support the tourism industry) or the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Grouped Questions: 286107
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: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions: Chronic Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to enable people affected with terminal illness to be able to transfer pension rights to a wife, husband or civil partner as part of their inheritance.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

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: 03 September 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
OYO
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions she has had with (a) representatives of the hospitality company industry and (b) the Competition and Markets Authority on OYO's business model and practices.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Any concerns should be raised directly with the Department, DCMS (who support the tourism industry) or the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Grouped Questions: 286105
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: 03 September 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fracking: Lancashire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what independent input the Oil and Gas Authority has sought to inform their investigations concerning the pumping of liquids by Cuadrilla into their fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 09 September 2019

In February 2019, the OGA announced it would work with recognised and independent geologists and scientists to carry out a scientific analysis of the data gathered during Cuadrilla’s operations at Preston New Road between October and December 2018. This work includes inputs from the British Geological Survey (BGS), Dr Ben Edwards, Nanometrics Inc and Outer Limits Geophysics; further information can be found on the OGA website. Additionally, during operations the OGA seeks expertise from external experts, including the BGS and from Bristol University.

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: 04 September 2019
Department for Education
Apprentices: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether all returned unspent apprenticeship levy monies are being allocated to the apprenticeship budget for use by non-levy paying employers.
A
Answered by: Mrs Kemi Badenoch
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

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: 05 September 2019
Treasury
Companies: Pay
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the total payroll is of companies in England that have a payroll (a) over and (b) under £3 million.
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: 24 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Community Development: Coastal Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to support the implementation of locally based development programmes in seaside towns.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 03 September 2019

My Department currently has no plans for development programmes in seaside towns, however we are developing the details for up to five Tourism Zones, as announced in the recently published Tourism Sector Deal.

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: 24 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Tourism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether tourism zones will include (a) seaside towns and (b) capital funds to allow local authorities to support projects to improve (i) the public realm and (ii) cultural and heritage assets.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 03 September 2019

The detail of Tourism Zones is still under development and further details will be available in due course.

The Coastal Communities Fund already provides opportunities for developing cultural and heritage assets. Blackpool City Council have received under £2m from the fund to transform the iconic Blackpool illuminations, create new experiences for visitors and boost the local economy.

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: 22 July 2019
Home Office
Visas: Overseas Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Education on the financial implications for universities of delays in the processing of free visa applications for international students who have been offered places by universities to study in the UK.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 July 2019

The Home Office regularly engages with representatives from the education sector, including the Department for Education. This has included recent discussions on Tier 4 services during the AutumnOperationally we are currently deciding Tier 4 visa applications within published service standards.

Grouped Questions: 280168 | 280171
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: 22 July 2019
Home Office
Overseas Students: Visas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with representatives from Cardiff University on delays in the processing of visa applications for international students who are enrolling in autumn 2019.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 July 2019

The Home Office regularly engages with representatives from the education sector, including the Department for Education. This has included recent discussions on Tier 4 services during the AutumnOperationally we are currently deciding Tier 4 visa applications within published service standards.

Grouped Questions: 280139 | 280171
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: 22 July 2019
Home Office
Visas: Overseas Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Education on increasing the number of free appointments for international students who require visas to allow them to enrol at Cardiff university in autumn 2019.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 July 2019

We wrote to Tier 4 sponsors, including Cardiff University on 11 July 2019 to set out Sopra Steria’s offer for Tier 4 students applying in the Autumn, which includes the provision of dedicated Tier 4 Service Points.

Grouped Questions: 280170
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: 22 July 2019
Home Office
Visas: Overseas Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of UK Visa and Citizenship Applications Services in providing free appointments for international students at (a) its Cardiff centre and (b) its other five centres.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 July 2019

We wrote to Tier 4 sponsors, including Cardiff University on 11 July 2019 to set out Sopra Steria’s offer for Tier 4 students applying in the Autumn, which includes the provision of dedicated Tier 4 Service Points.

Grouped Questions: 280169
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: 22 July 2019
Home Office
Visas: Overseas Students
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the adequacy of procedures to process tier 4 visa procedures.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 25 July 2019

The Home Office regularly engages with representatives from the education sector, including the Department for Education. This has included recent discussions on Tier 4 services during the AutumnOperationally we are currently deciding Tier 4 visa applications within published service standards.

Grouped Questions: 280139 | 280168
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: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
National Retraining Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the get help to retrain scheme, whether the digital service will include the assessment of adults' (a) qualifications and (b) skills.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

Get Help to Retrain is the first of a series of products that will make up the full National Retraining Scheme (NRS). We are expecting the NRS to evolve and grow as we learn better what best works.

With support from qualified National Careers Service advisers, the service will support adults to understand which skills they have from their current role and which further skills would be required for a potential new, better job.

In addition, the service helps people to find training opportunities that may help the user to bridge the skills gap to a new role, initially consisting of training currently available and later including more bespoke offerings. It will also direct users to local job opportunities that could be within their reach.

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: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
Further Education: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the office for students on registration fees for further education colleges.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 23 July 2019

All providers are being treated equitably.

We consulted with all providers, including further education (FE) colleges, twice, on the introduction of registration fees (from December 2016 until March 2017, and from October 2017 until December 2017). The Office for Students (OfS) separately consulted on the model for deciding how student numbers should be determined to inform the fee levels. It published the outcomes of this consultation in October 2018. Following the consultation processes, a number of additional bands were added for smaller providers compared with the original proposal. The costs for a very small provider have decreased from the second phase of the consultation, where a provider with 0-50 full-time equivalent student numbers, the lowest band, was proposed to pay £18,200. Providers with full-time equivalent student numbers of no more than 25 will now pay £12,300, and providers with more than 25 but no more than 50 (full time equivalent) will pay £15,350.

We also considered the impact of fees more widely and published an impact assessment in March 2019. The impact assessment considered higher education providers – including FE colleges – taxpayers, the government and students. The impact assessment report stated:

‘We have … analysed Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) college accounts data for 120 FE colleges with Higher Education Funding Council for England funded learners, that have applied to register and found that FE colleges would be paying on average 0.2% of their total income in registration fees. This ranges from 0.05% to 1.3% of total income but with just one provider paying more than 1%. … these proportions are very small and highly unlikely to impede competition in the higher education market.’

We have committed to a full review of registration fees after 2 years, when the impact of the fees on all providers will be clearer.

I meet regularly with the Chair and officials from the OfS to discuss a wide range of issues, including the financial health of all parts of the higher education sector, which is kept under constant review by the OfS.

Grouped Questions: 278912 | 278913
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: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
National Retraining Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the roll-out of the Get Help to Retrain scheme (a) in the Liverpool City Region and (b) to all eligible adults in England by 2020.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 23 July 2019

In October 2018, the government announced a £100 million initial commitment to continue to test, learn and develop the National Retraining Scheme. This has allowed us to start delivering the first parts of the scheme in the Liverpool City Region. Get Help to Retrain will be expanded to more people and more areas throughout the testing phase before being made available to all eligible adults in England in 2020. In addition to this, we are continuing to develop new products in parallel to the testing of Get Help to Retrain, which will collectively make up the complete service.

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: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
Further Education: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the office for students registration fees on the financial viability of further education colleges.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 23 July 2019

All providers are being treated equitably.

We consulted with all providers, including further education (FE) colleges, twice, on the introduction of registration fees (from December 2016 until March 2017, and from October 2017 until December 2017). The Office for Students (OfS) separately consulted on the model for deciding how student numbers should be determined to inform the fee levels. It published the outcomes of this consultation in October 2018. Following the consultation processes, a number of additional bands were added for smaller providers compared with the original proposal. The costs for a very small provider have decreased from the second phase of the consultation, where a provider with 0-50 full-time equivalent student numbers, the lowest band, was proposed to pay £18,200. Providers with full-time equivalent student numbers of no more than 25 will now pay £12,300, and providers with more than 25 but no more than 50 (full time equivalent) will pay £15,350.

We also considered the impact of fees more widely and published an impact assessment in March 2019. The impact assessment considered higher education providers – including FE colleges – taxpayers, the government and students. The impact assessment report stated:

‘We have … analysed Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) college accounts data for 120 FE colleges with Higher Education Funding Council for England funded learners, that have applied to register and found that FE colleges would be paying on average 0.2% of their total income in registration fees. This ranges from 0.05% to 1.3% of total income but with just one provider paying more than 1%. … these proportions are very small and highly unlikely to impede competition in the higher education market.’

We have committed to a full review of registration fees after 2 years, when the impact of the fees on all providers will be clearer.

I meet regularly with the Chair and officials from the OfS to discuss a wide range of issues, including the financial health of all parts of the higher education sector, which is kept under constant review by the OfS.

Grouped Questions: 278910 | 278913
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: 18 July 2019
Department for Education
Further Education: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the introduction of a separate office for students registration fee banding for stand alone further education colleges.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 23 July 2019

All providers are being treated equitably.

We consulted with all providers, including further education (FE) colleges, twice, on the introduction of registration fees (from December 2016 until March 2017, and from October 2017 until December 2017). The Office for Students (OfS) separately consulted on the model for deciding how student numbers should be determined to inform the fee levels. It published the outcomes of this consultation in October 2018. Following the consultation processes, a number of additional bands were added for smaller providers compared with the original proposal. The costs for a very small provider have decreased from the second phase of the consultation, where a provider with 0-50 full-time equivalent student numbers, the lowest band, was proposed to pay £18,200. Providers with full-time equivalent student numbers of no more than 25 will now pay £12,300, and providers with more than 25 but no more than 50 (full time equivalent) will pay £15,350.

We also considered the impact of fees more widely and published an impact assessment in March 2019. The impact assessment considered higher education providers – including FE colleges – taxpayers, the government and students. The impact assessment report stated:

‘We have … analysed Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) college accounts data for 120 FE colleges with Higher Education Funding Council for England funded learners, that have applied to register and found that FE colleges would be paying on average 0.2% of their total income in registration fees. This ranges from 0.05% to 1.3% of total income but with just one provider paying more than 1%. … these proportions are very small and highly unlikely to impede competition in the higher education market.’

We have committed to a full review of registration fees after 2 years, when the impact of the fees on all providers will be clearer.

I meet regularly with the Chair and officials from the OfS to discuss a wide range of issues, including the financial health of all parts of the higher education sector, which is kept under constant review by the OfS.

Grouped Questions: 278910 | 278912
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 July 2019
Department for Education
Universities: Racial Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the article in the Guardian entitled A demeaning environment: stories of racism in UK universities, published 5 July 2019, if he will hold discussions with the Office for Students on their assessment of the scale and nature of racism in UK universities.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 16 July 2019

There is no place in our society, including within higher education (HE) for hatred or any form of harassment, discrimination or racism.

The government is working closely with the Universities UK (UUK) and the Office for Students (OfS) to support work to address racism and other forms of harassment in HE, including implementation of UUK’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Taskforce’s recommendations.

Ministers and officials in the department meet regularly with the OfS, stakeholders and representative bodies about a range of student experience issues including racism, hate crime and harassment in HE. This includes specific quarterly meetings with the OfS to discuss how to tackle harassment and hate crime, including racism within the sector.

In its ministerial guidance, the government has asked the OfS to support this work and to make campuses places of tolerance for all students, and over £2 million has been invested in projects addressing hatred and harassment in HE.

The government will continue to work closely with the OfS to prioritise tackling of all forms of harassment and hate crime in higher education.

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