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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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 55
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
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: 13 March 2020
Department for Education
Pupils: Attendance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to define exceptional circumstances for the purpose of grant of leave of absence from schools so that greater consistency can be established.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 18 March 2020

Head teachers have the discretion to grant a pupil a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. Our guidance is clear that they should consider each application individually taking into account the specific facts and circumstances and relevant background context behind the request.

In relation to the current pandemic, the Department for Education has updated our guidance on this issue to ensure that schools will not be penalised for the impacts of COVID-19 on their attendance figures. Parents and head teachers should act in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. This advice is being updated regularly as the situation develops, and more in­­­formation can be obtained from the dedicated Department for Education helpline, open seven days a week.

Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with the latest advice, the Department for Education has made it clear to all schools that the pupil should be recorded in the attendance register as ‘unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances’. Code Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances – should be used in this ins­tance.

Schools have also been advised that where a pupil does not attend school and is not self-isolating, the pupil will be recorded as absent but we expect headteachers will authorise absence where a pupil is not able to attend because of an underlying health condition that means they, or a family member in their household, are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Recording a pupil as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances and authorising absence will not lead to enforcement action being taken.

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: 13 March 2020
Ministry of Defence
Vulcan Aircraft: Anniversaries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he plans to take to ensure that there is a public celebration on 25 May 2020 for the diamond anniversary of the first test-flight of XH558 vulcan aircraft; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: James Heappey
Answered on: 18 March 2020

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to mark the anniversary of the first test flight of Vulcan XH558.

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: 04 March 2020
Treasury
Overseas Companies: Iraq
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it his Department's policy that UK businesses engaged in financial services should be able to trade with organisations in Iraq and receive payments for their services through the UK taxation system; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 09 March 2020

The government is committed to ensuring the UK continues to be a leading global financial centre – at the forefront of innovation, with a strong, resilient, and competitive financial sector, underpinned by world leading regulatory standards and open to global markets.

Where appropriate, the UN and the EU can impose targeted sanctions regimes. There is currently an Iraq sanctions regime, with targeted assets freezes against several individuals and entities. These regimes apply to UK businesses and citizens; details of those subject to sanctions can be found on the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation Consolidated List of asset freeze targets at www.gov.uk/ofsi.

Grouped Questions: 25008
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: 04 March 2020
Treasury
Financial Services: Iraq
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) British citizens and (b) UK companies trading with companies in Iraq are able to obtain and use UK banks for the receipt of payments from Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 09 March 2020

The government is committed to ensuring the UK continues to be a leading global financial centre – at the forefront of innovation, with a strong, resilient, and competitive financial sector, underpinned by world leading regulatory standards and open to global markets.

Where appropriate, the UN and the EU can impose targeted sanctions regimes. There is currently an Iraq sanctions regime, with targeted assets freezes against several individuals and entities. These regimes apply to UK businesses and citizens; details of those subject to sanctions can be found on the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation Consolidated List of asset freeze targets at www.gov.uk/ofsi.

Grouped Questions: 25007
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: 26 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
5G: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on health of long-term exposure to wireless radiation from 5G technology; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 05 March 2020
Holding answer received on 02 March 2020

Public Health England (PHE) advises it is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area. However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to international guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.

Information about these guidelines and the evidence reviews supporting PHE’s position, including considerations of the evidence as to whether health effects from exposure to radio waves might occur in the long term, can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health

PHE is committed to monitoring the evidence applicable to 5G and other radio technologies, and to revising its advice, should that be necessary.

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: 25 February 2020
Home Office
Police: Powers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has issued to the police in England on the use of their common law powers and responsibilities.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Home Office is responsible for the statutory powers available to the Police. There are a limited number of common law powers that the police rely on as the majority have been transposed into statute.

We maintain an open dialogue with the College of Policing and police stakeholders on police powers. Training on use of powers is an operational matter for police forces.

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: 25 February 2020
Home Office
Hate Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the definition of a hate incident set out on the College of Policing's website; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. Information is not collected on non-crime hate incidents or the investigative resource allocated to them.

Grouped Questions: 20379
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: 25 February 2020
Home Office
Hate Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the annual cost to the public purse of the police responding to non-crime hate incidents in England.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. Information is not collected on non-crime hate incidents or the investigative resource allocated to them.

Grouped Questions: 20378
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: 25 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Consumers: Protection
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February to Question 14947, when the consultation with the Consumer Protection Partnership will begin; and if he will publish the (a) outcome of and (b) Government response to that consultation.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP) meets regularly to review evidence and prioritise enforcement action. The Department has raised park homes with the CPP intelligence gathering group, and the CPP will discuss the issue at a meeting on 23 April. The CPP and the agencies that are members of the group will then decide on next steps.

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: 25 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: South West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 14949, how many of the 33,860 scaleups identified are in (a) Dorset and (b) the South West of England.
A
Answered by: Paul Scully
Answered on: 02 March 2020

We define scale-ups 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.

According to ONS data (Business demography – High Growth Enterprises 2018), the number of scaleups in (a) Dorset is 190 and (b) South West of England is 2,745.

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: 26 February 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5G: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to investigate alternatives to 5G technology to reduce the risk of long-term exposure to wireless radiation; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Matt Warman
Answered on: 02 March 2020

Exposure to radio waves is not new and health-related research has been conducted on this topic over several decades. Central to Public Health England’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Provided the ICNIRP guidelines are followed, there is no convincing evidence that 5G is dangerous. Government continues to be guided by Public Health England’s advice on the matter. This states that while a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and can be expected to have no consequence on public health.


It is important to note that the ICNIRP guidelines apply up to 300 GHz, well beyond the maximum frequencies under discussion for 5G. It is also important to note that some 5G technology will use similar frequencies to existing communications systems. Other 5G technology may work at higher frequencies but would still be well within ICNIRP guidelines.

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: 26 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Multiple Occupation: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities cannot impose additional room size standards for houses in multiple occupation than the statutory minimum standards laid down by his Department; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 02 March 2020

Under House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation, rooms in licensable HMOs that are under 6.51 square metres cannot be used as sleeping accommodation by one person. Local housing authorities have discretion to consider local circumstances and require higher standards within HMO licence conditions, but must not set lower standards. My Department is working with local authorities to raise standards across the private rented sector, to protect vulnerable tenants, including those living in HMOs.

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: 26 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmacy2U
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 14948, how many regular users there are of NHS Pharmacy2U service; what estimate he has made of the number of users in 2023-24; and what steps his Department is taking to promote that service.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 02 March 2020

The Department has made no such assessment of how many users of Pharmacy2U there are and what would be the number of users in 2023/24.

The public and the Department value a range of pharmaceutical service providers and we do not promote the use of one provider over another one.

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: 26 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tree Felling: Dorset
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees were felled in Dorset in response to instructions from Natural England that the felling was necessary to maintain heathland in the latest year for which figures are available; and how many trees are to be felled in 2020.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 02 March 2020

A number of habitat restoration schemes were undertaken in Dorset associated with the restoration of lowland heathlands SSSI. Heathland is a nationally scarce habitat supporting rare species and, uniquely to Dorset, all our native reptile species. The restoration works have included some felling of trees, predominately commercially planted pine.

The Forestry Commission advises that in Dorset around 50.7ha of woodland has been felled for heathland restoration since January 2019, based on areas given permission through felling licences. This is not easily translatable to numbers of trees and the Forestry Commission does not have sight of future activity.

The works are part of agreed management undertaken by SSSI owners. Natural England supports the actions undertaken by SSSI owners to restore these sites in line with the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan.

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: 24 February 2020
Church Commissioners
Churches: Bats
Commons
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what (a) policy changes and (b) steps the Church of England is taking in relation to the 2019 survey of bats in churches undertaken with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund,
A
Answered by: Andrew Selous
Answered on: 28 February 2020

The £3.8m funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund that was secured in 2018, enabled not just one survey, but a five-year Bats in Churches partnership project made up of the Church of England, Natural England, Historic England, the Bat Conservation Trust, and the Churches Conservation Trust.

The project is working with ecologists, church architects, heritage experts and church communities to support and develop bespoke solutions for around 120 churches struggling with unsustainable bat roosts across the country. Churches that are part of the project are continuously monitored to ensure there is no damage to the bat populations. Additionally, a nationwide volunteer-led four-year survey, the ‘Bats in Churches Study’ is to be launched this summer and will give an in-depth picture of how bats are using Church of England churches and the attitudes of churchgoers towards them.

The Bats in Churches project is now in its second year and can report the delivery of three successful mitigation works in some of the worst affected churches, in Braunston-in-Rutland, Tattershall and Swanton Morley. These three schemes have enabled congregations and the wider community to co-exist harmoniously alongside the bats and for church heritage to be respected.

Other projects nearing completion include:

  • St Pega’s Church Peakirk, following a lead theft that has enabled bat mitigation to be incorporated into the re-roofing repair work.
  • St John the Baptist Church in Cold Overton is similarly incorporating bat mitigation into its repairs.

Support for churches sheltering bats is available from the Bats in Churches project who are running events to build networks of volunteers, links to bat and heritage groups and specialist cleaning workshops and advice.

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: 24 February 2020
Treasury
Public Sector: Redundancy Pay
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 amended by the Enterprise Act 2016, what estimate he has made of the cost to the pubic purse in each year of the delay in the implementation of the £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Steve Barclay
Answered on: 27 February 2020

The annual Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) publications contain the cost of exit packages made by public sector employers in scope of WGA for the relevant financial year.

The Government legislated for a £95,000 cap on exit payments in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 as amended by the Enterprise Act 2016. The combined total cost of exit payments over £100,000 in financial years since then (2016/17 and 2017/18) is £0.4 billion. The exit payment cap will reduce this amount by setting a limit of £95,000 on payments. Information on the 2018/19 financial year is not yet available.

HM Treasury consulted on regulations implementing the £95,000 cap last year. The Government intends to publish its response to the consultation by Summer and the regulations will be laid before Parliament this year.

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: 24 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust: Community First Responders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many volunteer first responders are in post with the South Western Ambulance Service HNS Foundation Trust; and what steps he is taking to recruit additional first responders in Dorset.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 27 February 2020

The Department does not hold the information requested.

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: 24 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Parking: Codes of Practice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timeframe is for the conclusion of the public consultation on the code of practice in relation to the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 27 February 2020

A full public consultation on the Parking Code of Practice will take place within six months, to give the parking industry, the public and other interested parties the opportunity to have a say. Further details of the consultation, including precise timeframes, will be announced in due course. We have also committed to developing the final Code this year.

Q
(Christchurch)
Asked on: 11 February 2020
House of Commons Commission
Norman Shaw Buildings: Facilities
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
Members: Complaints
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.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 55
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100