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
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 21 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fisheries: Sustainable Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that commercial fishing becomes more sustainable (a) in the UK and (b) globally.
A
Answered by: Mr Robert Goodwill
Answered on: 26 June 2019

The UK Government remains fully committed to sustainable fisheries management and the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This will not change once we are outside the EU.

In recent years we have successfully introduced a range of selectivity and spatial avoidance measures in our fisheries to help reduce unwanted bycatch and discarding, including cod in the Irish Sea nephrops fishery. In the North Sea, a fleet of vessels participating in an annual scheme to fully document catches have successfully cut their unwanted catch of unmarketable fish, including undersized fish, from their mixed fishery. We also continue to take a strong and principled position on sustainable fishing internationally, including most recently calling for reductions in catches of yellowfin tuna at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, and arguing against an in year increase in the total allowable catch for North East Atlantic mackerel as part of a balanced sustainable approach.

The Fisheries Bill introduced to Parliament in October 2018 provides a framework to enable us to continue to push for more stocks being fished at MSY and delivering our ambition for sustainable fishing in the future. The first clause will enact several sustainability objectives, one of which is to restore fish stocks to levels capable of producing MSY. The Bill provides for a binding duty on the UK and devolved administrations to produce a statutory Joint Fisheries Statement. This statement must include policies for the achievement of the sustainability objectives.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 21 June 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Transport: Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including (a) aviation and (b) shipping in the statutory regime for the Government's net zero carbon target.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 26 June 2019

The Government is clear on the need for action to tackle emissions from the whole economy – including emissions from international aviation and shipping. Emissions from domestic flights and shipping are already covered by our existing domestic legislation and our carbon budgets provide “headroom” for the inclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions. This will continue to be the case for a net zero target.

Emissions from international aviation and shipping are a global problem requiring a global solution. That is why we are working closely with the relevant international organisations, the International Maritime Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization, to ensure we and the rest of the world are taking ambitious action.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of local authorities franchising of bus services.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Council of Europe’s decision allowing Russia to return to the human rights watchdog.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that constituents with learning disabilities or autism, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, are able to access inpatient facilities close to home.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the quantity of UK plastic waste that has been returned from countries overseas; what steps he is taking to dispose of that waste; and if he will make a statement.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has with Cabinet colleagues on requiring schools to be energy independent.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Digital Technology
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the NHS has access to faster digital technology systems to enable practices to be run more efficiently.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 25 June 2019

We are committed to ensuring that all practices have access to faster digital technology systems to enable to high quality, effective healthcare services that are responsive to all patients’ needs.

We have rolled out National Health Service WiFi across 96.8% of general practitioner (GP) practices, benefiting the care of an estimated 57.8 million patients. The new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) arrangements are enabling clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to obtain faster data network connections for GPs and all GP practices are expected to have migrated from their legacy connectivity to new HSCN services by the end of 2020.

The fourth edition of the GP IT Operating Model requires CCGs to adopt appropriately-sized HSCN connectivity capable of supporting their current and future GP business needs and states they should upgrade any existing copper-based asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) connections providing primary connectivity to practice premises to fibre-based connections such as Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) as a minimum.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Body Modification: Training
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that businesses offering tattooing or piercings possess the appropriate training and qualifications.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 25 June 2019

Local authorities are responsible for regulating and monitoring businesses offering cosmetic body piercing, including ear piercing, permanent tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring (micropigmentation, semi-permanent make-up and temporary tattooing), electrolysis and acupuncture. Although there is no formal qualification needed for someone to practise in any of these vocations, all LAs require those providing tattooing or piercing to be licensed. Whilst the licensing process will not be dependent upon qualifications held by the operator, they would be required to be competent in methods of cleansing and sterilising of equipment.

We consider this is an area where progress can be most quickly and effectively made by practitioners, their organisations, industry bodies, training bodies and enforcement authorities working together to agree on suitable standards of good practice and competency.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, piercing and tattoo businesses have a legal duty to protect the health of employees and persons other than their employees, who may be affected by the practices. This information is available at the following link:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legislation/hswa.htm

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Greyhound Racing: Animal Welfare
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what steps he is taking to improve welfare standards in greyhound racing.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 25 June 2019

The Government takes the welfare of all racing animals very seriously. We are working closely with the main racing greyhound industry regulatory body, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to ensure it delivers on the commitments it made to the Government, following the Government’s Post Implementation Review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010. This includes the annual publication of injury and retirement data to improve transparency in the sport. The second set of annual figures were published on 12 June 2019.

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/gbgb-prod-assets/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/12085443/Final-2018-Stats.pdf

The annual publication of the injury and retirement data was accompanied by an update on the progress made by the GBGB against their ‘Greyhound Commitment’. The Commitment sets out an eight point manifesto on how the GBGB is aiming to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds, and includes a commitment to ensure more greyhounds are successfully rehomed at the end of their racing lives. The GBGB have also delivered an independent welfare standard for trainers’ kennels and are also developing a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited trainers’ licensing scheme for GBGB trainers. The Government is also considering whether further regulatory changes are required to protect the welfare of racing greyhounds used by professional trainers not running greyhounds on GBGB tracks.

To help ensure more funding for greyhound welfare, on 10 January 2019, the Government announced a new funding commitment from bookmakers worth an estimated additional £3 million this year to ensure the welfare of greyhounds is protected and improved. We expect thousands of racing greyhounds are to be better cared for as a result of this new deal. The commitment is set to increase the total amount of funding from bookmakers to the British Greyhound Racing Fund to an estimated £10 million this year.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 18 June 2019
Department for International Development
Sustainable Development
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the timetable is for the publication of the Government's plan to achieve the sustainable development goals.
A
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin
Answered on: 25 June 2019

The UK’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals will be published in the UK on 26 June and presented to the UN High Level Political Forum in mid-July. The VNR will review UK action both domestically and internationally in support of the Goals. It will also outline key challenges and next steps, recognising that while progress is being made, there is more work to do on all 17 Goals.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 19 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Television: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of providing free television licences to people over the age of 75 for qualifying residents in (a) Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency and (b) Staffordshire local authority area in (i) 2017-18 and (ii) 2018-19.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 25 June 2019
Holding answer received on 24 June 2019

In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

The government and the BBC agreed this is a fair deal for the BBC - in return we closed the iPlayer loophole and committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. And to help with financial planning, we agreed to provide phased transitional funding over 2 years to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

On 10 June 2019, the BBC announced that the current scheme will end. From 1 June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit.

The table below provides estimates of the costs for 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 and over in the geographical areas requested, in nominal prices. The figures for 2018/19 will be available in September.

Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)

2017-18

Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency

£0.98

Staffordshire local authority area

£9.66

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 20 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme: Discrimination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure victims of discrimination are able to access the legal representation they require.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 25 June 2019

We have specifically protected legal aid, both for initial advice and representation, subject to the statutory means and merits tests, for civil legal services provided in relation to contravention of the Equality Act 2010.

Publicly funded advice continues to be available for Employment Tribunal discrimination claims, and publicly funded advice and representation is available in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, and the civil courts more generally.

Our Legal Aid Support Action Plan, published in February, has also committed to improving the access victims of discrimination have to state-funded legal representation. This includes reinstating immediate access to face-to-face legal advice in discrimination cases, reviewing legal aid means testing, and improving the Exceptional Case Funding scheme.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 20 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Clothing: Waste
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government is making on implementing the amendments to the Waste Framework Directive which requires separate collection of clothing waste from households and increased re-use of textiles by 2025.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 25 June 2019

Latest information from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates that 90 local authorities in England offer households a kerbside collection of textiles. Many more provide collection points at household waste recycling centres or at bring bank sites. These bring sites provide an important service where kerbside collections are not available or may not be practical. Charity shop outlets also play an important role in acting as collection points for textiles from members of the public. We want to increase the amount of textiles that are diverted from landfill and put into recycling or reuse, and will bring forward proposals as necessary to ensure separate collection of textiles by 2025.

More widely, the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy published in December 2018 sets out our plans to prevent textile waste and encourage greater circularity including reuse. These include:

  • Reviewing and consulting on Extended Producer Responsibility for textiles and four other priority waste streams;
  • Developing regulatory measures for product standards that improve the durability, repairability, and recyclability of products such as clothing;
  • Improving consumer information and supporting a shift in the market;
  • Working with brands, manufacturers, charities and others through the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan to reduce the environmental footprint of clothing and encourage consumers to donate and reuse clothing.

This month, we have also announced a multimillion pound grant scheme to support the development of textile recycling facilities in the UK. Further information on this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fund-opens-to-reduce-waste-from-plastic-packaging-and-textiles and applications for funding can be made through WRAP: http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/resource-action-fund.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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: 20 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Noise: Pollution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to minimize the effect of human-made noise pollution on animal habitats where it affects animals' ability to communicate.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 25 June 2019

Under the UK Marine Strategy, the UK Government is working to ensure underwater noise generating human activities do not pose a significant risk to marine ecosystems. We currently have a limited understanding of the distribution of noise in UK seas and its impact on vulnerable species. To address this in relation to sources of continuous noise such as shipping, the UK has established a noise monitoring network, consisting of long term monitoring stations deployed in coastal waters. The information from this monitoring network will be matched with species distributions and used to inform future policy.

In order to reduce impacts, developments such as offshore wind farms are required to have pre and post consent monitoring plans which are managed by the Marine Management Organisation. For example, a Marine Mammal Mitigation Plan lists the appropriate mitigation measures that should be utilised during offshore activities that are likely to produce underwater noise and vibration levels capable of potentially causing injury and disturbance to marine mammals. Government departments including Defra and BEIS are working together to look at how underwater noise can be managed more strategically to reduce harm.

On land, the Government is committed to ensuring that noise is managed effectively in order to promote good health and quality of life. We have protections in place to avoid significant noise impacts through our planning system, our environmental permitting systems, in vehicle and product standards, and noise abatement legislation. Defra works with other Government departments whose policies could potentially impact on noise levels.

National Planning Policy Guidance sets out requirements for noise to be considered for new developments with particular consideration given to development affecting designated sites. Our network of designated sites are afforded the highest level of protection. Planning authorities must consider the potential impact of activities and works on or near these sites before granting consent. Noise may also be considered for certain types of development requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to prepare for the consequences of data spillages.
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Packaging: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the recycling symbol is (a) highly visible, (b) unambiguous and (c) on the front of packaging.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 24 June 2019

On 18 February the Government published a consultation on changes to the producer responsibility regime for packaging. As part of this consultation we have proposed a mandatory UK-wide labelling scheme which would require producers to clearly label their packaging as ‘recyclable’ or ‘not-recyclable’. This proposal will ensure the packaging labelling scheme will be: (a) highly visible, (b) unambiguous and (c) on the front of packaging.

The consultation closed on 13 May and we are currently analysing the responses. A summary of responses will be published in due course.

The details of the proposed mandatory packaging labelling scheme, such as the design of the label, will be subject to further consultation.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Transport
Aircraft: Electric Motors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of all domestic flights being made by electric aircraft by 2040.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 24 June 2019

Hybrid and fully-electric aircraft have the potential to transform aviation. Whilst no specific assessment of this nature has been made, the Government has committed £155m to support a new era of cleaner and greener aviation.

This includes £125m of Government funding for the Future Flight Industrial Strategy Challenge to support the next generation of electric planes and autonomous aircraft, alongside support for projects such as the joint Rolls Royce, Airbus and Siemens E-Fan X, a hybrid-electric flight demonstrator.

Our consultation on Aviation 2050, the Government’s long-term vision for aviation, sought views on how to address the environmental challenges and the role that new technology and innovation can play in sustainable growth for aviation. We will publish the White Paper later in 2019.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Transport
Aviation: Renewable Fuels
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the 25 Year Environment Plan, whether his Department plans to provide additional support for the development of sustainable aviation fuels.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 24 June 2019

The 25 Year Environment Plan noted that the Government would explore different infrastructure options for managing residual waste, including the production of biofuels for transport and emerging innovative technologies.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), biofuels reported as being made from waste have risen from 12 per cent of total biofuel supply in the first year of the obligation 2008/09 to 66 per cent in 2017/18.

Building on that success the Government introduced changes to the RTFO last year which extended eligibility for rewards under the RTFO to aviation fuels. We are also making available up to £20 million of matched capital funding to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels to be used in aeroplanes and lorries through the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition.

The Department is also discussing with industry whether fuels produced from non-biogenic wastes, including those that are difficult to recycle, should be supported under the RTFO.

The Government’s new aviation strategy, Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation, will be published later this year. Through consultation on that Strategy the Government is considering further policies it can put in place to assist the long-term uptake of sustainable alternative fuels in this sector.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[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 June 2019
Department for Transport
Aviation: Exhaust Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring airlines to publish emission output estimates to (a) transparency and (b) aircraft efficiency.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 24 June 2019

In December 2018 the Government published a green paper on its new aviation strategy, ‘Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation’. This included proposals for tackling aviation’s carbon emissions, taking into account the UK’s domestic and international obligations.

One of the potential carbon abatement measures consulted on in the green paper is to ask airports to publish league tables of the environmental efficiency of airport and airline operations.

The public consultation on the green paper closed on 20 June 2019, and the department will now consider the responses and assess the merits of the potential carbon abatement measures to determine which will be taken forward. The final Aviation 2050 strategy will present a clear approach to carbon abatement and ensure that aviation contributes its fair share to action on climate change. It is due to be published later this year.

Aggregate airline emissions are already published at a European level through the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). Reporting coverage will be expanded under the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which includes all airline emissions on international routes. The first emissions data for CORSIA will be available during 2020.

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