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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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
(Hendon)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Ministry of Defence
Trident Submarines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made on the Royal Navy's Dreadnought submarine programme.
A
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 19 June 2018

With last month's investment of £960 million into its second delivery phase, the Dreadnought programme remains on schedule to deliver the first of class in the early 2030s and is within the £31 billion cost estimated in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to recruit (a) more engineers and (b) intelligence specialists in the armed forces.
A
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 19 June 2018

The Armed Forces are proactively recruiting and training individuals as engineers and intelligence specialists to meet the needs of Defence. There is a competitive market for such skills and we have introduced a range of measures to support our recruitment and retention efforts. These include remunerative measures such as targeted Golden Hellos and enhanced bursary schemes; the use of specialist recruiting teams, enhanced digital marketing campaigns, pioneering lateral entry at more senior grades for trained professionals and accelerated apprenticeship schemes.

In addition, and distinct from recruiting, the Ministry of Defence is fully engaged in youth STEM outreach activity as part of the UK national effort, to ensure that the talent pipeline has sufficient numbers from which then to recruit. This is underpinned by the launch of the Defence Youth STEM engagement strategy in 2016, and subsequent support to cross-Government initiatives such as the Department for Transport led Year of Engineering and the Department for Education led STEM oversight board.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Litter Strategy for England, issued in Aril 2017.
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what priority has been accorded to the policy areas of (a) energy security, (b) action on climate change and (c) renewable energy since his Department took on responsibilities from the Department for Energy and Climate Change; and if he will make a statement.
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 19 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports his Department has received on the extent of the damage caused to farmland in Israel by fire kites being launched from Gaza.
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 13 June 2018
Ministry of Defence
Military Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what plans his Department has to provide military support to NATO allies in (a) Estonia and (b) Iceland in the next 12 months.
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Cybercrime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what guidance his Department has published for organisations in the private sector to reduce their vulnerability to cyber-attacks.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 12 June 2018

As the UK authority on cyber security, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is committed to providing expert, trusted, and independent guidance for members of the public and public and private sector organisations, including but not limited to UK industry, government departments, the critical national infrastructure and private SMEs. This guidance is freely available on NCSC’s website and is underpinned by our unique insights into cyber threats and is regularly updated. Following it will enable institutions and companies to put measures in place to help protect themselves from cyber attacks, and help to protect the UK’s economic prosperity and reputation.​

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Home Office
Domestic Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what his Department's policy is on making a breach of the proposed Domestic Abuse Protection Orders a criminal offence.
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of universal credit on the number of benefits claims.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 31 May 2018

We have not made an assessment.

Currently there are 870,000 claimants on Universal Credit, which is around 12% of the final figure which will be on Universal Credit after rollout is complete and existing benefit and tax credit caseloads have migrated across over the next few years.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Day Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment of the effectiveness of support provided to parents for the cost of childcare under universal credit.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 31 May 2018

Universal Credit is designed to strengthen incentives for all of our claimants, including parents, to move into and progress in work, and it is working. There are now 11.5 million parents in work (a rate of 82.4%), while 67.4% of lone parents are now in employment.

The Government now provides more support than ever before to help parents with the costs of childcare, including providing 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, and doubling free childcare available for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. We have also increased the level of support for childcare costs within Universal Credit from 70% to 85%, its highest ever level. This gives parents up to £646.35 per month for one child and £1108.04 per month for two or more children.

We know that the longer someone is out of the jobs market, the harder it can be to return when they are ready. That is why, unlike legacy means-tested benefits, Universal Credit does not have a minimum of 16 hours per week to be entitled to the Universal Credit childcare offer. Instead, it supports the Universal Credit principle that work pays, regardless of the number of hours worked. Parents will also be helped to prepare for work when their youngest child is two, and look for work when they are three. This will give them the best chance of finding a job which fits in with their caring responsibilities. Work-related requirements are tailored to individual circumstances and compatible with child care responsibilities. Work coaches can consider caring responsibilities when setting availability and work search hours. This will also include work preparation activities.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of civil enforcement actions for the non payment of child maintenance liability orders in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 29 May 2018

The number of civil enforcement actions for non payment of a child maintenance liability are published quarterly in Table 11 of the Child Maintenance Service experimental statistics data tables, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/684262/tables-child-maintenance-service-august-2013-to-december-2017.ods

A Paying Parent can be taken to court over unpaid child maintenance. The courts can grant liability orders which allow the parent to be referred to Enforcement Agents who could come and take away property to be sold to pay the unpaid maintenance and costs. The courts could also apply a charging order to force the parent to sell property (Orders for Sale) and use the money to pay off the unpaid maintenance. If these methods fail the Child Maintenance Service can apply for the courts to disqualify the parent from driving or send them to prison.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Treasury
Child Benefit
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his policy is on child benefit being paid in respect of all children in a family, regardless of their number.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 25 May 2018

Child Benefit helps with the costs of raising children, such as the cost of food, clothing and other necessities. This benefit remains universal, while a minority of families have some or all of their Child Benefit charged back via the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of women participating in a workplace pension scheme in Hendon constituency.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 24 May 2018

Automatic enrolment (AE) is a great success story with more than 9.6 million workers enrolled into pensions saving and over 1.2 million employers meeting their duties. It was created to help people with their long-term pension savings and works by requiring employers to enrol all eligible staff into a workplace pension. This policy has helped to reverse a decade of decline in savings prior to AE. An estimated 10 million people will be newly saving or saving more later this year and less than 10% of people have opted-out of their workplace pension.

In Hendon constituency, approximately 14,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 2,470 employers have met their duties.

We do not hold constituency level data for the number of women automatically enrolled. AE is helping those who were historically disadvantaged in terms of occupational pension provision to build up their retirement savings, and they are often women and lower earners. Since the introduction of AE the proportion of women employed full-time in the private sector without a workplace pension has decreased from 65 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016. It is also equalising the rate of workplace pension participation among eligible men and women. In 2016, 73 per cent of eligible men and women in the private sector were saving into a workplace pension compared with 43 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible men and women respectively in the private sector in 2012.

The Government’s 2017 review of AE report - Maintaining the Momentum - sets out our ambition for strengthening the framework of workplace pension saving for lower paid workers (many of whom are women working part-time). Over the coming year we will work to build a renewed consensus to deliver the detailed design and implementation of our proposals.

That includes working to deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to improve pension participation and retirement outcomes amongst self-employed people.

The self-employed represent a highly diverse group of around 15 per cent of the workforce amongst whom pension coverage varies significantly. The AE review report recognised that while a significant proportion of the 4.8m self-employed individuals in the UK have good levels of saving and preparation for later life, there are significant numbers of self-employed people who are under saving, or at risk of under saving for retirement.

We are investigating the most effective ways to address this, learning from the principles and successful roll-out of automatic enrolment to appropriately target interventions and understand what works, and we are utilising pensions’ industry expertise. DWP and HMT held a recent innovation event with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), exploring how technology and existing financial products could be part of the solution to enabling self-employed people to build retirement savings for their later life.

Government will test and develop targeted interventions for the self-employed, starting later this year, before setting out our proposals to implement workable solutions at scale.

Grouped Questions: 146824 | 146827 | 146828
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Self-employed: Personal Savings
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to encourage self-employed people to save for their retirement.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 24 May 2018

Automatic enrolment (AE) is a great success story with more than 9.6 million workers enrolled into pensions saving and over 1.2 million employers meeting their duties. It was created to help people with their long-term pension savings and works by requiring employers to enrol all eligible staff into a workplace pension. This policy has helped to reverse a decade of decline in savings prior to AE. An estimated 10 million people will be newly saving or saving more later this year and less than 10% of people have opted-out of their workplace pension.

In Hendon constituency, approximately 14,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 2,470 employers have met their duties.

We do not hold constituency level data for the number of women automatically enrolled. AE is helping those who were historically disadvantaged in terms of occupational pension provision to build up their retirement savings, and they are often women and lower earners. Since the introduction of AE the proportion of women employed full-time in the private sector without a workplace pension has decreased from 65 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016. It is also equalising the rate of workplace pension participation among eligible men and women. In 2016, 73 per cent of eligible men and women in the private sector were saving into a workplace pension compared with 43 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible men and women respectively in the private sector in 2012.

The Government’s 2017 review of AE report - Maintaining the Momentum - sets out our ambition for strengthening the framework of workplace pension saving for lower paid workers (many of whom are women working part-time). Over the coming year we will work to build a renewed consensus to deliver the detailed design and implementation of our proposals.

That includes working to deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to improve pension participation and retirement outcomes amongst self-employed people.

The self-employed represent a highly diverse group of around 15 per cent of the workforce amongst whom pension coverage varies significantly. The AE review report recognised that while a significant proportion of the 4.8m self-employed individuals in the UK have good levels of saving and preparation for later life, there are significant numbers of self-employed people who are under saving, or at risk of under saving for retirement.

We are investigating the most effective ways to address this, learning from the principles and successful roll-out of automatic enrolment to appropriately target interventions and understand what works, and we are utilising pensions’ industry expertise. DWP and HMT held a recent innovation event with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), exploring how technology and existing financial products could be part of the solution to enabling self-employed people to build retirement savings for their later life.

Government will test and develop targeted interventions for the self-employed, starting later this year, before setting out our proposals to implement workable solutions at scale.

Grouped Questions: 146823 | 146827 | 146828
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: Hendon
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have a work-place pension as a result of auto-enrolment in Hendon constituency.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 24 May 2018

Automatic enrolment (AE) is a great success story with more than 9.6 million workers enrolled into pensions saving and over 1.2 million employers meeting their duties. It was created to help people with their long-term pension savings and works by requiring employers to enrol all eligible staff into a workplace pension. This policy has helped to reverse a decade of decline in savings prior to AE. An estimated 10 million people will be newly saving or saving more later this year and less than 10% of people have opted-out of their workplace pension.

In Hendon constituency, approximately 14,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 2,470 employers have met their duties.

We do not hold constituency level data for the number of women automatically enrolled. AE is helping those who were historically disadvantaged in terms of occupational pension provision to build up their retirement savings, and they are often women and lower earners. Since the introduction of AE the proportion of women employed full-time in the private sector without a workplace pension has decreased from 65 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016. It is also equalising the rate of workplace pension participation among eligible men and women. In 2016, 73 per cent of eligible men and women in the private sector were saving into a workplace pension compared with 43 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible men and women respectively in the private sector in 2012.

The Government’s 2017 review of AE report - Maintaining the Momentum - sets out our ambition for strengthening the framework of workplace pension saving for lower paid workers (many of whom are women working part-time). Over the coming year we will work to build a renewed consensus to deliver the detailed design and implementation of our proposals.

That includes working to deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to improve pension participation and retirement outcomes amongst self-employed people.

The self-employed represent a highly diverse group of around 15 per cent of the workforce amongst whom pension coverage varies significantly. The AE review report recognised that while a significant proportion of the 4.8m self-employed individuals in the UK have good levels of saving and preparation for later life, there are significant numbers of self-employed people who are under saving, or at risk of under saving for retirement.

We are investigating the most effective ways to address this, learning from the principles and successful roll-out of automatic enrolment to appropriately target interventions and understand what works, and we are utilising pensions’ industry expertise. DWP and HMT held a recent innovation event with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), exploring how technology and existing financial products could be part of the solution to enabling self-employed people to build retirement savings for their later life.

Government will test and develop targeted interventions for the self-employed, starting later this year, before setting out our proposals to implement workable solutions at scale.

Grouped Questions: 146823 | 146824 | 146828
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the merits of automatic enrolment to help people to save for a private pension.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 24 May 2018

Automatic enrolment (AE) is a great success story with more than 9.6 million workers enrolled into pensions saving and over 1.2 million employers meeting their duties. It was created to help people with their long-term pension savings and works by requiring employers to enrol all eligible staff into a workplace pension. This policy has helped to reverse a decade of decline in savings prior to AE. An estimated 10 million people will be newly saving or saving more later this year and less than 10% of people have opted-out of their workplace pension.

In Hendon constituency, approximately 14,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 2,470 employers have met their duties.

We do not hold constituency level data for the number of women automatically enrolled. AE is helping those who were historically disadvantaged in terms of occupational pension provision to build up their retirement savings, and they are often women and lower earners. Since the introduction of AE the proportion of women employed full-time in the private sector without a workplace pension has decreased from 65 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016. It is also equalising the rate of workplace pension participation among eligible men and women. In 2016, 73 per cent of eligible men and women in the private sector were saving into a workplace pension compared with 43 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible men and women respectively in the private sector in 2012.

The Government’s 2017 review of AE report - Maintaining the Momentum - sets out our ambition for strengthening the framework of workplace pension saving for lower paid workers (many of whom are women working part-time). Over the coming year we will work to build a renewed consensus to deliver the detailed design and implementation of our proposals.

That includes working to deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to improve pension participation and retirement outcomes amongst self-employed people.

The self-employed represent a highly diverse group of around 15 per cent of the workforce amongst whom pension coverage varies significantly. The AE review report recognised that while a significant proportion of the 4.8m self-employed individuals in the UK have good levels of saving and preparation for later life, there are significant numbers of self-employed people who are under saving, or at risk of under saving for retirement.

We are investigating the most effective ways to address this, learning from the principles and successful roll-out of automatic enrolment to appropriately target interventions and understand what works, and we are utilising pensions’ industry expertise. DWP and HMT held a recent innovation event with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), exploring how technology and existing financial products could be part of the solution to enabling self-employed people to build retirement savings for their later life.

Government will test and develop targeted interventions for the self-employed, starting later this year, before setting out our proposals to implement workable solutions at scale.

Grouped Questions: 146823 | 146824 | 146827
Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 May 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the value to beneficiaries of increasing the access to work grant from £42,000 to £57,000.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 24 May 2018

The value to beneficiaries is outlined in ‘An update to the equality analysis for the 'Future of Access to Work, May 2015', published 9 May 2018.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-access-to-work-an-update-to-the-may-2015-equality-analysis/an-update-to-the-equality-analysis-for-the-future-of-access-to-work-may-2015

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 09 May 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Companies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on the economies of the Overseas Territories of public registers of beneficial owners of companies registered in their jurisdictions.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 16 May 2018

While there is a limited evidence base at present, the FCO is working with the Overseas Territories (OTs) affected by this amendment to determine the potential financial impact. We acknowledge the concerns of the OTs that the impact could be negative.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Home Office
Bank Services: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable people to claim compensation from banks when monies are fraudulently transferred from their accounts.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 16 April 2018

When an individual has had money fraudulently taken from their account, such as an unauthorised payment or ‘card not present’ fraud, in most circumstances the payment services provider must reimburse the customer for their loss.

In other types of fraud, where an individual has been tricked into authorising the payment to the fraudster, commonly known as Authorised Push Payment scams (APP), consumers have less protection. The Government recognises that fraudulent transactions of this type can significantly impact those affected.

The Joint Fraud Taskforce (JFT) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) have work in hand which will make it easier for victims of this type of fraud to claim compensation or receive a reimbursement following their loss.

The PSR has now consulted on a ‘contingent reimbursement model’ for victims of APP scams and has established a steering group of consumer representatives and banks, including the Home Office, to design an industry code by September 2018, with a view to the final code being in place in early 2019. The aim of this code is to reduce the incidence of APP scams, and set out rules on how industry should reimburse consumers in certain scenarios.

The long term ambition of the JFT is to introduce a funds repatriation scheme. The scheme will enable banking providers to trace, freeze then return stolen money back to the victims of fraud. We are currently working with the private sector to assess the legal and regulatory issues with implementing a fully functioning scheme.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 22 March 2018
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the effectiveness of anti-terror (a) legislation and (b) policies, including financial sanctions will be maintained after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 04 April 2018

The Government’s future partnership paper on security, law enforcement and criminal justice published on 18 September 2017 set out how the UK is seeking a future relationship with the EU and its Member States that provides for practical operational cooperation; facilitates data driven law enforcement; and supports multilateral cooperation through EU agencies.

We continue to value our cooperation and information sharing through measures such as the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), Europol, the European Criminal Record Information System (ECRIS) and the Schengen Information System (SIS II) in our efforts to fight cross-border crime and terrorism.

The Government’s counter-terrorism legislation and policies will continue to remain comprehensive and effective following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill is progressing through the House of Commons. The Bill provides the UK with the ability to make a variety of sanctions regimes, including for complying with a UN obligation. The Bill will also give the UK powers to create UK autonomous sanctions regimes. The Prime Minister has said that we will look to carry over all EU sanctions at the time of our departure, and we will all be stronger if the UK and EU have the means to co-operate on sanctions now, and potentially to develop them together in the future.

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