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 Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to work in partnership with Campaign to End Loneliness, British Red Cross, the Association of Convenience Stores and others, to explore how businesses can provide community space out of business hours or engage with the wider community in other ways.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Employers can play an important role in tackling loneliness in their workforce and wider society.

The Department continues to work with the Campaign to End Loneliness to run an Employers’ Leadership Group on Loneliness. The group strengthens cooperation and coordination between Government, business and other groups with an interest in tackling loneliness. The group, which includes the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Red Cross, is currently carrying out work to identify good practice and produce case studies and guidance to help employers tackle loneliness – both in the workforce and in the wider community.

Grouped Questions: 282314
Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to capture and share the work businesses are doing to help tackle loneliness in the wider community and to promote that work and develop it further.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Employers can play an important role in tackling loneliness in their workforce and wider society.

The Department continues to work with the Campaign to End Loneliness to run an Employers’ Leadership Group on Loneliness. The group strengthens cooperation and coordination between Government, business and other groups with an interest in tackling loneliness. The group, which includes the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Red Cross, is currently carrying out work to identify good practice and produce case studies and guidance to help employers tackle loneliness – both in the workforce and in the wider community.

Grouped Questions: 282313
Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Transport
Official Cars
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many cars the Government Car Service plans to purchase in the next five years; and what proportion will be (a) petrol and diesel, (b) hybrid electric and (c) fully electric.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Government Car Service (GCS) will be replacing cars as they become due for renewal with ultra-low emission and zero emission vehicles over the next five years.

Below is the planned replacement based upon the current budget allocation:

2020 - (a) Petrol x 7, Diesel x0 (b) Petrol hybrid x 4 (c) Electric x 4

2021- (a) Petrol x 3, Diesel x 0 (b) Petrol hybrid x 2 (c) Electric x 4

2022 - (a) Petrol x 0, Diesel x 0 (b) Petrol hybrid x 0 (c) Electric x 7

2023- (a) Petrol x 0, Diesel x 0 (b) Petrol hybrid x 0 (c) Electric x7

2024 - (a) Petrol x0, Diesel x 0 (b) Petrol hybrid x 0 (c) Electric x 7

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Home Office
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department has taken with the Loneliness Action Group to share learning on loneliness and ensure effective implementation of the loneliness strategy.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 06 September 2019

Government has engaged closely with the Loneliness Action Group in the development and now implementation of its Loneliness Strategy. The Home Office has worked in tandem with other departments in this and Home Office officials have spoken with the Loneliness Action Group about our progress in delivering our commitments in the Strategy.

Government officials have regularly attended the quarterly Loneliness Action Group meetings, to share updates and hear the group's views. The Minister for Sport and Civil Society, who leads Government's work on loneliness, spoke at the Loneliness Action Group conference in May 2019.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 02 September 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Living Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many staff working in her Department for Aramark and ISS are paid below the London Living Wage.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Pay data and specific rates are a matter for each individual contractor, but assurances are provided to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the National Living Wage. In April 2019 Government increased the National Living Wage to £8.21 per hour. This is an above inflation increase that saw a full-time minimum wage worker over £2,750 better off over the course of a year compared to when the policy was introduced.

We value all of our staff and they all deserve a fair and competitive wage, whether they are directly employed or working through our contractors. The Department has agreed with its facilities management contractor that they will align the pay of their cleaning, catering, mailroom and security staff to the appropriate median rates for that occupation, as identified in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

The median applied from 1 March 2019 and will be aligned annually.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 02 September 2019
Department for Transport
Official Cars
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many cars there are in the Government Car Service fleet.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 05 September 2019

There are 83 cars in the Government Car Service Fleet.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 02 September 2019
Department for Transport
Official Cars
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many petrol or diesel engine cars were added to the Government Car Service fleet in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 05 September 2019

As part of a planned replacement programme the Government Car Service (GCS) added the following cars to its fleet during the years:

  1. 2017 – Petrol x 16, Diesel x 0

  2. 2018 - Petrol x 0, Diesel x 0

  3. 2019 – Petrol x 8, Diesel x 0

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 02 September 2019
Department for Transport
Official Cars
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many hybrid electric cars were added to the Government Car Service fleet in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 05 September 2019

As part of a replacement programme the Government Car Service (GCS) added the following hybrid electric cars to its fleet during the following years:

(a) 2017 - 0

(b) 2018 - 5

(c) 2019 - 0

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 02 September 2019
Department for Transport
Official Cars
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many fully electric cars were added to the Government Car Service fleet in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 05 September 2019

As part of a planned replacement programme the Government Car Service (GCS) added the following electric cars to its fleet during these years:

  1. 2017 – 1

  2. 2018 – 5

  3. 2019 – 6

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to hold a roundtable with key representatives from the housing sector who are addressing loneliness, to inform the development of Planning Practice Guidance which will be published to support the recently revised National Planning Policy Framework.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 04 September 2019

We appointed an external consultant to work with us to develop the design guide and it was agreed that a more interactive workshop approach would be more effective. Therefore, two workshops have been held in which the content of the illustrated design guide, part of the Planning Practice Guidance, was discussed. The discussion was broader than loneliness, but creating inclusive homes and places, which encourage community cohesion and a sense of identity were covered and will be incorporated within the manual.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to incorporate tackling loneliness as a theme in regional and national design quality events attended by people from across the sector, including local authorities.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 04 September 2019

At our National Design Quality Conference in Birmingham in February, the subject of loneliness was tackled in a session on healthy place-making and a case study specifically on tackling loneliness was presented. We also hosted a community vision session with 40 representatives of the Birmingham community in which they discussed designing neighbourhoods to tackle loneliness. We displayed examples of good practice in housing design, many of which were designed to facilitate community engagement at the National Conference. These were also displayed at the Housing 2019 conference in Manchester.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to work with local partners, through the Ageing Society Grand Challenge, on how to develop inclusive homes and communities that support people to remain healthy and independent for longer.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 03 September 2019

Through the Ageing Society Grand Challenge, a £2.5 million competition has been developed. This will reward new ideas that lead to innovation in design and delivery of age friendly housing, that addresses the needs of an ageing population. A team led by the Building Research Establishment has recently been appointed to work with Government as the competition delivery partner and the competition itself is scheduled to be launched in late 2019.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress has been made against the commitment set out in the Loneliness Strategy to include loneliness in measures of design quality, starting with Homes England and other Government programmes.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 03 September 2019

We are working closely with Homes England to ensure design quality across Government programmes and there is ongoing work to establish how places can be designed to boost people's health and well-being, including tackling loneliness.

For example, prospective garden communities were required to outline how they would achieve 10 design qualities in their proposals. These qualities help create places that support cohesive communities, and proposals were assessed against these criteria.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Loneliness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what progress the Minister for Local Government has made in strengthening the Department's consideration of loneliness as a policy concern.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 03 September 2019

MHCLG is a key member of the Inter-Ministerial Group on Loneliness and is part of the cross-government loneliness team ensuring that loneliness is being embedded into all areas of Departmental policy.

The new Community Framework: ‘By deeds and their results: how we will strengthen our communities and nation’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/by-deeds-and-their-results-strengthening-our-communities-and-nation, published on 20 July, sets out how the government will work with local and national partners such as businesses, faith institutions, local authorities and volunteer groups to help build stronger, more empowered and integrated communities across England and will address many of the issues highlighted in the Government’s Loneliness strategy.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 16 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Living Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many workers employed by his Department are paid less than the Living Wage Foundation London living wage.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Department Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not have any employees paid less than the Living Wage Foundation London living wage.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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: 16 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Living Wage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to gain Living Wage Foundation accreditation as a living wage employer.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The Government is committed to ensuring fair remuneration for workers across the economy. In April 2019, the National Living Wage (NLW) rate was increased to £8.21 per hour, a rise of 4.9 percent. This means that the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the NLW will have increased by over £2,750 since the policy was introduced. We are also supporting and encouraging employers to pay more where possible and appropriate.

In line with this, at the end of last year, at the request of my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State, officials in BEIS undertook a review of the pay of staff working through its contractors, in order to ensure they receive a wage which is fair and directly comparable to other employers across the local labour market.

As a result of this review, the Department agreed with its contractors (Aramark and ISS) that, from 1 March 2019, they would align the pay of their cleaning, catering, mailroom and security staff to the appropriate median rates for those occupations as identified in the 2018 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). This survey captures pay details for around 300,000 employees from the HMRC Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system down to Local Authority level and is therefore a robust and reliable source of pay data.

The immediate change for some staff has been significant. For example, some of our lowest paid security guards saw an increase of over 15%. Pay for staff working through our contractors will continue to track the median rate in future years

The Department does not currently intend to seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
Asked on: 03 July 2019
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when (a) he and (b) his Ministers were made aware that all pacer trains would not be withdrawn from service by rail operators before 1 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The first Pacers are due to be withdrawn from service in August and operators are working to remove all of them by the end of the year. No application for dispensations with regard to rail vehicle accessibility standards in respect of the Pacers operated by Northern has been submitted to the Department to date.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many pacer trains are serving stations in (a) Leeds, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) the UK.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 July 2019

There is a total of 42 Pacer trains operating in Yorkshire and Humber from Monday to Friday, and 27 of these serve Leeds.

In the UK there are 140 Pacer Trains in service with three train operators which are Arriva Rail North Limited, Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales Rail Services.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which rail operators are running pacer trains on their service.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 July 2019

Arriva Rail North, Great Western Railway and Transport for Wales Rail Services are operators of Pacer trains.

Q
Asked by Rachel Reeves
(Leeds West)
[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 July 2019
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many pacer trains will be taken out of service by 1 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 08 July 2019

The first Pacers are due to be withdrawn from service in August and operators are working to remove all of them by the end of the year. People across the north are starting to see the first of the new trains operating on the Northern network.

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