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 Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether patients in Halton will continue to receive the level of funding per patient as set out in CCG allocations 2019/20 to 2023/24 in the event that Halton and Warrington CCGs are merged under the terms of the current merger proposal.
Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Probation: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve case supervision as a result of the HM Inspectorate of Probation inspection of Cheshire and Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company report published in April 2019.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The HM Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) report into Cheshire and Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) awarded the service a rating of ‘requires improvement’. The Ministry of Justice takes the findings of HMIP in relation to CRCs very seriously and will work with the provider to ensure that an appropriate plan is in place to address the identified areas for improvement.

We have been clear that probation services need to improve and are taking decisive action to stabilise and improve the delivery of probation services, We are investing an additional £22m a year to ensure that CRCs deliver an enhanced Through the Gate service to offenders leaving prison. This will include sustained support to find accommodation and employment on discharge.

We want to see a more stable and resilient probation system which better integrates public, private and voluntary providers, so they work more effectively together to protect the public and reduce re-offending. We have taken decisive action by ending current Community Rehabilitation Company contracts early and last year, conducted a consultation on future arrangements. We are considering the feedback received and will set out detailed plans later this year.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 March 2019
Home Office
Crime: Retail Trade
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report 2019 findings that (a) the total cost of crime for the convenience sector was £246 million, (b) there were 9,782 incidents of violence against people working in local shops and (c) that convenience retailers had invested £4,080 per store in crime prevention equipment; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 01 April 2019

All forms of retail crime are unacceptable, and everyone has the right to feel safe at work.

I chair the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) which brings together partners including the police, trade bodies – including the Association of Convenience Stores - and retailers and is overseeing a range of work to tackle retail crime. This includes the collation and dissemination of good practice and developing guidance on the use of Impact Statements for Business, which give victims of business crime the opportunity to set out the impact the crime has had on the business, including, for example, financial loss. The NRCSG also continues to work with retailers to improve the management and response to shop theft using a partnership ap-proach according to local circumstances.

Government encourages businesses to continue their efforts to protect themselves from crime, and I commend the investment that the convenient sector has made.

On 21 January I announced that we will launch a call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shop workers to strengthen our understanding of this issue, including how existing legislation is being applied.

In addition, the Sentencing Council is reviewing its guidelines on assault and a consultation on a revised guideline is anticipated to commence this Summer.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Staff
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether health professionals and other experts in the health sector outside of the appointed national workforce group will be consulted and able to feed into the forthcoming workforce implementation plan.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 01 April 2019

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January this year, sets out a vital strategic framework to ensure that over the next 10 years the National Health Service will have the staff it needs so that nurses and doctors have the time they need to care, working in a supportive culture that allows them to provide the expert compassionate care they are committed providing.

To ensure a detailed plan that everyone in the NHS can get behind, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has commissioned Baroness Harding to lead a rapid and inclusive programme of work to set out a detailed workforce implementation plan to be published in the spring.

In developing the workforce implementation plan, the NHS has been working with a broad range of experts, including patient groups, the voluntary sector, think tanks, regulatory bodies, academics and trade unions. Patients, the public and staff have all offered their views and have contributed toward the plan’s development through a national steering group and a number of stakeholder events. The NHS has also asked specific questions related to the plan through the Department’s online engagement community (Talk Health and Care) to seek the views of all health and care staff.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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: 07 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Breast Cancer: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the potential merits of the recommendations contained in the Independent Breast Screening Review will be included in the review of breast screening by the National Screening Committee.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 10 January 2019

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) welcomes the Independent Breast Screening Review report 2018 and will review the recommendations set out.

In the meantime, the evidence to routinely screen women over 70 years of age is limited and we await the results of the Age Extension trial to help provide essential evidence needed to help better understand what the benefit and harms are when offering screening in women aged 71 to 73. The UK NSC is also looking at the age at which screening should no longer be routinely offered.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 November 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Incinerators: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 July 2018 to Question 164870 on Incinerators: Health Hazards, when those papers will be published.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 23 November 2018

Public Health England funded the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, and King’s College London, to carry out a study to further extend the evidence base as to whether emissions from modern municipal waste incinerators affect human health.

The first of a series of papers from this study was published on 22 November 2018. The paper ‘Fetal growth, stillbirth, infant mortality and other birth outcomes near UK municipal waste incinerators; retrospective population based cohort and case-control study’ is available to view at the following link:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412018316398

The paper found no evidence of a link between exposure to particulate matter emitted from modern municipal waste incinerators as modelled from emissions data, or living close to modern municipal waste incinerators, and infant mortality, low birth weight, still birth or the other birth outcomes investigated.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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: 17 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Incinerators: Health Hazards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2018 to Question 134539 on Incinerators: Health Hazards, whether those papers been submitted for peer review; and when the results are planned to be published.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 24 July 2018
Holding answer received on 23 July 2018

The papers from the Small Area Health Statistics Unit project were submitted to peer reviewed journals the week beginning the 16 July, and it is likely to be a few months after submission for the papers to be published.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Breast Cancer: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 June 2018 to Question 147340, when the last occasion was before January 2018 when assurance was given to Ministers on the work undertaken by NHS England and Public Health England in delivering effective screening programmes; and what information was given to Minsters on the effectiveness of the breast screening programme.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 25 June 2018

Ministers are assured on the work of NHS England and Public Health England in delivering effective screening programmes through quarterly accountability meetings, chaired by senior officials. Separate meetings review and assure progress in delivery of Public Health England’s remit letter and business plan, and of the NHS Public Health Functions Agreement with NHS England.

Ministers are informed of the details of the statistical report on the Breast Screening Programme, England, every year, which NHS Digital publishes. Prior to January 2018 the last report was published in February 2017 for 2015/16, which is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/breast-screening-programme/breast-screening-programme-england-2015-16

The subsequent report for 2016/17 was published in January 2018 and is available at the following link:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/breast-screening-programme/breast-screening-programme-england---2016-17

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons (a) the Bridgewater NHS Trust's retinal screening staff administration team are being transferred to the private company Emis Care and (b) the timing is before the end of the contract due in to finish in April 2019.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 07 June 2018

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust provides a diabetic eye screening service to patients through the Central Mersey Diabetic Eye Screening Programme. The administration of this service is provided by Emis.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Emis have agreed to combine the administration function with the clinical delivery element within Bridgewater Community Healthcare Trust to deliver greater safety assurance as quickly as possible. Therefore the contract for administration which was due to finish in April 2019 will now finish on 10 August 2018.

Emis have agreed to continue to work with Bridgewater Trust in order to ensure a smooth transition and alleviate any concerns that the current staff members may have regarding the Transfer of Undertakings - Protection of Employment process, and the Trust has confirmed that staff will be given full support through the process to ensure a safe and secure transfer.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Viridor
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the maximum tonnage of waste is that the Viridor Energy is entitled to burn at its waste facility in Runcorn under its permit; and what the tonnage of waste is that is currently being burnt at that site.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 07 June 2018

The maximum throughput of waste specified in the permit for Viridor’s Runcorn Energy from Waste site is 850,000 tonnes per year. This was based on the predicted number and length of plant stoppages for inspection, maintenance and repair. In 2017 this routine shut down was shorter than expected, and the Environment Agency authorised a temporary increase of throughput on a trial basis. The total throughput of waste for 2017 was 890,933 tonnes. This increase will not have led to an unacceptable impact on the environment.

Viridor will need to apply for a permit variation in order to permanently increase its annual throughput of waste. Any such permit variation is likely to be subject to public consultation.

There has been no change in fuel composition from that specified in the permit in 2009.

Grouped Questions: 149607
Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 June 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Viridor
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the composition of fuel being burned at the Viridor Runcorn Energy from Waste facility been allowed to be changed from that permitted under its original permit.
A
Answered by: David Rutley
Answered on: 07 June 2018

The maximum throughput of waste specified in the permit for Viridor’s Runcorn Energy from Waste site is 850,000 tonnes per year. This was based on the predicted number and length of plant stoppages for inspection, maintenance and repair. In 2017 this routine shut down was shorter than expected, and the Environment Agency authorised a temporary increase of throughput on a trial basis. The total throughput of waste for 2017 was 890,933 tonnes. This increase will not have led to an unacceptable impact on the environment.

Viridor will need to apply for a permit variation in order to permanently increase its annual throughput of waste. Any such permit variation is likely to be subject to public consultation.

There has been no change in fuel composition from that specified in the permit in 2009.

Grouped Questions: 149606
Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
Asked on: 23 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Breast Cancer: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference his reply to the letter of 17 May 2018 from the hon. Member for Halton and pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2018 to Question 144172 on Breast Cancer: Screening, on what dates he or the Minister with responsibility for screening asked officials of his Department about the (a) accuracy of the screening programme and (b) robustness of the checks and assurances in place prior to being informed of the issues relating to the breast cancer screening programme in January 2018.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 05 June 2018

There is no record held which indicates the last occasion prior to January 2018 when a Minister sought additional specific assurance from officials on the accuracy and robustness of delivery of the breast screening programme. However, we can confirm that there are processes in place where assurance is given to Ministers on a regular basis on the work of NHS England and Public Health England in delivering effective screening programmes.

All available information will be shared with the independent review who will investigate why quality assurance processes did not pick up the problem earlier, whether any warnings should have been heeded earlier and whether the issue was escalated to Ministers at the appropriate time. The review is due to report in November 2018.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
Asked on: 23 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Spinal Injuries: Halton
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time for treatment is for spinal patients living in the Borough of Halton.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 05 June 2018

Data is not available in the format requested.

NHS England publishes monthly performance data for consultant-led referral to treatment waiting times, including information for trauma and orthopaedics which includes spinal procedures. This is published at national, regional, commissioner and provider levels rather than by individuals boroughs and can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
Asked on: 24 May 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Halton
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding of schools in the Halton constituency.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 04 June 2018

School funding is at its highest ever level with core funding for schools and high needs having risen from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion this year and £43.5 billion in 2019-20.

The Department primarily allocates revenue funding for schools at local authority level. Schools in Halton will attract 4.7% more funding, compared to their 2017-18 baselines, under the national funding formula. Local authorities will continue to set local formulae to determine individual schools’ budgets in 2018-19 and 2019-20. It remains the Department’s intention that every school’s budget should be set on the basis of a single, national formula, but the Department believes a period of transition will provide greater stability for schools.

The Department will publish notional funding formula allocations for 2019-20 later this year after updating calculations using the latest autumn census data.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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: 15 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Breast Cancer: Screening
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral contribution of 2 May 2018, Official Report, column 325, when he plans to provide a detailed answer to the question from the hon. Member for Halton.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 21 May 2018

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health responded to the hon. Member on Thursday 17 May.

The independent review announced on 2 May, will also investigate why quality assurance processes did not pick up the problem earlier, whether any warnings should have been heeded earlier and whether the issue was escalated to Ministers at the appropriate time. The review is due to report in November 2018.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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: 09 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Exercise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make physical activity a policy priority for his Department.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 14 May 2018

The Department recognises the importance of physical activity. We are committed to the World Health Organization‘s target of a 15% relative reduction in the prevalence of physical inactivity by 2025.

We are reviewing the Chief Medical Officer guidelines for physical activity. This review will provide updated public health guidelines for the population.

Physical activity and sport are a key part of our childhood obesity plan and have an important role in maintaining and improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Through the plan we have committed to invest revenue from the soft drinks industry levy in child health and physical activity, including doubling the primary PE and sport premium to £320 million a year from the 2017-18 academic year and £100 million in 2018-19 for the healthy pupils capital fund.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Consultants: Private Sector
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the monitoring of consultants in the independent sector who operate under practising privileges.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 09 May 2018

Following a critical report by the Care Quality Commission about the quality and safety of care in the independent sector, the Secretary of State has written to Chief Executives of the leading Independent Sector Providers, setting out a number of areas that require significant improvements.


The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator of all medical doctors in the United Kingdom. All doctors must register with the GMC to practise in the UK.

All UK registered doctors are expected to meet the professional standards set out in the (GMC’s) Good Medical Practice. To maintain their licence to practise, a doctor must demonstrate, through the revalidation process, that they work in line with the principles and values set out in this guidance.

Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance that poses a risk to the public will put their registration at risk.

The independent sector treats National Health Service patients as well as private patients, and it is therefore right that the Secretary of State addresses these issues directly.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 May 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2018 to Question 134643, on Housing: Construction, in the event that all other options have been explored whether a Local Plan that does not meet objectively assessed need can still be passed by a Planning Inspector.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 09 May 2018

Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, or specific policies in the National Planning Policy Framework indicate that development should be restricted. At examination, an independently appointed Inspector will consider these factors, as part of their assessment of the Plan and whether the tests of soundness as set out in the Framework have been met.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 May 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Oral Questions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Halton on 30 April 2018, Official Report column 16, what the evidential basis is for the answer.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 09 May 2018

As part of our oversight of local government expenditure, this Department does consider the financial stability and service delivery of individual authorities. We keep the system under review and liaise with other departments, including the Department of Health and Social Care, to understand their current assessment of service pressures and aspirations. In addition, Ministers and officials have regular contact with a wide range of local authorities, including as part of the annual local government finance settlement.

On this basis, we have no immediate concerns on the ability of local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties. We know the social care sector is under pressure, which is why we have given an additional £2 billion funding over the three years until 2019-20.

Q
Asked by Derek Twigg
(Halton)
[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 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Strokes
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to publish the new national stroke plan for England.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 09 May 2018

A national stroke plan is being developed by a group jointly chaired by the NHS England Medical Director, Steve Powis and the Chief Executive of the Stroke Association, Juliet Bouverie. It is expected to report in the summer, and is looking at how to improve stroke care across the whole pathway, from prevention, through to acute care and, critically, rehabilitation.

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