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
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 20 March 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Government Departments: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government is taking to ensure disabled access and facilities are made available at all job centres and any other Departmental offices.
A
Answered by: Kit Malthouse
Answered on: 28 March 2018

The Department takes our responsibility to ensure all our customers have access to our services and facilities without disadvantage very seriously. Every DWP office has been assessed to ensure that we are compliant with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. Where suitable physical adaptations to buildings are not possible, the Department provides an alternative method of delivering our services where we are made aware that a customer has potential access issues, such as an appointment would be rearranged at a ground floor location or by a home visit.

Where structural constraints prevent us from providing dedicated toilet facilities for our customers with disability, arrangements are made for them to be accompanied to make use of staff facilities on request.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 20 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Mental Health Services: Hospital Beds
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to ensure (a) the availability of inpatient beds in acute psychiatric hospitals and (b) that sectioning under the Mental Health Act is only used as a last resort; and what assessment he has made of whether the availability of inpatient beds in acute psychiatric hospitals has had an effect on the number of sections under the Mental Health Act 1983.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 27 March 2018

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health precipitated a five year programme aimed at building capacity within community-based services to reduce demand on the acute sector and in-patient beds and treat people closer to home. This work includes £400 million additional investment by 2021 for crisis resolution and home treatment teams, so that these services are available 24/7 and can help treat more people in the community and reduce hospital admissions.

This programme also includes specific action to improve access to high quality acute mental health care, and to eliminate out of area placements.

Following concerns about increasing incidence of detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 in recent years, in October 2017 my Rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister commissioned an independent review to look at how the legislation and practice can be improved. Professor Sir Simon Wessely is leading the Review, which will publish an interim report in the spring and a final report in late 2018.

The Care Quality Commission has examined the factors that may be affecting the rise of detentions under the Act, and reported this January. It identified a number of factors including changes in the law and its interpretation, demographic changes, improved data reporting, as well as pressure on beds. The report, “Mental Health Act – The rise in the use of the MHA to detain people in England” is available at:

http://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/themed-work/mental-health-act-rise-mha-detain-england

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
[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 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Blackburn and Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding has been allocated to Blackburn and Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in each of the last 5 years; and if he will make an assessment o the effect of changes to the level on that funding on the provision of treatments by that CCG.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 26 March 2018

NHS England publishes clinical commissioning group (CCG) allocations on its website. The published CCG allocations for NHS Blackburn and Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the past five years for core services are set out in the table below. It should be noted that these figures are as published, and do not reflect any adjustments that may have occurred since the time of publication.

The allocation of funding to local CCGs is informed by the estimation of the relative health needs of local areas, based on a set of funding formulae. This formulae produce a target allocation, or 'fair share' for each area, based on a complex assessment of factors such as demography, morbidity, deprivation, and the unavoidable cost of providing services in different areas.

NHS Blackburn and Darwen CCG

Allocation (£000s)

2013-14

195,648

2014-15

199,835

2015-16

211,409

2016-17

217,854

2017-18

222,309

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 07 March 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to reduce levels of insecure housing; and what assessment the Government has made of the relationship between levels of (a) insecure housing and (b) homelessness.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 12 March 2018

The Government is committed to protecting the rights of tenants and giving them more security. Our Housing White Paper, published on 7 February 2018, sets out what we have done to encourage longer term tenancies in private rental homes delivered by housing associations and institutional investors. Both the British Property Federation and the National Housing Federation have committed to offer family friendly tenancies of three years or more in purpose built homes for rent.

For those already living in the private rented sector who want a longer tenancy, we have published a model tenancy agreement which landlords and tenants can use as the basis for longer tenancies. This can be found online at www.gov.uk/government/publications/model-agreement-for-a-shorthold-assured-tenancy

The end of an assured shorthold tenancy in the private rented sector is now the leading cause of homelessness in England. The Government is committed to making sure everyone has a roof over their head and the security they need in their homes. We will shortly be launching a consultation on the barriers to landlords offering longer, more secure tenancies in the private rented sector and how we can overcome them. We also announced at Budget £20 million to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to access and sustain tenancies in the private rented sector.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 27 February 2018
Home Office
Forensic Science
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps are being taken to protect forensic evidence following the collapse of Key Forensic Services; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of reopening the Forensic Science Service to ensure forensic work is not lost in the event of a contractor's closure.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 05 March 2018

I welcome the swift action taken by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ to manage the administration of Key Forensic Services (KFS), minimising the impact on the criminal justice system and protecting the evidence for live cases. With Home Office support, they reached an agreement with the Administrators to ensure that the business continues to operate so that evidence KFS holds continues to be properly and professionally managed in accordance with the standards set by the Forensic Science Regulator. There are no plans to reopen the Forensic Science Service.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 20 February 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that (a) personal independence payments and (b) employment support allowance assessments take into account expert advice, including medical advice.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 28 February 2018

Claimants are advised to submit any evidence that they have. If the Department or its assessment providers require further evidence, including any supporting medical evidence, they will request it directly from the clinician or other professionals involved in the claimant’s care. All Health Professionals are subject to on-going audit by our assessment providers to ensure that they deliver high quality assessments, including the appropriate use of further evidence. The Department also undertakes independent audit to ensure that the advice provided to the Department’s decision makers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 01 February 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Nurses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of current nursing staffing levels on patient safety.
A
Answered by: Caroline Dinenage
Answered on: 07 February 2018

Local National Health Service trusts and commissioners have responsibility for ensuring high-quality, safe and financially sustainable services, and are expected to consider a basket of measures to assess whether nursing staffing levels for their organisation are appropriate.

At a national level, in July 2016, the National Quality Board issued updated staffing guidance, ‘Supporting NHS providers to deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time, to support local decision making’, which advises NHS trusts to consider safe staffing levels in the context of this basket of measures.

NHS Improvement collects monthly data returns on staffing levels, vacancy, fill rates, agency data and also quality metrics such as patient safety thermometer and safety incidents. This data is reviewed monthly by regional NHS Improvement teams to support NHS objectives. There are triggers and criteria in the data sets that flag NHS trusts which have staffing and safety issues and these are placed on higher surveillance, with regular input via NHS Improvement teams, to ensure safety and quality.

The latest statistics for October 2017 show that since May 2010, there are now almost 42,700 more professionally qualified clinical staff (full time equivalent) working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups – this includes over 14,200 (9%) more nurses onwards.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Manufacturing Industries: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support manufacturers in the North West.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 24 October 2017

We are working with UK industry to create the right conditions for competitive, world leading manufacturing businesses to flourish and grow across the UK. We are supporting all UK manufacturers by cutting business taxes, slashing red tape and investing in new scientific infrastructure on a record scale. Through our Industrial Strategy, we will make sure that we are using all the tools we have to stimulate growth in places such as the North West. That means using our record investments in infrastructure to unlock growth in every part of the country; using the major new investment in research to support innovative manufacturing businesses across the country; and encouraging inward investment into the parts of the country where we need to get growth going faster.

Over the past few years, we have invested over £1.5 billion through the Local Growth Fund, in the North West for projects to boost local economies and the Regional Growth Fund that supports eligible projects and programmes raising private sector investment to create economic growth and lasting employment, has since its launch in 2010, resulted in over 46,000 jobs being contracted, of which 21,426 are in manufacturing.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Cabinet Office
Zero Hours Contracts: Blackburn with Darwen
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of employees in Blackburn with Darwen were on zero hours contracts in each year for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 19 October 2017

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I
have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 124.82 KB)
Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department of Health
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust: Nurses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many registered nurses left East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 16 October 2017

NHS Digital publishes workforce statistics and the following table shows the number of nurses who have left East Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Trust yearly at 30 June since 2010, along with the total number of nurses employed at the end of that same period.

NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): Nurse and health visitor leavers and total from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, between June in each specified year, 2010 to 2017, headcount.

Nurses

2010 to 2011

2011 to 2012

2012 to 2013

2013 to 2014

2014 to 2015

2015 to 2016

2016 to 2017

Total

1,433

1,810

1,846

1,954

1,962

1,920

2,008

Leavers

164

128

177

189

222

260

224

Source: NHS Digital, NHS HCHS workforce statistics

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department of Health
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust: Nurses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many vacancies for registered nurses were left unfilled at East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 16 October 2017

This information is not held centrally.

Health Education England provides estimates of staff shortages and the plan for tackling these issues as part of their Workforce Plan for England publication. The latest figures are available at the following link:

https://hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Workforce%20Plan%20for%20England%202016-17.pdf

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Job Creation: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support job creation schemes in (a) the North West and (b) Blackburn with Darwen.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 16 October 2017

The Northern Powerhouse is about boosting growth across the North by building on its economic assets and addressing barriers to productivity including the creation of new job opportunities to ensure an economy that works for everyone. They are 7 million people in employment in the Northern Powerhouse and the North West accounts for almost half of that. Proof that the steps we are taking to support job creation schemes in the North West are working.

Small businesses are playing their part in this through access to national support through GOV.UK and the Business Support Helpline and we have invested in the creation of a network of 38 Growth Hubs (one in each Local Enterprise Partnership area), providing businesses across England with access to tailored local advice and support to help them grow. Lancashire’s business growth hub (Boost) which covers Blackburn and Darwen has worked with over 3,000 local SMEs and created over 1,300 new jobs in its first three years.

In February this year, we launched the £400 million Northern Powerhouse Fund for small businesses across the North, ensuring they access to finance they need to start-up and grow. This fund has now made 39 investments/loans into businesses in the North West totalling £7.11m (over half of that invested across the Northern Powerhouse) which are forecasted to create 409 jobs.

The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) supports eligible projects and programmes raising private sector investment to create economic growth and lasting employment. Since its launch in 2010 it has invested £2.6 billion to help local businesses grow and take on more staff across England. In the North West, 46,676 jobs have already been contracted of which 249 are in Blackburn with Darwen.

Over the past few years, we have invested over £1.5 billion through the Local Growth Fund in the North West for projects to boost local economies and Growth Deal 1 and 2 allocations aim to create over 35,000 jobs across the North West. The Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Blackburn with Darwen have now received over £320m as part of their Local Growth Funding to give businesses the support and opportunities they need to achieve their potential which aims to see up to 11,000 jobs created across Lancashire

Projects such as the Blackburn – Bolton Rail Corridor, Blackburn Town Centre improvements, Café Northcote at the Cathedral Quarter, Making Rooms Fab Lab and the Pennines Gateway initiative are just some of the locally-chosen projects in Blackburn and Darwen that are set to benefit over the next few years helping unlock new growth potential, create jobs and establish a network of centres focused on innovation and industrial excellence in key growth sectors for the whole of Lancashire.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Business: North West
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support business growth schemes in (a) the North West and (b) Blackburn with Darwen.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 16 October 2017

We are working hard to support businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK to ensure they can access finance and wider support to grow and the right conditions are in place for companies to invest for the long-term.

Small businesses across the North West can access national support through GOV.UK and the Business Support Helpline. Government has also supported and invested in the creation of a network of 38 Growth Hubs (one in each Local Enterprise Partnership area), providing businesses across England with tailored advice and support. For businesses in Lancashire (including those based in Blackburn, Darwen and Rossendale) this support is provided by Lancashire Business BOOST Growth Hub which acts as the first port of call for businesses seeking advice and support locally. Since its launch in November 2013, Boost has engaged and supported 3943 businesses and helped 312 individuals to start up a new business.

Since November 2014, the British Business Bank has facilitated over £11.8 million of investment/lending to 279 businesses within Blackburn and Darwen. This includes 208 Start-up Loans at a value of £1.4 million.

The British Business Bank also launched the new Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) on 22 February 2017. The NPIF works with ten Local Enterprise Partnerships, combined authorities and Growth Hubs, as well as local accountants, fund managers and banks, to provide a mixture of debt and equity capital to northern-based SMEs at all stages of their development. NPIF provides funding to fund managers who in turn offer microfinance (£25,000 - £100,000), business loans (£100,000 - £750,000) and equity finance (up to £2m).

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 22 June 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Tenancy Agreements: Domestic Violence
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to set out the circumstances under which local authorities may exercise discretion in transferring lifetime tenancies for those seeking escape from domestic violence.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 07 August 2017

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and we are determined to ensure that women, regardless of their circumstances, should receive the support they need when they need it.

Our Manifesto included a commitment to ensure that those who have a lifetime tenancy and flee domestic violence are able to secure a new lifetime tenancy automatically. We are currently working on how we can deliver this, and an announcement will be made in due course.

We have already acted to put measures in place to support victims of domestic abuse. These include the securing of a dedicated fund totalling £40 million over four years (2016 - 2020), building on the £13.5 million provided between 2014 and 2016. The funding will provide provision for refuges and other specialist accommodation-based services to support victims of domestic abuse and service reform. On the 3 November 2016 we published our new ‘Priorities for Domestic Abuse Services’, developed with partners from the domestic abuse sector, which sets out for the first time what local areas need to do to ensure an effective response to meeting the needs of all domestic abuse victims.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Transport
Railway Stations: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to announce the successful applications for the new station funding scheme.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 30 June 2017

Assessment of the New Stations Fund bids is complete and I hope to announce the successful projects shortly.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Exiting the European Union
Seasonal Workers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will provide a list of people and organisations which have lobbied him and his Department on the UK's requirements for seasonal workers.
A
Answered by: Mr Steve Baker
Answered on: 29 June 2017

Ministers and officials across Government are engaging with UK and EU organisations from every sector of the economy - this is a central element of our plan to get the right deal for Britain. We are listening and talking to a broad range of organisations, companies and institutions both in the UK and abroad, including on the issue of requirements for seasonal workers. Details of Ministerial meetings will be published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which will be made publicly available on GOV.UK.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Transport
Regional Airports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to support regional airports.
A
Answered by: Mr John Hayes
Answered on: 29 June 2017

The Government is committed to developing a new Aviation Strategy and we will be setting out our proposed approach in due course.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 21 June 2017
Department for Transport
Railway Stations: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's announcement of 26 August 2016, for what additional reasons the decision to award new station funding has been delayed.
A
Answered by: Paul Maynard
Answered on: 28 June 2017

The deadline for bidders for this round of funding was 25 November 2016. We received 19 applications for funding from industry and local authority promoters and we then evaluated each bid against the qualifying and assessment criteria. We could not announce the winning bidders during the pre-election period but now that the General Election period is over, I hope to be able to announce the successful projects shortly.

Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 22 June 2017
Ministry of Justice
Disability Living Allowance: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many applications for disability living allowance that were refused at mandatory consideration were (a) appealed, (b) overturned at tribunal and (c) dismissed at tribunal in (i) Blackburn constituency, (ii) local authorities in Lancashire and (iii) the UK in each year since 2011.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 28 June 2017

This information is not held centrally.

Information about the number and outcomes of Social Security and Child Support appeals is published on gov.uk. The most recent statistics, for the period January to March 2017, can be viewed at :

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognitions-certificates-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2017-and-2016-to-2017

Grouped Questions: 868 | 869 | 870
Q
Asked by Kate Hollern
(Blackburn)
Asked on: 22 June 2017
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many applications for personal independence payments that were refused at mandatory consideration were (a) appealed, (b) overturned at tribunal and (c) dismissed at tribunal in (i) Blackburn constituency, (ii) local authorities in Lancashire and (iii) the UK in each year since 2011.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 28 June 2017

This information is not held centrally.

Information about the number and outcomes of Social Security and Child Support appeals is published on gov.uk. The most recent statistics, for the period January to March 2017, can be viewed at :

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognitions-certificates-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2017-and-2016-to-2017

Grouped Questions: 867 | 869 | 870
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