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
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 13 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Cannabis: Medical Treatments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how and by whom medical cannabis was produced in the UK before its legalisation.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 18 June 2019

Prior to the change of the law on 1 November 2018, only cannabis-based products that had been given a marketing authorisation (product licence) by the medicines regulators, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or European Medicines Agency could be prescribed. Before issuing a marketing authorisation the MHRA accesses all the available evidence on efficacy and safety arising out of pre-clinical research and clinical trials and evidence and information supplied by the manufacturer. The regulators also inspect the factory where the medicine is to be made, to make sure that supplies will be of a uniformly and consistently high standard.

The following cannabis-based products and related products received a marketing authorisation in the United Kingdom/European Union before 1 November 2018:

- Sativex - (produced by GW Pharmaceuticals) containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol - holds a licence for spasticity in multiple sclerosis; and

- Nabilone - (multiple manufacturers) which contains a synthetic, non-natural cannabinoid which mimics THC, holds a marketing authorisation for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

In addition, Epidiolex (also produced by GW Pharmaceuticals from cannabis) for two severe forms of intractable epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome or Dravet Syndrome), is currently being considered for a marketing authorisation by the European Medicines Agency.

The change in the law allows the prescription, by specialist doctors on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register, of cannabis-based products that have not been through this rigorous process but that meet certain quality standards in cases where all licensed products have been considered and discounted and it is in the best interest of the patient. It also makes

it easier and will incentivise further research into the potential health benefits of cannabis-based products and the development of further licensed products for more routine use in the health service.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 11 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
D-Day Landings: Anniversaries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether Russia was invited to take part in the recent D-Day commemorations in France.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 17 June 2019

Only the nations that contributed to the landings, plus Germany, were invited. German attendance is in keeping with previous D-Day commemoration events held in France for the 60th and 70th anniversaries. Troops and civilians from across the Soviet Union played a critical role and made immense sacrifices in the defeat of Nazism.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 06 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Doctors: Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has conducted of the effect of the tapered annual pension tax allowance on the retention of doctors in the NHS.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The 2015 NHS Pension Scheme is a generous and valuable part of staff reward packages and remains one of the best schemes available. Its introduction ensures that National Health Service staff receive financial security in retirement, and that the scheme is affordable to the taxpayer.

The Government recognises that NHS doctors have raised concerns about pension tax charges being a factor in their decisions to retire early or limit their NHS commitments.

We are listening to concerns raised that the tapered annual allowance is affecting the retention of doctors in the NHS. The Government is prepared to take action and will bring forward a public consultation on targeted proposals to make NHS pensions more flexible for senior clinicians by allowing them a 50% reduction in pension contributions for half the pension accrual.

The British Medical Association’s view this proposal as a step in the right direction. The Department will listen carefully during consultation to reach a final proposition that works for both staff and taxpayers. The consultation gives an opportunity for groups and individuals to put forward their views.

Additionally, the scope of the voluntary ‘Scheme Pays’ facility, implemented by the NHS Pension Scheme to allow scheme members to pay annual allowance charges from the value of their pension benefits rather than upfront, has been extended to cover the payment of tax charges from breaches of the tapered annual allowance. The Government keeps the impact of public sector pay and pensions policies under constant review.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 06 June 2019
Treasury
Pensions: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of how often the annual tapered allowance results in a person being taxed more than 100 per cent of the pensions relief they would have received if they had not reached the allowance limit.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 11 June 2019

Pensions tax relief is one of the most expensive reliefs in the personal tax system. In 2016/17 income tax and employer National Insurance Contributions relief cost over £50 billion, with around two-thirds going to higher and additional rate taxpayers.

The tapered annual allowance is therefore focussed on the highest-earning savers, to ensure that the benefit they receive is not disproportionate to that of other pension savers. Less than one per cent of pension savers will have to reduce their saving or face an annual allowance charge as a result of the tapered annual allowance.

For those who incur annual allowance tax charges, the charge recoups the excess tax relief on the benefits that they have accrued in that year above their annual allowance. The charge is levied at an individual’s marginal rate. For example, an individual with a salary above £150,000 would be taxed at 45% on pension accrual above their annual allowance.

It is not possible to estimate the precise effects of the tapered annual allowance on an individual’s total remuneration without knowing their specific circumstances.

Grouped Questions: 261240
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Treasury
Pensions: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of how often the annual tapered allowance results in a person being taxed more than 100 per cent of the earnings gained from additional sessions or responsibilities.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 11 June 2019

Pensions tax relief is one of the most expensive reliefs in the personal tax system. In 2016/17 income tax and employer National Insurance Contributions relief cost over £50 billion, with around two-thirds going to higher and additional rate taxpayers.

The tapered annual allowance is therefore focussed on the highest-earning savers, to ensure that the benefit they receive is not disproportionate to that of other pension savers. Less than one per cent of pension savers will have to reduce their saving or face an annual allowance charge as a result of the tapered annual allowance.

For those who incur annual allowance tax charges, the charge recoups the excess tax relief on the benefits that they have accrued in that year above their annual allowance. The charge is levied at an individual’s marginal rate. For example, an individual with a salary above £150,000 would be taxed at 45% on pension accrual above their annual allowance.

It is not possible to estimate the precise effects of the tapered annual allowance on an individual’s total remuneration without knowing their specific circumstances.

Grouped Questions: 261239
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with community (a) pharmacies and (b) pharmacy organisations in Scotland on the implementation of the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 62).
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 11 April 2019

Community Pharmacy Scotland is a member of the joint Departmental and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency Falsified Medicines Directive Implementation Advisory Board. In relation to implementation of the serious shortage protocol provisions the Department has had discussions with Community Pharmacy Scotland, representing community pharmacy owners in Scotland, in the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee Brexit Forum.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer on the implementation of legislative changes in the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 62).
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 11 April 2019

The Department has engaged fully with officials of the Scottish Government, including its Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, on the implementation of legislative changes in the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019, No. 62) in relation to the Falsified Medicines Directive and the Serious Shortage Protocol.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on the stockpiling of drugs in preparation for the UK’s departure from the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 11 April 2019

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses ‘no deal’ contingency plans, including those relating to the supply of medicines and medical products, with a number of stakeholders, the National Health Service and other Government Departments. Furthermore, I engage with Ministerial counterparts in both the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, on European Union exit ‘no deal’ preparations.

The Department has overall responsibility to ensure the continuity of supply of medicines and medical products for the whole of the United Kingdom; close engagement and cooperation with colleagues in the devolved administrations reflects this.

Grouped Questions: 242156 | 242157
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
Asked on: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on what processes will be in place to add a drug to the list of those deemed to be in short supply following the UK’s departure from the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 11 April 2019

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses ‘no deal’ contingency plans, including those relating to the supply of medicines and medical products, with a number of stakeholders, the National Health Service and other Government Departments. Furthermore, I engage with Ministerial counterparts in both the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, on European Union exit ‘no deal’ preparations.

The Department has overall responsibility to ensure the continuity of supply of medicines and medical products for the whole of the United Kingdom; close engagement and cooperation with colleagues in the devolved administrations reflects this.

Grouped Questions: 242155 | 242157
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Radioisotopes: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on the security of the supply of radioisotopes to Scottish hospitals after the UK has left the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 11 April 2019

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses ‘no deal’ contingency plans, including those relating to the supply of medicines and medical products, with a number of stakeholders, the National Health Service and other Government Departments. Furthermore, I engage with Ministerial counterparts in both the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, on European Union exit ‘no deal’ preparations.

The Department has overall responsibility to ensure the continuity of supply of medicines and medical products for the whole of the United Kingdom; close engagement and cooperation with colleagues in the devolved administrations reflects this.

Grouped Questions: 242155 | 242156
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 08 April 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on how existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements for people from the (a) UK, (b) EU, and (c) European Economic Area will be affected by the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Stephen Hammond
Answered on: 11 April 2019

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care regularly discusses plans for European Union exit, including those relating to reciprocal healthcare, with a wide range of stakeholders and other Government Departments.

Furthermore, I engage with Ministerial counterparts in both the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland Civil Service, on preparations for EU exit.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Commons
What plans he has to review the operation of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 19 March 2019

The Government has continued to examine and make reforms to the whistleblowing regime, both to the guidance and legislative framework of protections for workers. The most recent reforms came into effect last year.

The Government will continue to listen to stakeholders and will, of course, review the recent reforms once there is sufficient evidence of their impact.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antimicrobials: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan 2019-2024, how delinking the price paid for antimicrobials from the volume sold will ensure that products produced by industry are affordable to the NHS.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 March 2019

The 2016 United Nations political declaration on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) acknowledged the importance of delinking the cost of investment in research and development on AMR from the price and volume of sales to facilitate equitable and affordable access to new products and encouraged governments to explore innovative approaches.

It is critical that the National Health Service makes the best use of its resources. Any payment model must therefore be based on a robust evaluation of the value that a new antimicrobial product brings to patients and the public as a whole. The assessment of how much value a new antibiotic brings is highly complex and will vary considerably from one product to another.

In the United Kingdom, NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are leading work to test innovative models that pay companies based primarily on a NICE led health technology assessment of their value to the NHS as opposed to the volumes used. This has the potential to both promote good antimicrobial stewardship and provide a much-needed incentive for the development of new antimicrobial agents that will, over time, provide value for the NHS.

The test will be subject to robust evaluation before considering any wider change to purchasing policy. The UK represents only a small part of the global market for these drugs and we want to send a signal to the rest of the world that there are workable models to achieve the right sort of incentives for these vital medicines.

Grouped Questions: 228683
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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 March 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Antimicrobials: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of using models that de-link the cost of research and development from the price of the final product and the volume of sales, as set out in the 2016 UN Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on antimicrobial resistance, to ensure that new diagnostics, medicines and tools created are accessible and affordable.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 11 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 March 2019

The 2016 United Nations political declaration on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) acknowledged the importance of delinking the cost of investment in research and development on AMR from the price and volume of sales to facilitate equitable and affordable access to new products and encouraged governments to explore innovative approaches.

It is critical that the National Health Service makes the best use of its resources. Any payment model must therefore be based on a robust evaluation of the value that a new antimicrobial product brings to patients and the public as a whole. The assessment of how much value a new antibiotic brings is highly complex and will vary considerably from one product to another.

In the United Kingdom, NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are leading work to test innovative models that pay companies based primarily on a NICE led health technology assessment of their value to the NHS as opposed to the volumes used. This has the potential to both promote good antimicrobial stewardship and provide a much-needed incentive for the development of new antimicrobial agents that will, over time, provide value for the NHS.

The test will be subject to robust evaluation before considering any wider change to purchasing policy. The UK represents only a small part of the global market for these drugs and we want to send a signal to the rest of the world that there are workable models to achieve the right sort of incentives for these vital medicines.

Grouped Questions: 228682
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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 February 2019
Cabinet Office
Breast Cancer: Mortality Rates
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish data on the under 75 directly age-standardised breast cancer mortality rates in women per 100,000 (European Standard Population) by Clinical Commissioning Group in (a) 2012-14, (b) 2013-15, (c) 2014-16 and (d) 2015-17.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 28 February 2019

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. The information will be placed in the Library once provided by the UKSA.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 95.78 KB)
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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 February 2019
Cabinet Office
Breast Cancer: Death
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many women aged under 75 years died from breast cancer, by CCG, in (a) 2012-14, (b) 2013-15, (c) 2014-16 and (d) 2015-17.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 28 February 2019

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. The information will be placed in the Library once provided by the UKSA.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 95.78 KB)
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 19 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Jobseeker's Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information the Government considered when setting the value of Contributions Based Job Seekers Allowance entitlement at £73.10 for people over 25.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 25 February 2019

The rates for Jobseeker’s Allowance were originally based on the equivalent provisions for Income Support, which were in force in October 1996, when Jobseeker’s Allowance replaced the element of that benefit for those who are unemployed, on low or no income or other financial means and are available and looking for work. The rate has been reviewed since then in line with the relevant legislation for the uprating of benefits.

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 01 November 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: EEA Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether permanent residence cards for EEA nationals will remain valid if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 20 February 2019

In either a deal or no deal scenario, permanent residence (and other) documents which confirm a right to reside under Directive 2004/38EC (the Free Movement Directive) will cease to be valid when EU law ceases to apply.

However, EU citizens and their family members who have a documented right of permanent residence can exchange this for settled status free of charge.

Grouped Questions: 187050
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 01 November 2018
Home Office
Immigrants: EEA Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether permanent residence cards will remain valid for people who have those cards on the basis of being the family member of an EEA national if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 20 February 2019

In either a deal or no deal scenario, permanent residence (and other) documents which confirm a right to reside under Directive 2004/38EC (the Free Movement Directive) will cease to be valid when EU law ceases to apply.

However, EU citizens and their family members who have a documented right of permanent residence can exchange this for settled status free of charge.

Grouped Questions: 187049
Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 01 February 2019
Department for International Development
Palestinians: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how her Department monitors the use of aid that it provides to the Palestinian Authority.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 06 February 2019

Direct UK financial aid to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through the EU Palestinian-European Socio-Economic Management Assistance Mechanism (PEGASE). Our money goes into a special, dedicated bank account before being paid to vetted health and education public servants in the West Bank. The bank account is only used for UK aid. Independent auditors check that the money paid out from the special bank account only went to the vetted individuals after every disbursement. Audits also include spot checks and field visits.

DFID will also help the Palestinian water and electricity authorities to increase sustainable supplies, particularly in Gaza. Through The World Bank Partnership for Infrastructure Development in the West Bank and Gaza Multi Donor Trust Fund, UK aid will flow from the trust fund to dedicated accounts that will be managed in accordance with robust rules established by the World Bank. DFID will monitor this support through independent financial audits of project spending and through regular programme updates provided by the World Bank.

DFID funding to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) is subject to the rigorous controls that are applied to all UK aid, including annual reviews, evaluation reports, and independent financial audits of programme spending. This information is triangulated with reporting from suppliers and programme partners, and through field visits.

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