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
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
[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 April 2018
Home Office
Visas: Migrant Workers
Commons
What plans she has to change the operation of the Tier 2 work visa.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 16 April 2018

Tier 2, the main immigration route for non-EEA skilled workers, ensures employers can recruit from overseas where necessary while controlling migration and encouraging employers to look first to the domestic workforce before recruiting from overseas.

We continue to monitor the operation of the route to ensure that it serves the national interest.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 13 April 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of how annual bonuses affect the payments recipients of such bonuses are required to make through Child Maintenance Service arrangements.
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 13 April 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Children: Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints her Department has received in relation to the effect on the calculation of child maintenance payments of annual bonus payments.
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the food industry to adopt the front-of-pack traffic light food labelling system.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 March 2018

My Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not had any recent discussions with the food and drinks industry on calorie labelling, including carbohydrate content, on pre-packaged foods or food sold in restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets and takeaways.

The mandatory nutrient declaration for pre-packaged food must include values for carbohydrate and calories. We welcome the actions taken by responsible producers and retailers who have adopted the front of pack and out of home nutrition labelling schemes. Businesses that have adopted the front of pack nutrition labelling scheme account for approximately two thirds of the market for pre-packed foods and drinks, and around a quarter of the food consumed outside the home currently has calories labelled at the point of choice, for example on menus and menu boards. But the challenge to industry to make further progress remains.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented on packaged food, and how it should be displayed. We want to build on the success of our current labelling scheme, and review additional opportunities to go further and ensure we are using the most effective ways to communicate information. This might include clearer visual labelling, such as teaspoons of sugar, that help consumers understand more about the sugar content in packaged food and drink.

There has been no central assessment of the merits of introducing mandatory recommended dietary allowance guidelines on fast food packaging or in fast food outlets.

Grouped Questions: 132569 | 132571 | 132586 | 132587 | 132888 | 132890 | 132943
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to encourage food retailers to adopt calorie labelling on menus or at the point of purchase.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 March 2018

My Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not had any recent discussions with the food and drinks industry on calorie labelling, including carbohydrate content, on pre-packaged foods or food sold in restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets and takeaways.

The mandatory nutrient declaration for pre-packaged food must include values for carbohydrate and calories. We welcome the actions taken by responsible producers and retailers who have adopted the front of pack and out of home nutrition labelling schemes. Businesses that have adopted the front of pack nutrition labelling scheme account for approximately two thirds of the market for pre-packed foods and drinks, and around a quarter of the food consumed outside the home currently has calories labelled at the point of choice, for example on menus and menu boards. But the challenge to industry to make further progress remains.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented on packaged food, and how it should be displayed. We want to build on the success of our current labelling scheme, and review additional opportunities to go further and ensure we are using the most effective ways to communicate information. This might include clearer visual labelling, such as teaspoons of sugar, that help consumers understand more about the sugar content in packaged food and drink.

There has been no central assessment of the merits of introducing mandatory recommended dietary allowance guidelines on fast food packaging or in fast food outlets.

Grouped Questions: 132569 | 132571 | 132585 | 132587 | 132888 | 132890 | 132943
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Food: Labelling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve food labelling for people with diabetes.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 22 March 2018

My Rt. hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not had any recent discussions with the food and drinks industry on calorie labelling, including carbohydrate content, on pre-packaged foods or food sold in restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets and takeaways.

The mandatory nutrient declaration for pre-packaged food must include values for carbohydrate and calories. We welcome the actions taken by responsible producers and retailers who have adopted the front of pack and out of home nutrition labelling schemes. Businesses that have adopted the front of pack nutrition labelling scheme account for approximately two thirds of the market for pre-packed foods and drinks, and around a quarter of the food consumed outside the home currently has calories labelled at the point of choice, for example on menus and menu boards. But the challenge to industry to make further progress remains.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will give us greater flexibility to determine what information should be presented on packaged food, and how it should be displayed. We want to build on the success of our current labelling scheme, and review additional opportunities to go further and ensure we are using the most effective ways to communicate information. This might include clearer visual labelling, such as teaspoons of sugar, that help consumers understand more about the sugar content in packaged food and drink.

There has been no central assessment of the merits of introducing mandatory recommended dietary allowance guidelines on fast food packaging or in fast food outlets.

Grouped Questions: 132569 | 132571 | 132585 | 132586 | 132888 | 132890 | 132943
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 02 March 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Skilled Workers: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure skilled EU professionals have their professional qualifications recognised after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 09 March 2018

The UK Government has agreed to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU under the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes the continued recognition of EU qualifications, where recognition decisions were received or where recognition procedures were ongoing before the withdrawal date and where an EU citizen is resident in the UK on the date of withdrawal (and vice versa). The government has stated that it will seek to agree a continued system for the recognition of professional qualifications as part of the future economic partnership, and we hope to begin this phase of negotiations shortly.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 02 March 2018
Home Office
Alcoholic Drinks: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward the date by which the assessment of the evidence from minimum unit alcohol pricing implementation in Scotland will be published.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 09 March 2018

The assessment of the evidence from minimum unit pricing implementation in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government. Minimum unit pricing in England and Wales remains under review.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
[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 2018
Treasury
Employee Benefit Trusts
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to regulate employee benefits trusts following the Roadchef Employees Benefit Trust case; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 08 March 2018

I refer the Hon Member to my written answer of 5 July 2017 (UIN 1465).

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
[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 March 2018
Attorney General
Immigrants: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, what steps the CPS has taken as a result of the BBC Panorama programme, Undercover: Britain's Immigration Secrets of 4 September 2017.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 07 March 2018

Sussex Police have sought early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), South East Area, in respect of possible criminal offences. The CPS has received some documentation and had a meeting with the officer in charge of the investigation in February 2018.

The police investigation is still ongoing and CPS will only be in a position to provide advice regarding charging or otherwise once all the papers are received.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
[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 March 2018
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the Government response to the Fifth Report of the International Development Committee, Session 2014-15, HC 816, whether the Department has developed its position paper on health systems strengthening.
A
Answered by: Alistair Burt
Answered on: 07 March 2018

As recognised by the Fifth Report of the International Development Committee, DFID is a world-leader in health systems strengthening. A good health system delivers quality services to all people when and where they need them, addresses the social determinants of health such as nutrition and sanitation, and can prevent and respond to shocks such as disease outbreaks. DFID is in the final stages of developing a position paper on how we will work with developing countries to create strong and resilient health systems.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
[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 March 2018
Home Office
Asylum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to change IT systems to allow information on the (a) average length of time for a decision on asylum support applications and (b) length of stay in initial accommodation for people applying for s95 non-emergency asylum support to be published.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 07 March 2018

The Home Office monitors closely the performance of asylum support application decision making and has a range of targets for processing support applications depending on the nature of the application being made. However information on processing times and the length of stay in initial accommodation is not recorded in a format suitable for publication and there are no plans to publish such statistics at this time.

We are working with the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum to consider what more information could be made publicly available once the new IT system for asylum support casework has been fully implemented later this year.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 28 February 2018
Home Office
Visas: Graduates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of ending the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) visa on the ability of businesses to recruit people with the necessary skills.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

The Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route was closed in April 2012.

A published assessment of Tier 1 migrants in October 2010 found that three in five users of this visa were in unskilled work and we also saw a large number of fraudulent applications. This undermined our work routes and damaged the reputation of our education system. We have no current plans to re-introduce a post study work route that does not lead to skilled work.

We already have a comprehensive offer for graduates seeking to undertake skilled work in the UK after their studies.

Students studying courses lasting 12 months or more are given 4 months leave at the end of their course to look for a job and those with an offer of a graduate-level job, paying an appropriate salary, may take up sponsored employment through Tier 2. Many of the requirements for a Tier 2 skilled work visa are relaxed or waived for those applying to switch from the Tier 4 student route within the UK. This includes exempting switching students from the Tier 2 cap of 20,700 and allowing employers who wish to recruit them to not carry out the Resident Labour Market Test.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 02 March 2018
Home Office
Compass Contracts: Inspections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the inspection regime is for Compass contracts; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

Asylum accommodation is subject to a rigorous inspection regime to ensure that it meets the requirements of the contract and the needs of service users. Providers are required to inspect each property when a service user moves in and out of a property, then again every month. The Home Office also inspects a significant proportion of accommodation each year and prioritises its inspections on an intelligence led basis to target accommodation where there have been issues.

The Home Office conducts some of its inspection jointly with the accommodation provider to ensure better access to the properties, agree what the defects are and allowing rectification work to start immediately. The Statement of Requirements for the Contracts, which is in the public domain, sets out the standards that are expected of asylum accommodation, including examples of defects and clear timelines on the timescales within which any defects must be remedied.

Home Office inspections have found that accommodation generally meets the required standards and where defects are identified they are resolved within the timescales set out in the contract. Where Providers have failed to meet these contractual service standards sanctions have been imposed.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 02 March 2018
Home Office
Immigration Bail
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's publication, Immigration Bail, version 1.0, published on 12 January 2018, what estimate she has made of the number of immigration detainees who will face homelessness if they are released without bail accommodation under schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

Accommodation will be provided to immigration bail applicants if the person does not have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it – whether from a public body under different legislative powers or through their own efforts - and the provision of accommodation is necessary in order to avoid a breach of their human rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, accommodation should only be provided if it is clear that the person cannot reasonably be expected to leave the UK. Any person who could leave the UK in order to avoid homelessness should do so.

The exceptional criteria set out in the immigration bail policy apply where a residence condition is set as a condition of immigration bail and the individual is unable to support themselves at that address.

Grouped Questions: 130699
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 02 March 2018
Home Office
Immigration Bail
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether destitution qualifies as an exceptional circumstance for the provision of accommodation for immigration bail applicants.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 06 March 2018

Accommodation will be provided to immigration bail applicants if the person does not have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it – whether from a public body under different legislative powers or through their own efforts - and the provision of accommodation is necessary in order to avoid a breach of their human rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, accommodation should only be provided if it is clear that the person cannot reasonably be expected to leave the UK. Any person who could leave the UK in order to avoid homelessness should do so.

The exceptional criteria set out in the immigration bail policy apply where a residence condition is set as a condition of immigration bail and the individual is unable to support themselves at that address.

Grouped Questions: 130698
Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Home Office
Public Sector: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to require companies delivering public services through outsourced public contracts to pay all staff delivering such services (a) the national living wage irrespective of age or (b) the real living wage for 2018 as formulated by the Living Wage Foundation, of £8.75 UK rate and £10.20 London rate.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 February 2018

Home Office requires all of its suppliers to comply with the legal minimum standards of pay as set out in the Government’s National Living Wage legislation.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to require in respect of her Department's outsourced public contracts (a) to publish the profit margin or (b) the permissible profit margin range that is agreed with the companies for such contracts.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 February 2018

The Home Office does not plan to require the profit margin or permissible (if any) profit margin range to be published for outsourced public contracts as this information is commercially sensitive.

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to publish the key performance indicators used for contract and performance management purposes in respect of her Department's outsourced public contracts.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 February 2018

The Home Office publishes details of contracts and that may include the key performance indicators used for contract performance management purposes via Contracts Finder https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Q
(Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Asked on: 19 February 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Contracts
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list (a) what outsourced public contracts she has awarded over a total contract value of £5 million and (b) to which company; and if she will publish each contract pursuant to those awards.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 26 February 2018

The Home Office has since 2010, published details of its contracts over 10K on the Pan-Gov’t Contracts Finder portal, as part of the HMT Transparency Agenda.

The link to the portal is as follows: https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

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