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 2019-21 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
(Southend West)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Death
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people who have died from covid-19 to date had underlying health problems.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) collates official statistics on deaths registered in England and Wales. An ONS report published on 16 April analysed deaths involving COVID-19 that occurred in the month of March and found that 91% of deaths involved some form of pre-existing condition. The most frequent pre-existing condition was ischaemic heart disease, involved in 14% of cases. Information can be found on their website at the following link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwalesmarch2020

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Housing: Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question No 28671 on Housing: Energy, if he will publish those impact assessments in which the benefits to householders’ health from improving their homes thermal performance have been included.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 28 April 2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does include the health benefits of energy improvements to the householders’ health in published Impact Assessments, although the methodology has not yet been incorporated into the net present value calculation. Two of the latest are the most recent impact assessments for ECO and Private Sector Regulations (see below):

Page 29 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/749638/ECO_3_Final_Stage_IA__Final.pdf

Page 16 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/760313/IA_-_Energy_Efficiency__Private_Rented_Property___England.pdf

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 20 April 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Housing: Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question 28671 on Housing: Energy, who is undertaking the study to quantify the cost savings to the health service of improving the energy efficiency of homes; and when that study will be published.
A
Answered by: Kwasi Kwarteng
Answered on: 28 April 2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is the lead organisation undertaking the study to quantify the cost savings to the health service of improving the energy efficiency of homes. BEIS is in the process of applying for access to NHS Digital hospital records and, if this application is approved and relevant data provided to BEIS, analysis will be undertaken, peer reviewed and published.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 18 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Infant Foods: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that (a) baby food, (b) infant formula and (c) infant medication continue to be available during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 21 April 2020
Holding answer received on 23 March 2020

The Government has introduced new measures to support businesses to keep food, including baby food, supply flowing on to shelves and into homes, such as temporary relaxation of competition laws to allow supermarkets to work together, extending delivery hours to supermarkets and flexing rules on drivers’ hours to allow a higher frequency of deliveries to stores to ensure shelves are being replenished more quickly.

In relation to infant formula, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss MP) on 26 March to Question 30064.

The Department is working closely with industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, including infant medications, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages. The steps being taken to protect United Kingdom supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak were set out in the Department’s press statement issued on 11 February 2020. This statement can be read at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-monitor-impact-of-coronavirus-on-uk-medicine-supply

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 18 March 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fisheries: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the fishing industry during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 30 March 2020

The Government fully understands the importance of EU and global export markets for the UK’s fishing and seafood industry, in particular the shellfish sector. We are actively monitoring the impacts of Covid-19 and related control measures with significant input from industry stakeholders.

We are urgently considering measures to help mitigate the impact of the current situation on all sectors of the seafood and fisheries sectors.

The Chancellor has announced a substantial package of measures to help UK businesses and the self-employed sector. These measures, which include the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme are available to the fisheries and aquaculture sector throughout the UK.

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 18 March 2020
Treasury
Primary Health Care: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to include medical premises such as dental practices in the (a) business rate relief and (b) loan and grant scheme that has been announced to tackle the economic effect of covid-19.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 27 March 2020

At present properties providing medical services, including dental practices, are not eligible for the business rates Expanded Retail Discount.

Information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which launched on Monday 23 March, is available on the British Business Bank’s website. Medical premises may be eligible for small business grant funding of £10,000 where the property is eligible for small business rate relief.

The Government stands ready to provide further financial support to businesses and individuals as necessary.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 17 March 2020
Department for Transport
Motor Vehicles: Testing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to implement a temporary reprieve in the need for an annual MOT test in relation to the disruption caused to businesses by the ongoing covid 19 situation.
A
Answered by: Rachel Maclean
Answered on: 23 March 2020

Considering the developing situation and the need to balance the risks to road safety with the needs of vulnerable groups and businesses, the legislative requirements relating to vehicle use and testing are under review.

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 09 March 2020
House of Commons Commission
Parliamentary Papers: Internet
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will (a) subscribe to the bill tracker service provided by Public Information Online and (b) make it available on the Parliamentary intranet; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 13 March 2020

The Commission has no plans to subscribe to the bill tracker service provided by Public Information Online and to make it available on the Parliamentary intranet.

The functions provided by the service, which are to enable users to follow the progress of bills through Parliament, are already provided by the Bills before Parliament pages of the Parliament website. This covers Public Bills from the 2002–03 session and Private Bills from the 2001–02 session. Additionally, Bills are indexed in the Parliamentary Search tool on the Parliamentary intranet. This enables users to find any Parliamentary business related to a Bill.

Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 09 March 2020
House of Commons Commission
Parliamentary Papers: Internet
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will extend the subscription to Public Information Online for House of Lords bills and papers beyond 1955; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 13 March 2020

The Commission has no plans to extend the subscription to Public Information Online for House of Lords Bills and Papers beyond 1955.

Access to the House of Lords Bills and Papers section of Public Information Online for the period 1901–1955 is provided free of charge via the Commons Library following agreement between the Library and the publishers of the database and in return for the Library having provided the publishers with printed volumes of the series for that period to be scanned to create the digital version.

Access to subsequent periods of the series is subject to a subscription fee which the Library has determined is not an effective use of resources on the grounds that the material is already held in the Library’s collection and is readily available to Members.

Grouped Questions: 26796
Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 09 March 2020
House of Commons Commission
Parliamentary Papers: Internet
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, for what reasons the subscription to Public Information Online for House of Lords Bills and Papers is not available beyond 1955; and if the Commission will extend this to the 2019 Parliament; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 13 March 2020

The Commission has no plans to extend the subscription to Public Information Online for House of Lords Bills and Papers beyond 1955.

Access to the House of Lords Bills and Papers section of Public Information Online for the period 1901–1955 is provided free of charge via the Commons Library following agreement between the Library and the publishers of the database and in return for the Library having provided the publishers with printed volumes of the series for that period to be scanned to create the digital version.

Access to subsequent periods of the series is subject to a subscription fee which the Library has determined is not an effective use of resources on the grounds that the material is already held in the Library’s collection and is readily available to Members.

Grouped Questions: 26795
Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 09 March 2020
House of Commons Commission
Parliamentary Papers: Internet
Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will subscribe to (a) Standing Committee debates, (b) Public Bill Committee debates and (c) the Official Report of (i) the House of Commons and (ii) the House of Lords produced by Public Information Online; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Pete Wishart
Answered on: 13 March 2020

The Commission has no plans to subscribe to the resources referred to which are part of the Public information Online service.

The Commons Library provides a wide range of commercial information databases and online resources to support the work of Members and their staff and in making decisions on which services to subscribe to it is guided by the importance of ensuring value for money and the need to make the most effective use of the funding the House provides. Consequently, as all the Parliamentary information contained in Public Information Online is already available in the Library, either in printed or online form, and is readily accessible to Members, it has previously concluded that a subscription to this service is not necessary. The Library also provides a skilled team of knowledgeable staff who can assist members and their teams in finding and accessing this information if they should experience any difficulties.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 20 January 2020
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, pursuant to the Answer of 17 January 2020 to Question 1657 on Brexit, what contingency plans the Government has in the event that the European Parliament does not approve the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 January 2020.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 27 January 2020

The European Parliament will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on 29 January. The European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee published its draft recommendation on 14 January. This recommended the European Parliament give its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement. The Secretary of State has discussed this with Brexit Steering Group Co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt.

Once the ratification process is complete on both sides, the UK leaves the EU with a deal on 31 January.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 27 January 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmacy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what steps he is taking to improve services provided by community pharmacists.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 28 January 2020

Through our ‘pharmacy first’ approach, we want to unlock the potential of community pharmacy.

Our landmark five-year contractual framework sets out an expanded role for community pharmacy to help people stay well closer to home.

This winter, more than 114,000 people with minor illnesses or medication needs have received same-day consultations with their highly skilled local community pharmacist following a new referral service from NHS 111.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 20 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Nationals Abroad: Detainees
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to support UK citizens detained abroad who dispute the criminal charge against them.
A
Answered by: Andrew Stephenson
Answered on: 23 January 2020

​We offer impartial and non-judgmental help to British nationals detained overseas according to individual circumstances and local conditions. We provide a list of local English speaking lawyers and encourage detainees to consider legal representation in all cases. We continue to advocate for worldwide acceptance of, and adherence to, international human rights standards including the right to a fair trial, even when a state is not party to a particular human rights treaty. If British nationals are not treated in line with internationally-accepted standards, we will consider approaching local authorities.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 20 January 2020
Ministry of Justice
Administration of Justice: Czechia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with his Czech Republic counterpart on the criminal justice system in that country.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 23 January 2020

Whilst the Lord Chancellor and UK Justice Ministers regularly meet counterparts from around the world, there has been no recent bilateral meeting or discussion with the Czech Republic Justice Ministers.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 14 January 2020
Department for Transport
London, Tilbury and Southend Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of ticketing infrastructure on the Essex Thameside trainline.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 20 January 2020

Trenitalia c2c have been implementing new ticket retailing infrastructure since summer 2019, upgrading ticket office machines and ticket vending machines across the route. Officials are aware that a number of technical issues have been experienced and, as a consequence, Trenitalia c2c are providing regular updates to the Department on the measures being taken to rectify and improve the technology.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 09 January 2020
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, in what circumstances he would seek an extension from the EU to the Article 50 deadline.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 17 January 2020

Once our Brexit deal has been approved by parliamentarians we will leave the EU on 31 January, with certainty on the terms of our exit.

Page five of the Conservative manifesto set out that we would leave the EU in January. The Government has a clear mandate and is determined to honour the promises made to the British public.

Grouped Questions: 1657
Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 09 January 2020
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will make an assessment of the circumstances in which the UK would leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 17 January 2020

Once our Brexit deal has been approved by parliamentarians we will leave the EU on 31 January, with certainty on the terms of our exit.

Page five of the Conservative manifesto set out that we would leave the EU in January. The Government has a clear mandate and is determined to honour the promises made to the British public.

Grouped Questions: 1656
Q
(Southend West)
Asked on: 09 January 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Southend Airport: Planning Obligations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, under what criteria the section 106 agreement at Southend Airport could be amended.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 17 January 2020

A section 106 agreement is a legal agreement between a local planning authority and a person with an interest in the land. Section 106 planning obligations are entered into to mitigate the impact of otherwise unacceptable development. As in the case of the section 106 agreement for Southend Airport, section 106 planning obligations can be modified or discharged with the agreement of parties to the section 106 agreement (the local planning authority and the current landowner). Where no agreement to modify or discharge a planning obligation can be reached, and the planning obligation is over five years old, the landowner can apply to the local planning authority to modify or discharge the obligation (under section 106A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990). This could be to discharge it where it no longer serves a useful purpose, or to modify it if it would continue to serve a useful purpose equally well in a modified way.

If, following an application under section 106A, a local planning authority refuses to discharge or modify a planning obligation there is a right of appeal against that decision (under section 106B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990).  Such an appeal must be made to the Planning Inspectorate within 6 months of the date of the refusal by the local planning authority.

Q
(Southend West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 10 January 2020
Department for Transport
London, Tilbury and Southend Railway Line
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of new ticketing technology on the Essex Thameside train line.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 15 January 2020

Officials are aware of a number of technical issues experienced with the new ticketing technology being implemented at stations and ticket offices across the c2c network. As a consequence, Trenitalia c2c are providing regular updates to the Department on the measures being taken to rectify and improve the technology in order to ensure smooth, reliable and user-friendly ticket purchasing facilities for all customers on the route.

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