Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 07 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the cost implications for the public purse of not including an appeals process to an expert independent body on the level of a cap on energy prices in the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill; and what the evidential basis is for not including such an independent appeals process.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The draft Bill would place a new duty on Ofgem to implement a cap on standard variable and default tariffs, and provides a bespoke power for Ofgem to implement the price cap through an amendment to the licence conditions. Energy companies would be able to appeal an Ofgem decision on whether to proceed with the licence modification by way of judicial review. A route of appeal by judicial review would be available to energy companies whether or not an additional route of appeal to the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) were included in the draft Bill. This means there is no additional public costs resulting from not including an appeal route to the CMA

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 07 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential implications of the Government's proposed household energy price cap for the smart meter roll-out.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 23 February 2018

The draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill is clear that Ofgem must take into account an efficient supplier’s ability to finance its activities. This would include the roll out of smart meters, which is a requirement of their supply licence.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Meters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on trends in switching of the implementation of the price cap for pre-payment meter energy customers; and if he will publish switching rates among these customers for each of the last twelve months for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

Ofgem’s safeguard tariff includes a degree of ‘headroom’, to allow suppliers to offer competitive deals beneath the level of the cap and incentivise switching. BEIS publish quarterly domestic energy switching statistics provided by Ofgem. The latest data published in December 2017 shows 1,284,000 electricity meters and 1,110,000 gas meters switched energy supplier in Q3 of 2017. We do not hold data that provides a breakdown of the number of switches by payment type.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of its proposal for an energy price cap on levels of customer switching.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

As set out in the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill, Ofgem would be required to set the level of the price cap in a way such that, amongst other things, it would maintain incentives for switching and enable effective competition. The price cap would be lifted once the conditions for effective competition are in place in accordance with the process in draft clause 6.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to withdraw evergreen tariffs in the domestic energy market.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

The Government has published the draft Domestic Gas & Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill which would require Ofgem to impose a tariff cap on domestic standard variable and default tariffs with limited exemptions. This will ensure that customers on these tariffs do not pay unjustifiably high prices. A number of suppliers are working to reduce the number of their customers on these types of tariffs through better engagement.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Billing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's most recent estimate is of the proportion of an average domestic energy bill which results from the cost of adherence to a Government policy; and if his Department will publish figures on such costs in each of the past ten years.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

BEIS published analysis of the impact of energy and climate change policies on average household energy bills in 2012 and 2016 as part of the Clean Growth Strategy on 12 October 2017. This information is presented in table 1.

In summary, the cost of policies (including carbon costs) delivering cleaner energy, support for vulnerable households and investing in upgrading our buildings accounted for around 12% of an average household dual fuel bill in 2016. However, these costs were on average estimated to be more than offset by savings from improvements to the energy efficiency of people’s homes, delivering a net saving of £14 on average in 2016.

Table 1: Average impact of energy and climate change policies on household dual fuel bills

Real 2016 £

Policy costs (as share of bill)

Policy energy efficiency savings

Net impact of policies

2012

£126 (10%)

-£128

-£2

2016

£147 (12%)

-£161

-£14

Source: Data from figure 11 of the Clean Growth Strategy https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/651916/BEIS_The_Clean_Growth_online_12.10.17.pdf.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Billing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage energy suppliers to provide simpler bills for domestic customers.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

Ofgem, as the energy regulator, are responsible for deciding what information suppliers have to provide on energy bills. Too much detailed information on energy bills is not always an effective way to engage with consumers who can find this too complex or confusing. Ofgem are therefore introducing a principles based approach which allows bills to be simplified, with information made available elsewhere in a way which works for consumers. This approach recognises the different preferences consumers have for how they receive information, and balances protection for consumers with greater room for flexibility and innovation in the future. Ofgem are also conducting trials, the first of which concluded in autumn last year, to uncover what works in engaging consumers, without irritating them. These trials will be scaled up and rolled out nationally if successful.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Meters
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what allowance it made for the average cost to suppliers of installing a smart meter when setting the pre-payment meter price cap.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

Ofgem are responsible for setting the safeguard tariff (or ‘price cap’) for pre-payment meter customers. The methodology used for setting the level of the cap is based on calculations of wholesale costs, network costs, policy costs, operating costs, and costs specifically associated with prepayment meters. This includes the costs and benefits of smart metering.

Further details are available on Ofgem’s website:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/gas/retail-market/market-review-and-reform/implementation-cma-remedies/safeguard-tariff-or-price-cap.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of an energy price cap on delivery of (a) switching rates and (b) other effects of the introduction of smart meters.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

Ofgem would set the level of the price cap in a way such that, amongst other things, it would maintain incentives for switching and enable effective competition.

The draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill is clear that Ofgem must take into account an efficient supplier’s ability to finance its activities. This would include the rollout of smart meters, which is a requirement of their supply licence.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons his Department's impact assessment for the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill does not include quantitative data on the effect of a price cap on (a) investment in the energy sector and (b) customers.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

As set out in the Impact Assessment for the draft Bill, the costs and benefits will depend on the detailed methodology the independent regulator Ofgem adopts to set the level of a tariff cap. The Government does not wish to pre-judge Ofgem’s work in establishing the methodology by including quantified analysis of the costs and benefits in the Impact Assessment.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect of implementation of proposals in the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill on delivery of the (a) Energy Company Obligation and (b) Warm Homes Discount.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

Obligated energy suppliers will have to meet their targets under the Energy Company Obligation and Warm Home Discount regardless of the implementation of the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 February 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Competition and Markets Authority, (b) Ofgem and (c) energy suppliers on proposals regarding the right of energy companies to appeal in the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 14 February 2018

BEIS Ministers and officials meet stakeholders to discuss a range of issues.

The draft Bill would place a new duty on Ofgem to implement a cap on standard variable and default tariffs, and energy companies would be able to challenge Ofgem’s decision on the setting of the cap by way of judicial review. The Government believes that a Court is capable of considering these matters.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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 January 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Written Questions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to answer to Question 4342 on Border Force: Staff, tabled on 11 July 2017; and when she plans to answer Question 106287 on the Licensing Act 2003, tabled on 6 October 2017.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 12 February 2018

Question UIN 4342 on Border Force: Staff was answered on 11th January 2018 and question UIN 106287 on the Licensing Act 2013 was answered on 15th January 2018.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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 January 2018
Scotland Office
Scotland Office: Edinburgh
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what charges his Department has incurred for parking vehicles in Edinburgh in the last 18 months.
A
Answered by: David Mundell
Answered on: 19 January 2018

The Scotland Office does not separately record the cost of parking vehicles in Edinburgh from other miscellaneous travel costs.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Business: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2017 to Question 2584, on Business: Scotland, which businesses in Scotland were engaged in the consultations referred to in that Answer and what methods of engagement were used.
A
Answered by: Mr Steve Baker
Answered on: 18 January 2018

Ministers and officials from across Government are engaging with businesses and other stakeholders in Scotland via a variety of fora including roundtables, visits and meetings.

Details of Ministerial meetings are published in the Department's Quarterly Transparency Returns, which are publicly available on GOV.UK.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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: 12 January 2018
Scotland Office
Scotland Office: Travel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what the travel costs for his Department have been in each quarter since May 2015, by (a) mode of travel and (b) Minister or Official.
A
Answered by: David Mundell
Answered on: 18 January 2018
Holding answer received on 17 January 2018

The Scotland Office spend on domestic travel costs by mode of transport, in each quarter since May 2015 are shown in the attached annex.

Table of domestic travel costs (Word Document, 20.05 KB)
Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 14 December 2017
Home Office
Immigrants: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much has been raised by the Immigration Health Surcharge for the NHS in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 17 January 2018

The Immigration Health Surcharge was introduced in April 2015. Income received from Immigration Health Surcharge payments since then is reported annually in the Home Office Annual Report and Accounts. However, the report shows the total amount of Immigration Health income raised in any given financial year, including the amount transferred at the year end to the Consolidated Fund for Extra Receipts. It does not show how much money was spent by the Home Office on collection costs, or how much was transferred to Department of Health and the Devolved Administrations for spending on the NHS; it just shows the sum of these two items. Therefore, to report the amount of Immigration Health Surcharge income “raised for the NHS” would equate to putting new information in the public domain

The Home Office collects this fee on behalf of the Department of Health and after deducting its administration/collection costs, it transfers the balance through the Main and Supplementary Estimate exercises using the Barnett Formula. Any surplus of income received over and above the allocations made in the Main and Supplementary Estimate exercises is transferred to the Consolidated Fund for Extra Receipts at the end of the year and made available by HM Treasury to Dept Health and the Devolved Administrations for spending on the NHS in the following financial year.
In the last Immigration Health Surcharge Order debated in Parliament £140.1m was made available for the NHS in FY15/16. Figure for FY16/17 is not readily available

FY2016/17 - page 117: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/627853/ho_annual_report_and_accounts_2016_2017.pdf
FY2015/16 - page 134 & 135: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/539638/HO_AR_16_gov.pdf

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
[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 January 2018
Scotland Office
Scotland Office: Advertising
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2017 to Question 105441 on Scotland Office: Social Media, and the Answer of 20 December 2017 to Question 119818, and the the Answer of 8 January 2018 to Question 121531, what (a) the media strategy for his Department, (b) his Department's advertising procurement strategy and practice is and what estimate he has made of the amount of his Department's advertising spend which is made on the Departmental procurement card.
A
Answered by: David Mundell
Answered on: 16 January 2018

The Office’s media strategy is to support the core objectives in the Single Departmental Plan: (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/667897/SDP_2015-2020.pdf).

The Office’s advertising procurement strategy and practice also supports these objectives.

The amount of spending on procurement cards is subject to GPC Governance and Assurance rules and audit procedures. Any advertising spend by the Office using this method is subject to these procedures and reported accurately and exactly each month. GPC spend over £500 is reported monthly on the Scotland Office pages here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?departments%5B%5D=office-of-the-secretary-of-state-for-scotland

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 06 October 2017
Home Office
Licensing Act 2003
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government plans to respond to the House of Lords Select Committee's post-legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003, published on 4 April 2017.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 15 January 2018

The Government is carefully considering the detailed recommendations made by the House of Lords Select Committee’s post-legislative scrutiny report on the Licensing Act 2003 and published its response on the 6 November.

Q
Asked by Deidre Brock
(Edinburgh North and Leith)
Asked on: 05 January 2018
Prime Minister
Prime Minister: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Prime Minister, who attended each meeting of (a) the European Union Exit and Trade Cabinet Committee, (b) the European Union Exit and Trade (Strategy and Negotiations) Cabinet sub-Committee, (c) the European Union Exit and Trade (International Trade) Cabinet sub-Committee, (d) the European Union Exit and Trade (Domestic Preparedness, Legislation and Devolution) Cabinet sub-Committee and (e) the European Union Exit and Trade (European Affairs) Cabinet sub-Committee.
A
Answered by: Mrs Theresa May
Answered on: 15 January 2018

As has been the practice under successive Governments, information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees is not disclosed.

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