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
(Edinburgh 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: 30 January 2019
Treasury
Child Benefit
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department has taken to improve public understanding of the link between national insurance credits and child benefit; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect on the pension income of stay-at-home parents who do not claim child benefit of the high-income child benefit tax charge.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 04 February 2019

The government has always encouraged families to claim Child Benefit to receive the associated National Insurance credits and help protect their future right to the State Pension.

Parents are advised to do this on the Child Benefit claim form (which is included in Bounty Packs that go to new parents), through the HMRC helpline, and online at GOV.UK.

From April 2019 the Child Benefit claim form and accompanying notes will further emphasise the non-monetary benefits a Child Benefit award provides: in particular, the associated National Insurance credits which protect their State Pension.

In addition, HMRC is developing social media content and material that can be distributed to external partners, to further promote the importance of claiming.

Most parents are able to qualify for the new State Pension, even if there are gaps of up to 15 years in their National Insurance records. This means that those parents who have not claimed Child Benefit still have the opportunity to achieve the full State Pension.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 20 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Blood: Contamination
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant the Answer of 26 November 2018 to Question 194124 on Blood: Contamination, what plans he has to increase the level of financial support provide to people affected by infected blood and blood products; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jackie Doyle-Price
Answered on: 07 January 2019

The England Infected Blood Support Scheme (EIBSS), administered by NHS Business Services Authority, was launched on 1 November 2017 following two public consultations in 2016 and 2017. These consultations sought views on the proposed reforms to the EIBSS and the new special appeals mechanisms for those with chronic hepatitis C infection. Over the period of the current spending review, the launch of the EIBSS was part of the Government’s commitment, in January 2016, to provide an extra £125 million to support people affected by infected blood and blood products.

The Infected Blood Inquiry, announced in July 2017, has included examination of the support provided to people affected by infected blood in its terms of reference. The Department continues to follow the Inquiry closely and will careful consider any views from the Inquiry on where further improvements to the EIBSS could be made.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 29 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many staff from each Government Department are employed in Scotland; and what the office locations are for those staff.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 18 December 2018

As at 31 March 2018 there were 43,120 Civil Servants employed in locations in Scotland.

A breakdown by Government department is available in Table 12 ‘Civil Service employment; regional distribution by government department’ as part of the annual National Statistics publication ’Civil Service Statistics’, at the following link: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/datasets/civilservicestatistics.

Further information on the location of Civil Servants is also available through the ONS query tool, nomis, available at this link: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/. Using nomis we have produced a table of Civil Service Headcount by Department at NUTS3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics Level 3 i.e. council areas) for the above staff. A copy of this table has been placed in the Library.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 29 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Elections: Reform
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has in place for his work stream on electoral reform in preparation for the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The Government will continue to keep the electoral system under review and where appropriate will consider what changes, if any, may be necessary in preparation for and as a consequence of the UK leaving the European Union.

As the UK will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019, we will not be taking part in future European Parliamentary elections, including those which are currently scheduled to be held from 23rd to 26th May 2019.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 repeals the underlying pieces of legislation providing for the holding of European Parliamentary elections in the UK, and we have made a Statutory Instrument under powers in the Act that repeals all associated legislation.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 27 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department has had discussions with the Treasury on the National Audit Office report on improving the Government's planning and spending framework; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 11 December 2018

Discussions on the NAO's report on improving the Government's planning and spending framework would be undertaken by senior officials in both Departments. The report is then signed and agreed by both Departmental Permanent Secretaries.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 29 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Edinburgh
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much money has been spent from the public purse on office accommodation for staff that will be relocated to HMG New Waverley in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The amount spent by HMRC in each of the last five years on office accommodation for staff who will be relocating to its Edinburgh Regional Centre, which is currently being constructed at 1 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh is as follows:

2018-19, £13 million

2017-18, £12 million

2016-17, £13 million

2015-16, £13 million

2014-15, £14 million

HMRC has signed an agreement for lease for 1 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh, which will become its Edinburgh Regional Centre and it has so far spent around £0.5 million from HMRC’s budget.

Construction is under way and it is the responsibility of the developer to deliver the building to an agreed specification, which HMRC will then lease. HMRC will occupy 90 per cent of the building and will commence payments during 2019-20 in accordance with the terms of the lease.

HMRC’s move to regional centres will save around £300 million up to 2025. It will deliver annual cash savings of £74 million in 2025-26, rising to around £90 million from 2028, while modernising how HMRC work and helping to improve customer service.

Grouped Questions: 197379
Q
(Edinburgh 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: 29 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office: Edinburgh
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, from which departmental budgets the cost of constructing UK Government offices at New Waverley is being allocated; and how much money has been allocated to that project in each month since its commencement.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The amount spent by HMRC in each of the last five years on office accommodation for staff who will be relocating to its Edinburgh Regional Centre, which is currently being constructed at 1 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh is as follows:

2018-19, £13 million

2017-18, £12 million

2016-17, £13 million

2015-16, £13 million

2014-15, £14 million

HMRC has signed an agreement for lease for 1 Sibbald Walk, Edinburgh, which will become its Edinburgh Regional Centre and it has so far spent around £0.5 million from HMRC’s budget.

Construction is under way and it is the responsibility of the developer to deliver the building to an agreed specification, which HMRC will then lease. HMRC will occupy 90 per cent of the building and will commence payments during 2019-20 in accordance with the terms of the lease.

HMRC’s move to regional centres will save around £300 million up to 2025. It will deliver annual cash savings of £74 million in 2025-26, rising to around £90 million from 2028, while modernising how HMRC work and helping to improve customer service.

Grouped Questions: 197378
Q
(Edinburgh 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: 29 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Government Departments: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the (a) location and (b) lease expiry dates of Government offices in Scotland that are used by Departmental staff.
A
Answered by: Oliver Dowden
Answered on: 04 December 2018

The location information for all the Civil Estate, including Scotland, is published online at data.gov.uk as part of Government transparency commitments. Details of Government property to let or for sale can be found via the Government Property Finder website.

The Government does not publish lease expiry dates for Government offices used by Departmental staff due to the commercially sensitive nature of this information.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 27 November 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Hunterston B Power Station: Nuclear Reactors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with the Office for Nuclear Regulation on (a) restarting Hunterston Nuclear Reactor and (b) reported cracks in that Reactor's graphite core; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 03 December 2018

Operational discussions relating to the Hunterston Nuclear Reactor are a matter for the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the commercial provider. Hunterston will only return to service when the ONR is satisfied that it is safe for it to do so.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 21 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Blood: Contamination
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the October 2018 letter from Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, what plans he has to he has to enhance financial and psychological support to those affected by infected blood and blood products; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 26 November 2018

It is for the Department of Health and Social Care to consider the issue of financial support raised by Sir Brian Langstaff in his letter. The Minister for Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention has expressed her willingness to meet the Inquiry team and other discussions may follow.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 17 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Interserve
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on staffing levels at each tier of employment in her Department of the appointment of Interserve as the contractor for facilities management.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 22 October 2018

Interserve does not provide any services which are provided, or were previously provided, by DWP staff. It is unlikely, therefore, that DWP staffing levels would be affected.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 17 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Interserve
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the quality of services delivered by Interserve since it was contracted to provide facilities management services to his Department.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 22 October 2018

Since contract commencement DWP has assessed the quality of services as per the terms of the agreed contract delivered by Interserve and this is via a performance management system which measures service delivery against agreed contractual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This performance management is monitored on a monthly basis by DWP Integrator (Sodexo).

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 10 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the criteria are for determining which WASPI cases submitted to the Independent Case Examiner are referred to the Parliamentary Ombudsman; and who makes the final decision on which cases are referred.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 15 October 2018

The Independent Case Examiner is independent. All final investigation reports issued by the Independent Case Examiner explain that if the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation into their complaint, they can ask their Member of Parliament to escalate the matter to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Decisions on whether a referral is made to the Parliamentary Ombudsman rest with the relevant Member of Parliament.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 10 October 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases relating to her Department have been considered by the (a) Independent Case Examiner and (b) Parliamentary Ombudsman in each month since January 2017.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 15 October 2018

The table below details the number of complaint examinations concluded by the Independent Case Examiner’s Office in relation to the Department for Work and Pensions and its service providers, in each month since January 2017.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has agreed to write to the Hon. Member with the information requested.

Month

Complaint Examinations Concluded by Independent Case Examiner’s Office

January 2017

73

February 2017

71

March 2017

115

April 2017

57

May 2017

84

June 2017

85

July 2017

83

August 2017

69

September 2017

71

October 2017

81

November 2017

76

December 2017

65

January 2018

85

February 2018

82

March 2018

83

April 2018

74

May 2018

87

June 2018

108

July 2018

91

August 2018

104

September 2018

91

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 04 September 2018
Home Office
Princess Eugenie: Marriage
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether Thames Valley Police made an application for special grant funding for the costs of policing the wedding between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 10 September 2018

No formal application has been received from the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner in respect of this event. However an unusual number of major events have taken place in the police force area this year and we are working with the force to understand the implications. Typically, applications for Special Grant funding are made after an event has taken place, when a full assessment of the costs can be made.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 19 July 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nicaragua: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps the Government has taken to promote UN efforts to resolve the political crisis in Nicaragua.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 24 July 2018

The UK has welcomed the Nicaraguan Government’s invitations to the UN and other investigatory bodies and has called for the authorities to allow them to carry out their work fully without hindrance. I am pleased the EU is ready to accompany and support the Dialogue and has reinforced its support to human rights organisations.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 18 July 2018
Home Office
Visas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many visitor visa applications were received by UK Visas and Immigration in each of the last five years by country; and what proportion of those applications were refused by country.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 23 July 2018

Applications for visit visas are considered against Appendix V of the Immigration Rules and on a case by case basis. Detailed information on how UK Visas and Immigration makes decisions on visitor cases is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visit-guidance.

Information on total entry clearance visas (the majority of which are visitor visas) broken down by nationality and outcome (grants, refusals, withdrawals, lapsed) is published in the quarterly Immigration Statistics, Visas data tables volume 1, table vi_02_q, latest edition at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2018.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 03 July 2018
Cabinet Office
Elections: Campaigns
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the June 2018 report of the Electoral Commission, Digital Campaigning: Increasing Transparency for Voters, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on its recommendation that (a) online materials produced by parties, candidates and campaigners have an imprint stating who has created them and (b) spending categories be revised so that campaigners are compelled to provide detailed information about money spent on digital campaigns.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 10 July 2018

The Government will begin a consultation this summer considering the introduction of digital imprints. The consultation will seek views on the scope of material to be covered, enforcement of the rules and how the requirement to introduce a digital imprint can be appropriately framed.

The Government has no current plans to bring forward legislation to revise spending categories.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 28 June 2018
Treasury
Fort Kinnaird: Sales
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 26 June 2018 to Question 156466, on Fort Kinnaird: Sales, in what ways the revenue from the sale of the Crown Estate’s interest in Fort Kinnaird is planned to be used for the benefit of the UK as a whole.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 03 July 2018

The Crown Estate’s revenue surplus, including any from the sale of Fort Kinnaird, is passed to the UK Consolidated Fund, which funds activities across the whole of the UK. If the UK government spends more in England, then where policy areas are devolved, the Devolved Administrations will receive a population share of the funding through application of the Barnett formula, which they will be able to spend in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as they wish.

Q
(Edinburgh 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: 21 June 2018
Treasury
Fort Kinnaird: Sales
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Scottish Government receives a share of the sale to a private company of Fort Kinnaird.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 26 June 2018

90B(3) of the Scotland Act 1998 stipulated that assets held in joint venture structures, rather than by The Crown Estate alone, were not included in the transfer to Scottish Ministers.

The Crown Estate held a 50% interest in the Gibraltar English Limited Partnership, with the remainder held by the Hercules Unit Trust, advised by British Land.

The Crown Estate operates independently from Government under the Crown Estate Management Act 1961 and therefore HM Treasury has had no discussions on the sale of Fort Kinnaird with private companies.

Revenue from the sale of The Crown Estate’s interest in Fort Kinnaird will be passed to the UK Consolidated Fund, for the benefit of the UK as a whole.

Grouped Questions: 156464 | 156465 | 156466
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