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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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 Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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: 22 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Television: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of free television licences issued to residents in (a) the Norwich City Council area (b) Norwich South constituency and (c) Norwich North constituency in each of the last three years; and what the total annual value was of those licences.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 01 August 2019

In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

The government and the BBC agreed at the time that this was a fair deal for the BBC. The BBC benefited as the government closed the iPlayer loophole and committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. And to help with financial planning, the government agreed to provide phased transitional funding over 2 years to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

On 10 June 2019, the BBC announced that the current scheme will end. From 1 June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit.

The table below provides estimates of the costs and caseloads for 2015/16 through to 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 years and over in the geographical areas requested. Expenditure in nominal prices. The figures for 2018/19 will be available in September.

Caseload (thousands)

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

(a) the Norwich City Council (Norwich local authority area)

8.5

8.7

8.6

(b) Norwich South constituency

6.7

6.9

6.8

(c) Norwich North constituency

7.4

7.7

7.6

Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

(a) the Norwich City Council (Norwich local authority area)

£1.21

£1.21

£1.23

(b) Norwich South constituency

£0.96

£0.95

£0.97

(c) Norwich North constituency

£1.06

£1.07

£1.10

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Department for Education
Free School Meals: Norwich South
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) children and (b) children eligible for free school meals reached a good level of development at age five in Norwich South in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 22 July 2019

The requested data is shown in the attached table.

278562_table (Word Document, 39.5 KB)
Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 12 July 2019
Treasury
Royal Mint: Staff
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people are employed (a) full time and (b) part-time by the Royal Mint.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 19 July 2019

The Royal Mint currently employs 726 full-time employees, and 48 part-time employees.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how long on average it takes to (a) agree and (b) allocate pension credit to eligible claimants.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 17 July 2019

The specific information requested is not available.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit and Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to improve accessibility to pension credit and universal credit for pensioners.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 17 July 2019

Pension Credit is an important benefit specifically intended to help the poorest pensioners. There are over 1.6m pensioners already claiming Pension Credit worth over £5billion a year. However, the Government wants to ensure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled.

We also welcome and encourage initiatives to promote take up of Pension Credit by national and local organisations who may often be best placed to understand the local circumstances and needs in the community. For this reason we have developed the Pension Credit toolkit, as an on-line tool for agencies and welfare rights organisations to use in order to encourage Pension Credit take-up. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit

The toolkit contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up. The toolkit also provides links to information about disability and carers benefits.

Organisations can use the Pension Credit calculator https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator to help people check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive.

In addition, the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The DWP uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits to potential claimants; including information on https://gov.uk/ but also in leaflets and by telephone. DWP staff in Pension Centres and Jobcentres including visiting officers are able to provide help and advice about entitlement to benefits, as are staff in Local Authorities who administer Housing Benefit.

People can telephone either the Pension Service helpline for general enquiries on 0800 731 0469 or those wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling 0800 99 1234.

Universal Credit is designed to target resources at those that need them most and to provide support for people who cannot work or need help moving towards the labour market.

For those that are unable to access or use digital services, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 and face-to-face support is available in Jobcentres. In exceptional circumstances, a home visit can be arranged to support a claimant in making and maintaining their claim.

Additionally, claimants can access support with their Universal Credit application through the Citizen’s Advice Help to Claim service which, offers tailored, practical support online, over the phone, and face-to-face. You can contact an adviser through the free national Help to Claim phone service:

England: 0800 144 8 444

Wales: 08000 241 220

Scotland: 0800 023 2581

We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for people who claim Universal Credit to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs. This includes how they are identified and supported, either from our own staff or via referrals from local services.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will next review the state pension age.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The approach of the Labour Government 1997-2010, Coalition 2010-2015 and the Conservative Government has been the same in broad terms. State Pension age reform has focused on maintaining the right balance between sustainability of State Pension and fairness between generations in the face of demographic change. The Pensions Act 2014 requires governments to complete a structured review of State Pension age every 6 years in light of changes in life expectancy and other relevant factors. The Government’s first State Pension age review was published in July 2017.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-pension-age-review-final-report

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps are being taken to protect the pensions of UK and EU citizens who have previously worked in the UK but now live overseas.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 July 2019

Under existing domestic legislation, the UK State Pension can be claimed from and is payable worldwide to those who are entitled. This will continue to be the case whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal.

As we have stated previously, we will continue to uprate the UK State Pension for those living in the EU in 2019-20, with a view to securing continued reciprocal social security arrangements in the future.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
State Retirement Pensions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help people who have been severely affected by changes in the state pension age.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The number of older people in employment is at a record high. There are now 10.5 million workers aged 50 and over in the workforce compared to 9.1 million five years ago.

To support women to remain and return to the labour market, the Government has removed the Default Retirement Age meaning most people can choose when to retire, and extended the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.

We have appointed a Business Champion for Older Workers to engage and influence employers both strategically and in terms of practical advice.

In February 2017, the UK Government published “Fuller Working Lives: a partnership approach” to set out the role employers, individuals and Government can play in supporting fuller working lives. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/587654/fuller-working-lives-a-partnership-approach.pdf

Through the National Retraining Partnership, a strategic partnership between Government, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress, Government is developing the National Retraining Scheme. The National Retraining Scheme will help prepare adults for the future changes to the economy, including those brought about by automation, and help them retrain into better jobs.

And in February this year, DWP launched an online web page which brings together money, job and health elements of the mid-life MOT. https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/mid-life-mot/

To support employers, Business in The Community has also created MOT guides that support businesses. https://age.bitc.org.uk/tools-impact-stories/toolkits

For people who simply can’t work, our welfare system will continue to provide a strong safety net, as it does for people of all ages now. The Government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and spends over £50 billion a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit: Norwich South
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people of pension age are entitled to pension credit but do not receive it in Norwich South constituency.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 16 July 2019

The information requested on the number of people of pension age entitled to pension credit but do not receive is only available at national level.

Official statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits at Great Britain level including Pension Credit, can be found in the ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up in 2016 to 2017’ publication.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-financial-year-2016-to-2017

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Treasury
Royal Mint: Foreign Nationals
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many non-British employees are employed (a) full time and (b) part-time by the Royal Mint.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 12 July 2019

The Royal Mint currently employs 9 non-British full-time employees, and 1 non-British part-time employee.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress the Government has made on the 2030 Energy Strategy.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The EU’s 2030 Energy Strategy as agreed in 2014 set a framework for climate and energy for the period 2021 to 2030. The EU subsequently adopted the ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ legislative package implementing this Strategy.

Under this legislation, Member States are required to set out their domestic objectives, policies and measures covering the five dimensions of the EU’s Energy Union from 2021 to 2030 in National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP). The Government published the UK’s draft NECP in January 2019. On 18 June, the European Commission published non-binding recommendations for the UK’s draft Plan, and the Government will carefully consider and respond to these as we prepare our final version of the Plan.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate cross-governmental co-operation on tackling climate change.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 10 July 2019

Tackling climate change is a shared endeavour between all Government departments. BEIS Ministers and officials regularly engage with their counterparts across government on clean growth matters including delivery of the Clean Growth Strategy and progress against our carbon budgets.

Grouped Questions: 911856 | 911847 | 911861
Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Treasury
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on the soft drinks industry levy of research by Cancer Research UK linking obesity and cancer.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 09 July 2019

All taxes are kept under review. New evidence related to fiscal interventions such as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is considered as part of the normal Budget process. As set out in Phase 2 of the Childhood Obesity Strategy, HMT will review the Soft Drinks Industry Levy exemption for milk-based drinks in 2020.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Gambling: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to prevent young people from becoming addicted to gambling.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 09 July 2019
Preventing children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed by gambling is a priority for government and a core licensing objective for the Gambling Commission.


Operators offering gambling services to people in Great Britain must have a licence from the Gambling Commission and must have effective policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling. Where there is a failure to do so, the Gambling Commission has shown it is willing to act using the range of powers to act at its disposal.

The Gambling Commission has taken action to strengthen protections for young people. In May this year it introduced stricter age and identity verification controls, requiring all consumers to be age verified before they are able to deposit money or access free-to-play demo games. Government has also worked positively with five major operators resulting in commitments to using online technology where available to target gambling adverts away from people showing signs of problem gambling behaviour. They will also further share further data with to protect problem gamblers from experiencing further harm.

From September 2020, health education will be compulsory for all pupils in state-funded primary and secondary schools. This will cover education on online harms, including the risks related to online gambling. The non-statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) programme of study, published by the PSHE Association, includes teaching about gambling and its psychological and financial impact. GambleAware, an independent charity which funds services to help to reduce gambling harms, is working with the PSHE Association to develop resources for schools to promote resilience and raise awareness around risk-taking and gambling.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Treasury
Coinage
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money from the public purse has been spent on the creation of the new 50p coin to commemorate the UK leaving the EU.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 09 July 2019

The cost of designing and producing commemorative coins is met by the Royal Mint out of its own revenues, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 July 2019
Treasury
Offshore Industry: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Written Statement of 21 March 2019 on Decommissioning Relief Deeds, HCWS1435, what the name is of the oil company that defaulted on its decommissioning obligations causing the Government to make two payments totaling £45.4 million in 2017-18; what the circumstances were of that default; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the evidential basis for calculating the provision of £357.1 million for future defaults.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 08 July 2019

HM Treasury’s 2018-19 accounts recognise a provision of £357m payable to MCX Dunlin and MCX Osprey in respect of decommissioning expenditure in relation to the Dunlin cluster of fields, created as a result of Fairfield Energy defaulting on their decommissioning obligations. The decision to decommission the Dunlin cluster was a commercial decision made by Fairfield Energy, MCX Dunlin and MCX Osprey after reaching agreement with the Oil and Gas Authority that maximised economic recovery had been achieved for these assets.

The provision is based on the tax relief due on the estimated remaining costs of decommissioning the defaulted fields, discounted for the time value of money.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what effect the Soft Drinks Industry Levy has had on consumption rates for people on low incomes.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 02 July 2019

An assessment of changes in sugar levels in drinks covered by the SDIL was included in PHE’s first report on progress for the Sugar Reduction Programme, published in May 2018. The report is available to view at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/709008/Sugar_reduction_progress_report.pdf

This early assessment showed that sugar had been reduced by 11% per 100ml, and average calories for drinks likely to be consumed on a single occasion reduced by 6% by retailers and manufacturers. Data also showed that consumers are buying more drinks that have sugar levels below the SDIL cut off of 5g per 100ml.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Treasury
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the projected revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry levy is for financial year 2019-20.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 02 July 2019

The current forecast for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is published in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March 2019 Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The 2019-20 figure is currently estimated at £344m. The publication tables can be found on the OBR’s website: https://cdn.obr.uk/Fiscal_charts_and_tables_March_2019.xlsx

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Department for Education
Soft Drinks: Taxation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what programmes are being funded by the revenue raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 01 July 2019

The Budget 2016 announced funding for a number of programmes linked to the revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. The Department for Education will receive £575 million during the current Spending Review period. Funding for 2020-21 onwards will be considered at the next Spending Review.

The funding has been used for the following projects:

  • Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HCPF) - £100 million of revenue generated from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy is being used for the HCPF. This one-year fund for 2018-19 is intended to improve children’s and young people’s physical and mental health. This is being achieved through enhancing access to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions. These facilities include kitchens, dining facilities, changing rooms, playgrounds and sports facilities. There are no plans for the HCPF to continue beyond 2018-19.
  • Primary PE and Sport Premium - In September 2017 we announced doubled funding for the Primary PE and Sport Premium to £320 million a year using revenue from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
  • Essential Life Skills (ELS) - We have invested £22 million in an ELS programme to enable disadvantaged children and young people, living in some of the most deprived parts of the country to participate in regular extra-curricular activities which will enable them to develop essential life skills and get the best start in life. The ELS programme is targeting disadvantaged children and young people aged 5-18 across 12 opportunity areas (OA). We have disbursed funding of £7.95 million in 2017-18 and £13.8 million in 2018-19 to the 12 OAs to deliver ELS activities.
  • National Schools Breakfast Programme (NSBP) - We are investing up to £26 million into the NSBP. This money will kick start or improve breakfast clubs in over 1,700 schools. The focus of these clubs has been to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country (including the Department for Education’s OAs) to help make sure every child gets the best start in life.

Q
Asked by Clive Lewis
(Norwich South)
[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 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Television: Licensing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of providing free television licences to people over the age of 75 for qualifying residents in Norwich South constituency in (a) 2017-18 and (b) 2018-19.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 25 June 2019
Holding answer received on 24 June 2019

In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession will transfer to the BBC in June 2020.

The government and the BBC agreed this is a fair deal for the BBC - in return we closed the iPlayer loophole and committed to increase the licence fee in line with inflation. And to help with financial planning, we agreed to provide phased transitional funding over 2 years to gradually introduce the cost to the BBC.

This reform was subject to public discussion and debated extensively during the passage of the Digital Economy Act 2017 through Parliament.

On 10 June 2019, the BBC announced that the current scheme will end. From 1 June 2020, a free TV licence will only be available to a household with someone aged over 75 who receives Pension Credit.

The table below provides estimates of the costs for 2017/18 of providing free TV licences to people aged 75 years and over in the geographical areas requested, in nominal prices. The figures for 2018/19 will be available in September.

Expenditure (£m) (Nominal)

2017-18

Norwich South constituency

£0.96

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