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
(South Thanet)
[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: 24 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Elections: Proof of Identity
Commons
Whether the Government will conduct further voter ID pilots; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Kevin Foster
Answered on: 24 April 2019

The British public deserves to have confidence in our democracy. A diverse range of 10 local authorities have confirmed that they will be taking part in Voter ID and postal vote pilots for the 2019 local elections. The pilots will provide further insight into ensuring the security of the voting process.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 13 March 2019
Cabinet Office
Elections: Proof of Identity
Commons
Whether the Government plans to conduct further voter ID pilots; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The British public deserves to have confidence in our democracy. A diverse range of local authorities have confirmed that they will be taking part in Voter ID and postal vote pilots for the 2019 local elections. The pilots will provide further insight into ensuring the security of the voting process.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 24 July 2018
Treasury
Non-domestic Rates: Solar Power
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the potential effect on encouraging people and businesses to be more environmentally-friendly and on energy security of establishing an exemption from any valuation uplift of business premises for business rates purposes when solar panels have been fitted.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 05 September 2018

Solar panels are only rateable for business rates purposes where they are supplying energy for the business occupying the property. Where the energy generated is wholly or mostly sold to consumers, the panels are exempt from business rates. This is an established principle for rating energy generation. New microgeneration installations benefit from a business rate exemption until the following revaluation.

Businesses occupying properties with solar panels are also benefiting from recent reforms and reductions to business rates worth over £10bn by 2023, including switching from Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index uprating of business rates and increasing the frequency of revaluations.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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 July 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Livestock: Transport
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether under the terms of the 6 July 2018 statement of the Government and its reference to a common rulebook the UK will be able to ban live animal exports for slaughter from January 2021 without there being consequences for trade.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 16 July 2018

The Government’s proposal for a common rulebook on goods only relates to those technical and product safety rules necessary to provide for a frictionless border. The proposal does not extend to wider single market legislation nor animal welfare and would not fetter our abilities to restrict or ban live animal exports.

The White Paper published on 12 July 2018 explains: “By being outside the CAP, and having a common rulebook that only applies to rules that must be checked at the border, the UK would be able to have control over new future subsidy arrangements, control over market surveillance of domestic policy arrangements, an ability to change tariffs and quotas in the future, and the freedom to apply higher animal welfare standards that would not have a bearing on the functioning of the free trade area for goods – such as welfare in transport and the treatment of live animal exports.”

Q
(South Thanet)
[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 June 2018
Treasury
Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to suspend penalties for tax credit over-payments arising from the high income child benefit tax charge for PAYE taxpayers and apply the suspended penalty provisions of Paragraph 14, Schedule 24, of the Finance Act 2007 to any outstanding penalties.
A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 02 July 2018

The High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) was introduced to ensure that support is targeted at those who need it most. It applies to anyone with an income over £50,000 who claims Child Benefit, or whose partner claims Child Benefit. The tax charge increases gradually for taxpayers with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000.

Those who continue to receive Child Benefit must register for Self Assessment to declare their Child Benefit payments and pay the tax charge through their tax return. HM Revenue and Customs encourages individuals to contact it straightaway to pay the tax charge and the vast majority do so.

Failure to notify penalties are chargeable where an individual does not register for Self Assessment by 5 October following the tax year when the tax charge becomes due. Penalties are only charged if the tax due is not paid in full by the following 31 January. These penalties are statutory and are charged unless the individual has a reasonable excuse given their individual circumstances.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 01 June 2018
Treasury
Coinage
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to commission a commemorative 50p coin to mark the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Robert Jenrick
Answered on: 06 June 2018

The independent Royal Mint Advisory Committee on the Design of Coins, Medals, Seals and Decorations (RMAC), established in 1922, is the body responsible for the development of the nation’s coin themes and designs. Themes and designs are selected by this body to commemorate a selection of significant anniversaries and events relating to the United Kingdom.

The Government has passed the suggestion of commemorating the UK leaving the EU on a coin to the Committee for consideration.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 01 May 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Dental Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to make it mandatory for NHS dentist practices to notify all stakeholders of a planned closure one year in advance.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 08 May 2018

NHS England has no plans to make it mandatory for National Health Service dental practices to notify all stakeholders of a planned closure one year in advance.

The General Dental Services Regulations and Personal Dental Services Agreement Regulations state that, either commissioners or NHS providers may terminate the contract by providing a minimum three months’ notice.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 01 May 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Public Lavatories: Non-domestic Rates
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to exempt public conveniences owned or managed by (a) parish and (b) town councils from national non-domestic rates.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 08 May 2018

The Government recognises the importance of public toilets as a valuable community amenity and encourages local authorities to keep them open to the public. We are keeping under review the need for any further action to support local authorities, including parish and town councils, in doing so.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 25 April 2018
Treasury
Annuities: Low Incomes
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the oral contribution of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury of 19 October 2016 sale of annuities Official Report, column 812, what the timetable is for his Department to publish plans to support pensioners on low incomes with annuities.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 30 April 2018

In October 2016, the Government announced that it would not continue with proposals to create a secondary market in annuities. The conditions required for a competitive market could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections and it would not have been appropriate to allow a market to develop which would have produced poor outcomes for consumers.

The Government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve and the State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people, with a full new State Pension now worth £164.35 per week. In addition, the Government provides Pension Credit which targets help towards the poorest pensioners who for whatever reason have been unable to provide for their retirement.

The Government also provides bus passes for free travel once an individual reaches the female State Pension age and Winter Fuel Payments to help with heating costs during the winter.

Q
(South Thanet)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 16 April 2018
Treasury
Annuities
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to extend to the annuity market the freedom that people have to access their pensions.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 19 April 2018

The government announced in October 2016 that it would not be continuing with proposals to remove the restrictions on the sale of existing annuities.

As these proposals progressed it became increasingly clear that the conditions required for a competitive market to emerge, with multiple buyers and sellers of annuities, could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections.

This could have led to consumers receiving poor value for their annuity income streams and suffering higher costs in the sales process. Consumer protection is a top priority for the government and it would not have been acceptable to allow a market to develop which could produce poor outcomes for consumers.

There are no plans to review the decision not to continue with proposals for a secondary market in annuities at this time.

Grouped Questions: 135987
Q
(South Thanet)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 16 April 2018
Treasury
Annuities
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to help enable people with annuities to access liquidity from their products as a result of changes to their financial circumstances.
A
Answered by: John Glen
Answered on: 19 April 2018

The government announced in October 2016 that it would not be continuing with proposals to remove the restrictions on the sale of existing annuities.

As these proposals progressed it became increasingly clear that the conditions required for a competitive market to emerge, with multiple buyers and sellers of annuities, could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections.

This could have led to consumers receiving poor value for their annuity income streams and suffering higher costs in the sales process. Consumer protection is a top priority for the government and it would not have been acceptable to allow a market to develop which could produce poor outcomes for consumers.

There are no plans to review the decision not to continue with proposals for a secondary market in annuities at this time.

Grouped Questions: 135986
Q
(South Thanet)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fishing Catches
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Government plans to maintain the discard ban on fish after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 08 February 2018

The UK Government remains fully committed to ending the wasteful practice of discarding after the UK leaves the EU and will continue to work with the industry to address this issue.

Q
(South Thanet)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 05 February 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fisheries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what his policy is on banning the use of electric pulse fishing in UK waters after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 08 February 2018

The original ban on fishing methods using electric current in EU legislation was followed by a specific derogation to permit electric pulse beam trawl fishing under certain conditions. Those arrangements are currently under consideration.

We will continue to consider all the scientific evidence to inform our negotiations on the EU approach and to develop the UK’s future fisheries regime. The government does have concerns about some of the impacts of pulse trawling.

Whatever the outcome on pulse fishing agreed in EU legislation, once we leave the EU we will decide the terms of access to UK waters. That will give us the ability to ban certain approaches where the latest scientific evidence indicates that is necessary.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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 February 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the proposed transition arrangements mean the UK will still be a member of the European Union after 29 March 2019.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 07 February 2018

As the Prime Minister said in Florence, the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29th March 2019. This delivers on the wishes of the British public and does not change because of the implementation period.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 24 January 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Churches: Bellringing
Commons
To ask the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2018 to Question 116503, whether the revised National Planning Policy Framework to include new developments will take account of culture, history and tradition where noise nuisance complaints are made about the continued ringing of church bells and chimes by residents living within existing developments.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 05 February 2018
Holding answer received on 29 January 2018

The revised National Planning Policy Framework will clearly set out that the developer or ‘agent of change’ should be responsible for mitigating noise impacts and other potential nuisances arising from existing businesses and other organisations, such as churches when locating new development or changing uses nearby. However, noise nuisance complaints in existing developments are not handled through the planning system. They are subject to the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other relevant law.

We are committed to working across government to further strengthen the ‘agent of change’ principle in policy and guidance.

Grouped Questions: 124834
Q
(South Thanet)
[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: 24 January 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Churches: Bellringing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2018 to Question 116503, whether the revised National Planning Policy Framework to include new development will take account of culture, history and tradition where noise nuisance complaints are made about the continued ringing of church bells and chimes by residents living within developments that have changed in use such as where a house has been converted to a Bed and Breakfast.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 05 February 2018
Holding answer received on 29 January 2018

The revised National Planning Policy Framework will clearly set out that the developer or ‘agent of change’ should be responsible for mitigating noise impacts and other potential nuisances arising from existing businesses and other organisations, such as churches when locating new development or changing uses nearby. However, noise nuisance complaints in existing developments are not handled through the planning system. They are subject to the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other relevant law.

We are committed to working across government to further strengthen the ‘agent of change’ principle in policy and guidance.

Grouped Questions: 124833
Q
(South Thanet)
Asked on: 29 November 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Churches: Bellringing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken within planning and other guidance to local authorities to support the continued ringing of church bells and traditional chimes.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 15 January 2018

We are standing up for England’s churches. National planning policy already sets out that businesses should not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established.

We are minded to amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give greater emphasis to this matter, by setting out that planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses and other organisations, such as churches, community pubs and music venues, when locating new development nearby.

We consulted on proposals for this as part of the Housing White Paper published on 7 February 2017 and we intend to publish a revised draft NPPF for consultation as early as possible in 2018. At that stage we will host a round-table with representatives from the sector to invite their input into this important matter.

We continue to work with other departments, to ensure local authorities support existing businesses, organisations or activities that are an integral part of local communities, at the same time as supporting new housing and local growth.

Q
(South Thanet)
[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 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Written Questions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to answer Question 116503, tabled on 29 November 2017.
A
Answered by: Dominic Raab
Answered on: 15 January 2018

The question [116503] was answered on 15 January 2018 with the answer:

We are standing up for England’s churches. National planning policy already sets out that businesses should not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established.

We are minded to amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give greater emphasis to this matter, by setting out that planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses and other organisations, such as churches, community pubs and music venues, when locating new development nearby.

We consulted on proposals for this as part of the Housing White Paper published on 7 February 2017 and we intend to publish a revised draft NPPF for consultation as early as possible in 2018. At that stage we will host a round-table with representatives from the sector to invite their input into this important matter.

We continue to work with other departments, to ensure local authorities support existing businesses, organisations or activities that are an integral part of local communities, at the same time as supporting new housing and local growth.

Q
(South Thanet)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 05 December 2017
Department of Health
Drugs: Misuse
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the Answer of 22 November 2017 to Question 113472, for what reasons the period from April 2010 to March 2013 was excluded from the total amount of money from the public purse spent on Talk to Frank since its creation.
A
Answered by: Steve Brine
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The Talk to FRANK service is currently operated by Public Health England (PHE), and the information supplied in response to Question 113472 was drawn from PHE financial records.

During the period April 2010 to March 2013, the Talk to FRANK service was operated jointly by the Home Office and the Department of Health.

In the 2017 report ‘An evaluation of the Government’s Drug Strategy 2010’, the Government spend on media and information activity under the Drug Strategy 2010, 2010/11 to 2014/15 (including on FRANK) is provided on page 73:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628100/Drug_Strategy_Evaluation.PDF

Q
(South Thanet)
[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 November 2017
HM Treasury
Tobacco: Excise Duties
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to publish the results of the consultation on the tax treatment of heated tobacco products.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 23 November 2017

The government is analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

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