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 Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 17 July 2019
Department for Transport
Railways
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that the rail industry is accountable to Government.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 24 July 2019

The Department works closely with the rail industry to ensure it is held accountable, with regular meetings between industry and Ministers and officials. A number of robust reporting and risk management processes are in place to support this work. The Williams Rail Review will also consider the role of the Department as part of its thinking on wider reform.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Child Maintenance Service
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to increase (a) funding and (b) staffing of the Child Maintenance Service.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 17 July 2019

Child Maintenance Service funding and staffing is determined as part of the funding settlement that DWP receives to provide the range of services that it provides. DWP, along with all other Government Departments, is currently agreeing its budgets for the approaching Spending Review period with HM Treasury. No decisions on the level of future budgets has been agreed at this point but is expected to be resolved in the latter part of 2019.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
[N]
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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 International Development
Mexico: USA
Commons
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the humanitarian situation on the US-Mexico border.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 17 July 2019

I share the hon Gentleman’s concerns about the reports of poor conditions and overcrowding in US detention facilities on the border with Mexico.

I very much welcome the steps already taken by the Administration and Congress to address these issues, including the emergency funding signed off by the President on 1 July.

These are difficult issues, and the UK has also struggled sometimes to get this right.

But we very much encourage our US friends to continue to work to improve the conditions in these facilities.

I have seen the excellent work the US has done around the world to promote human rights, and so it is important that they uphold these standards as they continue to tackle the situation at the US-Mexico border.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 12 July 2019
Home Office
Fire and Rescue Services: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will allocate more funding to the fire service in the 2019-20 financial year.
A
Answered by: Mr Nick Hurd
Answered on: 16 July 2019

Fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their important work and will receive around £2.3 billion in 2019/20.

Fire and Rescue Services funding requirements from 2020/21 will be considered as part of the Spending Review.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 03 July 2019
Department for Transport
Northern Rail Franchise
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to allow the Northern Rail franchise to be publicly run.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 11 July 2019

Alongside Transport for the North, who co-manage the franchise, our absolute priority is delivering the services that passengers expect. At a time when performance is improving and brand-new trains have been successfully introduced onto the network only this week to replace the unpopular and dated Pacers, major change could result in significant disruption. We see no reason at this stage to consider making changes to the franchise.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 04 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Armed Conflict: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he bring forward a new protection of civilians strategy to help safeguard children in conflict zones throughout the world.
A
Answered by: Dr Andrew Murrison
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The Government is currently reviewing its strategy on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, and is committed to ensuring that its approach benefits all civilians, including children and other vulnerable groups, and that it reflects the changing international landscape and the complexity of many conflicts. The Government welcomes recent research carried out by academics and NGOs in this field and is taking their work into account as it undertakes its review. The Government aims to complete the review by the end of 2019.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 02 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Brazil: Rain Forests
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Brazilian counterpart on protecting the Amazon rainforest.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 09 July 2019

Our posts in Brazil frequently engage with the Brazilian Government on a number of environmental issues including deforestation. We have been having positive discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and work closely with them on our International Climate Fund programmes.

We are working with Brazil to help ensure it continues to protect the Amazon and have invested nearly £120 million through the International Climate Fund on projects to limit deforestation, prevent forest fires and implement the Forestry Code in the Amazon, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 01 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her Department's policy to process mandatory reconsiderations for personal independence payment claims within 15 working days.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 08 July 2019

Mandatory reconsideration (MR) decisions are made without delay, but the focus is on making sure that the decision under dispute is thoroughly reviewed not on how long it takes to review it.

We are engaging with stakeholders to explore how we can improve the MR process. We have recently implemented a new approach in PIP which includes contacting claimants, where appropriate, to see if there is information that would enable us to change the decision ourselves. To support this, we are investing additional time for communication, evidence gather and review – including providing time for claimants to provide more information - which means that some cases can take longer. However, this approach supports our aim - to make the right decision as early as possible - so claimants don’t need to progress to the appeal stage.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Treasury
VAT: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what safeguards his Department has put in place to prevent online VAT fraud.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 02 July 2019

The Government has led the way in tackling this complex and international problem. A package of measures was announced at Budget 2016 to tackle abuse by overseas businesses selling goods to UK customers through online marketplaces. This included holding online marketplaces jointly liable for the future unpaid VAT of non-compliant overseas businesses and the introduction of the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme which went live in April 2019. At Budget 2017 the Government strengthened the joint and several liability rules for online marketplaces to include UK businesses, where they either knew or should have known that an overseas business should have been registered for VAT and required them to display a valid VAT number where provided with one. Taken together, these measures are expected to deliver just under £1bn by 2023.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Treasury
VAT: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps HMRC takes in responding to complaints on online VAT fraud; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of HMRC's response to such complaints.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 02 July 2019

HMRC take all complaints seriously. When complaints are received, HMRC aim to deal with them effectively and learn from them to improve services and operations for the benefit of all customers. HMRC have complete operational independence from Treasury Ministers, and therefore the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be privy to the results of how HMRC has responded to specific complaints.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 26 June 2019
Department for Education
Sure Start Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will increase funding for Sure Start in the next Budget.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 01 July 2019

Local authorities have a duty under the Childcare Act 2006 to ensure there are sufficient Sure Start children’s centres to meet the needs of local families. Funding for children’s services (including children’s centres) is made available through the local government finance settlement. In addition, other government funding, including that for public health, adult skills training and troubled families may also be used locally to support services delivered wholly, or in part, through children’s centres. Children’s services funding for 2020-21 and beyond will be determined in the Spending Review.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 19 June 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Parking: Codes of Practice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward plans to draft the parking code of practice.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 27 June 2019

The Government is committed to delivering the Code of Practice as soon as possible. We are currently considering the format for formal stakeholder engagement and will make an announcement in due course. We are also committed to carrying out a full public consultation on the draft Code of Practice, allowing all interested parties to directly respond to the proposals.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 17 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Camping
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to designate areas in England and Wales for wild camping.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 24 June 2019

Access is a devolved matter and this answer relates only to England. Landowners may permit people to camp outside of designated campsites. There are no current plans for the Government to designate any areas for wild camping in England. Dartmoor National Park Authority has a map of wild camping areas.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Postnatal Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will add the six-week maternal postnatal check to the GP contract.
A
Answered by: Seema Kennedy
Answered on: 12 June 2019

An agreement on whether additional items will be included in the 2020/21 general practitioner (GP) contract – such as the inclusion of a specific universal maternal six-week postnatal check – will be made following negotiations between NHS England and the GP profession later this year. No decisions have been made on which issues are to be included in the negotiating remit.

Post-natal care can be delivered by a number of different providers, including midwives, health visitors and GPs. Currently, commissioners and providers should ensure that women are offered a review of their physical, emotional and social wellbeing by a healthcare professional at the end of the postnatal period (between 6-8 weeks). National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on postnatal care stipulate that a documented, individualised postnatal care plan should be developed with the woman ideally in the antenatal period or as soon as possible after birth.

The NHS Long Term Plan highlights that we will continue to work with midwives, mothers and their families to implement continuity of carer so that, by March 2021, most women receive continuity of person caring for them during pregnancy, birth and postnatally.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 06 June 2019
Department for Education
Students: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will bring forward plans to reduce university tuition fees to £7,500.
A
Answered by: Chris Skidmore
Answered on: 12 June 2019

The independent panel’s report to government forms an important step in the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding. The government will consider the panel’s recommendations carefully and will conclude the review at the Spending Review. The government has not yet taken decisions with regards to the recommendations put forward.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Transport
Cycling: Helmets
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists.
A
Answered by: Michael Ellis
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Government’s 2018 cycling and walking safety review considered this matter carefully. The Government’s response to the safety review, published in November 2018, summarises the arguments for and against making helmets compulsory, and explains the Government’s position. In short, the Government will continue to encourage cyclists to wear helmets, but believes that this should remain a matter of individual choice. The Government has committed to undertake three actions over the next two years as part of its cycling and walking safety action plan. First, it will continue to promote and encourage cyclists to wear helmets, especially children. Secondly, the Government will provide strengthened advice on fitting of cycle helmets for children, as part of wider advice on use of safety equipment and attire when cycling. Thirdly, the Government will review evidence and international experience on mandatory helmets for children and provide clear guidance to help parents choose what is appropriate for their child.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Concessions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will fund local authorities to provide free bus travel for people under the age of 25.
A
Answered by: Ms Nusrat Ghani
Answered on: 11 June 2019

Local authorities are currently empowered to offer local travel concessions under concessionary travel legislation. If they wish to do so, local authorities are able to offer discounted travel to young people. In addition, bus operators can offer discounted travel for young people - bus operators in 71 of the 89 TCA areas in England outside of London offered some form of discounted travel for young people in 2018/19. In addition, there is a statutory scheme for certain eligible children to receive free school transport.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 22 May 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Beverage Containers: Recycling
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to respond to the public consultation on the Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, published in February 2019.
A
Answered by: Dr Thérèse Coffey
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The consultation on proposals to introduce a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland closed on 13 May. Policy officials are currently analysing the responses, and the analysis of responses and the Government’s response will be published in due course.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Education
Yoga: Curriculum
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of making yoga available as part of the school curriculum; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 10 June 2019

The Department for Education recognises the benefits that activities such as yoga and meditation can have on promoting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and in helping the building of character. The department has no plans to review the national curriculum. It will remain up to schools to decide what specific activities to offer to their pupils.

Schools are free to organise and deliver a diverse and challenging curriculum that suits the needs of all of their pupils. Pupils can participate in yoga as part of the PE curriculum, which is designed to ensure that all pupils develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, are physically active for sustained periods of time and lead healthy and active lives.

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Home Office
Armed Forces: Commonwealth
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will remove visa charges for indefinite leave to remain for commonwealth UK armed forces personnel and their families .
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 10 June 2019

All immigration and nationality fees are set within strict financial limits agreed with HM Treasury and Parliament, and are also aligned with clear principles that balance a number of complex factors, including the benefits likely to be accrued.

The Home Office is listening carefully to those with concerns about how foreign and Commonwealth members of HM Forces can have the support of their families whilst serving our country.

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