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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 27
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Non-native Species
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to invasive non-native species, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions, for example, risk assessments and diagnostics, (4) response functions, including control activities, and (5) research.
A
Corrected answer by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble
Corrected on: 21 February 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 06 February 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £3.8m on invasive non-native species in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£2.2m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£1.6m).

Biosecurity and control of invasive non-native species are devolved matters.

In England in 2016/17 the government spent an estimated total of £922,000 on biosecurity measures relating to invasive non-native species.

The overall cost can be apportioned as £145,000 for policy functions, £90,000 on risk analysis, £335,000 for early warning and rapid response measures, £210,000 on coordination, £80,000 on communication and awareness raising activities, and £62,000 on research.

A
Answered on: 06 February 2018

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £3.8m on invasive non-native species in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£2.2m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£1.6m).

Biosecurity and control of invasive non-native species are devolved matters.

In England in 2016/17 the government spent an estimated total of £922,000 on biosecurity measures relating to invasive non-native species.

The overall cost can be apportioned as £145,000 for policy functions, £90,000 on risk analysis, £335,000 for early warning and rapid response measures, £210,000 on coordination, £80,000 on communication and awareness raising activities, and £62,000 on research.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals and Plants: Diseases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the annual cost to the English economy from (1) animal diseases, (2) bee diseases, (3) fish diseases, (4) invasive non-native species, (5) plant diseases, and (6) tree diseases.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2018

Data on all these matters are not held centrally. Collation of this information would involve analysts across different organisations (Defra, APHA, Environment Agency, Fera and the Forestry Commission) analysing and collating data stored in different formats for a wide range of pests and diseases. As a result, we are not able to provide the information within the given timeframe.

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to fish diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 12 February 2018

Data on government spending cannot be broken down against these categories for biosecurity measures relating to fish diseases and pests. However, the spend on aquatic animal health in the financial year 2016–17, which includes disease controls and biosecurity measures for fish and other aquatic animals in England and Wales, is as follows:

  1. Policy functions – £147,765, this includes salary rates and variable and fixed overheads.

  2. Inspectorate functions, diagnostics and response functions - £2,080,917.

  3. Technical support functions (e.g. epidemiology, risk assessments, test exercise) - £142,858.

  4. Response function – these is included in (2) inspectorate functions.

  5. Research - £730,768.

  6. Total - £3,102,308.

    Aquatic animal health is a devolved policy. Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate aquatic animal health budgets which are not covered in the figures above.

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to animal diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 09 February 2018

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £200m on animal diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£117m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£83m).

Q
Asked on: 29 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bees: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to bee diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions (for example, risk assessments and diagnostics), (4) response functions (including control activities), (5) research, and (6) total budget.
A
Answered on: 09 February 2018

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £2.8m on bee diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£1.6m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£1.2m).

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plants: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to plant diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions, for example, risk assessments and diagnostics, (4) response functions, including control activities, and (5) research.
A
Answered on: 06 February 2018

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £13.2m on plant and tree diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£10.1m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£3.1m).

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they spent in the 2016–17 financial year on biosecurity measures relating to tree diseases and pests, broken down by (1) policy functions, (2) inspectorate functions, (3) technical support functions, for example, risk assessments and diagnostics, (4) response functions, including control activities, and (5) research.
A
Answered on: 06 February 2018

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) spent £13.2m on plant and tree diseases in 2016/17 including both direct costs and apportioned support staff and overheads.

APHA do not keep the split as requested but can further subdivide the cost between direct costs (£10.1m) and apportioned support staff and overheads (£3.1m).

Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Education
Schools: Standards
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to improve the attainment of, and outcomes for, pupils attending schools in rural and coastal areas; and, in particular, what assessment they have made of the use of partnerships between schools.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 02 January 2018

The Department for Education recently published the report, ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, which sets out the department’s plan for improving social mobility through education. The report, which has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, consists of a targeted response to direct resources to where they are needed most. It includes prioritising support for 108 Category 5&6 local authority districts with the weakest educational performance but with capacity to improve. These districts, some of which are located in rural or coastal areas, were identified using the composite ‘Achieving Excellence Area’ indicator, which measures the educational performance of an area and its capacity to improve.

The Opportunity Area programme seeks to improve outcomes for pupils in 12 social mobility ‘cold spots’ by overcoming barriers in those geographic areas where the educational challenges are greatest and opportunity is lacking. The areas represent a wide geographic spread, and take into account different challenges faced in different contexts - including in coastal and rural areas - which will help us to build a strong evidence base on what works in a wide range of varied settings.

Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Transport
Electric Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a general strategy for electric vehicles.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 December 2017

The coalition Government published a strategy for ultra low emission vehicles in the UK in September 2013. We will be publishing an updated strategy detailing Government’s role in the transition to zero emission vehicles and facilitating mass market for electric vehicles before the end of March 2018.

Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals and Plants: Disease Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was spent in each of the past ten years on biosecurity in England in relation to (1) animal health, (2) bee health, (3) fish health, (4) invasive non-native species, (5) plant health, and (6) tree health, broken down by (a) policy functions, (b) inspectorate functions, (c) technical support functions, (d) response and control functions, and (e) research.
A
Answered on: 21 December 2017

Data on all these matters are not held centrally. Collation of this information would involve finance teams across five different organisations (Defra, APHA, Environment Agency, Fera and the Forestry Commission) analysing, collating and reconciling ten years of financial data stored in different formats and IT platforms. As a result, we are not able to provide the information within the given timeframe.

Grouped Questions: HL3982
Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Animals and Plants: Diseases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the annual cost to the economy in each of the past ten years of (1) animal diseases, (2) bee diseases, (3) fish diseases, (4) invasive non-native species, (5) plant diseases, and (6) tree diseases, in England.
A
Answered on: 21 December 2017

Data on all these matters are not held centrally. Collation of this information would involve finance teams across five different organisations (Defra, APHA, Environment Agency, Fera and the Forestry Commission) analysing, collating and reconciling ten years of financial data stored in different formats and IT platforms. As a result, we are not able to provide the information within the given timeframe.

Grouped Questions: HL3981
Q
Asked on: 08 December 2017
Department of Health
Colorectal Cancer: Screening
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to offer screening for bowel cancer to all over 45s.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 20 December 2017

Following Ministerial approval of the United Kingdom National Screening Committee’s (UK NSC) recommendation to introduce Faecal Immunochemical Testing as the primary screen test in the National Health Service Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, the UK NSC commissioned the Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) to use existing evidence and modelling techniques to describe options for optimising bowel cancer screening. This includes different cut off levels for the test and various age ranges.

The UK NSC will continue to work with ScHARR and stakeholders, and will make a final recommendation in 2018.

Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department of Health
Dental Services: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to increase public awareness of the availability of free NHS dental treatment for under 19s.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 19 December 2017

All those under the age of 18, or under 19 and in full time education are exempt from charges and qualify for free National Health Service dental treatment. Those who are pregnant or gave birth in the last 12 months or are on specified income related benefits are also charge exempt.

All dental practices holding an NHS contract are required to display a poster, provided free of charge, setting out current NHS charges and highlighting that patients may be exempt from, or entitled, to help with charges. The Department also provides all such practices with a patient leaflet setting out patient entitlements in more detail. In addition, this information is available online at NHS Choices. Locally, NHS England run periodic initiatives, based on need, to ensure awareness. A copy of the NHS practice poster is attached.

NHS practice poster (PDF Document, 1.66 MB)
Q
Asked on: 07 December 2017
Department for Communities and Local Government
Electric Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have given local authorities regarding the percentage of parking spaces in new developments which should be required to have charging points for electric vehicles.
Answered on: 18 December 2017

The National Planning Policy Framework states that developments should, where practical, incorporate facilities for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles. The level of parking provision in new developments is a decision for local planning authorities to make. Local Planning authorities should use the Framework, supporting planning guidance and local uptake of vehicles when making these decisions. As use of this technology grows, there are permitted development rights available for the installation of wall mounted and free-standing electric vehicle charging points in off-street parking areas.

Q
Asked on: 08 December 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Non-native Species
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take in response to the findings of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 that new and emerging invasive non-native species are one of six urgent climate change risks for the UK.
A
Answered on: 14 December 2017

The UK has long recognised the threats posed by invasive non-native species. In 2008, we published a comprehensive Great Britain Non-native Species Strategy designed to tackle these threats, the first of its kind in Europe.

As part of our strategy, we carry out horizon-scanning for new invasive non-native species likely to pose a significant risk if they arrive in the UK. These threats are formal assessments using a comprehensive risk framework that takes climate change into account. We will be carrying the next horizon scanning exercise in 2018.

We also carry out risk analysis for individual species which specifically takes the potential impacts from climate change into account.

We have set up a Great Britain working group to consider research needs relating to invasive non-native species, which includes the impacts from climate change.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
The Senior Deputy Speaker
House of Lords: Beverage Containers
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what steps are being taken, including through procurement processes, to reduce the number of plastic cups used in catering outlets in the House of Lords.
A
Answered by: Lord Laming
Answered on: 07 December 2017

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chairman of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf.

House of Lords Catering and Retail Services (CRS) is taking a pro-active approach to reducing the use of disposable cups within the House’s catering facilities. The River Restaurant and Millbank House Restaurant both provide disposable cups, and in both areas CRS runs an incentive scheme for customers whereby the price of a hot beverage is reduced by 10p (broadly the price of a disposable cup) if a customer brings their own cup. We also provide china cups in the River Restaurant and Millbank House Restaurant and encourage customers to use these when they are dining in, instead of using a disposable cup.

Regarding procurement, CRS is not aware of a disposable cup for hot beverages that is fully bio-degradable, and until such a product becomes available CRS will have to continue with its current supply. CRS works closely with its suppliers to ensure it would become aware of any new appropriate products should they emerge.

Through the procurement process, CRS objectives include sourcing products that come from renewable sources (such as those supporting sustainable forestry or low carbon processes). The disposable hot beverage cups currently used are made from sustainable and recycled materials and are an insulated, double walled cup. This reduces disposable consumption by negating the need for an additional sleeve or the practice of customers doubling up cups if thinner, single walled cups are provided.

CRS has recently received accreditation from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and looks forward to working alongside the Association to implement innovative solutions for reducing the amount of total disposable products, including cups, that are used across the House of Lords catering venues.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Ministry of Justice
Road Traffic Offences: Mobile Phones
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have been prosecuted for the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving in the past 12 months.
A
Answered on: 07 December 2017

In 2016, the most recent period for which figures are available, 12,853 defendants were proceeded against at magistrates courts in England and Wales for using or causing others to use a handheld mobile phone whilst driving.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dogs: Smuggling
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prosecutions for trafficking of puppies have taken place in the past 12 months; and whether they plan to introduce any new measures to address such trafficking.
A
Answered on: 04 December 2017

We take the issue of the trafficking of puppies seriously. The Animal and Plant Health Agency is working in partnership with Dogs Trust, enforcement bodies and transport carriers to identify non-compliant animals destined for Dover and Folkestone ports. This partnership began in December 2015 and has resulted in over 650 puppies being seized and placed into quarantine. Should APHA checks identify that a dog has been imported, but is not compliant with the import rules, the relevant local authority is informed.

Local authorities are responsible for taking enforcement action when puppies and dogs are discovered to be non-compliant with importation rules. Details of prosecutions in 2016 are reported in the Animal and Plant Health Agency’s ‘Return of expenditure incurred and prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981 and incidences of disease in imported animals for the year 2016’. In 2016 there were five prosecutions for the illegal importation or landing of dogs under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 and The Trade in Animals and Regulated Products Regulations.

It is also important to recognise the illegal trafficking of dogs is ultimately driven by demand. Defra has published guidance on buying a pet. This guidance contains guidelines to follow when buying a dog such as buying from a reputable supplier and viewing the animal and its documentation, and also highlights the trade in illegal imports. Defra also works closely with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group to drive up standards for online advertisements and make potential pet owners and website operators more aware of rogue dealers.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Department of Health
NHS: ICT
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice, if any, they have provided to NHS Trusts regarding the need to upgrade software and improve cyber-security.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 01 December 2017

The Department published Your Data: Better Security, Better Choice, Better Care in July 2017 in which the Government accepted the 10 Data Security Standards recommended by the National Data Guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott. The document sets out the steps National Health Service trusts are expected to take to improve their cyber security resilience. Data Security Standard 8 specifically states that no unsupported operating systems, software or internet browsers are used within the IT estate.

NHS Digital published in May 2017 Unsupported Platforms – Good Practice Guide giving trusts technical guidance on how to upgrade software and improve cyber security.

In October 2017, the Department followed up by publishing the 2017/18 Data Security and Protection Requirements. This document sets out the steps all health and care organisations will be expected to take in 2017/18 to demonstrate that they are implementing the 10 Data Security Standards, prior to a new assurance framework coming into place from April 2018.

In 2015, NHS Digital established CareCERT to provide national cyber support to health and care organisations. This support includes cyber alerts with advice on software updates, direct support when cyber incidents occur, and also on-site support to assess local vulnerabilities to improve local resilience and mitigate the impact of future cyber incidents.

The above mentioned reports are attached.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2017
Department of Health
Dental Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of geographical differences in access to dental services across England; and whether differential rates of access account for differences in dental health.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 30 November 2017

National surveys of child and adult oral health identify a number of contributing factors to account for differences in oral health including deprivation, geography, ethnicity and social class.

NHS England has a legal duty to commission primary care dental services to meet local needs and to work with local partners to address oral health needs identified in local health needs assessments. NHS England also undertake regular surveys of patient access to National Health Service dentistry, the latest was published in July 2017 and the results from the survey responses are presented at national (England), regional and Area Team level. A copy of Summary of the Dental Results from the GP Patient Survey – January to March 2017 is attached.

Access to primary care dental services continues to increase nationally. 22.2 million adults were seen by a dentist in the 24 month period ending 30 June 2017 and 6.8 million children were seen by a dentist in the 12 month period ending 30 June 2017, but we know NHS England has further to go in ensuring access needs are met in all areas.

The NHS England Starting Well programme will also operate in 13 high needs areas to reach out to children most at risk of dental decay who are not currently under the care of a dentist.

GP Patient Survey results (PDF Document, 891.79 KB)
Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 27
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100