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 on: 01 November 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seafood: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend seafood products from Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands to be exempt from physical checks at UK borders following Brexit.
A
Answered on: 12 November 2018

The Government has consistently made clear that we want to preserve continuity in trade with our European neighbours, including non-EU member states such as Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The means by which we deliver this will be the subject of negotiations between the UK and those countries.

Q
Asked on: 23 October 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Eggs: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that eggs imported from non-EU countries will be subject to the UK’s high hen welfare standards post-Brexit.
A
Answered on: 06 November 2018

The Government is proud of this country’s high standards of food safety and animal welfare, including for farm animals.

Our current high standards, including import requirements, will apply when we leave the EU. As part of our commitment to being a world leader in animal welfare we will use our independent seat in international fora such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to push for stronger global standards.

Q
Asked on: 12 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food: Imports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether food imports from Least Developed Countries will have the same food safety and animal welfare checks after Brexit as they currently do.
A
Answered on: 18 September 2018

When we leave the European Union (EU), we will maintain our current standards. We will keep our existing UK legislation, and the EU Withdrawal Act will transfer onto the UK statue book all EU food safety and animal welfare standards. Our current high standards, including import requirements, will apply when we leave the EU.

At the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, the Government announced new support to help developing countries trade effectively, including funding for the WTO’s Standards and Trade Development Facility, which supports least developed countries to comply with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards for trade in agricultural and animal-related products.

Q
Asked on: 11 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Social Services: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in preparing the forthcoming Green Paper on the future funding of adult social care, whether more emphasis will be placed on giving people greater control over the care they receive, and making paying for social care fairer and less dependent on the illness a person contracts.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 July 2018

The Green Paper on Care and Support will include a focus on the principles of whole-person, integrated care and giving people receiving support the highest possible control.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the care and support they need, but we are clear that there should continue to be a principle of shared responsibility, and that people should continue to expect to contribute to their care as part of preparing for later life.

The Green Paper will bring forward ideas for including an element of risk pooling in the system, which will help to protect people from the highest costs. This will include proposals to place a limit on the care costs individuals face.

Q
Asked on: 11 July 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Social Services: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in preparing the forthcoming Green Paper on the future funding of adult social care, whether emphasis will be placed on personalised preventative medicine and Screening Saves Lives; and what plans they have to reduce the screening age from 60 to 50 years.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 23 July 2018

The Green Paper on care and support will primarily focus on social care for older adults.

In terms of personalised preventative medicine, NHS England introduced the general practitioner contract in 2017/18. This aims to support people to live well for longer, through identifying patients who may be living with frailty and ensuring that they have access to the key evidence-based interventions including a falls assessment and medications review.

The Government is committed to providing well-managed screening programmes that are introduced following a robust process using peer reviewed evidence. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises ministers and the National Health Service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy and supports implementation. The national cancer screening programmes in England include adult cancer screening programmes for cervical, breast and bowel cancer with varying age parameters, and any changes made to existing screening programmes will follow the UK NSC’s published evidence review process.

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: Parking
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.

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