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 Lord Storey
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Air Pollution: Monitoring
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the Automatic Urban and Rural Network continuous monitoring stations that record air pollution have been closed down in each of the last three years.
A
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The Automatic Urban and Rural Network has expanded over the last three years from 152 open stations at the end of 2016 to 164 open stations today.

In 2019 one station closed and its relocation is in progress. In 2017, three stations closed, two of which were relocated and one of which was replaced. In 2016, five stations were closed, one of which was replaced, one of which was relocated, and three of which were not replaced or relocated.

Q
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Water Supply
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to whether there will continue to be sufficient supplies of water for all purposes, including domestic purposes, if climate change continues as expected.
A
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The Government is working closely with other water regulators and the water industry to improve the resilience of water supplies. The Government recognises continued action is required and it is committed to a ‘twin track approach’ of reducing demand for water and increasing supply in parallel.

Water companies have a statutory duty to provide clean and reliable water to customers under the Water Industry Act 1991. To fulfil this duty, there is a statutory requirement to maintain water resources management plans, which balance water supply and demand at least twenty-five years into the future.

The Government, Environment Agency (EA) and Ofwat issued guidance to water companies in 2016 on how they should be planning to be resilient to foreseeable risks, including taking appropriate action to respond to climate projections. Water companies are currently revising their plans.

The Government is taking steps to improve water resources planning to ensure that there is better collaboration between water companies and other water using sectors on their water supply resilience. This includes the EA developing a National Framework for water resources, which will identify high priority water users who are unable to meet their demand or are likely to need to expand and set expectations on collaboration at a regional scale. The Government has also consulted on legislative improvements to ensure that water companies’ plans are informed by effective collaboration.

The EA is also implementing the abstraction plan published in 2017. This includes work to bring together the EA, abstractors and catchment groups to develop local solutions to existing pressures and to prepare for the future.

Q
Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many tenant farmers in England are awaiting their (1) Environmental Stewardship (ES) payments, (2) Countryside Stewardship (CS) payments, for 2018; and whether all ES and CS payments for 2017 have been made.
A
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The Rural Payments Agency has paid all CS 2017 eligible claims bar those held for legal reasons such as probate. On CS 2018, 95% of eligible claimants received an advance payment by early April; 30% of eligible claims have received their final payment and we expect to pay 95% of eligible claims by August 2019.

On ES, around 92% of 2017 eligible claims have now received a payment and we are on track to complete 95% by the end of July 2019. Just over 52% of 2018 eligible claimants have received their advance payment and just under 21% have received their final payment.

Regrettably, we cannot confirm how many of these are tenant farmers as we do not record the agreement holders’ occupant status.

Asked on: 05 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Subsidies
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the timescale of their plan for UK farming subsidies after Brexit.
A
Answered on: 14 June 2019

The Health and Harmony Consultation closed on 8 May 2018. Over forty thousand responses were received from a wide range of people including farmers, environmental and food/farming related organisations and the general public. All responses have been analysed and are being used to inform our policies on future farm support.

The Government published its policy response on 14 September setting out a future for food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit, together with reports on its analysis of the impacts of removing direct payments and economic rationales for future government intervention.

The Government’s assessment was to adopt a gradual transition from the current approach to the new, avoiding a cliff-edge for farm businesses - noting the negative experiences in New Zealand when rapid changes were adopted. Our proposals therefore outline a 7 year transition period.

We are applying reductions to Direct Payments in a fair way, with higher reductions initially applied to amounts in higher payment bands. All farmers will see some reductions from the start of the transition. We plan to begin making these reductions in 2021, with the final year for Direct Payments being 2027. We believe that this approach balances the views of those who feel recipients of the highest payments should initially face higher reductions, with the strong calls for the reductions to be shared amongst all farmers from the start of the transition and in a way that prepares the industry for change. The transition period also needs to be long enough to give farmers sufficient time to adapt and prepare for the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which starts in 2024.

The ELM National Pilot, starting in late 2021, will assess the end to end operability and deliverability before the scheme is rolled out in 2024. This will allow us to identify and refine any issues or barriers that occur in practice. We are working closely with a range of agricultural and environmental stakeholders to collaboratively design the new scheme, and to test and trial new approaches and investigate innovative mechanisms for the delivery of environmental outcomes.

Defra recognises the challenges around the uncertainty and outcome of the timing of leaving the EU. It is planning for every contingency to ensure a smooth departure from the EU, including detailed ’no deal’ plans.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 10 June 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Diseases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the threats from disease to hornbeam trees (Carpinus betulus) in England and Wales.
A
Answered on: 14 June 2019

Details of pest and disease threats to hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), along with other plant and tree species, are included on the UK plant health risk register, which can be accessed here: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/phiw/riskRegister/. Of the 1,040 entries on the risk register, ten of these have hornbeam specifically listed as a major host species, although hornbeam may be a minor host in relation to certain other pests and diseases listed (e.g. those which are polyphagous in nature on broadleaved trees). The risk register includes information about current mitigations in place and priorities for future actions.

Asked on: 14 June 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when representatives of the UK High Commission in Islamabad last visited members of the Kalash community in Pakistan.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Cabinet Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the Inter-Ministerial Group on Family support from Conception to Age Two to report.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total budget of the Department for Work and Pensions for reducing parental conflict for 2019–20.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have allocated to reducing parental conflict in the last five years; and how much of that funding they have spent to date.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Treasury
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding they plan to provide to departments other than the Department for Work and Pensions for the purpose of reducing parental conflict in (1) in 2019–20, and (2) over the next five years.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Ministry of Justice
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many writs of summons were sent to Peers in (1) each region of England, (2) Scotland, (3) Wales, and (4) Northern Ireland, in 2017.
Q
Asked by Lord Farmer
Asked on: 14 June 2019
The Senior Deputy Speaker
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what is the current gender composition of the House of Lords broken down by member's (1) country, and (2) region, of origin.
Asked on: 14 June 2019
The Senior Deputy Speaker
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker how many complaints regarding bullying and harassment have been received since the report by the Committee on Privileges and Conduct Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme: Changes to the Code of Conduct, published on 4 April, was agreed by the House on 30 April.
Q
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Home Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Every Child Protected Against Trafficking UK, Anti-Slavery International and the Pacific Links Foundation, Precarious Journeys: Mapping vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking from Vietnam to Europe, published 7 March, in particular its finding (1) that 1,127 Vietnamese children were arrested in the UK between 2012 and 2018, mostly for immigration and drug offences, despite the known risks of trafficking amongst this group, (2) in regard to the Government's identification and protection of Vietnamese victims and potential victims of trafficking, and (3) that rigid policies to control immigration and growing anti-immigration rhetoric throughout Europe and in the UK exacerbate the vulnerability of Vietnamese adults and children to trafficking and exploitation.
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Home Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why no public statement was made at the time of, or shortly after, the seizure of three tonnes of explosive materials allegedly linked to Hezbollah terrorists in north London at the end of September 2015; and when Ministers and elected officials were briefed on those seizures.
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) review the provision of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) for recognised refugees, and (2) issue guidance on funding and best practice for ESOL.
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a strategy for English for speakers of other languages for refugees in England, ensuring access for all, especially women.
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for International Development
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss the development of a common policy amongst European countries to enable orphaned children who are citizens of those countries, who are currently in refugee camps in the Middle East, or are identifiable outside camps, to return to their countries of origin.
Q
Asked by Lord Truscott
Asked on: 14 June 2019
Department for Transport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for prioritising HS3 over HS2.
Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Museums and Galleries: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the distribution of grant-in-aid funding; and what plans they have to increase the number of museums which are in receipt of grant-in-aid funding.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 13 June 2019

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provides grant-in-aid funding to the 15 sponsored museums and galleries in England - with culture being a devolved matter - and the Ministry of Defence for the three armed forces service museums. The 2017 Strategic Review of DCMS-Sponsored Museums examined their functions, effectiveness, efficiency and accountability, and included a commitment to review grant-in-aid allocations at the next Spending Review, taking into consideration whether changes are required to meet current needs and performance.

At this time, the government has no plans to directly fund other museums through grant-in-aid. However, many other museums are subject to public funding and the 2017 Mendoza Review of Museums in England confirmed that, over the last ten years, the museum sector has received more than £800 million annually from at least 16 different public sources. Arts Council England is the main funding body for the wider museums sector and, between 2018 and 2022 will invest more than £146m in grant-in-aid in museums across England.

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