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 Berkeley
Asked on: 11 June 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Railways
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why their Framework for the UK–EU Partnership: Transport, published on 7 June, does not cover the rail sector to the same level of detail as the air and road sectors; and what action they intend to take to remedy this omission.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 22 June 2018

As the UK slides on the Framework for the UK-EU Partnership on Transport make clear, we will pursue bilateral agreements with the relevant Member States to facilitate the continued smooth functioning of cross-border rail services operating through the Channel Tunnel and on the island of Ireland.

The cross-border services that link us with the EU have greatly benefited citizens and businesses in both the UK and the EU. We want to see these services continue without disruption, and it is in the interests of all parties to ensure this through these bilateral agreements.

The government is considering the full range of rail issues as we further discuss the shape of our future economic partnership with the EU. We will continue to work closely with the rail industry and passengers to ensure that we secure an agreement that works for the entire UK rail sector.

Asked on: 12 June 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Budget: Contributions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that any dispute regarding the UK's payment of its share of EU liabilities upon departure from the EU will be adjudicated upon by the European Court of Justice.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 22 June 2018

We have made rapid progress in reaching agreement on the financial settlement text of the Withdrawal Agreement. As part of this agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the current budget plan up to 2020, and pay its fair share of liabilities, principally EU pensions, accrued by the end of that period. In return, the UK will receive a share of funds paid into the EU budget, and benefit from its share of relevant EU assets.

For specific areas of the financial settlement, existing enforcement mechanisms will apply, namely to our participation in programmes funded by the 2014-20 EU budget plan and to our contributions to the 2019-2020 budgets which are subject to the applicable EU rules.

Any disputes concerning the Withdrawal Agreement will be dealt with through the dispute resolution provisions agreed as part of that Withdrawal Agreement. These are subject to ongoing negotiation.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) public, (2) private, (3) self-regulatory, and (4) other bodies have regulatory responsibility for companies, company law, corporate governance, accounting standards, audit and auditors.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The following UK bodies have regulatory responsibility for companies, company law, corporate governance, accounting standards, audit and auditors:

Public Bodies (under the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000):

Bank of England (including the Prudential Regulation Authority)

Companies House

Financial Conduct Authority

Financial Reporting Council

Insolvency Service

Other:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Association of International Accountants

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Takeover Appeal Board

Takeover Panel

This answer does not consider obligations on companies and other businesses generally such as employment regulation, environmental regulation or for reasons of public safety, or those bodies that have general responsibilities in respect of criminal investigations and prosecutions. The categorisation of bodies reflects the categorisation used for government accounting purposes and the application of the requirements of managing public money.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which non-statutory bodies, including the Takeover Panel and Financial Reporting Council, have been given statutory powers under the Companies Act 2006 and other financial services legislation; and which bodies perform comparable functions voluntarily.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

In addition to the Takeover Panel and the Financial Reporting Council, the following non-statutory bodies have statutory powers or functions under the Companies Act 2006 or perform comparable voluntary functions:

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Association of International Accountants

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Takeover Appeals Board

There are no non-statutory bodies that have powers under financial services legislation.

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Cabinet Office
Absent Parents: Suicide
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers.
A
Corrected answer by: Lord Young of Cookham
Corrected on: 22 June 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 20 June 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

​The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply. and I will place the response in the Library of both houses.

Letter from John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, to The Lord Pearson of Rannoch, dated 15 June 2018.

Dear Lord Pearson,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am replying to your Parliamentary Question asking about the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers (HL8615).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes suicide rates for the UK, constituent countries, regions and local authorities in England and Wales in an annual bulletin[1].

The information we hold on deaths is limited to what is recorded on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a doctor, provided to the registrar by the informant at the time of death registration, or recorded by a coroner following their inquest into the cause and circumstances of the death. We can provide the number of suicides per year by legal marital status, but we have no available information on whether the deceased was (a) separated at the time of death, that is, living apart from their partner; or (b) was a father or mother.

Table 1 attached provides the numbers and crude rates per 100,00 persons of deaths due to suicide, by sex, for each year between 2000 and 2016 in England and Wales. The rates are broken down by marital status recorded at death. A copy has been placed in the House of Lords Library.

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2016registrations

A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 20 June 2018

​The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply. and I will place the response in the Library of both houses.

Letter from John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, to The Lord Pearson of Rannoch, dated 15 June 2018.

Dear Lord Pearson,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am replying to your Parliamentary Question asking about the number of suicides since 2000 of separated fathers compared to those of separated mothers (HL8615).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes suicide rates for the UK, constituent countries, regions and local authorities in England and Wales in an annual bulletin[1].

The information we hold on deaths is limited to what is recorded on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by a doctor, provided to the registrar by the informant at the time of death registration, or recorded by a coroner following their inquest into the cause and circumstances of the death. We can provide the number of suicides per year by legal marital status, but we have no available information on whether the deceased was (a) separated at the time of death, that is, living apart from their partner; or (b) was a father or mother.

Table 1 attached provides the numbers and crude rates per 100,00 persons of deaths due to suicide, by sex, for each year between 2000 and 2016 in England and Wales. The rates are broken down by marital status recorded at death. A copy has been placed in the House of Lords Library.

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2016registrations

Asked on: 13 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
New Businesses: Females
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make it easier for female entrepreneurs to secure capital.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

This Government is committed to ensuring that all businesses and business owners have the right support. There are now approximately 1.2 million women-led small and medium-sized businesses in the UK.

The Government-backed British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans provide funding and support to new entrepreneurs, of which 39% have been issued to women. The British Business Bank is also conducting research to identify ways to overcome the specific barriers faced by female-led businesses in accessing venture capital. In collaboration with the Enterprise Research Centre they are gathering data from over 50 VC firms, and are now commissioning behavioural research in this area.

Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Rolls-Royce: Redundancy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will support people affected by the recent decision by Rolls-Royce to cut 4,600 jobs across the UK over the next two years.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 22 June 2018

The Government is in regular contact with Rolls-Royce on its plans to reduce its back office and support functions workforce as a result of its restructuring programme. This is clearly an uncertain time for affected employees and their families and Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response stands ready to help people back into employment as soon as possible.

In addition, we will work closely with the action group, in which the company is collaborating with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, to engage with councils, unions, local MPs and other partners to ensure that support is available for each and every worker to find new work and training opportunities. The LEP will be holding the first meeting of this action group as soon as possible and Government will be fully engaged.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 05 June 2018
Department for Education
Pupils: Personal Records
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to inform schools that they no longer need to collect data on pupils' nationality and to remove any such information from their records.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 21 June 2018

School census requirements are published annually on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-census. The requirements for 2018/19 will be published shortly.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Pupils: Measurement
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they track the weight of school children between the ages of 12 and 16; if so, how this is done; and how the results are communicated to all the parents of the children so measured.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The weight of school children between the ages of 12 and 16 is not tracked nationally.

Data is collected on the height and weight of children aged 2-15 in the Health Survey for England (HSE). Around 2,000 children (aged 0-15) take part in the survey each year. Information is collected through an interview and, if participants agree, a visit from a specially trained nurse. In 2016 the sample contained 2,056 children of which 1,117 children had a nurse visit.

The HSE is a sample survey for the purposes of providing statistical information on the health and lifestyles of people across England. It is not designed to report back to parents on their child’s weight.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
EURATOM
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which components of Euratom's work programme will the UK participate in following the current negotiations; and whether those will include regulation, safety, energy coordination, and long term research and development of fusion and nuclear waste policies.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government’s strategy is to seek a close association with Euratom, to the mutual benefit of the UK and the EU, and to provide maximum continuity for the civil nuclear sector. The components of this future relationship with Euratom are subject to negotiations with the EU. The UK will also seek to fully associate itself with the Euratom Research and Training Programme, including the Joint European Torus (JET) and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and recognises that such an association would necessarily involve an appropriate financial contribution in line with other associated countries.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Affordable Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are proposing to remove the term "social rent" from the glossary definition of affordable housing on their proposed new National Planning Policy Framework.
Answered on: 21 June 2018

In the draft National Planning Policy Framework we have consulted on a revised definition of affordable housing for planning purposes. The proposed definition does not remove social rent as a type of affordable housing. The Government’s rent policy sets out guidelines for rent setting for social rent properties and is specifically referenced in the proposed definition. We are considering whether any further amendments to the definition are needed in the light of the comments received, and intend to publish a final version this summer.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing Associations: Rents
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the annual one per cent rent cut on the ability of housing associations to deliver effective services to their tenants.
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government’s published Impact Assessment (attached) is available online: https://www.parliament.uk/documents/impact-assessments/IA15-006F.pdf. The 2017 Global Accounts (published by the Regulator of Social Housing) report that the housing association sector continues to be financially robust, with a total net surplus of £4.1bn - up from £3.3bn in the previous year.

Impact assessment (PDF Document, 63.81 KB)
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Council Housing: Greater London
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the plans by the Mayor of London to provide grant funding to local authorities in London to build council housing.
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Mayor has responsibility for housing delivery in London.

At Spring Statement 2018, the Chancellor announced that we will be providing London with an additional £1.67bn from the Affordable Homes Programme to support the Mayor to build a further 26,000 affordable homes. Two-third will be homes for rent, including at social rent. This has increased our investment in London to over £4.8bn for at least 116,000 affordable homes by March 2022.

We are providing the Mayor with the investment to deliver the affordable homes that London needs, working with Housing Associations and Local Authorities.

Asked on: 07 June 2018
Home Office
Peers: Correspondence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Home Secretary will respond to my email of 27 May concerning the arrangements for the protection of Tommy Robinson in prison.
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The safety of all prisoners under assessment, is a priority for this government, and where threats to a prisoner’s safety are identified, measures are taken to mitigate these.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Education
Schools: Transport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of children in rural England who no longer have access to free school transport as a result of cutbacks to free transport services by local councils; and what is their policy on the provision of school transport in rural areas.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The government does not centrally collect data on the number of children who receive free transport.

Local authorities consistently spend approximately £1 billion per year on home to school transport.

Local authorities must provide free transport from home to school for eligible children. This includes transport for those who attend their nearest suitable school where it is beyond the statutory walking distances of two miles for children under eight years old and three miles for those aged eight to 16. They must also provide transport where there is no safe walking route. Approximately 60% of this funding is spent on transport for children with special educational needs.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost to the public purse so far of the national pilot scheme for the 26–30 railcard; and what estimate they have made of the potential cost to the public purse of making the scheme available throughout England.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The 26-30 Railcard trial is being carried out by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), an association which includes all British rail companies and Network Rail. RDG are investigating the impact of the trial which will inform decisions moving forward regarding a potential roll out across Great Britain.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what, if any, subsidy they provide to train operating companies for the operation of the 16–25 railcard scheme.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

As set out in franchise agreements with train operators, the Department for Transport will receive a premium from them or pay out a subsidy based on a range of various measures that the franchisee is asked to deliver, of which railcards are one. It is not possible to disentangle all of the individual elements that contribute to a Train Operating Company’s subsidy.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
Railways: Concessions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of people who will apply for a 26–30 railcard once fully rolled out throughout England.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The 26-30 Railcard trial is being carried out by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), an association which includes all British rail companies and Network Rail. RDG initially made available 10,000 tickets for the first wave of this trial followed by a further 10,000 for the second wave. They are investigating the trial and evaluating its impact which will help inform the decision making process regarding a potential roll out across Great Britain.

Q
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Department for Transport
First TransPennine Express
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have agreed to the use on some routes operated by TransPennine Express of trains which are not able to accommodate wheelchairs; and what assessment they have made of whether those trains are compliant with disability rights legislation.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Rail North Partnership team (which manages the franchise on behalf of the Department and Transport for the North) have been advised by TransPennine Express that they do not intend to operate Mk3 coaches in passenger carrying service.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 07 June 2018
Home Office
Police: Biometrics
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the annual report of the Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material, published in March; and whether they intend to bring forward legislation to govern the use of automated facial recognition by the police.
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government published its response to the Biometrics Commissioner’s Annual Report on 5 June on the gov.uk website.

On the issue of legislation on police use of automated facial recognition, I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave to his question HL8083 on 4 June.

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