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 Blunkett
Asked on: 05 December 2018
Cabinet Office
Census
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the next census, due in 2021, will include questions asking about respondents’ (1) main language, and (2) proficiency in English, as was the case in 2011; whether, when using census data to inform public policy, they consider a person’s main language to be the (a) first language learnt, or (b) language used most frequently; and what discussions they have had with the Office for National Statistics about how the terms in questions relating to language might be clarified for the 2021 census, including through associated guidance notes.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 14 December 2018

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger, National Statistician, to The Lord Blunkett, dated 10 December 2018.

Dear Lord Blunkett,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am replying to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the next census, due in 2021, will include questions asking about respondents (1) main language, and (2) proficiency in English, as was the case in 2011; whether, when using census data to inform public policy, a person’s main language will be considered to be the (a) first language learnt, or (b) language used most frequently; and how the Office for National Statistics might clarify terms in questions relating to language for the 2021 census, including through associated guidance notes (HL12057).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published an update in December last year[1] laying out the latest position on the recommendations for which topics will be included in the 2021 Census. This included our intention to recommend main language and proficiency in English, as was the case in 2011.

In 2011, the guidance notes for the main language question in 2011 read: ‘Your main language is your first or preferred language. It could be the language you were brought up using, the one you feel most comfortable using, the language you use at home, or the one you use most often’.

ONS is finalising its plans for guidance notes (including a definition of the main language) for the 2021 Census and intends to complete this work in 2019. For the 2021 Census, ONS will offer a wide variety of services to provide all respondents with help and assistance to complete their questionnaires.

The 2011 Census was the first to gather information on main languages used and English language proficiency. This followed a programme of research, consultation, testing and analysis[2] to establish the most suitable questions. Data from these questions have been used to identify people for whom English is not their main language and to identify areas where a particular language is in use. This information helps councils and other organisations plan support strategies and monitor the impact of policies. Data have also been used for targeting the delivery of services, such as language support, translation, and study programmes at a local level to promote integration and cohesion within communities, to help eliminate discrimination, and to ensure that people are treated fairly.

The topic consultation[3] held in 2016 ahead of the 2021 Census established there was still a user need for the data produced by these questions. You may be interested to read our topic report on language[4] for more information.

Recommendations on the content and conduct of the 2021 Census are being put forward in a White Paper, which is planned for publication later this year. The final topics and questions to be included in the 2021 Census will be put before Parliament for approval, in the form of a Census Order in 2019 and Regulations in 2020.

Yours sincerely,

John Pullinger

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/questiondevelopment/2021censustopicresearchdecember2017

[2]https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160110072835/http:/www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/the-2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/question-and-content-recommendations-for-2011/final-recommended-questions-2011---language.pdf

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/consultations/the2021censusinitialviewoncontentforenglandandwales

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/census/censustransformationprogramme/consultations/the2021censusinitialviewoncontentforenglandandwales/topicreport11language.pdf

Asked on: 05 December 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Service Industries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the growth of the services sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 14 December 2018

On 28 November, Her Majesty’s Government published detailed economic analysis assessing the potential impact on trade flows and the UK economy of Brexit in the long run. This analysis does not model any short run disruption or immediate operational impacts.

The Government has taken steps to smooth the transition into our new relationship with the EU, including an implementation period. This provides certainty for businesses and citizens, facilitating the transition to the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Treasury
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the impact of stamp duty on (1) housing mobility, and (2) the frequency of housing transactions; and whether they consider any useful lessons can be drawn from the experience of the Republic of Ireland in reducing stamp duty.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Treasury
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether VAT is payable on the onsite staff labour element of residential property service charges for properties managed by (1) resident self-management organisations, and (2) independent property services management companies.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Treasury
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the estimated receipts to HM Treasury for 2018–19 from VAT charged on the onsite staff labour element of residential property service charges.
Q
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £50 million they committed to the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre project has been spent so far; and how much has been raised for this project and connected purposes from other sources.
Q
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of (1) building, and (2) running the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre; and how these costs will be met.
Q
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will maintain current levels of grant-in-aid to the Imperial War Museum Holocaust Exhibition after the construction of the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 25 September (HL10355), what assessment they have made of the extent to which local authorities are using their powers under section 45(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to charge those who offer short-term holiday lets for additional waste collection.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 25 September (HL10355), what discussions they have had with local authorities about whether the powers under section 45(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 are appropriate to address problems of additional waste being generated by properties being offered as short-term holiday lets.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to negotiate a reduction of the cost of liothyronine (T3) for use in primary care.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation UK Poverty 2018, published on 4 December.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Home Office
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many social homes they estimate were sold by housing associations during the last financial year.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Standard & Poor’s indication that it will downgrade half the housing associations it rates if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the briefing paper by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and Localis Decline and fall: understanding how and why local government fails, what leads to central Government intervention, and what comes after, published on 10 December.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to review the effectiveness of the Northern Powerhouse strategy following the resignation of the mayor of Liverpool from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to Kent County Council’s preparations for a no deal Brexit.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, whether they are considering an alternative to business rates.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many families left homeless after the Grenfell Tower fire are still not in permanent accommodation.
Asked on: 14 December 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between the delivery of statutory services by local authorities and the financial sustainability of local authorities.
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