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 Grocott
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 17 July (HL16983), what are the job descriptions of each Trade Envoy; whether any assessment has been made of their effectiveness in relation to the terms of their appointment; and whether those envoys are accountable to (1) the Prime Minister, (2) the Secretary of State for International Trade, (3) the Foreign Secretary, or (4) another Cabinet minister.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 August 2019

The Terms of Appointment for the Programme provide the framework to which Trade Envoys work to. They outline Trade Envoys’ roles and responsibilities when undertaking Trade Envoy duties, as well as outlining the Department for International Trade commitment to them. Under the Terms of Appointment, they are appointed for the term of a parliament, after which the sitting Prime Minister will decide whether to keep the current cadre in their role.

Trade Envoys regularly help UK business secure export successes, by either lobbying on their behalf, or helping to create the environment for them to succeed.

Trade Envoys are appointed by the Prime Minister and are ultimately accountable to the Prime Minister, though they regularly report specific issues to other Ministers as necessary.

Q
Asked by Lord Grocott
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Trade Promotion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 17 July (HL16983), whether the Trade Envoys are answerable to Parliament either (1) directly, (2) via a minister, or (3) not at all.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 August 2019

Trade Envoys comprised of parliamentarians drawn from both Houses are answerable to Parliament via direct line of report to my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade who is accountable for the programme.

Although the Trade Envoy role is not a ministerial appointment and does not carry formal policy responsibility the Trade Envoys are under the same obligation as Ministers to adhere to the relevant departmental restrictions, guidelines and confidentiality clauses.

Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish their Regional Trade Plans.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 16 August 2019

Regional Trade Plans (RTPs), set out an overseas region’s overarching strategy, key objectives and priorities, which will drive the delivery of Her Majesty’s Government’s trade objectives overseas. Currently, the RTPs are internal documents, but the Department for International Trade intends to publish executive summaries of the RTPs in due course.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Philippines: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the Philippines about (1) President Duterte’s treatment of his political opponents, including Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Congressmen Antonio Tinio and Ariel Casilao, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Senator Leila de Lima, (2) upholding human rights and media freedom, (3) plans to reintroduce the death penalty, and (4) plans to amend the constitution to move towards a more federal government structure.
A
Answered on: 13 August 2019

The British Government regularly raises concerns about a range of troubling human rights issues in the Philippines with the Government, including the treatment of human rights defenders, the deteriorating space for political debate, reintroduction of the death penalty and media freedom.

The UK co-sponsored an Icelandic resolution on the human rights situation in the Philippines at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in July which highlighted these concerns. The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Philippines raised our human rights concerns with Cabinet Secretaries in February 2019. We also discussed human rights with Philippines Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Manalo during the UK-Philippines High Level Talks in Manila in November 2018.

The British Government hosted a global conference on Media Freedom on 10-11 July. The prominent Philippine human rights defender and journalist, Maria Ressa, was one of the key speakers.

The British Embassy in Manila is closely following the cases of sedition filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in July against 36 opposition figures, including Maria Lourdes Sereno, Vice President Leni Robredo, Congressmen Antonio Tinio and Ariel Casilao, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Senator Leila de Lima.

We are following discussions around federalism in the Philippines. Our Embassy in Manila has held discussions with the Philippine Government covering proposed timelines for implementation and format, as well as offering reflections on the UK model of devolution.

Q
Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what controls and penalties are in place to ensure that providers of medical assessors for social security benefits maintain high standards of accuracy and integrity; and on how many occasions any such controls or penalties have been used since June 2018.
A
Answered by: Baroness Stedman-Scott
Answered on: 12 August 2019

The department is committed to ensuring claimants receive high quality assessments. We set our assessment providers challenging targets and monitor performance closely against a range of measures including through independent audit to improve accuracy and decision making. Contractual remedies are in place if assessment providers fail to deliver against the service standards.

Contractual remedies for underperformance against a range of service levels are recovered through service credit mechanisms and through deductions of payments (a ‘No Pay’ mechanism). The extent of underperformance and application of related mechanisms varies significantly and the regularity of such remedies should not be seen as a measure of overall performance.

In relation to the HDAS contract covering Work Capability Assessments, service credits (the contractual remedy for SC1 – Quality) have been applied in 12 out of the 14 months from June 2018 to July 2019 (the date of the most recent statistical information available).

In relation to the Personal Independence Payment contracts, “No Pay” (the contractual remedy for SC1 – Quality) has been applied in one or more Lots in each month from June 18 to June 19 (the date of the most recent statistical information available).

Below is the breakdown of the totals by Lot:

Lot 1 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 8 of those months

Lot 2 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 5 of those months

Lot 3 – No pay was applied to SC1 in 11 of those months.

Q
Asked by Lord Haworth
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands: Marine Protected Areas
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the consultation process about extending marine protection measures around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands has been completed; what additional measures for its Marine Protected Area are envisaged; and when they are expected to be implemented.
A
Answered on: 09 August 2019

​The South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands sustainable-use Marine Protected Area (MPA) underwent its first 5-yearly review during 2018. The MPA review panel published its report on 7 November, concluding that the current MPA is achieving its objectives, whilst also making a series of recommendations to further strengthen protection of the Territory's waters. The Commissioner for South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands announced, on 12 December, a suite of environmental enhancements to the MPA. These include extending the MPA across the entire maritime area; protecting 23 per cent of the MPA to all commercial fishing activities; and prohibiting mining, hydrocarbon extraction and carriage of heavy fuel oil. The majority of these measures have put in place; the remaining measures are in the process of being implemented by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Asked on: 25 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
International Religious Freedom Alliance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the International Religious Freedom Alliance launched by the United States Secretary of State on 18 July; and what consideration they have given to joining that Alliance.
A
Answered on: 09 August 2019

​The United States State Department are yet to share details with us on the proposed International Religious Freedom Alliance. When we receive more information, we will consider our approach.

Q
Asked on: 22 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Tourism: Expenditure
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the total amount spent on tourism by local authorities in each region of England in 2016–17; and whether they will provide a breakdown of any such estimate by local authority area.
Answered on: 08 August 2019

Providing the complete information requested would exceed the word limit for written parliamentary questions. The information has been provided as attachments.

Local authority revenue expenditure on tourism for 2016-17 was reported in Revenue Outturn 5 (RO5), 2016-17. See 'RO5' data table here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2016-to-2017-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Local authority capital expenditure on tourism for 2016-17 was reported in Capital Outturn Return 1 (COR1), 2016-17. See 'COR1' data table here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-capital-expenditure-and-financing-in-england-2016-to-2017-individual-local-authority-data

Capital outturn return (COR1) 2016 to 2017 (Excel SpreadSheet, 1.35 MB)
Revenue outturn (RO5) 2016 to 2017 (Excel SpreadSheet, 1.01 MB)
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Home Office
Madeleine McCann
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 26 June (HL16299) concerning Operation Grange, whether they will publish the details of the Metropolitan Police Service's request for further funding until the end of March 2020 and place a copy in the Library of the House; and when a decision on that request is likely to be made.
Answered on: 08 August 2019

Special grant decisions are published after the end of the financial year. All special grant decisions can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-funding-special-grant-applications
The Metropolitan Police Service’s application for Special Grant funding for Operation Grange in 2019/20 will therefore be published in 2020.

Special Grant Applications - 2017-18 (Excel SpreadSheet, 11.44 KB)
Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Home Office
Immigrants: Domestic Abuse
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place to protect non-EU nationals resident in the UK who are victims of domestic abuse, and in particular to ensure access to homelessness support, refuge and benefits.
Answered on: 08 August 2019

This Government is committed to tackling domestic abuse against all women, regardless of their background or nationality. On 16 July this Government introduced the Domestic Abuse Bill which aims to improve protection and support for all victims irrespective of their immigration status.

Non-British victims residing in the UK are able to apply for support from authorities, many of whom will have statutory obligations to support victims. For individuals in the UK who are married, or partners of, British or settled sponsors and who claim to be victims of abuse, there is the option of applying for immediate crisis support under the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC).

In addition, funding has been made available to support a range of support networks. In March £1,090,000 was made available specifically to be used to provide safe accommodation, and other support functions.

We are not complacent about our responses to domestic abuse. We strive to see what more can be done and we have committed to reviewing the support available to migrant victims of domestic abuse. The review will be launched over the summer and we aim to report progress of the review during the passage of the Bill.

Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Home Office
Immigration: EU Nationals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the guidance issued by the Home Office to local authorities and Health and Social Care Trusts on 2 April EU Settlement Scheme—Looked After Children and Care Leavers' is mandatory.
Answered on: 08 August 2019

The guidance pack issued to local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and to Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland on 3 April is not statutory guidance. The pack puts together in one place, information readily available on gov.uk to provide a useful tool for front line local authority and HSCT staff tasked with supporting looked after children and care leavers. The Children Act 1989 provides the legal framework for local authorities to promote the child’s welfare and best interests, setting out statutory duties in relation to looked after children in England, with respective authorities for the devolved administrations. Statutory guidance is provided by Department for Education in relation to this. This statutory duty to promote best interests, coupled with funding provided to local authorities under a new burdens as-sessment should ensure that this important work will be done.

The Home Office engaged with the Department for Education, the Association of Directors Childrens Services and other Local Authority stakeholders across the UK in advance of publishing the guidance. The Home Office also conducted a private trial phase of testing where five local authorities were asked for detailed information on the children in their care eligible to apply to the EUSS, including what ID evidence they had access to and family situations in order to ascertain difficulties in obtaining identity documents.

The participating local authorities, along with the seven other community organisations participating in the trial phase provided detailed feedback on challenges they encountered during the test phase, which was considered before drafting the guidance.

The Home Office is committed to continuing to engage with local authorities as they undertake their responsibilities to ensure that all eligible looked after children and care leavers are supported to make an application to the EUSS. The Home Office will ensure that caseworkers liaise with and support applicants to get the status they require.

We consulted with the Department for Education in advance of publishing the guidance to ensure adequate consideration was given to other categories of looked after children, where the local authority does not hold full PR, under section 20 of the Children Act 1989. It has been confirmed that in those cases there is a duty on the local authority to raise awareness of the EU Set-tlement Scheme to those with PR for those eligible child(ren) and to provide practical support where needed, or signpost to relevant community support where deemed more appropriate to do so.

Grouped Questions: HL17517
Q
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Home Office
Immigration: EU Nationals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation was undertaken in advance of publishing the guidance to local authorities and Health and Social Care Trusts on 2 April EU Settlement Scheme—Looked After Children and Care Leavers; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that guidance on children accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and their ability to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Answered on: 08 August 2019

The guidance pack issued to local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland and to Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland on 3 April is not statutory guidance. The pack puts together in one place, information readily available on gov.uk to provide a useful tool for front line local authority and HSCT staff tasked with supporting looked after children and care leavers. The Children Act 1989 provides the legal framework for local authorities to promote the child’s welfare and best interests, setting out statutory duties in relation to looked after children in England, with respective authorities for the devolved administrations. Statutory guidance is provided by Department for Education in relation to this. This statutory duty to promote best interests, coupled with funding provided to local authorities under a new burdens as-sessment should ensure that this important work will be done.

The Home Office engaged with the Department for Education, the Association of Directors Childrens Services and other Local Authority stakeholders across the UK in advance of publishing the guidance. The Home Office also conducted a private trial phase of testing where five local authorities were asked for detailed information on the children in their care eligible to apply to the EUSS, including what ID evidence they had access to and family situations in order to ascertain difficulties in obtaining identity documents.

The participating local authorities, along with the seven other community organisations participating in the trial phase provided detailed feedback on challenges they encountered during the test phase, which was considered before drafting the guidance.

The Home Office is committed to continuing to engage with local authorities as they undertake their responsibilities to ensure that all eligible looked after children and care leavers are supported to make an application to the EUSS. The Home Office will ensure that caseworkers liaise with and support applicants to get the status they require.

We consulted with the Department for Education in advance of publishing the guidance to ensure adequate consideration was given to other categories of looked after children, where the local authority does not hold full PR, under section 20 of the Children Act 1989. It has been confirmed that in those cases there is a duty on the local authority to raise awareness of the EU Set-tlement Scheme to those with PR for those eligible child(ren) and to provide practical support where needed, or signpost to relevant community support where deemed more appropriate to do so.

Grouped Questions: HL17516
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Squirrels
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the size of the red squirrel population in England.
A
Answered on: 08 August 2019

There is insufficient data to give an accurate figure however the recent Review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals (2018), a report by The Mammal Society under contract to Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage, estimated the red squirrel population in England to be in the region of 39,000.

Q
Asked by Lord Trees
Asked on: 25 July 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Wild Boar
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to monitor the numbers and distribution of feral boar in the UK; and what steps are being taken to control their numbers.
A
Answered on: 08 August 2019

Wildlife management in the UK is a devolved issue.

In England, the majority of feral wild boar are thought to reside within the Forest of Dean. This public forest estate is managed by the Forestry Commission which undertakes an annual population survey of the feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean public estate, the results of which are on their website.

Forestry England rangers cull feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean public estate to stop the growth of the population.

On other land, feral wild boar population management is the responsibility of the landowner. The Government can support landowners by providing advice.

Asked on: 15 July 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Oil
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether EU restrictions on dealings with the Baniyas refinery apply (1) specifically, and (2) by implication, to a third non-EU party supplying it with oil.
A
Answered on: 07 August 2019

The Baniyas Refinery Company has been designated by the EU since 23 July 2014. The reasons for its designation include that "it provides financial support to the Syrian regime". Article 14(2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 provides that no funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of designated persons. All persons who are within or undertake activities within EU territory, including the territorial waters of EU Member States, must comply with EU financial sanctions that are in force.

Q
Asked on: 18 July 2019
Department for Transport
High Speed 2 Railway Line: Broadband
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by  Baroness Sugg on 18 July 2018 (HL9238), what steps they are taking to ensure that towns, villages and hamlets affected by the HS2 railway line can access the optical fibre network being installed along the HS2 line of route.
A
Answered on: 07 August 2019

HS2 Ltd is planning to install a trackside optical fibre network along the Phase One HS2 line to provide digital connectivity for its passengers. As part of work to design this network, HS2 Ltd is working with the Department for Transport and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to consider options for offering capacity to third parties, in order to share the benefit of HS2’s investment in optical fibre with local communities.

Separately from HS2, the Prime Minister has recently set out ambitions for accelerating the roll-out of gigabit capable broadband across the UK.

Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) action they take, and (2) sanctions are available, to ensure that local authorities meet their responsibility for the public inspection of financial records under section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Answered on: 07 August 2019

We expect all local authorities to fulfil their legal duties for the public inspection of financial records under Section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Responsibility for compliance with statutory duties sits with councils.

Q
Asked by Lord Grocott
Asked on: 23 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Mayors: Cost Effectiveness
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 18 July (HL16984), whether they will now answer the question put, namely what assessment they have made of the comparative costs of directly elected mayoral systems and traditional systems of local government administration.
Answered on: 07 August 2019

It is for local areas to decide what governance arrangements would be of most benefit and value to their local communities. The costs of such arrangements are critically dependent on local decisions on how the arrangements are operated, including decisions about member allowances and the number and frequency of meetings. Accordingly, as indicated in answer to the Noble Lord's question of 8 July (HL 16984), assessment undertaken by Government has focused on what different models can deliver, and concludes that the mayoral model provides a single point of accountability that allows significant powers and budgets to be devolved to an area.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Leasehold: Reform
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 24 July (HL17129), whether they will now answer the question put, in particular in respect of the Duchy of Cornwall.
Answered on: 07 August 2019

The Government has previously responded that the Law Commission is currently reviewing the leasehold enfranchisement process, and will consider its recommendations when they report back in the next few months.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradley
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Accident and Emergency Departments: Greater Manchester
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the average annual waiting times for each accident and emergency department in Greater Manchester in each of the last five years.
Answered on: 07 August 2019

Data is not available in the format requested.

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