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 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

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.
Showing 1-13 out of 13
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 30 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Legal Aid Scheme: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about the impact of COVID-19 on the (1) livelihoods, (2) retention, and (3) recruitment of lawyers who are dependent on the legal aid scheme; and what action they intend to take as a result of any such representations.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 15 May 2020

The measures introduced by HM Treasury have provided some support to the profession. We are working closely with legal practitioners and other providers of legal support across the justice system at official and Ministerial level, to understand their concerns and the immediate and longer-term support needs to keep the justice system running during the crisis and beyond.

The Legal Aid Agency, which administers legal aid on behalf of the Lord Chancellor, has taken steps designed to help support legal aid provision during this period including making money available to draw down as interim payments and halting debt collection.

On 1 May, new hardship payment rules came into force for criminal practitioners allowing them to claim 1 month after they were first instructed instead of 6 months and to lower the threshold for work done on the case from £5,000 to £450. We estimate up to 20,000 cases under the LGFS (Crown Court litigators’ fee scheme) and 27,000 cases under the AGFS (Crown Court advocacy fee scheme) could be eligible under the new provisions, increasing the amount of funding brought forward (when combined with the interim payments already available) from £45m to £140m.

We also recognise the impact of covid-19 on third sector advice organisations. This is why the Government announced that it is allocating £5.4 million in funding to specialist legal advice not for profit organisations, including Law Centres, in addition to the funding that the National Lottery Communities Fund is administering.

We will continue to work with practitioners to support a strong legal services sector, which includes consideration of recruitment and retention within the professions with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the most vulnerable in society are provided with the representation and support they need.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 30 April 2020
Ministry of Justice
Administration of Justice: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on the administration of justice, and in particular on (1) victim services, (2) litigants in person, and (3) defendants.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 14 May 2020

HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. Our priorities are to maintain access to justice and to protect the safety of all who work in the courts and tribunals.

We are continuously reviewing our approach in light of PHE advice and to understand impacts on our all our users, particularly those who are vulnerable.

(1) Victim services

We are committed to ensuring victims continue to receive the support they need during this challenging time, and have robust and flexible plans in place to ensure that we can continue to deliver key services across the justice system, including the support of victims.

We have been working across government and with justice partner agencies to ensure that there will be comprehensive support for victims and witnesses across England and Wales.

(2) Litigants in person

The recently agreed Legal Support for Litigants in Person Grant will invest £3.1m over two years to enhance support for litigants in person. We are working closely with delivery partners in the advice sector to ensure the department’s grant funding to litigants in person support services remains responsive to the needs of those self-representing in the justice system, including the impacts of COVID-19. This new funding is in addition to the approximately £8m invested through the Litigants in Person Support Strategy (LIPSS) since 2014/15.

(3) Defendants

We are working very closely with the judiciary to prioritise caseload and case types, and continually reviewing procedures to support access to justice during the emergency period, particularly for the most time-critical and sensitive cases. In the Crown and magistrates’ courts, bail applications and cases where the defendant is in custody awaiting sentence have been prioritised.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 22 April 2020
Department for International Development
East Africa: Locusts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional assistance they intend to provide to those countries in East Africa affected by COVID-19 to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the increase in locusts currently swarming in that region.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 04 May 2020

We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of COVID-19 and the locust outbreak in East Africa. Millions of people already face food insecurity in the region caused by humanitarian disasters and conflict. These outbreaks will exacerbate these challenges.

We are using UK aid to mitigate new health, humanitarian and economic risks across Africa and have pledged £744 million of UK aid globally to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK is also supporting the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Regional Emergency Appeal for the locust outbreak and has contributed £7 million for the spraying of pesticides on the ground and by air. We will continue taking proactive action, including adapting our existing programmes to meet urgent needs.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 11 March 2020
Department for Education
Public Appointments: Ethnic Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many publicly appointed members of public bodies regulating (1) social work, and (2) education, identify as BAME; and what is the recorded ethnicity of each of those members, disagregated by public body.
A
Answered by: Baroness Berridge
Answered on: 31 March 2020

The Department for Education has 136 publicly appointed members of public bodies, 17 of whom identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME). Social Work England has seven public appointees. Due to the low number of appointees, and the risk of potential identification of individuals within this group, we are not able to confirm the number of declared BAME appointees within Social Work England. Ethnicity is based on voluntary declaration. In order to protect personal information, the Department is unable to provide this data disaggregated by public body as, within each body, the number relates to fewer than 10 individuals.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 26 February 2020
Department for International Development
East Africa: Locusts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to assist the Food and Agricultural Organisation's support to the areas in East Africa affected by locust swarms and breeding, in particular, assistance with early warning forecasts and alerts on the timings, scale and location of such swarm invasions and breeding.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 March 2020

We are deeply concerned about the devastating locust outbreak in East Africa. It is destroying crops, livelihoods and essential food supplies. Millions of people already face food insecurity in the region and this outbreak will exacerbate this challenge. A supercomputer funded by UK aid is helping countries in East Africa to tackle devastating locust outbreaks by tracking the insects’ movements around the continent. The computer based in Kenya uses data to predict where the locusts will move to and develop early warning systems so communities can prepare.

The UK has provided £5 million to support the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Emergency Appeal for the locust outbreak. UK aid is also helping to tackle this outbreak though the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, which has released £7.5 million. Our support is having an immediate impact. With UK aid backed funding, the FAO is spraying pesticides on the ground and by air to prevent further damage to crops and protect livelihoods. The Desert Locust Information System continues surveillance and provision of early warning information for affected countries. We believe that quick action now provides the best chance of halting the spread of locusts before the next breeding cycle when staple crops are in the field between March and July.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to help further. DFID’s existing humanitarian and development programming in the region is working to address current food insecurity and poverty challenges and is ready to flex to respond to this crisis. As rising temperatures due to climate change make such events across Africa more likely, we are also helping communities adapt longer term to climate shocks.

Grouped Questions: HL1915 | HL1916
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 26 February 2020
Department for International Development
East Africa: Locusts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any requests for assistance to support aerial spraying and other control activities to counter the locust swarms affecting East Africa from the affected nations; and how they have responded to any such requests.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 March 2020

We are deeply concerned about the devastating locust outbreak in East Africa. It is destroying crops, livelihoods and essential food supplies. Millions of people already face food insecurity in the region and this outbreak will exacerbate this challenge. A supercomputer funded by UK aid is helping countries in East Africa to tackle devastating locust outbreaks by tracking the insects’ movements around the continent. The computer based in Kenya uses data to predict where the locusts will move to and develop early warning systems so communities can prepare.

The UK has provided £5 million to support the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Emergency Appeal for the locust outbreak. UK aid is also helping to tackle this outbreak though the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, which has released £7.5 million. Our support is having an immediate impact. With UK aid backed funding, the FAO is spraying pesticides on the ground and by air to prevent further damage to crops and protect livelihoods. The Desert Locust Information System continues surveillance and provision of early warning information for affected countries. We believe that quick action now provides the best chance of halting the spread of locusts before the next breeding cycle when staple crops are in the field between March and July.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to help further. DFID’s existing humanitarian and development programming in the region is working to address current food insecurity and poverty challenges and is ready to flex to respond to this crisis. As rising temperatures due to climate change make such events across Africa more likely, we are also helping communities adapt longer term to climate shocks.

Grouped Questions: HL1914 | HL1916
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 26 February 2020
Department for International Development
East Africa: Locusts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the locust swarms in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia on (1) food security and agricultural livelihoods in the affected areas, and (2) their own programmes in (a) those countries, and (b) the region generally.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 10 March 2020

We are deeply concerned about the devastating locust outbreak in East Africa. It is destroying crops, livelihoods and essential food supplies. Millions of people already face food insecurity in the region and this outbreak will exacerbate this challenge. A supercomputer funded by UK aid is helping countries in East Africa to tackle devastating locust outbreaks by tracking the insects’ movements around the continent. The computer based in Kenya uses data to predict where the locusts will move to and develop early warning systems so communities can prepare.

The UK has provided £5 million to support the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Regional Emergency Appeal for the locust outbreak. UK aid is also helping to tackle this outbreak though the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, which has released £7.5 million. Our support is having an immediate impact. With UK aid backed funding, the FAO is spraying pesticides on the ground and by air to prevent further damage to crops and protect livelihoods. The Desert Locust Information System continues surveillance and provision of early warning information for affected countries. We believe that quick action now provides the best chance of halting the spread of locusts before the next breeding cycle when staple crops are in the field between March and July.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to help further. DFID’s existing humanitarian and development programming in the region is working to address current food insecurity and poverty challenges and is ready to flex to respond to this crisis. As rising temperatures due to climate change make such events across Africa more likely, we are also helping communities adapt longer term to climate shocks.

Grouped Questions: HL1914 | HL1915
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 25 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burundi: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they are taking to support the participation of civil society in the upcoming elections in Burundi.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 09 March 2020

The elections scheduled for May this year represent an important moment for the people of Burundi. We remain very concerned that the elections will not take place in a fair and peaceful environment and we therefore call on the government and international community to minimise the risk of violence and work towards an inclusive electoral process where all parties are free to participate peacefully. In coordination with key partners, the UK has raised our concerns with the Government of Burundi, in the UN Security Council and in other multilateral bodies, and has urged the international community to ensure that the focus remains on reducing the risk of violence in Burundi.

Grouped Questions: HL1851 | HL1852
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 25 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burundi: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the government of Burundi in ensuring that the upcoming elections in that country are free and fair.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 09 March 2020

The elections scheduled for May this year represent an important moment for the people of Burundi. We remain very concerned that the elections will not take place in a fair and peaceful environment and we therefore call on the government and international community to minimise the risk of violence and work towards an inclusive electoral process where all parties are free to participate peacefully. In coordination with key partners, the UK has raised our concerns with the Government of Burundi, in the UN Security Council and in other multilateral bodies, and has urged the international community to ensure that the focus remains on reducing the risk of violence in Burundi.

Grouped Questions: HL1850 | HL1852
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 25 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burundi: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they have taken to support the UN Special Envoy for Burundi in their efforts to ensure the equal treatment of all candidates in the upcoming elections in that country.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 09 March 2020

The elections scheduled for May this year represent an important moment for the people of Burundi. We remain very concerned that the elections will not take place in a fair and peaceful environment and we therefore call on the government and international community to minimise the risk of violence and work towards an inclusive electoral process where all parties are free to participate peacefully. In coordination with key partners, the UK has raised our concerns with the Government of Burundi, in the UN Security Council and in other multilateral bodies, and has urged the international community to ensure that the focus remains on reducing the risk of violence in Burundi.

Grouped Questions: HL1850 | HL1851
Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the degree of engagement of the (1) Commonwealth, and (2) UN, in (a) resolving the tensions in Cameroon between Anglophone and Francophone communities, and (b) alleviating the conditions of internally displaced persons and refugees fleeing that conflict.
A
Answered on: 21 February 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, which is affecting both Anglophone and Francophone communities. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

We continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Cameroon, and discuss in multilateral fora including the Commonwealth and the United Nations (UN). We welcome the joint visit to Cameroon in November 2019 by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of La Francophonie and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. The three leaders urged the Government of Cameroon to make every effort to restore security, justice and the conditions for the resumption of normal life in the regions affected by the crisis. The UK also welcomes the efforts of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in its ongoing work to monitor peace and security developments in the country, and engagement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who visited Cameroon in May 2019. We urge continued cooperation between the Government of Cameroon and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The UK continues to call for inclusive dialogue which addresses the root causes of the crisis. We have made a £2 million contribution to the UN response, supporting 34,000 people with essential supplies, such as mosquito nets, hygiene kits and nutrition support, and continue to call for unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and believes that the regional and wider international community has an integral role to play, including in responding to the growing humanitarian need.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Public Records: Commonwealth
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give access to documents held on Commonwealth nations and their independence movements to Commonwealth scholars unable to visit the National Archives without access to funding to meet current charges for copying and postage.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 18 February 2020

As a government department, The National Archives is obliged to charge for some of its public services, including research and record copying. These charges, agreed with HM Treasury, are set out in the Fees Regulations issued under the Public Records Act (1958) and are based on recovering the costs of providing these services. Digitised records on The National Archives’ website are always free to search but a charge of £3.50 per download generally applies to view the full transcription or download digital copies.


In line with its strategic vision of ‘Archives for Everyone’, The National Archives is engaged in a range of activities that aim to expand its audience and enhance access to its collections, both on site at its buildings at Kew and online. Recognising the particular interest in Commonwealth nations in a range of the public records in its collection, The National Archives is in ongoing and active dialogue with its peer institutions in Commonwealth nations, particularly through its membership of the International Council on Archives (ICA) and its leadership of the ICA’s Forum of National Archivists.

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress in Cameroon in enhancing the security and human rights of Anglophone and Francophone communities in that country.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, which is affecting both Anglophone and Francophone communities. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns on human rights at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, at the United Nations (UN), and with international partners. The Government of Cameroon convened a National Dialogue in October 2019, and legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions was passed in December. These are welcome initial steps forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The UK has shared experiences on conflict resolution with the Government of Cameroon and remains ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-13 out of 13
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100