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.

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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.
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Asked on: 02 June 2020
Attorney General
Lords
Her Majesty's Government when the Attorney General expects to give a definitive response to the request made three years ago by the Charity Commission in respect of the governance of the Albert Hall.
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional powers, if any, have been granted to the police and other bodies in relation to the use of drone surveillance technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones. The Police have not been granted any additional powers to use drones during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Health Protection Regulations 2020 give police the powers they need to enforce compliance with the social distancing measures and all use of police powers must be legitimate, necessary and proportionate.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016, to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes do not grant extra powers to police. They relax restrictions in place for operating drones for the specific case of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. Mitigation for use of the exemption needs to be written into the Operations Manuals of drone teams and use needs to be reported to the CAA on renewal of the permission.

The Home Office does not hold any information on the use of drones by other public bodies in relation to Covid-19.

The Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code govern police use of surveillance cameras.

Grouped Questions: HL3960 | HL3961 | HL3962 | HL3963
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which (1) public bodies, and (2) private companies assisting public bodies, are using drone surveillance technology in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones. The Police have not been granted any additional powers to use drones during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Health Protection Regulations 2020 give police the powers they need to enforce compliance with the social distancing measures and all use of police powers must be legitimate, necessary and proportionate.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016, to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes do not grant extra powers to police. They relax restrictions in place for operating drones for the specific case of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. Mitigation for use of the exemption needs to be written into the Operations Manuals of drone teams and use needs to be reported to the CAA on renewal of the permission.

The Home Office does not hold any information on the use of drones by other public bodies in relation to Covid-19.

The Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code govern police use of surveillance cameras.

Grouped Questions: HL3959 | HL3961 | HL3962 | HL3963
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have produced in relation to the use of drone surveillance technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones. The Police have not been granted any additional powers to use drones during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Health Protection Regulations 2020 give police the powers they need to enforce compliance with the social distancing measures and all use of police powers must be legitimate, necessary and proportionate.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016, to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes do not grant extra powers to police. They relax restrictions in place for operating drones for the specific case of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. Mitigation for use of the exemption needs to be written into the Operations Manuals of drone teams and use needs to be reported to the CAA on renewal of the permission.

The Home Office does not hold any information on the use of drones by other public bodies in relation to Covid-19.

The Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code govern police use of surveillance cameras.

Grouped Questions: HL3959 | HL3960 | HL3962 | HL3963
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the use of drone surveillance technology during the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary and proportionate.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones. The Police have not been granted any additional powers to use drones during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Health Protection Regulations 2020 give police the powers they need to enforce compliance with the social distancing measures and all use of police powers must be legitimate, necessary and proportionate.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016, to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes do not grant extra powers to police. They relax restrictions in place for operating drones for the specific case of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. Mitigation for use of the exemption needs to be written into the Operations Manuals of drone teams and use needs to be reported to the CAA on renewal of the permission.

The Home Office does not hold any information on the use of drones by other public bodies in relation to Covid-19.

The Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code govern police use of surveillance cameras.

Grouped Questions: HL3959 | HL3960 | HL3961 | HL3963
Asked on: 05 May 2020
Home Office
Unmanned Air Vehicles: Surveillance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance has been issued on the collection, use and storage of data collected by drone surveillance technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 22 May 2020

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones. The Police have not been granted any additional powers to use drones during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Health Protection Regulations 2020 give police the powers they need to enforce compliance with the social distancing measures and all use of police powers must be legitimate, necessary and proportionate.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements contained in the Air Navigation Order 2016, to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes do not grant extra powers to police. They relax restrictions in place for operating drones for the specific case of enforcing Covid-19 restrictions. Mitigation for use of the exemption needs to be written into the Operations Manuals of drone teams and use needs to be reported to the CAA on renewal of the permission.

The Home Office does not hold any information on the use of drones by other public bodies in relation to Covid-19.

The Data Protection Act and the Surveillance Camera Code govern police use of surveillance cameras.

Grouped Questions: HL3959 | HL3960 | HL3961 | HL3962
Asked on: 16 March 2020
Treasury
Insurance: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss with the insurance industry the implications of COVID-19 for firms which have taken out pandemic insurance.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 26 March 2020

The Chancellor has made clear that, for those businesses which have an appropriate policy that covers pandemics, government’s medical advice of 16 March is sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met.

In addition, the FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

However, most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers pandemic related losses. As such, any affected businesses should note the government’s full package of support.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation.

Grouped Questions: HL2638
Asked on: 13 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Accountancy: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reform the regulation of the accounting profession.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 27 February 2020

The Government is committed to acting on the findings of the three independent reviews of audit: the FRC review, the CMA review and the Brydon review, covering respectively the regulator, the market and the audit product itself. We will set out comprehensive proposals for audit reform in the Spring and will then bring forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Asked on: 13 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Qassem Soleimani
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 January (HL142), when they were first notified that the government of the United States had made a decision to use lethal force against General Soleimani.
A
Answered on: 27 February 2020

I refer the noble Lord to the answer of 21 January 2019, PQ HL142:

We became aware of the operation as it happened. We do not comment on our allies' operational decisions.

Asked on: 13 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Rules of Engagement
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Goldie on 16 January (HL Deb, col 861), on how many occasions UK personnel embedded in partner forces have been asked to engage in "unagreed operations" in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, and (3) 2018.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The Department does not hold these details centrally and they could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The parameters of an embeds duties are agreed before deployment. Should the host nation wish to change these after deployment the embed will seek further clearance from the MOD. As such, there are no 'unagreed operations' undertaken by UK Armed Forces embedded in our allies' Armed Forces. The reply given during the debate of 16 January was to assure the noble Lords that checks and balances are in place to protect our personnel and to ensure that they remain compliant with UK law and any policy restrictions we may place upon them.

Grouped Questions: HL1646
Asked on: 13 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Rules of Engagement
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Goldie on 16 January (HL Deb, col 861), on how many occasions UK personnel embedded in partner forces were given permission for "unagreed operations" in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, and (3) 2018.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 26 February 2020

The Department does not hold these details centrally and they could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The parameters of an embeds duties are agreed before deployment. Should the host nation wish to change these after deployment the embed will seek further clearance from the MOD. As such, there are no 'unagreed operations' undertaken by UK Armed Forces embedded in our allies' Armed Forces. The reply given during the debate of 16 January was to assure the noble Lords that checks and balances are in place to protect our personnel and to ensure that they remain compliant with UK law and any policy restrictions we may place upon them.

Grouped Questions: HL1645
Asked on: 13 February 2020
Ministry of Defence
Abdul Reza Shahlai
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Ministry of Defence was informed of the operation to target Abdul Reza Shahlai in Yemen on 3 January before the failed strike took place; and if so, whether it provided any material support to that action.
A
Answered by: Baroness Goldie
Answered on: 26 February 2020

We do not comment on our allies' operational decisions.

Asked on: 13 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Qassem Soleimani
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 7 January (HL Deb, col 258) and the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 21 January (HL523), whether the military operation on 3 January which killed General Soleimani met the test of imminence for the purposes of self-defence in international law.
A
Answered on: 26 February 2020

Article 51 of the UN Charter recognises that all States have an inherent right of self-defence. The strike against Soleimani was not a UK operation. It is for the United States to say how the criteria for self-defence are met, and you will be aware that the United States set out the basis for its action in a letter to the UN Security Council dated 8 January 2020.

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