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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Asked on: 09 July 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Shareholders: Registration
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require beneficial share owners to be included on shareholder registers.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 17 July 2019

The Companies Act (2006) requires companies to keep a register of members and enter the details of members in this register. In the UK, a shareholder is defined as the member on the company’s register of members. In some cases, the shareholder is also the beneficial owner of the shares. The Government has no plans to require beneficial share owners to be included on shareholder registers.

Asked on: 21 May 2019
Attorney General
Royal Albert Hall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Keen of Elie on 18 February (HL13508), when the Attorney General expects to give a decision on the application by the Charity Commission to refer questions concerning the Royal Albert Hall to the Charity Tribunal.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 05 June 2019

Last year the Charity Commission wrote to the Attorney General requesting his consent to refer five questions to the First-Tier Tribunal concerning the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences – i.e. the Royal Albert Hall, which is a registered charity. While the Charity Commission has the power to refer questions to the Tribunal, it may only do so with the consent of the Attorney General, as set out in section 325 of the Charities Act 2011.

As set out in the Written Answer HL13508, this is a complex case and careful consideration is being given to the detailed representations made by the Corporation and the Commission. While it is not yet possible to provide an estimate as to when a final decision will be made, a preliminary response from officials is being drawn up setting out initial views and inviting further discussion between the parties. This will be sent to the Commission and the Corporation shortly.

Asked on: 24 April 2019
Cabinet Office
Intelligence Services: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's consultation on the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees to be published.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 30 April 2019

The Government understands that the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s proposals for how the Consolidated Guidance could be improved should be submitted shortly. The Government will respond to those proposals in due course.

Asked on: 02 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Yemen: Unmanned Air Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the UK's involvement in drone activities in the Yemen following the ruling of the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in the case of bin Ali Jaber vs Germany.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 16 April 2019

Any use of force by the UK complies fully with UK domestic and applicable international law.

We are aware of the ruling by the German Higher Administrative Court on 19 March 2019 that Germany has a responsibility for ensuring that United States (US) operations conducted from German territory accord with international law. The Court also held that a lower Court had correctly deemed the case inadmissible, on the grounds that it could not be proved that the plaintiff's father was killed by a US drone strike on the day in question in 2012. The Court also stated that it could not be proved that the German government had knowledge of the use of Ramstein for drone strikes in 2012.

Asked on: 15 March 2019
Home Office
British Nationality: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the recommendation of the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement that the book Life in the UK should be revised, and to the undertaking by them to do so, when that review will take place; and when they plan to publish the revised text.
Answered on: 29 March 2019

The Government has announced that it will review and revise the Life in the UK test and associated text to give much greater prominence to and in-formation on the shared values which we believe underpin society here in the UK. We are currently considering how this will be taken forward.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Treasury
Cash Dispensing: Disadvantaged
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they plan to take to ensure that the reduction in the availability of cash does not act to the detriment of the most disadvantaged in society.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 26 March 2019
The Government is committed to safeguarding access to cash for those who need it. We will continue to engage with the regulators and industry to ensure people continue to have real choice over how they spend their money, recognising that cash is particularly important to the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Government-established Payment Systems Regulator is closely monitoring developments within ATM provision. It has used its powers to hold LINK to account over LINK’s commitments to preserve the broad geographic spread of the ATM network.

Last year, Government conducted a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. This sought to gather evidence on how changing preferences for cash and digital payments impact on different sectors, regions and demographics. The Government welcomes the Access to Cash Review, which will help inform our ongoing work to ensure cash remains accessible.

The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Shares: Registration
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make UK share registers more transparent.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 26 March 2019

The Companies Act 2006 already requires companies to keep their register of members up to date. Companies whose shares are not traded must file the names of their members on the public companies register held at Companies House. Companies whose shares are traded must file the name and address of shareholders who hold 5% or more of any class of issued shares.

Asked on: 14 March 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
British Nationality: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to announce the results of the consultation on the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, in particular the review of the Life in the UK test, which closed on 5 June 2018.
Answered on: 26 March 2019

On 9 February, we published the Integrated Communities Action Plan alongside the government’s response to the consultation on our Integrated Communities Green Paper. The Action Plan contains a range of cross-government measures to support the government’s commitment to build strong integrated communities where people – whatever their background – live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.

The Government has committed in the Action Plan to revise the content of the Life in the UK test to give greater prominence to British values. We are currently considering how to take forward the process of consulting and seeking input into the Life in UK Test.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for International Development
World Bank: Public Appointments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to press for the publication of the names of candidates short listed for the post of President of the World Bank in advance of an appointment being made.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 25 March 2019

Nominations for President of the World Bank closed on 14 March and a single candidate was formally nominated: David Malpass, Under Secretary for International Affairs, US Treasury. This information was published in a press release from the World Bank on 14 March.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Charities: Regulation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to introduce the pending Law Commission Bill on charity regulation.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 25 March 2019

The Law Commission’s report, Technical Issues in Charity Law makes a number of recommendations for simplifying charity law.

The department is giving the report’s recommendations full consideration and will respond in due course.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
International Financial Reporting Standards Endorsement Board
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the members of the UK International Financial Reporting Standards Endorsement Board will be announced.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 25 March 2019

The UK Endorsement Board for international accounting standards is currently being established. It will consist of between 11 and 13 Board members plus the Chair. The Chair will be appointed by my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State, following the public appointments process, while the remaining Board members will be appointed by the Chair from a short list provided by the FRC Nominations Committee. The Committee will be required to follow the recommendations on diversity made in the Independent Review of the FRC and the Secretary of State will retain a veto over any of the appointments. All posts will follow an open and transparent recruitment process.

Preliminary work for appointing the Chair and Board members has begun. We expect a Chair to be in place by the end of 2019, with an announcement shortly before. The remaining Board members are expected to be announced in early 2020.

Asked on: 07 March 2019
Home Office
British Nationality: Assessments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the undertaking in their response to the report of the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement (Cm9629), published on 28 June 2018, that they would respond further on the Committee's recommendations to review the Life in the UK Test, when that further response can be expected.
Answered on: 21 March 2019

The Government has announced that it will review and revise the Life in the UK test and associated text to give much greater prominence to and information on the shared values which we believe underpin society here in the UK. We are currently considering how this will be taken forward.

Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Education
Citizenship: Teachers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 23 January (HL12924), how many bursaries were provided to those who began training as citizenship teachers in 2018–19.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 15 March 2019

The department has provided no bursaries for citizenship trainees in the academic year 2018-19.

Asked on: 06 March 2019
Cabinet Office
Citizenship
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their response to the report of the Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement (Cm9629), published on 28 June 2018 and the Written Answer by Lord Young of Cookham on 30 January (HL12923), whether they intend to appoint a single lead minister on all matters relating to citizenship and civic engagement; and if so, when.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 12 March 2019

I refer the Noble Lord to my previous answer for written question HL12923.

Asked on: 19 February 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Charities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Charity Commission is required to make public the advice and guidance it gives to charities where it has determined that the charity has been in breach of (1) charitable, and (2) Charity Commission guidance.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 04 March 2019

The Charity Commission has published policies setting out when it will publish an inquiry or operational case report. The Charity Commission has discretion about what to include in these reports. It is not practical to publish details each time the Charity Commission opens compliance cases, statutory inquiries or uses its powers, including issuing advice or guidance.

The Charity Commission reports on its work broadly and on a thematic basis, including an annual report on its work dealing with wrongdoing and harm. These reports explain the commission’s approach to investigations and compliance case work. They give details of the volume and nature of cases dealt with in a given year and include case study examples.

All of the Charity Commission’s general advice for trustees, to give them the tools and understanding they need to succeed, is published and available on gov.uk.

Asked on: 19 February 2019
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Charities
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of whether the Charity Commission can use the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to refuse to disclose to a complainant the regulatory advice given to a charity under section 15 of the Charities Act 2011, following investigation of that complaint.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 04 March 2019

As with all public authorities, the Charity Commission works in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and releases requested information unless there is good reason not to.

The Charity Commission responds to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on a case-by-case basis. It can refuse to disclose information if, for example, under Section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, it would be prejudicial to the Charity Commission’s functions and not in the public interest to disclose.

An internal review procedure is available in cases where the Charity Commission has refused to disclose information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If the individual requesting the information remains dissatisfied with the Charity Commission’s final decision they can make a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

Asked on: 06 February 2019
Attorney General
Royal Albert Hall
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate that the Attorney General will give his definitive ruling on the points of law arising from the case of the Royal Albert Hall and the Charity Commission.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 18 February 2019

Last year the Charity Commission wrote to the Attorney General requesting his consent to refer five questions to the First-Tier Tribunal concerning the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences – i.e. the Royal Albert Hall, which is a registered charity. While the Charity Commission has the power to refer questions to the Tribunal, it may only do so with the consent of the Attorney General, as set out in section 325 of the Charities Act 2011.

This is a complex case involving the application of modern day charity law to an organisation established over 150 years ago. Before making an assessment as to whether consent should be given to the Commission’s request, both the Corporation and the Commission were invited to make further representations to the Attorney General’s Office. It is important that these are considered carefully, taking into account all relevant factors. While it is not possible to provide an exact estimate as to when a decision will be made, the matter is being given careful thought with a view to reaching a decision as soon as possible.

Asked on: 06 February 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
English Language: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, published in March 2018, when they expect to announce the results of the consultation on methods of improving English language skills.
Answered on: 18 February 2019

On 9 February we published the Government Response to the Integrated Communities Green Paper and an accompanying Action Plan. The new Integrated Communities Action Plan will drive forward work across government to create socially and economically stronger, more confident and integrated communities. In the Action Plan we commit to a new Cross-Government National English Language Strategy for Autumn 2019. We will engage widely with the sector to help shape its content.

Asked on: 23 January 2019
Ministry of Justice
Government Bills
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to introduce further Law Commission bills; and if so, when.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 06 February 2019

The Government values and supports the important work the Law Commission undertake to improve the statute book. The introduction of new Bills will be announced in the usual manner.

Asked on: 17 January 2019
Department for Education
Citizenship: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce a specialist leader of education category for the teaching of citizenship; and if so, when.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 31 January 2019

Following the government’s commitment, set out in our response to the Lords Select Committee report ‘The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century’, the introduction of specialist leaders of education in citizenship was announced earlier this month.

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