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 on: 28 March 2018
Home Office
Freezing of Assets
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what their freeze and seize programme consists of; when it will be implemented; how; and which Government department will lead on delivery of that programme.
Answered on: 16 April 2018

The Government is committed to ensuring that enforcement agencies have the necessary tools available to effectively seize and freeze the financial assets of criminals and terrorists.

To this end the Government brought in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) which amended the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). The CFA provided for the freezing and forfeiture (including administrative forfeiture, without the need for a court order) of terrorist property held in bank accounts, and introduced unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) which allow the seizure/freezing and forfeiture of funds and property over £50,000 where it is believed the owner is involved in serious crime.

The bulk of the secondary legislation implementing the CFA came into force on 31 January 2018. The Home Office are responsible for the legislative implementation of these powers, which are used by enforcement agencies.

Q
Asked on: 29 March 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: National Security
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what role the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport plays in responding to national security threats; and if that Department plays no formal role, which department responds to digital threats and other security threats relating to culture, the media, or sport.
A
Answered by: Lord Ashton of Hyde
Answered on: 16 April 2018

The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is the Lead Government Department for the Broadcast, Internet and Telecommunications sectors as parts of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure. As such, DCMS is responsible for the government’s security and resilience policy within those sectors.

DCMS plays a key role in delivering the Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy to support a prosperous digital nation. DCMS also undertakes work to prevent internet harms, such as disinformation. Other security threats would be managed as appropriate by individual digital, culture and media organisations in conjunction with law enforcement and other agencies.

Q
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to proactively engage and collaborate further with the private sector in the prevention of, and action against, hybrid threats, to combat critical skill shortages and bring in further expertise; and if so, how.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 13 April 2018

It is the responsibility of individual Government Departments to collaborate with their own sectors to ensure that the private sector is aware of the need to protect against hostile state activity, as part of their contribution to national resilience. For example, the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review made significant commitments on Cyber and the National Cyber Security Strategy and in 2016 launched the National Cyber Security Centre.

Q
Asked on: 29 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a definition of “hybrid threat”; if so, what is that definition; and which Government department is responsible for managing and coordinating the responses to such threats.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 13 April 2018

Hybrid threats should be considered as Hostile State Activity and the Prime Minister set out in the 2018 National Security Capability Review that "we will harden our defences against all forms of Hostile State Activity". To achieve this we will "use a new national security doctrine, the Fusion Doctrine, to improve our collective approach to national security, building on the creation of the National Security Council eight years ago so that we use our security, economic and influence capabilities to maximum effect to protect, promote and project our national security, economic and influence goals." As highlighted in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 we will continue to work with NATO and allies to tackle current threats and adapt to combat future threats, focusing on cyber and countering hybrid threats.

Q
Asked on: 29 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Defence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether sufficient resources are available to (1) pre-empt, and (2) address, a hybrid threat; whether those resources include mobilisation of the armed forces; and what other resources have been made available.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 13 April 2018

Government Departments prioritise within their existing departmental budgets to adequately manage and mitigate all risks (including hazards, counter-terrorism and hostile state activity). The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 will continue to be implemented including specialist Army brigades focused on hybrid warfare and notably the £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy to ensure the country keeps pace with the threat, including through the National Cyber Security Centre.

Q
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Eastern Europe: NATO
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what coordination exists between NATO partners and those Eastern European nations most vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hybrid threats.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 11 April 2018

At its 2016 Summit in Warsaw, NATO made a Cyber Defence Pledge to strengthen both individual and collective capability. The Alliance now engages regularly with its European partners to discuss Cyber and Hybrid threats at both the strategic and operational level. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (based in Tallinn) and the European Centre of Excellence for countering Hybrid Threats (based in Helsinki) provide expertise and encourage cooperation and information-sharing among NATO Allies, EU Member States, and their partners. The UK is a leading participant in both Centres.

Q
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Reserve Forces
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to train and use reservists in both the public and private sectors to deal with hybrid threats.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 11 April 2018

The need to respond to hybrid threats was recognised in the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2015 which established, as part of Joint Force 2025, two innovative brigades comprising a mix of Regulars and specialist capabilities from the Reserves able to contribute to our strategic communications, tackle hybrid warfare and deliver better battlefield intelligence.

Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Department for International Trade
Import Duties
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the UK’s ability to negotiate exemptions to trade tariffs, and (2) whether that ability will be stronger before or after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 10 April 2018

Currently as a member of the European Union the UK is bound by the Common Commercial Policy that delivers a trade policy for all 28 member states. On leaving the EU the UK will be free to conduct trade negotiations that promote specifically UK interests, and maximise the benefit of trade for UK producers and consumers.

Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Department for International Trade
Trade Barriers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the position the UK would take in the event of a global trade war; and in particular, with which country or countries the intend to ally the UK to maintain the current rules-based international trading system.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 10 April 2018

The UK fully supports the global rules-based trade system, open and free trade, and measures to tackle unfair trade where necessary. We maintain our position that multilateral action and a balanced, proportionate, WTO compliant approach remain the best ways of resolving issues within international trade without the need for escalation.

Grouped Questions: HL6616
Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Department for International Trade
Trade Barriers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to avert a global trade war.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 10 April 2018

The UK fully supports the global rules-based trade system, open and free trade, and measures to tackle unfair trade where necessary. We maintain our position that multilateral action and a balanced, proportionate, WTO compliant approach remain the best ways of resolving issues within international trade without the need for escalation.

Grouped Questions: HL6614
Q
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Trade: Anguilla
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Anguilla's reliance on trade with other non-UK EU Caribbean islands; and what consideration they have given during the Brexit negotiations to the case for continuing trade and other relations between Anguilla and those islands.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 10 April 2018

We are working closely with the Government of Anguilla in order to understand the extent to which they rely on the EU Overseas Countries and Territories for Trade, and the impact of EU exit on existing trading arrangements with its neighbouring islands. The Government is considering Anguilla's interests, just as it is considering the interests of all UK Overseas Territories as we move forward with our exit from the EU.

The UK Government is fully committed to involving all the UK Overseas Territories in our planning as we leave the EU, and ensuring that their interests are properly taken into account.

Q
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Estonia: Defence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have conducted with the government of Estonia to learn from recent hybrid threat activities targeting that state, to help prevent further hybrid threats against the UK.
A
Answered on: 10 April 2018

We have a very strong and productive relationship with the Government of Estonia, and work closely together at ministerial and senior official level on a range of defence and security issues, including on how to tackle hybrid threats. We do so bilaterally and also through institutions such as the EU, NATO and the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has posted an adviser to the region who is responsible for enhancing the UK's co-operation with the Governments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on these issues.

Q
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Intelligence Services: International Cooperation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is in place to allow Five Eyes nations to contribute support to one another (1) in preparation for, and (2) in the event of, a hybrid threat materialising.
A
Answered on: 10 April 2018

We collaborate on a wide range of intelligence and security matters, on numerous channels. This includes exchanging information on shared security challenges and emerging threats. We would expect to be in detailed contact with our closest partners, in the event of a serious hybrid threat materialising.

Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Russia: Diplomatic Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to recall the UK Ambassador to Russia for consultation.
A
Answered on: 09 April 2018

We and our EU partners stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to the Kremlin that Russia cannot continue to flout international law and threaten our security. All the other twenty-seven European Council leaders have confirmed they stand in unqualified solidarity with the UK in the face of the grave challenge Russia poses to our shared security. In addition, eighteen EU member states have so far announced they will expel a number of Russian diplomats.

We have no plans to recall the UK Ambassador to Russia for consultation. However, as part of our response to the Salisbury incident, we will keep further options under review and will not hesitate to act should it be necessary.

Q
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Anguilla: Hurricanes and Tornadoes
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have given to Anguilla since Hurricane Irma to help re-build infrastructure; and what support they will give in the next five years.
A
Answered on: 09 April 2018

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the crew of RFA Mounts Bay repaired the generator and electricity distribution at Anguilla's only hospital; effected emergency repairs to ensure the integrity of a ruptured storage tank at the island's bulk fuel depot established the integrity of the Road Bay Jetty, Anguilla's only point of sea access, and of the airport runway.

In the following weeks, the principal elements of support provided by the UK Government have been:

  • generators to allow Anguilla's six primary schools and the one secondary school to reopen within five weeks of the hurricane
  • two large generators to the hospital which now has a full independent generating capacity, including redundancy
  • a large capacity generator to ensure the island's main water desalination plant is able to operate without mains power
  • approximately:
    • £1.5 million to secure the services of a Canadian contractor to accelerate the restoration of power across Anguilla before Christmas
    • £1.2 million of assistance to enable the airport to resume commercial operations with an emergency control tower and the equipment and services needed to allow the airport to resume night flights – this is critical to the island's economy
    • £200,000 to effect repairs to Her Majesty's Prison Anguilla
    • £200,000 of repairs to the main hall at the Secondary School to enable children to take external public exams which could not be delayed and repairs to the Teachers Education Centre
    • £2.5 million of funding transferred to the Government of Anguilla to effect emergency repairs to a range of public buildings

Looking ahead Her Majesty's Government has committed a further £60 million to fund a range of long term infrastructure projects.

Q
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Anguilla: Foreign Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the strength of the relationship between the UK and Anguilla.
A
Answered on: 09 April 2018
The relationship between the UK Government and the Government of Anguilla is one based on partnership with each responsible for delivering their duties under Anguilla's constitution; always acting in the best interests of the people of Anguilla.
Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Home Office
Passports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is an operational need for the negotiations regarding the supply of new British passports to proceed immediately; and if not, what assessment they have made of whether the awarding of the new contract should be postponed.
Answered on: 04 April 2018

Her Majesty’s Passport Office has run a fair and open competition in line with UK law, EU and World Trade Organisation rules that has concluded in the identification of a preferred supplier. There are no grounds for a national security waiver.

The current passport contract expires in 2019 and we will need to proceed immediately to contract award to ensure a smooth and safe transition to the new contract.

Q
Asked on: 19 March 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional documentation they will publish to accompany the final Brexit agreement.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 29 March 2018

Once the negotiations have concluded, the Government has committed to give Parliament a vote on the final deal. When the time comes for the vote to be held, the Government will put the appropriate analysis before both Houses to ensure that they are appropriately informed.

In addition to this, as outlined in the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, any treaty laid before Parliament must be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum.

Q
Asked on: 23 March 2018
Treasury
Trade Barriers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to protect the economy from the effects of any trade war, following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 29 March 2018

The UK is a global advocate for free trade and continues to work with global partners and as part of multilateral discussions at the WTO to tackle protectionism and protectionist measures.

When the UK leaves the EU, we will play a full part in promoting compliance with the rules-based trading system and, if necessary, make use of the WTO’s dispute resolution procedures in defence of our national interests.

As part of preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU, we are also committed to creating a trade remedies framework which is able to react efficiently and effectively to tackle unfair trade where necessary.

Q
Asked on: 19 March 2018
Leader of the House of Lords
Brexit
Lords
To ask the Leader of the House how much time she proposes that the House will allocate to the debate of the final draft of the Brexit agreement.
Answered on: 28 March 2018

Business in the House of Lords is arranged through consultation with the Usual Channels. For its part, the Government will ensure that sufficient time is offered to consider the final deal in Parliament, including in the House of Lords.

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