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: 22 November 2018
Treasury
Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves: Venezuela
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider a moratorium on any repatriation of gold held by the Bank of England to the government or Central Bank of Venezuela until such time as they are satisfied that any repatriation meets the best interests of the people of that country.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 06 December 2018

Holding gold reserves on behalf of any foreign central bank is a matter for the Bank of England. The Bank of England does not share information on which central banks it holds gold reserves on behalf of or the value of that gold as this would contradict their customer confidentiality obligations. Repatriation of any gold held at the Bank of England is ultimately a matter for the Bank of England. HM Treasury only has direct control over Government holdings of gold within its official reserves, which are held at the Bank of England.

The UK fully implements UN, EU and UK domestic sanctions law. The EU sanctions regime on Venezuela, introduced in November 2017, includes targeted asset freezes applied to a number of senior Government officials in the Maduro regime.

Q
Asked on: 23 November 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
EU Budget: Contributions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any final financial settlement with the EU resulting from Brexit will represent the UK's accumulated obligations; and if so, how much the accumulated obligations represent; and whether they will publish a breakdown of those obligations.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 06 December 2018

We have agreed a fair financial settlement with the EU as part of the draft Withdrawal Agreement which reflects the UK paying its share of the outstanding EU commitments made during the period of our membership. Our estimate, based on reasonable assumptions and publically available data, falls within the range of £35bn-£39bn, and the National Audit Office confirmed in April 2018 that these assumptions were reasonable.

Details of the basis on which that figure was reached can be found in the draft Withdrawal Agreement, published on November 14th, 2018. The Chancellor of the Exchequer also provided details to the Treasury Select Committee in January 2018, including a breakdown of the components of the settlement.


Q
Asked on: 21 November 2018
Treasury
Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves: Venezuela
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the benefits to the UK of holding gold reserves for the central bank of Venezuela, and (2) the value of gold held by the Bank of England for the central bank of Venezuela; and whether they have a role in intervening if a request is made to repatriate any such gold.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 05 December 2018

HM Treasury is unable to substantiate whether the Bank of England holds gold for the Central Bank of Venezuela as that is a matter for the Bank of England. HM Treasury has not made an assessment of the benefits to the UK of the Bank of England holding gold reserves for other central banks. Holding gold reserves on behalf of any foreign central bank is a matter for the Bank of England. The Bank of England does not share information on which central banks it holds gold reserves on behalf of or the value of that gold as this would contradict their customer confidentiality obligations.

Q
Asked on: 21 November 2018
Treasury
Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the benefits to the UK of holding gold reserves for other central banks, and (2) the value of gold held by the Bank of England for other central banks.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 05 December 2018

HM Treasury is unable to substantiate whether the Bank of England holds gold for other central banks as that is a matter for the Bank of England. HM Treasury has not made an assessment of the benefits to the UK of the Bank of England holding gold reserves for other central banks. Holding gold reserves on behalf of any foreign central bank is a matter for the Bank of England. The Bank of England does not share information on which central banks it holds gold reserves on behalf of or the value of that gold as this would contradict their customer confidentiality obligations.

Q
Asked on: 21 November 2018
Treasury
Gold and Foreign Exchange Reserves
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have a role in deciding for which foreign governments and central banks the Bank of England should hold gold reserves; and if so, for which foreign governments and central banks the Bank of England holds gold reserves, and in what quantities.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 05 December 2018

HM Treasury does not have a role in deciding whether the Bank of England holds gold for foreign governments and central banks. HM Treasury is unable to substantiate whether the Bank of England holds gold for particular foreign governments and central banks as that is a matter for the Bank of England. The Bank of England does not share information on which foreign governments and central banks it holds gold reserves on behalf of or the value of that gold as this would contradict their customer confidentiality obligations.

Q
Asked on: 05 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made an assessment of the impact of the independence referendum held in Cameroon in 1961 on the current conflict between anglophone and francophone groups in that country.
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of who may be responsible for killings and burning down of villages in southern Cameroon during the current conflict.
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether genocide is being perpetrated in southern Cameroon; and if so what action, if any, they plan to take in response.
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the governments of Cameroon and France in relation to the violence being perpetrated in southern Cameroon.
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have conducted with the Commonwealth Heads of Government about the conflict in southern Cameroon; what response they received; and whether Commonwealth Heads of Government have considered deploying their conflict resolution team to southern Cameroon.
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the government of Rwanda could play a role in negotiating a sustainable resolution to the conflict in southern Cameroon as the next host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and a francophone member.
Q
Asked on: 01 November 2018
Treasury
Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that current Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development rules relating to tax residency will be adhered to following Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The UK will continue to adhere to the OECD’s tax standards after Brexit. These include the provisions relating to residence in the OECD model treaty.

Q
Asked on: 01 November 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the tensions between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroon; and what action they are taking to ease those tensions.
A
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The violence in the Anglophone regions has been generated as a result of perceived marginalisation of the Anglophone minority. The UK is deeply concerned at the deteriorating violence, deaths and displacement of people which has increased since the end of 2016, with severe effect on civilians. We are working closely with the wider international community, including the UN, to build as full and accurate a picture as possible. The UK continues to raise our concerns with the Government of Cameroon, to call for urgent action to solve this crisis. The UK calls for restraint and an end to violence on all sides.

Q
Asked on: 30 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Election Observers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Commonwealth about any request from either the Bangladesh Awami League or the Bangladesh National Party for it to observe the forthcoming elections.
A
Answered on: 13 November 2018

Election observation by the Commonwealth would be a decision for the Commonwealth in dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. We welcomed the Commonwealth Secretary General's visit to Bangladesh in August this year, and her call at that time for participatory elections.

I am clear that the UK wants to see a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh and I have consistently encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end. During the Minister for Asia and the Pacific’s visit to Bangladesh, 29 June - 1 July, he made clear concerns regarding the prospects for the election to senior members of the Government of Bangladesh, including State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, and members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The Foreign Secretary underlined the importance of free, fair and non-violent elections in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met on 24 September at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Grouped Questions: HL11140 | HL11141
Q
Asked on: 30 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Election Observers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the High Commissioner to Bangladesh has held any discussions with the government of Bangladesh on the merits of the Commonwealth observing the forthcoming elections in that country; if so, with whom; and what was the outcome.
A
Answered on: 13 November 2018

Election observation by the Commonwealth would be a decision for the Commonwealth in dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. We welcomed the Commonwealth Secretary General's visit to Bangladesh in August this year, and her call at that time for participatory elections.

I am clear that the UK wants to see a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh and I have consistently encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end. During the Minister for Asia and the Pacific’s visit to Bangladesh, 29 June - 1 July, he made clear concerns regarding the prospects for the election to senior members of the Government of Bangladesh, including State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, and members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The Foreign Secretary underlined the importance of free, fair and non-violent elections in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met on 24 September at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Grouped Questions: HL11139 | HL11141
Q
Asked on: 30 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bangladesh: Elections
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Bangladesh about the importance of conducting the forthcoming elections in a free and fair manner, in accordance with international norms.
A
Answered on: 13 November 2018

Election observation by the Commonwealth would be a decision for the Commonwealth in dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh. We welcomed the Commonwealth Secretary General's visit to Bangladesh in August this year, and her call at that time for participatory elections.

I am clear that the UK wants to see a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh and I have consistently encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end. During the Minister for Asia and the Pacific’s visit to Bangladesh, 29 June - 1 July, he made clear concerns regarding the prospects for the election to senior members of the Government of Bangladesh, including State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, and members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The Foreign Secretary underlined the importance of free, fair and non-violent elections in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met on 24 September at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Grouped Questions: HL11139 | HL11140
Q
Asked on: 23 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Rare Diseases: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce any disparity in access to rare disease medicines between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 06 November 2018

With the aim of improving the lives of all those affected by a rare disease, the United Kingdom Government published The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases in 2013, a high-level framework containing 51 commitments which sets out a seven-year strategic vision from 2013-2020. A copy of the Strategy is attached. The Government is committed to implementing the Strategy’s commitments and has, in January 2018, published two implementation plans setting out its actions for England. Copies of the Department’s The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases: Rare Diseases implementation plan for England and NHS England’s Implementation Plan for the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases are attached.

The Government has not made any assessment of differences in access to medicines for the treatment of rare diseases or on the available number of treatments between England, the devolved administrations and economically similar countries in Europe.

With regard to the Government’s assessment of the sustainability of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal process for rare disease medicines that do not meet the highly specialised technology criteria, patients with rare diseases in England benefit from the same NHS Constitution right to clinically and cost-effective medicines as patients with more common conditions. NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rare diseases through its technology appraisal and highly specialised technology evaluation programmes which are now routinely available to National Health Service patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Grouped Questions: HL10966 | HL10967 | HL10968
Q
Asked on: 23 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Rare Diseases: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce any disparity in access to rare disease medicines in England compared with economically similar countries in Europe.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 06 November 2018

With the aim of improving the lives of all those affected by a rare disease, the United Kingdom Government published The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases in 2013, a high-level framework containing 51 commitments which sets out a seven-year strategic vision from 2013-2020. A copy of the Strategy is attached. The Government is committed to implementing the Strategy’s commitments and has, in January 2018, published two implementation plans setting out its actions for England. Copies of the Department’s The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases: Rare Diseases implementation plan for England and NHS England’s Implementation Plan for the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases are attached.

The Government has not made any assessment of differences in access to medicines for the treatment of rare diseases or on the available number of treatments between England, the devolved administrations and economically similar countries in Europe.

With regard to the Government’s assessment of the sustainability of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal process for rare disease medicines that do not meet the highly specialised technology criteria, patients with rare diseases in England benefit from the same NHS Constitution right to clinically and cost-effective medicines as patients with more common conditions. NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rare diseases through its technology appraisal and highly specialised technology evaluation programmes which are now routinely available to National Health Service patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Grouped Questions: HL10965 | HL10967 | HL10968
Q
Asked on: 23 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Rare Diseases: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how many treatments for rare diseases are available in Scotland that are unavailable in England.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 06 November 2018

With the aim of improving the lives of all those affected by a rare disease, the United Kingdom Government published The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases in 2013, a high-level framework containing 51 commitments which sets out a seven-year strategic vision from 2013-2020. A copy of the Strategy is attached. The Government is committed to implementing the Strategy’s commitments and has, in January 2018, published two implementation plans setting out its actions for England. Copies of the Department’s The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases: Rare Diseases implementation plan for England and NHS England’s Implementation Plan for the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases are attached.

The Government has not made any assessment of differences in access to medicines for the treatment of rare diseases or on the available number of treatments between England, the devolved administrations and economically similar countries in Europe.

With regard to the Government’s assessment of the sustainability of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal process for rare disease medicines that do not meet the highly specialised technology criteria, patients with rare diseases in England benefit from the same NHS Constitution right to clinically and cost-effective medicines as patients with more common conditions. NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rare diseases through its technology appraisal and highly specialised technology evaluation programmes which are now routinely available to National Health Service patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Grouped Questions: HL10965 | HL10966 | HL10968
Q
Asked on: 23 October 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Rare Diseases: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the sustainability of the NICE appraisal process for rare disease medicines that do not meet the highly specialised technology criteria.
A
Answered by: Lord O'Shaughnessy
Answered on: 06 November 2018

With the aim of improving the lives of all those affected by a rare disease, the United Kingdom Government published The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases in 2013, a high-level framework containing 51 commitments which sets out a seven-year strategic vision from 2013-2020. A copy of the Strategy is attached. The Government is committed to implementing the Strategy’s commitments and has, in January 2018, published two implementation plans setting out its actions for England. Copies of the Department’s The UK Strategy for Rare Diseases: Rare Diseases implementation plan for England and NHS England’s Implementation Plan for the UK Strategy for Rare Diseases are attached.

The Government has not made any assessment of differences in access to medicines for the treatment of rare diseases or on the available number of treatments between England, the devolved administrations and economically similar countries in Europe.

With regard to the Government’s assessment of the sustainability of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) appraisal process for rare disease medicines that do not meet the highly specialised technology criteria, patients with rare diseases in England benefit from the same NHS Constitution right to clinically and cost-effective medicines as patients with more common conditions. NICE has recommended a number of medicines for the treatment of rare diseases through its technology appraisal and highly specialised technology evaluation programmes which are now routinely available to National Health Service patients in line with NICE’s recommendations.

Grouped Questions: HL10965 | HL10966 | HL10967
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