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: 26 April 2018
Ministry of Defence
Cyprus: Military Bases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the pension rights of those employed at the Sovereign Base Area's Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation of the proposed privatisation of that organisation; and whether there are any precedents for the proposed privatisation.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 08 May 2018

The Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO) is not being privatised. Elements of the Defence Fire and Rescue capability are already delivered by contractors at a number of Defence's fire stations. The Defence Fire and Rescue Project is examining the provision of this capability worldwide to assess whether there are alternative ways to deliver the capability at improved value for money, including the extension of contractor involvement, whilst ensuring continued protection of key military activities. The process is currently at the stage where final approvals to award a contract are being sought.

Details of the Bidders' proposals for Cyprus are commercially sensitive but all employees' rights and employer responsibilities, including pension provision for the DFRMO Locally Employed Civilians in Cyprus, have been considered throughout the competition. Members of the Defence Fire and Rescue Service and their trade union representatives have been consulted at all stages of the project.

Grouped Questions: HL7334
Q
Asked on: 26 April 2018
Ministry of Defence
Cyprus: Military Bases
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to use current pension rights as a baseline for the new arrangements following the privatisation of the Sovereign Base Area's Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation, or to apply the provisions of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations to the Sovereign Base Area as they apply in the UK.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 08 May 2018

The Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO) is not being privatised. Elements of the Defence Fire and Rescue capability are already delivered by contractors at a number of Defence's fire stations. The Defence Fire and Rescue Project is examining the provision of this capability worldwide to assess whether there are alternative ways to deliver the capability at improved value for money, including the extension of contractor involvement, whilst ensuring continued protection of key military activities. The process is currently at the stage where final approvals to award a contract are being sought.

Details of the Bidders' proposals for Cyprus are commercially sensitive but all employees' rights and employer responsibilities, including pension provision for the DFRMO Locally Employed Civilians in Cyprus, have been considered throughout the competition. Members of the Defence Fire and Rescue Service and their trade union representatives have been consulted at all stages of the project.

Grouped Questions: HL7333
Q
Asked on: 16 April 2018
Department for Transport
Air Traffic Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process for downgrading airspace from controlled to uncontrolled.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 24 April 2018

The independent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for overseeing the design of UK airspace.

The process to request the CAA to approve a proposal for an airspace change is set out in its relevant guidance document, CAP 1616, which came into effect on 2nd January 2018.

Q
Asked on: 15 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Oman: Foreign Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase domestic and foreign policy cooperation between the UK and the Sultanate of Oman.
A
Answered on: 29 March 2018

The UK and Oman enjoy a broad and exceptionally close relationship. Oman is a longstanding friend and ally in the Gulf, with shared interests across diplomatic, economic , defence and security matters. We are working more closely than ever across a number of fields including on economic, defence and counter-terrorism matters. Later this year, Exercise Saif Sareea 3 will take place in Oman – the largest UK-Omani military exercise for 16 years. Oman is also an important partner in regional affairs. My Rt Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary (the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Mr Johnson) has visited Oman twice in the last four months to underline our commitment to the bilateral relationship and to take forward our regional cooperation.

Q
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Africa: Property Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the motion passed in the Parliament of South Africa on 1 March to confiscate land without compensation from white farmers.
A
Answered on: 28 March 2018

We welcome the South African Government's assurance that 'the process of land distribution would be orderly, within South African laws and taking into consideration both the social and economic impact.' We further welcome President Ramaphosa's commitment that land reform will be carried out 'without negatively affecting economic growth, agricultural production and food security' and his assurance that he would 'not allow any smash and grab interventions'.

Q
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Department for International Development
Iraq: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the level of UK aid to the Republic of Iraq was last increased.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 27 March 2018

The Prime Minister announced a further £20million in humanitarian support and £30million in stabilisation support to the Republic of Iraq during her visit to Baghdad in November 2017. Additionally, at the recent Kuwait Conference for Reconstruction the Minister for the Middle East pledged £1.5 million of new funding for the repair of housing in Mosul through the UN’s Funding Facility for Stabilisation which brings the total number of houses that UK funds will repair to 2,000. The Minister also pledged £8 million of new funding, delivered through UNICEF, to improve the water networks and sanitation facilities for 600,000 people, and to deliver better sanitation in health facilities and schools.

Q
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Gibraltar: Navy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future presence and activity of the Royal Navy in the Strait of Gibraltar.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The Ministry of Defence continually reassesses the Royal Navy's mission in the Strait of Gibraltar, and the assets and people required to deliver it, to ensure that the UK Government's responsibilities can be carried out effectively and can meet evolving threats and future needs. The Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron will continue to challenge all incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The base infrastructure and the Gibraltar Squadron will continue to be modernised in line with the rest of the Royal Navy.

We have interpreted visits to be those ships proceeding alongside in Gibraltar. Records show that, over the period 1 September 2017 to 1 March 2018, there were 15 occasions where Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships visited Gibraltar, in addition to the Gibraltar Squadron that is permanently stationed there.

Grouped Questions: HL6376 | HL6378
Q
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Gibraltar: Navy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Royal Navy visits to Gibraltar have taken place in the last six months.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The Ministry of Defence continually reassesses the Royal Navy's mission in the Strait of Gibraltar, and the assets and people required to deliver it, to ensure that the UK Government's responsibilities can be carried out effectively and can meet evolving threats and future needs. The Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron will continue to challenge all incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The base infrastructure and the Gibraltar Squadron will continue to be modernised in line with the rest of the Royal Navy.

We have interpreted visits to be those ships proceeding alongside in Gibraltar. Records show that, over the period 1 September 2017 to 1 March 2018, there were 15 occasions where Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships visited Gibraltar, in addition to the Gibraltar Squadron that is permanently stationed there.

Grouped Questions: HL6375 | HL6378
Q
Asked on: 14 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Gibraltar: Navy
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their proposals for future investment in the Royal Navy base in Gibraltar.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 21 March 2018

The Ministry of Defence continually reassesses the Royal Navy's mission in the Strait of Gibraltar, and the assets and people required to deliver it, to ensure that the UK Government's responsibilities can be carried out effectively and can meet evolving threats and future needs. The Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron will continue to challenge all incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The base infrastructure and the Gibraltar Squadron will continue to be modernised in line with the rest of the Royal Navy.

We have interpreted visits to be those ships proceeding alongside in Gibraltar. Records show that, over the period 1 September 2017 to 1 March 2018, there were 15 occasions where Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships visited Gibraltar, in addition to the Gibraltar Squadron that is permanently stationed there.

Grouped Questions: HL6375 | HL6376
Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
India: State Visits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when consideration was last given to investigating the possibility of arranging a State Visit to the UK by the President of India.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2018

​The UK has excellent relations with the Government of India and there is an extensive range of two-way visits by members of each government. As a matter of policy, the Government does not discuss or disclose the details of possible visits by Heads of State or Government until invitations have been issued and accepted, and any announcement is made by agreement with the visiting Head of State or Government.

Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the human rights record of Cameroon and the impact, if any, this is having on anglophone Cameroon.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2018

Cameroon is a State Party to major human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It has, however, signed but not ratified a number of significant instruments.

In recent years Cameroon's far north has been blighted by Boko Haram and this has led to the introduction of strict anti-terror laws. Human rights non-governmental organisations report that the Government of Cameroon is using this legislation to arrest and detain Anglophone separatists. Our High Commissioner in Yaoundé met President Biya on 21 December 2017 and emphasised the Government of Cameroon's legal obligations in respect of human rights.

Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
India: Environment Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of UK–India cooperation on environmental policy.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2018

The UK and India collaborate across the full range of environmental issues, including access to affordable and clean energy, mobilisation of green finance, development of climate-resilient infrastructure, and sustainable urban development.

The first India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue was held in April 2017 in New Delhi. It provided an enhanced framework for UK-India cooperation to increase interest and deals in the renewables sector. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, Greg Clark, announced up to £20 million of new technical assistance for collaboration in the areas of renewables and energy efficiency. In January 2018 we signed a UK-India memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation in urban transport policy, planning, technology transfer and institutional organisation for transport. The UK has a five-year partnership with the Government of India to develop three smart cities in Amravati, Indore and Pune. UK and India also cooperate on environmental issues through a range of multilateral fora.

Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Argentina: Foreign Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve intergovernmental relations between the UK and Argentina.
A
Answered on: 07 February 2018

The UK has made significant progress towards a more constructive relationship with Argentina since the election of President Macri in September 2015. In September 2016, the Minister for Europe and the Americas visited Argentina and agreed a Joint Communiqué that committed both countries to closer co-operation across all aspects of our relationship.

As a result, co-operation is increasing, including on trade, science and innovation, anti-corruption and security issues. The Scottish Secretary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of State for International Trade (Greg Hands) all visited Argentina in 2017, and the Prime Minister last spoke to President Macri on 12 December.

Our position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and the right of the Islanders to determine their own future remains unchanged.

Q
Asked on: 24 January 2018
Cabinet Office
Immigration: Statistics
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration has been given to publishing student and non-student immigration figures separately.
A
Answered by: Lord Young of Cookham
Answered on: 01 February 2018

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply and I will place a copy of their letter in the Library of the House.

UKSA Response (PDF Document, 70.14 KB)
Q
Asked on: 22 November 2017
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Canada: Foreign Relations
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve political relations with the government of Canada.
A
Answered on: 06 December 2017

The UK and Canada are already close allies. We work closely on defence and intelligence matters and enjoy close cooperation on many issues where we have commons aims and values. We are the only two countries that are members of all four of The Commonwealth, NATO, the G7, and the G20.


The Prime Minister visited Ottawa on 18 September, to strengthen ties between the UK and Canada. During her visit, a new framework for cooperation was agreed, a new Strategic Dialogue involving our Foreign, Defence and Development Secretaries will be supported by a Public Policy Forum.

Q
Asked on: 22 November 2017
Department for International Trade
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future involvement of the UK in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the government of Canada and the EU.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 06 December 2017

The UK Government is committed to seeking to ensure continuity in its current trade and investment relationships as we leave the European Union, including those covered by free trade agreements such as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

On 18 September, the Prime Minister and PM Trudeau announced that both would work together to ensure a seamless transition of agreements such as CETA into new bilateral arrangements.

Q
Asked on: 22 November 2017
Ministry of Defence
HMS Ocean
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the sale of HMS Ocean, in the light of that ship's role in providing support to the Overseas Territories hit by hurricanes this summer.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 28 November 2017

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave to Lord West of Spithead on 25 September 2017, to Question number HL1505. There are currently no plans to review the decision to decommission HMS OCEAN in 2018.

HL1505 - WQnA extract on HMS OCEAN (Word Document, 12.57 KB)
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