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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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: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were detained in each immigration removal centre on (1) 2 March, (2) 21 April, and (3) 7 May.
Answered on: 28 May 2020

The Home Office publishes data on people in detention in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of people detained under immigration powers at the end of each quarter, by location are published in table Det_D02 of the immigration detention detailed datasets.

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to those in detention as at 31 December 2019, which show that there were 1,256 people detained in immigration removal centres, 24 in short term holding facilities in the detention estate, with a further 359 detained under immigration powers in prison. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the 'summary tables'. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.

Figures covering the first quarter of 2020, including those detained as at 31 March 2020 will be released on 21st May 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar.'

Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial and other support they provided to those released from immigration removal centres as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 27 May 2020

Asylum seekers who would otherwise be unable to support themselves are provided with accommodation and financial assistance to meet their essential living needs.

We remain committed to providing support and accommodation to those who need it. In light of the pandemic, we have introduced temporary measures to continue supporting those who would normally have had their accommodation and financial assistance stopped until at least the end of June when we will review the situation.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended. People granted refugee status in the United Kingdom are able to access the mainstream benefits in the same way as a British Citizen.

Individuals released from immigration detention will usually be subject to certain conditions which may require a person to report to a Home Office reporting centre at regular intervals or to remain living at the same address.

Grouped Questions: HL4209 | HL4210
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they hold the current address of each person released from an immigration removal centre as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 27 May 2020

Asylum seekers who would otherwise be unable to support themselves are provided with accommodation and financial assistance to meet their essential living needs.

We remain committed to providing support and accommodation to those who need it. In light of the pandemic, we have introduced temporary measures to continue supporting those who would normally have had their accommodation and financial assistance stopped until at least the end of June when we will review the situation.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended. People granted refugee status in the United Kingdom are able to access the mainstream benefits in the same way as a British Citizen.

Individuals released from immigration detention will usually be subject to certain conditions which may require a person to report to a Home Office reporting centre at regular intervals or to remain living at the same address.

Grouped Questions: HL4208 | HL4210
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Home Office
Immigrants: Detainees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they provided long-term accommodation to those released from immigration removal centres as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answered on: 27 May 2020

Asylum seekers who would otherwise be unable to support themselves are provided with accommodation and financial assistance to meet their essential living needs.

We remain committed to providing support and accommodation to those who need it. In light of the pandemic, we have introduced temporary measures to continue supporting those who would normally have had their accommodation and financial assistance stopped until at least the end of June when we will review the situation.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended. People granted refugee status in the United Kingdom are able to access the mainstream benefits in the same way as a British Citizen.

Individuals released from immigration detention will usually be subject to certain conditions which may require a person to report to a Home Office reporting centre at regular intervals or to remain living at the same address.

Grouped Questions: HL4208 | HL4209
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Religious Buildings: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with religious authorities about opening places of worship for (1) personal private devotions, (2) formal services, and (3) funerals and weddings, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Greenhalgh
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The Government has been working closely with all major faith groups on a wide variety of issues relating to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this engagement will continue.

The Faith Minister has held meetings with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu faith leaders and representatives since the outbreak. Officials also maintain regular contact with Faith leaders across all major faiths, ensuring the Government is responding to issues relating to COVID-19 as they arise.

This engagement will continue at both ministerial and official level as the Government looks to lift restrictions, as outlined in the recovery strategy – “Our Plan to Rebuild”, which was launched on 11 May can be found (attached) here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf. As the document makes clear in Step 3, the Government’s ambition is to open places of worship; the current assumption is that this Step will be no earlier than 4 July.

As part of the recovery strategy, the Government has launched a Taskforce to look at the possible re-opening of places of worship. The Taskforce will be led by the Secretary of State for Communities, or the Faith Minister, and comprise of representatives from the country’s major faiths. The aim of the Taskforce is to work towards the safe reopening of places of worship, including for private devotions, services and ceremonies like funerals and weddings. It will address the specific issues that places of worship face in the course of reopening safely.

Places of worship are essential in bringing our communities together, which is why we want to reopen them as soon as we can. However, we will not compromise the safety of those who visit and work at our places of worship. The Government’s priority is to protect the public and save lives. We are committed to ensuring our faith communities have access to the latest public health advice, and to support them to adapt their practices in line with the Government’s COVID-19 guidance.

Our Plan to Rebuild (PDF Document, 1.72 MB)
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Cabinet Office
Brexit: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to extend the transition period as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord True
Answered on: 26 May 2020

I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave to PQ HL3150 on 28 April 2020.

Asked on: 06 May 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to local authorities to prepare communities to readjust following the end of the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Greenhalgh
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We understand that local authorities know better than anyone the needs of local people, and that they are trying incredibly hard to balance the need to maintain services alongside wider responsibilities for the health and wellbeing of residents.

Ministers and officials have led regular engagement with local authorities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes dedicated Government Liaison Officers, support through Local Resilience Forums, and £3.2bn of additional funding – the details of which can be found (attached) here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-confirms-allocations-of-1-6-billion-funding-boost-for-councils

The Government will continue to work closely with local authorities over the coming weeks and months to ensure they are managing as the pandemic progresses and we have a collective understanding of the costs they are facing.

Funding allocation (Excel SpreadSheet, 105.78 KB)
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Hospitals: Ministers of Religion
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of NHS hospital chaplains during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 20 May 2020

We have not made a formal assessment of the contribution of National Health Service chaplains during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement recognise the importance of chaplains, and leaders of all faiths, in the delivery of high-quality palliative and end of life care. The significant role they play in spiritual, emotional and psychological care is recognised in our clinical guides for palliative care in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic and for compassionate visiting arrangements.

Asked on: 14 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Diabetes: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that diagnosed diabetics in the UK will have sufficient medication to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis, in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 20 May 2020

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Grouped Questions: HL4533 | HL4534
Asked on: 14 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Radioisotopes: UK Trade with EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure there will be no delay (1) to the supply of radiopharmaceuticals, and (2) to the treatment of patients with serious conditions, in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 20 May 2020

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Grouped Questions: HL4532 | HL4534
Asked on: 14 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Prescriptions: UK Trade With EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that medication prescriptions will be guaranteed in the event that the UK leaves the transition period without a trade agreement with the EU on 31 December.
A
Answered by: Lord Bethell
Answered on: 20 May 2020

As part of our concerted national efforts, we will continue doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines in all scenarios.

It remains the Government’s objective to negotiate a future relationship with the European Union before the end of the Transition Period and to make sure that patients reap the rewards. Both the United Kingdom and EU, in their published negotiating documents, have stated objectives to reach an agreement on trade in goods. The UK’s published approach sets out how we want to facilitate trade in medicinal products such as diabetic medicines and medical radioisotopes and support high levels of patient safety.

The Department will continue to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Grouped Questions: HL4532 | HL4533
Asked on: 19 May 2020
Home Office
Windrush Generation: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people who have made claims under the Windrush Compensation Scheme have so far received payment; and how much money they have allocated to be used by that scheme.
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Zero Hours Contracts: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the benefits being made available to employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are available to those who were on zero-hours contracts and whose employment has ceased.
A
Answered by: Baroness Stedman-Scott
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The Government is committed to supporting people through this unprecedented time. We have introduced a number of measures, including the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as well as ensuring Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable from day 1, to ensure people are supported.

Unemployed people who are not eligible for SSP or CJRS, may be able to claim Universal Credit (UC), ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance, or ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance, and this will include those people who are self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines.

People on zero hour contracts who are already claiming UC do not need to take any actions, as UC will auto adjust to represent the income received within that assessment period.

More information about the support available during the Covid-19 outbreak is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Asked on: 06 May 2020
Treasury
Motor Vehicles: Taxation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce taxation on cars to encourage recovery and re-employment following the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 18 May 2020

The Government recognizes the challenges faced by households as a result of COVID-19. This is why the Government has announced unprecedented support for public services, business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

Budget 2020 announced Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates would be uprated in line with inflation only so VED liabilities have not increased in real terms since 2010.

In addition, Budget announced a freeze in fuel duty rates for the tenth successive year, which by April 2021, will have saved the average car driver £1,200 compared with pre-2010 plans.

Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Unemployment: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what long term proposals they have to tackle any unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Disadvantaged: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide support (1) now, and (2) in the future, to those most financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
Asked on: 29 April 2020
Home Office
Migrant Workers: Health Professions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what immigration charges, if any, are payable by medical staff who are non-UK citizens to enable them to practise in the UK.
Answered on: 14 May 2020

Medical staff from outside of the European Economic Area need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. Cost will vary depending on the type and length of visa. A list of current visa fees can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table

Individuals coming to work, study or join family in the UK for a period of longer than six months, may also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Asked on: 14 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that sufficient personal protective equipment is available for purchase by the general public.
Asked on: 29 April 2020
The Senior Deputy Speaker
House of Lords: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what arrangements have been made to support parliamentary staff working for the House during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered on: 13 May 2020

The safety and well-being of staff and members is at the forefront of the Administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a range of interventions which have been put in place to support staff during the pandemic, and these are regularly updated and communicated to staff, including on a dedicated section of the parliamentary intranet. The guidance is informed by advice from Public Health England.

Asked on: 29 April 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Leisure: Wales
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they are making available to (1) the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, (2) the National Eisteddfod of Welsh, (3) the Urdd National Eisteddfod, and (4) the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, following their cancellation in 2020.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 11 May 2020

Culture is classed as a devolved competency and organisations should look at the support being provided by the relevant Government in the Devolved Authorities. In addition to the support provided by the UK Government, the Welsh Government has announced almost £2 billion of support for businesses in Wales (https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/). The Arts Council of Wales has also established the Arts Resilience Fund which provides financial support to artists and cultural organisations so they may survive this crisis and to find ways of getting back on their feet (https://arts.wales/funding/coronavirus).

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