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.

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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: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iraq: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 26 November (HL11345), whether they will now answer the question asked, namely what assessment they have made of the finding of the report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Unearthing Atrocities: Mass Graves in territory formerly controlled by ISIL, published on 6 November, that from the beginning of 2014 until the end of 2017 ISIS committed atrocities resulting in approximately 30,000 civilian deaths and 55,150 injured persons.
A
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The UK is unable to independently and accurately verify the United Nations’ assessment on numbers of civilian deaths, injured persons and mass graves in Iraq. However, we believe that the task of locating mass graves and holding perpetrators to account is not an issue for Iraq alone but one of global concern, which is why the UK led on UNSCR 2379 to establish a team (UNITAD) to collect evidence of Daesh crimes in order to hold members of Daesh to account for their actions. We are working closely with the team. However, it is clear that the scale of Daesh’s crimes against innocent civilians is horrific and marks an appalling period in Iraq’s history.

We are pressing the Government of Iraq to work closely with the UN’s Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh, as well as non-governmental organisations and other bodies working on this issue. The issue of mass graves in previously Daesh held territory was also discussed in my recent meeting with Karim Khan QC who is the Special Advisor to UNITAD. He informed me that both UNITAD and the Iraqi Government will be visiting the first of these sites shortly.

Grouped Questions: HL11945
Asked on: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iraq: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 26 November (HL11346), whether they will now answer the question asked, namely what assessment they have made of the finding of the report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Unearthing Atrocities: Mass Graves in territory formerly controlled by ISIL, published on 6 November, that ISIS left 202 mass graves containing thousands of bodies.
A
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The UK is unable to independently and accurately verify the United Nations’ assessment on numbers of civilian deaths, injured persons and mass graves in Iraq. However, we believe that the task of locating mass graves and holding perpetrators to account is not an issue for Iraq alone but one of global concern, which is why the UK led on UNSCR 2379 to establish a team (UNITAD) to collect evidence of Daesh crimes in order to hold members of Daesh to account for their actions. We are working closely with the team. However, it is clear that the scale of Daesh’s crimes against innocent civilians is horrific and marks an appalling period in Iraq’s history.

We are pressing the Government of Iraq to work closely with the UN’s Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh, as well as non-governmental organisations and other bodies working on this issue. The issue of mass graves in previously Daesh held territory was also discussed in my recent meeting with Karim Khan QC who is the Special Advisor to UNITAD. He informed me that both UNITAD and the Iraqi Government will be visiting the first of these sites shortly.

Grouped Questions: HL11944
Asked on: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iraq: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 26 November (HL11347), whether they will now answer the question asked, namely what representations they have made to the government of Iraq about the finding of the report of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Unearthing Atrocities: Mass Graves in territory formerly controlled by ISIL, published on 6 November, that that the Mass Graves Directorate has an insufficient number of experts to meet current needs.
A
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The UK is unable to independently and accurately verify the United Nations’ assessment on numbers of civilian deaths, injured persons and mass graves in Iraq. However, we believe that the task of locating mass graves and holding perpetrators to account is not an issue for Iraq alone but one of global concern, which is why the UK led on UNSCR 2379 to establish a team (UNITAD) to collect evidence of Daesh crimes in order to hold members of Daesh to account for their actions.

We have not made an assessment on staffing in the Iraqi Mass Graves Directorate, but we are pressing the Government of Iraq to work closely with the UN’s Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh, as well as non-governmental organisations and other bodies working on this issue. The issue of mass graves in previously Daesh held territory was also discussed in my recent meeting with Karim Khan QC who is the Special Advisor to UNITAD. He informed me that both UNITAD and the Iraqi Government will be visiting the first of these sites shortly.

Asked on: 03 December 2018
Department for International Development
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 27 November (HL11515), what the AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme has achieved in Pakistan; how much that programme has cost; what assessment they have made of whether discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan is decreasing.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The AAWAZ Voice and Accountability Programme was a successful six-year, £39.1m programme which ended in May 2018. It reached over 8m people to increase the voice, choice and control of poor and excluded people in Pakistan. It included a focus on women and minorities to promote tolerance and inclusion. Beneficiary feedback from people who participated in interventions suggested a shift in attitudes towards minorities. Programme reports with results and assessments are available on DFID’s development tracker website.

Asked on: 03 December 2018
Department for International Development
Pakistan: Minority Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 27 November (HL11514), whether they intend to collect disaggregated population data on minority groups in Pakistan to establish whether UK aid reaches those groups; when they last raised the issue of inclusion of minorities with the government of Pakistan; and what response, if any, they received.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 17 December 2018

DFID has developed a data disaggregation action plan to help strengthen our understanding of whom and where people are, or are at risk of, being left behind and the analysis of why. The action plan sets out the initial practical steps that we will take to move the agenda forward within our own organisation and through the global system, focusing on four key levels of disaggregation - sex, age, disability status and geography. We have focused on these four in the first instance to reorient our approach and raise our ambition, which over time will ensure DFID is better equipped to disaggregate in a number of ways, including by minority group. DFID and FCO continue to raise the issue of human rights of minorities at the highest levels with the Government of Pakistan, including in our annual Bilateral Assistance Talks, advocating greater tolerance and action against abuses when they occur.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department for International Development
Pakistan: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 27 November (HL11513), how they (1) monitor, and (2) evaluate the success of programmes they fund in Pakistan; and what methods they use to check that aid provided is used for its intended purpose.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 17 December 2018

DFID Pakistan uses a range of approaches to monitor and evaluate our programmes. Every programme within the portfolio is required to develop a comprehensive monitoring plan to enable assessment of whether the programme is achieving planned results. Programmes use different monitoring arrangements depending on the context, which include a range of internal approaches including field visits and annual reviews as well as independent, external monitoring arrangements. Programmes gather a broad range of evidence to support the management of their programmes and to facilitate robust assessment, including through formal evaluation. Evaluations are carefully selected to ensure their findings add as much value as possible.

DFID has a zero tolerance approach to aid diversion. We have a rigorous set of standard controls and measures to protect UK aid and ensure it reaches those for whom it is intended and delivers results. Our programmes carefully consider aid diversion controls across the programme cycle. Partners are carefully selected and scrutinised to ensure they can manage and deliver the intended programme results. We ensure that the partners we fund apply similar controls and have effective safeguards in place to protect UK aid from being diverted.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department for International Development
South Sudan: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people they estimate to have (1) fled the conflict in South Sudan, (2) been internally displaced in that country because of the conflict, and (3) died because of the conflict.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 17 December 2018

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that over 4.7 million people have fled their homes as a result of the conflict, including nearly 2 million who have been internally displaced.

A report published by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in September this year estimated that 383,000 South Sudanese people have died as a result of the conflict (either due to violence or the wider impact of the conflict on food security and health services) during the period December 2013 to April 2018.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department for International Development
Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of official development assistance is distributed through faith-based organisations.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 17 December 2018

UK official development assistance is distributed through a wide range of bilateral and multilateral partners. DFID does not disaggregate and retain specific information on funding distributed to faith-based organisations. This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Mesothelioma: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to increase tariff payments from the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme in line with the Consumer Price Index; if so, when; and whether they intend to conduct a review of that Scheme.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 17 December 2018

When the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) was introduced in 2014 the payment tariffs were based on 80 percent of the average damages awarded in the civil courts. This amount was increased to 100 percent in 2015

This increase is far greater than if increases had been made in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For example, the highest DMPS payment for those aged 40 or under in 2014 was £216,896 and this was increased to £271,120 in 2015, and the lowest payment for those aged 90 or over increased from £69,649 to £87,061

Information about the value of court awards or out of court settlements in Diffuse Mesothelioma cases in the past three years is not available. The 'Study into average civil compensation in mesothelioma cases', published in 2014, estimated average (mean) civil compensation at £153,531 (in 2012 prices). The average payment under the DMPS for each of the last three years is £135,000, £141,000 and £145,000 respectively.

In line with commitments made during the passage of the Mesothelioma Bill, the intention is to review the payment tariffs, in due course, to ensure payments made under the Scheme are maintained at the appropriate level.

Research Report 2014 (PDF Document, 671.2 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL12013
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Mesothelioma: Compensation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the amount claimants to the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme receive compared to those with mesothelioma who successfully pursued civil claims; whether the difference in those amounts has increased in the past three years; and whether they will publish details of the average pay-out variations between the Scheme and civil claims.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 17 December 2018

When the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) was introduced in 2014 the payment tariffs were based on 80 percent of the average damages awarded in the civil courts. This amount was increased to 100 percent in 2015

This increase is far greater than if increases had been made in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For example, the highest DMPS payment for those aged 40 or under in 2014 was £216,896 and this was increased to £271,120 in 2015, and the lowest payment for those aged 90 or over increased from £69,649 to £87,061

Information about the value of court awards or out of court settlements in Diffuse Mesothelioma cases in the past three years is not available. The 'Study into average civil compensation in mesothelioma cases', published in 2014, estimated average (mean) civil compensation at £153,531 (in 2012 prices). The average payment under the DMPS for each of the last three years is £135,000, £141,000 and £145,000 respectively.

In line with commitments made during the passage of the Mesothelioma Bill, the intention is to review the payment tariffs, in due course, to ensure payments made under the Scheme are maintained at the appropriate level.

Research Report 2014 (PDF Document, 671.2 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL12012
Asked on: 17 December 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Centre for Social Justice Testing Times: Supporting fathers during the perinatal period and early parenthood, published on 16 December; and in particular its findings that (1) inspection frameworks related to maternity services, Health Visitors, and Children’s Centres contain few direct references to “fathers”, (2) 69 per cent of new fathers thought that they “were made to feel like a ‘spare part’ during the pregnancy period”, and (3) 55 per cent of low income fathers said they were left to “pick it up themselves” compared to only 29 per cent of higher income fathers.
Asked on: 17 December 2018
Department for Transport
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that estimates of land and property costs for HS2 given to the House of Commons were wrong; and what estimate they have made of the actual costs.
Asked on: 17 December 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many posthumous claims were made in 2017 under (1) the Coal Industry Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme, (2) the 2008 diffuse mesothelioma payments scheme, and (3) the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme; how much was awarded in total; and of those claims, how many were made on behalf of deceased (a) men, and (b) women.
Asked on: 04 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
South Sudan: Arms Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Conflict Armament Research, Weapon Supplies into South Sudan’s Civil War, published on 11 November, which states that (1) weapons from EU countries have been supplied to South Sudan despite an EU embargo, (2) such weapons are in use in South Sudan, and (3) the government of Uganda has acted as a conduit for the supply of weapons.
A
Answered on: 13 December 2018

The UK is deeply concerned by reports of alleged breaches by regional powers of the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan by the EU in 2011. We welcome the report by Conflict Armament Research as an important insight into the movement of arms that have such a devastating effect in perpetuating the suffering of the South Sudanese people. We strongly condemn any actions that could undermine or obstruct the path to peace in South Sudan, including enabling or facilitating the supply of weapons, equipment, or ammunition to parties of the conflict.

In addition to the 2011 EU arms embargo, we urge the region and the international community to fully uphold their obligation to rigorously enforce the UN arms embargo on South Sudan, as agreed in July by the UN Security Council.

Asked on: 13 December 2018
Home Office
Radicalism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, and if so, why, admission to the UK was given to radical clerics who have praised Mumtaz Qadri for killing Salmaan Taseer, the former Governor of the Punjab; and what assessment they have made of the comments of Haras Rafiq, Chief Executive of the Quilliam Foundation, that advocates of murder should not be given public platforms in the UK.
Asked on: 13 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Iran: Christianity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Iran about the reported arrest of over 100 Christians in Iran.
Asked on: 03 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Conflict Resolution
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of senior officials of the National Congress Party in Sudan, including President al-Bashir, discussing blackmail and other tactics to achieve a settlement in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile; and whether such reports will influence their engagement with the government of Sudan.
A
Answered on: 12 December 2018

We are aware of documents purporting to show records of private conversations that have been circulating on social media in Sudan. It is not possible to ascertain the veracity of these documents. The UK continues to press all sides to engage with AU-led international mediation efforts, and to negotiate in good faith to reach a lasting peace agreement in Sudan's conflict areas.

Asked on: 12 December 2018
Northern Ireland Office
Paediatrics: Pathology
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Northern Ireland Executive on (1) the recruitment of paediatric pathologists in Northern Ireland, and (2) steps being taken to enable post mortems of infants to be conducted in Northern Ireland.
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Home Office
Antisemitism: EU Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights report on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU; and what action they intend to take in response.
Asked on: 12 December 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
China: Prisoners
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the preliminary findings of the Independent Tribunal Into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners Of Conscience in China on allegations of forced organ harvesting from prisoners in China.
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