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 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 29 January 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Public Records: Commonwealth
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give access to documents held on Commonwealth nations and their independence movements to Commonwealth scholars unable to visit the National Archives without access to funding to meet current charges for copying and postage.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 18 February 2020

As a government department, The National Archives is obliged to charge for some of its public services, including research and record copying. These charges, agreed with HM Treasury, are set out in the Fees Regulations issued under the Public Records Act (1958) and are based on recovering the costs of providing these services. Digitised records on The National Archives’ website are always free to search but a charge of £3.50 per download generally applies to view the full transcription or download digital copies.


In line with its strategic vision of ‘Archives for Everyone’, The National Archives is engaged in a range of activities that aim to expand its audience and enhance access to its collections, both on site at its buildings at Kew and online. Recognising the particular interest in Commonwealth nations in a range of the public records in its collection, The National Archives is in ongoing and active dialogue with its peer institutions in Commonwealth nations, particularly through its membership of the International Council on Archives (ICA) and its leadership of the ICA’s Forum of National Archivists.

Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sudan: Politics and Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) freedom of religion or belief in Sudan, and (2) security sector reform, since the appointment of Abdalla Hamdok as Prime Minister; and what representations they have made to the government of Sudan about reports that Sudanese nationals have been detained for political reasons when returning to that country.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UK welcomes commitments by the new civilian government to improve human rights but significant issues remain. Sudan remains a priority country in the UK Annual Human Rights Report with promotion of human rights a key aspect of our engagement with Sudan. There are recent signs of progress on Freedom of Religion or Belief, including institutions observing Christian holidays and Christians being able to attend church services on Sundays. However, we remain concerned by ongoing issues and abuses which I raised with the Sudanese Ambassador on 28 January.

Reforms of the security sector in Sudan were enshrined in the Constitutional Declaration of 17 August 2019. Our Embassy in Khartoum is monitoring developments. Reforms will take time but will form an important part of Sudan's transition to democracy and support of human rights. Progress since the appointment of the civilian-led government includes the disbanding of the operational arm of the General Intelligence Service (formally National Intelligence and Security Services) and reorganisation of the top-level command structures of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

We are concerned by reports of political detainees, have called for their release, and for all detainees to be treated in accordance with international standards. We will continue to engage the Sudanese authorities and civil society on this issue.

Q
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: National Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of national conscripts, reported to be at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa's programme 'Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea'.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

UK support for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa project, to reconnect Eritrea and Ethiopia through the rehabilitation of the main roads, is conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of national service workers implementing the project. The project, run by the Eritrean state-owned company Segen Engineering, will employ approximately 300 civilian National Service workers who will receive technical and health and safety training.

We are not aware of any reports of sexual or gender-based violence connected with this project or within the construction industry as a whole. DFID works closely with the European Union on our joint agenda to safeguard against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. We will continue to review these specific concerns relating to Eritrean national service, and work with the EU to put further measures in place where we judge these are required.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
BBC: Iran
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of harassment experienced by BBC personnel in Iran; and what action they are taking in response.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We condemn the judicial persecution of family members of employees and ex-employees of BBC Persian, and are deeply concerned by the reports of any threats against journalists in the UK. The British Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom, which is vital to functioning societies, and the principle that journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues including restrictions on media freedom. On 29 January, the UK alongside Canada co-hosted the first official meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition in Geneva, a partnership of 35 countries working together to advocate the safety of journalists worldwide and to defend media freedom.

Q
Asked by Lord Mawson
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Visas: EU Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens working as crew on commercial vessels moving between EU countries will be able to remain within the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180 day period after December 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The EU has already legislated such that British nationals will not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. British nationals who intend to stay or travel in the Schengen area for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period may need a visa or permit from the relevant Member State to do so.

The Schengen Area provision for 90 days access in any 180-day period does not apply to those undertaking paid work or providing a service in the Schengen Area. British nationals should check with the Embassy of the relevant Member State for what kind of visa or permit, if any, they will need.

As set out by the Prime Minister, the United Kingdom is seeking to agree reciprocal commitments with the EU on the temporary entry and stay of individuals, so that both British nationals and EU citizens can undertake short-term business trips to supply services in each others' territories. The detail of these mobility arrangements will be negotiated. Information about travelling to the EU to provide a service is available on GOV.UK. We will update these pages as further information is available.

Q
Asked by Lord Mawson
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Visas: EU Countries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens working in the EU, whose role entails travelling between several EU countries, will be able to remain within the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180 day period after December 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

A frontier worker is a person who regularly works in one or more states in which they do not reside, irrespective of whether they also work in their state of residence. British nationals who are frontier workers in the EU before the end of the transition period are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This means that British nationals working in an EU Member State and resident in the United kingdom or another Member State before the end of the transition period will be able to continue to work as they do now.

British nationals who are not protected by the Withdrawal Agreement as frontier workers because they are not frontier working in the EU prior to the end of the transition period may require a visa or work permit from the relevant Member State (s) in order to undertake paid work in the EU. The Schengen Area provision for 90 days access in any 180-day period does not apply to those undertaking paid work or providing a service in the Schengen Area. British nationals should check with the Embassy of the relevant Member State for what kind of visa or permit, if any, they will need.

As set out by the Prime Minister, the United Kingdom is seeking to agree reciprocal commitments with the EU on the temporary entry and stay of individuals, so that both UK nationals and EU citizens can undertake short-term business trips to supply services in each others' territories. The detail of these mobility arrangements will be negotiated. Information about travelling to the EU to provide a service is available on GOV.UK We will update these pages as further information is available.

Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Government (a) Departments and (b) non-departmental public bodies are involved in formulating the response to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has requested assistance from the EU to fly UK citizens back from China since the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the management of the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to raise public awareness of how to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus in the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) staff and (b) equipment required to respond to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12339 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the additional funding required by the NHS to respond to the Coronavirus.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12340 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in the UK.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12341
Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government's Coronavirus public health campaign, launched on 1 February 2020.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have launched a public information campaign, setting out how every member of the public can help to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom by taking simple steps to minimise the risk to themselves and their families: washing hands and using tissues when they sneeze, just as they would with flu.

We also have posters up at every international airport advising travellers on what to do should they develop symptoms, and we provide regularly updated guidance for the public at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

The Department works closely with Public Health England and NHS England in all aspects of our response. We have also been working across government and with our partners in the devolved administrations since the beginning of the outbreak. We have coordinated cross governmental Ministerial and officials’ meetings to ensure and formulate a coherent response. These include the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Transport, Foreign Office and Home Office amongst many others.

We have collaborated with European Union partners on repatriation flights. 11 UK entitled persons were repatriated on a French flight and we have helped to bring a number of Spanish nationals out of Wuhan on the first of our two repatriation flights.

We are also in regular contact with colleagues in the EU through meetings such as the Global Health Security Initiative and the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS).

Public Health England ensure that someone with coronavirus does not put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with.

The Department has made £40 million available to fund Covid-19 related research and speed up the development of a vaccine. However, as the incident remains ongoing it is too early to state the total cost to the public purse and more broadly the number of staff and or equipment required to respond to the incident.

Grouped Questions: 12334 | 12335 | 12336 | 12337 | 12338 | 12339 | 12340
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for International Development
UK-Africa Investment Summit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any consultancies were used to help deliver the UK–Africa Investment Summit 2020; and if so, why.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The production aspects of the UK-Africa Investment Summit were contracted out to specialist event companies, as is normal government practice. We also used contractors to design and run the series of pre-events, to undertake analysis of trade and investment trends, and to assess the Summit's impact. These organisations complemented the large cross-government team of policy officials who delivered the Summit.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock: Disability
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many railway vehicles which do not comply with the “Persons with Reduced Mobility, Technical Specifications for Inter-operability” remained in service after the deadline for their withdrawal expired on 1 January 2020.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

There are no vehicles in scheduled passenger service which are fully exempted from the requirements of the PRM-TSI. There are around 1,300 vehicles (9%) in the national fleet with short term, time-limited dispensations against a range of non-compliances with standards in the PRM-TSI. As these vehicles are upgraded and replaced the number in service diminishes throughout the coming months.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Transport
Rolling Stock: Disability
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assess any non-compliance with the Persons with Reduced Mobility, Technical Specifications for Inter-operability after 1 January 2020; and whether any such assesment will (1) include the effect of late orders of new vehicles and modifications to existing vehicles, and (2) the management of the cascade programme by the Department for Transport.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

A number of operators have been issued with strictly time-limited dispensation notices against non-compliances with the Persons with Reduced Mobility Technical Specifications for Interoperability. As part of these limited dispensations, operators are required to provide evidence that the introduction of new or refurbished stock remains on track. It remains the responsibility of the operator to ensure they meet the requirements for compliance with accessibility legislation.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 04 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sewage: Water Treatment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 29 January (HL608), what powers exist to curtail housing developments in the Thames Valley until sufficient capacity for treating sewage has been developed by Thames Water.
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Water Industry Act 1991 places a duty on water and sewerage companies to provide, maintain and extend a system of public sewers to ensure that the area is and continues to be effectually drained. Water and sewerage companies and the Environment Agency are statutory consultees on local authority development plans, which provide the primary means of determining where future development should be located, including in respect of wastewater infrastructure. Local councils in their role as local planning authorities adjudicate on individual planning applications which, under planning law, must be decided in accordance with the development plan, subject to other material planning considerations. Water and sewerage companies can comment on individual applications and their representations should be taken into account by the planning authority where they raise material planning considerations.

Q
(West Worcestershire)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Mission in Darfur
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support the UK is providing to the UNAMID peacekeeping mandate in Sudan; and what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of that mandate.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 18 February 2020

As a member of the UN Security Council the UK has a long-standing role in supporting sustainable peace in those areas of Sudan where UN peacekeeping missions are in place (Darfur and Abyei). This includes the UK's commitment to funding peacekeeping missions globally through the "assessed contribution" system and our role as the penholder, alongside Germany, on the mandate for the UN/African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). This work has helped to ensure that the peacekeeping presence addresses the needs on the ground. We also welcomed the UN Security Council decision to extend the UNAMID mandate until 31 October while options for any future presence are developed. We continue to work with the UN, AU and the Government of Sudan to consider the appropriate scope of UN support to Darfur and Sudan.

We commend the role that UNAMID has played in the protection of civilians in Darfur since its creation in 2007 and its work to assist in bringing stability to the region. One of the largest factors influencing the effectiveness of the UNAMID mandate and its implementation has been the approach of the Government of Sudan. This has seen significant shifts since the revolution of 2019, including progress in peace talks on Darfur. We are encouraged by the recently appointed civilian-led government's pledge to facilitate unfettered access across Sudan, including in Darfur, for the UN. We remain concerned of reports that this has not been consistently implemented and continue to make clear the importance of unfettered access across Sudan for humanitarian actors and the UN at the highest levels.

We welcome the priority the civilian-led government of Sudan has given to securing a peace deal for Darfur, and the progress made in talks in Juba with armed opposition groups. Addressing the long-term drivers of conflict will contribute to the success of Sudan's transition to democracy and economic recovery. As a leading donor the UK is working closely with the civilian-led government and international partners to support implementation of the reforms needed to ensure that transition benefits all Sudanese.

Q
(West Worcestershire)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
UN Mission in South Sudan
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affiars, what support his Department provides to the UNMISS peacekeeping mandate in South Sudan; and what assessment his department has made of the effectiveness of that mandate.
A
Answered by: James Duddridge
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) mandate is due for renewal by 15 March. We will continue to work with UN Security Council members to ensure this is extended and that the mission continues to have a mandate that focuses on: protection of civilians; human rights; peace process support; and humanitarian aid delivery. We continue to assess that these core tasks remain relevant and important, including as the peace process moves into the next phase if a government of national unity forms by the 22 February deadline.

As a member of the UN Security Council, the UK has a long-standing role in supporting the peace process in South Sudan and supporting UNMISS. This includes the UK's commitment to funding peacekeeping missions globally through contributed funds of £51.45m (in FY 2018/19) and circa 300 UK peacekeepers who have provided medical and engineering support to UNMISS since 2016.

Successes of the UK military contribution includes the building of a UN hospital in Bentiu, the upgrading of 15km of road used to deliver vital food and aid, as well as making a wider contribution to UN peacekeeping reform. In particular we commend the role that UNMISS and its leadership have played in the protection of civilians in South Sudan, and supporting both to human rights work and the peace process.

One of the largest factors influencing the effectiveness of the UNMISS mandate and its implementation has been the approach and the political will of the Government of South Sudan and opposition groups. The number of access issues has reduced since the signing of the 2018 peace agreement, but we are concerned by continued denials of access and hope this will improve as the peace agreement is implemented in full. Through our bilateral engagement we continue to make clear at the highest levels the importance of unfettered access across South Sudan for humanitarian actors and the UN.

Q
(East Lothian)
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Leader of the House
Voting Rights: Scotland
Commons
To ask the Leader of the House, whether he plans to commemorate the scottish political martyrs of 1820 for supporting universal suffrage.
A
Answered by: Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The specific matter raised does not fall within my ministerial responsibilities, however the Hon member may wish to raise the issue with the House of Commons Commission directly.

Asked on: 05 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Africa: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration is given to national debt levels, and resourcing of such debt, when developing UK aid and foreign policy for African countries.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We work with our African partners to encourage them to manage debt effectively and ensure any new borrowing is in line with international standards and used for productive investment. The UK also works with a range of actors, including borrowers, creditors (private sector and bilateral) and international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to promote debt sustainability and transparency. Our focus is on creating an international debt system that supports borrowers to make the right decisions for long-term African growth and prosperity.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 05 February 2020
Department for Transport
Railways: Freight
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 3 February (HL551), whether the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline takes into account the Government's net carbon emissions target for 2050 and its effects on heavy road haulage.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

This year we will publish a Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which will set out a credible and ambitious plan to ensure transport, including rail, delivers its contribution to net zero. The Government takes account of such wider strategies when upgrade schemes are appraised through the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline.

Q
Asked by Jane Hunt
(Loughborough)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Farmers: Government Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on supporting farmers to (a) maintain existing and (b) develop new routes to market after the transition period.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Food and drink exports are a success story. Exports have increased by 24% in real terms since 2010. The Government is determined to help maintain existing and develop new export opportunities. This includes through ongoing market access and via showcasing and promoting our excellent food and drink even more in the years to come.

Exports are an important driver of growth in the food and drink sector, allowing it to become more resilient, competitive and profitable. The UK’s growing reputation for high quality food and drink, with high standards of food safety, animal welfare and sustainability, is an excellent platform to increase overseas demand for our products further. Defra’s ‘Food is GREAT’ campaign is raising the profile and reputation of British food and drink overseas by building global demand and increasing positive perceptions of the UK’s food and drink products, as demonstrated by recent campaign activity in Japan to promote beef and lamb exports from the UK, following opening up of market access last year.

Defra, in collaboration with the Department for International Trade and representatives of the food and drink sector, is developing a replacement for the existing International Action Plan for Food and Drink, which will set out the future export ambitions for the sector. This includes reviewing the support we offer in market, building on the success of Defra’s first agriculture counsellor in Beijing.

As set out in the Government’s election manifesto, we have ambitious goals for British trade. As of 31 January 2020, when the UK left the EU, we had successfully concluded and signed trade continuity agreements with 48 countries. This accounts for £110 billion of UK trade in 2018. We will be continuing our programme to replicate existing EU trade agreements with trading partners to ensure continuity for UK businesses following the transition period. An up-to-date list of trade continuity agreements, signed and in discussion, is available on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-trade-agreements-with-non-eu-countries.

We aim to have 80 per cent of UK trade with countries covered by free trade agreements within the next three years, starting with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. This will further present new routes to market for British farmers. We are also working hard to secure a free trade agreement with the EU that will provide tariff-free access to the EU market for UK goods, and facilitative customs arrangements that will ensure smooth trade.

Q
Asked by Luke Pollard
(Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the average percentage variation between the live weight (a) shown on logbooks for fishing vessels of 10m and over registered in England and (b) derived from sales notes for (i) cod, (ii) monkfish, (iii) brill, (iv) whiting, (v) gurnard, (vi) lemon sole, (vii) squid, (viii) megrim, (ix) plaice, (x) red mullet and (xi) John Dory in 2019.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The following data shows the percentage change between the live weight of landed catch as recorded in logbooks, landing declarations and sales notes, for the species referred to, as reported by English administered over-10 metre vessels landed into UK ports in 2019. This information is based on data currently held by the Marine Management Organisation.

It should be noted that this data is yet to go through full validation checks, undertaken each year in advance of publication of the UK Annual Sea Fisheries Statistics. In addition, whilst valuable for initial cross-checking, the logbook is essentially a diary record of fishing activity maintained by skippers and not the formal landing declaration which documents the precise weight of landed catch.

Logbook, landing declaration and sales note live weights for selected species reported by English administered over 10 m vessels landed in to UK ports: Unvalidated data 2019 nei = not elsewhere included

Species Name

Logbook Live Weight (tonnes)

Sales Note Live Weight (tonnes)

Landing Declaration Live Weight (tonnes)

Logbook to Sales Note Percentage Change

Logbook to Landing Declaration Percentage Change

Anglerfishes nei

4,092

2,907

4,167

-29%

2%

Atlantic cod

5,750

2,660

5,652

-54%

-2%

Brill

228

251

255

10%

12%

Common squids nei

122

264

185

116%

51%

European plaice

1,484

1,515

1,542

2%

4%

Gurnard

853

872

970

2%

14%

John dory

106

138

137

30%

29%

Lemon sole

594

644

728

8%

23%

Megrims nei

840

795

841

-5%

0%

Red mullets

36

46

47

28%

30%

Whiting

2,206

2,258

2,379

2%

8%

Source: UK Fisheries Administrations

Q
Asked by Jo Stevens
(Cardiff Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture: Import Duties
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing agricultural tariffs on US imports on the viability of small and medium sized UK farms.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 18 February 2020

There has been no specific assessment completed of the impacts of the removal of tariffs on a bilateral basis on the viability of small and medium sized farms. Defra will consider the interests of all farmers, producers and consumers in the formulation of the Government’s future trade policy, including for a future trade agreement with the United States.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Trees: Imports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures are in place to ensure that invasive tree pests and diseases are not imported on trees for plantation; whether additional steps will be taken to improve biosecurity after the transition period; and what biosecurity standards to prevent the import of invasive tree pests and diseases will be applied to new free trade deals that the UK agrees with (a) the US and (b) other countries.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UK has robust controls in place to protect against tree pest and disease threats. These include being the most prolific user of the EU Protected Zone system, comprehensive official inspections and surveillance, and a statutory notification scheme for certain tree species imported from the EU. The UK operates under WTO obligations and will apply the EU Plant Health Regulation (which came into force in December 2019) until the end of the Transition Period. This risk-based regime prohibits or controls the import of high risk plants and planting material from third countries. The UK frequently uses national measures to enhance these biosecurity provisions. Horizon scanning for any new and emerging threats associated with tree imports is carried out continuously and the results are considered monthly by all UK Plant Health Authorities, facilitated by the Defra chaired UK Plant Health Risk Group. The UK Plant Health Risk Register (UKPHRR) is the principal screening tool used for this purpose and all outputs are published. The UKPHRR now has over 1000 entries (300 of which can impact trees), informing decision making and prioritisation in relation to tree health threats. UK legislation is updated on a frequent basis to protect against new and revised threats.

After the Transition Period, the UK will continue with our risk based approach to maintain strong biosecurity protections. We will maintain our own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect plant health and the environment, reflecting our existing high standards. The UK will introduce import controls on EU goods at the border and will continue to have controls on other third country goods. This will allow the UK to keep our borders safe and bio-secure.

The UK is proud of its world-leading biosecurity standards. We will not lower our standards nor put the UK’s biosecurity at risk as we negotiate new trade deals. We are already considering what additional measures it might now be appropriate to introduce against key threats such as Xylella fastidiosa and the Emerald ash borer. In planning for all scenarios, we have always had three key objectives: to maintain current high levels of UK plant health biosecurity; to maintain the flow of goods at the border; and to minimise impacts on businesses.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Terrorism: Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners convicted of terrorist-related offences were released on temporary licence in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) enables offenders to participate in activities outside of prison, directly contributing to community resettlement, helping with their rehabilitation and development of a purposeful, law-abiding life. There is no entitlement to ROTL. It is discretionary and only allowed following a robust risk assessment of each offender.

Following the Fishmongers’ Hall attack, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) acted quickly to strengthen safeguarding measures around ROTL. No terrorist or terrorist-risk offender will be released on temporary licence (ROTL) until their risk has first been assured by the Home Office and Ministry of Justice Joint Extremism Unit. We will continue to review this policy moving forward.

The requested information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Please find a table showing the number of people in custody for terrorism-related offences between September 2016 and September 2019.

Number of persons in custody for terrorism-related offences (Great Britain)

30 Sep 2016

30 Sep 2017

30 Sep 2018

30 Sep 2019

Total

169

213

224

224

Q
Asked by Lord Boateng
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress in Cameroon in enhancing the security and human rights of Anglophone and Francophone communities in that country.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, which is affecting both Anglophone and Francophone communities. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns on human rights at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, at the United Nations (UN), and with international partners. The Government of Cameroon convened a National Dialogue in October 2019, and legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions was passed in December. These are welcome initial steps forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. The UK has shared experiences on conflict resolution with the Government of Cameroon and remains ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives.

Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Transport
Road Traffic Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local authorities proposing to permanently close roads or divert traffic from existing routes have any obligation to (1) estimate, and (2) consider, the net impact of any such closures or diversions on total national emissions, rather than solely the roads subject to closure or reduction in use.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Highway authorities are responsible for managing their road networks and for proposing and making all types of Traffic Orders. There is no specific legal requirement for highway authorities proposing to permanently close roads or divert traffic via Traffic Orders to assess the impact on emissions. There are requirements for them to consult, in some circumstances, local businesses, communities and those affected by the changes.

There are specific circumstances when referral of Traffic Orders is made to the Secretary of State, for example, in relation to extending experimental Traffic Orders or where the same road has been closed several times for special events. The Government has no authority to review changes made by Traffic Orders which may impact on emissions.

Elected authorities, including elected mayors, are not provided with any duties under transport legislation to monitor the impact of emissions in their areas of responsibility.

Grouped Questions: HL1426 | HL1427
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Transport
Road Traffic Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what authority they have to review changes of road use introduced by local authorities which have proven to have a demonstrably large and negative effect on total emission levels.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Highway authorities are responsible for managing their road networks and for proposing and making all types of Traffic Orders. There is no specific legal requirement for highway authorities proposing to permanently close roads or divert traffic via Traffic Orders to assess the impact on emissions. There are requirements for them to consult, in some circumstances, local businesses, communities and those affected by the changes.

There are specific circumstances when referral of Traffic Orders is made to the Secretary of State, for example, in relation to extending experimental Traffic Orders or where the same road has been closed several times for special events. The Government has no authority to review changes made by Traffic Orders which may impact on emissions.

Elected authorities, including elected mayors, are not provided with any duties under transport legislation to monitor the impact of emissions in their areas of responsibility.

Grouped Questions: HL1425 | HL1427
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Transport
Road Traffic Control
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any elected authorities, including elected mayors, other than local authorities have any responsibility to monitor the overall impact on emissions of individual road closures and changes in use introduced within those authorities' boundaries.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Highway authorities are responsible for managing their road networks and for proposing and making all types of Traffic Orders. There is no specific legal requirement for highway authorities proposing to permanently close roads or divert traffic via Traffic Orders to assess the impact on emissions. There are requirements for them to consult, in some circumstances, local businesses, communities and those affected by the changes.

There are specific circumstances when referral of Traffic Orders is made to the Secretary of State, for example, in relation to extending experimental Traffic Orders or where the same road has been closed several times for special events. The Government has no authority to review changes made by Traffic Orders which may impact on emissions.

Elected authorities, including elected mayors, are not provided with any duties under transport legislation to monitor the impact of emissions in their areas of responsibility.

Grouped Questions: HL1425 | HL1426
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of offenders that received a (a) first and (b) second or subsequent immediate custodial sentence have previously served (i) no, (ii) between one and four, (iii) between five and nine and (iv) more than 10 community sentences in the latest year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Data for the year ending March 2019 on the numbers and proportions of offenders receiving their first, or a second or subsequent, immediate custodial sentence, broken down by the number of previous community sentences they had previously served, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 17.88 KB)
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Pre-sentence Reports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on trends in the level of sentencing of pre-sentence reports not including the option of a suspended sentence.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Following the Sentencing Council’s 2017 guideline on the Imposition of Community and Custodial Sentences, which noted the status of suspended sentence orders as a custodial sentence, guidance was issued to National Probation Service staff. The guidance instructed staff that suspended sentence orders should not be recommended as a distinct option from custodial sentences, when requested to deliver a pre-sentence report to the court.

Since the change in guidance, there was a decline in the proportion of suspended sentences in 2018. However, the determination of the most appropriate sentence for an offender remains a matter of judicial discretion, based on the offender before the court and having regard to sentencing guidelines. It is not possible to attribute the change in guidance to the trends in sentencing outcomes.

Q
(Hendon)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sharks: Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a limit on the number of each shark species caught in UK territorial waters.
A
Answered by: Victoria Prentis
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The UK strongly supports the need to ensure scientifically robust catch limits are in place for all shark species exploited commercially within and outside of UK territorial waters.

The Common Fisheries Policy, which we will continue to follow during the transition period, already provides a framework for the protection and management of sharks within UK waters. Beyond this, the UK will continue to use the most recent scientific advice when setting Total Allowable Catches and Quotas. Landing prohibitions remain in place for angel shark, basking shark, white shark, spurdog and porbeagle shark.

Owing to the often highly migratory nature of elasmobranchs, as they move across national and international boundaries regularly, it is important that management is implemented throughout the range of the species rather than in isolation. Therefore, the UK continues to press for the establishment of scientifically justified catch limits for commercially exploited sharks within international Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Asked on: 07 February 2020
Department for Transport
Unmanned Air Vehicles
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Vere of Norbiton on 4 February (HL705), whether the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone and Model Aircraft Code includes rules regarding the disturbance of wildlife; and if not, why not.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone and Model Aircraft Code provides important guidance on how to fly responsibly and within the law. Point 7 of the Drone and Model Aircraft Code has a section reminding users not to fly where animals would be disturbed. Some local authorities also have Byelaws which restrict flight in places such as forests and parks to ensure that wildlife is protected.

Asked on: 10 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Norfolk Island
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Norfolk Island (1) was within the geographical boundaries of the Commonwealth of Australia or any State thereof when the power to make laws for Norfolk Island was given to the Commonwealth of Australia in 1914, or (2) has since become within those boundaries.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Norfolk Island has been a Territory of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1914 and its governance is a matter for that country.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cameroon: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of escalating violence and human rights abuses towards Anglophone communities in Cameroon; and what steps they are taking to prevent any continued violence or abuse.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for an end to the violence and investigations into all reports of human rights violations and abuses. We continue to maintain a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, at the United Nations (UN) and with international partners. The Government of Cameroon convened a National Dialogue in October 2019, and legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions was passed in December. These are welcome initial steps forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the crisis.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Freehold: Fees and Charges
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to protect freeholders against service charges and other fees and charges.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Government is committed to promoting fairness and transparency for homeowners and ensuring that consumers are protected from abuse and poor service. The Government is aware that homeowners could be subject to a possession order or the granting of a lease of their home by the rentcharge owner over rentcharge arrears. As part of our leasehold reform work, we are moving forward with legislation to repeal Section 121 of the Law of Property Act 1925 to ensure homeowners are not subjected to unfair possession orders.

Furthermore, where people pay estate rentcharges, it is not right that these homeowners have limited rights to challenge these costs. That is why the Government intends to legislate to give freeholders on private and mixed-tenure estates equivalent rights to leaseholders to challenge the reasonableness of estate rent charges.

The Government also asked the Regulation of Property Agents working group, chaired by Lord Best, to look at how service charges for leaseholders - and estate rent charges for resident freehold homeowners - could be made more transparent. The group also considered in what circumstances other fees and charges, such as administration charges or permission fees which affect both leaseholders and freeholders, are justified or whether they should be capped or banned. The working group published its final report to in July 2019 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulation-of-property-agents-working-group-report). We are considering the report’s recommendations and will announce next steps in due course.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the trends in the prison population of (a) male and (b) female prisoners over the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The table below contains annual male and female prison population as at 30 June each year since 2010.

Date

Males

Females

Total

30-Jun-10

80,735

4,267

85,002

30-Jun-11

81,189

4,185

85,374

30-Jun-12

81,925

4,123

86,048

30-Jun-13

79,989

3,853

83,842

30-Jun-14

81,580

3,929

85,509

30-Jun-15

82,289

3,904

86,193

30-Jun-16

81,272

3,862

85,134

30-Jun-17

81,856

4,007

85,863

30-Jun-18

78,970

3,803

82,773

30-Jun-19

78,940

3,770

82,710

The data are based on snapshots and do not provide an indication of all prisoners who have entered custody within the timescales shown. The data are derived from the Offender Management Statistics Quarterly publication by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/offender-management-statistics-quarterly

All data shown are based on the prison population at 30 June of each representative year. This tool has been designed for high level analytical purposes only. The detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system. While the figures shown have been checked as far as practicable, they should be regarded as approximate and not necessarily accurate to the last whole number shown in the tables. They are fit to be used for comparing the relative magnitude of components.

We keep the prison population and capacity under careful review to ensure that there are always sufficient spaces for those sentenced to custody.

In August the Prime Minister announced an investment of up to £2.5bn to transform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places, on top of the 3,360 already being delivered at Wellingborough and Glen Parva.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Knives: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of all sentences for (a) possession of and (b) threatening with a knife were custodial sentences in the last 12 months for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Ministry of Justice has published information on offenders sentenced to custody for possession of and threatening with a knife, up to December 2018, which is available in the detailed offences ‘HO Code data tool’, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/804510/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2018.xlsx

In each case, in the field labelled ‘Detailed Offence’, filter by:

  1. ‘Having an article with a blade or point in a public place’, ‘Having an article with a blade or point on school premises’ and ‘Unauthorised possession in prison of knife or offensive weapon’

  2. ‘Threaten with a blade or sharply pointed article on school premises’ and ‘Threaten with blade/sharply pointed article in a public place’

The proportion of those sentenced who received a custodial sentence can be found by dividing ‘Immediate Custody’ (Row 41) by ‘Sentenced’ (Row 33).

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Foreign Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many foreign national prisoners from each country were convicted of each offence type in the last year for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Any foreign national who comes to our country and abuses our hospitality by breaking the law should be in no doubt of our determination to punish and deport them. More than 51,000 foreign national offenders have been removed from the UK since 2010, and in the last financial year more than 5,000 were removed from prisons, immigration removal centres, and the community.

The table attached provides the information on the offence types for foreign national prisoners.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 28.35 KB)
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Open Prisons
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for which offences were prisoners in open prisons or open wings of closed prisons serving their sentence as at 1 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Re categorisation to security category D and allocation to open prison is not a right or an automatic progression. Only prisoners who have been risk assessed as manageable in very low security conditions will be transferred to an open prison. In cases of life sentenced or indeterminate sentenced prisoners the Parole Board will make a recommendation as to suitability for open conditions.

The attached document shows a table of Sentenced prison population recorded as having a Category D individual-level security category as at 31 December 2019, England & Wales. This includes 'Female Open' and 'YOI Open' categorised prisoners. It should be noted that whilst the majority of these prisoners would be held in open conditions (either in open prisons, or on open wings within closed prisons) a number of these prisoners would be in non-open conditions while awaiting transfer to open conditions.

Attachment (PDF Document, 30.1 KB)
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Homicide: Reoffenders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been murdered since 2017 by people who were previously convicted of murder and then released having served their prison sentences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Serious further offences are very rare. Fewer than 0.5% of offenders under statutory supervision are charged with a serious further offence.

Anyone convicted of murder is sentenced to a mandatory life sentence. The convicted murderer is eligible for release on life licence only once he has completed the minimum term (tariff) specified by the Court at the point of sentence. It falls to the independent Parole Board to determine whether to release a life sentence prisoner who has completed his minimum term and the Board will direct release only where it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the purposes of public protection for the prisoner to remain confined.

Section 21 of Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out the starting point for the sentencing Judge to impose a whole life tariff in cases where an offender has been previously convicted of murder. Whole life orders are the most severe form of punishment, such sentences have no tariff and no possibility of parole board release.

Since 2017, three1 2 people have been murdered by offenders subject to supervision on a life licence for murder at the time.

This figure includes two victims who were included in the data provided to answer PQ 140689 from the last session.

  1. This figure only includes convictions for murder by life sentence prisoners on supervision that have been notified to HMPPS.

  2. Data Sources and Quality. We have drawn these figures from administrative IT systems which, as with some large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent research his Department has commissioned on the cost implications of increasing magistrates sentencing powers to 12 months for a single offence; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Government has no current plans to increase magistrates’ custodial sentencing powers and has made no recent assessment of the impact of doing so.

Grouped Questions: 14643
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to increase magistrates' sentencing powers to 12 months for a single offence; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Government has no current plans to increase magistrates’ custodial sentencing powers and has made no recent assessment of the impact of doing so.

Grouped Questions: 14642
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Alternatives to Prosecution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of participation in out-of-court disposals on re-offending rates.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The latest statistics for adult re-offending rates following police cautions can be found at tab C1a

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/861981/proven-reoffending-jan18-mar18-3-monthly.ods

Note that reoffending rates are not available on the full range of Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs).

The Ministry of Justice supported pilots (2014-2015) by police around greater use of OOCDs with conditions attached. We published an evaluation of these pilots which can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/718947/adult-out-of-court-disposal-pilot-evaluation.pdf and an additional 12-month follow-up proven reoffending analysis report which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/out-of-court-disposals-pilot-cautions-reoffending-analysis

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Legal Systems: Islam
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has allocated funding from the public purse to sharia councils in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Ministry of Justice has not funded the operation of sharia councils in the last three years, as these organisations are not part of the justice system. Community organisations may apply to various Government Departments for a range of grants for particular purposes. A list of grant schemes run by government departments can be found at gov.uk.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Rape: Convictions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the conviction rate for rape involving (a) female and (b) male victims was in the last 12 months for which information is available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Rape and sexual violence are devastating crimes that can have a long-lasting impact. We are committed to ensuring that these appalling crimes are tackled effectively and victims have access to high quality support services that meet their needs.

The Ministry of Justice publishes information on convictions and sentencing in England and Wales, up to December 2018. This information, relating to specific offences, can be found using the Outcomes by Offence data tool. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

Filter by offence to include the following offences:

  1. 19C Rape of a female aged 16 or over.

19D Rape of a female aged under 16.

19E Rape of a female child under 13 by a male.

  1. 19F Rape of a male aged 16 or over.

19G Rape of a male aged under 16.

19H Rape of a male child under 13 by a male.

The number of individuals prosecuted will be shown in row 24 and the number of individuals convicted will be shown in row 25. The conviction ratio can be calculated by dividing the number of individuals convicted by the number proceeded against – note that this is a simple ratio of the number of convictions in the year with the number of prosecutions and so is not ‘matched’, ie. Many convictions in a year will relate to prosecutions figures that will be counted in earlier years.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Homosexuality
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of (a) male prisoners are gay and (b) female prisoners are lesbian.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The attached table provides a breakdown of prisoners who have identified as gay or lesbian.

Data on the number of transgender prisoners is released as part of the Offender Equalities Report 2018/19. The most recent figures were released in November last year and noted that there were 163 transgender prisoners as at the end of March 2019, representing less than 0.2% of the total prison population at that time. Transgender prisoners were defined as those individuals known within prison to be currently living in, or are presenting in, a gender different to their sex assigned at birth and who have had a case conference (as defined by PSI 17/2016 The Care and Management of Transgender Offenders). Further information can be found at the following link;

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/848759/hmpps-offender-equalities-2018-19.pdf

We are committed to ensuring that gay, lesbian and transgender prisoners are treated fairly, lawfully and decently, with their rights and safety properly respected. Regardless of where an individual is being held, we expect that they will be respected.

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