Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 05 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Peers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many members of the House of Lords hold (a) paid and (b) unpaid roles within (i) his Department and (ii) his Department's agencies.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Department does not hold a definitive central record of all those who hold roles, either paid or unpaid, who are members of the House of Lords.

One of the Department’s Ministers is a member of the House of Lords - Lord Gardiner of Kimble; Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity.

There are 2 members of the House of Lords who are appointed as non-executive Board members across Defra’s Executive Agencies, non-Ministerial Departments and executive Non Departmental Public Bodies.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 05 September 2018
Home Office
Deportation: Sudan
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider Khartoum to be a safe place to which to deport non-Arab Sudanese migrants.
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Home Office’s assessment of the situation for Sudanese asylum seekers is set out in the relevant country policy and information notes, which are available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sudan-country-policy-and-information-notes.

As they set out, a consideration of whether it is safe for a person to return to Khartoum will depend on the individual facts of their case.

Country analysis and general guidance for Home Office decision makers on handling particular types of protection and human rights claims. This includes whether claims are likely to justify granting asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, and whether – if a claim is refused – it is likely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Asked on: 06 September 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are confident that they will be able to secure an initial deal on Brexit by 18–19 October European Council meeting.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Both the UK and EU are working towards reaching an agreement in October. The UK’s main priority remains getting a good deal, and we are still working to ensure we get that good deal within the timetable that enables us to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 07 September 2018
Ministry of Justice
Berwyn Prison
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on what dates (a) he and (b) Ministers of his Department have visited HMP Berwyn since February 2017.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Secretary of State for Justice (a) and Ministers in the department (b) have not visited HMP Berwyn since February 2017. The Minister of State intends to visit before the end of the year.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
ANEC
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of UK consumer representatives to ANEC: the European consumer voice for standardisation, particularly in relation to product safety.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 24 September 2018

All stakeholder views, including those of consumers, should be represented in the development of standards.

ANEC is chaired by a representative from the UK National Consumer Federation and independent experts from the UK are active in ANEC Working Groups including on product safety.

The Government published its Strategy for Product Safety over the summer and is engaging with many consumer groups, including the UK National Consumer Federation, in taking the strategy forward.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
ANEC
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to continue to participate in ANEC: the European consumer voice in standardisation, after Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 24 September 2018

All stakeholder views, including those of consumers, should be represented in the development of standards.

ANEC is chaired by a representative from the UK National Consumer Federation and independent experts from the UK are active in ANEC Working Groups including on product safety.

The Government published its Strategy for Product Safety over the summer and is engaging with many consumer groups, including the UK National Consumer Federation, in taking the strategy forward.

The UK’s standards body, the British Standards Institution, also has its own consumer network to ensure that the voice of UK consumers is represented in the European standardisation process.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Ministry of Defence
Middle East: Islamic State
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of IS fighters who remain in (1) Syria, and (2) Iraq; and what is their assessment of the threat those fighters pose.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Daesh has lost over 99% of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria and the Coalition assesses there are currently not enough Daesh fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria to make any further significant territorial gains. However, Daesh has dispersed into a cellular structure in order to maintain some form of insurgency activity, including through extortion, planting improvised explosive devices, kidnapping and mounting terrorist attacks. As part of the Global Coalition, the UK subscribes to this assessment and aims to remove any opportunity for Daesh to pose a threat to the security of Iraq, the UK and our allies.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Capital Punishment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia concerning the proposed execution of five human rights activists.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

​We are monitoring closely the cases of all detained activists, in particular those cases in which the public prosecutor has recommended the death penalty. We will attend all trials of international concern that we are able to. Ministers frequently discuss human rights with the Saudi Arabian Government and have raised specific concerns about the prosecution of human rights activists on four occasions between May and September 2018.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Home Office
Agriculture: Seasonal Workers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide visas for seasonal agricultural workers and to ensure that there will be a sufficient number of such workers to meet harvest need.
Answered on: 24 September 2018

I refer the Noble Prelate to the Written Ministerial Statement (HLWS911) my Rt. hon friend the Home Secretary made on 6 September 2018. A copy of which is attached for your reference.

The pilot will mean fruit and vegetable farmers are able to employ migrant workers for seasonal work for up to six months. 2,500 workers from outside the EU will be able to come to the UK each year, alleviating labour shortages during peak production periods.

The Seasonal Workers pilot will be run by two scheme operators, who will oversee the placement of the workers. The arrangements for selecting these will be announced in due course.The pilot will run until the end of December 2020 and will be monitored closely by the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

HLWS911 (Written Ministerial Statement) (PDF Document, 242.33 KB)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Postage Stamps
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to commission, or support the issue of, postage stamps to commemorate the contribution made by UK troops to operations in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Matters relating to postage stamps, including special commemorative stamps, are the responsibility of Royal Mail.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Scallops: Fisheries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend that any agreement between the UK and France on the recent scallop dispute shall be retained after Brexit.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

From 2020, the UK will negotiate access and fishing opportunities annually, with the EU and other third countries as an independent coastal state. As part of this process, the UK will seek to continue cooperating with the EU on the sustainable management of fish stocks.

Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Manufacturing Industries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to implement a long-term strategy to help boost growth in the manufacturing sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Henley
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Britain has a proud manufacturing heritage currently supporting 2.7 million jobs across the country. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are creating opportunities for UK manufacturing to build on its strengths and continue to grow.

We are working closely with industry to secure a strong future for UK manufacturers through major new investment in research, with a commitment to increase total R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. In addition, we are:

  • Investing £1bn through the ambitious new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, bringing together world class UK research with business investment to develop the technologies and industries of the future;
  • Reforming our technical education system to achieve a world-class status;
  • Developing a National Retraining Scheme to support adults to upskill and reskill throughout their career as the economy changes;
  • Creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a domestic programme of investment to boost productivity and reduce economic inequality across the country following our departure from the European Union;
  • Working with industry to exploit opportunities highlighted in the Made Smarter Review, which identifies significant benefits to the UK from integrating digital technology into manufacturing through a strong government and industry partnership.
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Department for International Trade
Trade Agreements
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate any additional costs associated with the necessary renegotiation over trading agreements between the UK and European Free Trade Association countries and Turkey.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Department was created in July 2016 following the result of the EU referendum and was specifically established as part of the government’s EU exit strategy. Given DIT’s objectives, all funding contributes to preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU. As per the 2018-19 Main Estimates, DIT’s total funding is £360.6m.

It was announced in March 2017 that DIT would also receive £74m of EU exit funding, which can be found in the Chief Secretary’s Written Ministerial Statement, HCWS540. (https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-03-13/HCWS540/)

Q
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Bedouin
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they intend to take to prevent the forced removal of the community and school of Khan al-Ahmar.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

​The UK remains gravely concerned by proposals to demolish the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar which the UN has said could amount to ‘forcible transfer’, in violation of International Humanitarian Law. Following the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court on 5 September, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement with France, Germany, Spain and Italy reiterating our call to the Israeli Government not to go ahead with its plan to demolish the village – including its school – and displace its residents. We will continue to raise these concerns with the Israeli authorities.

Q
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ahed Tamimi
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel regarding the reported banning by Israel of the Tamimi family from travelling abroad.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

We have not made any representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue as immigration policy is a sovereign matter for Israel to determine.

Q
(Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) decisions on, and (b) grants of, applications for refugee family reunion were made at (i) Istanbul Clearance, (ii) Amman Clearance, (iii) Pretoria Clearance and (iv) Sheffield Decision Making Centre in 2017.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Statistics on refugee family reunion can be found in Home Office Asylum tables volume 5, table as_21_q –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734178/asylum5-jun-2018-tables.ods

Information can also be found in the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration report: A re-inspection of the family reunion process, focusing on applications received at the Amman Entry Clearance Decision Making Centre:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/737724/Final_Artwork_Reinspection_Family_Reunion_Amman.pdf

UK Visas and Immigration are currently in the process of consolidating Family Reunion applications so that decision making is carried out by one specialist team based in the UK.

Grouped Questions: 172477 | 172478
Q
(Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, from which countries are applications for refugee family reunion designated to be decided by the Sheffield Decision Making Centre.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Statistics on refugee family reunion can be found in Home Office Asylum tables volume 5, table as_21_q –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734178/asylum5-jun-2018-tables.ods

Information can also be found in the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration report: A re-inspection of the family reunion process, focusing on applications received at the Amman Entry Clearance Decision Making Centre:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/737724/Final_Artwork_Reinspection_Family_Reunion_Amman.pdf

UK Visas and Immigration are currently in the process of consolidating Family Reunion applications so that decision making is carried out by one specialist team based in the UK.

Grouped Questions: 172476 | 172478
Q
(Na h-Eileanan an Iar)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Home Office
Refugees: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration's report, A re-inspection of the family reunion process, focusing on applications received at the Amman Entry Clearance Decision Making Centre, published on 5 September 2018, for what reason the proportion of refugee family reunion applications being decided at the Sheffield Decision Making Centre has increased.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Statistics on refugee family reunion can be found in Home Office Asylum tables volume 5, table as_21_q –

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/734178/asylum5-jun-2018-tables.ods

Information can also be found in the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration report: A re-inspection of the family reunion process, focusing on applications received at the Amman Entry Clearance Decision Making Centre:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/737724/Final_Artwork_Reinspection_Family_Reunion_Amman.pdf

UK Visas and Immigration are currently in the process of consolidating Family Reunion applications so that decision making is carried out by one specialist team based in the UK.

Grouped Questions: 172476 | 172477
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Home Office
Home Office: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 April 2018 to Question 136551, on EU Law, what the nine regulations mentioned in this answer are.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Answer of 18 April to Question 136551 indicated that 5 regulations had been laid with a further 4 regulations intended in 2018. To date, 8 of the 9 regulations have been laid. These 8 regulations introduced by the Home Office as a result of EU legislation since 23 June 2016 are:

  • The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016
  • The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2017
  • The Policing and Crime Act 2017 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2017
  • The Transfer for Determination of an Application for International Protection (Detention) (Significant Risk of Absconding Criteria) Regulations 2017
  • The Criminal Justice (European Investigation Order) Regulations 2017 – implementing

Directive 2014/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014

  • The Passenger Name Record and Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018 / Immigration and Police (Passenger, Crew and Service Information) (Amendment) Order 2018
  • Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2018
  • Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 implementing Directive 2002/58/EC and related EU law on privacy and data protection.

In addition, the Home Office currently intends to lay a further 3 regulations:

  • Council Framework Decision 2009/905/JHA of 30 November 2009

  • EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims (2011)

  • Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016

Q
(Ellesmere Port and Neston)
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Home Office
Home Office: Sick Leave
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of days of sick leave taken by staff in his Department for mental health reasons in each year since 2010.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The number of working days lost due to the sickness absence reason of Mental Health issues between 2011-12 and 2016-17 in the Home Office is set out in the table enclosed.

In the Home Office we are committed to breaking down barriers and reducing stigma for those staff living with mental health conditions. We aim to equip managers to recognise and address stress in the workplace, and encourage employees to talk to their managers about mental health issues so that they can access help and support at the earliest stage.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Education
Nurses: Training
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the withdrawal of the nursing bursary on the number of applications for nursing degree courses in England.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The department is working with relevant bodies across health and education to monitor the effects of the healthcare funding reforms, including the impact on application numbers.

There is still strong demand for nursing courses. While the latest UCAS figures for 31 August 2018 show that English acceptances to nursing courses have fallen by 3.7% compared to the previous year, there are still more applicants than places available for them.

The Department for Health and Social Care is working with Health Education England and the university sector to ensure students continue to apply for courses up to the end of clearing in October 2018 and in future years.

We have also opened new work-based learning routes into the nursing profession for those who may not be able to study full-time.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Education
Office for Students
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue regulations to the Office for Students on validation arrangements under either section 51(1)(b)(i) or section 51(1)(b)(ii) of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The government currently has no plans to lay regulations under section 51(1) of the Higher Education and Research Act (HERA) 2017. The department believes the best approach to improving the operation of validation arrangements is a non-legislative approach in the first instance.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education (Secretary of State) has asked the Office for Students (OfS) to undertake an assessment of the operation of the current validation system to identify any unnecessary barriers for providers seeking a validation partner, and to consider what steps it could take and how it could encourage removal or mitigation of such barriers.

Once section 50 of HERA is commenced next year, it will be open to the OfS to make use of its powers under that section to enter into commissioning arrangements with providers for the provision of validation agreements.

If, after taking advice from the OfS, the Secretary of State considers it necessary or expedient to do so (for example, if it is found that the system is not working well and the OfS’s existing powers are insufficient to improve it), it is open to the Secretary of State to bring forward legislation under section 51(1) of HERA to authorise the OfS to operate its own validation service for registered providers.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Home Office
Licensing Laws: Aviation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to extend the Licensing Act 2003 to apply airside at airports.
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Government has publicly committed to issue a Call for Evidence on airside alcohol licensing.

The Call for Evidence will allow the Government to assess the true scale of the problem of drunk and disruptive airline passengers, the extent to which existing statutory powers and other measures are used to address the problem as well as impact the extension of the Licensing Act 2003 to airside premises at international airports in England and Wales could have on reducing alcohol-related disruptive passenger behaviour. The Call for Evidence will be issued shortly.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Ministry of Defence
Armed Forces: Mefloquine
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the results of the research into the side effects of malaria chemo-prophylaxis referred to in their second and third six-monthly progress updates to the House of Commons Defence Committee on its report An acceptable risk? The use of Lariam for military personnel, published on 24 May 2016.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 24 September 2018

Data collection for this research has been completed and data cleansing, analysis and production of a report is under way, with completion anticipated in 2019.

Q
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Furniture: Fire Resistant Materials
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to warn the public (1) about sofas and mattresses that contain the toxic flame-retardant chemical DecaBDE, (2) that these items are unsuitable for recycling; and (3) that they should be disposed of safely.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The UK ceased production of decaBDE in 1996 and its use has declined sharply since then. Many other countries have also phased out its use, thanks to proactive lobbying by the UK government.

It will be banned under the UN Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants in December this year and under the European chemical regulation regime, REACH, in March next year. It will not be present in household soft furnishings and mattresses offered for sale once the ban comes into effect.

We are working with stakeholders and experts to determine the likely extent of decaBDE in older soft furnishings and assessing the best disposal routes to protect the environment and human health.

Q
Asked by Lord Pendry
Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Education
Mandarin Language: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relative levels of study of Chinese in private and state schools; what steps they are taking to increase the teaching of Chinese in state schools; and what assessment they have made of the importance of developing Chinese language skills to the UK’s trade relationship with China post-Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The government is encouraging pupils to take a language at GCSE as one of the academic subjects making up the English Baccalaureate school performance measure. To target Mandarin uptake in particular, the government’s £10 million Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) aims to have at least 5,000 young people on track towards fluency in Mandarin by 2020. As of September 2018, there are over 60 state-funded schools on the programme, meaning we are on track to delivering the MEP’s target.

The proportion of pupils taking Mandarin at GCSE has increased over time, with the number of entries at GCSE and A level both increasing this year. Pupil matched data for 2018 will be available in the autumn.[1]

The time series for the number of GCSE entries in Chinese for the most recent five years of published data in England is given in the attached table (a).

The time series for the number of A level entries in Chinese for the most recent five years of published data in England is given in the attached table (b).[2]

[1] Joint Council of Qualifications data 2018, https://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results. This data is not discounted and is not comparable to the data in the tables below. We will have comparable data in autumn 2018.

[2] These figures are all published as part of the 16-18 performance tables publications: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-attainment-at-19-years.

Asked on: 11 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nitrogen Dioxide
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK intends to continue to meet the EU’s targets for nitrogen dioxide emissions to improve air quality after Brexit; and if not, what targets they intend to meet instead.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The UK has ambitious international targets in place to reduce emissions significantly of five damaging air pollutants by 2020 and 2030 as set in the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive and international Gothenburg Protocol. We have also transposed air pollutant concentration standards, as set by the Ambient Air Quality Directive, into domestic law. These targets will remain in place after the UK leaves the EU.

We have consulted on a new world-leading Clean Air Strategy, which goes beyond EU requirements to tackle not just nitrogen dioxide, but all of the main sources of air pollution. This includes being the first major economy to set goals working towards World Health Organization recommendations on Particulate Matter emissions. Our ambition has been commended by the World Health Organization and goes beyond any EU requirement.

Q
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
Asked on: 12 September 2018
Department for Transport
Gatwick Airport Station
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with Gatwick Express about proposals to re-develop Gatwick Airport railway station to manage congestion.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The Department for Transport is currently working with Network Rail, Gatwick Airport Ltd and other stakeholders to develop proposals for enhancing Gatwick Airport rail station in order to relieve pedestrian congestion at the station. As part of this work the Department and Network Rail have had numerous and ongoing discussions with Govia Thameslink Railway, the parent company of Gatwick Express.

Asked on: 12 September 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Food and Livestock: UK Trade with EU
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that food and livestock may be delayed at UK borders in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and what plans, if any, they have to combat a potential shortage of vets working at UK borders.
A
Answered on: 24 September 2018

The checks and import process for live animals, products of animal origin, high-risk food and feed from the EU will not change on day 1. We are adopting a risk based approach and envisage no radical change to the process initially.

In a no deal situation the EU will not carry out full checks on imports of third country animal products and high-risk food and feed which move through the EU before arrival in the UK (transit goods). Importers would therefore need to notify UK authorities using the new import notification system and would be directed to an existing UK Border Inspection Post (BIP) where the relevant checks would take place. This requirement would ensure that the current level of biosecurity is maintained. (Currently these transit goods are checked at point of entry to the EU and enter the UK as an EU import without the need for further checks). We are working closely with ports, carriers and trade groups to look for ways to minimise the impact on current trade routes.

Export to third countries will continue as now, with amendments to the wording of Export Health Certificates (EHC) to reflect the fact that we have left the EU.

If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place, EHCs would be required for exports of all live animals and products of animal origin from the UK to the EU. EHCs would need to be signed by an Official Veterinarian or authorised signatory following inspection of the consignment. Consignments would need to arrive through a BIP within the EU. This is new for those businesses who export only to the EU and will incur some additional cost and administration. To prepare for the potential increase in EHC numbers, work is being undertaken to make the application process simpler - as we expect many more exporters to start using it - and to ensure that there is enough capacity amongst appropriately trained veterinarians or authorised signatories to approve the additional certificates.

We cannot comment on the readiness of the EU in terms of BIP infrastructure to process and check our exports of live animals and products of animal origin.

Asked on: 13 September 2018
Ministry of Defence
Afghanistan: Military Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many British troops are currently serving at military training academies in Afghanistan.
A
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 24 September 2018

As at 17 September 2018, the UK has 146 personnel deployed to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) where we are supporting the development of the Afghan National Army's future leaders. The UK also has 28 personnel deployed in support of the Afghan Infantry Branch School. The UK's contribution to both ANAOA and the Infantry Branch School is part of the UK's wider contribution to NATO's Resolute Support Mission.

Q
Asked by Julian Sturdy
(York Outer)
Asked on: 05 September 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
European Union Intellectual Property Office
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans the Government has to ensure the maintenance of rights of representation before the EU Intellectual Property Office for UK legal professionals when the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 21 September 2018

We recognise that our new relationship with the EU means that we will no longer be members of the Single Market and will therefore have a different relationship with that market from the end of 2020.

We want to facilitate continued cross-border provision of legal services between the UK and the EU. That is why we are proposing specific provisions for legal services, including permitting joint practice between UK and EU lawyers.

We will work closely with the legal services sector as well as consumers to prepare for these new arrangements.

In the meantime, we are working with the EU to ensure that the Withdrawal Agreement allows UK practitioners to complete pending proceedings if they are representing clients before the EU Intellectual Property Office at the end of the implementation period.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 05 September 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Borders: Northern Ireland
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what progress he has made with his counterparts in the EU on the prevention of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a result of the UK leaving the EU without remaining in (a) a customs union or (b) the single market.
A
Answered by: Mr Robin Walker
Answered on: 21 September 2018

We are working at pace with the European Commission to secure a future relationship that meets in full the commitments we made in the December Joint Report on Northern Ireland. This is reflected fully in our White Paper proposals, which would avoid a hard border, preserve the integrity of the UK internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it, and preserve North-South cooperation in line with the Belfast Agreement.

It is rightly the priority on all sides that those issues should be resolved through our future partnership. But we remain absolutely committed to agreeing a legally operative backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement alongside a framework for that future relationship. We have already agreed legal text with the EU on maintaining the Common Travel Area and associated rights and on protecting North-South cooperation. We have put forward an alternative proposal on the customs elements of the backstop, the Temporary Customs Arrangement, that would only come into force in specific and narrow circumstances. We are now intensifying discussions on both fronts as we look ahead to reaching agreement in the autumn.

Q
Asked on: 06 September 2018
Department for International Trade
Department for International Trade: Languages
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officials from the Department for International Trade have received language training at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Language Centre to help prepare them to conduct negotiations leading to future Free Trade Agreements.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 21 September 2018

Languages are an important element of this Department’s capability needs and the Department continues to encourage its civil servants in the development of their language skills. We will draw on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s in-country diplomatic staff and their language expertise and we currently have twenty four designated language roles overseas. We expect future Free Trade Agreements being considered at this time will be negotiated in English, including with the US, Australia and New Zealand. Where they are not, it is normal practice to make use of professional interpreters.

Q
Asked on: 06 September 2018
Department for International Trade
Department for International Trade: Languages
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the value of a language skills audit across the civil service to the potential recruitment of any additional trade experts needed post-Brexit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 21 September 2018

The Department encourages its civil servants to expand and develop their language skills, including those who will be involved in Free Trade Agreement negotiations. The department currently has twenty four designated language roles overseas. The Department has no current plans to undertake a language skills audit across the Civil Service in order to support the potential recruitment of any additional trade experts post-Brexit.

Q
Asked on: 06 September 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Martin Selmayr
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the propriety of the appointment of Martin Selmayr as Secretary-General of the European Commission following the investigation carried out by the European Ombudsman into the procedure that was followed before his appointment.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 21 September 2018

Appointments to the European Commission civil service are an internal matter for the Commission.

Asked on: 07 September 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which local authorities in England they have appointed Commissioners; for which areas of service; and for how long each Commissioner has been in place.
Answered on: 21 September 2018

There are currently five Commissioners appointed under section 15 (5) and (6) of the Local Authority Act 1999 in Northamptonshire County Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

On 10 May 2018, the Secretary of State appointed Tony McArdle (Lead Commissioner) and Brian Roberts as Commissioners to Northamptonshire County Council. Directions charge them to oversee governance and scrutiny, strategic financial management and the appointment of statutory officers. The directions will be in place until 2021.

In Rotherham, three commissioners remain in place until 23 September 2018; Mary Ney (Lead Commissioner), Julie Kenny CBE (Supporting Commissioner) and Patricia Bradwell (Children's Social Care Commissioner). Commissioners Ney and Kenny were both appointed in February 2015, and Commissioner Bradwell was appointed in 2016. As this is a joint intervention with the Department for Education, the Commissioners were all appointed under both the Local Government Act 1999 and section 497 A (4B) of the Education Act 1999.

However, on 18 September 2018 the Secretary of State announced that from 24 September 2018 control of all services will be returned to the council, including children’s social care, and the three commissioners will be withdrawn. The Council must receive an independent review before 31 March 2019. This follows the gradual return of select functions as the Council have improved and made strong progress over the last three years.

Asked on: 07 September 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Housing First model developed in Finland in the context of tackling homelessness in the UK.
Answered on: 21 September 2018

The former Secretary of State and Officials from this Department have visited Finland in order to see first hand the Housing First approach, which has been implemented.

As a result of this, Peter Fredrikson, a former senior advisor to the Finnish Government on Housing First and homelessness, was invited to sit on the Rough Sleeping Advisory panel which helped Government produce the Rough Sleeping Strategy, published on 13 August.

In order to test the approach at scale in this country we are investing £28 million in 3 regional Housing First pilots in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region.

The first tranche of funding was paid to the regions in June. The Department is working closely, through the recently established Rough Sleeping Initiative, with the combined authorities, who are leading the implementation of the pilots in the regions. The aim of this close working will be to establish an ambitious model of support.

Asked on: 07 September 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Combined Authorities: Public Appointments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the processes in place to make appointments in combined authorities are sufficiently robust to ensure a rigorous appointment process and the selection of the best candidates for the positions advertised.
Answered on: 21 September 2018

It is for each combined authority to decide the appointment processes that it adopts within the applicable statutory framework which also applies to local authorities, including the requirement that all appointments of officers are to be made on merit. Should an appointment be proposed or made contrary to the statutory framework, the combined authority's monitoring officer is under a duty to make a public report.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 07 September 2018
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Autism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional support is offered to mainstream schools in England working with pupils on the autistic spectrum.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 21 September 2018

All mainstream schools have a duty to use their ‘best endeavours’ to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), and this includes those with autism. They are funded to do so through core schools funding. If pupils with more complex needs cannot be supported adequately from this budget, schools can ask their local authority for additional funding.

Core funding for schools and high needs has risen from almost £41 billion in 2017/18 to £42.4 billion in 2018/19. £6 billion of this funding is allocated for high needs. We have provided an additional £140 million in high needs funding in 2018/19 and will provide an additional £120 million in 2019/20. This supports local authorities and schools to meet the needs of all children and young people with more complex SEN, including those with autism.

In April of this year we awarded a new contract to Nasen and University College London (UCL), on behalf of the Whole School SEND consortium, to equip the school workforce to deliver high quality teaching across all types of SEND. Newly appointed regional SEND leaders will bring local networks and schools together to share good practice, improve access to resources and training and help all schools to improve provision.

The department has been funding the Autism Education Trust (AET) since 2011 to provide training for early years, school and further education staff. To date, the AET has provided training, through sub-contracted ‘hubs’, for more than 185,000 staff, equipping them to support children and young people with autism. This contract was extended from April 2018 to March 2020 with a further £1.45 million.

Asked on: 12 September 2018
Department for International Development
Darfur: Armed Conflict
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many internally displaced people they estimate to be living in Darfur; how many Darfuri refugees they estimate to be living in Chad; whether they consider it safe for displaced people and refugees to return to their homes; what are their estimates of food shortages and the potential for famine in the region; whether they consider it would be safe for the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur to withdraw their peacekeepers from Darfur by 2020; and if so, on what grounds they reached that conclusion.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 September 2018

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that 1.6 million Internally Displaced People are living in Darfur. Over 300,000 Sudanese refugees remain in Chad. The UN estimated in July that the number of people requiring urgent food assistance (in phases 3 and 4 of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification system) is expected to rise to 6.2 million. The UK is continuing to monitor the situation closely.

A voluntary programme for the safe and dignified repatriation of Darfuri refugees from Chad, administered by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Governments of Sudan and Chad, is ongoing. Since the programme began in April, around 350 refugees have returned to their places of residence in Darfur.

The security situation has evolved in much of Darfur, and therefore it makes sense that the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) should also change. The UN Security Council resolution adopted in July this year provides the Mission with a mandate that fits the evolving situation. Nevertheless, while there have been improvements, we recognise that the security situation remains fragile. We therefore continue to support a gradual, conditions-based withdrawal of UNAMID, contingent upon a fully benchmarked exit strategy, to ensure that improvements in the security situation are sustained.

Asked on: 13 September 2018
Northern Ireland Office
Belfast Harbour: Security
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the security arrangements in place in the Port of Belfast.
A
Answered on: 21 September 2018

Security at the Port of Belfast is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland. Security arrangements at the Port of Belfast are the responsibility of the Belfast Harbour Police, managed by Belfast Harbour Commissioners, who are appointed by Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure.

Q
Asked by Keith Vaz
(Leicester East)
Asked on: 13 July 2018
Home Office
Libya: Islamic State
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps the Government has taken to counter Daesh in Libya.
A
Answered by: Mr Ben Wallace
Answered on: 20 September 2018

Libya is a member of the Global Coalition against Daesh and, in coordination with our international partners, the UK has been working closely with the Libyan Government to tackle violent extremism in Libya and re-build those areas previously under Daesh control.


Daesh is losing in Libya. In December 2016, forces aligned to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), with US Air Support, expelled Daesh from their main area of control – the city of Sirte. However, the group still remains a threat to Libya and was able to carry out a suicide attack on the Higher National Elections Commission in May 2018.


Daesh and other extremist groups will not be defeated completely until there is a strong national Government in Libya. The UK is supporting UN-led efforts to restore effective governance in Libya, which is key to the long term stability of Libya and the region. Last year the Government spent over £10m on stabilisation in Libya, including support to civil society organisations and local municipalities, and countering illegal migration and radicalisation. By supporting stability we are helping combat the drivers of violent extremism and terrorism in Libya.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 24 July 2018
Cabinet Office
Tourism: Migrant Workers
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what figures the Government holds on the number of EU citizens working in the UK tourism industry in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017 and (d) 2018.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 20 September 2018

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 88.81 KB)
Grouped Questions: 167841
Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 24 July 2018
Cabinet Office
Tourism: Migrant Workers
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what information the Government holds on the number of non-UK EU citizens working on seasonal work contracts in the UK tourism sector in (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017 and (d) 2018 to date.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 20 September 2018

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

UKSA response (PDF Document, 88.81 KB)
Grouped Questions: 167829
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 06 September 2018
Ministry of Justice
Offenders: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all prisons in England and Wales ensure that those leaving on discharge have plans for suitable and affordable accommodation.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 20 September 2018

As part of the reforms to probation in 2015 all offenders, including those sentenced to less than 12 months, now get targeted support from probation providers when they leave prison to help them reintegrate into society. This includes working with local partners to help them find accommodation, which is provided by the local authority.

On 27 July, the MOJ announced our intention to end contracts with Community Rehabilitation Companies in 2020.We will be consulting on introducing changes so that probation services do more to help offenders find accommodation and employment on release from custody. We are investing an additional £22m per annum during the current contract period to ensure that CRCs deliver an enhanced ‘Through the Gate’ service to offenders leaving prison. This will also include sustained support to find accommodation and employment on discharge.

As part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping strategy, MoJ and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will be investing approximately £6m over two years in a pilot scheme to help ex-offenders secure suitable accommodation upon release. The Cabinet Office has also introduced a new Reducing Reoffending Board that will work across government to tackle some of the main causes of reoffending, including the lack of suitable accommodation on release

Asked on: 06 September 2018
The Senior Deputy Speaker
House of Lords: Plastics
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what action is being taken by the House of Lords Administration to reduce its use of plastic.
A
Answered by: Lord Laming
Answered on: 20 September 2018

The Senior Deputy Speaker has asked me, as Chairman of the Services Committee, to respond on his behalf.

In April 2018 the Services Committee endorsed a number of measures to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics:

A. Remove water in plastic bottles from sale in catering venues– This will be effective from October 2018, reducing plastic waste immediately.

B. Eliminate the consumption of plastic-lined take-away cups for hot drinks (through substitution) and reduce overall take-away cup waste– This will be effective from October 2018, with plastic-lined disposable cups replaced with a compostable alternative.

In addition, Catering & Retail Services (CRS) will continue to incentivise customers to use china mugs, or their own re-usable cups, when purchasing hot drinks by offering a 10p discount on every purchase. A 25p surcharge on all hot drinks purchased in a disposable take-away cup will be introduced from October 2018 for a twelve-month trial.

C. Substitute the remainder of CRS plastic disposable items– In early 2018 all plastic drinking straws supplied by Catering & Retail Services were replaced with compostable paper straws. Individual condiment sachets have also been replaced with condiment bottles. Remaining plastic catering disposable items used by Catering & Retail Services will be replaced with compostable alternatives from October 2018.

The plastic tumbler cups currently provided in meeting rooms and kitchen facilities will also be replaced with compostable cups.

To capture compostable disposable products (including take-away cups) effectively, 800 compostable waste bins have been purchased and will be deployed across the Estate during the 2018 conference recess.

D. Substitute single-use plastic carrier bags in Retail Services with carrier bags made from paper– The current plastic carrier bag stock is being depleted and alternative bags made from paper (using material from responsibly-managed, FSC-certified forests) have been identified as a replacement.

The following additional measures are being taken:

  • The development of a ‘green’ stationery catalogue, to reduce the consumption of single-use avoidable plastics in stationery purchasing (implementation anticipated for October 2018);
  • The development of a pilot for a re-usable packaging ‘totes’ scheme at the Off-Site Consolidation Centre for all deliveries (implementation anticipated for January 2019); and
  • The development of procedures for incorporating the environmental impact of packaging into the weighting of relevant procurement and tender exercises (implementation anticipated for November 2018).

Asked on: 06 September 2018
Home Office
Counter-terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will conduct an independent review of how the Prevent programme is currently operating before placing any additional responsibilities on local authorities as recommended by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report, Counter-Extremism, published on 20 July 2016 (HL Paper 39), and since; and if not, why not.
Answered on: 20 September 2018

The Government’s work to counter extremism is distinct from, but complementary to, its work to counter terrorism, which includes work that aims to prevent people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Prevent is implemented in a proportionate manner that takes into account the level of risk in any given area or institution. The Prevent programme is continually reviewed and updated to reflect the current threat level and it has taken account of other recent reviews, both internal and independent, across the breadth of our counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.

As committed to in CONTEST we will increase the transparency of Prevent delivery and open it to public scrutiny. For example, last November, we published data on Prevent and Channel referrals for the first time to increase transparency of the programme, and we published further data on Prevent and Channel this March. We will continue to publish data on an annual
basis.

We do not believe that an independent review of Prevent is necessary.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 07 September 2018
Department for Education
Secondary Education: Admissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to meet increasing need for places in secondary schools in England.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 20 September 2018

The government has committed £7 billion between 2015 and 2021 to deliver new school places. This funding is additional to our investment in the free schools programme.

Basic need funding is provided each year to local authorities to help them meet the demand for school places in their local areas. Allocations are based on the local authorities’ own data, meaning they receive funding for all the places they need. Funding is announced several years ahead, to give local authorities time to plan local provision. Allocations through 2021 have been announced, including secondary places. The number of places funded by local authorities can be found in Table 1 of the basic need allocations, which is attached and also available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/basic-need-allocations.

The free schools programme is also continuing to provide secondary places. There are 131 open mainstream secondary free schools that will provide over 117,000 places when at capacity. 71 mainstream secondary free schools have been approved and are due to open in the next few years, providing more than 79,000 places when at capacity. The department is working collaboratively with local authorities to provide free schools to meet basic need.

The latest data shows overall 825,000 additional places were created between May 2010 and May 2017. 248,000 of these were secondary places (including middle schools and all through schools deemed as secondary, and including full final capacity in free schools), with many more delivered since then and in the pipeline. The department is on track to create one million places this decade, the largest increase in school capacity for at least two generations.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Crimes of Violence and Self-harm
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which five prisons in the Male Category C estate reported the highest number of (a) assaults and (b) self-harm incidents occurring in 2017.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 20 September 2018
Holding answer received on 18 September 2018

Reducing levels of assault and self-harm in prisons is a top priority for the Ministry of Justice. We are investing across the prison estate in extra staff, training and security measures so that we can provide full and purposeful regimes, improve staff-prisoner relationships and reduce the impact of drugs.

Prisons with a high absolute number of incidents might not necessarily have the highest relative number or rate of incidents, because the number of prisoners and the nature of the population will vary between establishments. Because of this point, we have provided a list of the top 5 prisons with the highest rate of assault as a better means of comparing across prisons.

The five prisons in the Male Category C estate with the highest rate of assaults during 2017 were:

Prison (Incidents per 1,000 population)

  • HMP/YOI Portland – (626 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP & YOI Parc – (546 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Hindley – (541 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP & YOI Swinfen Hall - (500 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP & YOI Isis - (441 incidents per 1,000 population)

The five prisons in the Male Category C estate with the highest rate of self-harm during 2017 were:

Prison (Incidents per 1,000 population)

  • HMP & YOI Parc (913 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Haverigg (691 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP & YOI Swinfen Hall (668 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Moorland (604 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Buckley Hall (603 incidents per 1,000 population)

Note:

HMP & YOI Parc’s assault and self-harm incident numbers include incidents which occurred in the designated places for young people (aged 15-18 years old): this data cannot currently be separated from data attributable to adults.

Q
(Dwyfor Meirionnydd)
Asked on: 10 September 2018
Ministry of Justice
Prisons: Crimes of Violence and Self-harm
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which five prisons in the male local estate reported the highest number of (a) assaults and (b) self-harm incidents occurring in 2017.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 20 September 2018
Holding answer received on 18 September 2018

Reducing levels of assault and self-harm in prisons is a top priority for the Ministry of Justice. We are investing across the prison estate in extra staff, training and security measures so that we can provide full and purposeful regimes, improve staff-prisoner relationships and reduce the impact of drugs.

Prisons with a high absolute number of incidents might not necessarily have the highest relative number or rate of incidents, because the number of prisoners and the nature of the population will vary between establishments. Because of this point, we have provided a list of the top 5 prisons with the highest rate of assault as a better means of comparing across prisons.

The five prisons in the male local estate with the highest reported rate of assaults during 2017 were:

Prison (Incidents per 1,000 population)

  • HMP Birmingham – (928 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Bristol – (841 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Leicester – (772 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Bedford – (756 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP & YOI Chelmsford – (727 incidents per 1,000 population)

The five prisons in the male local estate with the highest rate of self-harm incidents during 2017 were:

Prison (Incidents per 1,000 population)

  • HMP Exeter – (1041 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Woodhill – (945 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Peterborough Male – (893 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Leicester – (892 incidents per 1,000 population)
  • HMP Bristol – (820 incidents per 1,000 population)
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