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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Q
Asked by Lucy Powell
(Manchester Central)
[N]
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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: 22 November 2018
Department for Education
Department for Education: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of the budget of (a) executive agencies, (b) non-departmental public bodies and (c) organisations which receive funding from his Department that is spent on staffing costs.
A
Answered by: Anne Milton
Answered on: 27 November 2018

All information shown is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

A full breakdown of staff costs and the proportion of total costs for the period of 2016 to 2017 and for 2017 to 2018 is shown in Table 1, which is attached.

Table_of_staff_costs_for_194744 (Excel SpreadSheet, 55 KB)
Q
Asked by Mary Glindon
(North Tyneside)
Asked on: 04 January 2019
Ministry of Justice
Prison Officers: Cameras
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on health and safety conditions at HMP Grendon of the decision by HMPPS not to require at least two staff per work area to be issued with body-worn video cameras; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 21 January 2019

HMP Grendon is dedicated to providing all prisoners accredited therapy in one of five democratic therapeutic communities. HMP Grendon has a low level of violence and assaults. Theuse of Body Worn Video Cameras was considered carefully and there was belief that this may have a negative impact on therapeutic work that takes place.

Body worn video cameras were introduced alongside a range of other measures to improve safety. The cameras are intended to support staff interpersonal skills and provide evidential information if an incident occurs. They are not mandatory, it is for each Governor to make an assessment of how they are deployed.

Whilst PSI 14/2017 does not specify how many cameras should be on each residential unit, an instruction was given from HMPPS Headquarters requesting that two staff in each residential units during the hours of unlock wearing BWVC. It is for each prison to consider and determine how they satisfy this instruction whilst taking into account information such as levels of violence and how effectively safety is being managed. In the case of HMP Grendon it is dedicated to providing accredited interventions in therapeutic communities, and promoting rehabilitation and safety. The assessment on level of camera requirement is therefore based on this.

Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Organised Crime: Rural Areas
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce organised acquisitive crime in rural areas.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Government has ensured that, through the election of Police and Crime Commissioners, communities, including those in rural areas, have a strong voice in determining how police resources are allocated to tackle the crimes that most matter to them. In addition, Regional Organised Crime Units in England and Wales provide capability to investigate serious and organised crime across police force boundaries and play an important leadership role in facilitating information sharing across agencies and departments about serious and organised crime.

We are committed to providing all police forces in England and Wales with the resources they need to do their crucial work. In 2018/19, total police funding increased by over £460 million, including Council Tax precept and funding for national priorities. The proposed funding settlement for 2019/20 enables total policing funding to increase by up to £970 million, including Council Tax precept and funding for national priorities such as counter-terrorism. This is sufficient for the police to both manage financial pres-sures and invest in key capabilities such as recruiting more detectives

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the (1) percentage, and (2) number of Universal Credit claims that have not been paid in full within five weeks.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The information requested for the percentage of Universal Credit claims not paid in full on time is in the table below and was taken from statistics we published on payment timeliness in November 2018.

-

August 2018

Proportion of paid Universal Credit claims that were not paid in full on time (all claims)*

6 per cent

Proportion of paid Universal Credit claims that were not paid in full on time (new claims)*

16 per cent

* Universal Credit entitlement is calculated over monthly Assessment Periods. Claims which are paid on time will receive payment by the payment due date, which is 7 days after an Assessment Period ends.

In many cases where full payment is not made on time, it is due to unresolved issues such as: claimants not accepting their Claimant Commitment or passing identity checks, satisfying the Habitual Residency Test, or having outstanding verification issues, such as housing costs and self-employed earnings.

We plan to publish updated official statistics on the number of Universal Credit claims that have been paid on time. This data is currently going through quality assurance clearance procedures in line with the Official Statistics publication standard.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many, and what percentage of, Universal Credit claimants are on alternative payments arrangements.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Alternative Payment Arrangements for Universal Credit are only available at Household level and can be found in the tables below.

UC households claiming Housing Entitlement split by those receiving Managed Payment to Landlord by Month

August 2018 (p)

Percentage of relevant claims

Number of Households receiving Managed Payments to Landlords

106,538

18%

Total UC households claiming Housing Entitlement

582,859

UC households in payment split by those receiving More Frequent Payments by Month

August 2018 (p)

Percentage of relevant claims

Number of Households receiving More Frequent Payments

8,235

1%

Total UC Households in payment

850,172

UC Couple Households split by those receiving Split Payments by Month

August 2018 (p)

Percentage of relevant claims

Number of Households receiving split payments

20

less than 1%

Total UC Couple Households

126,889

Source: Stat-Xplore, Department for Work and Pensions

  1. Figures marked "p" are provisional. These figures will be subject to revision in subsequent releases. It is expected that overall provisional figures will be within two per cent of their revised figure in future releases.
  2. Percentages may not add up due to rounding.
  3. Statistical disclosure control has been applied to this table to avoid the release of confidential data. As such totals may not sum.
  4. The figures for More Frequent Payments and Managed Payments to Landlords exclude those under Scottish Choices.
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how are the salaries of employees on Universal Credit who are paid twice within a month, in particular over the Christmas period, being treated for the purposes of benefits payments; and what steps are being taken to prevent such employees being disadvantaged.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Universal Credit payments reflect, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period. Assessment periods allow for Universal Credit awards to be adjusted on a monthly basis, ensuring that if a claimant’s income falls, they do not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit award.

Some claimants receive earnings from work multiple times within an assessment period if they are paid via four-weekly, fortnightly, or weekly patterns. This in turn may reduce, or in some cases, nil the Universal Credit award the claimant receives that month. Claimants can always discuss the implications of this with their case managers and work coaches and can be referred to Personal Budgeting Support to help them manage their budgeting.

If a claimant’s Universal Credit claim is closed due to this, claimants can re-claim the following month via a more simplified process than for an initial claim. We have produced guidance to help ensure claimants, staff and representatives are aware of the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles, which is attached with this reply.

The Government is working with employers to ensure that they use the most appropriate payment practices and comply with RTI guidelines in order to minimise the incidence of erroneous or late reporting by employers. HMRC have recently updated guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.

UC Earning Patterns (PDF Document, 307.95 KB)
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether advance payments for Universal Credit are working.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Advances are available to all new claimants of Universal Credit. Our latest internal data shows around 60 percent of eligible new claims to Universal Credit received an advance in October 2018. Subject to some fluctuation, this rate of advance take up has been broadly consistent. This shows that claimants are being made aware of advances and that our advance system is being utilised so people get help when they need it.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Churches
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with the government of Israel about proposed changes to land ownership in relation to the sale of church properties in Israel.
A
Answered on: 21 January 2019

​Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv have previously raised the Bill with the Israeli authorities and encouraged a swift resolution that all parties are content with. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv is closely following developments on the Church Lands issue, and we understand that the Bill has been paused.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Transport
Monarch Airlines: Insolvency
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost to public expenditure of repatriating to the UK customers of Monarch Airlines; and what contribution to this cost they are seeking to reclaim from the airline's owners, investors, and associates.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 January 2019

In October 2017, the Government estimated that the total cost of Monarch’s repatriation operation would be £60m. The actual cost of repatriation is estimated to be about £50m and the Government does not expect this number to change significantly.

As the administration of Monarch has yet to conclude, the Department continues to discuss contributions from the travel industry and the investors and estate of the company towards taxpayers costs.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Investment: Property
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to investigate the operation of real estate investment funds, in particular (1) the property valuations used by these funds, (2) whether fund investors and redeemers are treated equally, and (3) the calculation of fund management fees.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

This is a matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is operationally independent from Government. The question has been passed on to the FCA. The FCA will reply directly to Lord Myners by letter. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 20 December (HL12311), what impact Stamp Duty Land Tax has had on (1) housing mobility, and (2) the frequency of housing transactions, since 2014.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

HMRC publish quarterly and annual statistics on transaction volumes which are available on GOV.UK.

At Autumn Statement 2014 the Government reformed the structure of Stamp Duty Land Tax, cutting the tax paid on all purchases of residential property to a value of £937,500, unless purchasing additional property – a reduction for 98% of those paying the tax.

Housing market activity is affected by a wide variety of factors, of which Stamp Duty Land Tax is just one.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Credit Unions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support and enable the growth of credit unions.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The government remains committed to supporting credit unions, which provide vital services to financially under-served communities and contribute to the diversity of the UK’s financial services sector.

At Autumn Budget 2018, the Chancellor announced a two-year pilot of a new prize-linked savings scheme offered through credit unions. This will support the credit union sector through increased membership, awareness and deposits, as well as encouraging participants to build up savings to help them cope with financial shocks.

The Chancellor also announced a new £2 million challenge fund to promote innovative solutions from the UK’s Fintech sector to address challenges faced by social and community lenders, including credit unions. This follows the success of last year’s Rent Recognition Challenge, where UK Fintechs were invited to develop digital solutions for incorporating rental data into credit scores.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Drugs
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the supply of medicines into the UK will not be disrupted as a result of Brexit; and what is the cost of any such steps.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Government has now agreed the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Commission, which includes an implementation period that will run from March 2019 until December 2020. During this time, the supply of medicines will remain unchanged. As a responsible Government, however, we continue to prepare proportionately for all scenarios, including ‘no deal’.

On 23 August 2018, the Department wrote to all pharmaceutical companies that supply prescription only medicines and pharmacy medicines to the United Kingdom that come from, or via, the European Union or European Economic Area (EEA) asking them to ensure a minimum of six weeks’ additional supply in the UK, over and above existing business-as-usual buffer stocks, by 29 March 2019.

We have received very good engagement from industry who share our aims of ensuring continuity of medicines supply for patients is maintained and able to cope with any potential delays at the border that may arise in the short term in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit. In the light of this engagement, the Department is currently considering how best it may support those companies taking part in the contingency planning.

Additionally, a tender process to procure additional warehouse space for stockpiled medicines, including ambient, refrigerated and controlled drug storage, was undertaken in October 2018. Contract agreements for storage have recently been signed or are imminent. This is expected to cost the Government in the low tens of millions of pounds.

Whilst the six-week stockpiling activity remains a critical part of our contingency plans, this has been supplemented with additional actions. The Government recognises the importance of medicines and is working to ensure that there is sufficient roll-on, roll-off freight capacity to enable these vital products to continue to move freely in to the UK from 29 March in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The Department is working closely with the Department for Transport to ensure all medicines and medical products are prioritised on these alternative routes to ensure that the flow of all these products will continue unimpeded after 29 March 2019.

On 7 December 2018, the Department wrote to pharmaceutical companies that supply licensed medicines to the UK from or via the EU/EEA, and/or manufacture medicines in the UK, informing them of the updated reasonable worst-case scenario border planning assumptions and asking them about their current transportation routes and their ability to re-route their supply chains if they currently rely on Dover and/or Folkestone. Since then we have been working closely with those companies to better understand their supply chains and the potential for rerouting in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Brexit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the current financial cost to the UK of delivering Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The precise scale and nature of any benefits and costs to the UK, from the UK’s departure from the European Union, will depend on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

I am, however, able to provide some detail on how much the government has spent to-date to prepare for all scenarios. In total over £4.2bn has been allocated by the government to departments and devolved administrations to prepare for EU exit since 2015.

This includes allocations of £400m at Autumn Budget 2016 and over £250m from the Reserve in 2017/18. Moreover, Autumn Budget 2017 committed an additional £3bn over 2018/19 and 2019/20. In addition, at Budget 2018, the Chancellor made available an additional £500m for 19/20.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which non-EU countries’ citizens are currently granted visa-free access to the UK.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Appendix 2 of Appendix V to the Immigration Rules sets out the list of coun-tries whose nationals require a visa in advance of travel to the UK. A list of those countries can be found in a separate document attached with this an-swer. Nationals of countries not listed in Appendix 2 do not require a visa.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Visas: Migrant Workers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to the proposed time-limited visa route for temporary short-term workers described in The UK's future skills-based immigration system (Cm 9722), published on 19 December 2018, which countries they consider to be "low risk".
Answered on: 21 January 2019

To determine low-risk countries as set out in the UK’s Future Skills-Based Immigration System White Paper, the Home Office will consider a range of relevant factors such as returns agreements, reciprocal mobility agreements, cooperation on border security and prosperity. These measures will be re-viewed regularly, and further information will be provided in due course.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Visas: Migrant Workers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether temporary short-term workers who have availed themselves of the time-limited visa route described in The UK’s future skills-based immigration system (Cm 9722), published on 19 December 2018, will be allowed to return to the UK for work after their “cooling off” period of 12 months; and if so, for how long.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

On 19 December 2018 the Government published its White Paper on the UK’s future skills-based immigration system. The immigration system which it outlines is designed to work for those coming to our country, businesses, our public services and the UK as a whole.

The White Paper contains proposals for a time-limited temporary short-term workers route. The White Paper sets out our initial proposals to allow these short-term workers to come to the UK for 12 months at a time, followed by a year-long cooling off period. Following that cooling off period, previous holders of a temporary short term work visa will, while the scheme remains in place, be eligible to apply for another temporary work visa to come to the UK for a further 12 month period. We will be engaging extensively with businesses and stakeholders on the length of the stay and cooling off period.

Holders of a short-term work visa will be permitted to change employers without further authorisation.

Grouped Questions: HL12558
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Visas: Migrant Workers
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether temporary short-term workers who have availed themselves of the time-limited visa route described in The UK’s future skills-based immigration system (Cm 9722), published on 19 December 2018, will be permitted to change employers during their initial 12 months.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

On 19 December 2018 the Government published its White Paper on the UK’s future skills-based immigration system. The immigration system which it outlines is designed to work for those coming to our country, businesses, our public services and the UK as a whole.

The White Paper contains proposals for a time-limited temporary short-term workers route. The White Paper sets out our initial proposals to allow these short-term workers to come to the UK for 12 months at a time, followed by a year-long cooling off period. Following that cooling off period, previous holders of a temporary short term work visa will, while the scheme remains in place, be eligible to apply for another temporary work visa to come to the UK for a further 12 month period. We will be engaging extensively with businesses and stakeholders on the length of the stay and cooling off period.

Holders of a short-term work visa will be permitted to change employers without further authorisation.

Grouped Questions: HL12557
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Trade
General Agreement on Trade in Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government with which countries the UK has General Agreements on Trade in Services mode 4 commitments as part of trade deals.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Currently, the UK’s Mode 4 commitments in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are applied to all other 163 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Members - full details of membership can be found on the WTO website under ‘Members and Observers’.

In addition, through the UK’s membership of the EU, the UK participates in around 40 free trade agreements. These arrangements cover more than 70 countries and a number of these agreements include services which cover Mode 4. The Government is seeking continuity for our existing EU free trade agreements as we leave the European Union.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Fish: Conservation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the contribution of the Common Fisheries Policy to the preservation of fish stocks in British waters.
A
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Leaving the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy means that we will be an independent coastal State, able to manage and control who fishes in our waters. We will also have the opportunity to develop a more responsive and adaptive management regime with opportunities to create a more resilient, competitive, profitable fisheries sector, together with a clean, healthy and productive marine environment. The Commission’s most recent policy statement (June 2018) about the State of Play of the Common Fisheries Policy can be found at

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0452&from=EN

and

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018SC0329&from=EN

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Brazil
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for growth in trade and investment between Brazil and the UK.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 21 January 2019

There is a clear potential for UK companies in Brazil with the world’s 5th largest population and the 9th largest economy (by GDP).

Total UK-Brazil trade reached £5.5 billion in 2017. Brazil is the largest destination of UK exports and the largest receiver of UK investment in Latin America. The new Bolsonaro government has stated ambitions around economic reform and leaving the EU will allow the UK to take advantage of the growing parts of the world economy, including South America. UK Export Finance has significant capacity to support UK exports to Brazil.

My Rt Hon Friend for Hertford and Stortford (Mark Prisk MP) was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Brazil in 2016 to promote further bilateral trade and investment. The UK and Brazil also have a number of bilateral dialogues including the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO). During the 10th edition held in London last year, chaired by my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade, Brazil and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to exploring means to deepen future UK-Brazil trade and investment relations. This has been formalised through the Joint Trade Review, examining the business environment and market access issues so as to identify ways to increase opportunities for firms from both countries. Last year, the Secretary of State also appointed the first HM Trade Commissioner to Latin America, responsible for championing trade between the UK and Latin America.

Q
Asked by Lord Patten
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Trade
Overseas Trade: Argentina
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for growth in trade and investment between Argentina and the UK.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 21 January 2019

This is an exciting time in UK-Argentine relations. The Prime Minister was warmly received at the G20 in Buenos Aires in December. Leaving the EU will allow the UK to take advantage of the growing parts of the world economy, including South America.

UK market share in Argentina is less than 1% (0.8%) for goods and just over 2% (2.1%) for services. There is therefore great potential for growth in the UK-Argentine trade and investment relationship and we are working to support UK companies to reclaim their position as one of Argentina’s pre-eminent business partners.

Last year, my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade appointed the first HM Trade Commissioner to Latin America, responsible for championing trade between the UK and Latin America. In addition, my Hon Friend for Fylde (Mark Menzies MP) was announced as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Argentina in December and is already working to promote further bilateral trade and investment. We also have a UK-Argentine Commercial Dialogue, agreed with the Argentine Commerce Ministry last year and chaired by my Hon Friend the Minister of State for Investment (Graham Stuart).

UK Export Finance has significant capacity to support UK exports to Argentina.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for Transport
Airports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to paragraph 4.3 of their consultation Aviation 2050—the future of UK aviation (Cm 9714), published on 17 December, whether (1) a third runway at Heathrow airport is exempt from further consideration of its environmental and economic impacts, and (2) there is a presumption that no airports other than Heathrow may have new or extended runways.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Government has set out its preferred option for one new runway in the South East by 2030. This is being taken forward through the Airports National Policy Statement, which was designated by the Secretary of State on 26 June 2018. It provides the primary basis for decision making on an application for development consent for a Northwest runway at Heathrow Airport, which includes the strict environmental requirements that any applicant will have to meet.

In June 2018, the Department released its policy to provide support for all airports across the UK with the exception of Heathrow to make best use of their existing runways subject to relevant environmental considerations being addressed. Airports that wish to increase either the passenger or air traffic movement cap to allow them to make best use of their existing runways will need to submit applications to the relevant planning authority.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Gaza
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel regarding its frequent incursions into Gaza and of any associated destruction of farmland and crops.
A
Answered on: 21 January 2019

We have not had any discussions on this specific issue.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Leader of the House of Lords
Trade Bill
Lords
To ask the Leader of the House why dates for the committee stage of the Trade Bill in the House of Lords were not scheduled more quickly after the bill's second reading.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The committee stage of the Trade bill has been arranged in the usual way, having been subject to ongoing discussions in the Usual Channels. So far the three of an anticipated four dates for Committee stage are 21, 23 and 30 January and they have been advertised in Forthcoming Business. The remaining day will be rescheduled as a day had to be set aside for for the House to have a further debate under section 13 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act, which is now scheduled for 28 January. The recommended intervals between Bill stages are minimums, and it is not unusual for there to be a longer pause between stages than the recommended minimum interval.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Ministry of Justice
Islam: Legal Systems
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ruling by the Grand Committee of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Molla Sali v. Greece on the application of sharia law, issued on 19 December 2018; what plans, if any, they have to (1) provide support to women and girls in the UK who suffer as a result of the application of sharia law, and (2) ensure that relevant vulnerable people are made aware of their rights in relation to the application of sharia law within the UK judicial system.
A
Answered by: Lord Keen of Elie
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Grand Chamber found that the difference of treatment suffered by the applicant, as a beneficiary of a will drawn up in accordance with the Greek Civil Code by a testator of Muslim faith, as compared to a beneficiary of a will drawn up in accordance with the Civil Code by a non-Muslim testator, had no objective and reasonable justification, contrary to the applicant’s rights under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights read in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. The Government’s initial assessment is that the judgment does not affect inheritance law in England and Wales. Inheritance law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter.

People may choose to abide by the interpretation and application of Sharia principles if they wish to do so, provided their actions do not conflict with the national law. All individuals retain the right to seek a remedy through the English and Welsh courts in the event of a dispute, and the law of England and Wales in relation to the inheritance of property prevails.

The independent Sharia review was published in February 2018. The Government’s commitments in response, including supporting awareness raising campaigns with voluntary organisations, can be found in the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper published in March 2018.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord O'Shaughnessy on 20 December (HL12267), whether there has been an increase or decrease in contraceptive uptake in the UK in recent years; and if so, (1) which kinds of contraceptives have been affected, and (2) what age groups demonstrate the most change.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Data covering all contraception provision by age and method in the United Kingdom or England is not held centrally.

Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Deportation: China
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the purpose of Operation Elucidate; when that Operation began; and whether that Operation is still active.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Operation Elucidate is a programme to confirm the identity and nationality of individuals in the UK illegally, with officials from the receiving Government, with the purpose of obtaining travel documentation to facilitate their return. The programme began in 2003 and remains in operation.

The remaining information requested is not held in a reportable format.

Grouped Questions: HL12579
Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Deportation: China
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Chinese nationals were arrested under Operation Elucidate in (1) 2015, (2) 2016, (3) 2017, and (4) 2018; for what offences any individuals were arrested; and how many of any arrested were identified as potential victims of modern slavery.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Operation Elucidate is a programme to confirm the identity and nationality of individuals in the UK illegally, with officials from the receiving Government, with the purpose of obtaining travel documentation to facilitate their return. The programme began in 2003 and remains in operation.

The remaining information requested is not held in a reportable format.

Grouped Questions: HL12578
Q
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their white paper The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, published in December 2018 (Cm 9722), how they define “sustainable levels” of migration.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

A sustainable level of net migration is one which contributes to economic growth by ensuring that businesses have the labour they need to operate effectively, while at the same time not putting undue burden on communities and services and not giving rise to public concern about migration levels.

Q
Asked by Lord Triesman
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Leader of the House of Lords
Trade Bill
Lords
To ask the Leader of the House how many days of committee stage she estimates will be required for the Trade Bill; and when she anticipates the committee stage being completed.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

So far three of an anticipated four days have been scheduled and advertised (21, 23 and 30 January). The remaining day will be rescheduled as a day had to be set aside for the House to have a further debate under section 13 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act which is now scheduled for 28 January. The progress of all business is, as always, in the hands of the House. But the Usual Channels have agreed to those dates on the assumption that they should allow Committee Stage to be completed inside four days and the Usual Channels are working to get the remaining day scheduled within the first week of February.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel about that government's decision to lower prison standards for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel; and what assessment they have made of the impact of those measures.
A
Answered on: 21 January 2019

​Whilst we have not raised this specific issue with Israeli authorities, we have previously raised our concerns over the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, especially children, in Israeli detention and encourage for international standards to be upheld.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Gaza: Public Health
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their most recent assessment of the impact on public health in Palestine of (1) the reduction in food aid provided by the World Food Programme, and (2) the level of availability of antibiotics and other medical supplies, water, power and fuel in Gaza.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

DFID continually assesses the humanitarian context in Gaza, including in the health sector, which remains under significant strain. Recent information from the World Food Programme states that cuts in its funding will affect 193,000 of the poorest people in Gaza and the West Bank as of January 2019. High food insecurity and poverty rates in Gaza contribute to the dire humanitarian situation. Although the recent increase in electricity supply has positively impacted health facilities, there is still a major shortage of essential drugs, including antibiotics and other medical supplies. Movement restrictions on patients seeking medical treatment outside Gaza and access to water also remain critical concerns.

DFID continues to provide assistance in the region, including providing food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees, supporting urgent health needs, preventing the spread of diseases, and improving access to safe water.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Developing Countries: Education
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in setting up, funding and leading the Inclusive Education Initiative as proposed at the Global Disability Summit in July 2018; and whether it will become operational in 2019.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The UK is committed to supporting the Inclusive Education Initiative which will become operational in 2019. Since the Global Disability Summit in July, we have been working closely with partners the World Bank and Norway to establish the Initiative, finalising operational and design arrangements. DFID’s year one contribution was announced at the launch of the Disability Inclusion Strategy in December and will be £1.5 million commencing in April 2019.

Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Cameroon: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken during the past two weeks to ensure that shelter, food supplies, clean water and other essentials are being adequately provided for English speaking victims of violence, threatened violence and conflict in Cameroon.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

On 13th December we announced a £2.5m contribution to the UN appeal for the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, with £2 million disbursed immediately to UNICEF. This support will begin to: treat 1,300 children who are most at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition; provide essential drugs to treat 5,700 children for deadly diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections; provide 10,000 people with water and sanitation kits including water purification supplies and other household items including washable sanitary napkins and tooth brushes; provide 2,000 mosquito-nets to prevent malaria; vaccinate 3,500 children against measles; and identify and support many unaccompanied children.

Grouped Questions: HL12593
Q
Asked by Lord Judd
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Cameroon: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taking during the past two weeks to ensure that medical support, educational resources and sanitation facilities are being adequately provided for English speaking victims of violence, threatened violence and conflict in Cameroon.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

On 13th December we announced a £2.5m contribution to the UN appeal for the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, with £2 million disbursed immediately to UNICEF. This support will begin to: treat 1,300 children who are most at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition; provide essential drugs to treat 5,700 children for deadly diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections; provide 10,000 people with water and sanitation kits including water purification supplies and other household items including washable sanitary napkins and tooth brushes; provide 2,000 mosquito-nets to prevent malaria; vaccinate 3,500 children against measles; and identify and support many unaccompanied children.

Grouped Questions: HL12592
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
Clinical Commissioning Groups
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the letter sent by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NHS England in November 2018, requiring Clinical Commissioning Groups to explore mergers and joint ways of working.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The letter dated 23 November 2018 was sent to all Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Accountable Officers and CCG Chief Financial Officers in England from the Deputy Chief Executive of NHS England. A copy of the letter is attached.

23 November 2018 letter to CCGs (PDF Document, 78.49 KB)
Q
Asked by Lord Ouseley
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Standard of Living
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 17 December 2018 (HL11981), what conclusions were reached by HM Treasury, along with other relevant departments, about the equality and cumulative impact of their decisions on those people sharing protected characteristics; and what assessment they have made of how such conclusions compare with those of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in its report The cumulative impact in living standards of public spending changes, published on 28 November, in respect of the effect of public spending changes on lone parents, young adults, severely disabled people and certain ethnic groups since 2010.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Equality and fairness continue to be at the heart of this Government’s agenda, and HM Treasury and other departments take their compliance with the Equality Act’s Public Sector Equality Duty seriously when deciding policy. Impact assessments of government policies, including the impact on equalities, are often published by relevant departments. In the interests of transparency, the Treasury and HMRC publish tax information and impact notes (TIINs) for individual tax measures that include, in summary form, assessments of their expected equalities impacts.

The government does not accept that the EHRC’s report presents an accurate view of the impacts of its policy choices. In its analysis of public spending, the EHRC does not cover the increase in spending in the new multi-year funding plan for NHS England, equating to £20.5bn more per year in real terms by 2023-24 or changes to the UC work allowance announced at Budget 2018.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Financial Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the analysis conducted by the EY financial services Brexit Tracker, published on 7 January, which states that financial services companies have moved approximately £800 billion of assets to Europe; and what assessment, if any, they have made of the impact of such asset moves on the UK financial services sector post-Brexit.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

We remain committed to preserving our competitive position in financial services after the UK has left the European Union.

Firms that are using the EU “passport” to serve clients recognise that further steps to legal certainty remain, and are taking the sensible step of carrying out contingency planning with respect to their operations in the UK and elsewhere in Europe for the event that no deal is reached with the EU.

We have successfully agreed commitments for working towards a future framework with the EU on financial services and both sides intend to take decisions on granting equivalence at least 6 months before the end of the Implementation Period.

The Government’s long-term economic analysis sets out the impact of the UK’s White Paper position on the financial services sector.

Q
Asked by Lord Ouseley
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration: Windrush Generation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals from the Commonwealth Caribbean countries, who settled in the UK before 1973, have been determined as eligible for compensation for detrimental treatment during the hostile environment illegal immigration programme; how many have been compensated to date; how many are still awaiting settlement; what has been the cost of such compensation to date; and what estimate they have made of the overall cost.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Government is committed to establishing a compensation scheme specifically, for members of the Windrush generation who have suffered loss as a result of difficulties in demonstrating their lawful immigration status.

The Home Office published a consultation paper on 19 July seeking views on the design and operation of the scheme. The consultation closed on 16 November. As the scheme is not yet in place, it is not possible to submit an application for compensation or make payments under the scheme.

We will announce details of the final scheme and how to apply as soon as possible. It is not possible to give an estimate of compensation costs before the scheme is announced.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Treasury
Exchange Rates
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of Brexit uncertainty on exchange rate volatility; and what assessment, if any, they have made of the impact of such volatility on business planning in the UK manufacturing sector.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

Her Majesty’s Government continues to monitor the effects of Brexit uncertainty on exchange rate volatility. Recent financial market movements have been driven by a combination of global events as well as domestic developments.

Overall, uncertainty is a key concern of businesses, including those in the manufacturing sector, as evidenced in recent manufacturing focussed business surveys. Furthermore, the Agent’s survey on EU withdrawal preparation from the Bank of England recorded that around 35% of respondents in manufacturing had already made some change to their business plans since the referendum with a further 25-30% expecting to adjust their business plans by end-March 2019.

Delivering the settlement negotiated with the EU remains our top priority. The Government will continue to take steps to provide businesses with information for a range of scenarios. These include HMRC publishing a ‘Partnership Pack’ to help businesses prepare for changes at the UK border and the publication of 106 technical notices to help businesses prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario. The Government has also launched a public information campaign to ensure that citizens and businesses are well informed about how Brexit will affect them and the practical steps they will need to take.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage immigration from non-European countries after Brexit.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The White Paper published on 19 December sets out the Government’s plans for managing the admission of workers from around the world on the basis of economic need and not nationality.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Immigration Controls: Hong Kong
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of their status as British nationals, British national (overseas) passport holders from Hong Kong will be permitted to use ePassport gates in the UK when automated passenger clearance is extended to foreign nationals from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and elsewhere.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The UK’s border and immigration system is kept under regular review. We will monitor the change to the nationalities eligible to use ePassport gates to determine any future plans.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Pakistan: Christianity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial assistance they have provided to Christian groups in Pakistan in each year since 2009.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

UK aid prioritises support for the poorest and most excluded people and communities in Pakistan regardless of race, religion, social background or nationality. The UK supports the rights of all groups to follow their own religious faith and to live safe and secure lives. It is not possible to disaggregate our spending data by religion as we do not collect information on the religion of all our beneficiaries in country. We do however have a data disaggregation action plan which focuses on 4 key areas, disability, age, sex and geography. We do not currently have plans to collect data on religion as we recognise the risks associated with potentially revealing such sensitive information for religious minorities.

Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department for International Development
Iraq: Christianity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial assistance they have provided to Christian groups in Iraq in each year since 2003.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 January 2019

DFID has committed to providing humanitarian support to Iraq since 2003, including access to clean water, food, medicines, protection and other life-saving assistance, targeted towards the most vulnerable people. This support is provided on the basis of need, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, and in line with international humanitarian principles; it is therefore not possible to provide figures on assistance specifically provided to Christians or other religious group. The UK works closely with the Government of Iraq, the UN, humanitarian partners and minority representatives to support the rights of all minorities and to ensure our aid reaches those in the greatest need.

Q
Asked by Lord Birt
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Agricultural Machinery and Motor Vehicles: Theft
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ashton of Hyde on 2 January (HL12281), what assessment they have made of the use of GPS jammers in the theft and export of stolen vehicles and farm machinery.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Government has not carried out a specific assessment of the use of GPS jammers in the theft and export of stolen vehicles and farm machinery.

However, we are working with industry, the police and others to look at what more we can do to tackle vehicle crime, including where this is enabled by tools such as jammers. This work is being overseen by a new vehicle crime taskforce chaired by the Policing Minister.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government with which professional associations the NHS consulted in developing the NHS Long Term Plan.
A
Answered by: Baroness Manzoor
Answered on: 21 January 2019

A list of the organisations who attended events, joined webinars or submitted evidence and views to inform the NHS Long Term Plan is attached, due to the size of the data.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Artificial Intelligence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which types of non-criminal matters the National Data Analytics Solution could be used for.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The National Data Analytics Solution project will deliver the foundations of a national data analytics capability to enable a more coordinated response to targeting crime and vulnerability.

The project will be evaluated after it completes in March 2019. This will enable an informed assessment of potential uses for the capability and consider any next steps and further applications.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Prescriptions: Artificial Intelligence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether prescription data could be legally mined as part of the National Data Analytics Solution.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The National Data Analytics Solution project has received Police Transformation Fund support to deliver the foundations of a national data analytics capability to enable a more coordinated response to targeting crime and vulnerability by sharing data across participating police forces. Prescription data is not within the scope of the project.

The project will be evaluated after it completes in March 2019. This will enable an informed assessment of potential uses for the capability and consideration of any next steps and further applications, including due diligence for compliance with all relevant rules and regulations.

Q
Asked by Lord Scriven
Asked on: 07 January 2019
Home Office
Artificial Intelligence
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which departments are taking part in the National Data Analytics Solution.
Answered on: 21 January 2019

The Home Office is the only government department involved in the National Data Analytics Solution project following approval by the Home Secretary of an award from the Police Transformation Fund to West Midlands Police to deliver it.

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