Written questions and answers

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

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

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.
Showing 41-60 out of 7759
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Knives: Crime
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of all sentences for (a) possession of and (b) threatening with a knife were custodial sentences in the last 12 months for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filter by offence to include the following offences:

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

19D Rape of a female aged under 16.

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

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

19G Rape of a male aged under 16.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 20.13 KB)
Grouped Questions: 14650
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Gender Recognition
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many individuals in (a) male and (b) female prisons are recorded as being transsexual.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

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

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

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

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

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 20.13 KB)
Grouped Questions: 14649
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Alternatives to Prosecution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will take steps to place the offences committed by offenders who participate in out-of-court disposals on the Police National Computer and make them available to courts dealing with any future offending.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Simple and Conditional Cautions and Penalty Notices for Disorder are recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC).

Police cautions (simple or conditional) issued for recordable offences appear on court file disclosures.

There is currently no mechanism for recording other out of court disposals (OOCDs) on the PNC system. However, other OOCDs, including Community Resolutions, are currently held on the Police National Database (PND).

A new information recording system for police forces, the Law Enforcement Data Service (LEDS) is being developed which will hold a fuller range of OOCD data nationally.

Q
Asked by Stella Creasy
(Walthamstow)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Domestic Abuse
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to extend automatic priority need for housing to survivors of domestic abuse in need of a safe and permanent home.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 18 February 2020

This Government believes it is vitally important that domestic abuse victims who are homeless, or are at risk of homelessness, are supported to find an accommodation solution that meets their needs and reflects their individual circumstances.

In April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force, which puts prevention at the heart of the local authorities’ response to homelessness, irrespective of whether they are a family or single person, what has put them at risk, or if they have a local connection to the area. This means that all victims of domestic abuse who are at risk of homelessness should be provided with an offer of support from their local authority to find appropriate accommodation.

Under homelessness legislation a person who is pregnant, has dependent children, or is vulnerable as a result of having to leave accommodation due to domestic abuse already has priority need for accommodation. These duties, alongside new duties under the Domestic Abuse Bill, will ensure that all victims of domestic abuse are supported to find accommodation that meets their needs.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Plans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many and what proportion of local authorities have an up-to-date local plan.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 18 February 2020

It is essential for Local Planning Authorities to have up to date plan policies in place to plan for our housing needs and to provide clarity to communities and developers about where new homes should be built. It also helps ensure that development is planned for and is sustainable rather than the result of speculative applications.

There are 9 Local Planning Authorities (3 per cent) without an Local Plan adopted under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 Act that have not yet submitted their first plan for Examination. Once plans have been adopted, it is down to Local Planning Authorities to determine if these are up to date. This is to ensure that policies remain relevant and effectively address the needs of the local community.

The Planning Inspectorate publishes Local Plan progress information at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-plans#monitoring-local-plan-progress.

Grouped Questions: 14610
Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Plans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what deadline he has set for all local authorities to have an up-to-date local plan.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 18 February 2020

It is essential for Local Planning Authorities to have up to date plan policies in place to plan for our housing needs and to provide clarity to communities and developers about where new homes should be built. It also helps ensure that development is planned for and is sustainable rather than the result of speculative applications.

There are 9 Local Planning Authorities (3 per cent) without an Local Plan adopted under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 Act that have not yet submitted their first plan for Examination. Once plans have been adopted, it is down to Local Planning Authorities to determine if these are up to date. This is to ensure that policies remain relevant and effectively address the needs of the local community.

The Planning Inspectorate publishes Local Plan progress information at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-plans#monitoring-local-plan-progress.

Grouped Questions: 14609
Q
Asked by Darren Jones
(Bristol North West)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Paternity Leave
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to improve access to paternity leave.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 18 February 2020

The Government is committed to maintaining and enhancing workers’ rights, and to supporting people to balance their work and caring responsibilities. We recently consulted on parental leave and pay reform, including Paternity Leave and Pay through a survey of approximately 3,300 parents, we are also collecting data on various parental leave and pay policies, including barriers and enablers to take-up. We will publish the consultation response and survey findings in due course.

The Government is committed to making the UK the best place to work and grow a business. As announced in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward an Employment Rights Bill to deliver the greatest reform of workers’ rights in over 20 years.

Q
Asked by Greg Smith
(Buckingham)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Cancer: Buckinghamshire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve waiting times for cancer treatment in Buckinghamshire.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to improving survival rates for cancer and we have committed to the new 28-day faster diagnosis waiting times standard. Implementation in all trusts including Buckinghamshire, subject to Government approval, is planned from spring 2020.

Buckinghamshire is included in plans to develop Rapid Diagnostic Service models as part of the Long Term Plan for Thames Valley to improve and speed up cancer diagnostics and patient experience. During 2019, they established a non-site specific (also referred to as vague symptom) pathway for general practitioners (GPs) with Buckinghamshire NHS Trust to fast track such patients.

Cancer is a priority for this Government and in October 2018 we announced a package of measures that will be rolled out across the country with the aim of seeing three quarters of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 (currently just over half). This is part of the Long Term Plan for the National Health Service and forms part of how the Government will achieve its ambition to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for five years in England each year from 2028.

The Long Term Plan is available at the following link:

https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/

Q
Asked by Paul Bristow
(Peterborough)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Multiple Occupation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what powers are available to local authorities to prevent family homes being turned into houses of multiple occupation.
A
Answered by: Christopher Pincher
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Change of use to a larger House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) housing more than six people always requires an application for planning permission. Such larger HMOs also require a license in order to operate.

For houses up to six people who share facilities, nationally set permitted development rights allow a dwellinghouse (C3) to change use to a House in Multiple Occupation (C4) without the need for a planning application. This enables the change of use without placing unnecessary burdens on landlords and local planning authorities.

Where there is sufficient evidence that it is necessary to protect local amenity or the well-being of the area, a local planning authority may withdraw a permitted development right in a specific area using an Article 4 direction, after consultation with the local community.

Q
(Bolton South East)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Courts: Digital Technology
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what risk assessments took place to ensure that workplaces were suitable and safe for the introduction of digital working in court rooms using the (a) Digital Markup Service and (b) common platform.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

I am answering these questions together.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s Health and Safety policy requires that a trained general risk assessor inspects each court room on a quarterly basis to ensure it is compliant with health and safety standards, and to report any non-compliance so that remedial work can be undertaken.

Where Display Screen Equipment is used, including courtrooms across the estate into which we are continuing to introduce digital ways of working as part of our Reform Programme, the policy requires that workstations must comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended).

Accordingly, the designated Senior Person on Site at all of our court and tribunal buildings is required to ensure that each workstation is routinely assessed; any non-compliance is reported and remedied; and any risk is appropriately mitigated.

We do not collate centrally details of the numbers of courtroom assessments that have taken place over particular periods. Instead, the HMCTS Corporate Safety & Security team seeks and receives regular assurance from senior managers about compliance with these and wider requirements.

Grouped Questions: 14655
Q
(Bolton South East)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
HM Courts and Tribunals Service: Sick Leave
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many days off sick HM Courts & Tribunals staff took in each month of (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

We have provided the number of working days lost due to sickness, however, this figure does not take into consideration those who work part time, so we have also included the Working Days Lost by Full Time Equivalent (FTE), which takes this into account and is a more accurate reflection.

As well as short absences, this includes those on long term sickness and any other unplanned, unavoidable leave such as family bereavements etc.

The table below provides the sick leave per calendar year for 2018 and 2019.

2018

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

Working Days Lost

15150

12935

12673

10920

10846

9612

10228

10283

9666

12330

12381

11245

WDs Lost x FTE

13064.17

11127.27

10974.75

9387.96

9403.47

8342.48

8959.86

8980.13

8268.19

10559.87

10639.77

9663.14

2019

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

Working Days Lost

13226

11099

10817

9976

9669

9719

11019

9705

10519

10280

12163

11942

WDs Lost x FTE

11409.74

9601.479

9222.949

8589.958

8256.505

8337.592

9493.536

8485.607

9050.386

8814.963

10446.83

10336.58

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 41-60 out of 7759
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100