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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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.
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Q
(Camberwell and Peckham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 November 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness: Older People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of people over 65 years old that are are homeless in (a) the London Borough of Southwark, (b) London and (c) England.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 15 November 2018

My Department publishes quarterly statistics on statutory homelessness and homelessness prevention and relief in England and an annual rough sleeping count. These are published at a local authority level. The detailed local authority level response tables in section 1 includes '65-74 years' and '75 & over' age brackets for the applicant of homeless households.

The latest statistics can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness.

Q
(Camberwell and Peckham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 November 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness: Older People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many people in receipt of a state pension are recognised as homeless in (a) London Borough of Southwark, (b) London and (c) the UK.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 15 November 2018

My Department has asked local authorities to collect information on benefits received by the main claimant of a homelessness applicant household since April 2018 when the Homelessness Reduction Act came into effect. This data is still being collated and quality assured and will be published as soon as practically possible. It will contain information on whether the main claimant of applicant households is claiming State Pension and/or Pension Credit (if the benefit contributes most to their income relative to any other benefits also received or applied for).

Q
(Camberwell and Peckham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 November 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Temporary Accommodation: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of children with autism living in temporary accommodation in (a) London Borough of Southwark, (b) London and (c) England in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 15 November 2018

My Department does not collect this information.

Q
(Camberwell and Peckham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 November 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Homelessness: Autism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of adults with autism that are homeless in (a) London Borough of Southwark, (b) London and (c) England in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Mrs Heather Wheeler
Answered on: 15 November 2018

My Department does not collect this information.

Q
Asked by Nic Dakin
(Scunthorpe)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 12 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Housing Benefit: Kingston upon Hull
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 5 November 2018 to Question 907432 on Housing Benefit, how much discretionary housing payment was (a) awarded to and (b) spent by Kingston-upon-Hull City Council in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The table below shows the amount awarded to and spent by Kingston-upon-Hull City Council in Discretionary Housing Payments in the last 3 financial years:

Year

Awarded

Spent

2015/16

£681,189

£682,190

2016/17

£791,440

£1,072,779

2017/18

£1,026,126

£1,253,507

Figures on the amount of Discretionary Housing Payments awarded to and spent by Local Authorities are available:


https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/discretionary-housing-payments-statistics

Q
(Gillingham and Rainham)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 13 November 2018
Cabinet Office
Cybercrime
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to help improve the cyber security of public and private sector organisations.
A
Answered by: Mr David Lidington
Answered on: 15 November 2018

Our world leading National Cyber Security Strategy, supported by £1.9 billion of transformational investment, sets out measures to defend our people, businesses, and assets; deter our adversaries; and develop the skills and capabilities we need.

Our experts in the National Cyber Security Centre provide a wide range of guidance and support to help public and private sector organisations improve their resilience to cyber attacks.

Q
Asked by James Frith
(Bury North)
Asked on: 13 November 2018
Department for Transport
Roads: Standards
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the level of funding required to ensure highway roads are protected and do not significantly deteriorate in (a) Bury (b) the North West and (c) England.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The Secretary of State for Transport meets regularly with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to discuss a wide range of issues.

From the £420 million for road maintenance announced in the Budget 2018, the Department for Transport has allocated a) Bury with £0.903 million (b) the North West with £53.094 million and (c) England with £420 million. This funding was provided to authorities on 13 November 2018.

This funding is in addition to just under £6.2 billion we are allocating to highway authorities between 2015 and 2021 for local highways maintenance, including £296 million through the pothole action fund.

Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 15 November 2018
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Females
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on women.
Q
(Coventry South)
[N]
Close

Named Day

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

Asked on: 15 November 2018
Women and Equalities
Equal Pay
Commons
What steps the Government is taking to close the gender pay gap for women over the age of 40.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 15 November 2018

The gender pay gap for women between 40 and 49 has actually fallen since 2010. Employers reported their gender pay gaps for the first time this year and we now expect them to take action to close them.

The Government published the Fuller Working Lives strategy last year, and continues to work with businesses to ensure everyone can adapt to the changing face of the workforce.

Q
Asked by Tulip Siddiq
(Hampstead and Kilburn)
Asked on: 15 October 2018
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Social Media
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much his Department has spent on promoted content on (a) Twitter, (b) Facebook and (c) Instagram in each month since June 2017.
A
Answered by: Margot James
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) uses these platforms and other social media channels to communicate with specific target audiences on Government approved campaigns.

DCMS has spent £5,078 since June 2017 which amounts to 0.00169% of the overall communications spend across Government this year.

Q
Asked by David Simpson
(Upper Bann)
Asked on: 16 October 2018
Treasury
Children: Day Care
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many parents in Northern Ireland applied for tax free childcare in each of the last three years.
A
Corrected answer by: Elizabeth Truss
Corrected on: 14 November 2018
An error has been identified in the written answer given on 23 October 2018.
The correct answer should have been:

The table below provides the number of parents in Northern Ireland who have applied for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) in each of the last three years. TFC was trialled in 2016 and launched in April 2017.

We are promoting the scheme across the UK, including a marketing campaign which launched on 10 September 2018, to increase awareness and take-up of Tax-Free Childcare.

Years

Total Number of Applications

2016

2

2017

1,039 1,044

2018

2,093 1,301

A
Answered by: Elizabeth Truss
Answered on: 23 October 2018

The table below provides the number of parents in Northern Ireland who have applied for Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) in each of the last three years. TFC was trialled in 2016 and launched in April 2017.

We are promoting the scheme across the UK, including a marketing campaign which launched on 10 September 2018, to increase awareness and take-up of Tax-Free Childcare.

Years

Total Number of Applications

2016

2

2017

1,039 1,044

2018

2,093 1,301

Asked on: 29 October 2018
Department for Exiting the European Union
Consumers: Protection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 27 September (HL10205), what meetings ministers from all departments have held with consumer representatives in relation to the UK’s departure from the EU.
A
Answered by: Lord Callanan
Answered on: 14 November 2018

Ministers and officials from across Government have a regular dialogue with stakeholders from sectors across the economy, including consumer bodies, to discuss their priorities as we leave the European Union.

Details of Ministerial and senior official meetings on Government business are published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which are made publicly available on GOV.UK.

On 13 November I wrote to the Noble Lady regarding consumer bodies. Appended to this letter was a list of HMG Ministerial engagements with consumer bodies that have been published in transparency returns since January 2018. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library of the House.

Q
(Leeds East)
Asked on: 30 October 2018
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish (a) the change in his Department's budget in real terms in each year since 2010; and what the projected change will be in real terms in each year to 2022.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The table below shows the annual change in the Ministry of Justice’s available funding from HM Treasury and Income in real terms to 2019/20. Budgets for the years 2020/21 and 2021/22 will be set in the next Spending Review. The figures below represent actual funding received for 2010/11 – 2017/18, and forecast figures for 2018/19 – 2019/20.

2010/ 11

2011/ 12

2012/ 13

2013/ 14

2014/ 15

2015/ 16

2016/ 17

2017/ 18

2018/ 192

2019/ 202

Fiscal Resource DEL Funding1

9.8

9.8

9.5

9.0

8.7

8.5

8.7

8.9

8.1

8.0

Funding (restated in 2018/19 prices)

11.1

11.0

10.4

9.8

9.3

8.9

9.0

9.1

8.1

7.9

Annual real terms increase/(decrease)

-1%

-5%

-6%

-5%

-4%

1%

1%

-10%

-3%

Cumulative real terms decrease

-1%

-6%

-12%

-16%

-20%

-19%

-19%

-27%

-29%

1 Includes funding from HM Treasury and Income (inc. fees, fines and income from OGDs). Excludes depreciation and capital spend. 2 Based on the SR15 Settlement, with revisions as agreed at AS16. The Ministry continues to engage with HM Treasury on the department’s funding requirements ahead of the Spending Review in 2019.

Asked on: 31 October 2018
Department for International Trade
EU External Trade: Burma
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the impact of the proposed withdrawal of EU Everything But Arms trade privileges on (1) Burma, (2) the Burmese military, and (3) civilian workers in Burma.
A
Answered by: Baroness Fairhead
Answered on: 14 November 2018

We are working with Member States and are in discussions with the Commission on this issue. The assessment must ensure that a thorough consideration of the impacts is made before any decision is taken.

Since 2012, when the EU granted Burma duty-free, quota-free market access on “Everything But Arms”, EU imports from Burma rose by almost ten times to €1,558 million in 2017. Most of the EU’s imports are of textiles and apparels, which have created substantial employment opportunities for women in Burma, and which would be subject to tariffs if the EU withdraws ‘Everything But Arms’ preferences.

Any decision to suspend preferences would need to be thoroughly assessed, bearing in mind the impact it could have on Burma’s poor.

Asked on: 31 October 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: EU External Trade
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the impact of the proposed withdrawal of EU Everything But Arms trade privileges from Burma on the leadership of the Burmese military, including Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing; and what sanctions have been imposed that are specifically targeted at the leadership of the Burmese military.
A
Answered on: 14 November 2018

Since 2012, when the EU granted Burma duty-free, quota-free market access on "Everything But Arms", EU imports from Burma have risen almost ten-fold, to €1,558 million in 2017. Most of the EU's imports are of textiles and apparel. This has substantially expanded employment opportunities for women in Burma. The direct impact of a decision to suspend preferences and re-introduce tariffs would not be on the military, but on the textile businesses and their employees, including many vulnerable women employed in Burma's garment sector. We are working with Member States, and are in discussions with the Commission, to ensure that the likely impacts are thoroughly considered before any decision is made. The UK was instrumental in renewing and expanding the EU arms embargo on Burma earlier this year, and securing targeted EU sanctions on seven senior members of the Burmese military.

Asked on: 31 October 2018
The Senior Deputy Speaker
House of Lords: Allowances
Lords
To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker what accommodation allowance is paid to officers of the House who are required to stay away from home as part of their duties.
A
Answered on: 14 November 2018

All staff employed by the House of Lords Administration are reimbursed for actual accommodation expenses incurred whilst staying away from home as part of their duties. There is no allowance payable.  The arrangements for reimbursement are in accordance with the Staff Handbook.

In most cases, if House staff are required to stay away from home at a UK location, they can claim for their accommodation up to the cost of a room with a bath at a three-star hotel or equivalent.

If House staff are required to stay away from home at a location outside the UK, in most cases they are reimbursed the actual cost of accommodation up to the value of the prevailing HMRC-authorised room rates.

For staff travelling in connection with Select Committee activity staff usually stay in the same hotel as the members they are accompanying, for which actual accommodation costs are reimbursed.

The housing costs of the Brussels-based National Parliament Representative (who supports the work of the House of Lords EU Committee and that of other committees in relation to matters of EU policy) are paid on an invoiced basis.

Staff travelling in connection with an international assembly are reimbursed according to the rules of that assembly.

Staff living outside London are not entitled to any payment towards costs of accommodation if they choose to stay in London when working.

Asked on: 31 October 2018
Treasury
VAT
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many small businesses participate in the VAT Flat-Rate Scheme.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The latest published statistics show that in the last year for which figures are available (2016-17), there were 358,270 businesses operating the VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS).

There is no separate impact assessment relating to businesses participating in the FRS. An overall Impact Assessment was published on 1 December 2017.

MTD is intended to help businesses meet their tax obligations as simply as possible, regardless of whether they operate standard or specialist schemes. While HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot recommend specific software products, they have published details of compatible software on GOV.uk.

This will be updated regularly as more MTD software products become available. HMRC has also published guidance within its recent VAT Notice 7/22 on GOV.UK on how to account for the FRS on software that does not have it as a feature.

Grouped Questions: HL11159 | HL11160
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Treasury
VAT: Electronic Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they conducted an equality impact assessment on the decision to apply Making Tax Digital to small businesses paying VAT using the VAT Flat-Rate Scheme; and if so, whether they will publish that assessment.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The latest published statistics show that in the last year for which figures are available (2016-17), there were 358,270 businesses operating the VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS).

There is no separate impact assessment relating to businesses participating in the FRS. An overall Impact Assessment was published on 1 December 2017.

MTD is intended to help businesses meet their tax obligations as simply as possible, regardless of whether they operate standard or specialist schemes. While HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot recommend specific software products, they have published details of compatible software on GOV.uk.

This will be updated regularly as more MTD software products become available. HMRC has also published guidance within its recent VAT Notice 7/22 on GOV.UK on how to account for the FRS on software that does not have it as a feature.

Grouped Questions: HL11158 | HL11160
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Treasury
VAT: Electronic Government
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government which commercial software available to small businesses using the VAT Flat-Rate Scheme are compliant with Making Tax Digital; and what are the costs of such software to those small businesses.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 14 November 2018

The latest published statistics show that in the last year for which figures are available (2016-17), there were 358,270 businesses operating the VAT Flat Rate Scheme (FRS).

There is no separate impact assessment relating to businesses participating in the FRS. An overall Impact Assessment was published on 1 December 2017.

MTD is intended to help businesses meet their tax obligations as simply as possible, regardless of whether they operate standard or specialist schemes. While HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot recommend specific software products, they have published details of compatible software on GOV.uk.

This will be updated regularly as more MTD software products become available. HMRC has also published guidance within its recent VAT Notice 7/22 on GOV.UK on how to account for the FRS on software that does not have it as a feature.

Grouped Questions: HL11158 | HL11159
Asked on: 31 October 2018
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pets: Travel
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their advice in the No Deal Technical Guidance, Taking your pet abroad if there’s no Brexit Deal, published on 24 September, what progress they have made in their discussions with the EU on pet passports; and what advice they plan to provide to owners by the end of November.
A
Answered on: 14 November 2018

On 6 November 2018 Defra released updated guidance on pet travel to Europe after Brexit which advised pet owners to contact their vet at least four months before travel – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

This information was issued to the public in a press release statement, as well as being placed on GOV.UK and sent out to pet carriers and other key stakeholders. Official Veterinarians have been contacted separately by email and further information will be published on GOV.UK.

When further details are available about pet travel into and out of the UK, they will be published on GOV.UK.

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