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
Asked by Ian Blackford
(Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change and Environment: EU Law
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to ensure that UK maintains all EU climate change and environmental regulations in UK law after the UK leaves the EU.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will ensure existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law after exit, providing businesses and stakeholders with maximum certainty as we leave the EU.

Leaving the EU will not change any of our domestic statutory commitments to reduce our emissions, as laid out in the Climate Change Act 2008 – indeed, those commitments are more ambitious and challenging than those set by EU legislation.

We have no intention of weakening our current environmental protections as we leave the EU. The UK has a long history of environmental protection and we will safeguard and improve on this record. As my rt. hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated, ‘Brexit will not mean a lowering of environmental standards’.

Q
Asked by Ronnie Cowan
(Inverclyde)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Ministry of Justice
Refugees: Legal Aid Scheme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making legal aid available for refugee family reunion applications.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 21 June 2018

Legal aid is not generally available for UK residents to re-unite with their family members from overseas. Exceptional case funding may be available where the case triggers issues under the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.

We are committed to providing clear guidance and application forms to support anyone going through this process so that, in most cases, applying for family reunion does not require specialist legal advice. We are also working with key partners, such as the British Red Cross and UNICEF, to further improve the process for considering family reunion applications so that applicants understand what is expected of them.

As the Lord Chancellor previously announced, we are conducting an evidence-based review of the changes made under LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012), including legal aid provision for family reunion cases. The evidence gathering phase of the Post-Implementation Review (PIR) has commenced and we will publish our findings later this year.

Q
(North East Fife)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Public Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Department spending more UK-wide expenditure outwith the Barnett formula in Scotland over the last twelve months.
A
Answered by: Rishi Sunak
Answered on: 21 June 2018

I meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a regular basis to discuss a range of matters of mutual interest.

Q
Asked by Eleanor Smith
(Wolverhampton South West)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Wolverhampton
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has received on the effect of the move of the HMRC Office in Wolverhampton to a new office in Birmingham on the (a) women and (b) other people who (i) work and (ii) use that office in Wolverhampton South West constituency.
A
Answered by: Mel Stride
Answered on: 21 June 2018

HMRC has received representations from Wolverhampton Council, Coventry Council and the Mayor of the West Midlands about the closure of the HMRC offices in Coventry and Wolverhampton and relocation of the workforce to Birmingham. HMRC officials recently met with the Mayor and representatives from the two councils.

HMRC conducted high level People Impact and Equality Assessments to inform its initial planning and has already published a summary of this to its staff. It continues to undertake extensive work on people and equality impacts, including gender. Wolverhampton is included in impact work for the Birmingham Regional Centre.

Q
Asked by Ann Clwyd
(Cynon Valley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Colombia: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Colombia on the recent disappearance of four Afro-Colombian leaders from communities along the Naya River in Colombia and ongoing threats to and displacements of communities in that area.
A
Answered by: Sir Alan Duncan
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office understands that 4 local leaders from communities along the Naya river were kidnapped, three in April and one in May. The criminal group responsible has reportedly issued a video claiming the victims have been killed.

I am concerned about reports of increasing violence against human rights defenders and social activists in Colombia. Illegal armed groups are responsible for the majority of these attacks. The Naya region has seen an increase in fighting in recent weeks between illegal armed groups, including dissident former members of the FARC. It is vital that the security and protection of civilians is ensured and the British Ambassador in Bogota raised these concerns with the Colombian Defence Minister on 11 May.

The UK also raised concerns about violence against human rights defenders during the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia's human rights on 10 May in Geneva. During the review, Colombia also accepted UK recommendations to improve protective measures for human rights defenders.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to match the Scottish Government's interim target reducing emissions by 56 per cent by 2020.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

We have an ambitious UK wide target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, supported by ambitious carbon budget targets which are set until 2032. Our focus is on delivering these targets through implementation of our Clean Growth Strategy. We welcome all ambitious targets set by devolved administrations as they count towards are overall UK targets.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Carbon Emissions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to match the Scottish Government's target of reducing carbon emissions by 90 per cent by 2050.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April that we will be seeking advice from the UK’s independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report later this year.

The Clean Growth Strategy made clear that the Government believes the UK will need to legislate for a net zero emissions target at an appropriate point in the future, to provide legal certainty on where the UK is heading.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Energy: Prices
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to establish a subsidy-free contracts for difference price stabilisation mechanism in the energy market.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

No decisions have been made to establish a subsidy-free contracts for difference price stabilisation mechanism in the energy market.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
[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: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Offshore Industry
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional resources to support the oil and gas sector in the increase of production.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my rt. hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly meet to discuss a range of issues, including the oil and gas industry.

In recent years the Government has provided unprecedented levels of financial support to the sector, paid for by UK tax payers, and we have seen an increase in production since 2015. A great improvement in industry productivity.

Q
(Edinburgh East)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Wylfa Power Station
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether (a) Hitachi and (b) other private sector companies will be financially liable for safety failures at the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station.
A
Answered by: Richard Harrington
Answered on: 21 June 2018

As announced in my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to Parliament on 4th June 2018, the Government has decided to enter into negotiations with Hitachi over the Wylfa Newydd new nuclear project.

Safety and security are of paramount importance and the UK has a robust and effective regulatory regime. No final decisions have been taken to proceed with the project.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals—including, but not limited to, value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements. These negotiations are commercially sensitive and no final decision has yet been taken to proceed with the project.

Q
Asked by Ben Bradley
(Mansfield)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Education
Pupils: Mansfield
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of (a) all children and (b) children eligible for free school meals reached a Good level of development aged five in Mansfield in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The requested data is shown in the table below.

Percentage of children achieving a good level of development in early years foundation stage profile teacher assessments, by parliamentary constituency of pupil residence 2015 to 2017.

Coverage: Mansfield parliamentary constituency

Number of eligible pupils

Percentage achieving a good level of development

Free School Meals

All other pupils

All pupils

Free School Meals

All other pupils

All pupils

2015

189

1,149

1,338

42

65

61

2016

205

1,154

1,359

50

69

66

2017

200

1,182

1,382

54

69

67

Source: National Pupil Database

1. Figures are based on final data.

2. Only includes pupils with a valid result for every achievement scale.

3. All English providers of state-funded early years education (including academies and free schools), private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sectors are within the scope of the early years foundation stage profile data collection.

4. Only includes pupils who are resident in England.

5. "All other pupils" includes pupils not eligible for free school meals and for whom free school meal eligibility was unclassified or could not be determined.

6. A pupil achieving at least the expected level in the early learning goals within the three prime areas of learning and within literacy and numeracy is classed as having "a good level of development"

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Insurance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to hold a consultation on the proposed state-backed GP indemnity scheme; what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is no additional cost incurred to (a) the NHS and (b) GPs of such a scheme; and what steps he plans to take to ensure that the development of the proposed scheme maintains an open and competitive Medical Defence Organisation market.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Department is developing a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England. This recognises that the rising cost of clinical negligence is a great source of concern for general practitioners (GPs). The state-backed scheme is being designed to provide more affordable and more stable cover for GPs. This involves complex considerations about funding which are being worked through.

We consider that focused engagement with the relevant stakeholders on the emerging policy direction is a more effective way of ensuring that the representations of those affected are taken into account than a public consultation, at this time. The recent indemnity in general practice survey included attitudinal questions to gauge the views of the profession. The Government is working with medical defence organisations, general practice representatives and other key stakeholders in the design of the scheme.

This follows the Department and NHS England’s review into GP indemnity, published July 2016 at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/gp-indemnity-rev-summary.pdf

This set out the evidence for the scale and drivers of indemnity inflation and proposals for ways to address indemnity pressures and underlying factors.

We recognise the value of medical defence organisations to their members and we are working closely with them to understand the impact of the proposed scheme on their business.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Insurance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential cost to the NHS of a state-backed GP indemnity scheme in England.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The state backed scheme is being designed to provide more stable, affordable and financially sustainable indemnity cover for general practitioners (GPs). A state backed scheme will enable the Government to have greater overall sight of costs and claims.

The scheme should meet the needs of current and future GPs and offer value for money for taxpayers. This involves complex considerations about funding which are being worked through, and we are working with HM Treasury and NHS England to assess the potential future cost of the scheme. We cannot provide the estimates that result from these assessments as this would prejudice commercial interests.

The Government is working with medical defence organisations, general practice representatives and other key stakeholders in the design of the scheme.

Grouped Questions: 153858
Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Insurance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has put in place for the implementation a state-backed GP indemnity scheme in England.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 June 2018

In October 2017, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the intention of the Department to develop a state-backed indemnity scheme for general practice in England. This announcement recognised that the rising cost of clinical negligence is a great source of concern for general practitioners (GPs).

Since the announcement, Government has been developing the new scheme, seeking to put in place a more stable and affordable system of indemnity for general practice. The plans announced so far are as follows:

- NHS Resolution will be directed to establish and administer the scheme on behalf of the Secretary of State. This means that NHS Resolution will be given responsibility for the overall administration of the scheme;

- The scheme will include activities delivered under the primary medical care contracts (General Medical Service, Personal Medical Service, Alternative Provider Medical Service). Other professions working under the primary medical care contracts will be included in the scheme. The scheme will also include work delivered under the primary medical care contracts that are delivered in secure environments; and

- The current intention is that the scheme will exclude National Health Service primary care dentistry and private dentistry, private healthcare and community pharmacy and optometry.

We are working closely with the medical defence organisations, NHS England, and representatives of general practice professionals.

In March 2018, the Department commissioned a survey of GPs, nurses and pharmacists in general practice. The survey was designed to help the Department understand current indemnity arrangements within general practice, informing the development of the new state backed scheme.

We are currently analysing the survey results and will provide further details along with the key findings of the GP Indemnity Survey in due course.

We remain fully committed to developing and implementing the scheme from April 2019.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Insurance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the potential average saving to GPs which would result from the implementation of a state-backed GP indemnity scheme in England.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The state backed scheme is being designed to provide more stable, affordable and financially sustainable indemnity cover for general practitioners (GPs). A state backed scheme will enable the Government to have greater overall sight of costs and claims.

The scheme should meet the needs of current and future GPs and offer value for money for taxpayers. This involves complex considerations about funding which are being worked through, and we are working with HM Treasury and NHS England to assess the potential future cost of the scheme. We cannot provide the estimates that result from these assessments as this would prejudice commercial interests.

The Government is working with medical defence organisations, general practice representatives and other key stakeholders in the design of the scheme.

Grouped Questions: 153856
Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department of Health and Social Care
General Practitioners: Insurance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of a state-backed GP indemnity scheme in England on the (a) number and (b) value of clinical negligence claims made against (i) GPs and (ii) other members of primary care teams.
A
Answered by: Stephen Barclay
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Department understands that the rising cost of indemnity cover is a great source of concern for general practitioners (GP) and impacts negatively on the GP workforce. We are seeking to put in place a more affordable and more stable system of indemnity for general practice. The state backed indemnity scheme will aim to protect both patients and providers from the consequences of clinical negligence and to meet the changing needs of the National Health Service.

We have not made an assessment of the potential impact of the state scheme on the number and value of clinical negligence claims, but more generally, the Government is working to produce a cross-Government strategy to tackle the rising costs of clinical negligence, as challenged by the National Audit Office in their report, ‘Managing the costs of clinical negligence in trusts’, published September 2017.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Unpaid Work
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 7 June 2018 to Question 149681 on Unpaid Work, when his Department plans to publish guidance for people who have undertaken unpaid work trials.
A
Answered by: Andrew Griffiths
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government is clear that exploitative unpaid work trials are unacceptable, and will take action against employers misusing them. HM Revenue and Customers respond to 100% of worker complaints received.

Short unpaid work trials may be acceptable when they are part of a genuine recruitment exercise. On 13 June I met trade unions, employers and lawyers to seek views on a draft of new Government guidance on this subject. The Government plans to come forward with further detail shortly.

Q
(Southampton, Test)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Climate Change Convention
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to instruct the Committee on Climate Change to report on the steps required for the UK to meet the Paris Agreement.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 21 June 2018

As I announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April, the Government will be seeking the advice of the Committee on Climate Change on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long-term emission reduction targets after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report later this year.

Q
Asked by Vernon Coaker
(Gedling)
[R]
Close

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 14 June 2018
Home Office
Slavery
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many FTSE 100 companies did not comply with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 21 June 2018

The Government does not monitor compliance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The legislation was designed to harness pressure from civil society and we are pleased that NGOs are using company statements to hold businesses to account. Two independent repository websites have been set up to collate these statements. The Government is not involved in running or funding either website. Both websites make different estimates of the total number of statements published so far. The latest estimates can be accessed online at http://www.modernslaveryregistry.org and https://tiscreport.org

The Government is committed to working with businesses and civil society to drive greater compliance and higher quality reporting. The Home Secretary has established the ‘Business Against Slavery Forum’ with CEOs of 13 large multi-national corporations, which aims to accelerate progress in tackling modern slavery, by sharing best practice and offering support to smaller businesses. In October 2017 we wrote to over 10,000 businesses reminding them of their obligations to report and will be undertaking more direct communication activity this year.

Q
Asked by Alex Norris
(Nottingham North)
Asked on: 14 June 2018
Home Office
Commonwealth: Gambia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he plans to amend Schedule 3 of the British nationality Act 1981 to include The Gambia as a Commonwealth nation following its readmission to that body in February 2018.
A
Answered by: Caroline Nokes
Answered on: 21 June 2018

An Order reinstating The Gambia to Schedule 3 of the British Nationality Act 1981 was laid on 30 May.

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