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 2019-21 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
(Sheffield Central)
[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: 10 February 2020
Home Office
Immigration: EU Nationals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason her Department did not include the right to rent in the UK in the list of options for a person with (a) settled and (b) pre-settled status to choose from when requesting a share code and in answer to the question, why are you proving your status.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Home Office is planning to launch an online right to rent status checking service later this year.

The new online service will enable EEA nationals granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and non-EEA nationals with biometric residence permits and cards to demonstrate their right to rent.

The online right to rent checking service will build on the general launch of the ‘View and prove your settled or pre-settled status’ service for those granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
[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: 25 February 2020
Home Office
Home Office: Written Questions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to answer Question 14690 tabled on 10 February 2020 by the hon. Member for Sheffield Central.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The reponse for UIN 14690 was given on 3rd July 2020.

Q
(Glasgow South 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: 19 March 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Government Assistance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support (a) vulnerable and (b) other (i) asylum seekers and (ii) refugees during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 03 July 2020

We have also been reviewing the level of the cash allowances provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we do each year to ensure that they remain capable of meeting their essential living needs.

As a result of this work, the standard allowance has been raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week, an increase of around 5%. The increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office of National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May 2020. In addition to asylum support payments, asylum seekers are provided with free accommodation, utilities are paid for, council tax is paid for, they have free access to the NHS and their children have free access to education.

In March, we introduced temporary measures to continue supporting those asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers and newly recognised refugees who would normally have had their accommodation and financial assistance stopped. Home office is currently reviewing this additional support,

The UK has a generous record in supporting asylum seekers. Last year, we made around 20,000 grants of asylum or protection (one of the higher figures in Europe), as well as offered protection to 3,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – the highest number of any country in Europe. In addition, we have directly resettled around 20,000 people from the most dangerous areas of the world (especially Syrians) in the UK over the last 5 years. Finally, we spend around £14 billion per year in Overseas Aid, helping millions of people around the world. This is the highest amount of any country in Europe and we are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% of GNI Overseas Aid target

Q
(Cardiff South and Penarth)
[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: 01 May 2020
Home Office
Detainees: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) staff members and (b) residents living in Home Office supported (i) asylum accommodation and (ii) detention facilities have (A) been tested and (B) tested positive for covid-19 since 1 January 2020.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The health of those in asylum accommodation and immigration removal centres (IRC) is of the utmost importance.

The Accommodation providers recognise the challenge of managing COVID 19 within our accommodation estate and are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) on how their guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is properly applied, while ensuring that people can continue to access essential services.

Any individual who has symptoms is able to be tested for covid 19. We do not currently publish figures in relation to the testing of asylum accommodation staff and our service users for Covid-19.

All immigration removal centres have dedicated health facilities run by doctors and nurses which are managed by the NHS or appropriate providers. The Home Office is working closely with NHS England health and justice teams and regional commissioning teams to support their planning and delivery of healthcare services, including testing, in immigration removal centres during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Provisional management information indicates that as of 21 June, there have been 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across our detention supplier, healthcare and escorting staff. All of whom have now recovered. In addition, there have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in detained individuals. A third individual was identified but after his release from detention had been agreed. Whilst in the IRC the individual was in isolation. He was released as there was no immediate prospect of removal.

As of 26 June, no other detained individuals have tested positive for COVID-19.

Q
(Portsmouth South)
Asked on: 11 May 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Almshouses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of (a) recent trends in the level of covid-19 tests being undertaken in almshouse settings and (b) the effectiveness of such testing on improving the well-being of vulnerable people resident in those settings.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Department recognise the importance of testing and the role a clear result plays in giving individuals assurance and the ability to make informed decisions. The Department is working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure eligible individuals from vulnerable groups in a range of settings are able to access testing.

Thanks to the continuing increase in testing capacity, all symptomatic individuals in England and Wales and all symptomatic individuals aged five and over across the United Kingdom are eligible for a test for COVID-19.

The Department publishes daily figures including the number of COVID-19 tests undertaken but with the exception of whole care home testing, does not record the residence type of those tested.

Asked on: 21 May 2020
Cabinet Office
UK Relations With EU: Galileo System
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the EU on access to Galileo as part of negotiations on the future UK–EU relationship.
A
Answered by: Lord True
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The UK and the EU discussed the Galileo programme during the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations. The EU’s offer then on Galileo did not meet the UK’s defence and industrial requirements.

Q
Asked by Alberto Costa
(South Leicestershire)
Asked on: 01 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
NHS: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the safe disposal of personal protective equipment.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020

NHS England has set out guidance on the safe disposal of personal protective equipment in their Standard Operating Procedure. All disposal should be done in line with the rigorous legislative requirements set out by the Environment Agency.

Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claims there have been for (1) contributory Job Seeker's Allowance, and (2) contributory Employment and Support Allowance, in each quarter since January 2014.
A
Answered by: Baroness Stedman-Scott
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Quarterly data on the number of a) Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants by benefit entitlement, and b) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) caseload by phase of ESA claim and payment type, from February 2014 to November 2019 are given in the spreadsheet attached.

HL5028 attachment (Excel SpreadSheet, 21.04 KB)
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 1 June (HL4513), what assessment they have made of whether the COVID-19 pandemic would constitute an appropriate point to conduct a review of the benefits cap.
A
Answered by: Baroness Stedman-Scott
Answered on: 03 July 2020

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap. The Benefit Cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers.

Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Cabinet Office
Internet: Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people in Linlithgow and East Falkirk who are unable to access the internet are not (a) disadvantaged as consumers and (b) denied access to government services.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The Government is committed to making sure that our online services are accessible to all citizens, and that an appropriate alternative channel is available where citizens are not online.

The Government offers support to those who need “assisted digital support” to use digital by default public services.

Q
Asked by John Healey
(Wentworth and Dearne)
[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: 03 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many on-site inspections of businesses have been carried out by the Health and Safety Executive relating to covid-19 since 1 January 2020 to date, by (a) week and (b) local authority area.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 03 July 2020
Holding answer received on 08 June 2020

The number of proactive site inspections that have been carried out which have addressed Covid-19 issues is not readily identifiable.

The majority of Covid-19 related site inspections have arisen from the investigation of a concern raised by workers or a member of the public. In April 2020, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced a change to its recording system to identify visits that addressed a concern relating to Covid-19. Hence, it is not possible to identify site visits made before then. In addition to the numbers below, where a concern is not specifically related to Covid-19 but such issues are identified, then action will be taken to address them.

HSE does not record the date of an investigation visit in an easily retrievable format. The table below identifies the numbers of visits based upon the month in which the visit report was created on their operational database.

Date

Number of site visits

April

15

May

48

June

1

Grand Total

64

The following table provides site visits by Local Authority:

Site Local Authority

Site Visits

Mid Devon

5

Canterbury

4

Glasgow UA

3

Medway Towns UA

3

Wellingborough

2

Hull City UA

2

Flintshire UA

2

City of Westminster

2

Brentwood

2

Burnley

2

Midlothian UA

2

Thanet

2

East Ayrshire UA

2

Surrey Heath

1

Brighton & Hove UA

1

Torbay UA

1

Plymouth UA

1

Sevenoaks

1

Manchester

1

Kingston-upon-Thames

1

Greenwich

1

Corby

1

Folkstone and Hythe

1

Portsmouth UA

1

Tower Hamlets

1

Aberdeen City UA

1

Reading

1

Maidstone

1

Not Applicable

1

Bradford

1

Bristol UA

1

Tonbridge & Malling

1

North Ayrshire UA

1

North Lanarkshire UA

1

Cardiff UA

1

Guildford

1

Waltham Forest

1

Kensington & Chelsea

1

South Lanarkshire UA

1

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

1

West Lothian UA

1

Leicester UA

1

York

1

Northampton

1

NB: the above data was extracted from an operational database on 4th June 2020 and is subject to change e.g. due to the delay between a site visit and recording the information into the database.

Q
Asked by Nick Fletcher
(Don Valley)
Asked on: 04 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pharmacy: Contact Tracing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to allow pharmacy workers to be exempt from having to isolate as a result of the track and trace app.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Anyone who has had close recent contact with someone who has COVID-19 must self-isolate if the NHS Test and Trace service asks them to do so. There are no exemptions. If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team who will undertake a risk assessment, provide public health advice and, where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak.

Q
Asked by Lee Rowley
(North East Derbyshire)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Tumours: Health Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on referrals for brain tumours; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020

The National Health Service is now working on the restoration and recovery of all cancer services. We are encouraging anybody with symptoms that could be indicative of cancer to contact their general practitioner (GP). GPs will continue to refer on to cancer pathways in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance so that patients can be managed appropriately. Cancer Alliances are working with the NHS to ensure diagnostic services are available to carry out necessary investigations.

Q
(Putney)
Asked on: 08 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Social Distancing: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help protect, shield and test adults with (a) severe learning disabilities and (b) serious medical conditions.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020

We recognise that COVID-19 poses specific challenges for people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families and carers. We are working hard across Government, the National Health Service, social care and with delivery partners to ensure that we mitigate these challenges as much as possible and to ensure the safety of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including in inpatient mental health settings.

Expert doctors have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what we knew about the virus so far, place someone at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These patients have been asked to shield themselves in accordance with the guidance on shielding at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Guidance on COVID-19 testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested is set out at the following link:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Q
(Central Ayrshire)
[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: 09 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the personal protective equipment stockpiled as part of the preparations for the UK leaving the EU without a deal have been used during the response to the covid-19 outbreak; and by what date he estimates those stockpiles will be replenished.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020
Holding answer received on 15 June 2020

The United Kingdom has been an international exemplar in preparedness and our pandemic stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) and vital supplies is considered a very high-quality mark in international terms. At the start of the pandemic, Public Health England already had large stockpiles of PPE as part of its ongoing contingency measures to prepare for an outbreak. There were also supplies of PPE held through the NHS Supply Chain.

The Government has massively expanded both our supply of PPE from overseas and our domestic manufacturing capability and we are confident in the stocks and sources of supply of PPE to meet the needs of health and social care staff over the next seven and 90 days.

The Government has now signed contracts for over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

Q
(Feltham and Heston)
[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: 09 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Unemployment: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to support local authorities to introduce employment strategies in response to covid-19 related unemployment.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 03 July 2020
Holding answer received on 15 June 2020

DWP is continuing to work with other Government departments to monitor the evolving economic and labour market situation to identify the most effective ways to help people stay in or close to work both now and in the future.

DWP launched two new websites Job Help and Employer Help to provide guidance and advice, including support on identifying transferrable skills and useful inks to promote other gov.uk provision, such as, the DWP Find a Job site, the National Careers Service and the new Department for Education online skills training initiative, the Skills Toolkit, which launched on 28 April.

The Ministry for Housing, communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have held meetings of the Economic Recovery Working Group and Regional Stocktake meetings, which DWP have been involved in. This brings together Mayors, LEP’s and other key local growth partners, to discuss emerging themes and concerns across the country. MHCLG officials are also working directly with a range of local growth partners to monitor on-going activity at all levels to inform the national response.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have also held 5 business-focused groups to ensure that we are continuing to bring the business voice into decision on economic recovery, which DWP have participated in.

Q
(Nottingham East)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Poverty: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of support for (a) families of BAME children and (b) single mothers of BAME children living in poverty.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 03 July 2020

This Government provides a strong welfare safety net, and continues to spend over £95 billion a year on working age welfare benefits for those who need them.

We do not assess adequacy of benefits on the grounds of race.

Q
(Nottingham 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: 11 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Protective Clothing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking with the Chief Scientific Officer to support the production of a CE-marked clear panel face mask.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020
Holding answer received on 16 June 2020

The United Kingdom Government’s national personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement team has been working extremely hard in recent weeks to source clear facemasks which comply with UK safety standards. While the product is not CE marked, UK Government regulators have agreed that a particular mask can enter the National Health Service supply chain for use during COVID-19 and further details will be announced as soon as possible about availability to health and care settings.

Where regulators find that PPE (as regulated by the Health and Safety Executive) or medical devices (as regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) can ensure an adequate level of health and safety in accordance with the essential requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/425 or the requirements of Directive 93/42/EEC, they may authorise the making available of these products for supply to frontline healthcare.

Q
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Pneumonia: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide an update on the (a) availability of treatments for community-acquired pneumonia associated with covid-19 and (b) stockpiling of those treatments to ensure sufficient and equitable access.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020

We are not aware of any current supply issues with treatments for community-acquired pneumonia associated with COVID-19. Antibiotic treatments are held in the pandemic influenza preparedness stockpile which can be released at times of critical supply shortages.

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are doing everything we can to ensure patients continue to access safe and effective medicines.

The Department is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, the National Health Service and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, and precautions are in place to reduce the likelihood of future shortages.

Q
(Kingston upon Hull North)
Asked on: 11 June 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Clinical Trials
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions officials in his Department have had with (a) sponsors of the University of Oxford's Recovery trial and (b) suppliers of each medication being used in that trial to ensure that adequate supplies of those medications are in place to treat covid-19 patients in the event that the trial has positive results.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 03 July 2020

Officials in the Department have regular conversations with the RECOVERY trial leads about the trial and central supply of medicines to the trial.

Teams in the Department, Public Health England, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and NHS England and NHS Improvement also have daily discussions with suppliers and manufacturers of medicines, including about supplies to support clinical trials. In addition, the Department has been securing additional supplies of a number of medicines, which would ensure sufficient stocks are available to be rapidly deployed for National Health Service patients, should clinical trial evidence show it to be safe and effective to do so. The Department continues to review supply requirements as further clinical evidence becomes available.

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