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 2014-15 session below. This is a new service and we welcome your feedback so we can improve it.

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UIN

Unique Indentifying 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 Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley 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: 05 January 2015
Ministry of Justice
Glen Parva Young Offender Institution
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reasons his Department did not appeal Leicester City Council's refusal of planning permission for a road adjacent to Glen Parva young offenders institution; and what effect that decision will have on his plans for a secure college in the area.
A
Answered by: Andrew Selous
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Secure College Pathfinder in Leicestershire will be the first of a new generation of establishments which will put education at the heart of youth custody, giving young people the skills, training and discipline to get their lives back on track.

An appeal was not lodged following refusal of planning permission for the temporary access road through Eyres-Monsell Park as an existing privately owned road, Tigers Road, was found to be a suitable alternative.

Q
Asked by Emma Reynolds
(Wolverhampton North 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: 15 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department has taken to maximise the use of Build Now, Pay Later models on surplus public land; and how many sites have been disposed of through these models since 2010.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 05 February 2015
Holding answer received on 20 January 2015

DCLG encourages all Departments to use Build Now Pay Later, where appropriate, when disposing of surplus sites, getting development moving and new homes built. Departments have committed to release as much land as possible on Build Now Pay Later terms, where there is market demand and where it represents value for money and is affordable. In 2011 we published guidance on using Build Now Pay Later and this is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5925/2055143.pdf

Build Now Pay Later is welcomed by partners and is proving to be an effective tool in speeding up the delivery of new homes,following the last Administration's housing crash where upfront investment was significantly reduced, impacting on the amount of new sites that could be opened up. This particularly applied to complex, brownfield and strategic sites, where significant up-front capital is required to fund infrastructure and remediation works.

Through the Homes and Communities Agency this Department has utilised Build Now Pay Later for the vast majority of its site disposals and nearly all of the large ones. Since April 2013, of the 28 sites that were disposed of by the Homes and Communities Agency using its Disposal Framework, 27 sites were offered with the benefit of Build Now Pay Later.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 19 January 2015
Home Office
Radicalism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evaluation, if any, they have made of the Exit counter radicalisation programmes in Norway, Sweden and Germany addressing white supremacism and neo-Nazism.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 05 February 2015

We have regular contact with our counterparts across Europe to exchange expertise and information, but have not specifically evaluated the Exit counter radicalisation programmes in Norway, Sweden and Germany. One of the areas where we are keen to learn from other countries is their approach to tackling far-right extremism, and how this translates across all types of extremism, including the threat from Syria and Iraq.

The Channel programme, our equivalent programme in the UK, is about safeguarding children and adults from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity. It is about early intervention to protect and divert people away from the risk they face before they break the law. Support often involves intervention providers with knowledge to be able to counter extreme ideologies and narratives such as Islamist and extreme right-wing. We are making Channel a legal requirement for public bodies so that it is delivered more consistently across England and Wales.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will bring forward proposals to amend the Building Approved Inspectors Regulations 2000 to ensure that building inspection is required to be independent.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Regulation 9 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010 and the Approved Inspectors' Code of Conduct operated by CICAIR Ltd, the body designated by the Secretary of State to carry out executive and administrative functions relating to the appointment of approved inspectors, already require approved inspectors to act independently of external influences in carrying out building inspections. The Government has no plans to amend Regulation 9.

Q
Asked by Dan Jarvis
(Barnsley 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: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Race Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to promote tolerance of different minorities.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015
Holding answer received on 23 January 2015

Our approach to promoting tolerance of different minorities is through supporting integration in communities. I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement of 18 December 2014, Official Report, Columns 110-118WS, which details my Department's integration approach, as well as current integration projects and activities.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Building Approved Inspectors Regulations 2000 in providing independent and transparent assessment of building plans.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Under provisions in the Building Act 1984 approved inspectors have a duty to inspect plans of proposed building work for compliance and, where required, consult fire and rescue authorities and sewerage undertakers on the plans. Where the plans show compliance and where the person carrying out the work wishes, the approved inspector will give a plans certificate to that effect. A plans certificate is a public document. Regulation 9 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010 requires approved inspectors to operate independently. The Government has no plans to change the relevant provisions in the Building Act 1984 or Regulation 9 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many complaints he has received about a conflict of interest in assessments conducted by the National House Building Council in relation to Approved Document M.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Department is not aware of any specific complaints of this nature involving assesments conducted by the National House Building Council in relation to Approved Document M. Complaints about approved inspectors such as the National House Building Council should be made to CICAIR Limited, the body designated to carry out executive and administrative functions in respect of approved inspectors.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the independence of building approved inspectors.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Regulation 9 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010 and the Approved Inspectors' Code of Conduct which is operated by CICAIR Limited, the body designated by the Secretary of State to carry out executive and administrative functions relating to approved inspectors, set out the provisions on the independence of approved inspectors. Approved inspectors must comply with the provisions in the Regulations and as a condition of approval comply with the guidance in the Code of Conduct. CICAIR monitors the operation of the Code in respect of individual approved inspectors and has procedures in place to take action if an approved inspector breaches any of the provisions of the Code. The Department is currently in discussion with CICAIR as to whether further guidance on the interpretation of Regulation 9 should be issued.

Q
Asked by Lisa Nandy
(Wigan)
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Devolution: Greater Manchester
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what requirement there will be for public consultation as part of the evaluation of the Greater Manchester devolution agreement.
A
Answered by: Kris Hopkins
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The devolution agreement provides for Greater Manchester to agree with the Government its plans for evaluation, with the first review to be completed in 2019-20; these plans will be expected to include the extent of any public consultation considered appropriate in the evaluation.

Q
Asked on: 20 January 2015
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Higher Education: Freedom of Expression
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take to safeguard the principle of free speech in university campuses in the United Kingdom.
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill proposes new measures to reduce the risk of terrorism; these measures, if agreed by Parliament, will in turn reduce the threat terrorism poses to freedom of speech in universities and elsewhere.

The detailed guidance on the proposed new duty, to have regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism, is currently subject to consultation. The Government expects to revise the guidance in the light of the consultation to make clearer universities’ duty to promote freedom of speech.

Q
Asked by Lord Storey
Asked on: 21 January 2015
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Equal Pay
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the imbalance of pay by gender for graduate students in the United Kingdom.
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Graduates earn, on average, substantially more than people with A-levels who did not go to university. Over the working life, the average graduate will earn comfortably over £100,000 more in today's valuation, net of tax, than a similar individual who completed their education with 2 or more A-levels. The latest BIS research estimates the lifetime benefits for an individual from gaining a first degree to be of the order of £165,000 for men, and £250,000 for women, net of tax and student loan repayments (2012 prices).

Asked on: 21 January 2015
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Government Research Establishments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what have been the costs or income to the Exchequer, and the changes to the public availability of research, over the past five years resulting from the privatisation of public sector research establishments.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Information over the past 5 years for public sector research establishments (PSREs) that have been privatised is not collated against the headings requested. The 7th Survey of Knowledge Transfer Activities in Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) and Research Councils, prepared by Warwick Economics and Development Ltd (July 2014) for BIS, found that reported income from commercialisation activities including business consultancy for PSREs has increased ‘dramatically’, particular in the last three years.

Q
Asked by Toby Perkins
(Chesterfield)
Asked on: 21 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government Services: Small Businesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ensure that local authorities trading under the general power of competence granted by the Localism Act 2011 do not unfairly compete with existing local small businesses.
A
Answered by: Kris Hopkins
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Government has devolved powers to local authorities to do anything that individuals generally may do, and it is their responsibility to balance the considerable opportunities to deliver efficient services for their communities with the needs of small businesses in their area. We want councils to be able to act confidently, without constantly looking back to Whitehall for permission. This is what devolution means.

The general power of competence provisions set out in the Localism Act 2011 build on existing powers to charge and to trade. Local authorities can charge for discretionary services, so long as they are not required to provide the service, they have the power to provide the service, the charges are on a cost recovery basis, and the individual agrees to the service being provided. If a local authority wishes to trade for a commercial purpose, this must be carried out through a company to ensure that it does not have an unfair tax advantage over business. Local authorities, like other bodies, are subject to and must abide by competition law and it is their responsibility to ensure they comply with the requirements of state aid, competition and procurement law.

The Government will honour its commitment to conduct a post implementation review of the Localism Act 2011, and any concerns from small businesses about unfair competition will be considered as part of that review.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to ensure that approved building inspectors are (a) independent and (b) not subject to conflicts of interest.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

Regulation 9 of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010 sets out requirements for the independence of approved inspectors. In particular it prohibits approved inspectors from having any financial or professional interest in building work for which they are carrying out building control functions. This regulation is supplemented by guidance in the Approved Inspectors Code of Conduct issued by CICAIR Limited, the body designated by the Secretary of State to carry out his executive and administrative functions. Approved inspectors are required to comply with both regulation 9 and the Code of Conduct. CICAIR limited is responsible for the approval and re-approval of approved inspectors and carries out periodic audits of their operations. Part of these processes is to assess that approved inspectors are able to comply with regulation 9.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Regulations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what representations other than from the National Housebuilding Council he has received on section 6 of Approved Document M of the Building Regulations.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

As part of the Housing Standards Review, the Department issued a consultation on changes to Approved Document M in September 2014. While no change is proposed to the technical requirements of section 6, text has been clarified and reformatted. Over 500 responses were received to the consultation and a number of these made comments relating to this part of Approved Document M. We will publish a summary of responses to the consultation in due course.

Q
Asked by Mark Garnier
(Wyre Forest)
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Department for Communities and Local Government
Building Inspectors
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what representations other than from the National Housebuilding Council he has received on the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations 2000.
A
Answered by: Stephen Williams
Answered on: 05 February 2015

This Department receives many representations about approved inspectors and the operation of the Building (Approved Inspectors etc.) Regulations 2010.

Asked on: 22 January 2015
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Non-native Species
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to control and eradicate invasive species in and around watercourses such as Himalayan balsam, non-native crayfish, American mink and quagga mussels.
A
Answered by: Lord De Mauley
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The GB Non-Native Species Strategy sets out a three pronged approach to dealing with invasive non-native species (INNS): horizon scanning and prevention; rapid response and eradication; and long term control. The Government has undertaken a variety of measures in line with the strategy, which is currently being revised and updated. The implementation of the strategy is overseen by a programme board, chaired by Defra, which includes the Environment Agency. The board regularly considers action to tackle specific species, including those in and around watercourses.

In 2011 Defra launched two campaigns to raise awareness of the risks posed by INNS and to prevent their spread: Be Plant Wise and Check, Clean, Dry. Defra is working closely with the Environment Agency to implement strategic plans and promote the Check, Clean, Dry message, in particular to prevent the spread of the quagga mussel, which arrived in England in October 2014. The Environment Agency is also continuing to monitor water bodies for quagga mussels and to work with water companies and watersports organisations to prevent the further spread, where possible.

The Check, Clean, Dry message is equally applicable to efforts to control the spread of non-native crayfish. Defra has also been funding the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) to develop a trapping methodology to help remove crayfish from waterways. Cefas has been examining how best to capture both adult and juvenile non-native crayfish and where best to locate the traps within a water body to improve trapping success. Its report is due for submission to Defra in March 2015 and will be used to produce best practice guidelines for trapping non-native crayfish.

In addition, between 2011 and 2015, Defra has provided funding to help set up and establish local action groups (LAGs) throughout England, to tackle invasive non-native species that can impact on the aquatic realm, including non-native crayfish, Himalayan balsam and American mink. LAGs have undertaken a range of activities, including the cutting and treatment of Himalyan balsam; the use of mink rafts to capture American mink; and crayfish traps to capture non-native crayfish. LAGs have been a driving force in promoting biosecurity messages and have also undertaken horizon scanning for INNS, which are likely to arrive in local areas.

The Defra-funded trial release of a rust fungus to control the growth and spread of Himalayan balsam was carried out during 2014 and this work continues to be monitored to assess impacts.

Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Cabinet Office
Iraq Committee of Inquiry
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the rules for Maxwellisation were last reviewed; by whom they were prepared; where they can be seen; and what the consequences would be if the Chilcot Review were published with outstanding complaints from those criticised not addressed.
A
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Maxwellisation process is a matter for the Inquiry; Sir John Chilcot has described the process as essential and confidential, and to comment further might jeopardise the confidentiality of the process. Once his report is complete, Sir John Chilcot will deliver it to the Prime Minister. It is for Government to publish the report, and once it is delivered we expect to publish without delay.

The daily fees for the Chair and Members of the Inquiry are published on the Inquiry’s website.

Grouped Questions: HL4361 | HL4362
Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Cabinet Office
Iraq Committee of Inquiry
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Sir John Chilcot requires permission from Her Majesty’s Government to publish his report on Iraq.
A
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Maxwellisation process is a matter for the Inquiry; Sir John Chilcot has described the process as essential and confidential, and to comment further might jeopardise the confidentiality of the process. Once his report is complete, Sir John Chilcot will deliver it to the Prime Minister. It is for Government to publish the report, and once it is delivered we expect to publish without delay.

The daily fees for the Chair and Members of the Inquiry are published on the Inquiry’s website.

Grouped Questions: HL4360 | HL4362
Q
Asked by Lord Myners
Asked on: 22 January 2015
Cabinet Office
Iraq Committee of Inquiry
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Departments, if any, still have outstanding Maxwellisation points in connection with the Chilcot Inquiry.
A
Answered on: 05 February 2015

The Maxwellisation process is a matter for the Inquiry; Sir John Chilcot has described the process as essential and confidential, and to comment further might jeopardise the confidentiality of the process. Once his report is complete, Sir John Chilcot will deliver it to the Prime Minister. It is for Government to publish the report, and once it is delivered we expect to publish without delay.

The daily fees for the Chair and Members of the Inquiry are published on the Inquiry’s website.

Grouped Questions: HL4360 | HL4361
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