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 2015-16 session below. This is a new service and we welcome your feedback so we can improve it.

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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
(Bury North)
[N]
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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: 08 September 2015
Ministry of Justice
Magistrates' Courts: Bury
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the operating costs under each category of expenditure were of Bury Magistrates' Court in the latest period for which figures are available.
A
Answered by: Mr Shailesh Vara
Answered on: 09 November 2015

Operating costs for Bury Magistrates’ Court are provided below. The figures provided do not include staff or judicial costs as it is not possible to attribute all of these costs to a particular site.


Bury Magistrates' Court and County Court Operating costs 2014/15

Rates (Estate)

£75,999

Audit & Monitor Serv

£1,423

Estate Surveying

£562

Building Maintenance

£114,014

Security

£66,004

Utility - Electricity

£57,719

Cleaning

£44,224

Estate Management

£34,484

Utility - Gas

£27,806

Postage & Distribution - Royal Mail

£22,605

Telephony

£22,101

Utility - Water

£19,872

Stationery & Office Supplies

£7,918

IT Printing

£5,516

Telecomms - Charges/Rental-non mobile

£4,181

Waste Disposal

£2,996

Fleet Vehicles - Lease Charges

£2,480

Equipment Maintenance

£1,539

Telecomms - Charges/Rental - mobile

£1,400

Fleet Vehicles - Maintenance

£1,379

Fleet Vehicles - Insurance

£1,361

Design/Print/Reprographic Services

£1,047

Grounds Maintenance

£641

Pest and Vermin

£378

Off-Site Storage

£288

Catering-Office Drinking Water

£263

IT Desktops

£201

Events & Conferences

£110

IT Network Services

£57

Mechanical & Electrical

-£4,799

DX postal service

£10,464

Compensation Payments

£2,320

Manual Ex Gratia Payments

£1,190

Special Payments

£200

Hire Purchase Checks by Bailiffs

£49

Miscellaneous Running Costs

-£12

Total

£527,980


Q
(Washington and Sunderland West)
Asked on: 16 October 2015
Ministry of Justice
Young Offenders: Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many young people in young offenders institutions receive 30 hours education each week.
A
Answered by: Andrew Selous
Answered on: 09 November 2015

Since 16 August 2015, education providers in public sector Young Offender Institutions (YOIs) are required to provide 27 hours of education a week, which is supplemented by 3 hours of physical exercise. On average, 27 hours of education is being provided in these YOIs.


Although the majority of education time is protected, the number of hours of education actually received by young people is sometimes lower than this due to a variety of necessary interruptions, such as court appearances, family visits, or medical appointments. The number of people in YOIs receiving 27 hours of education each week is not recorded centrally. The Youth Justice Board is currently working with the National Offender Management Service, YOIs and education providers to increase the number of education hours received by young people.

Asked on: 19 October 2015
Ministry of Justice
Immigration: Appeals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the cuts in the budget of the Ministry of Justice on the ability of first-tier tribunals to hear and determine immigration and asylum appeals.
A
Answered by: Lord Faulks
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The Government is confident that there is sufficient funding to enable the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylym Chamber) to hear and determine the number of immigration and asylum appeals to be received during 2015-2016.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 19 October 2015
Home Office
Refugees: Middle East
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Oxfam’s proposals for the worldwide resettlement of the most vulnerable 10 per cent of the Iraqi and Syrian refugees who are outside their home countries.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The UK has been at the forefront of the response to the crisis in Syria. We have pledged over £1.1 billion, our largest ever humanitarian response to a single crisis. We are the second largest bilateral donor after the US. Approximately half of UK assistance is targeted towards the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. By meeting basic humanitarian needs and helping to create new opportunities we aim to help Syrians to build a life in neighbouring countries.

The UK’s position is that funding provided to the region is a more sustainable way of dealing with the refugee crisis rather than encouraging dangerous onward migration journeys. For this reason, the UK’s resettlement offer focuses on supporting the most vulnerable Syrians directly from the region who would best be protected in countries like the UK.

Asked on: 19 October 2015
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Iron and Steel: Manufacturing Industries
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support the steel industry in the light of the director of UK Steel's statement that the steel industry is in crisis.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 09 November 2015

There is no straightforward solution to the complex global challenges facing the steel industry; however, the Government has been extremely active in advocating for, and supporting the sector. On 16th October, we held a Steel Summit, which was an important opportunity to bring the key players together and since then we have been taking urgent action to address the ‘5 Asks’ of the steel industry, operating through three Ministerial led working groups. We are also supporting the metals sector more widely through the industry-led Metals Strategy, which will provide a platform for Government to work with the industry on some of the most pressing issues holding back the future growth of the sector.


Firstly, we are tackling unfair trade practices where clear evidence exists. We supported and voted for the renewal of EU anti-dumping measures on wire rod, and lobbied successfully for an investigation into cheap imports of Reinforcing Steel Bar. The Business Secretary had meetings with European Commissioners and spoke with key counterparts in other Member States on 28 October, calling for firmer, faster action against unfair trade practices. As a direct result, an extraordinary meeting to the European Competitiveness Council is taking place on steel.


In addition, the Prime Minister discussed steel with President Xi during his recent visit. The Chinese President recognised the UK’s concerns and will be taking action to address Chinese overcapacity


Secondly, the Government has confirmed to the steel industry that it will be able to take advantage of special flexibilities to comply with new EU rules on emissions. These are now awaiting final approval by the Commission.


Thirdly, the steel industry has been invited to present detailed evidence on issues affecting the business environment at the next meeting of the steel working group on competitiveness and productivity chaired by the Treasury Commercial Secretary.


Fourthly, with regard to energy costs, following the meeting between the Business Secretary and the Competition Commissioner on 23 October, we are now expecting to have state aid approval to provide relief to our Energy Intensive Industries for the cost of renewables policy by the end of this year. Further to that, the Prime Minister announced on 28th October that we will make an additional £45m available to commence compensation for the costs of the Renewables Obligation from the date of state aid approval, alongside providing relief to these sectors from the costs of the small Feed in Tariffs. An exemption for the costs of the Contracts for Difference will also commence early next year. This is on top of over £50 million of support already given to the steel industry to mitigate increasing electricity costs.


Finally, we are taking action to drive up the number of public contracts won by UK steel manufacturers and their partners through fair and open competition. The National Infrastructure Plan contains a significant number of projects which will use British steel, e.g. Crossrail – with four UK based companies providing over 50,000 tonnes of steel; and HS2 - where Government has already given notice of the thousands of tonnes of steel that will be needed. Following the first meeting of the steel procurement working group chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Government published on 30 October new guidelines for departments to apply on major projects when sourcing and buying steel. The new instructions will help steel suppliers compete on a level playing field with international suppliers for major government projects.

Asked on: 20 October 2015
Home Office
Syria: Refugees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to co-ordinate the work of non-governmental organisations and charities in order to improve the support available for refugees as they leave Syria, and to support them in settling and integrating into European life.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The UK has been operating resettlement schemes for many years and we already have established and effective networks to accommodate and support resettled people.

However, we recognise that the increase in numbers will require an expansion of current networks and the impact on local communities and infrastructure will need to be managed carefully. That is why we are working with a wide range of partners including local authorities and civil society organisations to ensure that people are integrated sensitively into local communities.

Q
Asked on: 21 October 2015
Home Office
Refugees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Church of England following the letter sent to the Prime Minister by 86 bishops on 10 September about the Church providing funds to meet all additional costs of increasing the number of refugees taken into the United Kingdom; and what assessment they have made of the further support the Church of England can provide to meet the needs of refugees in the United Kingdom.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

On 10 September 2015 a letter signed by 37 Bishops was sent to the Prime Minister. This letter set out how the Church stands ready to play their part but also how they believe the country could resettle more than 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.

The Home Office wants to involve the Church in the design and implementation of the longer term programme of work. We are happy to have meetings with representatives from the Church to discuss the issues raised in the Bishops letter. Some of these meetings have already taken place with more planned over the next few weeks.

Q
Asked on: 21 October 2015
Home Office
Refugees: Syria
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost, in the first year, of accepting Syrian refugees.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The first 12 months of each refugee’s resettlement costs will be funded using ODA (Official Development Assistance). After year one we will also provide additional funding to assist with costs incurred in future years.

The anticipated cost for the first year is still being worked out between relevant Government departments and local authorities. We expect to agree indicative costings in the near future.

There are a range of factors that have to be included when it comes to bringing people to the UK and helping them to settle. Each person coming from Syria will have different needs so it is not possible to say how much the support for any individual will cost.

Q
Asked by Tom Elliott
(Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
Asked on: 21 October 2015
HM Treasury
LIBOR: Fines
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much of the funding raised from Libor fines has been distributed to charitable projects and good causes in each region and constituent part of the UK.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 09 November 2015

In the last two financial years HM Treasury has received £1.3bn in LIBOR and FX banks fines. All LIBOR penalties received in this time period have been allocated to military or other uniformed charities. All foreign exchange penalties received in this time period have been allocated to create a fund for advanced care in GP practices and community healthcare facilities.


Each bid for charitable funding from Libor fines is considered on its individual merits and with a clear intention that awards should benefit the widest range of military charities and good causes across the whole of the United Kingdom.


Awards of Libor funds are usually made at the Autumn Statement or the Budget.

Grouped Questions: 12743 | 12826 | 12827
Q
Asked by Tom Elliott
(Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
Asked on: 21 October 2015
HM Treasury
LIBOR: Fines
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that every region and constituent part of the UK benefits from money raised from Libor fines.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 09 November 2015

In the last two financial years HM Treasury has received £1.3bn in LIBOR and FX banks fines. All LIBOR penalties received in this time period have been allocated to military or other uniformed charities. All foreign exchange penalties received in this time period have been allocated to create a fund for advanced care in GP practices and community healthcare facilities.


Each bid for charitable funding from Libor fines is considered on its individual merits and with a clear intention that awards should benefit the widest range of military charities and good causes across the whole of the United Kingdom.


Awards of Libor funds are usually made at the Autumn Statement or the Budget.

Grouped Questions: 12742 | 12826 | 12827
Q
Asked by Tom Elliott
(Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
Asked on: 21 October 2015
HM Treasury
LIBOR: Fines
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what funding to air ambulance services he has provided from Libor fines.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 09 November 2015

In the last two financial years HM Treasury has received £1.3bn in LIBOR and FX banks fines. All LIBOR penalties received in this time period have been allocated to military or other uniformed charities. All foreign exchange penalties received in this time period have been allocated to create a fund for advanced care in GP practices and community healthcare facilities.


Each bid for charitable funding from Libor fines is considered on its individual merits and with a clear intention that awards should benefit the widest range of military charities and good causes across the whole of the United Kingdom.


Awards of Libor funds are usually made at the Autumn Statement or the Budget.

Grouped Questions: 12742 | 12743 | 12827
Q
Asked by Tom Elliott
(Fermanagh and South Tyrone)
Asked on: 21 October 2015
HM Treasury
LIBOR: Fines
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what funding for air ambulance services he plans to provide from Libor fines.
A
Answered by: Greg Hands
Answered on: 09 November 2015

In the last two financial years HM Treasury has received £1.3bn in LIBOR and FX banks fines. All LIBOR penalties received in this time period have been allocated to military or other uniformed charities. All foreign exchange penalties received in this time period have been allocated to create a fund for advanced care in GP practices and community healthcare facilities.


Each bid for charitable funding from Libor fines is considered on its individual merits and with a clear intention that awards should benefit the widest range of military charities and good causes across the whole of the United Kingdom.


Awards of Libor funds are usually made at the Autumn Statement or the Budget.

Grouped Questions: 12742 | 12743 | 12826
Asked on: 22 October 2015
Home Office
Refugees: Syria
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which towns in the United Kingdom have been designated as potential destinations for Syrian refugees arriving under the Government’s Gateway Protection Programme; which town councils have so far indicated acceptance; and of what numbers.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

Syrian refugees are brought to the United Kingdom as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. This scheme has been expanded to resettle up to 20,000 Syrians in need of protection during this Parliament. This is in addition to those we resettle under the Gateway and Mandate schemes which are completely separate schemes.

Resettlement under the government schemes is voluntary on the part of local authorities. We are grateful to those who take on this role and will continue to work in partnership with them. We do not disclose the details of where refugees will be resettled upon their arrival in the UK under the Government resettlement schemes as this may undermine the privacy and recovery of this vulnerable group of people.

Q
(Liverpool, Walton)
[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: 22 October 2015
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Liverpool
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to support suicidal and vulnerable inmates in (a) HMP Liverpool and (b) HMP Altcourse.
A
Answered by: Andrew Selous
Answered on: 09 November 2015

Every self-inflicted death is a tragedy and we are committed to reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons.


All prisons are required to have procedures in place to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves, and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has put in place additional resources to undertake this safer custody work. NOMS is also reviewing the operation of the case management process for prisoners assessed as being at risk and the Government is considering the recommendations of Lord Harris’ Review into the deaths in custody of young adults.


HMP Liverpool is implementing the recommendations arising out of the most recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, published on 20 October 2015. The prison has a full safer custody team, which has been allocated additional resources to support prisoners identified as being at risk. It operates a Listener peer support service in partnership with the Samaritans and will shortly be opening an early days centre to improve support for new prisoners.


HMP Altcourse has a local safer custody improvement plan that includes improvements to the support offered to prisoners in their early days. It also operates a Listener scheme with the support of the Samaritans.

Q
Asked by Lord Paddick
Asked on: 23 October 2015
Home Office
Emergency Services: Telecommunications
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to push for a global standard for mission-critical voice functionality over commercial 4G networks.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is the international body that writes standards for 4G technology (http://www.3gpp.org/) . The Home Office has been attending a number of working groups within 3GPP since November 2012.

In January 2015 a new working group within 3GPP, SA6 Mission-critical applications was created specifically to standardise mission-critical voice functionality over 4G networks. The Home Office supported the creation of SA6, currently funds the chairman of that working group, and sends other attendees to this, as well as related meetings within 3GPP.

Asked on: 26 October 2015
Ministry of Justice
Criminal Proceedings: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to bring forward their review of the mandatory criminal courts charge.
A
Answered by: Lord Faulks
Answered on: 09 November 2015

It is right that we find better ways to pay the costs of running our criminal courts, and the introduction of this charge has made it possible to recover some of the costs from offenders, which reduces the burden on taxpayers. The Government is keeping the operation of the criminal courts charge under review.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 26 October 2015
Department for Transport
Network Rail
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Bowe report into Network Rail will be completed, and whether it will be published.
A
Answered on: 09 November 2015

The Secretary of State for Transport expects to receive the Bowe Review once it is completed later in the autumn.


The Secretary of State has committed to publish the Review in the autumn.


Upon publication copies will be placed in both Libraries of the House.

Q
Asked by Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 26 October 2015
Department for Transport
Network Rail: Land
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what changes they have proposed to requirements for disposing of Network Rail land not currently used for rail-related purposes.
A
Answered on: 09 November 2015

Condition 7 of Network Rail’s network licence regulates the disposal of the company’s land assets. Network Rail’s network licence is held with the Office of Rail and Road. The Government has not proposed any changes to Condition 7.


Asked on: 26 October 2015
Cabinet Office
Ministers: Codes of Practice
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they have amended the Ministerial Code to remove the duty to comply with international law and treaty obligations.
A
Answered on: 09 November 2015

I refer the Noble Lord to the answer given to the Noble Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 5 November 2015 to HL3046,HL3047,HL3048,which I have attached for ease of reference.


The Ministerial Code is normally updated and reissued after a General Election. The updated Code makes clear that Ministers must abide by the law. The obligations of Ministers under the law including international law remain unchanged.


Information relating to internal discussions and advice is not disclosed.

Referral answers (PDF Document, 73.95 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL2992
Asked on: 26 October 2015
Cabinet Office
Ministers: Codes of Practice
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Ministers are under a duty to comply with international law including treaties signed and ratified on behalf of the United Kingdom.
A
Answered on: 09 November 2015

I refer the Noble Lord to the answer given to the Noble Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 5 November 2015 to HL3046,HL3047,HL3048,which I have attached for ease of reference.


The Ministerial Code is normally updated and reissued after a General Election. The updated Code makes clear that Ministers must abide by the law. The obligations of Ministers under the law including international law remain unchanged.


Information relating to internal discussions and advice is not disclosed.

Referral answers (PDF Document, 73.95 KB)
Grouped Questions: HL2991
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