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
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
[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 January 2016
HM Treasury
Welfare Tax Credits
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many applications for mandatory reconsideration of a tax credits decision have been made to Concentrix in each month since April 2014.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The number of requests for mandatory reconsideration of a decision about a tax credits award that Concentrix have received since the commencement of their contract with HM Revenue and Customs in November 2014 is as follows:

Month

Number of MRs

November 2014

0

December 2014

2

January 2015

6

February 2015

38

March 2015

29

April 2015

137

May 2015

100

June 2015

45

July 2015

71

August 2015

108

September 2015

1221

October 2015

925

November 2015

871

December 2015

2371

The total is about 1.6% of all decisions Concentrix made in the same period.

As of 15 January 2016, there are 566 mandatory reconsiderations in progress that have been opened and Concentrix are waiting for customers to provide further evidence. Concentrix have 30 further mandatory reconsiderations that are awaiting determination.

The average length of time taken between Concentrix starting to work a mandatory reconsideration and making a decision is 24 days. This includes the time needed for customers to provide any further evidence.

Grouped Questions: 22658 | 22668
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
[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 January 2016
HM Treasury
Welfare Tax Credits
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many applications for mandatory reconsideration of a tax credits decision are awaiting determination by Concentrix.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The number of requests for mandatory reconsideration of a decision about a tax credits award that Concentrix have received since the commencement of their contract with HM Revenue and Customs in November 2014 is as follows:

Month

Number of MRs

November 2014

0

December 2014

2

January 2015

6

February 2015

38

March 2015

29

April 2015

137

May 2015

100

June 2015

45

July 2015

71

August 2015

108

September 2015

1221

October 2015

925

November 2015

871

December 2015

2371

The total is about 1.6% of all decisions Concentrix made in the same period.

As of 15 January 2016, there are 566 mandatory reconsiderations in progress that have been opened and Concentrix are waiting for customers to provide further evidence. Concentrix have 30 further mandatory reconsiderations that are awaiting determination.

The average length of time taken between Concentrix starting to work a mandatory reconsideration and making a decision is 24 days. This includes the time needed for customers to provide any further evidence.

Grouped Questions: 22572 | 22668
Q
Asked by Frank Field
(Birkenhead)
[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 January 2016
HM Treasury
Welfare Tax Credits
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what is the average length of time taken by Concentrix to determine applications for mandatory reconsideration of a tax credits decision.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The number of requests for mandatory reconsideration of a decision about a tax credits award that Concentrix have received since the commencement of their contract with HM Revenue and Customs in November 2014 is as follows:

Month

Number of MRs

November 2014

0

December 2014

2

January 2015

6

February 2015

38

March 2015

29

April 2015

137

May 2015

100

June 2015

45

July 2015

71

August 2015

108

September 2015

1221

October 2015

925

November 2015

871

December 2015

2371

The total is about 1.6% of all decisions Concentrix made in the same period.

As of 15 January 2016, there are 566 mandatory reconsiderations in progress that have been opened and Concentrix are waiting for customers to provide further evidence. Concentrix have 30 further mandatory reconsiderations that are awaiting determination.

The average length of time taken between Concentrix starting to work a mandatory reconsideration and making a decision is 24 days. This includes the time needed for customers to provide any further evidence.

Grouped Questions: 22572 | 22658
Q
Asked by Lord Beecham
Asked on: 18 January 2016
Home Office
Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons Review
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which, if any, of the recommendations of the report on the welfare of immigration detainees by Stephen Shaw have been rejected, and on what grounds.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Government’s position on the Stephen Shaw review was set out in the Written Ministerial Statement laid on 14 January 2016.

The Government accepts the broad thrust of Mr Shaw’s recommendations. In particular the Government accepts Mr Shaw’s recommendations to adopt a wider definition of those at risk, including victims of sexual violence, individuals with mental health issues, pregnant women, those with learning difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and elderly people, and to recognise the dynamic nature of vulnerabilities. We will introduce a new “adult at risk” concept into decision-making on immigration detention with a clear presumption that people who are at risk should not be detained, building on the existing legal framework.

A more detailed mental health needs assessment in immigration removal centres, using the expertise of the Centre for Mental Health, will be carried out and is expected to report in March 2016. NHS commissioners will use that assessment to consider and revisit current provision to ensure healthcare needs are being met appropriately. The Government will also publish a joint Department of Health, NHS and Home Office mental health action plan in April 2016.

We will also be considering a number of operational recommendations made by Mr Shaw, on a case by case basis, taking account of available resources.

Asked on: 19 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Nurses: Training
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the planned replacement of student bursaries by loans, what estimate they have made of the number of additional students who will be accepted into universities for nursing degree courses in 2017–18.
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We expect this reform to enable universities to provide up to 10,000 additional nursing, midwifery and allied health training places over this parliament.

Asked on: 19 January 2016
Department for International Development
EU Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the European Parliament's report that 50 per cent of the EU £23 billion aid budget has been delayed or not used, and whether they plan to take steps to terminate the policy of delivering part of the UK overseas aid budget through the EU.
A
Answered by: Baroness Verma
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The report concerned was compiled by an individual Member of the European Parliament and was not an analysis representing the views of the European Parliament as a whole. It was based on a reading of reports by EU offices in non-EU countries, intended to identify potential problems at an early stage, so that things can be put right in time. In the event that it is proven that money has been wasted, we expect the EU and its audit institutions to take swift and decisive action to recoup funds and to carry out a thorough review of all its programmes to provide a clear set of actions to stop this happening again.

Asked on: 19 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Nuclear Power
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the nuclear agreement with Iran, they plan to make representations to the government of Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and agree to the same level of inspection now accepted by Iran.
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. All state parties should be pushing for universality of the treaty. In that regard, the Government continues to call on all states that are not parties to the NPT, including Israel, to accede to it, and we also continue to call on Israel to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Q
Asked on: 20 January 2016
Department of Health
Ambulance Services: Performance Standards
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the average time taken in England for the ambulance service to take a patient from their home to the nearest fully-equipped accident and emergency department.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

NHS England has advised that it does not collect data on the average time taken in England for the ambulance service to take a patient from their home to an accident and emergency department.

The Government is clear the reconfiguration of front line health services is a matter for the local NHS. Services should be tailored to meet the needs of the local population, and proposals for substantial service change must meet the four tests of reconfiguration which are: (i) support from GP commissioners; (ii) strengthened public and patient engagement; (iii) clarity on the clinical evidence base and (iv) support for patient choice.

Locally driven elements of reconfiguration mean delivery will largely be managed by NHS England, who will work closely with commissioners, the Trust Development Authority and Monitor, and only approve the progression of proposals to consultation that have local support. We are aware that NHS England, in their guidance ‘Planning and delivering service changes for patients’, emphasise that NHS service change planners include an analysis of distance and travel times, the impact of these on transport users, as well as the ambulance service. A copy of this guidance is attached.

Grouped Questions: HL5242 | HL5244
Q
Asked on: 20 January 2016
Department of Health
Accident and Emergency Departments
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of how the reorganisation of accident and emergency departments in England has affected the time taken for a patient with a serious emergency to be taken from their home to the nearest fully-equipped accident and emergency unit.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

NHS England has advised that it does not collect data on the average time taken in England for the ambulance service to take a patient from their home to an accident and emergency department.

The Government is clear the reconfiguration of front line health services is a matter for the local NHS. Services should be tailored to meet the needs of the local population, and proposals for substantial service change must meet the four tests of reconfiguration which are: (i) support from GP commissioners; (ii) strengthened public and patient engagement; (iii) clarity on the clinical evidence base and (iv) support for patient choice.

Locally driven elements of reconfiguration mean delivery will largely be managed by NHS England, who will work closely with commissioners, the Trust Development Authority and Monitor, and only approve the progression of proposals to consultation that have local support. We are aware that NHS England, in their guidance ‘Planning and delivering service changes for patients’, emphasise that NHS service change planners include an analysis of distance and travel times, the impact of these on transport users, as well as the ambulance service. A copy of this guidance is attached.

Grouped Questions: HL5241 | HL5244
Q
Asked on: 20 January 2016
Department of Health
Hospitals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what strategic oversight is provided to acute hospital trusts in determining the location of specialties in hospitals within that trust.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

NHS England has advised that it does not collect data on the average time taken in England for the ambulance service to take a patient from their home to an accident and emergency department.

The Government is clear the reconfiguration of front line health services is a matter for the local NHS. Services should be tailored to meet the needs of the local population, and proposals for substantial service change must meet the four tests of reconfiguration which are: (i) support from GP commissioners; (ii) strengthened public and patient engagement; (iii) clarity on the clinical evidence base and (iv) support for patient choice.

Locally driven elements of reconfiguration mean delivery will largely be managed by NHS England, who will work closely with commissioners, the Trust Development Authority and Monitor, and only approve the progression of proposals to consultation that have local support. We are aware that NHS England, in their guidance ‘Planning and delivering service changes for patients’, emphasise that NHS service change planners include an analysis of distance and travel times, the impact of these on transport users, as well as the ambulance service. A copy of this guidance is attached.

Grouped Questions: HL5241 | HL5242
Asked on: 20 January 2016
Department of Health
HIV Infection
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what commitment they have made to supporting HIV support services to enable people with HIV to cope with their new diagnosis and prevent onward transmission.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Care Act 2014 sets out the legal framework for social care in England, and this applies to all adults with support needs including those whose living with HIV. Our Framework for Sexual Health Improvement (2013) a copy of which is attached, highlights the importance of early testing and diagnosis of HIV so that people can receive effective HIV treatment and help prevent new transmissions. In 2014 Public Health England published Making it work, a copy of which attached, setting out guidance to support collaborative local commissioning across all sexual health services.

Framework for Sexual Health Improvement (PDF Document, 321.31 KB)
Making it Work (PDF Document, 5.26 MB)
Asked on: 20 January 2016
Department of Health
Contraceptives
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 8 December 2015 (HL3838), how they define reasonable access to all methods of contraception in the context of open access sexual health services; what steps they have taken to ensure that local authorities are commissioning open-access sexual health services as mandated by legislation; and whether reasonable access to all methods of contraception includes access to long-acting reversible contraception as recommended by NICE guideline CG30.
A
Answered by: Lord Prior of Brampton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Department issued guidance to local authorities in March 2013 Commissioning Sexual Health services and interventions (a copy of which is attached) to help local authorities (LAs) to fulfil their legal requirements in relation to open access sexual health services. The guidance sets out that in relation to contraception “reasonable access” is for local determination, but also highlights “there is evidence that it may ultimately be better for patient outcomes, and more cost effective, to offer unrestricted access to all methods for all age groups. This supports women controlling their fertility and ensures contraceptive needs are met using the most effective methods”. The guidance also highlights key findings from the National Institute Clinical Excellence on long-acting reversible contraception.

Departmental officials meet regularly with sexual health organisations to consider the commissioning of sexual health services by LAs. Public Health England is undertaking a survey of local commissioning arrangements for sexual health and developing a tool that will improve monitoring of contraception use at LA level.

Commissioning Sexual Health services (PDF Document, 133.87 KB)
Q
Asked by Patrick Grady
(Glasgow North)
[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: 21 January 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Work Capability Assessment: Self-harm
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons different criteria apply in the assessment of risk of self-harm or suicide to men and women in his Department's guidance on work capability assessments.
A
Answered by: Priti Patel
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The guidance on work capability assessments no longer makes a distinction between men and women.

Q
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Attorney General
Lloyds Bank
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22432, by what measure the Director of the Serious Fraud Office judges whether there is a significant public interest element in a case.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 1987 provides that “The Director may investigate any suspected offence which appears to him on reasonable grounds to involve serious or complex fraud.”

Each case is assessed on its own facts and merits.

The Statement of Principle sets out some of the factors that the Director will take into account when considering the matter for investigation. All of these will be considered, and there is no minimum requirement or measure in respect of the different factors.

Each on its own or taken in combination can establish sufficient grounds for the Director to decide that the case is sufficiently large, complex or of wide public interest that it should be dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Grouped Questions: 24102 | 24099 | 24189 | 24190
Q
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Attorney General
Lloyds Bank
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22432, what measure the Director of the Serious Fraud Office uses to judge actual or potential economic harm.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 1987 provides that “The Director may investigate any suspected offence which appears to him on reasonable grounds to involve serious or complex fraud.”

Each case is assessed on its own facts and merits.

The Statement of Principle sets out some of the factors that the Director will take into account when considering the matter for investigation. All of these will be considered, and there is no minimum requirement or measure in respect of the different factors.

Each on its own or taken in combination can establish sufficient grounds for the Director to decide that the case is sufficiently large, complex or of wide public interest that it should be dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Grouped Questions: 24101 | 24099 | 24189 | 24190
Q
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Attorney General
Lloyds Bank
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22432, how the Director of the Serious Fraud Office measures the undermining of UK PLC commercial or financial interests in the (a) City of London and (b) UK.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 1987 provides that “The Director may investigate any suspected offence which appears to him on reasonable grounds to involve serious or complex fraud.”

Each case is assessed on its own facts and merits.

The Statement of Principle sets out some of the factors that the Director will take into account when considering the matter for investigation. All of these will be considered, and there is no minimum requirement or measure in respect of the different factors.

Each on its own or taken in combination can establish sufficient grounds for the Director to decide that the case is sufficiently large, complex or of wide public interest that it should be dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Grouped Questions: 24101 | 24102 | 24189 | 24190
Q
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Attorney General
Lloyds Bank
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22432, what the figure is for high actual or potential loss listed in the Statement of Principle.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 1987 provides that “The Director may investigate any suspected offence which appears to him on reasonable grounds to involve serious or complex fraud.”

Each case is assessed on its own facts and merits.

The Statement of Principle sets out some of the factors that the Director will take into account when considering the matter for investigation. All of these will be considered, and there is no minimum requirement or measure in respect of the different factors.

Each on its own or taken in combination can establish sufficient grounds for the Director to decide that the case is sufficiently large, complex or of wide public interest that it should be dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Grouped Questions: 24101 | 24102 | 24099 | 24190
Q
(Ogmore)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Attorney General
Lloyds Bank
Commons
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22432, whether a case considered by the Serious Fraud Office must meet all Statement of Principle considerations.
A
Answered by: Robert Buckland
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Criminal Justice Act 1987 provides that “The Director may investigate any suspected offence which appears to him on reasonable grounds to involve serious or complex fraud.”

Each case is assessed on its own facts and merits.

The Statement of Principle sets out some of the factors that the Director will take into account when considering the matter for investigation. All of these will be considered, and there is no minimum requirement or measure in respect of the different factors.

Each on its own or taken in combination can establish sufficient grounds for the Director to decide that the case is sufficiently large, complex or of wide public interest that it should be dealt with by the Serious Fraud Office.

Grouped Questions: 24101 | 24102 | 24099 | 24189
Q
Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
HM Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Secondment
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, to which (a) government departments, (b) agencies, (c) commercial companies and (d) charities HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Fast Stream civil servants are (i) attached or (ii) seconded; what the average length of time is for such (A) attachments and (B) secondments; and what assessment HMRC makes of the benefits of those attachments and secondments to its own work and to the tax payer.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Civil Service Resourcing coordinates the Fast Stream for the Civil Service and manages all Fast Streamers on the central corporate schemes.

A list of Government departments, Agencies, Arms Length Bodies, NDPB’s, Commercial (private) organisations and charities to which Fast streamers are currently posted to as at January 2016 can be found at Annex A.

  • Fast stream postings in the Civil Service are either 6 or 12 months depending on the timing of the posting

  • The average length of time for a secondment to an external organisation is 6 months.

    Civil Service Resourcing assesses the value of these postings and placements to the Civil Service (including HMRC) in the following ways:

  • Individual performance management through postings; mid and end of scheme assessments to track developments against the Fast Stream aims (core skills, competency framework and leadership potential)

  • Posting and secondment evaluation to ensure the effectiveness of each posting in supporting Fast Streamers’ development.

  • Overall assessment via Fast Stream Annual survey to measure ongoing effectiveness of the Fast Stream

Q
Asked by Gareth Thomas
(Harrow West)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
HM Treasury
Health Insurance: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the revenue that will accrue to the Exchequer from the insurance premium tax on health cash plans; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

In 2014-15, total Insurance Premium Tax receipts were approximately £3bn. HM Revenue and Customs estimates that £10.9 million in revenue was received from Insurance Premium Tax on health cash plans in 2014-15.

Q
(Houghton and Sunderland 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: 26 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Public Transport: North East
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2015 to Question 19988, what progress he has made on finalising monitoring arrangements; and if he will support monitoring of the use of public transport and investment in the North East's bus and rail networks as part of those arrangements.
A
Answered by: James Wharton
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Government is working with the North East Combined Authority on the implementation plan for its devolution deal, which will cover monitoring arrangements. The devolution deal will create an elected mayor, who will be directly accountable to local people and will have powers over transport among other things. It is for the future mayor to decide how to monitor transport policy, and for local people to hold the mayor and the Combined Authority to account.

Q
(Calder Valley)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Local Government Finance: Calderdale
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received from Calderdale Council since 2010 on the level of local authority funding from central Government.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Calderdale Council have submitted a representation each year since 2010 as part of the annual consultation on the local government finance settlement.

The annual local government finance settlement sets out details of central government funding for local authorities, including Revenue Support Grant, as well as considering councils' locally raised funds, and represents the main funding source for local authorities.

Grouped Questions: 24096
Q
(Calder Valley)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Revenue Support Grant: Calderdale
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received from Calderdale Council since 2010 on the level of the Revenue Support Grant.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Calderdale Council have submitted a representation each year since 2010 as part of the annual consultation on the local government finance settlement.

The annual local government finance settlement sets out details of central government funding for local authorities, including Revenue Support Grant, as well as considering councils' locally raised funds, and represents the main funding source for local authorities.

Grouped Questions: 24095
Q
Asked by Maria Eagle
(Garston and Halewood)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Governance and Regulation of the BBC Independent Review
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when he expects the Clementi review into governance of the BBC to be published.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We expect the independent review of the governance and regulation of the BBC to conclude shortly, and we will publish it in due course.

Q
Asked by Maria Eagle
(Garston and Halewood)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when his Department will launch its consultation on the universal service obligation on superfast broadband; and for how long that consultation will be open.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We intend to launch our consultation on proposals to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation in early 2016. The duration of the consultation will be proportionate to the issues under consideration, as advised by the Cabinet Office guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/492132/20160111_Consultation_principles_final.pdf

Q
Asked by Maria Eagle
(Garston and Halewood)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Culture: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many meetings Ministers and civil servants in his Department have had with Ministers and civil servants in the Department for Communities and Local Government on the impact of the local government financial settlement on local arts and culture organisations and projects.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 03 February 2016

DCMS and CLG Ministers and officials regularly discuss matters of shared interest including arts, culture and public libraries.

Q
(Oxford East)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Foreign Relations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policy on Bahrain of the analysis and conclusions of the report by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, entitled Shattering the Façade, published in November 2015.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We have noted the report by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain which assesses the progress the Government of Bahrain is making against the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report (BICI). In June 2014, the UN Human Rights Council presented similar findings by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. That is why we continue to encourage plus support the Government of Bahrain in ensuring full implementation of the BICI recommendations, as well as those accepted in their UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. We are offering UK assistance to help them achieve this.

Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Haiti: Elections
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications of the cancellation of presidential elections in Haiti.
A
Answered by: Mr Hugo Swire
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The postponement of the second round of the Presidential elections in Haiti is regrettable and given the uncertainty about what happens once President Martelly's mandate comes to an end on 7th February. The international community is pressing the Haitian authorities to set a date for the postponed second round of the Presidential elections as soon as possible. Our Embassy in Port-au-Prince continues to monitor the situation closely.

We reiterate our support for the EU Election Observer Mission's view that the first round of the Presidential elections was credible and that a second round with the top two candidates should have taken place. It is therefore important that all sides work together to agree a date for the second round as soon as possible.

Q
(Huddersfield)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Haiti: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the UN stabilization meeting in Haiti in maintaining security in Haiti.
A
Answered by: Mr Hugo Swire
Answered on: 03 February 2016
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintains close links with the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) through our Embassies in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo, and our offices at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. MINUSTAH has made a significant contribution to Haiti’s stability and law and order. However the main focus now should be continuing to build the capacity of the justice sectors and Haitian National Police to allow the Haitian government to take responsibility for their own national security.
Q
(Oxford East)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Bahrain: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to advance democratic rights in Bahrain.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Governance of Bahrain is a matter for all political parties in Bahrain. That is why we encourage all political parties, including Al Wefaq who boycotted elections in November 2014, to engage constructively in political dialogue in order to reach an inclusive political settlement. Although we were disappointed by the opposition’s decision to boycott the 2014 elections, we commended the participation of a broad range of candidates which saw 14 independent Shia candidates win seats, of which three were women.

We regularly discuss human rights and reform with the Government of Bahrain including at the biannual UK-Bahrain Joint Working Group meeting which was most recently held in November 2015. Reform programme activities delivered through the Causeway Institute have used lessons from Northern Ireland to improve community outreach and communication – particularly to a youth audience.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department of Health
NHS: Research
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what proportion of the NHS' budget is spent on research and campaigns on (a) gender-specific cancers and (b) fertility treatment.
A
Answered by: George Freeman
Answered on: 03 February 2016

National Health Service revenue expenditure was £110.6 million in 2014/15.

The Department funds the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to provide a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals working in world-class facilities, conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public. Information on total NIHR spend on research on gender-specific cancers and on fertility treatment is not available. Spend on research funded directly by the NIHR is categorised by Health Research Classification System (HRCS) health categories including ‘cancer’ and ‘reproductive health and childbirth’. There are no HRCS health sub-categories, such as for gender-specific cancers or fertility treatment.

NHS England has advised that information on campaigns spending by NHS organisations is not collected centrally.

Public Health England (PHE) has run gender-specific campaigns on breast cancer in women over 70, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer in black men as part of Be Clear on Cancer. Information on media spending for these campaigns in each of the last three complete financial years is shown in the table.

2012/13 £ million

2013/14 £ million

2014/15 £ million

Breast 70+

0.50

1.48

-

Ovarian

0.44

0.57

-

Prostate

-

-

0.07

Source: PHE

Notes:

Figures are net plus agency fees and commissions (rounded to nearest £10,000). Figures exclude VAT and Central Office of Information fees.

Media spend includes expenditure for advertising on Television, Radio, National Press, Regional Press, Out of Home (Outdoor), Cinema and Digital.

Q
Asked by Mark Durkan
(Foyle)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department of Health
Dialysis Machines
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of additional dialysis beds and staff costs to the NHS in the event of NICE's review of TA 85 [ID456] of immunosuppressant agents for kidney transplant is upheld.
A
Answered by: George Freeman
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We have made no such estimate.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently updating its technology appraisal guidance on immunosuppressive therapy for kidney transplant in adults. NICE consulted on its draft recommendations in August 2015 and published its final draft recommendations in December. NICE currently expects to publish its final guidance later this year.

It will be for local National Health Service organisations to consider the impact of the NICE recommendations following guidance publication. NICE will publish a resource impact assessment alongside its guidance to support local implementation of its recommendations.

Q
(Dewsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Transport
British Transport Police: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2016 to Question 20570, when the budget for the British Transport Police in 2016-17 will be established.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The British Transport Police Authority set a budget of expected expenditure and income for the year 2016-17 on 28 January 2016.

Q
(Peterborough)
[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: 26 January 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Welfare State: Peterborough
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress his Department is making in reducing welfare dependency and increasing wages in Peterborough; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Priti Patel
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The government is making good progress in moving to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy. In Peterborough the number of people claiming one of the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by over 3,400 (21%) since 2010. Average gross weekly earnings in Peterborough have risen by 12% since 2010, to £487 per week.

Q
(Dewsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
HM Treasury
Sanitary Protection: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 1.144 of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015, how much of the £15 million annual VAT revenue from female sanitary products has been (a) spent to date and (b) allocated for future spending; by what process the recipients of those funds are determined; and whether he plans a further round of allocations for financial year 2016-17.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Initial donations from the sanitary products VAT women’s charities fund totalling £5 million have been made to support The Eve Appeal, SafeLives and Women’s Aid, and The Haven. Further donations and recipients will be announced at Budget 2016, and at future fiscal events. The £15 million annual fund will continue to run over the course of this Parliament or until the UK can apply a zero rate of VAT on sanitary products.

Charities interested in applying should email the Treasury directly at Tampontax.Fund@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk stating their interest in the fund, including an overview of the nature of their proposal and the amount they are requesting. Following this they will be given further details of the bidding process and the detailed information required.

Q
Asked by Jim McMahon
(Oldham West and Royton)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
HM Treasury
Revenue and Customs: Greater Manchester
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the value for money review of the relocation of Oldham HM Revenue and Customs Office to Manchester city centre.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office at Phoenix House, Oldham was announced for closure in February 2008 as part of HMRC’s earlier Regional Review Programme, and was partially vacated in November 2009 with the majority of staff relocating to Manchester and finally closed in May 2014.

HMRC has not undertaken a separate value for money review on the closure of the office in Oldham. The Change Programme, of which the Regional Review Programme formed part, has been reviewed by the National Audit Office as part of its role to scrutinise public spending for Parliament to assess value for money. The NAO carried out a specific review on cost reduction within HMRC in 2013. The report can be found on the attached link. https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/HMRC-reducing-cost-full-report.pdf

Q
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Mortgages
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what progress his Department is making on encouraging buy-to-let mortgage lenders to allow longer tenancies in their terms and conditions.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Government supports longer tenancies, and promotes them through its Model Tenancy Agreement. We have continued to encourage mortgage lenders to permit family friendly tenancies, and the majority have now changed their policies, and permit tenancies of up to two to three years.

A letter was sent to the Council for Mortgage Lenders on this subject in January 2016, urging them to encourage those lenders who have not changed their policies to do so, and to encourage lenders to promote the benefits of the Model Tenancy Agreement to their landlord customers.

Q
(Peterborough)
[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: 26 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Private Rented Housing: Construction
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of round 2 of the Build to Rent scheme in delivering new homes; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Brandon Lewis
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Build-to-Rent programme has helped to catalyse funding from other sources. Developers are now proceeding with schemes that will deliver over 3,000 homes using alternative finance after having originally made an application to the Fund.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Defence Equipment: Decommissioning
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which assets his Department plans to decommission over the next 12 months.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Ministry of Defence manages a wide range of assets to support the UK Armed Forces. A list of equipment due to be decommissioned in the next 12 months is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, the following major equipment platforms are planned to be taken out of service in 2016:

Sea King Mk3, 3a, 4 and 5;

RFA Black Rover - Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fleet Support Tanker.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Military Aircraft: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of (a) Tornado and (b) Typhoon aircraft in the Sustainment Fleet are (i) undergoing planned maintenance, (ii) undergoing upgrade work and (iii) held in temporary storage.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The information requested is detailed in the attached table.

The Forward Available Fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable. Short-term unserviceable aircraft are undergoing minor works, forward maintenance or any other rectification or technical inspection work that can arise on a day-to-day basis. Dependant on the nature of the work, aircraft may be designated as requiring either 'short-term maintenance' or 'short-term works'.

The Sustainment Fleet numbers represent those aircraft in the Depth Fleet, which comprises aircraft which are undergoing planned depth maintenance or upgrade programmes.

Decommissioning and disposal are part of the same process and are therefore grouped together.

Tornado and Typhoon Attachment Table. (Word Document, 28.59 KB)
Grouped Questions: 24356 | 24358
Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Military Aircraft
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many (a) Tornado and (b) Typhoon aircraft are (i) in the Forward Available Fleet, (ii) in the Sustainment Fleet and (iii) awaiting decommissioning or disposal.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The information requested is detailed in the attached table.

The Forward Available Fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable. Short-term unserviceable aircraft are undergoing minor works, forward maintenance or any other rectification or technical inspection work that can arise on a day-to-day basis. Dependant on the nature of the work, aircraft may be designated as requiring either 'short-term maintenance' or 'short-term works'.

The Sustainment Fleet numbers represent those aircraft in the Depth Fleet, which comprises aircraft which are undergoing planned depth maintenance or upgrade programmes.

Decommissioning and disposal are part of the same process and are therefore grouped together.

Tornado and Typhoon Attachment Table. (Word Document, 28.59 KB)
Grouped Questions: 24357 | 24358
Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Military Aircraft: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of (a) Tornado and (b) Typhoon aircraft in the Forward Available Fleet are classed as short term unserviceable as a result of undergoing (i) short term maintenance and (ii) other short term works.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The information requested is detailed in the attached table.

The Forward Available Fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable. Short-term unserviceable aircraft are undergoing minor works, forward maintenance or any other rectification or technical inspection work that can arise on a day-to-day basis. Dependant on the nature of the work, aircraft may be designated as requiring either 'short-term maintenance' or 'short-term works'.

The Sustainment Fleet numbers represent those aircraft in the Depth Fleet, which comprises aircraft which are undergoing planned depth maintenance or upgrade programmes.

Decommissioning and disposal are part of the same process and are therefore grouped together.

Tornado and Typhoon Attachment Table. (Word Document, 28.59 KB)
Grouped Questions: 24357 | 24356
Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Military Aircraft: Repairs and Maintenance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much has been spent on (a) maintenance of and (b) upgrade works for (i) Tornado, (ii) Typhoon and (iii) Reaper drones in each of the last six years.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The costs of maintenance and capability upgrades for Tornado, Typhoon and the Reaper Unmanned Air System, in each of the last six financial years, are shown in the table below.

Financial year (£ million)

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

Tornado: capability upgrade work

87.2

69.3

33.3

28.9

58.2

45.6

Tornado: maintenance

311.0

303.8

369.7

344.2

247.7

184.9

Typhoon: capability upgrade work

0

0

0

0

66.8

178.4

Typhoon: maintenance

392.7

475.3

499.6

294.8

313.1

460.2

Reaper: maintenance

4.8

4.8

4.8

9.8

27.1

23.5

Reaper: capability upgrade work

0.2

0.4

0.4

0.6

1.3

1.3

Note: Costs for all platforms are extracted from the equipment support programme budget.

Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Tornado Aircraft: Safety Measures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Tornado aircraft are fitted with the Honeywell Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System II; and how many are currently being fitted with that system.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

As at 28 January 2016, 43 Tornado GR4 aircraft had been fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System capability. A total of 61 Tornado GR4 aircraft will be fitted with this capability by the end of 2016, when the project is planned to be completed.

It should be noted that as far as we are aware, this is the first time ever a Collision Avoidance System has been fitted to a combat fast jet, anywhere in the world.

Grouped Questions: 24362
Q
(Islington South and Finsbury)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Tornado Aircraft: Safety Measures
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he expects the process of fitting Tornado aircraft with the Honeywell Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System II to be completed.
A
Answered by: Mr Philip Dunne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

As at 28 January 2016, 43 Tornado GR4 aircraft had been fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System capability. A total of 61 Tornado GR4 aircraft will be fitted with this capability by the end of 2016, when the project is planned to be completed.

It should be noted that as far as we are aware, this is the first time ever a Collision Avoidance System has been fitted to a combat fast jet, anywhere in the world.

Grouped Questions: 24361
Q
Asked by Jim McMahon
(Oldham West and Royton)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Education
E-ACT Academies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to prevent the E-ACT Academy chain from dismissing community governors from its school governing bodies.
A
Answered by: Edward Timpson
Answered on: 03 February 2016

In a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), individual academies are all under the control of the trust board, as the legal entity. A trust is allowed to exercise its choice about whether and how to construct its local governing bodies for each academy. The composition of those boards and the range of functions delegated to any such boards, are all a matter for the board to determine. In all cases the board remains accountable for all of the academies in the MAT. We expect Government bodies to drive strong governance so that standards remain high. We trust these boards to decide on the most appropriate arrangements for their trust. They may choose to delegate duties to local governing bodies, but trustees maintain overall responsibility. E-ACT has reviewed its governance arrangements and is planning to change its regional and local governance structure.

The Secretary of State can intervene where a trust is in breach of its funding agreement due to a serious breakdown in governance.

Fewer, higher quality and more highly skilled boards overseeing groups of schools is central to the Government’s strategy for improving the quality of school governance. It is also the key to schools realising a wide range of other educational and financial benefits.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Libya: Islamic State
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support military efforts to tackle Islamic State in Libya.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 03 February 2016

We are extremely concerned about the growing threat from extremist groups in Libya, including Daesh. The recent attacks in the Oil Crescent and Zliten in western Libyan highlight the threat these groups pose to the stability of Libya and the region, and potentially to the UK and our interests. We are working closely with international partners to deepen our understanding of Daesh’s presence in Libya and to develop a comprehensive approach to defeating it.

This includes working closely with Libya’s neighbours to enhance their ability to protect themselves against threats from terrorists in Libya and prevent weapons’ smuggling across the region.

We continue to urge all Libyans to unite against these extremists. A lasting and inclusive political agreement and the establishment of a Government of National Accord (GNA) is the best way to tackle the threat in the long term. Engaging with the new Libyan Government on this issue will be a high priority.

Q
(Shrewsbury and Atcham)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Libya: Politics and Government
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help stabilise Libya.
A
Answered by: Mr Tobias Ellwood
Answered on: 03 February 2016

I welcome the important progress that has been made towards the establishment of the new Libyan government. Along with the UN and our international partners, we continue to urge all parties to resolve remaining issues quickly, so that the new government can address the challenges Libya faces. The UK Government has been at the forefront of efforts to coordinate international support for a Government of National Accord (GNA).

The UK hosted a meeting with the UN in October to discuss plans for coordinated support from the international community to the GNA. Representatives of 40 countries, UN agencies, and international bodies, as well as a number of independent Libyan experts attended. This has been followed up through UN-hosted coordination meetings in Tunis. The UK will continue to support UN efforts in this area.

I spoke with Libyan PM designate Fayez Serraj on 23 January and made clear the UK remains ready to support the new Libyan Government.

Q
(Bolton North East)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department of Health
NHS Walk-in Centres
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, which NHS Walk-in Centres have closed in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Jane Ellison
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Comprehensive data on walk-in centres is not collected centrally. Since 2007, the local National Health Service has been responsible for NHS walk-in-centres. It is for local commissioners to decide on the availability of these services.

Q
Asked by Maria Eagle
(Garston and Halewood)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Home Office
Metropolitan Police: News International
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people employed by the Metropolitan Police Service are former employees of News International.
A
Answered by: Mike Penning
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Home Office does not hold data centrally on the number of people employed by the Metropolitan Police Service who were former employees of News International.

Individual police forces in England and Wales are responsible for deciding when and how they run their recruitment and selection processes.

Decisions on whether to recruit individuals are for the chief officer of the police force concerned.

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