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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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(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
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