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
(Blaydon)
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Department of Health
NHS: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations he has received on the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Ben Gummer
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has advised that it has taken into account the application of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 in the new contracts with Choice Support and Remploy Ltd.

The CQC issued a press release on 28 January 2016 on this matter. It advised that the CQC’s contractual discussions with Remploy Ltd and Choice Support are still ongoing. The CQC understand that Remploy has now written to Experts by Experience confirming they will pay an hourly rate of £15 for the first six months of the contract - commencing 1 February 2016.

Departmental Ministers have not received any representations about the importance of Experts by Experience in the National Health Service or the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience.

The Department has not received any direct correspondence about the importance of Experts by Experience in the NHS or the level of payments by Remploy to Experts by Experience. We are, however, aware of one email on this subject that the Department has been copied into that was sent to the CQC.

Grouped Questions: 24514 | 24515
Q
Asked by Martyn Day
(Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Department for International Development
Armed Conflict: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to discuss the issue of education for children in areas of conflict at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016; and what plans she has to ensure children have access to education in those areas.
A
Answered by: Mr Desmond Swayne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Education will be a significant theme in the World Humanitarian Summit and we will use this opportunity to promote our aims to improve learning outcomes, to reach all children in fragile states, and to keep girls in school.

DFID supports children overseas to go school and continuing learning even when they are forced from their homes. This includes our flagship £355 million Girls’ Education Challenge that will enable up to 1 million more of the world’s most marginalised girls to benefit from an education of sufficient quality and transform their lives. In addition, DFID is supporting improvements to how the international community provides education in emergencies, including support for the ‘No Lost Generation’ Initiative to provide over 251,000 Syrian children with formal and informal education inside Syria and in the region, allowing them to catch up on lost learning time and sit public school examinations.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Department for International Development
Gurkhas: Homelessness
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assistance the Government has given to former Gurkhas who are homeless as a result of recent earthquakes in Nepal.
A
Answered by: Mr Desmond Swayne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

A Joint DFID and Ministry of Defence (MOD) response was launched immediately in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes in April and May 2015. The MOD through the Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) supported both immediate and longer term initiatives. The GWT carried out a detailed assessment of the damage to Gurkha communities and provided £1.2 million in emergency aid that included distribution of shelter kits, tarpaulins and corrugated iron sheets in remote areas immediately in the aftermath of the earthquake. In addition, a unit of the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers was deployed to repair and rebuild the homes and communities of approximately 2,200 Gurkha servicemen that were severely damaged by the earthquake. To date, 150 new houses, built to an earthquake resistant design, are under construction and a further 600 houses will be started this year. DFID has been supplying humanitarian assistance to the Gurkha communities hit by the earthquake since April 2015 and continues to do so.

The GWT’s commitments for the earthquake response now stand at £19 million over 5 years. The MOD has provided an additional grant of £512,000 to assist the GWT in its on-going response operations. Between 2012-20 DFID has committed £14.19 million to support the GWT’s Gurkha Welfare Scheme, a programme predominantly supporting the Nepali servicemen and their communities, on water and sanitation programmes.

Q
Asked by Julian Knight
(Solihull)
[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: 27 January 2016
Department for International Development
Bangladesh: Vocational Education
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to (a) help up-skill and (b) provide technical education for the Bangladeshi workforce.
A
Answered by: Mr Desmond Swayne
Answered on: 03 February 2016

DFID is supporting the upskilling of the Bangladeshi workforce through several projects in both the informal and formal sectors. Through our support to the Underprivileged Children’s Educational Programme, a local educational institution, nearly 45, 000 children have received general education and over 13, 000 have received technical and vocational training. Of the latter, 90% have been placed in formal employment or become self-employed. The programme focuses on working children in slums who dropped out of school.

DFID also launched ‘the Skills and Employment Programme in Bangladesh’ in October 2015. The programme aims to provide private sector training opportunities, with a particular focus on supporting women and disadvantaged populations, in the ready-made garments and construction sectors.

Q
Asked by Jim Shannon
(Strangford)
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Ministry of Justice
Miscarriages of Justice: Prisoners' Release
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been released from custodial sentences as a result of wrongful convictions in each of the last 10 years.
A
Answered by: Mike Penning
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Ministry of Justice does not hold the number of people released from custodial sentences as a result of wrongful convictions in England and Wales. Obtaining this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Julie Cooper
(Burnley)
Asked on: 27 January 2016
Leader of the House
Opening of Parliament
Commons
To ask the Leader of the House, what date is planned for the State Opening of Parliament in 2016.
A
Answered by: Chris Grayling
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The date for the next State Opening of Parliament will be announced by Written Statement in the usual way.

Q
(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 28 January 2016
Cabinet Office
Freedom of Information Act 2000
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 9 December 2015 to Question 902477, when he expects the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information to publish its review of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 03 February 2016

It is for the independent Commission to determine the timing for submitting its response to Government.

Q
(South Shields)
Asked on: 28 January 2016
Department for Communities and Local Government
Funerals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the total annual costs to local authorities were for public health funerals in each year between 2010 and 2015.
A
Answered by: Mr Marcus Jones
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Department for Communities and Local Government does not collect the information requested. Figures on local authority expenditure on, and income from, the provision of cemetery, cremation and mortuary services, including closed churchyards and post-mortem services within mortuaries, are collected on the Revenue Outturn form and are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2014-to-2015-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Q
(Calder Valley)
Asked on: 28 January 2016
Ministry of Defence
Royal Naval Reserve: Recruitment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many people applied to join the Royal Navy Reserve in each of the last 10 years; and how many such applicants were successful.
A
Answered by: Mr Julian Brazier
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Maritime Reserve (MR) is a vital component of the Naval Service’s capability and consists of the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve.

Defence Statistics publish information on a regular basis showing intake figures for the Armed Forces, including Regular Naval Service personnel. The most recent information is contained in 'UK Armed Forces Monthly Service Personnel Statistics: December 2015' and associated tables, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-armed-forces-monthly-service-personnel-statistics-index.

UK Armed Forces Monthly Service Personnel Statistics: 1 January 2016 will be published on 11 February 2016.

The following table represents the number of applications and intake to the MR for the period for which information is available:

Financial Year

2013-14

2014-15

April 2015 to September 2015

Applications to MR

1,180

1,280

900

MR New Entrant Intake

510

620

390

Notes:

1. Source: Defence Statistics (Navy).

2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 in accordance with the Defence Statistics rounding policy.

3. Information prior to Financial Year 2013-14 is not held centrally.

4. New Entrants reflect any intake into the untrained strength, and comprise new recruits, ex-Regulars and Reserve re-joiners who required training.

5. Figures relate to the number of applications received and not the number of applicants, since one applicant may make several applications.

6. The number of applications received does not necessarily directly relate to the intake figures in the same year since people may withdraw their applications for a number of reasons and the time between an application being received and an individual successfully being taken onto untrained strength will vary.

Q
Asked by Mrs Anne Main
(St Albans)
Asked on: 28 January 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Neonicotinoids: EU Action
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2016 to Question 22708, on neonicotinoids: EU action, when she expects the EU Commission to report back its findings; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The European Food Safety Authority has undertaken to complete its assessment for the European Commission by 31 January 2017. The Commission will then consider whether this assessment requires any change to the current restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids. It has not committed to a timescale for this.

Q
Asked by Mrs Anne Main
(St Albans)
Asked on: 28 January 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Insecticides
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effects of the use of pyrethroids on crops and invertebrates.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Pyrethroids are a group of chemicals used to control insect pests in crops. As with all pesticides, pyrethroids are subject to strict regulation and the use of a pyrethroid is only authorised if it will not harm people, will not give rise to unacceptable risks to the environment and is effective against the target pest.

Decisions are made on the basis of assessments of scientific data. This is a two-tier process. The pyrethroid itself is assessed by the European Food Safety Authority. Products containing approved pyrethroids are assessed by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive. There are currently several pyrethroids approved at EU level. A number of products containing one or more of these chemicals are authorised in the UK following a satisfactory risk assessment.

Asked on: 28 January 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further plans they have to ensure universal access to affordable credit.
A
Answered by: Lord Freud
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Government is funding a £38 million Credit Union Expansion Project to enable the credit union sector to improve access to affordable credit.

Government will also continue to support the development of cross sector partnerships to raise awareness and accessibility of affordable credit.

Q
Asked by Mr Jamie Reed
(Copeland)
Asked on: 29 January 2016
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how Government targets for the proportion of business created in supply chains for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) under public procurement contracts apply to companies subject to mergers, acquisitions or other changes in status that take those companies out of the SME category.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Government has a target that 33% of central government business, by direct spend and through the supply chain, will go to small and medium businesses by 2020.

We assess progress against the overall target on a regular basis, including an assessment of those companies identified as Small or Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Where companies no longer meet the statutory definition of an SME at the time of assessment, they are no longer counted.

Q
(Birmingham, Northfield)
[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: 29 January 2016
Cabinet Office
Public Sector: Procurement
Commons
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans he has to bring forward a revised procurement policy note for public authorities; and if he will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Matthew Hancock
Answered on: 03 February 2016

I refer the Hon Member to the answer I gave to him on 1 February 2016 to UIN: 24475.

Q
(Lincoln)
[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: 29 January 2016
HM Treasury
Golf: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to put in place a five per cent rate of VAT to golf participants at proprietary golf facilities.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

Fees paid for participation in golf at proprietary facilities are subject to the standard rate of VAT.

Q
(Lincoln)
[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: 29 January 2016
HM Treasury
Golf: VAT
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations his Department has received on allowing a five per cent rate of VAT to golf participants at proprietary golf facilities.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

HM Treasury has received representations on applying a five per cent rate of VAT to golf from both the Association of Golf Course Owners, the Reduce VAT in Sport campaign group, the UK Golf Course Owners Association, and England Golf.

Q
Asked by Jim McMahon
(Oldham West and Royton)
[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: 29 January 2016
HM Treasury
Google: Taxation
Commons
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the legal advice he received prior to the tax settlement with Google.
A
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 03 February 2016

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is responsible for the conduct of tax enquiries. Ministers are not informed of the progress of enquiries and play no part in agreeing the amount of tax to be paid by any taxpayer.

Q
Asked by Hilary Benn
(Leeds Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 29 January 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Imports: Israel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether marketing standards conformity certificates issued by Israel covering consignments of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the occupied Palestinian territories indicate that the products they cover originate in Israel.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 03 February 2016

The Horticultural Marketing Inspectors have no reason to believe that these certificates do not contain correct information. In 2012, the European Commission announced that their research into Israeli/Palestinian export certificates “did not reveal any evidence of non-conformity regarding the indication of the country of origin”. The Commission also reaffirmed the requirement that the origin needed to be clearly indicated whether it was Israel or an Occupied Territory.

Q
Asked by Hilary Benn
(Leeds Central)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 29 January 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Imports: Fruit and Vegetables
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is part of the remit of the Rural Payments Agency to check the conformity to EU marketing standards of consignments of fresh fruit and vegetables entering UK ports.
A
Answered by: George Eustice
Answered on: 03 February 2016

All fruit and vegetables must meet the EU marketing standards in Regulation 543/2011. These standards require that fruit and vegetables which are intended to be sold fresh to the consumer, may only be marketed if they are of sound, fair and marketable quality and if the country of origin is indicated. Horticultural Marketing Inspectors are part of the Rural Payments Agency and carry out these inspections for Her Majesty’s Government.

Q
(Worsley and Eccles 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: 29 January 2016
Department of Health
Dementia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, whether all newly-appointed healthcare assistants and social care support workers receive training on dementia as part of the Care Certificate process.
A
Answered by: Ben Gummer
Answered on: 03 February 2016

As of 1 April 2015, all new health care assistants and social care support workers are expected to attain the new Care Certificate within their first 12 weeks of employment. In order to do so, each new worker must demonstrate to their employer that they meet all 15 of the Care Certificate standards of fundamental skills and knowledge. Standard 9 of the Care Certificate concerns awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disabilities.

In meeting this standard, each worker must show that they understand: the needs and experiences of people with mental health conditions, dementia or learning disabilities; the importance of promoting their health and wellbeing; the adjustments which may be necessary in delivering their care; and the importance of early detection. They must also prove that they understand the legal context, including mental capacity considerations.

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