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 Lord Berkeley
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Transport
Railways: Franchises
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of how their work on the governance part of the European Fourth railway package will facilitate UK train operating companies being able to tender for and be awarded rail franchises in a fair and transparent manner.
A
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The government continues to work on the market pillar of the EU Fourth Railway Package, consisting of the proposal to amend Directive 2012/34/EU, the “Governance proposal” and the proposal to amend Regulation EC/1370/2007, the “Public Service Obligations proposal”.

The government was able to support a General Approach on the pillar at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 8th October 2015. The General Approach text of the Governance proposal includes additional, proportionate provisions to ensure fair and non‑discriminatory treatment of all train operating companies, including safeguards for operators of franchises. Rules on the competitive tendering of franchises are set out in the Public Service Obligations proposal.

The government continues to work with the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the EU in their ongoing negotiations of the Package with the European Parliament.

Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Qualifications
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) teachers, and (2) Personal, Health and Social Education teachers, currently practising in schools in England, have qualified teacher status.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The latest statistics show that 96 per cent of the headcount of teachers in service in state funded schools in England (as at November 2014) have qualified teacher status.

Information on the number of teachers teaching Personal, Health and Social Education (PSHE) is only collected for secondary schools in England. Of the estimated 31,000 teachers recorded as teaching PSHE, 96 per cent were recorded as having qualified teacher status.

Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Education
Teachers: Qualifications
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many schools in England are using non-specialist teachers to cover teaching vacancies.
A
Answered by: Lord Nash
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Department does not hold this information.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Union Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was first informed that the impact assessment for the Trade Union Bill would be delayed.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Union Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the figures quoted in the impact assessment for the Trade Union Bill were verified by a third party.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Union Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which special advisers have had access to drafts of the impact assessment for the Trade Union Bill.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Union Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many drafts of the impact assessment for the Trade Union Bill there have been, and when each was completed and reviewed.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Labour Party: Finance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what role Ministers have played in verifying the impact of clauses 10 and 11 of the Trade Union Bill on Labour Party funding.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Trade Union Bill
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which special advisers have had meetings or otherwise communicated with officials conducting the impact assessment for the Trade Union Bill.
A
Answered by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has published detailed Impact Assessments for the Bill - on the Trade Union Bill, on the Reporting of Facility Time in the Public Sector, and on the Prohibition on Deduction of Union Subscriptions from Wages in the Public Sector. At a meeting with Peers in December, Ministers committed to publishing prior to the Lords Committee stage of the Bill, and they were published in good time on 21 January.

The Trade Union Bill's impact assessment has been subject to scrutiny by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee, and its opinion has been published alongside the impact assessment.

They were reviewed and approved by the relevant Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office. The Permanent Secretary has been kept informed of progress on all stages of the Bill.

Policy officials and analysts in both Departments have worked together to produce the impact assessments as quickly as possible while ensuring that the analysis was thorough.

We have not asked civil servants working on the Bill in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office to fill out time sheets.

We do not record which particular documents each special adviser reads. Special advisers have access to departmental papers in line with the Special Advisers' Code of Conduct and provide advice to Ministers.

I am placing copies of the relevant documentation in the Library.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Samir Awad
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Israel concerning the charges brought against those convicted of the killing of Samir Awad.
Answered on: 04 February 2016
We have not had any discussions with the Israeli authorities on this specific issue. However, we remain concerned about the high number of criminal investigations into fatal shootings of Palestinians that are closed without indictments. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly meet senior Israeli officials in the Ministry of Justice, Attorney General’s Office, Military Advocate General’s office, State Comptroller, National Security Council and other government bodies to lobby on this issue.
Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the claim by a resident in Bardala that the Israeli army and water company have taken their water and are selling it back to villagers.
Answered on: 04 February 2016

We have not made representations on this specific issue to the Israeli authorities but are aware of the dire situation in this Palestinian village in the northern Jordan Valley area of the West Bank. We regularly raise the issue of water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the Israeli authorities, stressing the urgent need for Israel to improve this unacceptable situation and ensure fair distribution of water in the West Bank and Gaza.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Israel: Palestinians
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the demolition of a Palestinian tree nursery by the Israel Defence Forces that had previously been robbed by Israeli settlers.
Answered on: 04 February 2016

We have not made representations on this specific issue to the Israeli authorities. We do, however, regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities over demolitions and settler violence. We understand that during the most recent olive harvesting season destruction was at a lower level than previous years due to stronger coordination between the Israel Defence Forces and Palestinian local authorities. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv met Israeli government and community leaders to urge them to take action and speak out against settler violence.

Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nasser Nawaj'a
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel following the arrest and detention of Nasser Nawaj’a.
Answered on: 04 February 2016
Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has been following this case and we now understand that Nasser Nawaj’ah has been released. However, we remain concerned about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes it absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice, and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv most recently raised this matter on 3 November 2015 with Israeli officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
Q
Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the detention of Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha.
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Government has not raised Mr Abu Sakha’s particular case with the Israeli authorities. However, we remain concerned about Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes this absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice, and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue most recently on 3 November 2015 with Israeli officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.

Asked on: 25 January 2016
Department for Transport
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many vehicle testing kits are available to the government agencies responsible for checking whether vehicles comply with EU emission standards.
A
Answered on: 04 February 2016

Emissions type approval of new vehicles in the UK is carried out at commercially operated laboratories. There are five of these, as well as approved laboratories at manufacturers’ premises. The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) manages the approval testing of vehicles in the UK.

Additional testing which is currently being undertaken on the road uses portable emission measurement systems (PEMS). The VCA owns two PEMS kits and can hire three additional PEMS kits from the commercial laboratories.

Asked on: 25 January 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Overseas Territories: Exclusive Economic Zone
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the National Maritime Intelligence Centre is providing comprehensive surface coverage of the Exclusive Economic Zones of dependent territories to ensure wildlife and resource protection; and how those zones are policed, in particular around Tristan da Cunha, Ascension Island and St Helena.
Answered on: 04 February 2016
The National Maritime Information Centre assist with work to investigate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing around the British Indian Ocean Territory and Pitcairn. Overseas Territories are policed in a variety of ways as marine management is a devolved responsibility. In St Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha a variety of surveillance and enforcement measures are deployed, including satellite monitoring, vessel tracking, short term patrols and observer coverage of fishing vessels. Potential enhancements to surveillance and enforcement requirements for the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories are being considered as part of the Government’s commitment to create a Blue Belt around these territories.
Q
(Calder Valley)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Exports: Developing Countries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what support his Department is providing to businesses to increase exports to developing economies.
A
Answered by: Anna Soubry
Answered on: 04 February 2016

Increasing exports, to all overseas markets, is a key factor in the Government’s long-term economic plan. Government departments are working together to support UK businesses looking to take advantage of overseas opportunities and to create a strong business environment that allows them to flourish both at home and overseas. A key part of this work is to identify export opportunities, many of which are based around the needs of global developing economies.

My noble Friend Lord Maude of Horsham made a statement to the House on Tuesday 19th January on the Government’s strategy to support Trade. This outlines a new, whole-of-government approach to expanding the number of exporters and the value they generate for the British economy. The aim is to make it easier for small business to access this support through better digital platforms, working more closely with partners and making sure services match the needs of business.

Q
Asked by Maria Eagle
(Garston and Halewood)
Asked on: 26 January 2016
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
UK City of Culture
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is undertaking to assist local authorities in preparing bids for the 2021 UK City of Culture.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 04 February 2016

DCMS will issue guidance on bidding for the UK City of Culture 2021 ahead of the competition which will run during 2017 - the year when we will celebrate Hull City of Culture. DCMS will continue to provide advice to interested local authorities and intends to hold an event later this year to explain the process and to generate interest in this exciting opportunity.

Q
Asked by Drew Hendry
(Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
[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 Culture, Media and Sport
Radio Frequencies
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what preparations the Government is making for the auction of 5G spectrum.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 04 February 2016

Ofcom takes independent decisions on how to assign spectrum. The Government is making spectrum available - including future 5G - through its programme of public sector spectrum release.

Q
Asked by Drew Hendry
(Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
[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 Culture, Media and Sport
Broadband
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the universal service obligation for broadband was set at 10mb; and if he will make it his policy to increase the minimum universal service requirements to reflect higher levels set in other European countries.
A
Answered by: Mr Edward Vaizey
Answered on: 04 February 2016

The Prime Minister's announcement of the Government's intention to implement a new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) and our ambition to set this at 10Mbps, followed assessments of consumers' broadband needs from a range of sources, including Ofcom's annual infrastructure reports. This new broadband USO will give people the legal right to request an affordable broadband connection, at a minimum speed, up to a reasonable cost threshold, no matter where they live.

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