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. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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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
(Hornsey and Wood Green)
Asked on: 25 May 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Pollution: Greater London
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the consequences of pollution levels in London; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce pollution in that city.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 07 June 2016

The UK is compliant with EU legislation for nearly all air pollutants but faces significant challenges in achieving nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values.

The national air quality plan for NO2, published in December last year, sets out a comprehensive approach for meeting the air quality challenges by implementing a new programme of Clean Air Zones, along with the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London. The plan combines targeted local and national measures, forming part of a wider approach that exploits new and clean technologies, such as electric and ultra low emission vehicles.

The Government has committed over £2 billion since 2011 to increase the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles, support green transport initiatives and support local authorities to take action.

The Mayor is responsible for air quality standards in London. The Mayor provides the framework and guidance which London boroughs use to review and improve air quality in their areas. The new Mayor recently set out his plans to improve air quality in London.

Q
(Coventry South)
Asked on: 25 May 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Waste and Resources Action Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the funding available to the Waste and Resources Action Programme in each of the next five years; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 07 June 2016

The current 2016/17 grant agreement for the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is £13m.

Future year’s allocations have yet to be finalised.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 May 2016
Department for Transport
Vauxhall
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assurances he has received from Vauxhall that all owners of Zafira B models were informed about the changes to the vehicle safety recall relating to those cars.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 07 June 2016

To address the latest reported fires, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency told Vauxhall that a secondary safety recall (R/2016/104) was needed on Vauxhall Zafira B models equipped with manual control heating and ventilation systems. Under the requirements of the Code of Practice on vehicle safety defects and the General Product Safety Regulations, manufacturers are required to inform owners/keepers of vehicles that are affected by a vehicle safety recall of the risk and what action they are conducting to address the issue.

Q
(Glasgow South)
Asked on: 25 May 2016
Department for Transport
Vauxhall
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the independent testing of Vauxhall Zafiras meets the aims set out for that independent testing.
A
Answered by: Andrew Jones
Answered on: 07 June 2016

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with Vauxhall to ensure it discharges its responsibility to conduct investigations into the cause of any vehicle safety defects, as set out in the Code of Practice on Vehicle Safety Defects.

Q
(Poplar and Limehouse)
Asked on: 26 May 2016
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nature Conservation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the Government's policy will be on supporting further protection through an uplisting of (a) elephants, (b) rhinos and (c) lions at the forthcoming CITES Conference of the Parties in September 2016.
A
Answered by: Rory Stewart
Answered on: 07 June 2016

Proposals on the listing protection of 60 species have been submitted to the 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Uplisting proposals for elephants and lions will be discussed but there is no proposal on rhinoceroses, which are already generally subject to the highest level of protection.

All these proposals will be assessed against the scientific criteria for listings set out in the Convention and, where justified, the UK will advocate further protection to support the survival of endangered species. This includes in negotiations with the other Member States of the EU to ensure our positions on proposals are taken into account before the final negotiating position for the EU and its Member States is agreed.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 26 May 2016
Department for Transport
Govia Thameslink Railway
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he, Ministers or officials of his Department have had with Govia Thameslink Railway on indemnifying Govia Thameslink Railway from losses incurred as a result of industrial action; and what the dates and outcomes of those discussions were.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 07 June 2016

The Franchise Agreement does not provide any indemnity to Govia Thameslink Railway for any such losses incurred as a result of Industrial Action, and no discussions have taken place.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 26 May 2016
Department for Transport
Govia Thameslink Railway
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Govia Thameslink Railway on the closure of Govia Thameslink Railway ticket offices; and what the dates of those discussions were.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 07 June 2016

Officials regularly meet with Govia Thameslink Railway, and their Ticket Office proposals have been discussed.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 26 May 2016
Department for Transport
Govia Thameslink Railway
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with Govia Thameslink Railway on the closure of Govia Thameslink Railway ticket offices; and what the outcome of those discussions was.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 07 June 2016

Officials regularly meet with Govia Thameslink Railway, and their Ticket Office proposals have been discussed. In relation to their Ticket Office proposals, as long as the operator is not breaching the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement with regard to opening hours, employee terms and conditions and the management of any changes in these are a matter for the relevant employer and their employee(s) and/or employee representatives.

Q
Asked by Andy McDonald
(Middlesbrough)
Asked on: 26 May 2016
Department for Transport
Railways: Tickets
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the definition of ticket office is for the purposes of Schedule 17 ticketing arrangements.
A
Answered by: Claire Perry
Answered on: 07 June 2016

Ticket Office is defined within the Ticketing & Settlement Agreement (TSA), http://www.atoc.org/clientfiles/files/RSPDocuments/TSA%20V9_4%20-%20Main%20Agreement%20(Volume%201).pdf, as a place within a station at which fares are generally sold in person by or on behalf of an operator.

The opening hours and product range of Ticket Offices are specified in Schedule 17 of the TSA.

Q
Asked by Lord Tyler
Asked on: 18 May 2016
The Lord Chairman of Committees
Opening of Parliament
Lords
To ask the Chairman of Committees what have been the (1) security, and (2) other, costs to the House administration in preparing for and conducting the State Opening of Parliament in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Lord Laming
Answered on: 06 June 2016

State Opening is the major ceremonial event of the parliamentary calendar and the Estate is significantly reconfigured for hosting it. Its traditions date back as far as the sixteenth century and it is the only regular occasion when the three constituent parts of Parliament meet: the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The event is broadcast to the nation by the main UK TV channels and also to many international networks with high viewing figures across the globe.

The security costs to the House administration in preparing for and conducting the State Opening of Parliament in each of the last five years are set out in the table below. These figures are additional to the fixed cost base for police officers and staff, tasked daily with protecting the Parliamentary Estate. They are indicative, due to the complex nature of police officer and staff allocation for a large scale operation.

Year

Amount (£)

2012

c.15,000

2013

17,234

2014

10,300

2015

15,814

2016

c.15,000

Estimates of other costs are set out in the table below. These include supply and fit of additional structures, preparations of the interior, additional lighting, move and reinstallation of the vehicle security barrier, construction costs of reconfiguring the Lords chamber and Royal Gallery, building media facilities within the Palace of Westminster, storage of equipment throughout the year, and other domestic and administrative costs.

The costs for 2016 are based on estimates only at this stage, because not all invoices have yet been received from relevant suppliers. Some costs are annual rather than tied to a particular State Opening of Parliament; these annual costs have been attributed to the next State Opening.

Since 2015, a proportion of overtime has been captured specifically in relation to the State Opening of Parliament. This accounts for the apparent steep increase in overall ‘other’ costs for that and the subsequent year, but it should be noted that these costs always existed, but were assigned to separate budgets.

Year

Amount (£)

2012

251,341

2013

261,504

2014

280,707

2015

325,937

2016

c.326,000

The House of Lords pays a proportion of these costs, many of which are costs from services shared with the House of Commons. This information does not represent the full cost of State Opening, as costs will also have been incurred by other bodies, which may include Westminster City Council, the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Household.

Q
Asked by Lord Tyler
Asked on: 18 May 2016
The Lord Chairman of Committees
Opening of Parliament
Lords
To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the capital value for which (1) ermine robes, and (2) other garments, used by Peers and Officers of the House during the State Opening of Parliament are insured.
A
Answered by: Lord Laming
Answered on: 06 June 2016

The capital value of Members’ robes donated to the House is £217,453 (as reported in the House of Lords Resource Accounts: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-information-office/2015/HL-resource-accounts-2014-15.pdf). No public money was spent on acquiring these robes. The Administration does not capitalise other garments used by Members and staff of the House during the State Opening of Parliament. The House is self-insuring.

House of Lords resource accounts 2014-15 (PDF Document, 837.6 KB)
Q
(Birmingham, Hall Green)
[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: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Asylum: Syria
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that Syrian children given asylum in the UK will be able to enter in time for the start of the school year in September.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016
Holding answer received on 23 May 2016

The Syrian resettlement scheme has already provided safe haven to more than 1,000 vulnerable Syrians since the scheme was expanded in September 2015. More than half of these were children and we expect children to make up a significant proportion of the 20,000 resettlement places we are providing under the scheme.

In addition, we have committed to resettling up to 3,000 individuals from the Middle East and North Africa over the lifetime of this Parliament through the resettlement scheme announced on 21 April for children at risk and their family members. As announced by the Prime Minister on 4 May and now reflected in the Immigration Act 2016, we will also work to admit unaccompanied refugee children to the UK from elsewhere in the EU, where this is considered to be in the child’s best interests. Work has begun on how best to implement the legislation and we are committed to act as quickly as we can, while ensuring that we have the necessary services in place to care for these children alongside those who are already in the UK and have claimed asylum here.

We also continue to work closely with France and other EU Member States to ensure that arrangements for transferring asylum cases under the Dublin Regulation are operating as effectively as possible. A senior UK official was seconded to the French Dublin Unit to assist with the identification and transfer of cases and since February more than 20 children have been transferred to the UK from France and there are many other cases in train.

All Syrian and other children brought to the UK will be given the care, support and education they require.

Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether data gathered from border exit checks will enable her Department to distinguish between short and longer-term overstaying of visas.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Exit checks were introduced in April 2015. They will, over a period of time, provide us with a range of insights into the behaviours of migrants and how they comply with restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK.

Data collected from exit checks is a record of cross border movement. It may in the future help inform but will not in itself answer questions on emigration.

The Home Office has announced that it is considering the use of exit checks data for statistical reporting and intends to publish an initial evaluation of the use of exit checks for this purpose. The evaluation will be a technical assessment of the analysis carried out thus far and of the further analysis necessary to better understand short, medium, and long term opportunities.

The initial evaluation of the use of exit checks will be published on 25 August to coincide with the next quarterly immigration statistics release.

Publication of the initial evaluation on the use of exit checks will be on the GOV.UK website

Grouped Questions: 37511 | 37512 | 37509 | 37510
Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to use data from border exit checks to estimate emigration from the UK.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Exit checks were introduced in April 2015. They will, over a period of time, provide us with a range of insights into the behaviours of migrants and how they comply with restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK.

Data collected from exit checks is a record of cross border movement. It may in the future help inform but will not in itself answer questions on emigration.

The Home Office has announced that it is considering the use of exit checks data for statistical reporting and intends to publish an initial evaluation of the use of exit checks for this purpose. The evaluation will be a technical assessment of the analysis carried out thus far and of the further analysis necessary to better understand short, medium, and long term opportunities.

The initial evaluation of the use of exit checks will be published on 25 August to coincide with the next quarterly immigration statistics release.

Publication of the initial evaluation on the use of exit checks will be on the GOV.UK website

Grouped Questions: 37514 | 37512 | 37509 | 37510
Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what analysis she plans to undertake of the data gathered from border exit checks; and whether those checks will provide accurate data on emigration disaggregated by route.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Exit checks were introduced in April 2015. They will, over a period of time, provide us with a range of insights into the behaviours of migrants and how they comply with restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK.

Data collected from exit checks is a record of cross border movement. It may in the future help inform but will not in itself answer questions on emigration.

The Home Office has announced that it is considering the use of exit checks data for statistical reporting and intends to publish an initial evaluation of the use of exit checks for this purpose. The evaluation will be a technical assessment of the analysis carried out thus far and of the further analysis necessary to better understand short, medium, and long term opportunities.

The initial evaluation of the use of exit checks will be published on 25 August to coincide with the next quarterly immigration statistics release.

Publication of the initial evaluation on the use of exit checks will be on the GOV.UK website

Grouped Questions: 37514 | 37511 | 37509 | 37510
Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish data gathered from border exit checks.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Exit checks were introduced in April 2015. They will, over a period of time, provide us with a range of insights into the behaviours of migrants and how they comply with restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK.

Data collected from exit checks is a record of cross border movement. It may in the future help inform but will not in itself answer questions on emigration.

The Home Office has announced that it is considering the use of exit checks data for statistical reporting and intends to publish an initial evaluation of the use of exit checks for this purpose. The evaluation will be a technical assessment of the analysis carried out thus far and of the further analysis necessary to better understand short, medium, and long term opportunities.

The initial evaluation of the use of exit checks will be published on 25 August to coincide with the next quarterly immigration statistics release.

Publication of the initial evaluation on the use of exit checks will be on the GOV.UK website

Grouped Questions: 37514 | 37511 | 37512 | 37510
Q
(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Home Office
Immigration Controls
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how her Department plans to publish data gathered from border exit checks.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Exit checks were introduced in April 2015. They will, over a period of time, provide us with a range of insights into the behaviours of migrants and how they comply with restrictions placed upon their length of stay in the UK.

Data collected from exit checks is a record of cross border movement. It may in the future help inform but will not in itself answer questions on emigration.

The Home Office has announced that it is considering the use of exit checks data for statistical reporting and intends to publish an initial evaluation of the use of exit checks for this purpose. The evaluation will be a technical assessment of the analysis carried out thus far and of the further analysis necessary to better understand short, medium, and long term opportunities.

The initial evaluation of the use of exit checks will be published on 25 August to coincide with the next quarterly immigration statistics release.

Publication of the initial evaluation on the use of exit checks will be on the GOV.UK website

Grouped Questions: 37514 | 37511 | 37512 | 37509
Q
Asked by Lord Lexden
Asked on: 19 May 2016
Cabinet Office
Acts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Acts of Parliament have been passed since 2010; and how many of those have not been implemented.
A
Answered on: 06 June 2016

212 Government and non-Government Bills have been passed by the United Kingdom Parliament since 2010. The Government monitors implementation of its policy commitments rather than individual legislative measures.

Q
Asked by Jess Phillips
(Birmingham, Yardley)
Asked on: 19 May 2016
Department for Education
Academies: North of England
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many of the academy trusts approved to receive the Northern fund for academy sponsors were operating schools that had (a) received a requires improvement rating, (b) received an inadequate rating and (c) had been placed in special measures by Ofsted.
A
Answered by: Edward Timpson
Answered on: 06 June 2016

The Northern Fund was announced by the Chancellor in the 2014 Autumn Statement, to boost academy sponsorship in the North of England as a means of turning around standards in some of the most educationally deprived parts of the country.

The first competition was run in June and July 2015, with awards being announced in November 2015. Two further competitions were run in January and February 2016.

A total of 65 academy sponsors received an award under the Northern Fund. At that time, the number of sponsors operating schools in these categories breaks down as follows:

  • 22 sponsors were operating schools that had received a requires improvement rating.

  • Seven sponsors were operating schools that had received an inadequate rating; and, of these seven sponsors, five were operating schools that had been placed in Special Measures, which is a subset of the inadequate category.

By definition, approved academy sponsors are working with groups of schools, some of which have the most deeply ingrained challenges. Sponsors will often have a mixed portfolio of schools at different stages of both absolute performance and improvement. The Northern Fund is designed to help selected sponsors develop additional capacity in geographical locations of need. Ministers and Regional Schools Commissioners are confident that recipients of the Northern Fund will be able to benefit schools that need their help.

Q
(Bristol West)
Asked on: 19 May 2016
Home Office
Asylum: Children
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that unaccompanied child refugees have access to information in a form and language appropriate to their age and language on their rights to apply for asylum or family reunion which includes information on the criteria used in and estimated timescales for determining applications.
A
Answered by: James Brokenshire
Answered on: 06 June 2016

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have arrived in the UK are referred to local authority children’s services as soon as possible.

As well as social work support, they have access to publicly-funded legal advice in relation to their asylum claim, to advice and guidance on the asylum process from the Refugee Council Children’s Panel, and to an interpreter if English is not their first language.

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