Sir Christopher Chope Written Questions

247 Questions to Government Departments tabled by Sir Christopher Chope


Date Title Questioner
13 Oct 2020, 10:03 a.m. Duty Free Allowances Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish the economic impact assessment of the decision to end tax free sales for air passengers and the VAT refund scheme from 1 January 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

Ahead of the end of the transition period, the Government has announced the VAT and excise duty treatment of goods purchased by individuals for personal use and carried in their luggage arriving from or going overseas (passengers). The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

- Passengers travelling from Great Britain to any destination outside the United Kingdom (UK) will be able to purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls at ports, airports, and international rail stations.

- Personal allowances will apply to passengers entering Great Britain from a destination outside of the UK, with alcohol allowances significantly increased.

- The VAT Retail Export Scheme (RES) in Great Britain will not be extended to passengers travelling to the EU and will be withdrawn for all passengers.

- The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales for non-excise goods will be removed across the UK.

The Government published a consultation which ran from 11 March to 20 May. During this time the Government held a number of virtual meetings with stakeholders to hear their views and received 73 responses to the consultation. The Government has also continued to meet and discuss with key stakeholders following the announcement of these policies.

The detailed rationale for these changes are included in the written ministerial statement and summary of responses to the recent consultation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-09-11/hcws448 and https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-duty-free-and-tax-free-goods-carried-by-passengers.

In 2019 HMRC estimate that VAT RES refunds cost around £0.5billion in VAT for around 1.2million non-EU visitors. In 2019 the ONS estimate there were substantially more EU visitors (24.8 million) than non-EU passengers (16.0 million) to the UK. This implies an extension to EU residents would significantly increase the cost by up to an estimated £0.9billion. This would result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU visitors which already happens without a refund mechanism in place, potentially taking the total cost up to around £1.4billion per annum.

The concessionary treatment on tax-free sales currently affects airports that fly to non-EU destinations. The extension of duty-free sales to EU bound passengers will be a significant boost to all airports in England, Scotland and Wales, including Edinburgh and Glasgow and smaller regional airports which have not been able to offer duty-free to the EU before.

HMRC estimate that around £150 million of VAT is not charged as a result of tax-free airside sales. As with the VAT RES, extending the relief to the EU would significantly increase the cost of the scheme and result in a large amount of deadweight loss by subsidising spending from EU-bound passengers which already happens.

The final costings will be subject to scrutiny by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and will be set out at the next forecast.

The Government also recognises the challenges the aviation sector is facing as it recovers from the impacts of Covid-19 and has supported the sector throughout the pandemic, and continues to do so, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

13 Oct 2020, 10:03 a.m. Air Passenger Duty: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of Air Passenger Duty charged by airlines which has not been refunded to passengers who did not undertake their booked flights in the last six months; and if he will make it Government policy that Air Passenger Duty should be repaid to passengers without the imposition of an administration fee.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

APD is a tax paid by airlines based on the number of passengers on board an aircraft that takes off from a UK airport. Whether airlines pass on the cost of the tax to their passengers is a commercial decision. If a pre booked passenger does not subsequently fly the airline has no APD liability for that passenger. HMRC does not collect information on such passengers.

Where the cost is passed on by airlines, there is no legal obligation to refund this business charge. Refunds from airlines will be governed by the terms and conditions attached to the sale of the ticket. However, the government expects all airlines operating in the UK to make their terms and conditions, including their refund policy, clear at the time of booking.

9 Oct 2020, 9:53 a.m. Coronavirus Act 2020 Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral contribution of 30 September 2020, Official Report, column 392, what discussions he has with Cabinet colleagues on the length of the debate on the extension of the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

The time allocated to debate the extension of the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 is set down in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.

9 Oct 2020, 9:50 a.m. Coronavirus: Disease Control Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his oral contribution of 30 September 2020, Official Report, column 392, what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness of and (b) adequacy of time available for parliamentary scrutiny of (i) primary and (ii) secondary legislation on restrictions during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

This Government has provided regular updates to the House of Commons on a wide range of matters related to COVID-19 and will continue to do so. There is nothing further to add to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement to the House of Commons of 30 September, Official Report, column 388.

25 Sep 2020, 2:34 p.m. Planning Permission: Local Press Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what regulatory impact assessment he has carried out on the proposal to remove statutory requirements for planning applications to be publicised in local newspapers; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Local planning authorities are required to publicise certain types of planning applications in local newspapers as set out in Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. In response to coronavirus restrictions, temporary regulations have been introduced to supplement the existing statutory publicity arrangements for planning applications. Local planning authorities now have the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirement for newspaper publicity – for instance, if the local newspaper is not now in circulation. These steps can include the use of social media and other electronic communications, such as local online news portals, and must be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposed development. However, if a local planning authority is required to publicise a planning application in a local newspaper, and that paper is still in circulation, then they must continue to do so.

25 Sep 2020, 2:02 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 21 September 2020 to Question 90033 on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whether a business that repays a furlough grant to which it is entitled is liable for tax upon that grant notwithstanding its voluntary repayment.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

A business that repays a furlough grant to which it is entitled is not liable for tax upon that grant. However, the employer will still need to record the grant in their forthcoming tax return.

24 Sep 2020, 1:37 p.m. Public Health Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether in deciding to use the urgency procedure to lay The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2020 he made an assessment of the serious and imminent threat to public health caused by the inability of the public to access other NHS services providing diagnosis and treatment; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The requirements imposed by these Regulations are a proportionate public health response to the threat of the incidence and spread of COVID-19. In making these amendments we took account of responsibilities including to promote a comprehensive health service, and quality of services.

Our message is clear – anyone who is concerned or needs treatment should come forward – the National Health Service is open for business.

NHS guidance sets out a focus on accelerating the NHS’s return to near-normal levels of non-COVID-19 health services making full use of the capacity available in the ‘window of opportunity’ between now and winter.

Trusts, working with general practitioner practices, should ensure that between them, every patient whose planned care has been disrupted by COVID-19 receives clear communication about how they will be looked after, and who to contact in the event that their clinical circumstances change.

23 Sep 2020, 11:07 a.m. Foetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to support people with Foetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder; and when he plans next to meet the Independent Foetal Anti-Convulsant Trust.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

Recommendation five of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, which was published on 8 July, outlines that specialist centres should be set up to provide comprehensive treatment, care and advice for those adversely affected by medications taken during pregnancy. The Government has received the report and all recommendations are being considered carefully. An update will be provided in due course.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation (Lord Bethell) met with the Independent Foetal Anti-Convulsant Trust on 28 August. Currently there are no future appointments arranged.

More generally, the Government is committed to providing disabled people and those with health conditions the support they are entitled to and plans to publish a health and disability support Green Paper in due course.

23 Sep 2020, 10:32 a.m. Coronavirus: Disease Control Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) evidential and (b) scientific basis for tightening restrictions on gatherings in the open air in England under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No 2) (England) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations 2020.

Answer (Ms Nadine Dorries)

We have taken swift action to limit the gathering group size to six people, against the backdrop of an increase in cases and infection levels across the country.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides Ministers and officials with evidence-based scientific advice in emergencies based on a range of sources. SAGE has published the statements and the accompanying evidence to demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data merges, including the role that social interaction plays in transmission.

The work of the Joint Biosecurity Centre also supports the wider Test and Trace system to identify outbreaks and trends of COVID-19. Data on COVID-19 is published daily at the following link:

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

22 Sep 2020, 2:37 p.m. Surgery Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it the policy of the Government to require NHS hospitals to make provision for elective surgery seven days a week; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

As part of the third phase of the National Health Service response to COVID-19, focus is on accelerating the return of non-COVID-19 health services, including elective care, and the NHS will be looking to deliver the following elective activity levels in the coming months:

- In September, delivering at least 80% of last year’s activity for both overnight electives and for outpatient/daycase procedures, rising to 90% in October;

- Return to at least 90% of their last year’s levels of MRI/CT and endoscopy procedures, with the goal to reach 100% by October; and

- 100% of last year’s activity for first outpatient attendances and follow-ups (face to face or virtually) from September through the balance of the year (and aiming for 90% in August).

Providers, working as local systems, have been asked by 21 September to submit draft plans for how they intend to meet the key actions in the phase 3 guidance. The restoration of non-COVID-19 services will be done whilst also preparing for winter demand pressures and alongside continued vigilance in light of any further COVID-19 spikes locally and possibly nationally.

21 Sep 2020, 1:49 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it Government policy that businesses which voluntarily repay furlough payments to the Government are not subject to tax on those payments; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Voluntary repayments of furlough grants are already not subject to tax because repayment is predicated on the business acknowledging that they are not entitled to the grant and will not be taxed on returning it. A business is only liable to be taxed on a furlough grant if such a business retains a grant to which it is not entitled. A business which informs HMRC of its erroneous claims or overclaims within the notification period and which voluntarily repays the grant will not be taxed on the grant.

16 Sep 2020, 4:58 p.m. Department for Transport: Staff Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many members of staff in his Department were (a) working at their normal place of work, (b) working from home, (c) on annual leave, (d) on sickness absence and (e) not working for another reason in the week commencing 7 September 2020; and what plans he has in place to encourage departmental employees back to their normal place of work.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

The core department has, over the last few months, flexed to working almost entirely from home, and has continued to deliver against our objectives. From 1 September 2020, our two primary offices in London and Hastings were made Covid secure and were opened to staff with strict social distancing measures in place.

a) Since opening on 1 September, 32% of core DfT staff have returned to their usual workplace, with a) 24% attending during the w/b 7 September;

b) The remainder of staff were either working from home or absent due to annual leave, sickness or other reasons (see below);

c) On average, there was an 8% absence due to annual leave each day during the w/b 7 September;

d) On average, there were 11 absences less than 1% due to sickness each day during the w/b 7 September;

e) On average, there were 51 absences (2%) due to other reasons (including maternity leave) each day during the w/b 7 September.

Our number one priority is the safety of our staff, and we are continuing to look for opportunities to maximise the capacity in our buildings whilst ensuring they remain Covid secure. The core Department’s headquarters, Great Minster House, is currently undergoing a planned refurbishment which is limiting our safe capacity and demand is currently at capacity. As each stage of refurbishment is completed, further capacity will be released with social distancing measures in place to meet the increasing demand, and we are exploring other options to maximise space available for staff to return.

14 Sep 2020, 2:10 p.m. Performing Arts: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his 5 July 2020 press release, when the Government plans to finalise its guidance on a phased return of the performing arts sector.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The Performing Arts guidance published on 9 July sets out how organisations can prepare for and deliver their activities at each of the five stages set out in the Performing Arts Roadmap. This allows organisations to understand what will be required of them as we move to allowing fuller audiences within venues as set out for Stage 5 of the roadmap. We have always been clear that moving forward with the performing Arts roadmap depended on the prevalence of COVID-19.'

11 Sep 2020, 4:23 p.m. Professional Lighting and Sound Association: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will arrange an early meeting with the Professional Lighting and Sound Association to discuss the effect upon their members of the continuing covid-19 lockdown restrictions on the live events sector.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

We recognise the crucial role that lighting and sound technicians play in the UK’s live music and events sector.

DCMS continues to engage with a range of trade representatives and Government departments to support creative businesses, and ensuring that the needs of its sectors, and those who work in them, are fully understood.

We are committed to continuing to work with the live music and events sectors to understand the difficulties they face and help them access support through these challenging times and through recovery.


8 Sep 2020, 5:20 p.m. Coronavirus: Disease Control Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the maximum length of contract is which can meet the criteria of the Cabinet Office procurement policy note 01/20: Responding to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Julia Lopez)

There is no maximum length of contract as set out in reg 32(2)(c) of the Public Contract Regulations 2015. However, Procurement Policy Note 01/20 (Responding to COVID-19), advises that contracting authorities should limit their requirements to only what is absolutely necessary both in terms of what they are procuring and the length of contract.

7 Sep 2020, 4:35 p.m. Driving Tests Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test appointments the DVSA made on (a) 21 August 2020 and (b) 25 August 2020; how many appointment applicants were unsuccessful on each day; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

On 21 August 2020, 10,637 driving test appointments were successfully booked and on 25 August 2020, 2,150 driving test appointments were successfully booked. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) does not hold data on how many applicants were unsuccessful booking a practical driving test.

The DVSA’s online booking service reopened to the general public on 26 August 2020, following essential maintenance, and again on 1 September 2020. A limited number of tests were available on both dates. Once these test slots were booked the DVSA closed the online booking system. It will reopen again at 8am on 7 September 2020, when more tests will be available. The DVSA is planning to make around 375,000 tests available on 14 September 2020.

7 Sep 2020, 4:33 p.m. Driving Tests Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test appointments on 14 September will be made available in (a) Poole, (b) Southampton and (c) Salisbury; for what reason it is not possible to reopen the test centre at Gillam road in Bournemouth to help meet demand; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

From 14 September 2020, there will be a up to approximately 700 practical driving tests available in Poole, Southampton and Salisbury. The number of tests available is likely to change depending on driving examiner availability.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will be extending the period in which tests are available from 6 weeks to 18 weeks ahead from 14 September 2020. This will add over 375,000 more test appointments between 14 September 2020 and the end of January 2021.

The DVSA will not re-open Bournemouth driving test centre (DTC) to help meet demand. On 12 August 2019, the DVSA took the difficult decision not to re-open Bournemouth DTC. This is because the property is in a poor state and the DVSA judges the cost of repairing it would be too high.

7 Sep 2020, 4:30 p.m. Bus Services: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress he has made on developing an initiative to support a furlough scheme for (a) luxury coaches and (b) other assets which cannot be used during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

My Department continues to meet regularly with representatives of the coach sector to understand their concerns and identify potential opportunities to support the sector, and have been supportive of the use of coaches to provide additional home to school transport as schools return. We will continue to consider the needs of the wider transport sector and respond appropriately, where necessary.

The Government has announced several measures available to UK businesses, including the coach sector, to financially support them through this time. The measures include:

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

  • Time to pay (TTP)

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which has been extended until the end of October 2020

  • VAT deferral

Details of all of the Government’s support measures for businesses is available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

7 Sep 2020, 3:16 p.m. Army Personnel Centre Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when the facility at the Army Personnel Centre enabling people to trace the service records of their relatives will be fully operational; and when a search made for an individual with Army Service Number 14603451 and date of birth 5 June 1907 can be actioned.

Answer (Johnny Mercer)

Due to COVID-19, staff at the Army Personnel Centre (APC) in Glasgow have been required to work from home since lockdown. During this time, they have received over 10,000 requests for copies of Service records. Most Service records are in their original hard copy paper format and could not therefore be retrieved from the archives and copied by APC staff working at home. Although APC staff have now started returning to the workplace, it is not possible to say how long it will take to process all the requests they have received. However, the request for a copy of the Service record relating to Army Service Number 14603451 has been completed and was sent to the requester on 28 August.

An online facility is also being developed by the Ministry of Defence to enable individuals to apply for the Service records of deceased military service personnel. This is subject to assessment by the Government Digital Service later this year. If that assessment is positive the online system will be made available to the public via the Government Digital Service platform.

20 Jul 2020, 5:09 p.m. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason his 10 July 2020 guidance to employers on individuals for whom they can claim wages who are not employees was not issued before that date; and what estimate he has made of the number of new eligible claimants.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

On 10 July 2020, the guidance to employers on individuals they could claim for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was relocated within GOV.UK and the structure was updated to improve clarity.

There were no substantive content changes and therefore there has been no change in eligibility.

6 Jul 2020, 5:18 p.m. Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Driving Licences Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects the DVLA to respond to the change of address registration application for an HGV driving licence, reference WM509761918GB, sent by recorded delivery on 7 May 2020; and when the updated driving licence will be returned.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

I have asked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to look into this particular case as a matter of urgency and will ensure my Honourable Friend receives a reply directly.

30 Jun 2020, 3:30 p.m. Sports: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what regulatory impact assessment the Government made of the effect of the decision to extend the restrictions on (a) cricket, (b) indoor swimming, and (c) real tennis beyond 4 July 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active.The Government has made it clear that it will adopt a phased approach based on scientific and medical advice, and that the primary goal is to protect public health.

The government is in regular contact with representatives of sports, including cricket, swimming and tennis, to discuss both the impact of Covid-19 on sports and to explore how and when grassroots sport can safely resume once lockdown restrictions start to ease. The government has asked individual sports to consider the steps that would need to be taken, and the conditions that would need to be met, for their activity to resume.

29 Jun 2020, 5:50 p.m. Bus Services Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date he next plans to meet with representatives from bus and coach operators.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

Ministers and officials have had regular meetings with key stakeholders, including the Confederation for Passenger Transport, local transport authorities and transport operators in recent weeks to discuss a wide range of matters.

On 23 May, the Transport Secretary announced a further £254 million to help increase bus services across England as quickly as possible as we begin to re-open our economy. This is in addition to the £397 million the Government announced on 3 April 2020 to keep England’s buses running to serve those who need to rely on them. The Government has launched an unprecedented set of support measures to ensure that businesses, such as coach operators, have access to the funds they need to pay essential bills at this difficult time.

18 Jun 2020, 4:43 p.m. Tourism: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will place in the Library a copy of his response to the letter dated 5 June signed by over five hundred coach operators on the classification of the coach travel industry as leisure businesses for the purposes of covid-19 support; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Kemi Badenoch)

The Treasury is considering the letter from the coach travel industry and will reply as soon as possible.

The Government has announced unprecedented support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency including almost £300 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. Coach companies, along with other businesses, may benefit from a range of support measures including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
  • The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises
  • A Discretionary Grant Fund for Local Authorities in England to make grants payments of up to £25,000 to businesses excluded from the existing grants schemes
  • VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • The Time To Pay scheme, through which businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, can receive support with their tax affairs
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until June 30, 2020 – with an option for the Government to extend if required

The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

The Government has also provided enhanced support through business rates relief to businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors. It is for local authorities to determine eligibility for reliefs, having regard to guidance issued by the Government.

16 Jun 2020, 2:58 p.m. Energy: Meters Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to tackle defects in smart meters; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Kwasi Kwarteng)

Energy suppliers are required by their licence conditions to take all reasonable steps to install and maintain a fully functioning smart metering system for their customers.

When smart meters are installed, if a fault is identified then the customer should be made aware of the problem, what the resolution is likely to be, who will be resolving the fault, and the approximate timescales of the resolution.

Ofgem, as the energy market regulator, is responsible for overseeing energy supplier conduct and can take enforcement action if energy suppliers do not meet their rollout obligations.

9 Jun 2020, 2:50 p.m. Ministry of Defence: Dairy Products Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what proportion of the milk and dairy products used by his Department comes from UK producers; what steps he is taking to increase that proportion; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jeremy Quin)

Information on the proportion of milk and dairy products used by the Ministry of Defence that comes from UK producers is not held.

9 Jun 2020, 1:08 p.m. Prison Service: Dairy Products Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of the milk and dairy products used by the Prison Service in England comes from UK producers; what steps he is taking to increase that proportion; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Ministry of Justice prison food supply contract is used by 102 Public prisons and 3 Private prisons in England and Wales. Between April 2019 and March 2020, by spend value, 77.1% of all milk and dairy product used was UK produced. The remainder, 22.9% was sourced from the EU.

99% of milk supplied through the contract is British produce.

The prison retail contract offers a range of milk and dairy products for prisoners to purchase. During the period of 1 March to 31 May 2020 77.9% of dairy goods were produced in the UK and 22.1% sourced from the EU.

This national food supply contract for prisons directly encourages the use of UK produce, and includes this as a key performance measure. We will continue to actively manage the contract, and all avenues for the use of UK produce will be explored.

8 Jun 2020, 5:55 p.m. Electrical Safety: Standards Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make it the policy of the Government that all relevant Government contracts involving electrical installation should comply with the eighteenth edition of BS7671 published in 2018; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Chloe Smith)

All suppliers providing services under Government contracts must ensure they are maintained at optimum performance in accordance with manufacturers’ and installers’ recommendations and statutory obligations, including the BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations.

8 Jun 2020, 3:54 p.m. Driving: Licensing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons people are currently not able to apply for a new provisional driving licence; when he plans to reinstate that service; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

Applications for provisional driving licences can be made online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence.

Customers can also make postal applications for a provisional driving licence. However, paper applications are likely to take significantly longer to process in the current circumstances.

5 Jun 2020, 12:58 p.m. Dental Services: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason it is his policy that routine dentistry is not permitted under covid-19 outbreak restrictions; what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting private dentists to resume routine dentistry services provided they do not use high intensity aerosols; what his most recent assessment is of the (a) quality and (b) availability of dentistry services available since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

National Health Service dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The UDCs are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. The letter to dentists setting this out is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

3 Jun 2020, 7:04 p.m. Health Services: Private Sector Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many (a) consultations and (b) surgical operations were carried out for NHS patients in private hospitals in England in (a) March 2020 and (b) April 2020; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the resources of private hospitals are being used to the maximum extent for the benefit of NHS patients.

Answer (Edward Argar)

It is not possible to provide the data in the format requested.

3 Jun 2020, 2:48 p.m. Care Homes: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients were discharged from hospitals in (a) England and (b) to (i) care homes and (ii) nursing homes between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The total number of people discharged from hospitals in England between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 was 341,562.

The Government does not hold data on the total number of patients discharged from hospitals to care homes and nursing homes. We are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to understand the impact of COVID-19 on care homes, and ensure everyone has access to the right care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic, and we will continue to work closely with the sector to keep our policies and data under review as it goes on.

3 Jun 2020, 2:46 p.m. Care Homes: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care homes where one or more residents has died with covid-19 received people who were discharged from hospitals between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Government does not hold data on the total number of care homes where one or more residents has died of COVID-19, and received people who were discharged to care homes from hospitals between 19 March and 31 March 2020.

We are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to understand the impact of COVID-19 on care homes, and ensure everyone has access to the right care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to work closely with the sector to keep our policies and data under review as the pandemic goes on.

3 Jun 2020, 2:41 p.m. Care Homes: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many of the care homes in England which did not have any residents diagnosed with covid-19 as at 20 May 2020 received patients who were discharged from hospitals in England between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 ;and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Government does not hold data on the total number of care homes in England, which did not have any residents diagnosed with COVID-19 as of 20 May 2020 that received patients who were discharged from hospitals in England between 19 March 2020 and 31 March 2020.

We are working closely with local authorities, the care sector and NHS England to understand the impact of COVID-19 on care homes and ensure everyone has access to the right care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to work closely with the sector to keep our policies and data under review as the pandemic continues.

2 Jun 2020, 12:20 p.m. Motorcycles: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to promote the use of powered two wheelers as an alternative to public transport; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

As part of the recent update of the Department’s Road Safety Statement, published on 19 July 2019, we committed to ensuring motorcyclists have the necessary skills in order to stay safe on the road.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

2 Jun 2020, 11:11 a.m. Care Homes: Hospitals Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many residents of (a) care homes and (b) nursing homes were admitted to NHS hospitals in England in (i) March and (ii) April 2020.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Information is not available in the format requested.

2 Jun 2020, 9:56 a.m. Shops: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will prioritise reopening of (a) caravan and motor home sites and (b) other accommodation businesses without shared facilities on the same timescale as reopening non-essential shops; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nigel Huddleston)

The government will look at reopening sites such as caravan parks and other accommodation businesses no earlier than 4 July, in line with the wider hospitality sector. Any decisions will be subject to further scientific advice and the risk assessment at the time.


As part of the government’s Leisure and Recreation taskforce, my department has set up a Visitor Economy Working Group to specifically focus on the practicalities and guidelines for opening up the sector during the recovery period. We will issue further guidance shortly on our phased reopening approach, including which businesses could be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.

29 May 2020, 7:52 p.m. Exercise Cygnus: Disclosure of Information Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the principle of transparency set out on page 18 of the Government document entitled Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, CP239, for what reason he has not published the scientific and technical advice arising from Exercise Cygnus; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Reports on exercises are not routinely published by the Department to allow full, candid and proper deliberation of the lessons learnt.

The scientific and technical advice from Exercise Cygnus was based on a hypothetical scenario for a fictional influenza pandemic and is therefore not suitable for publication.

Lessons from Exercise Cygnus, in conjunction with expert advice, continue to be used in planning for a future influenza pandemic and inform policy development.

20 May 2020, 4:09 p.m. Motorcycles: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to promote the use of low emission scooters and light motorcycles as an alternative to public transport during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rachel Maclean)

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

Motorcycles are an important way of getting around, and we are working on a number of projects, including sorting out potholes, which are a problem for people on motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles. I encourage people to adopt the electric motorbike.

20 May 2020, 2:22 p.m. Emergencies: Disclosure of Information Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 12 May 2020 to Question 38420 on Exercise Cygnus, which reports on exercises his Department has published in each of the last four years; and what criteria were applied in each such case to justify publication.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The Department does not routinely publish reports on exercises.

19 May 2020, 5:33 p.m. General Practitioners Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 5 May 2020 to Question 40964, on General Practitioners, whether receptionists in GP practices are required to ask a GP or other healthcare worker to assess whether the treatment requested is regarded as an emergency or immediately necessary; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised all general practitioner (GP) practices to move to a total triage model to protect patients and staff from avoidable risks of infection from COVID-19. This model enables practices to ensure that the most appropriate member of staff can respond to requests from patients and that urgent requests can be managed as a priority. Any request that requires a clinical view will be referred to either a GP or another member of the clinical team to be followed up, this might be via a phone call, a video call or a face to face appointment.

18 May 2020, 4:59 p.m. Schools: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how the priorities he has announced on re-opening schools during the covid-19 outbreak apply where there is a three tier education structure which includes middle schools; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

From the week commencing 1 June, at the earliest, we will be asking primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by Government justify the changes at the time.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. The safety of children and staff is our utmost priority.

Guidance for schools and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020 can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020/actions-for-education-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020

The three year groups within mainstream primary have been prioritised because they are key transition years. Year 6 children are finishing Key Stage 2 and preparing for the transition to secondary school, in many cases, and the secondary curriculum and will benefit immensely from time with their friends and teachers to ensure they are ready. We expect all mainstream schools to follow the same approach, including middle schools.

18 May 2020, 11:27 a.m. Hospitals: Dairy Products Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the proportion of milk and dairy products used in hospitals in England that came from UK producers; what steps he is taking increase that proportion; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

NHS Supply Chain, the main provider of consumables and equipment into the National Health Service, report that the great majority of their suppliers responded to a request for information on dairy products (milk, cream, eggs, yoghurt and cheese). All of these suppliers reported that 100% of the dairy products they supply into the NHS are produced in the United Kingdom.

15 May 2020, 10:26 a.m. Unemployment: Training Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to enable unemployed people to access training to work as (a) customs agents, (b) seasonal agricultural workers, and (c) other shortage occupations; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Mims Davies)

The Department for Work and Pensions is engaging cross-government to understand supply and demand across the labour market throughout and beyond the COVID-19 emergency. As part of this, we continue to work with departments responsible for key sectors to develop clear cross-government messaging on how people can enter work safely in critical sectors and support the nation’s response to COVID-19.

We have also developed two new websites, Job Help and Employer Help, which provide a range of helpful advice about finding work, including how transferrable skills can open up opportunities in critical sectors. The Government is directing all jobseeker and employer enquiries, regarding recruitment needs, to Find a Job, the Government’s job-matching service.

By ensuring those seeking work and employers with vacancies use Find a Job, DWP will be able to better match people to jobs. There are currently 1.7m registered users and around 145,000 registered employers on the site. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the department has worked to boost the number of vacancies on the site and promote key sectors that are recruiting to meet the challenges they are currently facing.

This approach has also been communicated to Mayoral Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and sector bodies as a mechanism to match people with vacancies, including agricultural seasonal work and other shortage occupations such as adult social care.

12 May 2020, 4:02 p.m. Coronavirus: Hospitals Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it the policy of the Government to use the Nightingale temporary hospitals as isolation hospitals for covid-19 patients so that other hospitals can prioritise patients without covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The establishment of the Nightingale hospitals was an unprecedented response to an unprecedented challenge and they provided extra capacity to manage potential surges in demand due to COVID-19.

Now that we are coming through the peak of infection rates, it has been decided that the National Health Service currently has sufficient capacity to deal with anticipated demand.

As such, the Nightingale hospital in London has been placed on standby, but retains the capacity to stand up again should the need arise.

Work is underway to consider how the Nightingale Hospitals’ role may be adapted as the NHS seeks to resume activity that had to be paused in the first phase of our response to the pandemic.

The national Nightingale team will work with regions and host trusts to develop and assure regional proposals for the potential ongoing availability and function of the Nightingale Hospitals.

12 May 2020, 1:42 p.m. Nurses: Qualifications Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to reduce the (a) administrative cost and (b) bureaucratic burden resulting from the annual re validation process for nurses; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Helen Whately)

Revalidation supports public protection by requiring nurses, nursing associates and midwives to demonstrate their ability to practise safely and effectively throughout their career. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requires registrants to revalidate every three years by submitting a range of evidence demonstrating their skills and adherence to the NMC Code of professional standards and behaviours.

On 30 March the Department laid an emergency Statutory Instrument allowing the NMC to respond to the pandemic by adapting some of its operating procedures. The NMC has extended revalidation application dates for registrants due to revalidate in March, April, May or June this year. The extended timeframe aims to ease the immediate pressures on registrants working in frontline services and reduce the incidence of lapsed registrations.

12 May 2020, 12:51 p.m. Council Tax: Empty Property Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it the policy of the Government to prevent people who are unable to sell an empty property during the covid-19 lockdown from being penalised under the Empty Property Council Tax Premium; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

The empty homes premium is a discretionary power and applies to properties that have been empty and unfurnished for two or more years. Local authorities are responsible for administering the premium, taking into account any relevant circumstances.

11 May 2020, 5:56 p.m. Small Business Grants Fund: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much of the £617 million of funding allocated to local authorities on 1 May 2020 to enable them to make discretionary grant payments to businesses is available for (a) Dorset Council and (b) BCP Council; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

On 1 May the Government announced a further up to £617 million available to local authorities to support those small businesses with high fixed property-related costs but that are not eligible for the current grant schemes. This is an additional 5 per cent uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). We will confirm the exact amount to be available to each local authority in due course.

11 May 2020, 5:56 p.m. Horticulture: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40963 on Horticulture: Coronavirus, if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) scientific advice and (b) risk assessment evaluation which informed the decision that garden centres should remain closed during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

Garden centres in England may open from Wednesday 13 May, and the Regulations for England will be updated to provide clarity to garden centre owners, and the public. We strongly encourage both employers and customers to continue to follow social distancing guidance at all times in order to protect public health and our economy. Advice on social distancing is published on gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

At all times we have been consistently guided by scientific advice to protect lives. HMG have published evidence discussed at SAGE on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response). These documents show the scientific evidence that helped shape SAGE advice that went to Ministers and COBR. Further research is being continually developed and used to inform advice to decision makers and we will ensure this is published as soon as it is no longer under consideration.

11 May 2020, 5:52 p.m. Small Businesses: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will issue guidance to local authorities on the definition of eligibility for access to the £117 million fund for discretionary grant payments to businesses announced on 1 May 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)


The Government has allocated additional funding to local authorities in England in the form of a discretionary grant fund of up to £617m. This will be divided between English local authorities in proportion to the amount they will pay out under the existing grant schemes (Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund).

Local authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility for this fund. The following businesses should be considered as a priority:

  • Businesses in shared workspaces;
  • Regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment;
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Local authorities may choose to pay grants to businesses outside of the outlined priority areas, according to local economic need, so long as the grants are aimed at:

  • Businesses with ongoing fixed building-related costs
  • Businesses which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Business with fewer than 50 employees
  • Businesses that were trading on 11th March

Businesses already in receipt of the Small Business grant, a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant or Self-employed Income Support Scheme payment are not eligible.

Guidance will be published on the discretionary grant scheme in due course following consultation with local authorities.

11 May 2020, 5:47 p.m. Aviation: Volcanoes Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the contract for the Meteorological Office Civil Contingency Aircraft is not being renewed; and what alternative arrangements his Department is making to (a) assess the risk and (b) mitigate the potential effect of future volcanic eruptions on the economy; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Amanda Solloway)

Due to the significant reduction in flying associated with Covid-19, the Met Office will not receive the expected funding for its aviation services through the airline charging mechanism and, in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is reviewing and prioritising the aviation services it provides. Several options were considered in consultation with CAA and it was decided to not renew the current contract for the Met Office Civil Contingency Aircraft.

Since the UK was last affected by volcanic ash in 2010, a number of significant improvements have been made in ash monitoring and modelling, which will help to improve forecasting in any future eruption scenario. This includes investment by the Government in a UK-wide LIDAR network, providing the capability to detect ash from the ground, and in improved satellite data on ash-cloud and particulate matter. In addition, the Met Office is exploring options for an interim standby aircraft with other European institutions and work has begun on options for a longer-term replacement airborne volcanic ash monitoring capability.

The Met Office works very closely with the Icelandic Meteorological Office to monitor and assess the risk from volcanic activity. All volcanoes in Iceland are currently at colour state green, which means that activity is at normal levels.

11 May 2020, 5:41 p.m. Children: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable (a) schools and (b) education authorities to impose penalties on parents that do not permit their children to return to school on account of a fear of contracting covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Parents of pupils not currently in school due to closures will not be penalised, and there are no current plans for this to change when schools begin to reopen.

11 May 2020, 2:32 p.m. Homelessness: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether it is the policy of the Government to reimburse local authorities the full cost of providing accommodation for homeless people during the covid-19 crisis when the people being housed are not allowed to have recourse to public funding; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Luke Hall)

The Government is aware of concerns about those with no recourse to public funds experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.

We are ensuring local authorities are supported, with £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion provided to local authorities as part of the wider government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding has been provided to help local authorities to reduce risks to public health and to support individuals on the basis of need.

The legal position on those with no recourse to public funds has not been amended.

The Government recognises that these are unprecedented times, and expects local authorities to support people who are sleeping rough, and also to minimise unnecessary risks to public health, acting within the law.

27 Apr 2020, 10:10 a.m. Mortgages: Coronavirus Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons mortgage consultancy firms do not qualify for the same treatment in respect of business rates relief as estate agents during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Government has provided enhanced support to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors through business rates relief given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, has also been made available.

The Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment, as well as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank. The Government is also deferring VAT payments for this quarter.

18 Mar 2020, 5:12 p.m. Pupils: Attendance Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to define exceptional circumstances for the purpose of grant of leave of absence from schools so that greater consistency can be established.

Answer (Nick Gibb)

Head teachers have the discretion to grant a pupil a leave of absence in exceptional circumstances. Our guidance is clear that they should consider each application individually taking into account the specific facts and circumstances and relevant background context behind the request.

In relation to the current pandemic, the Department for Education has updated our guidance on this issue to ensure that schools will not be penalised for the impacts of COVID-19 on their attendance figures. Parents and head teachers should act in accordance with latest information and advice from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. This advice is being updated regularly as the situation develops, and more in­­­formation can be obtained from the dedicated Department for Education helpline, open seven days a week.

Where a pupil is in self-isolation, in accordance with the latest advice, the Department for Education has made it clear to all schools that the pupil should be recorded in the attendance register as ‘unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances’. Code Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances – should be used in this ins­tance.

Schools have also been advised that where a pupil does not attend school and is not self-isolating, the pupil will be recorded as absent but we expect headteachers will authorise absence where a pupil is not able to attend because of an underlying health condition that means they, or a family member in their household, are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Recording a pupil as unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances and authorising absence will not lead to enforcement action being taken.

18 Mar 2020, 3:06 p.m. Vulcan Aircraft: Anniversaries Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he plans to take to ensure that there is a public celebration on 25 May 2020 for the diamond anniversary of the first test-flight of XH558 vulcan aircraft; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (James Heappey)

The Ministry of Defence has no plans to mark the anniversary of the first test flight of Vulcan XH558.

9 Mar 2020, 1:58 p.m. Overseas Companies: Iraq Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it his Department's policy that UK businesses engaged in financial services should be able to trade with organisations in Iraq and receive payments for their services through the UK taxation system; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (John Glen)

The government is committed to ensuring the UK continues to be a leading global financial centre – at the forefront of innovation, with a strong, resilient, and competitive financial sector, underpinned by world leading regulatory standards and open to global markets.

Where appropriate, the UN and the EU can impose targeted sanctions regimes. There is currently an Iraq sanctions regime, with targeted assets freezes against several individuals and entities. These regimes apply to UK businesses and citizens; details of those subject to sanctions can be found on the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation Consolidated List of asset freeze targets at www.gov.uk/ofsi.

9 Mar 2020, 1:58 p.m. Financial Services: Iraq Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) British citizens and (b) UK companies trading with companies in Iraq are able to obtain and use UK banks for the receipt of payments from Iraq; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (John Glen)

The government is committed to ensuring the UK continues to be a leading global financial centre – at the forefront of innovation, with a strong, resilient, and competitive financial sector, underpinned by world leading regulatory standards and open to global markets.

Where appropriate, the UN and the EU can impose targeted sanctions regimes. There is currently an Iraq sanctions regime, with targeted assets freezes against several individuals and entities. These regimes apply to UK businesses and citizens; details of those subject to sanctions can be found on the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation Consolidated List of asset freeze targets at www.gov.uk/ofsi.

5 Mar 2020, 3:47 p.m. 5G: Health Hazards Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on health of long-term exposure to wireless radiation from 5G technology; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

Public Health England (PHE) advises it is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area. However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to international guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.

Information about these guidelines and the evidence reviews supporting PHE’s position, including considerations of the evidence as to whether health effects from exposure to radio waves might occur in the long term, can be viewed at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health/5g-technologies-radio-waves-and-health

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health/mobile-phone-base-stations-radio-waves-and-health

PHE is committed to monitoring the evidence applicable to 5G and other radio technologies, and to revising its advice, should that be necessary.

2 Mar 2020, 5:46 p.m. Tree Felling: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many trees were felled in Dorset in response to instructions from Natural England that the felling was necessary to maintain heathland in the latest year for which figures are available; and how many trees are to be felled in 2020.

Answer (Rebecca Pow)

A number of habitat restoration schemes were undertaken in Dorset associated with the restoration of lowland heathlands SSSI. Heathland is a nationally scarce habitat supporting rare species and, uniquely to Dorset, all our native reptile species. The restoration works have included some felling of trees, predominately commercially planted pine.

The Forestry Commission advises that in Dorset around 50.7ha of woodland has been felled for heathland restoration since January 2019, based on areas given permission through felling licences. This is not easily translatable to numbers of trees and the Forestry Commission does not have sight of future activity.

The works are part of agreed management undertaken by SSSI owners. Natural England supports the actions undertaken by SSSI owners to restore these sites in line with the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan.

2 Mar 2020, 5:32 p.m. Multiple Occupation: Standards Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities cannot impose additional room size standards for houses in multiple occupation than the statutory minimum standards laid down by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Christopher Pincher)

Under House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation, rooms in licensable HMOs that are under 6.51 square metres cannot be used as sleeping accommodation by one person. Local housing authorities have discretion to consider local circumstances and require higher standards within HMO licence conditions, but must not set lower standards. My Department is working with local authorities to raise standards across the private rented sector, to protect vulnerable tenants, including those living in HMOs.

2 Mar 2020, 5:03 p.m. Pharmacy2U Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to his Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 14948, how many regular users there are of NHS Pharmacy2U service; what estimate he has made of the number of users in 2023-24; and what steps his Department is taking to promote that service.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The Department has made no such assessment of how many users of Pharmacy2U there are and what would be the number of users in 2023/24.

The public and the Department value a range of pharmaceutical service providers and we do not promote the use of one provider over another one.

2 Mar 2020, 5:01 p.m. Hate Crime Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the definition of a hate incident set out on the College of Policing's website; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. Information is not collected on non-crime hate incidents or the investigative resource allocated to them.

2 Mar 2020, 5:01 p.m. Hate Crime Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the annual cost to the public purse of the police responding to non-crime hate incidents in England.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The College of Policing is independent from Government and its role is clear: setting high professional standards; sharing what works best; acting as the national voice of policing; and ensuring police training and ethics is of the highest possible quality.

The College of Policing has revised its operational guidance on hate crime to help provide clarity on responding to non-crime hate incidents, among other things. The College has consulted on this draft revised operational guidance and plans to publish this in due course to support forces dealing with hate crimes and hate incidents.

The Home Office collects and publishes information on the number of hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales. Information is not collected on non-crime hate incidents or the investigative resource allocated to them.

2 Mar 2020, 4:59 p.m. Business: South West Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 14949, how many of the 33,860 scaleups identified are in (a) Dorset and (b) the South West of England.

Answer (Paul Scully)

We define scale-ups using the OECD definition of high growth, i.e. an enterprise with a cumulative average annual growth in employees or turnover greater than 20 per cent per annum over a three-year period, and with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the period.

According to ONS data (Business demography – High Growth Enterprises 2018), the number of scaleups in (a) Dorset is 190 and (b) South West of England is 2,745.

2 Mar 2020, 4:59 p.m. Consumers: Protection Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February to Question 14947, when the consultation with the Consumer Protection Partnership will begin; and if he will publish the (a) outcome of and (b) Government response to that consultation.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP) meets regularly to review evidence and prioritise enforcement action. The Department has raised park homes with the CPP intelligence gathering group, and the CPP will discuss the issue at a meeting on 23 April. The CPP and the agencies that are members of the group will then decide on next steps.

2 Mar 2020, 4:55 p.m. Police: Powers Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance her Department has issued to the police in England on the use of their common law powers and responsibilities.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Home Office is responsible for the statutory powers available to the Police. There are a limited number of common law powers that the police rely on as the majority have been transposed into statute.

We maintain an open dialogue with the College of Policing and police stakeholders on police powers. Training on use of powers is an operational matter for police forces.

2 Mar 2020, 12:26 p.m. 5G: Health Hazards Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to investigate alternatives to 5G technology to reduce the risk of long-term exposure to wireless radiation; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Matt Warman)

Exposure to radio waves is not new and health-related research has been conducted on this topic over several decades. Central to Public Health England’s advice are the guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The ICNIRP is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation and its guidelines underpin health protection policies at UK and European levels.

Provided the ICNIRP guidelines are followed, there is no convincing evidence that 5G is dangerous. Government continues to be guided by Public Health England’s advice on the matter. This states that while a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves under 5G is possible, such an increase would remain well within guidelines and can be expected to have no consequence on public health.


It is important to note that the ICNIRP guidelines apply up to 300 GHz, well beyond the maximum frequencies under discussion for 5G. It is also important to note that some 5G technology will use similar frequencies to existing communications systems. Other 5G technology may work at higher frequencies but would still be well within ICNIRP guidelines.

28 Feb 2020, 10:56 a.m. Churches: Bats Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what (a) policy changes and (b) steps the Church of England is taking in relation to the 2019 survey of bats in churches undertaken with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund,

Answer (Andrew Selous)

The £3.8m funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund that was secured in 2018, enabled not just one survey, but a five-year Bats in Churches partnership project made up of the Church of England, Natural England, Historic England, the Bat Conservation Trust, and the Churches Conservation Trust.

The project is working with ecologists, church architects, heritage experts and church communities to support and develop bespoke solutions for around 120 churches struggling with unsustainable bat roosts across the country. Churches that are part of the project are continuously monitored to ensure there is no damage to the bat populations. Additionally, a nationwide volunteer-led four-year survey, the ‘Bats in Churches Study’ is to be launched this summer and will give an in-depth picture of how bats are using Church of England churches and the attitudes of churchgoers towards them.

The Bats in Churches project is now in its second year and can report the delivery of three successful mitigation works in some of the worst affected churches, in Braunston-in-Rutland, Tattershall and Swanton Morley. These three schemes have enabled congregations and the wider community to co-exist harmoniously alongside the bats and for church heritage to be respected.

Other projects nearing completion include:

  • St Pega’s Church Peakirk, following a lead theft that has enabled bat mitigation to be incorporated into the re-roofing repair work.
  • St John the Baptist Church in Cold Overton is similarly incorporating bat mitigation into its repairs.

Support for churches sheltering bats is available from the Bats in Churches project who are running events to build networks of volunteers, links to bat and heritage groups and specialist cleaning workshops and advice.

27 Feb 2020, 5:50 p.m. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust: Community First Responders Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many volunteer first responders are in post with the South Western Ambulance Service HNS Foundation Trust; and what steps he is taking to recruit additional first responders in Dorset.

Answer (Helen Whately)

The Department does not hold the information requested.

27 Feb 2020, 4:33 p.m. Parking: Codes of Practice Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timeframe is for the conclusion of the public consultation on the code of practice in relation to the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019.

Answer (Luke Hall)

A full public consultation on the Parking Code of Practice will take place within six months, to give the parking industry, the public and other interested parties the opportunity to have a say. Further details of the consultation, including precise timeframes, will be announced in due course. We have also committed to developing the final Code this year.

27 Feb 2020, 2:40 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 amended by the Enterprise Act 2016, what estimate he has made of the cost to the pubic purse in each year of the delay in the implementation of the £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

The annual Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) publications contain the cost of exit packages made by public sector employers in scope of WGA for the relevant financial year.

The Government legislated for a £95,000 cap on exit payments in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 as amended by the Enterprise Act 2016. The combined total cost of exit payments over £100,000 in financial years since then (2016/17 and 2017/18) is £0.4 billion. The exit payment cap will reduce this amount by setting a limit of £95,000 on payments. Information on the 2018/19 financial year is not yet available.

HM Treasury consulted on regulations implementing the £95,000 cap last year. The Government intends to publish its response to the consultation by Summer and the regulations will be laid before Parliament this year.

24 Feb 2020, 4:51 p.m. NHS: Pharmacy2U Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what savings have accrued to his Department as a result of UK NHS Pharmacy 2 U service; and what steps his Department is taking to increase the levels of use of that service.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

No such assessment has been made of savings accrued as a result of the Pharmacy 2U service.

Under the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework five-year deal, funding has been agreed for the period 2019/20 to 2023/24. Irrespective of the payments made to any specific pharmacy, the total funding for National Health Service pharmaceutical services is to remain at £2.592 billion per year for that period, albeit that a shift in spend from dispensing to more clinical services is expected.

The current Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework outlines our future vision for community pharmacy playing an expanded role in the delivery of health and care in England. Patient choice from which community pharmacy they access NHS pharmaceutical services will continue.

24 Feb 2020, 2:50 p.m. Business Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what definition of scale-up businesses her Department uses; and what steps she is taking to support those businesses.

Answer (Paul Scully)

We define scaleups using the OECD definition of high growth, i.e. an enterprise with a cumulative average annual growth in employees or turnover greater than 20 per cent per annum over a three-year period, and with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the period.

Scaleups play an important role in the UK economy: they generate around 20% of all turnover in the economy and around 15% of employment, and Scale Ups can play a role in driving innovation. The number of scaleups has risen overall by 25% over the 5 years to 2018 to 33,860.

We have taken a number of actions to create the right conditions for businesses to achieve their potential to grow to scale, including:

  • Supporting over £7bn of finance to over 91K smaller businesses through the British Business Bank (as at June 2019).
  • improving the support available through local Growth Hubs to help businesses to overcome the challenges they face in scaling up; and
  • using cutting edge data science techniques to identify high potential firms and connect them the right help at the right time.
24 Feb 2020, 2:50 p.m. Caravan Sites: Unfair Practices Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if her Department will support a referral to the Competition and Markets Authority of alleged unfair and anti-competitive practices by some owners and operators of residential park home sites in England; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is committed to tackling consumer rip-offs and bad business practices. The Department is engaging with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to follow up the evidence gathered by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on park homes regarding alleged unfair practices. The Government plans to consult with the Consumer Protection Partnership to review this evidence and agree what actions can be taken. The Consumer Protection Partnership is a network bringing together consumer bodies covering all aspects of consumer protection and includes the Competition and Markets Authority as a member.

24 Feb 2020, 8:47 a.m. Members: Complaints Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission consulted the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards before making its recommendations of 10 February 2020 on the creation of an independent panel to consider complaints made against hon Members; and whether the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards supports the Commission's preferred option.

Answer (Pete Wishart)

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (PCS) was fully consulted during the process of drawing up options for implementing the third Cox recommendation. The House of Commons Commission cannot speak on behalf of the PCS who is independent, but the option selected by the Commission was the one which commanded most widespread support during that consultation process, including from the PCS.

24 Feb 2020, 8:37 a.m. Norman Shaw Buildings: Facilities Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, on how many occasions since June 2019 reports have been made on the missing towel dispenser in the men's lavatory on the ground floor of Norman Shaw North; for what reasons no action has been taken in response to those reports; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Pete Wishart)

Parliamentary Maintenance Services Team (PMST) has three recorded instances of this roller towel being reported to its Helpdesk – on 18/06/19, 09/09/19 and 16/10/19.

On each occasion a reactive works request was correctly raised and a tradesperson attended; however this particular roller towel is located in a stainless steel housing which means our standard roller towels do not fit so we were unable to resolve the issue on our initial visit and the requests were incorrectly closed.

PMST apologises for this oversight and is pleased to confirm that a new modified roller towel has now been installed. In addition PMST has reviewed its procedures to minimise any re-occurrence of reactive works requests being closed incorrectly.

12 Feb 2020, 6:20 p.m. Multiple Occupation: Licensing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many houses in multiple occupation are licensed by local authorities; and what estimate he has made of the number of unlicensed houses in multiple occupation in England; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Esther McVey)

The Department gathers data from local authorities on the estimated number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) annually. According to our most recent data covering 2018-2019, there are an estimated 516,000 HMOs.

There are an estimated 140,000 properties which are licensable under mandatory HMO licensing, of these there are an estimated 76,000 currently unlicensed. Mandatory licensing applies to properties with five or more people from two or more households who share facilities, such as a kitchen and bathroom. Landlords are required to obtain a licence for these properties. Other HMOs may be subject to additional licensing by local authorities where there are 3 or more people sharing facilities. HMO licensing protects tenants from overcrowding and poor housing conditions.

It is a duty of local authorities to ensure all licensable properties are licensed and that landlords who illegally let out unlicensed properties are prosecuted. Government is working with local authorities to support them to meet this duty through using the powers available to them.

12 Feb 2020, 6:19 p.m. Landlords: Registration Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many landlords in England are registered on the Government's rogue landlord database; and what his estimate is of the number of rogue landlords who are not yet registered; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Esther McVey)

There are 18 individual landlords and property agents and five companies currently registered on the database for offences committed since 6 April 2018.

For mandatory inclusion on the database a landlord must be convicted of a banning order offence and receive a banning order. If the landlord receives a conviction for a banning order offence or receives two of more civil penalties for a banning order offence within a 12 month period then the local authority has the discretion to include the landlord on the database. The database is intended for the worst and most persistent offenders, who neglect their responsibilities to provide tenants safe homes.

12 Feb 2020, 3:58 p.m. Naturalisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timeframe is for the decision on the application by a senior NHS Consultant with Case ID Number 24910589 for naturalisation as a British citizen which was acknowledged on 13 February 2019; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

This decision will be concluded by 12 February 2020.

10 Feb 2020, 5:56 p.m. Poultry Meat: Chlorine Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 28 January 2020 to Question 7113 on Food: Chlorine, whether the Food Standards Agency advises that chlorinated water can be used as a rinsing aid to control process hygiene during the washing of chicken; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jo Churchill)

The Food Standards Agency advice is that no substance other than potable water can be used to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases.

Any substance to be used to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases must be specifically approved for that purpose. Chlorine has not been approved for this intended purpose and so cannot be used as a rinsing aid to control process hygiene during washing by food businesses to remove surface contamination from chicken carcases.

15 Jul 2019, 4:42 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Nusinersen Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2019 to Question 369611 on Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), what the evidential basis is that Spinraza does not work effectively on people with SMA that are excluded from access to that drug following the announcement of 15 May 2019 by NICE on that drug; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing recommendations for the National Health Service on the use of Spinraza for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) through its technology appraisal programme. NICE recommends technologies for use in the NHS when the evidence demonstrates that they are clinically effective and represent a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

There are several subtypes of SMA and, in the case of Spinraza, NICE has advised that it was not presented with evidence in SMA type 0 and SMA type 4. Evidence presented for the SMA type 3 population, who had lost the ability to walk, was limited and immature and resulted in its independent Appraisal Committee concluding that the size and nature of the benefits of Spinraza for this population were uncertain. Therefore, they were not included in the managed access arrangement (MAA) agreed by NHS England and Biogen.

Following publication of the initial MAA, the company presented further clinical evidence and the MAA was extended to include paediatric patients, who have recently (in the previous 12 months) lost the ability to walk independently.

Uniquely for this type of arrangement, during the five-year course of the MAA, should evidence become available on the potential benefits of Spinraza for type 3 SMA patients that are currently not included in the MAA, NICE will review that evidence to see whether it would support a change in the MAA inclusion criteria.

15 Jul 2019, 2:56 p.m. Personal Independence Payment Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when his Department plans to implement the Order made by Judge Ashley in the Poole First Tier Tribunal on 28 May 2019, reference SC238/18/01260, on the awarding of personal independence payment with effect from 17 October 2018 to the person with National Insurance Number YY146593D.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

The decision made by the First Tier Tribunal on 28 May 2019 was implemented for the claimant on 9 July 2019.

12 Jul 2019, 2:38 p.m. Members: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer on 21 May 2019 to Question 255260, whether she plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Christchurch, dated 18 February 2019 before the Summer recess.

Answer (Mrs Theresa May)

A reply has been sent.
8 Jul 2019, 3:49 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269610 on Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs, what the maximum length of time is for the period of further data collection.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The Managed Access Agreement (MAA) for nusinersen for treating spinal muscular atrophy states that the data collection will be in place for a minimum of three years and up to the automatic expiry of the MAA on the fifth anniversary, unless the MAA expires earlier as a result of the publication of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s reappraisal of nusinersen.

8 Jul 2019, 3:47 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 369611 on Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs, what estimate he has made of the number of patients affected by the NICE announcement of 15 May 2019.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

NHS England and NHS Improvement have estimated that circa 630 patients will access nusinersen over a period of five years, which is the maximum period of the Managed Access Agreement.

8 Jul 2019, 3:43 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269609 on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, if he will place in the Library a copy of the managed access agreement.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The Managed Access Agreement for nusinersen for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy which has been approved by NHS England, Biogen, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the three main patient groups (Muscular Dystrophy UK, Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK, Treat SMA) and clinicians can be found at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/gid-ta10281/documents/committee-papers-2

1 Jul 2019, 4:50 p.m. Probate Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information he holds on when probate will be granted in the case of Carol Rosalind Green who died on 24 September 2018; and if he will make an assessment of the effect the time taken to grant probate on the ability of the executors to complete the sale of the deceased person's property.

Answer (Robert Buckland)

We are unable to locate the case without further details. If my Hon. Friend writes to me with details of the case, I will ask my officials to look into the matter.

1 Jul 2019, 3:57 p.m. Pension Credit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what processes he has in place to enable relatives with lasting power of attorney registered with the Public Guardian to apply for pension credit on behalf of those for whom they are responsible; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

The Department for Work and Pensions has processes in place to ensure that someone with a Power of Attorney can make a claim for Pension Credit on behalf of those for whom they are responsible. The Department’s guidance on this is available online.

In order to confirm that an individual has the authority to act on behalf of the claimant, we ask to see the relevant Power of Attorney document and may need to verify authenticity with the Office of the Public Guardian or Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland). The original document can be taken into one of the Department’s offices or sent to the Department; a copy, authenticated by the claimant or donor, a lawyer or a stockbroker as a ‘true copy’, is equally acceptable.

Subject to confirmation that an individual has the authority to act on behalf of the claimant, the simplest method of making a claim is by telephone, which removes the need for claimants and their representatives to complete lengthy application forms. However, paper forms are also available for those who prefer and can be completed with the assistance of a DWP visiting officer if required.

1 Jul 2019, 3:54 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people with spinal muscular atrophy will be eligible for access to NHS drugs for treatment following the 15 May 2019 announcement by NICE; what his policy is on people who have been excluded from that access; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

NHS England, NHS Improvement, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Biogen have worked together extensively to reach an arrangement that allows access to nusinersen for most people with spinal muscular atrophy types 1, 2 and 3 along with pre-symptomatic patients.

NICE has advised that because of the difficulties in being confident about the clinical evidence and the cost-effectiveness of nusinersen, it was necessary to agree access criteria for a period of further data collection to try and better understand how nusinersen affects people with spinal muscular atrophy. Therefore a managed access agreement has been reached, which should not only help answer these questions but also address the financial risk and challenges for implementation in the National Health Service.

1 Jul 2019, 3:53 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the announcement by NICE on 15 May 2019 that it would facilitate access by people with spinal muscular atrophy to a new drug for prescription on the NHS was followed several weeks later by an announcement that the drug would be available only to a specific group of those people; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised that on 15 May 2019 it confirmed that it was able to recommend nusinersen for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. In the announcement, NICE said the treatment would be made available under the terms of the managed access agreement between NHS England and NHS Improvement and Biogen. However, the full detail of the agreement was not given in the announcement and NICE accepts this was misleading for some of the patient population. NICE provided clarification at the earliest opportunity and has apologised to individuals affected.

1 Jul 2019, 3:49 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Drugs Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of (a) the decision by NICE in May 2019 to enable people with spinal muscular atrophy to access new drugs and (b) enabling all people with relevant conditions to access those drugs; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has advised that the total budget impact for the National Health Service at list prices to make nusinersen available for the total population with spinal muscular atrophy has been projected to be £156 million. The actual budget impact is subject to a managed access agreement and a confidential commercial agreement between NHS England and NHS Improvement and the company.

24 Jun 2019, 4:48 p.m. Probate: Fees and Charges Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make it his policy to waive probate fees in cases where applications are not processed within ten days through no fault of the applicant; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

There are no statutory requirements or public commitments from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service in relation to the timeframe for issuing grants of probate. There is a cost to the provision of grants of probate and it is appropriate that this cost is mainly recovered through the application fee, rather than the burden falling to the tax payer.

24 Jun 2019, 4:48 p.m. Probate Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in the target time for dealing with probate applications; and what regulatory impact assessment he has made of the effect of those changes on (a) applicants and (b) solicitors.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

There are no prescribed target times for dealing with probate applications. The recent increase in waiting times has been caused by a combination of an increased volume of incoming work and the transition to a new case management IT system. The move to the new system meant that staff had to spend time being trained and familiarising themselves with the system – which also had some initial performance issues that have been addressed.

The change to the new case management system resulted in part from the expansion of the online probate service which was enabled by the 2018 amendments to the non-contentious probate rules. The Explanatory Memorandum for the 2018 Order amending the rules provided an assessment of the impact of the reforms. The memorandum explained that a formal impact assessment was not required as the aggregate impact of the measures was expected to be well below the £5million per annum financial threshold.

24 Jun 2019, 4:47 p.m. Probate: Winchester Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) personal and (b) solicitor applications for probate to the Winchester registry office had been outstanding on 17 June 2019 for more than (i) 10 days and (ii) 10 weeks; and when that backlog of cases will have been resolved.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The volume of outstanding probate cases at the Winchester Registry Office on 17 June was as follows: -

Personal Applications

  • 997 more than 10 days
  • 250 more than 10 weeks

Solicitors Applications

  • 3274 more than 10 days
  • 211 more than 10 weeks

Cases outstanding for more than 10 weeks will include those in which the circumstances are beyond the Probate Service’s control. For example, applicants may be still waiting for their inheritance tax forms from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, or they may not have accounted for all executors named in the will. These requirements must be satisfied before the grant is issued.

Urgent action has been taken to address delays - staffing has been increased and the digital service further improved to reduce the waiting times in order to return performance to normal levels as soon as possible.

24 Jun 2019, 1:54 p.m. Climate Change Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on climate change of local authorities in England declaring a climate emergency in their area; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

The Government welcomes the actions of Local Authorities across England to tackle climate change. We have always been clear to achieve our climate targets will take significant ambition at all levels.

Most motions have committed Councils to come back later this year with programmes to achieve their stated ambitions. This Government is looking at what support we can provide through our local energy programme and other programmes to help Councils make progress in taking action to tackle climate change.

24 Jun 2019, 1:54 p.m. Climate Change Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the (a) costs and (b) benefits to council tax payers of local authorities in England declaring a climate emergency in their area; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

The Government welcomes the actions of Local Authorities across England to tackle climate change. We have always been clear that to achieve our climate targets it will take significant ambition at all levels.

Achieving clean growth has to be a shared endeavour between government, local authorities, businesses, civil society and the British people. The development of Local Industrial Strategies, led by Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, will build on unique local strengths to ensure every community, and the country, reaches their economic potential, supports clean growth and green jobs.

Most motions have committed Councils to come back later this year with programmes to achieve their stated ambitions. This Government is looking at what support we can provide through our local energy programme and other programmes to help Councils make progress in taking action to tackle climate change.

20 Jun 2019, 12:12 p.m. Members: Allowances Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the system for reimbursing MPs expenses; and if IPSA will make it its policy to reinstate the previous system for the reimbursement of expenses.

Answer (Sir Charles Walker)

IPSA considered a range of options for its new system of reimbursing MPs’ business costs and expenses. The system selected is more integrated and efficient than its predecessor systems, and holds the personal data of MPs and their staff more securely. The software selected is widely used in the United Kingdom, including in many public bodies. Prior to its launch in April, the effectiveness of the system was thoroughly tested, including by MPs and their staff. Its benefits include:

- A ‘single sign-on’ capability to allow MPs and their staff to access the system directly through their secure parliamentary account without an additional logon.

- MPs and staff no longer need to send paper receipts and invoices to IPSA, but can scan or photograph them and upload them digitally onto the system. This improves data security and means that IPSA can process and reimburse claims more quickly.

- MPs’ staff members can now be reimbursed directly by IPSA for their own expenses rather than via their MPs.

- MPs and their staff are now able to amend their personal details, including any change of name or address, on the new system themselves, without needing to submit a form to IPSA.

- The new system allows claims from different budgets to be submitted on the same form, rather than having to submit multiple forms.

- MPs and their staff have constant access to financial information about the amounts left in their budgets and the status of any repayments or amounts owed, rather than waiting a monthly financial statement from IPSA.

As of 13 June, 612 MPs have successfully submitted claims on the new system. IPSA is committed to supporting and training MPs and their staff as they become accustomed to the new online claims system. IPSA does not intend to make it its policy to reinstate the previous system.

20 Jun 2019, 12:11 p.m. Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority: Working Hours Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what steps he is taking to help ensure that IPSA has sufficient resources to extend its working hours so that (a) telephone calls can be answered during the hours the House sits and (b) responses can be given to emails from MPs within three to five working days.

Answer (Sir Charles Walker)

IPSA’s December 2018 user survey found that 68 per cent of MPs and their staff were satisfied with the support that they receive from IPSA on the phone, up from 53 per cent in 2017. Since the introduction of its new online finance and expenses system in April 2019, IPSA has experienced a higher-than-normal volume of calls, with some calls taking up to 45 minutes as MPs and their staff familiarise themselves with the new system. To respond to this increased demand, IPSA has recruited five temporary staff to answer the phone to MPs, and has temporarily closed its phone lines at 4pm in order to respond to the queries raised. IPSA expects to re-open its phone lines until 5pm when this demand subsides.

IPSA has a key performance target to respond to 90 per cent of emails within five days. In 2018-19, IPSA responded to over 85 per cent of the 54,500 letters and emails that were received within five working days of receipt. In April 2019, following the introduction on the new system, IPSA only replied to 70 per cent of emails within this target. The additional temporary staff will also address this increased demand.

IPSA’s performance is monitored by the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA which approves IPSA’s budget and targets, including how it responds to MPs’ queries.

20 Jun 2019, 12:09 p.m. Members: Email Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what estimate he has made of the number of emails from hon. Members sent to IPSA in June 2019 that have not received a response within three days; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Sir Charles Walker)

IPSA has a key performance target to respond to 90 per cent of emails within five working days. Between 1 June and 13 June, IPSA responded to 88 per cent of the 563 emails received within this target. IPSA has recently brought in five temporary staff to help improve its response times following the introduction of a new finance, payroll and expenses system in April 2019.

18 Jun 2019, 4:45 p.m. Northern Ireland Office: Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what further steps her Department plans to take to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement.

Answer (Karen Bradley)

We remain focused on ensuring our smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU with a deal as soon as possible.

As a responsible Government we have been preparing to minimise any disruption in the event of no deal for over two years.

In light of the agreed extension to the EU Exit date, Departments are making sensible decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing. We continue to prepare for all Brexit scenarios.

18 Jun 2019, 4:10 p.m. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what further steps his Department plans to take to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement.

Answer (David Rutley)

The Government remains focused on ensuring our smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU, with a deal, as soon as possible.

Leaving without a withdrawal agreement remains the legal default at the end of the extension period, and as a responsible Government we have been preparing to minimise any disruption in the event of no deal for over two years.

In light of the agreed extension to the EU departure date, departments are making pragmatic decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing. We continue to prepare for all exit scenarios.

Defra has been proportionate in putting in place a range of mitigations to minimise any disruption arising from leaving the EU without a deal. This has included creating six new IT systems, ensuring a large number of secondary and primary legislation was passed, and setting up a Business Readiness Directorate to support increased levels of stakeholder engagement.

We have also taken extensive steps to provide businesses and citizens with advice and guidance aimed at helping to mitigate the potential impacts of no deal. When necessary we will continue to update our advice on gov.uk on how people should prepare.

18 Jun 2019, 12:48 p.m. Treasury: Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what further steps his Department plans to take to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without withdrawal agreement.

Answer (Robert Jenrick)

Leaving the EU without a deal remains the default option on 31 October. As a responsible government, we have been preparing for all EU exit eventualities, including the possibility of no deal, for over two years. In light of the extension that has now been agreed, departments are making sensible decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing, but we will continue to prepare for all exit scenarios. When necessary we will continue to update our advice on gov.uk/euexit on how businesses and citizens should prepare.

HM Treasury has allocated over £4.2 billion to prepare for our withdrawal from the EU since 2016, including over £2bn for the 19-20 financial year. This funding will help departments to manage pressures arising from exit preparations, as well as ensuring that the UK is prepared to seize the opportunities available when we leave the EU. The Treasury has also made arrangements to ensure that departments and the Devolved Administrations can fund measures to address civil contingencies in a no deal scenario.

18 Jun 2019, 10:57 a.m. Department for Transport: Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what further steps his Department plans to take to prepare for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement.

Answer (Chris Grayling)

In light of the extension to the Article 50 period that has been agreed, my department, in conjunction with other Departments, is assessing the changes that will be required to our EU Exit plans. We will need to consider the timing and pace at which some of this work progresses, but will continue to prepare for all Brexit scenarios.

18 Jun 2019, 10:48 a.m. Bus Services: Disability Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when his Department plans to respond to the consultation which closed in September 2018 in relation to a requirement for all buses to have audiovisual next stop and final destination announcements as enabled by the Bus Services Act 2017.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

The Government understands the importance of accessible on-board information in helping bus passengers to travel with confidence, and in Summer 2018 published a consultation on proposals to require its provision on local bus services throughout Great Britain. This follows the Government’s commitment, set out in the Inclusive Transport Strategy, to invest £2 million towards ensuring that audio visual equipment is installed on buses.

We continue to analyse responses to the consultation and expect to announce our next steps regarding the making of Regulations and publication of guidance later in the year.

17 Jun 2019, 10:16 a.m. Home Office: Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what further steps his Department plans to take to be fully prepared for the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019 without a withdrawal agreement.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

The UK Government remains focussed on ensuring a smooth and orderly withdrawal from the EU with a deal as soon as possible.

However, as a responsible government, we continue to prepare for all scenarios. The Home Office has been planning and preparing for a no deal scenario for some time, and we have contingency plans in place across areas including law enforcement, passports and the border.

During the extension period, to underpin our ability to respond in a no deal scenario, we are working closely with operational partners to develop our response to a range of theoretical scenarios.

24 May 2019, 11:33 a.m. Chemical Weapons: Salisbury Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what reviews his Department has commissioned into the 2018 Salisbury Novichok nerve agent incident; and what the timeframe is for those reviews to be (a) completed and (b) published.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

We keep the issues raised by the Salisbury nerve agent attack under consideration but currently have no plans to publish any reviews relating to them.

23 May 2019, 10:58 a.m. Driving Tests: Bournemouth Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many driving test appointments were rearranged as a result of the temporary closure of Bournemouth driving test centre.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

Since the temporary closure of Bournemouth driving test centre, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has rearranged 680 car practical test appointments.

22 May 2019, 3:07 p.m. Armed Forces: Chemical Weapons Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of medical measures to protect members of the armed forces against nerve agents following the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury last year.

Answer (Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton)

The response to this unique incident in the UK was predominately led by other Government Departments, supported by the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Post event there was detailed examination of the properties of the nerve agent and its medical management by military and civilian scientific and medical communities, re-affirming the effectiveness of our current Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) medical countermeasures and the importance of continuing medical care.


The MOD, in collaboration with countermeasure development partners, will use the information and lessons identified for future capability development as well as the continuing training of first responders and medical personnel. Furthermore, the UK has shared valuable information with its allies to allow them to assess their CBRN medical countermeasures and maximise interoperability.

21 May 2019, 4:24 p.m. Chemical Weapons: Salisbury Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will commission a review of the public health response to the Salisbury and Amesbury Novichok incidents in 2018 to inform future policy on the protection of public health.

Answer (Seema Kennedy)

Public Health England, NHS England and the Department have carried out post-incident reviews into their response to the Salisbury and Amesbury Novichok incidents. These were subsequently discussed within the Department in September of last year.

21 May 2019, 4:18 p.m. Members: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Prime Minister, when she plans reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Christchurch, dated 18 February 2019.

Answer (Mrs Theresa May)

A reply will be sent shortly.

21 May 2019, 3:02 p.m. Chemical Weapons: Wiltshire Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library the findings of the inquiry by the Wiltshire Local Resilience Forum into exposure to nerve agents following the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury in 2018; and if he will make statement.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

The Wiltshire & Swindon Local Resilience Forum debrief report into the Salisbury and Amesbury nerve agent incidents in 2018 cannot be placed into the Library of the House of Commons because it contains sensitive information which cannot be released into the public domain.

21 May 2019, 11:34 a.m. Driving: Licensing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the application for a driving licence by Anne Duggan, Ref: 36333622, when the DVLA plans to reach a decision on this application; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

It would not be appropriate to discuss in public the details of an individual’s driving licence application. I have asked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to look into Ms Duggan’s case urgently.

21 May 2019, 10:31 a.m. Driving Tests: Bournemouth Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the repairs at the Driving Test Centre in Gillam Road, Bournemouth are planned to be completed; and on what date that centre plans to reopen.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is awaiting a surveyor’s report to establish what repairs need to be carried out to Bournemouth driving test centre (Gillam Road). It will make an assessment once the scope of the work required is clear.

20 May 2019, 2:14 p.m. Committee on Standards in Public Life Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what response the Prime Minister has given to the Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life submitted to her on 3 July 2018; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

The Committee on Standards in Public Life's report, entitled MPs' Outside Interests, made a number of recommendations to Parliament and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. One recommendation was addressed to Government, which was that all candidates at Parliamentary elections must publish, at nomination, whether they intend to continue to hold any existing interests if elected. The Cabinet Office is considering this recommendation and will respond in due course.

20 May 2019, 12:50 p.m. Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Leader of the House, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Committee on Standards is supplied with sufficient information to enable its members to fulfil their remit under Standing Order 149(1) to oversee the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner On Standards in the exercise of her duties under Standing Order 150.

Answer (Andrea Leadsom)

It is for the Committee on Standards to determine and obtain what information it needs to oversee the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. The Government will consider any requests from the Committee on Standards should it require support.

8 May 2019, 3:38 p.m. Parole Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps are being taken to ensure that the probation reports required for the parole hearing of Liam Vare A9035AH scheduled for 10 May 2019 are available in time for that hearing.

Answer (Edward Argar)

The independent Parole Board had listed an oral hearing for the purposes of Mr Vare’s case on 10 May. However, on learning that a new offender manager had been appointed for Mr Vare, the Parole Board decided on 27 April to defer the oral hearing to allow the offender manager time to meet Mr Vare and to produce a report on him. The hearing has now been listed for the first available date after 24 June. The Board has directed that all outstanding reports be provided by 3 June. The Public Protection Casework Section, which oversees the delivery of the Secretary of State’s obligations in relation to the parole process, is liaising with the offender manager and others to ensure that the reports are indeed provided by 3 June.

8 May 2019, 3:22 p.m. Coroners Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many notices were issued by coroners in England and Wales under Schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 requiring the production of documents in each of the last three years for which information is available.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Coroners are independent judicial office holders. As such it would not be appropriate for Ministers to comment on or seek to influence the conduct of their investigations.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on the number of notices issued by coroners under schedule 5 to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

8 May 2019, 3:22 p.m. Coroners: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will direct the Coroner for Dorset conducting the investigation into the death of the late Gordon Munday who died on 11 October 2017 to issue a notice under Schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to require Dr Borek to produce the documents in her possession relevant to that investigation; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Edward Argar)

Coroners are independent judicial office holders. As such it would not be appropriate for Ministers to comment on or seek to influence the conduct of their investigations.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on the number of notices issued by coroners under schedule 5 to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

8 May 2019, 2:26 p.m. Circuses: Wildlife Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many wild animals of each species are currently licensed for use in travelling circuses in England; and which of those wild animals are classified as dangerous.

Answer (David Rutley)

There are currently 19 wild animals licensed by Defra for use by two travelling circuses in England. The 19 wild animals are 6 Reindeer; 4 Camels; 4 Zebras; 2 Racoons; 1 Fox; 1 Macaw; and 1 Zebu.

Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976; Camels, Zebra and Reindeer (domestic Reindeer excepted) are classified as dangerous animals.

In each of the last five complete calendar years the following number of breaches (as defined as a significant breach of one of the 17 different licensing conditions or standards assessed at each inspection) were identified in the two licensed circuses:

2014 – 1

2015 – 2

2016 – 0

2017 – 0

2018 – 0

Each licensed circus is inspected at least three times a year, with at least one inspection being unannounced. Where any breaches were found, the circuses were required to undertake remedial actions to address the issues identified.

8 May 2019, 2:26 p.m. Circuses: Wildlife Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many travelling circuses are currently licensed to use wild animals in England; and how many licences for such use have been breached in each of the last five years.

Answer (David Rutley)

There are currently 19 wild animals licensed by Defra for use by two travelling circuses in England. The 19 wild animals are 6 Reindeer; 4 Camels; 4 Zebras; 2 Racoons; 1 Fox; 1 Macaw; and 1 Zebu.

Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976; Camels, Zebra and Reindeer (domestic Reindeer excepted) are classified as dangerous animals.

In each of the last five complete calendar years the following number of breaches (as defined as a significant breach of one of the 17 different licensing conditions or standards assessed at each inspection) were identified in the two licensed circuses:

2014 – 1

2015 – 2

2016 – 0

2017 – 0

2018 – 0

Each licensed circus is inspected at least three times a year, with at least one inspection being unannounced. Where any breaches were found, the circuses were required to undertake remedial actions to address the issues identified.

5 Feb 2019, 5:12 p.m. Trimethylaminuria: Research Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to address the need for research into Trimethylaminuria; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

The Government supports research into common and rare diseases through the Department funded National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in England. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including Trimethylaminuria. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

The Government also supports research into rare diseases through the Medical Research Council, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

5 Feb 2019, 4:41 p.m. VAT: Tax Thresholds Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the potential effect on the money accrued to the public purse of raising the maximum threshold for VAT by (a) 5 and (b) 10 per cent.

Answer (Mel Stride)

Estimates of the revenue impact of raising the registration threshold for VAT are set out in the review ‘Value added tax: routes to simplification’ by the Office of Tax Simplification, available here (see page 8): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/657215/Value_added_tax_routes_to_simplification_print.pdf

5 Feb 2019, 4:34 p.m. Fuels: VAT Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money accrued to the public purse from VAT on (a) domestic and (b) other fuel in 2017-18.

Answer (Mel Stride)

The details that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) collects from taxpayers on their VAT returns are not specific enough to enable the revenue arising from these supplies to be quantified precisely. HMRC does not require detail on particular products and customer types because it would place a considerable administrative burden on businesses.

However, HMRC has estimated (using other data sources) that the cost to the Exchequer of the 5 per cent reduced rate of VAT on domestic fuel and power, compared to charging the standard rate, was £4.7 billion in 2017-18. This estimate is included in HMRC’s publication ‘Estimated costs of principal tax reliefs’ which may be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/774765/Jan19_Principal_Reliefs_Final.pdf

5 Feb 2019, 4:30 p.m. VAT Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of money accrued to the public purse from VAT in 2018-19; and what proportion of that amount will be payable to the European Union.

Answer (Mel Stride)

The Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) has forecast, in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook- October 2018, that the UK will collect £132.2 billion in revenue from VAT in 2018-19.

The UK does not transfer VAT receipts to the EU, and so will not do so after withdrawal from the EU.

Details on our payments to the EU can be found in the White Paper on ‘European Union Finances’ which is published annually and is available online.

5 Feb 2019, 4:29 p.m. Housing: Insulation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money accrued to the public purse from VAT from insulating materials for home improvement in 2018-19.

Answer (Mel Stride)

HM Revenue and Customs does not hold this information.

HMRC does not collect this level of information on its VAT returns and does not have estimates of the VAT collected on the sale of insulating materials for home improvement.

29 Jan 2019, 3:22 p.m. UK Relations with EU Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent assessment he has made of the extent to which the EU has acted in accordance with its principle of sincere co-operation with the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

The duty of sincere co-operation obliges Member States and EU institutions to work together to achieve the EU’s objectives. The Government is working constructively with the European Union to deliver an orderly exit and an ambitious future partnership which is in the interests of the UK and the EU.

28 Jan 2019, 5:02 p.m. Council Tax: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that all Band D council taxpayers in Christchurch make the same financial contribution to the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Unitary Authority in 2019-2020 whether they live in Hurn, Burton or Christchurch; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The statutory framework, including the Local Government (Structural and Boundary Changes) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, will ensure that all Band D council taxpayers in Christchurch make the same contribution to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Unitary Authority in 2019-2020, whether they live in Hurn, Burton, or elsewhere in Christchurch. This is unless the Unitary Authority, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, decides that items in its budget are special expenses not chargeable on the council tax payers of certain parishes on the grounds that in those parishes the service concerned is provided by the parish council and not by the Unitary Authority.

28 Jan 2019, 4:56 p.m. Pets: Travel Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason guidance entitled, Taking your pet abroad if there's no Brexit deal, which was updated on 19 December 2018, was withdrawn on 11 January 2019; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (David Rutley)

Following our decision to leave the EU, Defra is working to make sure pet owners wishing to travel with their pets to the EU after March 29 are made aware of any potential changes to the pet travel scheme and what actions need to be taken. We have taken the view that centralising this guidance is prudent to reacting quickly to changes as needed as well as for clarity purposes.

For this reason, while the guidance issued on 24 September 2018 Taking your pet abroad if there’s no Brexit deal remains active, it has been replaced with follow-up advice on GOV.UK called “Pet travel to Europe after Brexit”.

While the information contained in this later release hasn’t changed from the previous technical notice, it emphasises the need for owners to seek advice from their veterinarian and also focuses on a “no deal” scenario, as opposed to the range of possible scenarios discussed in the technical notice.

28 Jan 2019, 4:24 p.m. State Retirement Pensions: British Nationals Abroad Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the Government's policy is on whether all UK citizens living in the EU after 29 March 2019 and in receipt of a UK state pension will benefit from annual uprating of state pensions irrespective of whether all EU countries make reciprocal arrangement; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Guy Opperman)

The UK State Pension will continue to be payable worldwide when the UK leaves the EU. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, we have the basis on which to maintain State Pension up-rating when the UK exits the EU for those who are already receiving their UK State Pension as well as future UK State Pension recipients. We will wish to discuss State Pension up-rating for individuals not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement in future talks.

As the Government set out in its Policy Paper ‘Citizens’ Rights – EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU’ we wish to secure continued reciprocal arrangements covering the up-rating of State Pensions even in the event of a no deal exit. If we exit the EU in these circumstances, we will up-rate the UK State Pension for those living in the EU in 2019-20.

28 Jan 2019, 3:34 p.m. Freezers: EU Action Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to paragraph 31 of the Government's response, dated 27 March 2018 to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee's report on the safety of electrical goods, HC920, whether the UK block on the fridge freezer Standard being accepted at European level is still in place; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Kelly Tolhurst)

The UK’s objection to the adoption of the CENELEC standard on household refrigeration appliances by the EU Committee on Standards has been in place since 2016. This reflects the specific concerns that the standard should go further in relation to fire safety. However, the UK does support other recent changes to the Standard including issues relating to electrical safety, mechanical safety and refrigerant safety.

All household refrigeration appliances sold in the UK must be safe before they can be placed on the market as they must comply with the relevant Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations.

7 Jan 2019, 3:27 p.m. Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill [HL] Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will bring forward a regulatory impact assessment of the Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) [HL] Bill.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

It is not anticipated that there will be any significant cost implications arising from the procedural change proposed by the Bill. As a result, an impact assessment is considered unnecessary.

7 Jan 2019, 12:13 p.m. Members: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Christchurch of 9 November 2018 on harmonisation of council tax.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State responded to the letter from my Hon Friend by post on 5 December 2018. A copy of the letter has subsequently been sent by email.

6 Nov 2018, 11:25 a.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it the Government's policy that the current average council tax across Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth be used as the base for setting the 2019-20 council tax across the new unitary authority.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As I explained in my answer of 22 October to my Hon Friend's Question UIN 180627 and in my answer of 31 October to my Hon Friend's Question UIN 184365, it is now open to the shadow Dorset Council and the shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to comment on the approach to council tax harmonisation which we are minded to adopt. Having regard to any comments we receive, we will decide the approach to council tax harmonisation to be adopted, and make any legislation necessary for its implementation.

6 Nov 2018, 11:25 a.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy that the current average council tax across Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth be used as the base for setting the 2019-20 council tax across the new unitary authority.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As I explained in my answer of 22 October to my Hon Friend's Question UIN 180627 and in my answer of 31 October to my Hon Friend's Question UIN 184365, it is now open to the shadow Dorset Council and the shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council to comment on the approach to council tax harmonisation which we are minded to adopt. Having regard to any comments we receive, we will decide the approach to council tax harmonisation to be adopted, and make any legislation necessary for its implementation.

5 Nov 2018, 4:31 p.m. Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 31 October 2018 to Question 184368 on Public Sector Exit Payments, whether the affirmative regulations referred to are the same as the necessary regulations which were reported in the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 1447 on Public Sector: Redundancy Pay, as being currently in the process of drafting; and whether the regulations have now been drafted.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government will be consulting on the set of affirmative regulations referred to both answers. These regulations are in the process of being drafted, and will be published for consultation in due course.

31 Oct 2018, 4:08 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answers of 25 October 2018 to Questions 182083 and 182084, on Council Tax: Dorset, whether he plans to consult on the draft secondary legislation providing for harmonisation that he referred to in those Answers; and whether exemplifications of the different methods of calculating average made council tax is planned to be made available to facilitate public understanding.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As I explained in my answer of 22 October to the Hon Member's Question UIN 180627, it is now open to the shadow Dorset Council and the shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, the membership of which includes the areas' elected representatives, to comment on the approach to council tax harmonisation which we are minded to adopt. Having regard to any comments we receive, we will decide the approach to council tax harmonisation to be adopted, and make any legislation necessary for its implementation which will be accompanied by such an Explanatory Memorandum as Parliamentary procedures require.

31 Oct 2018, 4:08 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answers of 25 October 2018 to Questions 182083 and 182084, on Council Tax: Dorset, whether that draft secondary legislation will enable both new Dorset unitary authorities to adopt a day one weighted average harmonisation model to ensure that no council tax is foregone in 2019-2020.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As I explained in my answer of 22 October to the Hon Member's Question UIN 180627, it is now open to the shadow Dorset Council and the shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, the membership of which includes the areas' elected representatives, to comment on the approach to council tax harmonisation which we are minded to adopt. Having regard to any comments we receive, we will decide the approach to council tax harmonisation to be adopted, and make any legislation necessary for its implementation which will be accompanied by such an Explanatory Memorandum as Parliamentary procedures require.

31 Oct 2018, 2:37 p.m. Brexit Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether it is the Government's policy that any treaty made between the UK and the EU pursuant to Article 50 should have a provision allowing the treaty to be denounced in the event that the terms of the political declaration are not adopted within a specified period.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

The Government said in the White Paper that the Withdrawal Agreement should include an explicit commitment by both parties to finalise the legal agreements to give effect to the future relationship as soon as possible, in order to achieve a smooth transition out of the implementation period and into the future relationship. We have been discussing proposals on the linkage needed between the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship, and the EU is engaging constructively.

31 Oct 2018, 1:13 p.m. Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his Department's policy to support the Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government legislated through the Enterprise Act 2016 for a £95,000 cap on exit payments in the public sector. This reform to exit payment compensation requires affirmative regulations to come into force, which I plan to consult on before bringing them before Parliament.

I fully support the intention to limit exit payments across the public sector, however this Bill would duplicate existing primary legislation and delay its implementation.

22 Oct 2018, 2:26 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the average amount of council tax is across the area of (a) the Shadow Dorset Unitary Authority and (b) the Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth Shadow Authority for the purpose of his Department's approach to council tax harmonisation.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

I wrote on 17 October to the leaders of the shadow Dorset Council and the shadow Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council setting out the approach to council tax harmonisation we are minded to adopt.

It will be for each of the councils to calculate any average council tax across its area needed for the purposes of any approach to council tax harmonisation that we adopt, in accordance with the secondary legislation that makes provision for that approach.

10 Sep 2018, 4:16 p.m. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government: Gardening Leave Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many staff of his Department have been absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months.

Answer (Jake Berry)

The number of staff currently employed by this Department that have been absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months is fewer than five and therefore not suitable for release. Providing a more accurate response to this request would breach the Data Protection Act.

10 Sep 2018, 4:13 p.m. Home Office: Gardening Leave Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff of his Department have been absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

There are less than 5 staff in the Department who have been absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months.

10 Sep 2018, 4:03 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 16 July to Question 162973 on council tax: Dorset, whether representations have been received in response to the consultation; and on what date the Government plans to announce its decision.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State is currently considering the local preferences on council tax harmonisation that have been received from shadow authorities responsible for setting council taxes in 2019-20, including those views from the Shadow Dorset Council and the Shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. He intends, as soon as practicable, to reach a preliminary view on the approach to be adopted, and on which he will invite any further comments from the shadow authorities before taking a final decision and making any new secondary legislation.

10 Sep 2018, 2:58 p.m. Department for Work and Pensions: Gardening Leave Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff of her Department have been absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months.

Answer (Justin Tomlinson)

As at 31 July 2018, the latest date for which data is available, there were no members of the Department’s staff who were absent from work on full pay for more than twelve consecutive months.

16 Jul 2018, 3:17 p.m. Immigration Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the application for leave to remain in the UK submitted on 19 October 2017 under Immigration Case Ref 922984523 will be determined.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

A decision on the application (with the correct reference number 22984523) is scheduled to be dispatched by 23 July 2018.

16 Jul 2018, 2:27 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what consultations he is undertaking with (a) Christchurch Borough Council and (b) East Dorset District Council on the content of potential draft secondary legislation on future harmonisation of council taxes in Dorset.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Before making any new secondary legislation we intend to invite comments on those preliminary views from the shadow authorities for the areas concerned, which will be responsible for setting the 2019-20 council taxes – in the case of Dorset from the Shadow Dorset Council, the members of which include the members of East Dorset District Council, and from the Shadow Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council, the members of which include the members of Christchurch Borough Council.

16 Jul 2018, 2:19 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timetable is for the Government's publication of draft secondary legislation on local government reorganisation in Dorset; and what account the Government is taking of the consequences for that timetable of the timing of the hearing on 30 July 2018 of the judicial review application being brought by Christchurch Borough Council on local government reorganisation in Dorset.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

We are currently in discussion with representatives of the Dorset councils about the content of secondary legislation to support implementation of the local government reorganisation on 1 April 2019 for which Parliament has legislated, and intend to lay the necessary secondary legislation as soon as practicable.

16 Jul 2018, 2:08 p.m. Judicial Review: Christchurch Borough Council Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the Library a copy of the written evidence submitted by his Department to the High Court in respect of the judicial review being brought by Christchurch Borough Council scheduled for a hearing on 30 July 2018.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The written evidence submitted by the Department to the High Court in respect of this judicial review is already available to all the parties concerned – that is the Court, the Claimant, and the Interested Parties – and this matter is currently before the Court. I will arrange for a copy of the evidence to be placed in the Library of the House following the Court’s determination of this matter

16 Jul 2018, 1:39 p.m. Cross Country Trains: North of England Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is the Government's policy that Cross Country train services from the north of England should continue to connect with Brockenhurst and Bournemouth without the need to change trains; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Lord Johnson of Marylebone)

The Department launched a public consultation for the Cross Country franchise on the 7th June. We want passengers to give us their views on the next franchise. We do not want to prejudge responses so I would encourage you and your constituents to respond to the consultation.

The closing date for the consultation is 30th August. The link to the consultation is www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cross-country-rail-franchise. Feedback from this consultation will be used to help the department specify the next franchise.

11 Jun 2018, 4:49 p.m. Post-mortems Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the Government's policy is on the employment by Her Majesty's coroners of independent forensic pathologists; and what guidelines apply to the timeline for completion of post-mortems when carried out by such pathologists.

Answer (Dr Phillip Lee)

Where it is suspected that a death is as a result of homicide the coroner must consult with a chief of police on who should undertake the post-mortem. The Home Office maintains a register of suitably experienced and qualified forensic pathologists to conduct forensic post mortem examinations. The coroner will engage a pathologist from the register.

Coroners have powers under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to ask a registered medical practitioner to undertake a post-mortem examination. The Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013 provide that the report must be made to the coroner as soon as practicable after the examination. I will raise the question of timeliness with the Department of Health and Social Care and will write to my honourable Friend.

11 Jun 2018, 4:49 p.m. Post-mortems Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that when a coroner instructs a pathologist to carry out a post mortem examination to establish the cause of a person's death that examination is concluded within a reasonable time.

Answer (Dr Phillip Lee)

Where it is suspected that a death is as a result of homicide the coroner must consult with a chief of police on who should undertake the post-mortem. The Home Office maintains a register of suitably experienced and qualified forensic pathologists to conduct forensic post mortem examinations. The coroner will engage a pathologist from the register.

Coroners have powers under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to ask a registered medical practitioner to undertake a post-mortem examination. The Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013 provide that the report must be made to the coroner as soon as practicable after the examination. I will raise the question of timeliness with the Department of Health and Social Care and will write to my honourable Friend.

11 Jun 2018, 3:08 p.m. Diabetes: Medical Equipment Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which clinical commissioning groups refuse patients with diabetes access to flash glucose monitoring technology; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each session of such access.

Answer (Steve Brine)

NHS England has advised that it does not hold information on which clinical commissioning groups refuse patients with diabetes access to flash glucose monitoring technology.

In relation to the cost, Drug Tariff guidance to the Drug tariff can be found at the following link:

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/manufacturers-and-suppliers/drug-tariff-part-ix-information

11 Jun 2018, 3:06 p.m. Colorectal Cancer: Screening Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average cost to the public purse has been per person for Lynch Syndrome testing for people diagnosed with bowel cancer over the last twelve months.

Answer (Steve Brine)

This information is not collected centrally.

11 Jun 2018, 1:24 p.m. Personality Disorders Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken better to diagnose people with narcissistic personality disorder and to provide such people with professional support.

Answer (Jackie Doyle-Price)

Having a personality disorder can have a big effect on the person's life, as well as their family and friends. We expect clinicians to use their professional training and judgement in diagnosing people with personality disorders and providing appropriate support and treatment thereafter.

Treatment for personality disorders may involve talking therapy, group therapy and medication. Further advice and support is also available from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the voluntary and charitable sector.

4 Jun 2018, 12:42 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of exit payments for public sector workers which have exceeded £95,000 since the Enterprise Act 2016 came into force.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

Figures published in the Whole of Government Accounts show that during the period of April 2015 to March 2016 there were 1,787 exits paid at over £100,000, costing £0.2bn. There were 5,439 exit payments paid at between £50,000 and £100,000 costing £0.3bn, of which a portion may have been more than £95,000. The Whole of Government Accounts figures for the period since the Enterprise Act 2016 came into force, on May 4 2016, are not yet available and no separate estimate has been made.

4 Jun 2018, 12:42 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of exit payments for public sector workers which have exceeded £95,000 since the Enterprise Act 2016 came into force.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

Figures published in the Whole of Government Accounts show that during the period of April 2015 to March 2016 there were 1,787 exits paid at over £100,000, costing £0.2bn. There were 5,439 exit payments paid at between £50,000 and £100,000 costing £0.3bn, of which a portion may have been more than £95,000. The Whole of Government Accounts figures for the period since the Enterprise Act 2016 came into force, on May 4 2016, are not yet available and no separate estimate has been made.

4 Jun 2018, 12:27 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2018 to Question 129888, on Public Sector: Redundancy Pay, when the process of drafting the necessary regulations began; when that drafting is forecast to be completed; and what the projected number of hours for that drafting process is.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government remains committed to ending six figure pay outs in the public sector. The regulations to implement the exit payment cap were drafted as part of the passage of the Enterprise Act 2016. Since that time, they have undergone further iteration and will be completed following the outcome of the consultation and then laid in Parliament. It is not possible to forecast the hours required to reflect the degree of changes which may be made to the draft regulations following the outcome of the consultation, which will necessarily depend on consultees views and the Government’s response to that consultation. The consultation will seek views on the terms of the draft secondary legislation, including the detailed design of the exit payment cap and the list of bodies to which the cap will apply.
4 Jun 2018, 12:27 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 4 December 2017 to Question 116646, on Public Sector: Redundancy Pay, for what reasons a consultation was not brought forward in the first quarter of 2018.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government remains committed to ending six figure pay outs in the public sector. The regulations to implement the exit payment cap were drafted as part of the passage of the Enterprise Act 2016. Since that time, they have undergone further iteration and will be completed following the outcome of the consultation and then laid in Parliament. It is not possible to forecast the hours required to reflect the degree of changes which may be made to the draft regulations following the outcome of the consultation, which will necessarily depend on consultees views and the Government’s response to that consultation. The consultation will seek views on the terms of the draft secondary legislation, including the detailed design of the exit payment cap and the list of bodies to which the cap will apply.
4 Jun 2018, 12:27 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 4 December 2017 to Question 116646, on Public Sector: Redundancy Pay, what the matters are for which it was planned a 12 week consultation would take place in the first quarter of 2018; and whether there has been any change in what those matters are since December 2017.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government remains committed to ending six figure pay outs in the public sector. The regulations to implement the exit payment cap were drafted as part of the passage of the Enterprise Act 2016. Since that time, they have undergone further iteration and will be completed following the outcome of the consultation and then laid in Parliament. It is not possible to forecast the hours required to reflect the degree of changes which may be made to the draft regulations following the outcome of the consultation, which will necessarily depend on consultees views and the Government’s response to that consultation. The consultation will seek views on the terms of the draft secondary legislation, including the detailed design of the exit payment cap and the list of bodies to which the cap will apply.
23 May 2018, 10:39 a.m. Chemical Weapons: Salisbury Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he has taken since the chemical contamination incident in Salisbury to ensure that medical counter measures are in place to protect police officers attending such incidents.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The safety of responders addressing a CBRN event is paramount. To that end we work closely with scientists and responders to ensure that the responders avoid contact with hazardous materials as much as possible. This includes the use of cordons to keep them away from contact with materials, and, for those that do enter contaminated areas, the provision of world class Personal Protective Equipment.

In the event that medical countermeasures are required for the police responders, national stockpiles of medical countermeasures (medicines and materials) are held to treat casualties. These are maintained to provide a specific response to risk in the National Risk Assessment based on clinical and scientific advice.

These measures are regularly reviewed.

17 May 2018, 10:04 a.m. Parliament: Security Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what medical counter measures are in place to protect police officers responding to potential biological incidents on the Parliamentary estate; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Tom Brake)

Whilst the Commission does not comment in public on security matters, I can confirm that medical counter measures are in place to protect police officers responding to potential biological incidents on the Parliamentary estate. A member of the Security Operations team would be happy to discuss these arrangements in more detail with the hon. Member.

24 Apr 2018, 4:41 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons the report laid before Parliament explaining the effect of the Dorset (Structural Changes)(Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018 does not explain the retrospective effect and impact of those Regulations nor set out that he did not consult Christchurch Borough Council in advance of making those Regulations.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Drafts of the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018, which do not have retrospective effect, were shared and developed with the Chief Executives and Monitoring Officers of all nine Dorset councils.

Before the draft Regulations were laid before Parliament, formal consent to their being made was sought from the nine councils; all consented except Christchurch Borough Council, which in a letter of 21 March 2018 stated that they did not give consent to the making of the statutory instrument.

24 Apr 2018, 4:39 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to paragraphs 4.5 to 4.9 of the report laid before Parliament explaining the effect of the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole (Structural Changes) Order 2018, for what reasons his Department encouraged Christchurch Borough Council to hold an advisory poll to inform the Council's representations to him without pointing out that the result of any poll would be assessed not in relation to the Christchurch area but in relation to the Dorset area as a whole.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The then Minister for Local Government made clear on 28 February 2017, in response to my Hon Friend’s Question UIN 65271, that we would reach a judgement in the round as to whether the proposal, if implemented, is likely to improve the area’s local government, commands a good deal of local support in the area, and whether the area itself is a credible geography for the proposed new structures.

The decision to hold an advisory poll to inform its representations was entirely a matter for the Borough Council. In the event, the Secretary of State had regard to all the representations received, including the outcome of the poll and representations made about it, before taking his decision to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the Dorset councils’ proposal.

24 Apr 2018, 4:38 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to allow further representations and submissions of alternative proposals to be made by Christchurch Borough Council and other affected bodies before any amendments to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 approved by Parliament which have retrospective effect are brought into force.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

No amendments to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 which have a retrospective effect are proposed.

24 Apr 2018, 4:36 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons the Minister for Local Government did not send an advance copy of the regulations for structural change in Dorset to the leader of Christchurch Borough Council contrary to the assurances given to the hon. Member for Christchurch in that Minister's letter of 27 March 2018 that he would do so; and whether his Department gave the Chief Executive of Christchurch Borough Council any advance notice of the intention to lay those regulations.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Letters to all Dorset MPs and council leaders, enclosing drafts of the proposed Regulations and Structural Change Order, were prepared for despatch on 27 March 2018. Due to an administrative error the letter to the Leader of Christchurch Borough Council was not issued.

I have personally apologised to Councillor Flagg for the error which was rectified when it was drawn to our attention. A letter of 20 March 2018 was sent to the Chief Executive of Christchurch Borough Council, enclosing the draft Regulations and explaining that it was proposed to lay the draft Regulations ahead of Easter Recess.

24 Apr 2018, 4:33 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to paragraph 4.8 of the report laid before Parliament explaining the effect of the Dorset (Structural Changes)(Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018, for what reasons he did not consider an alternative proposal from Christchurch Borough Council to be implementable; and whether that proposal could have been implementable through retrospective amendment of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State explained in his letter of 19 February 2018 to my Hon Friend the member for Christchurch, he considered that the alternative proposal from Christchurch Borough Council was not implementable. This was because it involved the retention of the two tier structure in rural Dorset and hence would be likely to undermine the very purpose of, and support for, the proposed reforms. It also involved a merger of two unitary district councils wholly outwith the area of Christchurch, which was not proposed or supported by either of the councils concerned, and would be contrary to the criteria the Secretary of Sate had announced that he intended to apply to any proposed merger of district councils.

Regulations under section 15 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 which affect a unitary authority may only be made with the consent of that authority; such regulations would not have retrospective effect.

23 Apr 2018, 3:33 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018 disapply the provision in Section 7(3) of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to require consultation with every local authority affected before making an order under Section 7(1)(a) of that 2007 Act.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The modifications provided by the 2018 Regulations are designed to enable a streamlined locally led process for structural change to be taken forward, having regard to the extensive consultation undertaken by Dorset councils, and the opportunity for those interested to make representations - provided by the Secretary of State in the representation period running from 7 November 2017 until 8 January 2018.

23 Apr 2018, 3:32 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the evidential basis is for the statement in his letter of 27 March 2018 to the hon. Member for Christchurch that the draft of the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018 have been developed and worked up with all nine councils in Dorset; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Officials in my Department have worked closely with Dorset councils, since the Secretary of State's statement, HCWS486, on 26 February 2018, to take forward the implementation of unitarisation in Dorset.

23 Apr 2018, 3:32 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason (a) he has not used and (b) does not intend to use his powers under Section 2 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to invite proposals from local authorities in Dorset for single tier local government.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Government's approach to unitarisation in Dorset is that proposals for unitarisation should be wholly locally led at the initiative of councils in the local area, rather than in response to a Government invitation. This is in line with the Government's wider policy in the Department's Single Departmental Plan published on 14 December 2017 which is 'to consider unitarisation and mergers between councils where requested'.

23 Apr 2018, 3:31 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons the amendments to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 proposed in the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018 are retrospective; and whether analogous retrospective provisions are also proposed for other local government areas in England.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The 2018 Regulations contain no provisions which have retrospective effect.

23 Apr 2018, 3:31 p.m. Local Government Finance Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 26 March 2018 to Question 133811, on local government finance, for what reason he is not able to make the information requested available immediately; and if he will place a copy of that information in the Library.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

As outlined in the answer of 26 March 2018 to Question UIN 133811, on local government finance, the information will be set out in the Department’s 2017-18 Resource Accounts and Annual Report, which we expect to publish in late June or early July. The report will be presented to Parliament, with a copy of the report also placed in the Library of the House.

23 Apr 2018, 3:30 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he or officials in his Department offered advice to Dorset councils on their legal power to submit proposals for single tier local government before proposals were submitted in February 2017; and under what legal authority his Department has expended resources considering those proposals.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Neither Ministers nor officials give legal advice to councils as to their powers.

With regard to his legal authority, the Secretary of State has statutory powers under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, and inherent non-statutory powers to consider proposals made by local authorities.

23 Apr 2018, 3:30 p.m. Unitary Councils: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of 15 November 2017, Official Report, column 549, when he asked Christchurch Borough Council if it wished to merge with the unitary districts of Bournemouth and Poole; and what response was received to that question.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Dorset councils’ proposal is for structural change not for a merger of district councils.

However, Christchurch Borough Council had the opportunity to make representations following the Secretary of State’s announcement that he was minded to implement the proposal, and having availed themselves of this opportunity submitted substantive representations, to which the Secretary of State gave careful consideration, and which I placed in the Library of the House in response to my Hon Friend’s Question UIN 129890.

23 Apr 2018, 3:29 p.m. Unitary Councils Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to his oral contribution of 28 March 2018, Official Report, column 810 that the abolition of nine existing councils and the creation of two unitary councils would generate annual savings of approximately £28 million, what the (a) evidential basis is for those savings and (b) what the (i) baseline figure and (ii) the financial year to which that baseline figure applies are; and in what year those annual savings are estimated to begin.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The evidence for the savings, including the baseline assumptions and timings, is the material submitted by Dorset Councils, including the reports by Local Partnerships and PWC, available from www.futuredorset.co.uk and the representations made in January 2018 which I have placed in the Library of the House in response to my Hon Friend’s Question UIN 129890.

23 Apr 2018, 3:25 p.m. Local Government Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which local authorities in England have been invited to submit proposals for single tier local government under Section 2 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 since 1 January 2016; and what criteria he has applied in each case to trigger the decision to make the invitation.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Following the recommendation as to the preferred way forward in the ‘Northamptonshire County Council Best Value Inspection’ report, the Secretary of State issued an invitation on 27 March 2018 to the eight principal councils in Northamptonshire to submit proposals for unitary authorities. No other invitations have been issued under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 since 1 January 2016.

23 Apr 2018, 3:25 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reason he has not submitted a separate report to Parliament under Section 15(12) of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 explaining the effect of the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018; and what the evidential basis is for those regulations.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State laid before Parliament the Draft Report on the Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018 on 29 March 2018 as required by Section 15(12) of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016. This report is available at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111168141/pdfs/ukdsiod_9780111168141_en.pdf

27 Mar 2018, 4 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on which date his Department gave advice to local councils in Dorset that a 20-year period for harmonisation and equalisation of council tax in the event of local government reorganisation in Dorset would be acceptable to the Government; and for what reason that advice changed.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Government's position, as my Hon Friend Jake Berry set out in his answer to my Hon Friend's Questions UIN 119513 and 119514 of 18 December 2017, has consistently been that it is for those implementing any unitary proposal to put to the Secretary of State their proposals for council tax equalisation. Whilst it is for the Secretary of State to specify in secondary legislation the maximum period for equalisation, this Government to date has made no such specification nor reached any conclusion as to what that maximum it might specify.

27 Mar 2018, 12:12 p.m. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason hospital handover delays in the East Dorset operational sector of the South Western Ambulance Service were (a) 38 hours on 26 December 2017 and (b) 19 minutes on 27 December 2017.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

Hospital handover performance is a matter for local National Health Service trusts. Data on handover delay times are not centrally collected in this format.

NHS Improvement and NHS England are taking a joint approach to reduce patient handover delays, including:

- improved monitoring and daily review of ambulance handover delays by national and regional winter operations teams;

- targeted assistance to hospital trusts to improve handover performance; and

- the issuing of revised, detailed hospital handover guidelines, focussing responsibility on the wider system to address handover delays, including clear escalation procedures.

26 Mar 2018, 3:46 p.m. St Leonards Hospital Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date St Leonards Hospital, Ringwood, will close; what alternative patient accommodation will be available; and what the net change in the number of hospital beds in Dorset will be as a result of that closure.

Answer (Steve Barclay)

NHS England has advised that the decision to close St Leonard’s Community Hospital has been made as part of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG’s) Clinical Service Review (CSR). The CSR is intended to address sustainability issues in the county through reconfiguration of acute services and development of an integrated out-of-hospital model. More information on the CSR is available at:

http://www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk

In September 2017, NHS Dorset CCG’s Governing Body agreed the proposed CSR changes to health and care services in Dorset.

Dorset CCG has advised that community beds will not be closed until the CCG is satisfied that suitable alternative provision has been made in the system. This will be sometime in 2018, although no firm date has been set.

26 Mar 2018, 3:21 p.m. Local Government Finance Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 20 March 2018, HCWS 569, on Local Government Finance, if he will set out in respect of each of the 27 local authorities and the Greater London Authority the amount of over-compensation given to each as a result of the error; and from what budget the £36 million overpayment will be funded.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

This information will be set out in the Department’s 2017-18 Resource Accounts and Annual Report, which we expect to publish in late June, or early July.

26 Mar 2018, 3:01 p.m. Local Government: Reorganisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the written statement of 7 November 2017, Official Report, HCWS232 on Local Government Improvement, what public consultation preceded the policy announcement on the criteria against which further locally led merger proposals would be assessed.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State’s written statement of 7 November (Official report HCWS232) indicated his intention, on which representations could be made, to assess any further locally led merger proposals received against the criteria which were the basis on which he had reached his “minded to” decision on the proposal from Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils. The Secretary of State has, to date, assessed all further such proposals against these criteria, having had regard to all the relevant information and representations available to him.

26 Mar 2018, 12:23 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he intends to consult the Local Government Boundary Commission on potential boundary changes consequent upon proposed changes to local government structures in Dorset; and on what date any changes recommended will come into effect.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

We understand that if Parliament approves the secondary legislation establishing the two new Dorset councils, which the Secretary of State intends to lay before the House shortly, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England intends to undertake electoral reviews for each council to establish new warding arrangements. We do not intend therefore to consult the Commission about potential boundary changes consequent on the proposed changes to local government structures.

19 Mar 2018, 4:05 p.m. Local Government: Reorganisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 November 2017, Local Government Improvement, HCWS 232, what public consultation preceded that policy announcement; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

An extensive public consultation was undertaken by Opinion Research Services on behalf of all nine Dorset councils between 30 August 2016 and 25 October 2016, including an open consultation questionnaire, a representative household survey based upon 20,000 randomly selected households, a survey of all parish and town councils, 15 workshops, nine in depth interviews and written submissions. Full details of this are available at: www.futuredorset.co.uk

Following the Secretary of State’s announcement on 7 November 2017, further representations were invited until 8 January 2018. Over 200 representations were received in this period, all of which were taken into account by the Secretary of State before making his decision, announced on 26 February 2018.

19 Mar 2018, 4:01 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2018 to Question 131575, on Local Government: Dorset, what assessment he has made of the finding in paragraph 1.42 of the Final Report of Opinion Research Services on Researching your councils' consultation that the household survey is a better guide than the open questionnaire to the balance of public opinion across Christchurch.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State had regard to all the relevant information available to him when considering the proposal from Dorset councils including, as I referenced in my answer to Question UIN 131575 on 12 March 2018, the findings of the open questionnaire and the household survey, as well as any comments and representations relating to the questionnaire and survey.

19 Mar 2018, 4 p.m. Local Government: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what response his Department received to its suggestion that councils in Dorset should apply a voluntary cap of £95,000 to any exit payments arising from local government reorganisation.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Redundancy policies are a matter for individual councils having regard to the contracts of employment into which they have entered. The Dorset councils have informally indicated their expectation that there would be very few cases where redundancy payments would exceed £95,000, and even in such cases any excess over £95,000 would be minimal.

The Government is supportive of the principle of a cap of £95,000. In 2016 the Government legislated to cap exit payments across the public sector to a maximum of £95,000. A consultation on proposed implementation arrangements will be forthcoming in 2018.

12 Mar 2018, 5:50 p.m. Local Government: Disclosure of Information Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2018 to Question 129890, and the Answers of 5 March 2018 to Questions 130263, 130547 and 130266, for what reason none of that material had been placed in the House of Commons Library as of 4pm on 7 March 2018; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The responses from Dorset councils referred to in Question UIN 129890 and Question UIN 130547 have been placed in the Library of the House. With regard to the material referred to in Question UIN 130263 and Question UIN 130266 my officials are checking the responses to ensure we do not disclose sensitive personal information and once that has been done, copies will be placed in the Library of the House.

12 Mar 2018, 5:48 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March 2018 to Question 130267 on Council Tax: Dorset, when he plans to publish his decision on the latest date by which new unitary authorities in Dorset must equalise council tax over the whole of that unitary authority area; and if he will make his decision provisional and subject to consultation against criteria set out in his answer.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

All Dorset councils are currently working together to develop council tax harmonisation proposals through their Joint Committees and may make representations to the Secretary of State as to any approach they might wish him to take.

Thereafter the Secretary of State intends to bring forward before the Summer Recess secondary legislation on council tax harmonisation, having regard to local preference, and to the other matters indicated in my answer to Question UIN 130267 on 5 March 2017.

12 Mar 2018, 5:47 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March to Question 130545 on Local Government: Dorset, whether the financial estimates to which he referred in his Answer have been adjusted since their production to take account of (a) changes in Government policy and (b) savings made between August 2016 and 8 January 2018.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Whilst the financial estimates in the Dorset councils’ proposal have not been adjusted since their production, the representations received from councils, and which I have placed in the Library of the House, set out the councils’ views of the impact of changes in circumstances on the case for the unitary proposal.

12 Mar 2018, 5:46 p.m. Housing: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March to Question 130546, if he will place in the Library a copy of the evidence to which he has had regard of the extent to which the area as a whole is currently meeting its housing needs.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

I will place in the Library of the House a copy of the evidence to which the Secretary of State had regard, which is drawn from published data on net additional dwelling statistics available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/net-supply-of-housing and on the levels of housing need in area, available at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-right-homes-in-the-right-places-consultation-proposals.

12 Mar 2018, 5:46 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 5 March to Question 130265 on Local Government: Dorset, to what extent local consent changed among the (a) citizens of Christchurch and (b) their elected councillors between 7 November 2017 and 8 January 2018.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The issue of consent is a matter for each council, and as I set out in my answer to Question UIN 130265, since 7 November two councils have withdrawn their opposition to the proposal. This means that across the whole of Dorset nearly 80 per cent of councillors are now in favour of the proposal.

As to the level of support for the Dorset unitary proposal from the citizens and elected councillors of Christchurch, this has shown no evidence of significant change.

The representative household survey which formed part of the public consultation undertaken by all nine Dorset councils in 2016 showed that across the whole area 65 per cent of the public support the proposal and there was an absolute majority of respondents to the open consultation questionnaire in support of the proposal. The same open questionnaire also showed that 57 per cent of respondents in Christchurch opposed the proposal. In the local advisory poll that Christchurch undertook in November and December 2017, 84 per cent of a 54 per cent turnout opposed the proposal – equivalent to 45 per cent of the electorate.

In Christchurch, in January 2017 eight councillors supported the proposal, and in January 2018 eight councillors made representations in support of the proposal.

12 Mar 2018, 12:04 p.m. Christchurch Hospital: Personal Independence Payment Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital, registered charity number 268218, qualifies as a hospice for the purposes of personal independence payments entitlement for inpatients in the care of that Unit; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Sarah Newton)

According to the Macmillan Unit’s website, the National Health Service (NHS) funds core services meaning that the Unit would not be treated as a hospice within the terms of regulation 30 of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/377).

Where someone is maintained free of charge while undergoing medical or other treatment as an in-patient in a hospital or similar institution funded by the NHS, payment of (but not entitlement to) the daily living and mobility components of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) cease after 28 days. This is on the basis that the NHS is responsible for the entirety of the person’s disability-related extra costs and to pay PIP in addition would be a duplication of public funds intended for the same purpose.

5 Mar 2018, 5:18 p.m. Housing: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, if he will set out the planning and housing challenges in respect of which he is satisfied that a more strategic and holistic approach will be facilitated.

Answer (Dominic Raab)

In relation to housing and planning challenges my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State has had regard to the extent to which the area as a whole is currently meeting its housing needs.

5 Mar 2018, 9:41 a.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, what the steps were that were taken after 7 November 2017 to secure local consent; and to the extent to which local consent was secured.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The further steps taken to secure local consent involved both East Dorset District Council and Purbeck District Council withdrawing their opposition to the Dorset proposal.

5 Mar 2018, 9:41 a.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, how many (a) written and (b) oral representations he received between 7 November 2017 and 8 January 2018 on Local Government reorganisation in Dorset; and how many of those representations were (a) against the abolition of Christchurch Borough Council and (b) in favour of the abolition of Christchurch Borough Council.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

Of the 210 written representations made between 7 November 2017 and 8 January 2018 on local government reorganisation in Dorset, 96 were supportive of the proposal, comprising 29 from members of the public and 67 from others including businesses, public bodies and parish councils, 15 were neutral, and 99 were opposed, comprising 62 from members of the public and 37 from others. The Secretary of State has also had conversations on local government reorganisation in Dorset with Honourable and Right Honourable Friends.

5 Mar 2018, 9:36 a.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, if the drafts of the necessary secondary legislation will include a requirement that the same level of Council tax will be payable by all households on Band D in the unitary authority proposal for Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Secretary of State intends to bring forward secondary legislation shortly before the Summer Recess making provision on council tax harmonisation, including specifying by when a new unitary council must equalise council tax over its whole area.

In deciding these provisions, the Secretary of State shall have regard to local preferences, the impact on individual council tax bills across the areas concerned, and the financial implications for the authority - seeking to strike a balance between ensuring council tax payers do not experience a large increase in bills and not allowing residents in any one part of the area to be concerned that they are effectively contributing more to the cost of services than others in the area.

5 Mar 2018, 9:14 a.m. Unitary Councils: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, by what means and on what date he was informed by (a) Poole Borough Council and (b) Bournemouth Borough Council that those councils did not consent to a new unitary authority comprising Poole and Bournemouth unless Christchurch Borough Council were included; and what reasons were given for the refusal to consent.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The position, including reasons, of Bournemouth and Poole Borough Councils in relation to the inclusion of Christchurch Borough in a new unitary authority was set out in their representations of 5 and 4 January 2018 respectively. Further to the answer Question UIN 129890 on 1 March 2018, I am placing these representations in the Library of the House.

5 Mar 2018, 9:08 a.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, what estimate he has made of the potential savings; and if he will place a copy of the cost-benefit analysis in the Library.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The information to which the Secretary of State had regarded when making his decision on the Dorset unitary proposal included financial estimates from the work of independent professional firms indicating that savings of some £28 million per year could be made. Information on costs and benefits is available on www.futuredorset.co.uk.

5 Mar 2018, 9:05 a.m. Local Government: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, if he will place in the library a copy of the evidence which satisfied him that local government and service delivery will be improved in Christchurch as a result of his decision.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

It was on the basis of all the relevant material available to the Secretary of State that he was satisfied that the two new unitary councils are likely to improve local government and service delivery in their areas, and that across Dorset as a whole there is a good deal of support for these councils.

This material comprised the information submitted to the Secretary of State by Dorset Councils which is available on www.futuredorset.co.uk, the representations he received from Dorset Councils between 7 November 2017 and 8 January 2018, which we are placing in the Library of the House further to the answer on 1 March 2018 of Question UIN 129890, and all the other representations and information which the Secretary of State has received which will now be placed in the Library of the House.

5 Mar 2018, 9:05 a.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 26 February 2018 HCWS486 on Local Government Policy, if he will place in the library a copy of the evidential basis which satisfied him that across Dorset as a whole there is a good deal of local support for the new Council.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

It was on the basis of all the relevant material available to the Secretary of State that he was satisfied that the two new unitary councils are likely to improve local government and service delivery in their areas, and that across Dorset as a whole there is a good deal of support for these councils.

This material comprised the information submitted to the Secretary of State by Dorset Councils which is available on www.futuredorset.co.uk, the representations he received from Dorset Councils between 7 November 2017 and 8 January 2018, which we are placing in the Library of the House further to the answer on 1 March 2018 of Question UIN 129890, and all the other representations and information which the Secretary of State has received which will now be placed in the Library of the House.

1 Mar 2018, 5:28 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will place in the library a copy of all the representations he has received from local authorities in Dorset on local government reorganisation since 7 November 2017.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

I am placing in the Library of the House copies of all the representations which the Secretary of State has received from local authorities in Dorset on local government reorganisation since 7 November 2017.

1 Mar 2018, 5:11 p.m. Circuses: Wild Animals Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many wild animals of each species are licensed for use in travelling circuses in (a) England and (b) the rest of the UK.

Answer (George Eustice)

There are currently 18 wild animals licensed by Defra for use by travelling circuses in England. The 18 wild animals are 6 Reindeer; 3 Camels; 3 Zebra; 3 Racoons; 1 Fox; 1 Macaw; and 1 Zebu.

There are no similar licensing schemes for wild animals in travelling circuses in the rest of the UK.

1 Mar 2018, 2:47 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he plans to launch the consultation on a maximum limit of £95,000 on public sector exit payments.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

We are committed to ending six figure exit payments for public sector workers. We have legislated in the last parliament for a £95,000 cap and are currently in the process of drafting the necessary regulations to be laid in parliament.

To ensure the successful implementation of these changes, a consultation will be brought forward in the next few months.

20 Feb 2018, 12:36 p.m. Local Government Finance: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to his oral contribution of 7 February 2018, Official Report, column 1566, on Local Government Finance, if he will encourage local authorities in Dorset to budget for 2018-19 on the basis that they will not be subject to negative revenue support grant in 2019-20; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The local government finance settlement for 2018-19, approved by the House on 7 February, allocated additional resources to local authorities to eliminate so-called ‘negative Revenue Support Grant’ (RSG) in that year. I acknowledge concerns around negative RSG in 2019 to 2020 and we will be looking at fair and affordable options that will address the problem. I plan to formally consult on proposals in the Spring, ahead of next year’s settlement

21 Dec 2017, 3:50 p.m. Council Tax Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2017 to Questions 119513 and 119514, on what date he first made public the factor of not allowing residents in one predecessor area to become concerned that they are effectively contributing more to the cost of services than others in the area; and what the maximum period is for harmonisation and equalisation which could satisfy that factor.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I refer my Hon Friend to my answer of 18 December 2017 to Question UIN 119514.

21 Dec 2017, 3:48 p.m. Local Government: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will advise local authorities considering local government reorganisation that no exit payments for local government officers resulting from any such reorganisation should exceed £95,000; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jake Berry)

The Government legislated to cap exit payments across the public sector to a maximum of £95,000 and it is intended to consult on arrangements to implement this in 2018.

21 Dec 2017, 3:48 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to ensure that the advice given to the hon. Member for Christchurch by his officials on 7 November 2017 about council tax equalisation and harmonisation is consistent with advice given by his officials to local government officers in Dorset.

Answer (Jake Berry)

Officials in my Department always work closely together to ensure advice is consistent.

21 Dec 2017, 3:48 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 18 December 2017 to Question 119516, whether changes to financial information since December 2016 including that resulting from a reduced or zero period for equalisation and harmonisation are required during the current representation period.

Answer (Jake Berry)

It is a matter for the councils concerned to decide whether in their representations to submit further financial information.

21 Dec 2017, 3:47 p.m. Council Tax: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answers of 18 December 2017 to Questions 119513 and 119514, on council tax: Dorset, on what dates officials of his Department received the request from Dorset Council; and if he will place a copy of that request in the Library.

Answer (Jake Berry)

Dorset councils made their request orally.

19 Dec 2017, 5:53 p.m. Parkfield School Bournemouth Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 5 July to Question 2169 on Parkfield School, Bournemouth, whether that project is now complete.

Answer (Mr Robert Goodwill)

The school moved to its permanent site in September 2017 and the Education and Skills Funding Agency is currently commissioning the remaining works on site, for completion in 2018.

19 Dec 2017, 4:36 p.m. Local Government: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to refer the local government reorganisation proposal for Dorset to the Local Government Boundary Commission.

Answer (Jake Berry)

Whilst the process that we are following for considering the Dorset reorganisation proposal does not involve a referral to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, the Commission have indicated that, subject to progress being made, they intend to undertake electoral reviews for the proposed unitary councils.

19 Dec 2017, 4:07 p.m. Right to Buy Scheme: Housing Associations Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July to Question 3273 when he expects to announce the extension of right to buy discounts to housing association tenants across England.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Government is committed to ensuring that housing association tenants achieve the aspiration of home ownership, and to the voluntary agreement reached with housing associations. In the Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced a £200 million voluntary Right to Buy regional pilot in the Midlands. This will give thousands more housing association tenants the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of home ownership.

19 Dec 2017, 4:03 p.m. Planning Permission: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July to Question 1449 on planning permission: Christchurch, when he expects the enforcement appeals to be determined.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The start date for the enforcement notice appeals has been delayed due to a number of matters that required clarification. Due to the forthcoming Christmas period, the appeals will not now be started until January and shall proceed to a local inquiry with an expected start to decision time of 36 weeks.

7 Dec 2017, 5:36 p.m. Local Government: Reorganisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Written Statement of 7 November 2017, HCWS 232, on local government improvement, what criteria the Government has set by which it will decide whether the necessary local consent has been secured; if he will publish those criteria; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I refer my Hon Friend to the answer given by my Hon Friend, the Minister for Local Government, on 28 February 2017, to Question UIN 65271.

6 Dec 2017, 3:25 p.m. Members: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department plans to respond to the letter to the Chief Secretary from the hon. Member for Christchurch dated 30 October 2017 on public sector exit payments.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

I replied to the hon. Member on 28 November 2017. A copy of my reply has been resent.

4 Dec 2017, 5:50 p.m. Local Government: Reorganisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Written Statement of 7 November 2017, HCWS232, on local government improvement, what further steps are needed to secure local consent.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I refer my Hon Friend to the Written Statement made by the Secretary of State on 7 November 2017 (HCWS232).

4 Dec 2017, 5:49 p.m. Local Government: Reorganisation Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 November 2017, HCWS232 on local government improvement, if he will place in the Library a list of all the material and representations he received before making his announcement.

Answer (Jake Berry)

I am placing in the Library a list of material and representations which my Rt Hon Friend received before he announced on 7 November that the Government is minded to implement the locally-led proposals for improving local government in Dorset and Suffolk.

4 Dec 2017, 5:18 p.m. Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Medical Treatments Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the timetable is for a decision to be made on the authorisation of spinroza as an NHS treatment for people who suffer from spinal muscular atrophy; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Steve Brine)

We have assumed the hon. Member is referring to Spinraza. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) received a formal ministerial referral for nusinersen (Spinraza) to treat spinal muscular atrophy and this topic has been scheduled into its work programme. The appraisal process is anticipated to begin in January 2018 and the deadline for an evidence submission is anticipated to be March 2018. Although no further details about timescales for the development of guidance are available at this stage, NICE take approximately nine months to develop guidance on new drug depending on the individual product.

4 Dec 2017, 3:15 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the timetable is to bring forward the secondary legislation to place an upper limit on the value of public sector exit payments; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

We’re committed to placing an upper limit on the value of public sector exit payments – that’s why we legislated in the 2016 Act and will be laying the necessary regulations. Before we do so, and to ensure the successful implementation of these changes, we will bring forward a consultation in the first quarter of 2018 which will run for 12 weeks.

7 Nov 2017, 4:06 p.m. Members: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she will provide a substantive response to the letter dated 27 June 2017 from the hon. Member for Christchurch on the application by Mr Morley for British citizenship.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

I will write to the Hon. Member separately about this case.

6 Nov 2017, 5:36 p.m. Student Loans Company: Correspondence Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the Acting Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company Ltd will give a substantive reply to the complaint on behalf of Customer 67178459697 made by the hon. Member for Christchurch.

Answer (Lord Johnson of Marylebone)

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has confirmed that its Acting Chief Executive wrote to the hon. Member for Christchurch on 31 October providing a substantive response to his complaint in line with published timescales.

The SLC has also confirmed that it wrote to the customer concerned on the same date confirming that, in line with its complaints procedure, their complaint has been escalated to Independent Assessor review stage

17 Oct 2017, 4:59 p.m. Affordable Housing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether privately-funded affordable rent-to-buy products will qualify for inclusion in Starter Homes Land Fund sites; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Housing White Paper announced the Starter Homes Land Fund would be used to prepare more sites for Starter Homes and other affordable home ownership products. This can include Rent to Buy products.

17 Oct 2017, 4:58 p.m. Affordable Housing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to include affordable rent-to-buy schemes in their affordable housing programmes.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Government introduced Rent to Buy to support aspiring tenants on low to middle income into home ownership, enabling them to save for a deposit.

Funding for Rent to Buy is available from our Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21, which supports the delivery of a wide range of affordable homes with over £9 billion. As set out at Autumn Statement 2016, the programme is fully flexible and sets no ringfences on particular forms of tenure. We encourage providers to ensure that their schemes take account of the affordable housing needs in the local areas – to ensure that we build the right homes in the right places.

17 Oct 2017, 4:57 p.m. Affordable Housing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to encourage private institutional investment in (a) affordable rent-to-buy schemes and (b) other affordable home ownership products.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

We continue to actively engage with and meet a range of organisations from the commercial sector and institutional investors who may have an interest in supporting delivery through the Affordable Homes Programme, which includes Rent to Buy and Shared Ownership.

The Affordable Homes Programme, through which we have delivered 333,000 new affordable homes since 2010, has been opened up to enable private developers to deliver Shared Ownership.

We have also set out a long term rent deal for social landlords in England, where increases will be limited to CPI + 1 per cent for 5 years from 2020. This will enable these providers the certainty they need to leverage in more private finance to build more homes across all tenures, including for home ownership.

17 Oct 2017, 4:56 p.m. Affordable Housing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to include and make specific reference to rent-to-buy in the definition of affordable housing in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Subject to the outcome of the consultation on the Housing White Paper, we envisage that affordable rent to buy housing which meets the criteria set out in the proposed definition of affordable housing would be classified as affordable housing in the revised National Planning Policy Framework.

9 Oct 2017, 4:34 p.m. British Standards Institution Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what changes to the funding and responsibilities of the British Standards Institute will be made when the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (Lord Johnson of Marylebone)

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) are not EU bodies, although they have a special status in the EU. We are working with BSI, the UK’s national standards body and the UK member of CEN and CENELEC, to ensure that our future relationship with CEN and CENELEC continues to support a productive, open and competitive business environment in the UK and to ensure that funding provided to BSI by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also supports this goal.

12 Sep 2017, 5:01 p.m. Prison Sentences Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will give the Parole Board the authority to decide when a hearing can be held to consider the cases of those with imprisonment for public protection sentences who are still in prison.

Answer (Mr Sam Gyimah)

The Secretary of State sets by delegated authority to officials the next review date of prisoners serving the IPP sentence and who have completed their tariff. He does so with regard to the work (including but not only courses) which the prisoner needs to complete in order to reduce his risk and so present the Parole Board with evidence to support release.

IPP offenders are entitled to be considered for release at least every two years or less once their tariff has expired. The Secretary of State may set a short review date, where the prisoner has completed risk reduction work and so has the evidence which the Parole Board needs to direct his release.

We have been working closely with the Parole Board to process these cases as quickly as possible and, earlier this year, we set up a new unit focused on this and improving the efficiency of the parole process.

This work is continuing to achieve results, with 576 IPP releases in 2016; the highest number of annual releases since the sentence became available in 2005.”

12 Sep 2017, 10:59 a.m. Prisoners' Transfers Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, for what reason the recommendation from Abigail Rogers at the Public Protection Casework Section of the Parole Board in her letter dated 19 May 2017 that a prisoner be transferred to an open conditions prison has not yet been acted upon.

Answer (Mr Sam Gyimah)

If the Hon member writes with further details I will look into the case for him.

5 Sep 2017, 2:30 p.m. E. Coli: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will place in the Library copies of the reports made by Public Health England into the outbreaks of E. coli variant 055 in Dorset in 2014-15; and what steps he is taking to prevent any future such outbreak.

Answer (Steve Brine)

Despite rigorous and extensive investigation of this unusual strain of Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) O55, a single source was not identified. The evidence suggests that the likely source was a local zoonotic (from animals) infection. No further cases of this unusual strain of VTEC with links to Dorset have been seen since late 2015.

Public Health England (PHE) has well established systems to identify new cases of this infection and well-rehearsed operational procedures to respond should any future cases emerge. These systems were last tested in a cross-Government exercise in November 2016. There is extensive guidance and advice on preventing the transmission of VTEC on the PHE website, NHS Choices and the Food Standards Agency website.

5 Sep 2017, 10:52 a.m. Universal Credit: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the timetable is for roll-out of universal credit in Christchurch; and what the deadline for completion of that roll-out is.

Answer (Damian Hinds)

The Universal Credit full service is due to rollout in Christchurch in November 2017. The intention is that all cases are migrated, and a full service is available nationally, by March 2022.

A full rollout schedule has been published and is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628958/universal-credit-transition-rollout-schedule.pdf

5 Sep 2017, 9:16 a.m. Social Rented Housing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of local authority and housing association properties in England which are currently being sub-let illegally; and what steps the Government is taking to counter such illegal subletting.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Department does not hold this information. In 2012 the Audit Commission estimated that nearly 98,000 (4 per cent) social homes in England could be subject to some form of tenancy fraud (Protecting the Public Purse 2012).

The Government supported and implemented the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 which makes it a criminal offence to unlawfully sublet social housing. It also allows the court to award the social landlord the profit the tenant has made from their unlawful sub-letting, regardless of whether the landlord has incurred a loss.

Between 2011 and 2015 the Department provided £19 million to local authorities to help them tackle tenancy fraud; and supported a team within the Chartered Institute of Housing to provide advice and support to all social landlords.

5 Sep 2017, 9:09 a.m. Social Rented Housing: Prosecutions Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many prosecutions there have been in England for the illegal sub-letting of local authority or housing association property in the last year for which information is available; and what the largest penalty imposed for such an offence was.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The number of defendants proceeded against for offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, by offence, in England, during 2016, can be viewed in the table:

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts of offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, England, 2016 (1)(2)

Section of Act

Offence

Total

1(1)

Sub-let or part with possession of a dwelling-house let under a secure tenancy in breach of a term of the tenancy

11

1(2)

Dishonestly sub-let or part with possession of dwelling-house let under secure tenancy in breach of a term of the tenancy

3

2(1)

Sub-let or part with possession of a dwelling-house let under an assured tenancy in breach of a term of the tenancy

4

2(2)

Dishonestly sub-let or part with possession of a dwelling-house let under an assured tenancy in breach of a term of the tenancy

4

All under the Act

22

(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

During that period, the highest fine amounts imposed on offenders found guilty for offences under this Act were £1,500. However, the most serious penalties issued were two suspended sentences.

10 Jul 2017, 3:45 p.m. Fraud Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many cases of criminal fraud were reported to the National Fraud Reporting Centre, Action Fraud, in each of the last 12 months for which information is available; and how many of those cases (a) have been or are being investigated and (b) have led to prosecution.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The Home Office collects quarterly data on the number of fraud offences reported to Action Fraud via the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The most recently available data are for the year ending December 2016, and are available in Table QT1 of the Office for National Statistics’ ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Data Tables’ at this website:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesquarterlydatatables.

Information on the number of fraud offences that are disseminated to the police by the NFIB for investigation is published on an annual basis. Information for the year ending March 2017 will be published on the 20 July in ‘Crime Outcomes in England and Wales, year ending March 2017’.

The Home Office does not hold information on the number of fraud investigations which have led to prosecutions. The Ministry of Justice are responsible for prosecutions data.

10 Jul 2017, 3:38 p.m. Armed Forces Covenant Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the Government's policy is on those who have served in HM forces and wish to buy a council or housing association property under the terms of the Military Covenant.

Answer (Mr Tobias Ellwood)

The Policy on the right to buy socially-held accommodation is a matter for the relevant housing authorities and is not covered under the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant's primary role is to remove the disadvantages that our Serving personnel, veterans and families may face as a result of their Service and to offer them a fair deal in comparison with all other British citizens. The available evidence does not suggest that veterans have greater challenges in finding accommodation than any other citizen.

We support our Armed Forces to get on the housing ladder and get a good job when they leave, through our resettlement programmes, Help to Buy Schemes and Career Transition Partnerships, and the vast majority transition well to civilian life.

However a small number may struggle and we work very closely with local authorities and the Devolved Administrations to ensure that the help they need is available to them. Initiatives such as ensuring fair access to social housing, Help to Buy schemes, and support through organisations such as the Riverside English Churches Housing Group, and Veterans' Hubs exist to address the range of housing needs of veterans and their families.

10 Jul 2017, 3:33 p.m. Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has been consulted on the value of the exit payment for the Chief Executive of the Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after his resignation in June 2017.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Pay, alongside other terms and conditions, remains a matter for local authorities to manage as individual employers and locally elected bodies.

Ministers have been very clear that authorities should be demonstrating restraint in the pay and reward of senior staff. In addition, the government has taken steps to increase the transparency and accountability of local decisions on pay.

10 Jul 2017, 3:33 p.m. Right to Buy Scheme: Housing Associations Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the Government's policy is on implementing a right to buy scheme for tenants of housing association properties in England.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

We are currently considering the extension of Right to Buy discounts across England to housing association tenants, and will announce more details in due course.

10 Jul 2017, 3:27 p.m. Fraud: Prosecutions Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the Government's policy is on the prosecution of people who perpetrate criminal fraud; and what advice her Department has given to chief constables in England on the priority to be accorded to such crime.

Answer (Mr Ben Wallace)

The full force of the law should be used to pursue, and prosecute individuals who choose to commit fraud. Whilst it is down to Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners to set local priorities for their force area, I recognise that driving up the law enforcement response to fraud at national, regional and local levels must be a priority. Through the Joint Fraud Taskforce, we are working with the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud, to establish a consistent and transparent approach to fraud across all police forces.

6 Jul 2017, 3:28 p.m. Public Sector: Redundancy Pay Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the Government plans to bring forward secondary legislation to implement the policy of prohibiting exit payments for public sector employees in England exceeding £95,000; and what steps he is taking to discourage such payments in the interim.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The Government announced in 2015 that it intended to end six figure exit payments for public sector workers. We legislated for a £95,000 cap in the Enterprise Act 2016 and are currently in the process of drafting the necessary regulations.

In the interim, the government expects every part of the public sector to demonstrate that it is using public money efficiently and responsibly and to ensure that pay and terms are always proportionate, justifiable and deliver value for money for taxpayers.

6 Jul 2017, 1:44 p.m. Driving: Licensing Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the DVLA plans to process the application by Mr Bentall of Christchurch for the reinstatement of his driving licence; and what the reasons are for the time taken in dealing with that case.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

I will write directly to my honourable Friend about Mr Bentall’s driving licence application.

6 Jul 2017, 9:23 a.m. Council Tax Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what arrangements his Department has put in place to ensure a consistent approach between the Valuation Office Agency and local authorities on the designation of dwellings in respect of which council tax is payable rather than non-domestic rates; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mr Marcus Jones)

The Valuation Office Agency has statutory responsibility for maintaining the local list of both domestic and non domestic properties. The Local Government Finance Act 1992 defines domestic properties which are liable for council tax, and the Local Government Finance Act 1988 sets out the definition of non-domestic properties liable for Business Rates. Changes to the lists – including the transfer of a property from one to the other - are a matter for the Valuation Office Agency to determine rather than the local authority.

6 Jul 2017, 9:22 a.m. Planning Permission: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when the Planning Inspectorate plans to convene a hearing into the appeal by the site owner of Tall Trees Park, Matchams Lane, Christchurch against the decision of Christchurch Borough Council in 2007 to refuse an application for a lawful development certificate; and what the reasons are for the time taken to convene that hearing.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Lawful Development Certificate appeal was being dealt with through written representations, as requested by the appellant, and it proceeded to a site visit on 16 March 2017. Following the site visit the Inspector decided to change the procedure to an inquiry to enable evidence to be tested under oath and to link the appeal to the subsequently received enforcement appeals. We are working to resolve a number of complex issues on the enforcement appeals so that they can be started and linked as soon as possible.

6 Jul 2017, 9:22 a.m. Planning Permission: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when the Planning Inspectorate plans to issue a start date for the appeals lodged by residents of Tall Trees Park, Matchams Lane, Christchurch in January 2017 against the Enforcement Notice of Christchurch Borough Council of 30 November 2016; and what the reasons are for the time taken to issue that start date.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Lawful Development Certificate appeal was being dealt with through written representations, as requested by the appellant, and it proceeded to a site visit on 16 March 2017. Following the site visit the Inspector decided to change the procedure to an inquiry to enable evidence to be tested under oath and to link the appeal to the subsequently received enforcement appeals. We are working to resolve a number of complex issues on the enforcement appeals so that they can be started and linked as soon as possible.

5 Jul 2017, 3:33 p.m. Parkfield School Bournemouth Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the cost to date has been of the acquisition, adoption and repair of new premises in Hurn, Christchurch for Parkfield Free School.

Answer (Mr Robert Goodwill)

The acquisition cost of the site was £3,000,000, which was assessed to be an appropriate price for the site by the EFA and its advisors.

Construction costs, professional fees and ICT costs associated with the permanent site for the school are currently commercially sensitive and will be published once the project is completed.

4 Jul 2017, 4:32 p.m. Public Footpaths: Christchurch Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make it his Department's policy to require Natural England to designate the proposed route of the national coastal footpath in Christchurch constituency as being from Highcliffe to Mudeford Quay and across the Avon estuary direct to Hengistbury Head; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Dr Thérèse Coffey)

On 21 June 2017 Natural England published its proposals for coastal access for the 41 mile stretch of the coast between Kimmeridge Bay and Highcliffe, Dorset. There is a now an eight week consultation period for representations to be made on the proposals. The closing date for representations is midnight on 16 August 2017.

We will then consider Natural England’s proposals in the light of such representations.

4 Jul 2017, 4:28 p.m. Taxis: Migrant Workers Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the Government's policy is on whether licensed private hire vehicle drivers are required to pass a test in English as a condition of holding a licence.

Answer (Sir John Hayes)

The legislation that provides for licensing of taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) services is enabling in its nature, giving licensing authorities the discretion to set standards that they deem to be appropriate including language skills. To which end the Department’s current best practice guidance to licensing authorities states that they “may also wish to consider whether an applicant for a taxi or PHV driver licence would have any problems in communicating with customers because of language difficulties.”

4 Jul 2017, 4:23 p.m. Combined Authorities: Dorset Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to announce his decision on the application made in July 2016 to create a Dorset Combined Authority for economic regeneration and transport infrastructure.

Answer (Mr Marcus Jones)

Consideration of the Dorset combined authority proposal is closely interconnected with consideration of the Dorset unitary proposal, submitted on 9 February. Our intention is to announce an initial decision as to how we are minded to proceed on the unitary proposal as soon as practicable, with any such announcement including an indication of how we intend to move forward on the combined authority proposal.

4 Jul 2017, 9:31 a.m. Non-domestic Rates: Rural Areas Sir Christopher Chope

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when his Department plans to set out the criteria for applications by lower-tier rural authorities to participate in a pilot for 100 per cent business rates retention.

Answer (Mr Marcus Jones)

The Government has a manifesto commitment to continue to give local government greater control over the money they raise. We intend to continue to collaborate closely with local government over the coming months on how we will achieve this commitment and it is in this context we will discuss the future of business rates retention pilots.