Paul Monaghan

Scottish National Party - Former Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
European Scrutiny Committee
28th Nov 2016 - 6th Feb 2017


Division Voting information

Paul Monaghan has voted in 286 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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All Debates

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Bob Stewart (Conservative)
(4 debate interactions)
Ronnie Cowan (Scottish National Party)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure)
(4 debate interactions)
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Latest EDMs signed by Paul Monaghan

26th April 2017
Paul Monaghan signed this EDM on Wednesday 26th April 2017

10 YEARS OF SNP GOVERNMENT

Tabled by: Stephen Gethins (Scottish National Party - North East Fife)
That this House notes the 10th anniversary of the SNP forming its first Scottish Government, led by Alex Salmond, following its victory in the Scottish Parliament elections held on 4 May 2007; further notes this first SNP administration established the Scottish Government out of the existing Scottish Executive and gave …
53 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 52
Independent: 1
26th April 2017
Paul Monaghan signed this EDM on Wednesday 26th April 2017

SUCCESS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS

Tabled by: Stephen Gethins (Scottish National Party - North East Fife)
That this House congratulates the University of St Andrews on its continued success in higher education league tables; notes that St Andrews was recently ranked first in Scotland and third in the UK by the Complete University Guide; further notes that this marks a rise in two places from 2016 …
51 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 50
Independent: 1
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Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Paul Monaghan, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Paul Monaghan has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Paul Monaghan has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Paul Monaghan has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


291 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
23 Other Department Questions
14th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, when calculating grants and tax incentives whether her Department assesses the levelised cost of hydro plant over the expected actual lifespan or the shorter lifespan allowed in the levelised cost calculation when allocating grants and tax incentives.

In comparing the costs of different electricity technologies in the future, DECC typically use the levelised costs of electricity generation. Levelised costs include capital and operating costs over the lifetime of a plant, as well as DECC estimates of projected fuel and carbon costs.


The most recent levelised cost estimates are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs report, available at:


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_2013_Final.pdf


For hydro plants, DECC assumes a plant lifetime of 41 years for levelised cost purposes. This is taken from the below Arup report (section 6.8.4):


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/66176/Renewables_Obligation_consultation_-_review_of_generation_costs_and_deployment_potential.pdf.

14th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what comparative assessment she has made of the cost of generating electricity from existing (a) conventional hydro-electric and (b) gas fired plants.

In comparing the costs of different electricity technologies in the future, DECC typically use the levelised costs of electricity generation. Levelised costs include capital and operating costs over the lifetime of a plant, as well as DECC estimates of projected fuel and carbon costs.


The most recent levelised cost estimates are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs report, available at:


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_2013_Final.pdf


These include levelised cost estimates for (a) conventional hydro-electric sources and (b) gas fired plants.


We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of our evidence on levelised costs of electricity generation.


The above levelised costs however do not take into account all of the wider positive or negative impacts that a plant may impose on the electricity system. So far, DECC’s electricity modelling has considered these wider whole system impacts through a system wide cost-benefit analysis. DECC is currently undertaking a project, which aims to further DECC’s understanding of the whole system impacts of electricity generation technologies.

17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what specific changes are needed to her Department's policies to ensure that the UK meets the EU target of 15 per cent of energy to be sourced from renewable sources before 2020; and what the timetable is for implementing each of those changes.

We continue to make progress towards our renewable energy target of 15% final energy consumption by 2020. Provisional figures show 6.3% of final energy consumption came from renewable sources for 2013 and 2014, against a target of 5.4%.


Progress on renewable electricity generation has been particularly strong with over a quarter of electricity generated, between April and June this year, coming from renewable sources.


The Spending Review will be announced on 25th November, and a Department for Transport consultation will be running next year on increasing the amount of renewable transport fuel. We will carefully consider the impacts of both on the UK’s progress towards the renewables target of 15%, including whether there will be a role for trading.


17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the (a) volume, (b) gross capital and (c) gross revenue costs of planned purchases of renewable energy is from other European countries.

We continue to make progress towards our renewable energy target of 15% final energy consumption by 2020. Provisional figures show 6.3% of final energy consumption came from renewable sources for 2013 and 2014, against a target of 5.4%.


Progress on renewable electricity generation has been particularly strong with over a quarter of electricity generated, between April and June this year, coming from renewable sources.


The Spending Review will be announced on 25th November, and a Department for Transport consultation will be running next year on increasing the amount of renewable transport fuel. We will carefully consider the impacts of both on the UK’s progress towards the renewables target of 15%, including whether there will be a role for trading.


5th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what comparative assessment she has made of the cost of generating electricity from (a) conventional hydro-electric sources and (b) gas fired plants.

In comparing the costs of different electricity technologies in the future, DECC typically use the levelised costs of electricity generation. Levelised costs include capital and operating costs over the lifetime of a plant, as well as DECC estimates of projected fuel and carbon costs.


The most recent levelised cost estimates are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs (December 2013) report, available at:


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_2013_Final.pdf.


These include levelised cost estimates for (a) conventional hydro-electric sources and (b) gas fired plants.


We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of our evidence on levelised costs of electricity generation.


The above levelised costs however do not take into account all of the wider positive or negative impacts that a plant may impose on the electricity system. So far, DECC’s electricity modelling has considered these wider whole system impacts through a system wide cost-benefit analysis. DECC is currently undertaking a project, which aims to further systematise DECC’s understanding of the whole system impacts of electricity generation technologies.

3rd Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answers of 6 July 2015 to Question 4511 and 12 October 2015 to Question 10567, if she will request that OFGEM explain what its justification is for allowing a higher charge for supply in the north of Scotland.

Electricity supplied to consumers in the North of Scotland region is produced by a range of generation types traded in a competitive market across GB. The electricity price paid by consumers in any given region is not therefore determined by the predominant generation type in that region.


Ofgem does not regulate energy prices - these are set by energy suppliers in competition with each other and so matters relating to the pricing of tariffs are a matter for each individual company.


Ofgem addressed the differences in electricity charges between regions at paragraph 2.5 of their recent report on ‘Regional Differences in Network Charges’. This stated that the differences observed are not a ‘surcharge’, but reflect the different network costs in the region when shared out between customers consuming energy in that area. They also saw “no compelling case” to change these arrangements, from a regulatory perspective.


The report also noted that electricity distribution charges in the north of Scotland are already cross-subsidised to an extent through the Government’s Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme. It is currently worth around £41 per annum per household in the north of Scotland, and means that consumers face lower network charges than they otherwise would.


This report can be obtained at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/ofgem-report-regional-differences-network-charges.



29th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answers of 6 July 2015 to Question 4551 and 12 October 2015 to Question 10567, if she will request that Ofgem estimates what the cost is to SSE of generating conventional hydro-electric power.

Detailed operating cost information per generation type of each energy company is not available publicly. Some information is available through supplier’s Consolidated Segmental Statements, which shows the annual operating costs of the largest suppliers generation businesses split into conventional and renewable generation.

28th Oct 2015
To ask the Prime Minister, what definition he uses of the term the most extreme circumstances of self-defence; if he will provide examples of situations which would meet that definition; and whether a (a) pre-emptive and (b) retaliatory nuclear attack on another state would be covered by that definition.

I have nothing further to add.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Prime Minister, under which criteria the Government would consider it justified to launch (a) a pre-emptive nuclear attack on another independent state or states using the Trident nuclear weapons system based in Scotland and (b) a retaliatory nuclear attack on another independent state or states using the Trident nuclear weapons systems based in Scotland.

The UK has long been clear that we would only consider using our nuclear weapons in the most extreme circumstances of self-defence.

9th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what measures he has put in place to ensure that the Royal Mail Universal Service obligation remains active and in force across Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency; and what information his Department holds on planned closures of post offices in that constituency.

Royal Mail, as the designated Universal Service Provider for the United Kingdom, is required under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) to deliver the universal service to all communities – urban and rural – throughout the UK – and that includes the communities of the constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.


However, some postcode areas around the country, which may include addresses in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, are subject to local exemptions under the USO. Such exemptions are only allowed where geographical conditions or other circumstances are considered to be exceptional by Ofcom, the independent regulator for postal services. These exceptions are carefully monitored by Ofcom and are subject to an established appeals process. Quality of service targets for all postcode areas are published quarterly by Royal Mail.


Post Office Limited (POL) has no planned post office closures in the constituency. There is one possible planned change in Brora where there is a consultation underway to move the local post office to a new location in the community.

17th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2015 to Question 4551, if she will request that Ofgem consider whether, given that SSE's cost of generating hydro power is comparatively lower than the cost of a gas-fired plant the additional charges being levied by SSE to maintain supply in the Highlands and Islands is appropriate.

Electricity supplied to consumers in the Highlands and Islands region is produced by a range of generation types traded in a competitive market across GB. The electricity retail price paid by consumers in the Highlands and Islands, or any other given region, is not therefore determined by the predominant generation type in that region.

The particular challenges of electricity supply in the Highlands and Islands – primarily related to the relatively large and sparsely populated terrain – mean that it costs more to distribute electricity here than elsewhere. There are two UK Government schemes which ensure consumers in this region do not bear an unreasonable burden of these costs. The Hydro Benefit Replacement Scheme is providing an assistance amount of £57m in 2015/16 to all consumers in the North of Scotland, which is funded through charges on all licensed electricity suppliers across GB. The Common Tariff Obligation ensures electricity suppliers in the North of Scotland are not able to charge comparable domestic consumers different prices solely on the basis of their location within the region and protects consumers in remote rural areas from the relatively high costs of supplying electricity in these areas.

16th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, how many police officers, at each rank, of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary are deployed at Dounreay nuclear power station; and whether she plans to increase the number of such officers.

Security at Dounreay nuclear site is a high priority for the Government. However, the Government does not comment on security at nuclear sites. Allocation of officers at Dounreay nuclear site is subject to the same processes and rules as other civil nuclear sites in the United Kingdom as regulated by the Office of Nuclear Regulation.

30th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will place in the Library the unredacted version of the Competition Market Authority report, Analysis of generation profitability, published on 25 February 2015.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is an independent body. The Government does not have access to the commercially confidential information that market participants have provided to the CMA as part of the investigation into energy markets. It is a matter for the CMA to determine what information is put into the public domain.

30th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what information her Department has received from the six largest energy companies on the level of their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation from electricity (a) generation and (b) supply in (i) 2014 and (ii) 2015.

The Department does not hold information pertaining to the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of energy generation assets other than material already in the public domain.

30th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to the Competition Market Authority report Analysis of generation profitability, published on 25 February 2015, what the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation from electricity (a) generation and (b) supply were of each of the six largest energy companies, in the period covered by that report; and what comparative assessment she has made of the level of such earnings from electricity generation and supply.

The Competition and Markets Authority report “Analysis of Generation Profitability” published on 25th February does not contain the information requested (some of this information may be found in publically available financial statements).

The Government supports the CMA’s independent investigation into energy market competition. The CMA’s legal powers provide access to the detailed information required to make a robust assessment of earnings and they have stated that they are continuing to look at overall profitability levels in both supply and generation.

29th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to Energy companies' Consolidated Segmental Statements 2009 to 2014, what assessment she has made of the reasons why the cost of hydro-electricity to Highland and Island consumers has risen in tandem with gas prices although the cost of producing hydro-power has not changed.

The retail price that consumers pay is determined by a number of elements, including the wholesale price of electricity across GB, which is set in the wholesale market. The wholesale market price is usually determined by electricity produced by gas plants. Therefore even if hydroelectricity has lower costs, consumers across the country face electricity prices that are correlated with the gas price.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the report, Analysis of Generation Profitability by the Competition and Markets Authority, published on 25 February 2015.

The updated issues statement and accompanying working papers set out the initial views of the CMA of energy markets including on generation profitability. The forthcoming publication by the CMA of their Provisional Findings is expected to provide greater clarity of any problems with the energy markets and potential solutions. The Department will assess the impact of those provisional findings once the report is published.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what information her Department holds on the highest level of EBITDA on energy generation that has occurred in the last three years; and if she will make a statement.

The department does not hold information pertaining to the EBITDA of energy generation assets other than material already in the public domain.

25th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the Competition and Markets Authority updated issue statement, Energy market investigation, published on 18 February 2015.

The Updated Issues Statement set out the initial views of the CMA on possible adverse effects on competition in the energy markets. The forthcoming publication by the CMA of their Provisional Findings is expected to provide greater clarity relating to competition problems in the energy markets and potential solutions. The Department will assess the impact of those provisional findings once the report is published.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to her Department's press release of 18 June 2015, Changes to onshore wind subsidies, whether she plans to implement a grace period in situations where a consented wind-farm project is expected to commission on a certain date but grid connection delays occur that are outside the developer's control.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out proposals to end new subsidies for onshore wind in relation to the Renewables Obligation (RO) in the Written Ministerial Statement of 18 June 2015, Official Report, HCWS42:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150618/wmstext/150618m0001.htm#15061882000003

I also proposed a grace period to protect investor confidence and committed to engaging with industry and other stakeholders as I want to hear their views before framing the terms of the primary legislation intended to implement this.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, with reference to her Department's press release of 18 June 2015, Changes to onshore wind subsidies, whether she plans to implement a dispensation for the Contract for Difference period to be extended to accommodate existing consented projects with delayed grid connection dates.

As my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear in the Written Ministerial Statement of 18 June 2015, Official Report, Column HCWS42, this Government is committed to ending new subsidies for onshore wind. We are currently considering how we use the tools available under the CFD to implement this manifesto commitment and will set out how to do so, in due course.

18th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she plans to take to develop the potential for on-shore wind in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency; and how she plans to take account of that potential in reviewing on-shore wind subsidies.

Onshore wind has made a valuable contribution to the UK energy mix in recent years but has now reached the point where there is enough capacity in the pipeline to help the UK meet its 2020 renewable commitments. The grace period arrangements that we have proposed are intended to protect investor confidence in the wider renewables sector and balance the interests of onshore wind developers with consumers, who pay the cost of onshore wind generation through their energy bill. DECC will continue to engage with developers, investors and stakeholders as we to implement the manifesto commitment. We will consider carefully the level of investment that developers are likely to bring forward under the proposals announced by my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 18 June.

9th Feb 2016
To ask the Prime Minister, whether he has had discussions with the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on the sale of Czech war planes to Iraq.

I met the Czech Prime Minister in Prague on 22 January. We discussed reforming the UK’s relationship with the EU, the migration crisis, the international Syria donors conference, Syria and our shared fight against Daesh, and the sale of second-hand Czech Airforce aircraft to Iraq. I confirmed the UK was content for the sale of the Czech aircraft to proceed and welcomed the contribution this, and the Czechs, are making to the Coalition effort against Daesh.

3rd Jul 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will place in the Library the unredacted minutes of the 15 committee meetings chaired by the then Lord Chancellor that met between May and July 1997 to discuss legislation on the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and the English regions.

In line with long-established convention, the Government does not generally publish information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet and its committees.

9th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential effect of the UK's decision to leave the EU on the level of funding available for businesses; and if he will make a statement.

The UK will continue to have all of the rights, obligations and benefits that membership brings, including our right to draw down European funding, up until the point we leave the EU. Furthermore, as announced by My Right Honourable Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, EU funding granted before we leave the EU will be guaranteed after the UK leaves as long as it provides strong value for money and is in line with domestic strategic priorities.

Leaving the EU allows us to make fresh choices about how we shape our economy and presents an opportunity to deliver a bold, long term Industrial Strategy that builds on our strengths and prepares us for the years ahead. We will be able to take our own decisions about how to support businesses to grow and ensure that future arrangements are aligned to UK priorities.

25th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equalities on encouraging involvement by women in business at all levels.

I met my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years in November to discuss a number of issues around women and the labour market. The issues covered included pregnancy and maternity discrimination; the gender pay gap; the Hampton-Alexander review; and women and start-ups.

The Department and the Government Equalities Office are working together to encourage involvement by women in business, for example by supporting the independent Hampton-Alexander Review. The review is a key part of our work to reflect modern Britain by increasing the representation of women at senior leadership positions and below in FTSE 350 Companies.

We are also working to ensure we have the right businesses environment for everyone, including women, to set up and grow a business. Women are able to benefit from the full range of business support available from government, including Start-Up Loans, of which to date 38% have been issued to women.

25th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress he has made on establishing the office of the Small Business Commissioner.

We expect to appoint the Commissioner in 2017 and we continue to make progress on implementation. Our public consultation on the policy for regulations underpinning the Commissioner’s complaints handling function closed in December and we are preparing the Government Response.

25th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to maintain the level of investment in research and development in Scotland in response to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aberdeen South (Callum McCaig) on 25 January 2017 to Question UIN 60972.

5th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of future trends in the level of investment in the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The Office for Budget Responsibility recently published the November 2016 Economic and Fiscal Outlook which indicates a downward trend in planned capital expenditure in the oil and gas sector due to the low global oil price. Capital expenditure is expected to decrease from £10.1 billion in 2016 to £3.7 billion in 2021.

In the recent Autumn Statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor recommitted to Driving Investment, Government’s long-term plan to ensure the oil and gas fiscal regime supports maximising economic recovery. To support this, over the past two years Government introduced measures worth £2.3bn to ensure the UK has one of the most competitive tax regimes for oil and gas in the world, safeguarding jobs and investment.

The Oil and Gas Authority has been established with a remit to maximise economic recovery of UK oil and gas reserves. The Oil and Gas Authority continues to engage with the global investment community to promote the UK Continental Shelf and attract new sources of capital. It has also been working with industry to maximise economic recovery of the UK Continental Shelf by encouraging collaboration, driving down costs and ensuring effective asset stewardship.

5th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent steps he has taken to improve productivity.

The Government has made significant progress on delivering the policy recommendations in the 2015 Productivity Plan. In addition to the £23 billion announced at Autumn Statement for the new National Productivity Investment Fund, the government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy will focus on raising productivity to increase living standards for people across the UK.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what shortfall in capacity UK ports and harbours are expected to identify in regard to managing the importation of biomass fuels in each of the next 20 years.

We are aware that certain ports have an interest in replacing falling coal movements with biomass. However, it is for biomass supply chains and ports to determine the facilities that they require and which are available.

The Government does not publish projections of the future use of biomass fuels. Accurate modelling of future biomass requirements requires, among other things, knowledge of future Government policies which are yet to be decided. However, in 2011 we published an analysis of the technical potential of various biomass feedstocks which could be available for use in bioenergy. This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48059/1464-aea-2010-uk-and-global-bioenergy-report.pdf

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to remove subsidies for biomass fuels to discourage their importation.

The Government does not subsidise biomass fuels. The Government supports a range of renewable technologies which can use biomass fuels in generating low carbon energy for electricity, heat and transport. We do not distinguish between domestic and imported biomass fuels but there are standards on sustainability and greenhouse gas savings which apply to all biomass receiving subsidy.

On 9 November 2016 the Department published a call for evidence on renewable fuelled technologies in the Contracts for Difference scheme. The response to this consultation may help inform future policy decisions, including whether the support we currently offer to these technologies through the CFD is right for delivering our objectives on value for money for decarbonisation.

28th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to identify, promote and develop innovations in (a) wind, (b) wave, (c) tidal and (d) riverflow cold renewables.

From 2013–2015, government and its agencies (including Innovate UK and the Research Councils) invested on average over £200m per year in support for low carbon innovation. This included support for identifying, promoting, and developing innovations in the wind and marine sectors, including for the Glasgow-based Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Supergen UK Centre for Marine Energy Research.

From 2016-2021, government has committed to increase the UK’s energy innovation spend, such that by 2021 it will have doubled to over £400m per year. This funding will support innovation across the energy sector in regions across the UK, and details will be set out in due course. Through the new Energy Innovation Board, chaired by Sir Mark Walport, the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy will be collaborating with Innovate UK, the Research Councils, and other delivery partners across government, including members of Devolved Administrations, to co-ordinate energy innovation activities.

28th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate the Government has made of the projected use of biomass fuels in each of the next 20 years.

The Government does not publish projections of the future use of biomass fuels. Accurate modelling requires knowledge of Government policies beyond this Parliament. In 2011 we published an analysis of the technical potential of various biomass feedstocks which could be available for use in bioenergy. This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48059/1464-aea-2010-uk-and-global-bioenergy-report.pdf

1st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken to develop a long-term strategy for business growth after the UK's decision to leave the EU.

We are creating a business environment that supports growth and encourages long-term investment; as well as a dynamic economy with open and competitive markets. This has included backing business by cutting corporation tax to 17% by 2020, slashing red tape by a further £10 billion and major investments in the UK’s research infrastructure.

We are also in the process of developing an Industrial Strategy that will embrace the opportunities of our new global role and upgrade our economy so it works for everyone. We will work with the breadth of British industry, local leaders, innovators, employees and consumers to deliver a successful strategy and create the conditions for future success.

1st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's decision to leave the EU on the UK manufacturing sector.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is contributing to the work of the Department for Exiting the European Union to analyse and understand the effects of leaving the EU on all sectors of the economy, including manufacturing.

The Department is in on-going dialogue with businesses and trade organisations to understand concerns and identify opportunities from EU withdrawal for the manufacturing sector right across the UK.

1st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on support for the North Sea oil and gas sector.

This Government has continuously engaged with this important sector and recognise the challenges it faces. Last week colleagues from HM Treasury and I met with representatives of the industry where we discussed the actions we are taking to maximise economic recovery of the UK Continental Shelf.

In the last two Budgets, the Government has provided a £2.3bn package of support to make sure the North Sea continues to attract investment, promote exploration and safeguard the future of this vital national asset.

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in the Highland area of Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply from Scottish Power.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not hold estimates on the number of households in the Highland area of Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters who receive their electricity supply under Scottish Power’s Comfort Control tariff.

In Ofgem’s response to CMA Notice of Remedies published in August 2015, it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in the Highland area of Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply under Scottish Power's Comfort Control tariff.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not hold estimates on the number of households in the Highland area of Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters who receive their electricity supply under Scottish Power’s Comfort Control tariff.

In Ofgem’s response to CMA Notice of Remedies published in August 2015, it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in the UK have their electricity supplies controlled by dynamically teleswitched meters.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy does not hold estimates on the number of households in the UK who have their electricity supplies controlled by dynamically teleswitched meters.

In Ofgem’s response to CMA Notice of Remedies published in August 2015, it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in the Highland area of Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply from Scottish Hydro Electric.

We do not hold information on how many households in Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply from Scottish Hydro Electric or Scottish Power.

In Ofgem’s response to CMA Notice of Remedies published in August 2015 (available online at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf ) , it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply from Scottish Power under its Comfort Control tariff.

We do not hold information on how many households in Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters receive their electricity supply from Scottish Hydro Electric or Scottish Power.

In Ofgem’s response to CMA Notice of Remedies published in August 2015 (available online at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf ) , it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to provide further guidance to OFGEM on electricity markets and households with dynamically teleswitched meters.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Ministers do not plan to issue any guidance to Ofgem in relation to households with dynamically teleswitched meters.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into the energy markets considered competition in the restricted meters segment of the market, including dynamically teleswitched meters.

In its final report published in June, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) included a number of provisions which will be implemented by the CMA through orders on suppliers and amendments to their licence conditions.

8th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve investor confidence in the UK energy sector.

The Government continues to make progress in securing investment in clean, secure energy, as with the recent announcement on Hinkley Point C. We are committed to ensuring that the UK remains an attractive destination for investment in the coming years.

8th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect on UK business of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

The fundamentals of Britain’s economy are strong. Leaving the EU provides an opportunity for even greater openness with international partners, including Europe. The Government remains committed to making Britain the best place in Europe to grow a business and to achieve this, we will support industry and encourage Foreign Direct Investment.

7th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to prepare an industrial strategy as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

The focus on a proper industrial strategy provides a once in generation chance to embrace the opportunities of our new global role and upgrade our economy so it works for everyone. We will work with the breadth of British industry, local leaders, innovators, employees and consumers to create the conditions for future success across the UK.

The economic recovery of recent years means that our economy is better able to withstand the challenges of exiting the European Union. Our industrial strategy will support and encourage companies to trade internationally, create a business environment that will attract overseas investors to locate for the long term and identify and maximise the opportunities from leaving the European Union.

11th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the stability of the oil and gas industry.

We are working closely with the Oil and Gas Authority and industry to ensure we have a clear understanding of the issues affecting the sector, including the impact of low prices.

11th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential policy implications for his Department of the UK leaving the EU.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be responsible for helping to ensure that the economy grows strongly in all parts of the country, based on a robust industrial strategy. The Department will ensure the UK has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean; encourage investment and innovation that fully utilises the UK science base; and enable a whole economy approach to deliver our climate change ambitions.

The UK remains a member of the European Union and all existing rules still apply. The negotiations to leave the UK will be a long, complicated process and in the meantime, Departments will continue working to deliver the Government agenda.

11th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the outcome of the EU referendum on levels of overseas investment in the UK energy sector.

Since the EU referendum, the Government has been engaging with our key energy stakeholders, including overseas investors in the UK energy sector, to make it clear that we are open for business.

The UK remains an attractive environment for investors in energy.

7th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what plans the Government has to move the design and manufacture of specialised steel casks used to store nuclear fuels during transport to China.

The Government has no plans to move to China the design and manufacture of specialised steel casks used in the transport of nuclear fuels in relation to the sites for which it is responsible.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the total length is of tunnels for each specific diameter being constructed by the London Power Tunnels Project; and what length of each such type of tunnel has been constructed to date.

National Grid has said that:

The total length of the tunnels is 32km and tunnelling was completed in March 2015.

19.6km of the network was constructed using a 3m internal diameter tunnel boring

machine

  • Willesden to St John’s Wood 3m diameter tunnel – 7.4km

  • Wimbledon to Kensal Green 3m diameter tunnel – 12.2km.

    12.4km of the network was built using a 4m internal diameter tunnel boring machine

    - St John’s Wood to Hackney 4m diameter tunnel.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the National Grid of the London Power Tunnels project; and how much of that cost is related to (a) civil engineering, (b) electrical engineering and (c) equipment.

National Grid has said that the overall cost of the project is around £1bn and while it is always difficult to breakdown costs simply into different engineering elements, they have estimated the following:

Tunnels and associated mechanical and electrical work 50%

High voltage cable procurement, installation and testing 15%

Substation works (including civil ground works at these locations) 26%

Land and required permissions 9%

Ofgem is responsible for regulating National Grid, to ensure that the work they do represents value for money for consumers.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether the London Power Tunnels Project is (a) on schedule for completion in 2018 and (b) within budget.

National Grid has said that:

  1. The London Power Tunnels Project is on schedule for completion in 2018 with all significant work completed in 2017 a year ahead of the original programme.

  2. The London Power Tunnels Project is currently within budget.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the total gross expenditure on the London Power Tunnels Project is to date.

National Grid has said that as of 1 May 2016 total gross expenditure on the programme of works on the London Power Tunnels Project is approximately £780m.

Ofgem is responsible for regulating National Grid to ensure that the work they do represents value for money for consumers.

9th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she is taking to promote the development of biomass technologies.

Support is provided for biomass under a range of renewable financial incentives: the Renewables Obligation (RO), Feed in Tariff (FIT), Contracts for Difference (CfD) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RO closed to co-firing and conversions last year and any future support will be via CfD.

The government announced it will hold three auctions for Contracts for Difference of up to £730 million this Parliament. Details of the future CFD allocation rounds will be published in due course.

The Government confirmed increased funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme in November 2015 as part of the Spending Review, with the annual budget rising from £430m in 2015/16 to £1.15bn in 2020/21.

The Government has successfully supported innovation in biomass technologies such as through the Energy Technology Institute, the Research Councils, Innovate UK and in partnership with other European Countries through the Bioenergy Sustaining the Future (BESTF) network.

9th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's policies on green energy of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The UK is already playing its part in delivering the Paris climate deal, through its contribution to meeting EU climate and energy targets and through its domestic climate framework set out in the Climate Change Act. In addition, the Government believes we need to take the step of enshrining the global goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions into UK law. As a first step, our independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, are looking at the implications of the Paris commitments. The Committee has said that it will report in the autumn, and we will consider carefully the recommendations.

9th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she is taking to support the development of offshore wind energy generation in Scotland.

The Government has announced up to £730 million of CFD support for offshore wind and other less established technologies. The first auction which we intend to hold later this year will offer £290 million of support and we would expect developers of Scottish projects to bid into that auction.

This is a huge opportunity, so I have been encouraging developers and supply chain companies to make the industrialisation of the UK supply chain happen.

9th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she is taking to increase exploration for oil and gas in the North Sea.

In January the Prime Minister announced a package of new measures to increase exploration for oil and gas in the North Sea. This included £20m of additional funding for seismic surveys, a £1m prize fund to maximise use of the 2015 seismic surveys and £700k funding for new 3D visualisation centre at Heriot Watt University.

This builds upon previous fiscal measures and seismic funding made by this government to ensure the UK Continental Shelf remains an attractive destination for investment - safeguarding the future of this vital national asset.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will publish Government plans to enable officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to attend incidents requiring an armed response in support of territorial police forces.

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary and territorial police forces offer mutual support through individual agreements. It would not be appropriate to comment further on operational plans.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what duties officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary who reach 50 years of age in service are expected to perform under their contracts.

All Civil Nuclear Constabulary police officers are required to be Authorised Firearms Officers. As such, officers undertake a number of tasks and must meet fitness and capability standards which have been set by the College of Policing regardless of age or gender.

14th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what measures she has put in place to compensate officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary if they are dismissed because of failing (a) fitness and (b) eyesight tests for reasons attributable to advancing age.

This is a matter for the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, who are responsible for the terms and conditions of the officers they employ, as well as ensuring that the capability of officers meets the standards required to carry out their mission of protecting civil nuclear material.

13th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what opportunities she plans to provide to allow officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to redeploy to other territorial police forces.

This is an operational issue and a matter for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

13th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will meet office bearers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary Police Federation to discuss retirement age.

Yes. I will meet with the office bearers of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation and will be writing to them to this effect.

13th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what the pension entitlement is of officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

Under the Energy Act 2004, it is the responsibility of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority to provide and maintain the pensions of the officers of the civil nuclear constabulary. These pensions are currently provided by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

13th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, for what reasons the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 sets the retirement age for new entrants to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary at 68; and for what reasons the retirement age of those people is not comparable with officers in other forces.

This matter is currently the subject of a Judicial Review and I cannot comment further at this time.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps she is taking to promote domestic solar photovoltaic installations.

The Government is continuing to promote domestic solar photovoltaic installations with the Feed-in Tariff scheme which will support small-scale solar until 2019.

We project that the FIT scheme could support up to 220,000 new solar installations between now and 2019.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the effect on uptake of renewable energy production of increasing VAT on domestic solar photovoltaic installations.

A recent European Court ruling found that the reduced rate of VAT on certain ‘energy saving materials’ was in breach of EU law. As a result HMRC recently consulted on how that reduced rate of VAT is applied and are currently considering the responses to that consultation. If it is decided that a change to VAT is appropriate, we will consider options on how to maintain a suitable rate-of-return for investors.

6th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, for what reasons the Government has not joined the World Tourism Organisation.

Our international standing is highly important - not only to inbound tourism but in wider trade terms. Currently the UK government is not considering membership of the World Tourism Organisation but it is an organisation we remain in contact with to ensure the UK is participating fully in international tourism discussions.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what measures she is taking to promote the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland as a future UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Flow Country World Heritage nomination was examined at a Technical Evaluation panel in December 2015, where it was concluded that there is potentially a strong and clear case to be made for putting the site forward for World Heritage status. Further work is currently being undertaken to develop the nomination to a sufficient standard to make a convincing case for inscription, and DCMS will be happy to arrange a further technical evaluation once this has been completed.

19th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the 10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach proposed by the industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, the Independent Networks Cooperative Association and the Federation of Communication Services in their letter to Ms Sharon White, Ofcom, dated 16 May 2016.

I am pleased to see that the industry is engaging constructively with Ofcom on this issue. The Government’s ambition is to ensure that the UK has the right infrastructure to meet the needs of business and consumers and enable the UK to remain a leading digital nation. We welcome Ofcom’s determination to tackle these issues and agree with the Regulator’s view that the current relationship between BT and Openreach will not deliver the country’s needs for more competition, better innovation and better service. Our belief is that Ofcom should be firmly focused on taking whatever action is needed to correct the competition problems identified, however radical a change that might be.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that all households have access to efficient digital communication networks and that broadband is available to all households at data transfer rates greater than 2 Mbit/s before the end of 2015.

According to Ofcom only 3% of premises in the UK had access to speeds of less than 2Mbps in June 2014 (down from 11% in 2010). The government estimates that by the end of 2015 this will be around 1% as a result of the BDUK broadband programme.

The government will ensure that the remaining premises have access to speeds of at least 2Mbps by the end of 2015 by making available the option of satellite broadband connections, which will have the capability of delivering superfast speeds for those who want it.

25th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to encourage skills development in UK businesses in response to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

We are committed to ensuring we have a strong skills system that can drive increases in productivity, improvements in social mobility and help make a success of Brexit. This will be essential to the success of our Industrial Strategy, and to ensuring a sufficient supply of the right skills to the labour market as we leave the European Union.

Apprenticeships are a great way to progress in work and life, a great way for employers to improve the skills base of their businesses and we are committed to 3m starts by 2020. They work for people of all ages and backgrounds and can transform lives. We are committed to making sure that apprenticeships are as accessible as possible, to all people, from all backgrounds.

The needs and involvement of employers are central to our apprenticeship reforms. We have put employers in control of standards development and funding so that they are more responsive to the needs of business and people are equipped with the skills employers need.

Our Industrial Strategy recognises that we need to bring forward a new offer on skills and technical education that builds on the Skills Plan we published in July 2016. It sets out our ambitions for wide-ranging reform of the skills system. Central to the reforms is the creation of a simplified, high status Technical Education system consisting of 15 occupational routes, which will give learners the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for work, making them much more attractive to employers and generating a future pipeline of skilled labour. These reforms will be underpinned by our investment in specialist delivery institutions for key sectors where there are skills gaps.

As part of the Government’s work on Lifetime learning we have identified significant trends such as a decline in work-based training, with key barriers including perceptions of affordability and attitudinal inhibitors. As set out in the Industrial Strategy Green Paper, The Government is committed to exploring ambitious new approaches to tackle these barriers and encourage lifetime learning, including reaching out to workers whose industries are rapidly changing or in decline, and the provision of better information

Taken to together, our skills policies will help to ensure that our businesses will have access to people with the skills that they need to be globally competitive and drive productivity.

23rd May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will take steps to incorporate animal welfare into the national curriculum for primary school children in England.

The National Curriculum, taught from September 2014, focuses on the essential knowledge so that teachers can design a wider school curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils.

The programmes of study for science include the opportunity to teach children about different animals, their needs for survival and their environment. Beyond the prescribed curriculum, schools have the freedom to teach subjects or topics, such as animal welfare, to ensure that children receive a rounded education.

18th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of China's recent decision to close its domestic ivory trade.

We were pleased to hear of China’s announcement to end its domestic commercial ivory trade in 2017. We look forward to seeing further detail on China’s measures, including understanding the nature of provisions for auctioning certified ivory ‘relics’ and how China plans to implement and enforce the new measures.

In September last year, the Environment Secretary announced a ban on trade in worked ivory from the last 70 years, making the UK rules on ivory amongst the toughest in the world. We will consult on these plans.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to fulfil the Government's commitment to closing the UK ivory market.

In September, the Secretary of State for Environment announced a ban on trade in worked ivory from the last 70 years, making the UK rules on ivory amongst the toughest in the world. We will consult on these plans.

As part of our consultation, we will also seek evidence on the benefits and impacts of taking further action, and we welcome evidence from all stakeholders in response to our consultation.

I refer the Honorable Member to the debate on 6 February:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-06/debates/04A0F6F6-C215-49E0-BF6B-87C55BE1AFE9/DomesticIvoryMarket

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when her Department plans to publish the consultation paper on the UK ivory market.

In September, the Secretary of State for Environment announced a ban on trade in worked ivory from the last 70 years, making the UK rules on ivory amongst the toughest in the world. We will consult on these plans.

As part of our consultation, we will also seek evidence on the benefits and impacts of taking further action, and we welcome evidence from all stakeholders in response to our consultation.

I refer the Honorable Member to the debate on 6 February:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-06/debates/04A0F6F6-C215-49E0-BF6B-87C55BE1AFE9/DomesticIvoryMarket

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the consultation on the UK ivory market will look at plans to ban the trade in pre-1947 ivory.

In September, the Secretary of State for Environment announced a ban on trade in worked ivory from the last 70 years, making the UK rules on ivory amongst the toughest in the world. We will consult on these plans.

As part of our consultation, we will also seek evidence on the benefits and impacts of taking further action, and we welcome evidence from all stakeholders in response to our consultation.

I refer the Honorable Member to the debate on 6 February:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-06/debates/04A0F6F6-C215-49E0-BF6B-87C55BE1AFE9/DomesticIvoryMarket

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
18th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with Ministers of the Scottish Government on the future of Common Agricultural Policy payments; and if she will make a statement.

We held meetings with all of the Devolved Administrations, including Scotland, in Cardiff on 8 November, in Brussels at December Council on 11 December and we plan a further meeting in February.

In addition, officials from Defra are in regular contact with officials in Scottish Government regarding plans for the Great Repeal Bill.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
14th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what representations she has received from businesses on the decision of the Environment Agency to close its Definition of Waste Panel to new applications; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that closure on businesses.

Defra and the Environment Agency have received 12 representations from businesses and three from the trade press about the closure of the Definition of Waste Panel. A review of the points made by businesses shows that their main concerns relate to economic effects, business development and innovation.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
13th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to promote the use of more sustainable materials in topsoil and mulch products.

We are supporting the horticulture sector to work towards targets for the removal of peat use in horticulture by 2020 for the retail sector and 2030 for the commercial sector as set out in the Natural Environment White Paper published in 2011. Part of this work is focussed on working with the industry on the development of a tool for assessing responsibly sourced and manufactured growing media ingredients.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
2nd Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of whether the requirement of the ferry company DFDS to require companion animals such as dogs and cats to remain inside vehicles and unattended during ferry crossings is compliant with her Department's pet travel policies.

Carriers who transport companion animals, such as pet cats and dogs, are obliged to meet the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport. This Regulation requires commercial carriers, such as the ferry company DFDS, to be authorised as an animal transporter. Authorised transporters must ensure that staff are trained and must have procedures and operating instructions in place that demonstrate compliance with the Regulation.

In addition, in England, we also expect ferry companies to take into account the requirements of The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs and the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats when transporting cats and dogs in order to meet their welfare needs in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to prevent ferry companies from requiring companion animals, such as dogs and cats, to remain inside vehicles and unattended during ferry journeys.

Carriers who transport companion animals are obliged to meet the requirements of the EU Welfare in Transport Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 as well as either The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006, or The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Order 2006 or The Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Wales) Order 2007, depending on where the animals arrive in Great Britain.

Commercial carriers, such as ferry companies, specify their own terms and conditions of carriage for companion animals and this provides the most appropriate way of meeting both animal welfare and operational needs.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK's decision to leave the EU on the rural economy.

The UK is still a member of the EU and we will continue to engage with EU business as normal and be engaged in EU decision-making in the usual way.

Once Article 50 is invoked, we will remain bound by EU law until the withdrawal agreement comes into force.

We now have a historic opportunity to deliver an environment for future generations to be proud of, grow our world-leading food and farming industry that continues to attract significant global investment and harness the enormous economic potential of our rural communities.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to ban third party sales of dogs and puppies while allowing an exemption for registered and approved rehoming charities.

We are currently reviewing the regulations that control the breeding and sale of dogs following a recent Defra public consultation on the licensing by local authorities of animal establishments. Whilst there are no proposals to ban the sales of dogs by third parties, there are proposals to tighten up the standards of welfare that apply to such activities. We published the summary of responses to the consultation on 15 September and shall announce the outcome in due course.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on fishery funding.

Until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming, fisheries, animal health and welfare and our environment remain in place.

Defra will continue to ensure the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. It is also vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive – it is the bedrock of the food and drink industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.

The priorities for negotiating our exit from the EU will be a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on fishing quotas.

Until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming, fisheries, animal health and welfare and our environment remain in place.

Defra will continue to ensure the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. It is also vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive – it is the bedrock of the food and drink industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.

The priorities for negotiating our exit from the EU will be a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on movement of animals across international borders.

Until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming, fisheries, animal health and welfare and our environment remain in place.

Defra will continue to ensure the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. It is also vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive – it is the bedrock of the food and drink industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.

The priorities for negotiating our exit from the EU will be a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on biodiversity.

Until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming, fisheries, animal health and welfare and our environment remain in place.

Defra will continue to ensure the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. It is also vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive – it is the bedrock of the food and drink industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.

The priorities for negotiating our exit from the EU will be a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on subsidies to farmers.

Until we leave the EU, current arrangements for farming, fisheries, animal health and welfare and our environment remain in place.

Defra will continue to ensure the right policies are in place for a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone. It is also vital that British farming is profitable and remains competitive – it is the bedrock of the food and drink industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector.

The priorities for negotiating our exit from the EU will be a matter for the new Prime Minister and their Cabinet.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress the Government is making on educating young children about rural affairs, animal welfare and how to care responsibly for a pet; in what ways the Government monitors that progress; and if she will make a statement.

Millions of schoolchildren across England will have the chance to plant saplings in their communities as part of a Government-backed scheme to give free trees to schools in partnership with the Woodland Trust. This will give children the chance to learn about trees and understand and connect with nature whilst making their school grounds and neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.

The Government has published Codes of Practice on animal welfare and how to care responsibly for a pet, and animal welfare charities produce helpful information on this.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
23rd May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many kittens and cats entered the UK under the EU Pet Travel Scheme in (a) 2015 and (b) each previous year since that scheme's introduction.

The number of pet cats entering Great Britain from January 2004 to December 2015 under the EU Pet Travel Scheme is detailed below.

Year

Total

2004

7314

2005

8544

2006

9450

2007

9935

2008

11643

2009

6789

2010

7870

2011

8280

2012

14601

2013

14147

2014

15081

2015

21404

Kittens which are old enough to meet the requirements for the scheme will be included in these figures.

The statistics are provided by the carriers transporting pet animals on approved routes into Great Britain.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on farmers in (a) Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and (b) Scotland of the UK leaving the EU.

At the February European Council, the Government negotiated a new settlement, giving the United Kingdom a special status in a reformed European Union. The Government's position is that the UK will be stronger, safer and better off remaining in a reformed EU.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
27th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on provision of affordable housing in rural areas.

The Secretary of State holds regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Rural housing is one of the issues that frequently arises.

1st Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for consent have required environment impact assessment by the Marine Management Organisation since 2010.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) database was established in April 2011 and accurate data for marine licence applications determined by the MMO are limited to post 1 April 2011. However, I can confirm that since April 2011:

  • 50 fully determined marine licence applications have required an appropriate assessment;
  • 151 fully determined marine licence applications have required an environmental impact assessment;
  • 44 marine licence applications have been refused; and,
  • 3,849 fully determined marine licence applications have been approved, including 1,848 variations to an existing marine licence.
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for consent have been determined by the Marine Management Organisation since 2010.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) database was established in April 2011 and accurate data for marine licence applications determined by the MMO are limited to post 1 April 2011. However, I can confirm that since April 2011:

  • 50 fully determined marine licence applications have required an appropriate assessment;
  • 151 fully determined marine licence applications have required an environmental impact assessment;
  • 44 marine licence applications have been refused; and,
  • 3,849 fully determined marine licence applications have been approved, including 1,848 variations to an existing marine licence.
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for consent determined by the Marine Management Organisation have required environmental impact assessment since 2010.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) database was established in April 2011 and accurate data for marine licence applications determined by the MMO are limited to post 1 April 2011. However, I can confirm that since April 2011:

  • 50 fully determined marine licence applications have required an appropriate assessment;
  • 151 fully determined marine licence applications have required an environmental impact assessment;
  • 44 marine licence applications have been refused; and,
  • 3,849 fully determined marine licence applications have been approved, including 1,848 variations to an existing marine licence.
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for consent have been refused by the Marine Management Organisation since 2010.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) database was established in April 2011 and accurate data for marine licence applications determined by the MMO are limited to post 1 April 2011. However, I can confirm that since April 2011:

  • 50 fully determined marine licence applications have required an appropriate assessment;
  • 151 fully determined marine licence applications have required an environmental impact assessment;
  • 44 marine licence applications have been refused; and,
  • 3,849 fully determined marine licence applications have been approved, including 1,848 variations to an existing marine licence.
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for consent determined by the Marine Management Organisation have required appropriate assessment of their effect on European wildlife sites since 2010.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) database was established in April 2011 and accurate data for marine licence applications determined by the MMO are limited to post 1 April 2011. However, I can confirm that since April 2011:

  • 50 fully determined marine licence applications have required an appropriate assessment;
  • 151 fully determined marine licence applications have required an environmental impact assessment;
  • 44 marine licence applications have been refused; and,
  • 3,849 fully determined marine licence applications have been approved, including 1,848 variations to an existing marine licence.
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to prohibit the importation of trophies secured from the killing of (a) lions, (b) elephants and (c) other mammals in (i) Tanzania, (ii) Zimbabwe and (iii) other African countries.

The international rules for the import and export of hunting trophies are established under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A hunting trophy of an endangered species can only be exported if the exporting country is satisfied that the hunt was both legal and sustainable. CITES controls are implemented at an EU-wide level and the UK works with other EU Member States to agree a collective approach.

In light of growing concerns about the sustainability of the hunting of some species, the EU has introduced stricter controls on the import of hunting trophies of six species, including lions and African elephants. These require that both the exporting and importing country must be satisfied that the animal was hunted sustainably. As a result the import of hunting trophies of certain species from certain countries is currently prohibited by the EU, including lion trophies from Cameroon and Mozambique and elephant trophies from Tanzania. Imports of lion and elephant trophies from Zimbabwe are currently allowed into the EU as they are considered to be sustainable. The import of lion trophies from Tanzania is under consideration by the Scientific Review Group, which brings together the Scientific Authorities of EU Member States to provide advice on CITES matters and which is expected to decide at its next meeting whether the importation of lion trophies from Tanzania should be prohibited.

A full list of EU CITES trade suspensions can be found at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015R0736

I recognise that there are real concerns about the impact of trophy hunting on lion conservation. As I announced in Parliament on 24 November 2015, the Government will ban lion trophy imports within the next two years unless there are improvements in the way hunting takes place in certain countries, judged against strict criteria. We will work with our European and international partners, and experts in the field, to reach a common approach to this issue.

25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to (a) close the trade and sale of ivory and (b) end the importation of ivory from countries such as (i) Tanzania, (ii) Zimbabwe and (iii) other African countries.

The Government is deeply concerned by the continued poaching of elephants for their ivory, which is why we are committed to maintaining the current global ban on any international trade in new ivory.


The UK does not permit trade in raw ivory tusks of any age, from Tanzania, Zimbabwe or any other country. We are pressing for this approach to be taken across the whole of the European Union. In implementing our manifesto commitment to press for a total ban on ivory sales, we will work with our international partners and interested parties at home to take into account their views about how we best achieve this and over what timeframe.

25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much her Department has spent on badger culling to date; and what estimate she has made of spending on badger culling in the financial years (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17, (c) 2017-18, (d) 2018-19 and (e) 2019-20.

Bovine TB is the greatest animal health threat to the UK. Based on current expenditure it will cost the taxpayer £1 billion over the next decade if we do not take rigorous action now. The Government is delivering a comprehensive strategy to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries. This includes strengthening cattle testing and movement controls, improving biosecurity, and badger control in areas where TB is rife.

To date, Defra has spent the following on badger control for the purposes of eradicating bovine TB:

2012/2013 – £2.5m

2013/2014 – £6.3m plus an additional £3.5m on policing costs

2014/2015 – £3.1m plus an additional £1.4m on policing costs

Costs for 2015/2016 are currently being finalised and will be published in due course.

Planning is underway for future years, but we expect the costs to government per area to decrease in line with the estimates contained in Table 4 of the Badger Control Policy: Value For Money Analysis published in December 2015:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/bovine-tb-badger-control-policy-value-for-money-analysis.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she has taken to secure alternative supplies of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine for the purpose of preventing the spread of tuberculosis in the badger population (a) through the EDGE Scheme and (b) in other ways.

The only Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine authorised for use in badgers in the UK is produced by a single Danish manufacturer. Following advice from Public Health England on the need to prioritise available stocks for humans, the Government has taken the decision to suspend attempts to source BCG vaccine for the Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme and other private badger vaccination deployment projects in England until the supply situation is resolved. This follows the decision of the Welsh Government to do the same. Our long-term research to develop an oral TB vaccine for badgers and an effective TB vaccine for cattle is not expected to be affected by the current supply issue.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to meet the requirements of the Equine Identification Regulations in anticipation of requirements arising from EU regulation to monitor the importation and exportation of horses by 1 January 2016.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 23 November 2015 to PQ UINs 16593, 16594 and 16595.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that the tri-partite agreement between the UK, the Republic of Ireland and France on the importation and exportation of horses is achieving its aims; and if she will establish a comprehensive audit trail of movements to protect (a) consumers from exposure to illegal horse meat and (b) animals from cruelty.

The Tri-Partite Agreement (TPA) implements a derogation from the animal health conditions that normally apply when horses are moved between EU member states. In recognition of an increased, but still low risk of disease being spread through such movements, a new TPA with France and Ireland came into effect on 18 May 2014. The TPA does not apply to horses moving directly for slaughter, these are subject to harmonised EU certification. It also does not affect the requirement to comply with welfare legislation.


For movements between the United Kingdom and France, only horses with a higher health status can benefit from the derogation. All such movements must be pre-notified on the European Commission’s TRACES system and be accompanied by a commercial document (DOCOM) produced by an approved TPA body as well as an official identification document. The TPA is generally restricted to thoroughbreds and non-thoroughbreds involved in racing, training and breeding plus horses participating in events regulated by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).


As part of the conditions of their approval, TPA bodies have had to demonstrate to Defra that they can deliver good traceability and that they comply with the relevant welfare legislation as part of their normal governance arrangements.


The Chief Veterinary Officer has met several times with his French and Irish counterparts and with representatives of the equine sector to review the operation of the new TPA. This has included discussions on the arrangements for auditing the agreement to ensure that there is a consistent approach between the three countries. The TPA will be audited by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Great Britain.


Local authorities are designated as enforcement bodies under the Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011, the Horse Passport Regulations 2009 and the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and corresponding legislation in Wales and Scotland.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
19th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which government agency has overall responsibility for the control and monitoring of the movement of horses and their importation and exportation.

The Tri-Partite Agreement (TPA) implements a derogation from the animal health conditions that normally apply when horses are moved between EU member states. In recognition of an increased, but still low risk of disease being spread through such movements, a new TPA with France and Ireland came into effect on 18 May 2014. The TPA does not apply to horses moving directly for slaughter, these are subject to harmonised EU certification. It also does not affect the requirement to comply with welfare legislation.


For movements between the United Kingdom and France, only horses with a higher health status can benefit from the derogation. All such movements must be pre-notified on the European Commission’s TRACES system and be accompanied by a commercial document (DOCOM) produced by an approved TPA body as well as an official identification document. The TPA is generally restricted to thoroughbreds and non-thoroughbreds involved in racing, training and breeding plus horses participating in events regulated by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).


As part of the conditions of their approval, TPA bodies have had to demonstrate to Defra that they can deliver good traceability and that they comply with the relevant welfare legislation as part of their normal governance arrangements.


The Chief Veterinary Officer has met several times with his French and Irish counterparts and with representatives of the equine sector to review the operation of the new TPA. This has included discussions on the arrangements for auditing the agreement to ensure that there is a consistent approach between the three countries. The TPA will be audited by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in Great Britain.


Local authorities are designated as enforcement bodies under the Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011, the Horse Passport Regulations 2009 and the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 and corresponding legislation in Wales and Scotland.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many horses were exported for slaughter in each of the last 10 financial years.

Horses or ponies exported to another EU member state must be accompanied by a health certificate which specifies whether they are intended for breeding and production or slaughter.


Records for exports from Great Britain are only available from 2013. The Animal and Plant Health Agency have no record of any export health certificates where the intended purpose has been declared to be for slaughter.


There is no information available for the intended use of horses exported to countries outside of the EU.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to establish a central database of horse movement as required by the Equine Identification Regulations by 1 July 2016.

Defra is taking a number of steps to simplify and strengthen existing rules for horses. These include implementation of new tighter EU legislation for equine identification, introduction of a new UK equine database recording horse identification information, and continuing to take an intelligence-led and risk based approach to enforcing the regulatory framework which relates to the domestic and international trade in horses.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to prevent animal crime in relation to the import and export of horses before the implementation of the Equine Identification Regulations.

Defra is taking a number of steps to simplify and strengthen existing rules for horses. These include implementation of new tighter EU legislation for equine identification, introduction of a new UK equine database recording horse identification information, and continuing to take an intelligence-led and risk based approach to enforcing the regulatory framework which relates to the domestic and international trade in horses.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to (a) simplify and (b) increase the effectiveness of regulatory standards on trade in horses.

Defra is taking a number of steps to simplify and strengthen existing rules for horses. These include implementation of new tighter EU legislation for equine identification, introduction of a new UK equine database recording horse identification information, and continuing to take an intelligence-led and risk based approach to enforcing the regulatory framework which relates to the domestic and international trade in horses.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her policy is on utilising the skills of animal welfare charities and voluntary organisations to monitor CCTV in slaughterhouses.

The Government welcomed the recent Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) Opinion on CCTV in slaughterhouses. FAWC did not recommend using animal welfare charities or voluntary organisations to monitor CCTV in slaughterhouses.


However, the report highlighted that CCTV was a useful management tool for food business operators and the Government is keen to see the minority of abattoirs still without any form of CCTV move quickly to voluntarily adopt its use. We welcome the recent industry statement which addresses one of the FAWC recommendations that the slaughter industry should produce a common set of good practice protocols for the review, evaluation and use of CCTV footage.

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George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
8th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to license the pesticide known as neonicotinoid for use in the UK.

Neonicotinoids are a group of chemicals used as active substances in pesticides. Decisions on the approval of pesticide active substances are made at EU level. Five neonicotinoids are currently approved but, since December 2013, three are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered “attractive to bees”. A number of other uses remain permitted under the EU approval. The UK has implemented the restrictions in full. These restrictions remain in place until and unless the European Commission decides to change them.

EU legislation also sets out the rules under which Member States consider applications for the authorisation of products. This includes rules for authorisation in emergency situations in crop protection. The Government has received applications for emergency authorisation of neonicotinoid seed treatments for use on oilseed rape and these applications are currently being assessed.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
8th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to license derivatives of the pesticide known as neonicotinoid for use in the UK.

Neonicotinoids are a group of chemicals used as active substances in pesticides. Decisions on the approval of pesticide active substances are made at EU level. Five neonicotinoids are currently approved but, since December 2013, three are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered “attractive to bees”. A number of other uses remain permitted under the EU approval. The UK has implemented the restrictions in full. These restrictions remain in place until and unless the European Commission decides to change them.

EU legislation also sets out the rules under which Member States consider applications for the authorisation of products. This includes rules for authorisation in emergency situations in crop protection. The Government has received applications for emergency authorisation of neonicotinoid seed treatments for use on oilseed rape and these applications are currently being assessed.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
6th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what plans he has to involve the devolved administrations in negotiations on the UK leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement.

We have made no decisions yet about the format of the direct negotiations with the European Union. It will be for the Prime Minister to ensure we negotiate the best possible future for the United Kingdom, representing the interests of all of its constituent parts. We have set up the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations with the devolved administrations, which will provide oversight of negotiations with the EU.

All of the devolved administrations have outlined to the Government their priorities for our future relationship with the EU. We welcome all proposals and are committed to carefully considering the options put forward.

6th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what his priorities are on access to the single market during negotiations on the UK leaving the EU; and if he will make a statement.

As the Prime Minister set out in her speech on 17 January, we will pursue a comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, including free-flowing trade in both goods and services. We want to have the greatest possible tariff- and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours and ensure that UK companies have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and to let European businesses do the same in the UK.

5th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps the Government is taking to commence aid drops in Syria.

The UK continues to press for sustained humanitarian access to all besieged and hard to reach areas in Syria. We are a core member of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), which demanded in May that the Asad regime allow land access to all besieged areas from 1 June, or the international community would call on the World Food Programme (WFP) to carry out humanitarian airdrops to those areas. This was only necessary because the regime has consistently failed to live up to its commitments under International Humanitarian Law to ensure free, unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies.

As a result, June saw improved levels of humanitarian access. Eight besieged locations were reached by road, including Darayya which received its first deliveries of food since 2012. However, seven remained unreached at the end of June. The regime has now agreed in principle road access to all 16 besieged areas requested by the UN in July. The ISSG is working with the UN to hold the regime to this commitment.

While delivering aid by road is the best approach to safely deliver the quantities needed and to ensure that it gets to those who need it most, if there is no improvement we must look to the WFP to carry out its plan for airdrops to reach those in need. The ISSG is united in its resolve to ensure full, sustained humanitarian access to the people of Syria.

17th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports and representations she has received on the effects of the work of New Alliance on local farmers in areas where it operates; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that local farmers are not subject to displacement and do not fall into debt as a result of that programme's activities.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition group publish a comprehensive report on an annual basis that can be found on the New Alliance website. Every DFID programme which contributes is subject to DFID’s annual review processes the reports of which are posted on the DFID Development Tracker website (http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/).

DFID and G7 donor partners, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the African Union Policy Initiative have responded to a commission by the New Alliance Leadership Council and drafted a due diligence framework for private sector land investments. This provides guidance on best practice and applicable legislation, including displacement. The framework was adopted in June and is now being piloted with support from our partner Grow Africa. It is available on the New Alliance website.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
28th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what proportion of products and produce exported from Scotland to the rest of the UK are passported for consumption in nations that are members of the EU.

The Department for International Trade does not hold such data. The Scottish Government (Export Statistics Scotland 2014) provides estimates of Scottish exports to the rest of the UK but it does not contain information on whether these products and produce are ultimately destined for other EU members.

28th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what proportion of products and produce manufactured in Scotland are exported from Scotland to the rest of the UK.

In 2014 (latest year available), an estimated 44% of Scottish manufacturing exports were destined for the rest of the UK.

(Source: Export Statistics Scotland 2014, Scottish Government)

9th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will suspend the procurement exercise for the recovery of the FV Louisa pending investigation of the tendering process for that recovery.

The fishing vessel Louisa sank off the Scottish coast on 9 April 2016. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is seeking to raise the vessel as part of its investigation to establish the causes and circumstances of the accident.

The Department’s procurement experts have independently reviewed the processes undertaken by the MAIB in awarding the contract to recover the Louisa. It is clear from that review that the MAIB’s evaluation team followed the process as set out in the tender document and in a fair and transparent manner. I am therefore satisfied that there are no grounds for the procurement process to be suspended.

This sinking resulted in the deaths of three fishermen and the vessel should be recovered as soon as possible to give the investigation team the strongest possibility of understanding the reasons why this tragic accident occurred.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for consent have been refused by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency since 2010.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has not refused any applications for consent to date in relation to Oil Transfer Licences, and has refused 16 applications for consent, since 2010, in relation to Ship-to-Ship Transfers in the Southwold area.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for consent have been determined by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency since 2010.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has given consent for five Oil Transfer Licences since 2010 and all remain extant.

The MCA has made determination on 800 formal applications for Ship-to-Ship Transfers in the Southwold area since 1 January 2010. Of these, the MCA gave consent on 686 occasions, some of which were caveated; the MCA has refused 16 and the applicant or their clients have cancelled 98.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for consent determined by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have required appropriate assessment of their effect on European wildlife sites since 2010.

Since 2010, when the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has determined applications for consent, three Oil Transfer Licence applications have required appropriate assessments to be undertaken in relation to European Sites.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many applications for consent determined by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have required environmental impact assessment since 2010.

Since 2010, when the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has determined applications for consent, three Oil Transfer Licence applications have required environmental impact assessments.

19th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on the effect of a written objection being made by a consultation body specified in Regulation 2 of the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010 (as amended) for the determination of an application for an oil transfer licence.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the Competent Authority that assesses applications for an Oil Transfer License (OTL). All written representations made during a public consultation are considered with the application and used to inform the analysis and the decision


The MCA will approve or deny the application, direct the applicant to do additional work to address concerns and/or seek additional stakeholder consultation and engagement where appropriate.


In accordance with the ‘Merchant Shipping (Ship to Ship Transfers) Regulation 2010 (as amended), the MCA will inform the applicant in writing of the decision, with any associated caveats to the License, if granted. Officials will also write to all individuals or consultation bodies who responded to the public consultation informing them of the decision and the justification for it.


Representations and decision correspondence are retained by the MCA and kept on file for a minimum of 20 years. Records of any other stakeholder engagement undertaken during an OTL consultation or subsequent to it are retained by the MCA for a minimum of five years.

10th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment has been made of the effect of connecting DVLA driver records with Department for Work and Pensions records on the ability of transgender people to hire vehicles.

No specific assessment has been made. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s records are not connected to those of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, if drivers wish to access their own information and share it with car hire companies using the online "View Driving Licence" service, they must first verify their identity. To do this, the DVLA provides very limited information to DWP, including National Insurance number. These details are only shared with the explicit consent of the person using the service and gender information is not included. This is an instantaneous and fully automated process and there is no manual accessing of individual DWP records. The DVLA receives no information from DWP other than yes/no confirmation of the validity of the national insurance number provided by the driver or a notification if the driver is deceased.

Anyone who cannot use the online service to generate the code which allows them to share their driving licence information with third parties can telephone the DVLA who will generate a code for them. The individual driver can use this code to share their information with car hire companies if they choose to do so.

18th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage greater use of rural rail lines by those over 50 years of age; and if he will provide increased funding to the Scottish Government to encourage uptake of the Club 50 scheme.

The Government’s Community Rail Development Strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local rural branch lines, through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via local authorities, community rail partnerships, and other stakeholder groups.

The bulk of Government support for local and rural rail comes via the franchising process and direct support for the rail industry, which allow for the continuation or improvement of passenger services on many local and rural railways for the benefit of all users. As all non-regulated fares are set on a commercial level by the operator, they can choose to offer promotional fares and other incentives should they wish. In addition, we have capped regulated fares at the level of the Retail Price Index (RPI) for two years running, and will continue to do so for the life of this parliament.

The Club 50 scheme is a ScotRail initiative, which will offer discounted travel and other benefits, including from other partners, specifically for the over 50s. As the ScotRail franchise is specified, let and managed by the Scottish Ministers under the devolved powers relating to railways in Scotland, funding issues are a matter for the Scottish Government.

18th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support Network Rail achieve and sustain journey time reductions on the Far North Rail Line from Inverness to Thurso and Wick; and if he will make increased funding available to the Scottish Government for investment in that line.

Scottish Ministers have substantial executively devolved powers in relation to the railways in Scotland. This allows them to determine matters such as the level of service and fares policy.  In addition, Scottish Ministers have executive powers over rail infrastructure, including the responsibility for specifying and funding the outputs they wish Network Rail to deliver in Scotland. Improvements to the Far North Line are therefore a matter for the Scottish Government.

5th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure taxi and private hire drivers undergo disability awareness training.

Although there is no statutory requirement for Taxi and PHV drivers to undertake disability awareness training, the Department for Transport’s best practice guidance on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing in England and Wales recommends local licensing authorities work with operators, drivers and trade bodies in their area to improve drivers’ awareness of the needs of disabled people. This includes encouraging their drivers to undertake disability awareness training. A separate licensing regime regulates taxi and private hire vehicles in Scotland and the Scottish Government publishes its own Best Practice guidance.

The Law Commission recently undertook a wide ranging review of taxi and private hire legislation in England and Wales and published their final report and a draft Bill on 23 May 2014, in which it recommended mandatory disability awareness training for drivers. The Government will respond to the report shortly.

5th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on taxis and private hire vehicles making additional charges for helping wheelchair users; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Transport is committed to ensuring that everyone has the same access to transport services and opportunities to travel.

Both taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are a particularly valuable form of transport for people with disabilities and I would therefore strongly discourage the practice of making additional charges to assist a disabled passenger. I would remind all Taxi and PHV operators of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

5th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve access for disabled people at National Rail stations.

By the end of this year the Access for All programme, launched in 2006, will have provided step free routes to more than 150 stations and smaller scale improvements at over 1,100. A further £160m has been allocated to extend the programme until 2019 and the 68 stations to benefit from this were announced last year.

This is in addition to access improvements delivered by other major projects or the industry itself, which must meet UK and EU standards for accessibility.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data protection measures his Department has in place to ensure the safety of claimant's personal information from a potential online data breach.

The Department takes the security of personal information very seriously. The Department has a range of capabilities in place to ensure the safety of the data it holds and processes. Disclosing the exact nature of the measures it takes to prevent data breaches would be prejudicial to the Department’s ability to keep that data safe.

The Department works with other agencies, Departments and delivery partners to prevent online data breaches in support of the National Security Strategy.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps he plans to take to strengthen the protection of personal claimant data stored online.

The Department adopts best practice to protect the data it stores as advised by other agencies and Government and industry standards; and in doing so uses a range of technologies that detect and prevent data breaches. The use of these technologies is based on a risk focused approach to security and is a continuing process.

28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what regulations apply to the size and colours of printed information on benefits published by his Department to ensure access to that information for people with visual impairments.

The Department has the following documented standards for printed information:
• Minimum type size of 10pt FS Me or 12pt Arial, based on recommended best practice from RNIB

• The majority of publications are printed in black and white.

• Where colour is used, we apply international standards for suitable contrast between text and background.

• The Department provides staff guidance explaining how to commission large print, Braille or audio versions of publications in response to individual requests.

• Publications can also be made available in electronic formats suitable for most computers equipped with screen reader software; or as Portable Document Format (PDF) files which have been optimised for the free-of-charge Adobe Reader built-in 'Read out loud' function.

17th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had their mobility allowance withdrawn requiring them to immediately return their Motability vehicle to the dealer for disposal in each full calendar month in tax years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16; and how many such people have won an appeal against the withdrawal of mobility allowance allowing them to return to a dealer to purchase a second Motability vehicle to aid their mobility.

The Department does not routinely collect information on the numbers of people who have had to return a Motability vehicle nor on whether they were successful on appeal. This information can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Motability is an independent registered charity. It is not sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. The Department works closely with Motability and facilitates the transfer of benefit to Motability on behalf of those claimants who have chosen to join the Motability Scheme. The Scheme purchases vehicles which are then leased to Scheme customers. The purchase of the vehicles is funded by the Scheme and there is no cost to the public purse.

Responsibility for the charity’s policies and operational strategy falls to the Governors and Director of Motability. Motability is wholly responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme including collating its own management information. Questions about the number of vehicles returned to Motability and number of vehicles purchased can be sent to: Declan O'Mahony, Director, Motability, Warwick House, Roydon Road, Harlow, Essex CM19 5PX.

17th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many vehicles were purchased through the Motability scheme for each full calendar month in tax years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16; what the cost to the public purse was of those vehicles; and what the cost to the public purse was of vehicles purchased to replace vehicles earlier withdrawn from claimants who lost mobility allowance but later won return of that allowance on appeal.

The Department does not routinely collect information on the numbers of people who have had to return a Motability vehicle nor on whether they were successful on appeal. This information can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Motability is an independent registered charity. It is not sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. The Department works closely with Motability and facilitates the transfer of benefit to Motability on behalf of those claimants who have chosen to join the Motability Scheme. The Scheme purchases vehicles which are then leased to Scheme customers. The purchase of the vehicles is funded by the Scheme and there is no cost to the public purse.

Responsibility for the charity’s policies and operational strategy falls to the Governors and Director of Motability. Motability is wholly responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme including collating its own management information. Questions about the number of vehicles returned to Motability and number of vehicles purchased can be sent to: Declan O'Mahony, Director, Motability, Warwick House, Roydon Road, Harlow, Essex CM19 5PX.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) the benefit cap and (b) housing benefits with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) the benefit cap and (b) housing benefits with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) the benefit cap and (b) housing benefits with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

15th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) the benefit cap, (b) child tax credits, (c) housing benefits, (d) working tax credit reductions, (e) working tax credit restrictions and (f) the restriction of working tax credit to two children only with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

22nd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the closure of the Independent Living Fund on people previously in receipt of that funding who used it to pay for assistance required to live in the community.

The potential implications of closing the Independent Living Fund are set out clearly in the Equality Analysis published on 6 March 2014.

18th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure that older people with disabilities are adequately supported to meet their higher costs through nationally-administered disability benefits.

The Department has a range of GB-wide, “extra costs” benefits intended to provide a contribution towards the extra costs faced by people with long-term health conditions and disabilities. Attendance Allowance (AA) is available to those who have long term care or supervision needs that arise from age 65 onwards; and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to those who develop care, daily living or mobility needs prior to age 65. Where the entitlement conditions for DLA or PIP continue to be met after age 65 these benefits can continue to be paid.

Executive and legislative competence for these benefits will be devolved to Scotland once the Scotland Bill currently passing through Parliament receives Royal Assent and the powers are commenced.

The Department is committed to encouraging older people to take up the benefits they are entitled to and uses a range of channels to communicate with claimants and advisers ‒ including leaflets, and the government information website GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/disability

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in the UK are not claiming what value of each benefit and pension entitlement; and what proportion of each benefit and pension entitlement is unclaimed.

In February 2012 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-up in 2009-10”. The full report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he plans to take to ensure that planned changes in entitlement to housing benefit for people aged under 22 do not adversely affect the (a) income and (b) access to housing of young adults.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the 15 June 2015 to Question UIN 1696.

15th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the benefit cap will be lowered to for individual (a) young adults, (b) pregnant women, (c) veterans, (d) disabled people and (e) other vulnerable adults who have dependents who are not children.

Details of the policy will be announced in due course.

11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to ensure planned changes to entitlements to housing benefit and local housing allowance do not adversely affect (a) young adults, (b) formerly looked after children, (c) pregnant women, (d) couples with children, (e) veterans and (f) disabled people.

Any changes to Housing Benefit policy will be subject to a full policy equality assessment to ascertain the impacts on protected groups and ensure compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of reducing the benefits cap to £23,000 per annum on (a) young adults, (b) pregnant women, (c) couples with children, (d) veterans and (e) disabled people; and how many households in each of those groups will be affected by that reduction.

We will publish a full Impact Assessment in due course.

11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of households affected by the under-occupancy penalty have received payments to mitigate in full deductions from claims for (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance in (i) England, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Wales.

No information is held on the proportion of households affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy that have received payments to mitigate in full the deductions from their housing benefit.

11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Scotland are not claiming what value of each benefit and pension entitlement; what proportion of each benefit and pension entitlement is unclaimed by claimants in Scotland; and if he will take steps to transfer the value of unclaimed benefits and pension entitlements to the Scottish Government.

Estimates of benefit take-up are not available at geographies below Great Britain. This is due to the size of the survey sample they are based on and methods used to generate robust national figures.

Following a consultation at July 2012 on the future on the “Income Related Benefits: Estimates for Take-Up” National Statistics series, DWP are planning to publish Experimental Statistics on benefit take-up rates. Further details are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up-201213-experimental

In February 2012 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-up in 2009-10”. The full report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/income-related-benefits-estimates-of-take-up

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure all people entitled to benefits and not claiming those benefits are identified and assisted in claiming those benefits.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 10 February 2015 to Question UIN 223115.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the effect of the two year freeze on benefit levels on (a) young adults, (b) pregnant women, (c) couples with children, (d) formerly looked after children, (e) veterans and (f) disabled people; and what estimate he has made of the real terms effect on the levels of each type of benefit of that freeze.

The Government takes into account likely impacts as part of its policy development process and will publish an impact assessment in due course.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
8th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will commission an independent review of the benefit sanctions system.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 03 June 2015 to Question UIN 170

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
8th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to abolish the two-week waiting period before claimants who are designated as not vulnerable may receive a hardship payment.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the 9 June 2015 to Question UIN 1243.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
8th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to suspend benefit sanctions for families with children and for people suffering from mental ill health.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the 5 June 2015 to Question UIN 176.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to ensure planned changes to entitlements to housing benefit and local housing allowance do not adversely affect (a) young adults, (b) formerly looked after children, (c) pregnant women, (d) couples with children, (e) veterans and (f) disabled people.

Any changes to Housing Benefit policy will be subject to a full policy equality assessment to ascertain the impacts on protected groups and ensure compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

9th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, in which countries aspartame has been banned; and for what reason each such ban has been enacted.

We are advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that aspartame is permitted in all European Union Member States. It is also permitted in those countries aligned to EU legislation participating in the European Economic Area and European Free Trade Association.

Aspartame has also been evaluated for safety by The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and provisions for its use are included in the international Codex Alimentarius General Standard on Food Additives.

Whilst the FSA is not aware of any countries where aspartame is banned, it is possible there are countries which do not have legislation regulating the use of aspartame or other food additives.

21st Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for NHS Productivity of 9 July 2015, Official Report, House of Lords, column 286, on proposals for an independent inquiry on the sustainability of the NHS, if he will take steps to ensure that any such inquiry (a) identifies possible consequential effects and (b) does not adversely affect the Scottish block grant.

There is no plan to launch an independent inquiry into the sustainability of the National Health Service and there will therefore be no consequential effects on the devolved administrations or adverse effects to the Scottish block grant.


The Government remains committed to the principles of the NHS, enshrined in the NHS Constitution and in working with the NHS in implementing its own plan for the future of the NHS – the Five Year Forward View. By 2020-21, the Government will increase funding for the NHS by £10 billion a year in real terms compared to 2014-15 to support the transformation of services across the country.

17th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what arrangements have been made to distribute the £25 million of additional compensation to people infected with contaminated blood; when he plans to report progress on this matter to the House; and if he will make a statement.

On 25 March, the Prime Minister announced that £25 million would be allocated to support transition to a reformed scheme. A written ministerial statement (HCWS146) was given on 20 July, stating that no decision has yet been made but it will be used appropriately to support any transitional arrangements once we have consulted on how a new scheme might be structured.

23rd Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the new Executive Order implementing a travel ban on people from six countries and on refugees.

Prior to the annoucement of the new Executive Order, I discussed the matter with the US Secretary for Homeland Security, General Kelly, at the Munich Security Conference on 17 February. General Kelly provided assurances that the new order would not affect British passport holders.

23rd Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on UK arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition forces operating in Yemen.

​We take our arms export responsibilities very seriously. The key test for our arms exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition is whether there is a clear risk that the items concerned might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend, the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson), is in regular communication with the Secretary of State for International Trade, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), on these issues.

23rd Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) Somalia, (b) Kenya, (c) Ethiopia and (b) South Sudan on famine in that region.

During his recent visit to the region My Rt Hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary (Mr Johnson), discussed the drought at his meetings with President Farmajo, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amina Mohamed, and Prime Minister Hailemariam and emphasised the UK's steadfast support for the international humanitarian effort. Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia are facing a severe drought, and parts of South Sudan are already in famine. On 22 and 23 March the Foreign Secretary chaired UN Security Council meetings during which President Farmajo called for greater support for Somalia, and the Council collectively expressed deep alarm at the famine and continued violence in South Sudan.

27th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Egypt on alleged human rights abuses in that country.

Following my response of 24 February, the Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with Egypt's President Sisi during his visit to Cairo on 25 February, emphasising the importance of a free and open society. The Foreign Secretary also met human rights defenders and civil society activists to gain a better understanding of the human rights situation in Egypt and hear their concerns.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and urge the Egyptian Government to implement the human rights provisions contained in the constitution.

27th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the treatment of human rights activists in that country.

​I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 February 2017 (PQ 63917).

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Government of Egypt on alleged human rights abuses in that country.

The Prime Minister raised human rights concerns with Egypt's President Sisi at their meeting in September 2016. Ministers and senior officials regularly raise our concerns with the Egyptian authorities in both London and Cairo.

We are concerned about the decreasing space for civil society to operate in Egypt. I raised our concerns about the arrest of a human rights defender with the Egyptian Ambassador when we met on 8 December and reiterated concerns about a proposed new law on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

More recently, on 10 February, I made a statement about the closure of the Nadeem Centre, which was a step in the wrong direction.

We have also raised our concerns about human rights at the UN. During the session of the UN's Human Rights Council in September, the UK highlighted restrictions on civil society and legal action against NGOs in Egypt. In the same statement, we raised our concerns about reports of torture, enforced disappearances and police abuses in the country.

We will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Egypt closely, and to urge the Egyptian government to implement the human rights provisions contained in its constitution.

9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what support he is providing to EU accession countries to help them become full EU member states.

The UK will continue to support countries committed to the accession process, through diplomatic engagement and technical assistance, in meeting the necessary requirements and to encourage cooperation on security, counter-terrorism and migration.

9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Chinese counterpart on the treatment of human rights activists in that country.

Ministers regularly raise the treatment of human rights activists directly with the Chinese authorities.

I discussed human rights, including our concerns about human rights lawyers and activists, with the Chinese Assistant Minister for Europe, Liu Haixing on 16 February during my visit to China. The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson), also raised human rights issues with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the UK/China Strategic dialogue on 20 December 2016. We discussed the full range of our human rights concerns and individual cases directly with the Chinese authorities at the latest round of the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue, which I opened on 27 October 2016.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much of his Department's spending has contributed towards the UK's Official Development Assistance total in 2016-17.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend is reported on a calendar year basis. The Department For International Development’s Annual ‘Statistics for International Development’ published in November 2016 shows that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spent 3.2% of total UK ODA in 2015; £391m of the £12,138m total. The FCO’s ODA allocation for FY 2016-17 is £466m.

9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Government faces considerable challenges both in upholding and protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of continuing Russian destabilisation, and in taking forward a comprehensive programme of political and economic reform. The Prime Minister underlined in Parliament on 25th January the UK's "commitment to the independent sovereign state of Ukraine", and our continuing strong political and practical support.

9th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the protection and promotion of human rights.

The Foreign Secretary met with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Bonn on 16 February. During the meeting they reaffirmed our shared goals and agreed to work together on a range of global issues

20th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the government of Egypt on recent UN reports of human rights abuses in that country.

We are aware of recent statements by UN special rapporteurs expressing concern at restrictions placed on human rights defenders and civil society in Egypt. In December, the spokesperson for the then UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed concern over the arrest of prominent Egyptian human rights defender Azza Soliman.

We are concerned about the decreasing space for civil society to operate in Egypt. Ministers and senior officials regularly raise our concerns with the Egyptian authorities in both London and Cairo. During my meeting with the Egyptian Ambassador on 8 December, I raised our concerns about the arrest of human rights defender Azza Soliman. In the same meeting I reiterated concerns, outlined in my statement from 1 December, about a proposed new law on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

We have also raised our concerns about human rights at the UN. During the most recent session of the UN's Human Rights Council in September we raised concerns about restrictions on civil society in both our national statement and through the EU statement.

We will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Egypt closely, and to urge the Egyptian government to ensure full implementation of the provisions for the free operation of civil society, contained in the constitution, including through a revised NGO law that conforms to international standards and protects freedom of expression.

19th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much of his Department's spending falls under the definition of official development assistance in the current financial year.

​The FCO's Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocation for FY 2016/17 is £466m.

19th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to discuss with his international counterparts plans to expedite air drops in Syria.

Getting humanitarian aid to Syrians trapped in besieged areas is one of our top priorities. Over 570,000 people remain in areas besieged by the Syrian regime. We have regular discussions with our international partners, including on methods for delivering humanitarian assistance to besieged populations in Syria. There are huge obstacles to carrying out airdrops, not least the risk to aircraft from regime air defences or terrorist groups. However, we rule nothing out and maintain every effort to help those in besieged areas. Most recently on 19 December we helped secure UN Security Council Resolution 2328 which demanded full access for the UN across Syria.

19th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia on future arms deals with the UK.

The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson) has discussed issues relating to the continued export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia regularly with his counterpart, including most recently during his visit to Riyadh on 11 December 2016 and again on 15 December 2016.

5th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information the Government holds on whether any UK nationals sit as judges in Israeli military courts.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold any information on this issue.

1st Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of Palestinian child detainees from the West Bank who have been transferred and detained inside Israel in each month since April 2016.

Whilst we do not hold monthly figures, the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains a human rights priority for the UK and I raised this with the Israeli Ambassador to London on 10 November. We remain concerned by the continued transfer of Palestinian child and adult detainees to prisons inside Israel, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on reports of recent massacres in Beni and the North Kivu region in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Government is deeply concerned by the reports of mass killings in Beni. During my visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August, I raised the ongoing violence in eastern DRC with Maman Sidikou, Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in eastern DRC (MONUSCO). In addition, our Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, regularly discusses the Beni situation with the MONUSCO leadership and the DRC Government. The EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 17 October reiterated the EU’s profound concern at the situation in Beni and reminded all involved of the UN sanctions regime for those responsible for serious human rights violations. Most recently, our representative on the UNSC visited eastern DRC last week to explore what more MONUSCO can do to prevent future killings.

15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on improving diplomatic co-ordination against Daesh.

The Global Coalition continues to coordinate closely as we reach a key phase of the campaign against Daesh. All five of the Coalition's Working Groups have met in the last two months, including Communications which I co-chaired. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, My Right Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson) and the Secretary of State for Defence, my Right Hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Sir Michael Fallon), attended meetings in Paris in October shortly after the operation to take Mosul began. Most recently, the Small Group of Coalition senior officials met in Berlin on 17 November.

15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the UK's decision to leave the EU on UK bilateral relations with (a) other EU and (b) non-EU countries.

As the UK leaves the European Union, the Government intends to strengthen its bilateral relationships with countries in Europe and around the world.

15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many times he has met Ministers of the Scottish Government since July 2016.

I met the Scottish Government Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe in the context of the Joint Ministerial Council (Europe Negotiations) on 9 November. The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) has not yet met any Minister in the Scottish Government in his official capacity, but is committed to do so as part of the FCO's continued engagement and cooperation with each of the Devolved Administrations.

27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 26 August 2016 to Question 45523, for what reasons the Government has not ratified the Convention for extension to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The British Government's ratification of the UN International Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has been extended to all of the permanently inhabited Overseas Territories. It has not been extended to the British Indian Ocean Territory as there is no permanent resident population.

27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 26 August 2016 to Question 45523, what plans he has to provide a response to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's recommendation (CERD/C/GBR//CO18-20) on the British Indian Ocean Territory and the Chagossians.

The UK has not extended its ratification of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to the British Indian Ocean Territory, and therefore considers questions relating to the Territory to be outside the remit of the Committee.

27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 26 August 2016 to Question 45523, what steps he plans to take to update Parliament, Chagossians and others on progress on the issues discussed in that Answer.

The Government will announce developments to Parliament and the public before the end of the year.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to address the humanitarian crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.

Her Majesty's Government is committed to addressing humanitarian crises in Africa through a number of means, including working bilaterally with African countries and through supporting multilateral bodies such as the European Union, United Nations, the International Financial Institutions and the African Union. The UK is also a leading donor in responding to crisis in the region; last year the Department for International Development spent £522m on humanitarian assistance across Africa, including South Sudan, Nigeria and in response to El Nino effects in Ethiopia and Southern Africa.

We also remain an active partner of the African Union, supporting the organisation to deliver its responsibility for peace and security on the continent, and in its role as the first responder to crisis. In addition,

Ministerial colleagues and I undertake regular visits to the region where prevention and responses to humanitarian crises are frequently discussed.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress the international coalition is making in its work to defeat Daesh.

​As recent progress in Qayyarah in Iraq and Manbij in Syria demonstrates, our strategy of supporting local forces, including with airstrikes is working. The Coalition assesses that Daesh has been driven out of around half the territory it once occupied in Iraq and over 20 per cent in Syria. Thousands of people have been freed from Daesh's rule and many of those who have escaped have now been able to return to their homes. The next major challenges are driving Daesh out of Raqqa and Mosul.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential implications for UK foreign policy of the President of the European Commission's State of the Union Address of 14 September 2016.

​The UK will continue to share foreign and security interests and common challenges with EU Member States and other partners. We will continue to be an influential international actor, remaining a leading member of NATO, the G7 and G20, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We do not assess President Juncker’s speech as fundamentally altering this.
7th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take in respect of the recommendations in paragraph 41 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's concluding observations on the 21st to 23rd periodic report, published on 26 August 2016, on facilitating the resettlement of the Chagossians.

The Government is aware of the recommendations of the Committee of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in respect to the resettlement of Chagossians. Ratification of the Convention has not been extended to the British Indian Ocean Territory and such questions remain outside the remit of the Committee. The Government remains committed to its review of current policy on resettlement and will continue to keep Parliament, Chagossians and their supporters closely informed of progress on the issue.

5th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the outcome of the EU referendum.

The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge and I have been holding, and will continue to hold, discussions with our international counterparts on the outcome of the EU referendum. The Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Witney attended the European Council meeting on 28 June to explain the decision the British people have taken.

5th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the outcomes of the 2016 Oslo Forum.

The Government was represented at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo by our Ambassador to Norway and by the London-based policy officer responsible for death penalty abolition. Officials worked closely with European partners before, during and after the Congress. The Government views the Congress as a useful forum for agreeing practical steps to reduce the use of the death penalty. We also played a constructive role in joint efforts to build support for a resolution calling for global moratorium to be put to the UN General Assembly in a December.
5th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on the future of existing European missions in Libya, Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The process for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will take time. Until then, we remain a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. We are also a member of the UN Security Council, of NATO, the Commonwealth, of the G7 and the G20. Our commitment to our extensive security cooperation with our international partners remains steadfast.
5th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Saudi counterpart on investigating allegations by Amnesty International on the use of a UK-supplied BL-755 cluster munition in northern Yemen.

We are aware of reports, including from Amnesty International on 6 June, of the alleged use of cluster munitions in the Saudi –led Coalition campaign in Yemen. The Government takes such allegations very seriously. We are seeking clarification from the Saudi-led Coalition through diplomatic and military channels as to the veracity of claims.

23rd May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will summon the ambassador of Turkey to explain why the Co-chair of the Democratic Regions Party, Kamuran Yuksek, has been arrested and charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation.

The PKK continues to mount deadly terrorist attacks in Turkey, particularly in the country’s south-east. In the course of security operations in that region, a number of Democratic Regions Party officials have been detained, including Kamuran Yuksek. We regularly urge the Turkish authorities to respect human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, in the course of anti-terror operations, and to support the rule of law. We will continue to monitor these issues closely.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, If he will make it his policy that the Scottish Government Minister with responsibility for fisheries will chair meetings of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council when the UK holds the presidency of the Council of the EU in 2017.

Foreign Policy is a reserved matter under the terms of the Devolution Settlements. A UK Minister will normally take the chair at Council meetings. In the absence of a UK Minister, arrangements are in place whereby a Minister of a devolved administration may take the Chair, subject to certain conditions. No detailed planning for EU Council meetings during the UK Presidency has yet taken place.

24th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the progress made at the recent UN peace talks in Geneva on Syria.

The latest phase of UN-facilitated peace talks on Syria came to a pause in Geneva on 24 March. UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura intends to reconvene the parties after the Easter break. This latest phase continued in the “proximity talks” format rather than direct talks between the parties. During their discussions with the UN Special Envoy, the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian Opposition presented their plans for political transition. Conversely, we understand that the Syrian regime did not engage on issues of substance during their discussions with the UN Special Envoy. At the conclusion of this round of talks, the UN produced a paper outlining its assessment of the “points of convergence” between the opposition and regime and has invited both sides to consider it before talks resume on or around 10 April.

24th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to end arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

The UK Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application. A licence will not be issued for any country, including Saudi Arabia, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria.

The Government is satisfied that extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing criteria.

24th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of UK relations with Pakistan; and if he will make a statement.

As I saw for myself, and as demonstrated my Rt Hon. Friend the member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Philip Hammond) the Foreign Secretary's visit to Islamabad and Lahore last month, the UK and Pakistan are joined by strong bonds of friendship and partnership. Our bilateral relationship is underpinned by extensive trade, investment and cultural cooperation. The UK will continue to stand beside the Government of Pakistan as it builds a more secure, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the application of the rule of law in the Maldives.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 3 February 2016 (PQ 24568) regarding the UK Government’s concern about the erosion of judicial independence in the Maldives.
11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to provide financial support to Jordan to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.

The UK has contributed £330 million to support stability in Jordan since the start of the Syria crisis, £193 million of which has gone towards support for refugees and host communities. We are committed to continuing our support. On 4 February the UK co-hosted the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region 2016’ conference which secured over $11bn in pledges for Syria's neighbours from the international community, the largest sum raised for a cause on a single day. Jordan agreed a Compact at the conference which will see their receiving new funding, concessional finance, and support to increase investment in return for providing refugees with access to work and education. The UK will be at the forefront of work to deliver this plan.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's relationship with Saudi Arabia on human rights in that country.

We use the strength of our relationship and engagement with Saudi Arabia to encourage reform. Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign and Commonwealth human rights priority country and we do not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns when it is appropriate to do so – I raised them most recently when I visited Riyadh last month. The Government of Saudi Arabia is well aware of our position on Human Rights issues.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what evidence from independent bodies he has seen that Saudi Arabia is complying with international humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict.

The Ministry of Defence monitors incidents of alleged International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations using available information which in turn informs our overall assessment of IHL compliance in Yemen. At this stage, looking at all the information available to us, we have not assessed that there has been a breach of IHL by the coalition, but continue to monitor the situation closely, seeking further information where appropriate. We regularly raise the importance of compliance with IHL to the Saudi Arabian government and other members of the military Coalition. Most recently I raised the issue of IHL compliance on 4 February with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in London

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic progress he has made in delivering a peaceful transition in Libya.

The UK continues to play an active role in supporting the Libyan dialogue facilitated by the UN. The signing of the Libyan Political Agreement in Skhirat, Morocco on 17 December was a significant step forward. The Agreement sets out the process for establishment of a Government of National Accord (GNA). We continue to work with partners in the international community to encourage the Libyan parties to implement the Agreement in full.

The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to coordinate international support for the GNA. In October, we hosted a meeting with the UN and international donors and agencies to discuss plans for coordinated support from the international community to the GNA. This has been followed up through UN-hosted coordination meetings in Tunis. We stand ready to work with the international community to deliver a significant package of support to help a Government of National Accord to achieve a stable and prosperous future for all Libyan citizens. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), and I both spoke recently with Prime Minister designate Serraj and also with UN Special Representative Kobler to underline the UK’s continued support for the GNA process and UN efforts in this area.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether Daesh are committing genocide in Syria.

The situation is desperate for many communities within Syria and Iraq. We condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by Daesh against Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis, and other minorities, as well as the majority Muslim population in Syria and Iraq who continue to bear the brunt of Daesh’s brutality.

It is a long-standing Government policy that any judgements on whether genocide has occurred are a matter for the international judicial system rather than governments or other non-judicial bodies. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations of International Humanitarian Law and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.

Ultimately, the best way of preventing future atrocities is to defeat Daesh and its violent ideology. That’s why the UK is playing a leading role in a Global Coalition of more than 65 countries and international organisations to respond to Daesh’s inhumanity.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he supports the aims of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Yes. The UK was a prime-mover for the creation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and continues to be an active advocate of a robust Treaty. The UK was amongst the first to sign the ATT in 2013 and ratified on 2 April 2014. We believe that the ATT will be stronger for every State which accedes to or ratifies it.

Universalisation will remain a key priority. The UK played an important role in the preparatory discussions leading to the First Conference of States Parties, and was a Vice-President of that Conference, brokering agreement on key decisions to establish sustainable mechanisms for the future viability of the ATT.

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the global abolition of the death penalty.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 27 January (question 23192) to the hon. Member for Chesterfield (Toby Perkins).
11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic steps he is taking to tackle the refugee crisis on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The UK continues to work closely with the Turkish government, including through implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan, to ensure that refugees continue to receive support and protection. We welcome Turkey’s generosity in hosting more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, and the ongoing support it is providing bilaterally to refugees amassing at its border with Syria. On 4 February 2016, the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) announced that the UK will more than double our total pledge to the Syria crisis from £1.12 billion to over £2.3 billion. This is the UK's largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.
11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made on preparations for the EU referendum.

Secondary legislation required for the referendum is making good progress. The Conduct Regulations, which set out the detailed framework of how the poll will be administered, have been debated in both Houses of Parliament. The date of the referendum must be agreed by Parliament in another statutory instrument which was laid before Parliament in draft on 22 February.

On 23 February the Electoral Commission published its "assessment of readiness" which endorsed the Government's approach and noted that "arrangements for delivery of a well-run referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union are well advanced".

11th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what diplomatic progress has been made by the international community in delivering peace in Syria.

On 11 February, the Foreign Secretary took part in the latest round of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting in Munich. At that meeting ISSG foreign ministers discussed how to support the political process, including through confidence building measures and steps towards a ceasefire, as called for in UNSCR 2254.

The ISSG agreed the need to implement a cessation of hostilities within a week, to delivering humanitarian assistance to named besieged communities by the weekend of 13-14 February and to facilitate rapid progress in negotiations aimed at political transition. If implemented fully and properly by every ISSG member, this will be an important step towards relieving the killing and suffering in Syria.

4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the length of time it is taking the British Virgin Island government to respond to its consultation on a public register of beneficial ownership.

The BVI Government issued a public consultation document in November 2013, seeking public opinion on whether or not the BVI should adopt a central register of beneficial ownership. The consultation process concluded in March 2014 and this was followed by a review and analysis of the submissions. The results were published in February 2015. Since then the BVI Government has been working with the financial services industry to develop proposals which led to the Statement made by the Premier in the House of Assembly on 3 November on changes to the BVI Business Companies Act and Anti Money Laundering legislation. We will continue to work with the BVI authorities so that the changes to their systems meet the three criteria that the Government has set out.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the steps taken by the British Virgin Islands to meet the Prime Minister's ambition for a public register of beneficial ownership since June 2013.

In March the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I wrote to the Premier of the British Virgin Islands asking him to set out plans and a timetable for the implementation of a central register of company beneficial ownership, or similarly effective system, ahead of the Joint Ministerial Council. The letter included three criteria we expect BVI to meet.

James Duddridge
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip)
3rd Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will ensure that any agreement on a central registry of beneficial ownership in the British Virgin Islands will include access for the public with legitimate reason, in line with the Fourth EU Anti Money Laundering Directive.

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the answer the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend, the Member for South West Hertfordshire (David Gauke MP), gave on 16 October 2015 (PQ10437, PQ10438 and PQ10448), which sets out the criteria we expect the Overseas Territories to meet in relation to their central register of company beneficial ownership, or similarly effective system.

16th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when he plans for the next Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council to take place.

The next Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council will take place in London in the week beginning 30 November 2015.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
2nd Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department have held with business organisations to discuss the Bribery Act 2010 and guidance on that Act since January 2015; and on what dates those meetings took place.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and officials have regular contacts with businesses, during which the UK Bribery Act is often discussed. We do not hold central records of such discussions.

25th Jan 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will estimate the contribution of UK continental shelf oil and gas to the annual tax yield.

The tax revenues (Offshore Corporation Tax and Petroleum Revenue Tax) arising from the production and extraction of North Sea oil and gas from the UK and UK Continental Shelf are presented in HM Revenue and Customs receipts publication (latest version December 2016), which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584766/Dec16_Receipts_Table_Final.xlsx

6th Jan 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the gross value is of uncollected aggregate levy tax outstanding as a consequence of retrospectively revoking certificates of exemption previously issued in respect of the extraction and mining of shale rock.

HM Revenue and Custom (HMRC) has collected approximately £9.2 million from 10 UK businesses in relation to exemptions from aggregates levy that the European Commission ruled were unlawful state aid.

As the number of businesses with outstanding aggregates levy due is less than five, HMRC cannot provide statistics on the gross value of uncollected aggregate levy tax outstanding as this could lead to the identification of individual taxpayers.

6th Jan 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many (a) people and (b) companies are being pursued by his Department for failing to collect aggregate levy tax as a consequence of certificates of exemption that have been retrospectively revoked after having been previously issued in respect of the extraction and mining of shale rock.

HM Revenue and Custom (HMRC) has collected approximately £9.2 million from 10 UK businesses in relation to exemptions from aggregates levy that the European Commission ruled were unlawful state aid.

As the number of businesses with outstanding aggregates levy due is less than five, HMRC cannot provide statistics on the gross value of uncollected aggregate levy tax outstanding as this could lead to the identification of individual taxpayers.

5th Dec 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what information his Department holds on the reported dash for cash policy relating to senior managers at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The allegations relating to the actions of Royal Bank of Scotland’s Global Restructuring Group are being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority. In November this year the FCA released the summary findings of the skilled person’s report it commissioned to investigate these allegations. The FCA is an independent, non-governmental body and the review is solely within its remit.

4th May 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Financial Conduct Authority takes to ensure the chairs and boards of directors of banks adhere to commitments made within their published customer charters.

This is an operational matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), who are operationally independent from Government.

The question has been passed on to the FCA. The FCA will reply directly to the hon Member by letter. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

27th Nov 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence the Government has had with the Bank of Scotland on implementation of the Access to Banking Protocol and the (a) closure of branches and (b) reduction of banking services in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, each participating bank has committed to carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch. This includes establishing the impact of a branch closure before it takes place; finding suitable alternative provision; and putting in place suitable alternative measures before a branch is closed.


There is a commitment to review the operation of the protocol after one year. In August, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise and I wrote to the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association and requested an update on progress towards the appointment of an independent reviewer. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chief Executives of the banks that are signatories to the Access to Banking protocol.


Banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.


Decisions on the opening and closing of individual bank branches are taken by the management of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government.

27th Nov 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence the Government has had with Lloyds TSB on implementation of the Access to Banking Protocol and the (a) closure of branches and (b) reduction of banking services in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, each participating bank has committed to carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch. This includes establishing the impact of a branch closure before it takes place; finding suitable alternative provision; and putting in place suitable alternative measures before a branch is closed.


There is a commitment to review the operation of the protocol after one year. In August, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise and I wrote to the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association and requested an update on progress towards the appointment of an independent reviewer. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chief Executives of the banks that are signatories to the Access to Banking protocol.


Banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.


Decisions on the opening and closing of individual bank branches are taken by the management of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government.

27th Nov 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence the Government has had with the Clydesdale Bank on implementation of the Access to Banking Protocol and the (a) closure of branches and (b) reduction of banking services in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, each participating bank has committed to carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch. This includes establishing the impact of a branch closure before it takes place; finding suitable alternative provision; and putting in place suitable alternative measures before a branch is closed.


There is a commitment to review the operation of the protocol after one year. In August, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise and I wrote to the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association and requested an update on progress towards the appointment of an independent reviewer. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chief Executives of the banks that are signatories to the Access to Banking protocol.


Banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.


Decisions on the opening and closing of individual bank branches are taken by the management of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government.

27th Nov 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what correspondence the Government has had with the Royal Bank of Scotland on implementation of the Access to Banking Protocol and the (a) closure of branches and (b) reduction of banking services in the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, each participating bank has committed to carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch. This includes establishing the impact of a branch closure before it takes place; finding suitable alternative provision; and putting in place suitable alternative measures before a branch is closed.


There is a commitment to review the operation of the protocol after one year. In August, the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise and I wrote to the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association and requested an update on progress towards the appointment of an independent reviewer. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Chief Executives of the banks that are signatories to the Access to Banking protocol.


Banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy.


Decisions on the opening and closing of individual bank branches are taken by the management of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government.

16th Sep 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2015 to Question 5430, on ownership of companies, what his definition is of a similarly effective system.

The international standards on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, including transparency of legal persons, are set by the Financial Action Task Force. The British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are members of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and are subject to mutual evaluations of their AML/CTF regime through this body.

At the December 2014 Joint Ministerial Council, the UK and the Overseas Territories committed to continue to work together in raising international standards to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption, leading by example given the importance of our financial centres to the international financial system. In March, the Minister for the Overseas Territories and I wrote to the Premiers of the BVI and Cayman Islands asking them to set out plans and a timetable for the implementation of central registers of company beneficial ownership, or similarly effective systems, by the November Joint Ministerial Council.

Any system should meet the following three criteria: UK and domestic law enforcement and tax authorities must be able to access company beneficial ownership information without restriction, subject to relevant safeguards; these competent authorities should be able to quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in, without needing to submit multiple and repeated requests; and companies or their beneficial owners must not be alerted to the fact that an investigation is under way.

The UK Government continues to engage actively with the BVI and Cayman Islands to emphasize the importance of this agenda and to offer any technical support that might be required.

16th Sep 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the Cayman Islands government's progress towards implementing a central register of beneficial ownership; and what steps he is taking to ensure that that government publishes a timetable for that implementation by November 2015.

The international standards on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, including transparency of legal persons, are set by the Financial Action Task Force. The British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are members of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and are subject to mutual evaluations of their AML/CTF regime through this body.

At the December 2014 Joint Ministerial Council, the UK and the Overseas Territories committed to continue to work together in raising international standards to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption, leading by example given the importance of our financial centres to the international financial system. In March, the Minister for the Overseas Territories and I wrote to the Premiers of the BVI and Cayman Islands asking them to set out plans and a timetable for the implementation of central registers of company beneficial ownership, or similarly effective systems, by the November Joint Ministerial Council.

Any system should meet the following three criteria: UK and domestic law enforcement and tax authorities must be able to access company beneficial ownership information without restriction, subject to relevant safeguards; these competent authorities should be able to quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in, without needing to submit multiple and repeated requests; and companies or their beneficial owners must not be alerted to the fact that an investigation is under way.

The UK Government continues to engage actively with the BVI and Cayman Islands to emphasize the importance of this agenda and to offer any technical support that might be required.

16th Sep 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the British Virgin Islands government's progress towards implementing a central register of beneficial ownership; and what steps he is taking to ensure that that government publishes a timetable for that implementation by November 2015.

The international standards on anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing, including transparency of legal persons, are set by the Financial Action Task Force. The British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands are members of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and are subject to mutual evaluations of their AML/CTF regime through this body.

At the December 2014 Joint Ministerial Council, the UK and the Overseas Territories committed to continue to work together in raising international standards to tackle money laundering, tax evasion, illicit finance and corruption, leading by example given the importance of our financial centres to the international financial system. In March, the Minister for the Overseas Territories and I wrote to the Premiers of the BVI and Cayman Islands asking them to set out plans and a timetable for the implementation of central registers of company beneficial ownership, or similarly effective systems, by the November Joint Ministerial Council.

Any system should meet the following three criteria: UK and domestic law enforcement and tax authorities must be able to access company beneficial ownership information without restriction, subject to relevant safeguards; these competent authorities should be able to quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in, without needing to submit multiple and repeated requests; and companies or their beneficial owners must not be alerted to the fact that an investigation is under way.

The UK Government continues to engage actively with the BVI and Cayman Islands to emphasize the importance of this agenda and to offer any technical support that might be required.

15th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) child tax credits, (b) working tax credit reductions, (c) working tax credit restrictions and (d) restriction of working tax credit to two children with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

15th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) child tax credits, (b) working tax credit reductions, (c) working tax credit restrictions and (d) restriction of working tax credit to two children with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

15th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the compatibility of changes to (a) child tax credits, (b) working tax credit reductions, (c) working tax credit restrictions and (d) restriction of working tax credit to two children with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ministers had regard to all relevant international obligations when formulating the welfare policies announced at the Budget and consider that these obligations have been complied with.

7th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has undertaken on how the tax reduction for individuals associated with increasing the higher rate tax level threshold will be distributed between the UK's constituent nations.

The government has committed to increasing the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by the end of the parliament. The Summer Budget announcement set out the first steps the government will take to reach these commitments.

The personal allowance will increase from £10,600 in 2015-16 to £11,000 in 2016-17, and £11,200 in 2017-18. The higher rate threshold will increase from £42,385 to £43,000 and £43,600 respectively.

These changes will cut income tax for over 29 million taxpayers across the UK between now and 16-17. At the constituent nation level, 24.4 million individuals in England, 1.4 million individuals in Wales, 2.5 million individuals in Scotland and nearly 710,000 individuals in Northern Ireland will see a reduction in the amount of income tax paid

By 2016-17, 130,000 individuals will have been taken out of the higher rate of tax, since the start of this parliament. However, it is not possible to produce reliable estimates of income taxpayer numbers taken out of the higher rate tax at the regional level due to greater uncertainties in making these projections.

2nd Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2015 to Question 4358, what mechanisms other than the issuance of gilts are used to finance Government borrowing; and what the gross value is of borrowing through such mechanisms.

The majority of central government borrowing is financed through gilt issuance by the Debt Management Office (£126.4 billion in 2014-15).

Other sources of central government financing in 2014-15 were:

  • National Savings and Investments – net financing of £18.2 billion

  • Treasury bills – net financing of £8.5 billion

  • Renminbi bond – net financing of £0.3 billion

  • Sukuk – net financing of £0.2 billion

    Total financing through these sources in 2014-15 totalled £27.2 billion.

    Local authorities have flexibility to determine their sources of borrowing within the prudential code borrowing regime. Local authorities undertake the majority of their borrowing via the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), a statutory body operating within the Debt Management Office. The PWLB’s function is to lend money from the National Loans Fund to local authorities and to collect repayments.

    From April 2015, the Scottish government has the power to borrow up to a total of £2.2 billion for capital investment by way of bond issuance as well as via the National Loans Fund and commercial loans. The coalition government announced in February 2015 that the Welsh government’s means of borrowing for capital investment from April 2018, up to a total of £500 million, will also be extended to include bond issuance.

25th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the gross value of sterling issued through the Government's quantitative easing initiation is included in calculations of the national debt.

The gross value of the Bank of England’s quantitative easing, the Asset Purchase Facility (APF), is included in the calculation of Public Sector Net Debt as a liability on the Bank’s balance sheet.

This inclusion of the APF is shown as part of Table 8D of the Public Sector Finances release jointly published by the independent Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury.

25th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the national debt, from which individuals or organisations has the money been borrowed; and to whom or to which organisations is the debt owed.

The majority of government borrowing is financed through the issuance of UK government bonds known as ‘gilts’ by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and as such, the majority of the government’s debt is held in gilts.

The Treasury does not hold detailed information on the holders of gilts. Information on sectoral holdings of gilts is published on a quarterly basis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

25th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, on what basis the national debt is calculated.

The monthly Public Sector Finances bulletin is published jointly by the independent Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury. The Public Sector Finances statistical release provides detail on how debt is calculated in Table 8A for Central Government and subsequent tables for the wider Public Sector as a whole.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2015 to Question 1384, on fuels: rebates, whether the filling station in the KW12 postcode area that submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information subsequently claimed relief through the rural fuel rebate scheme.

Records show that a filling station in the KW12 postcode area submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information in September 2013. The filling station submitted the price spreadsheet provided here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-extension-of-the-rural-fuel-rebate-scheme-call-for-information as well as supporting records.

Details of which individual fuel stations claiming relief under the scheme cannot be disclosed due to taxpayer confidentiality.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2015 to Question 1384, on fuels: rebates, when the filling station in the KW12 postcode area that submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information did so; and what the content of that submission was.

Records show that a filling station in the KW12 postcode area submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information in September 2013. The filling station submitted the price spreadsheet provided here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-extension-of-the-rural-fuel-rebate-scheme-call-for-information as well as supporting records.

Details of which individual fuel stations claiming relief under the scheme cannot be disclosed due to taxpayer confidentiality.

16th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many fuel stations are located within the KW12 postcode area and claim relief through the fuel rebate scheme.

Records show that a filling station in the KW12 postcode area submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information in September 2013. The filling station submitted the price spreadsheet provided here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-extension-of-the-rural-fuel-rebate-scheme-call-for-information as well as supporting records.

Details of which individual fuel stations claiming relief under the scheme cannot be disclosed due to taxpayer confidentiality.

8th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how he plans to implement the rural fuel rebate scheme in the KW12 postcode area which contains no fuel stations.

The Government used pump price data received through calls for information, as well as data previously held by HMRC, to help determine the list of areas to be included in its application to the European Commission for the extension of the rural fuel rebate scheme. Records show that a filling station in the KW12 postcode submitted evidence as part of the Calls for Information. While some areas may have been included in the Government’s application in which a filling station has since closed down, the areas met the strict criteria used for the application, and therefore new filling stations in these areas remain eligible to apply for the scheme.

8th Jun 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons the proprietors of fuel stations in Durness and Scourie have not been reimbursed through the rural fuel rebate scheme for fuel duty reductions they have passed to customers in the IV27 postcode area for claims submitted on 10 May and 1 June 2015.

HMRC has a duty to maintain taxpayer confidentiality and cannot comment on individual circumstances.

All claims made for Rural Fuel Duty Relief should be paid provided they meet the criteria set out in the Excise Notice (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-2001-rural-fuel-duty-relief-scheme/excise-notice-2001-rural-fuel-duty-relief-scheme).

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to resettle child refugees in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland.

Child refugees and their families are being resettled across the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme. We continue to work with local authorities and devolved administrations to ensure reception arrangements, accommodation and appropriate care arrangements are in place to meet our commitments.

27th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to meet with Ministers of the Scottish Government.

It is important that the Home Office engages with the Scottish Government, and Ministers will be meeting in the coming months. The department does not however publish the arrangements for such meetings in advance.

27th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to review immigration rules for spouse visas.

The Supreme Court endorsed our approach in setting a minimum income threshold for sponsoring a spouse visa in its judgment in MM (Lebanon) & Others on 22 February 2017.

This requirement prevents burdens on the taxpayer and ensures migrant families can integrate into our communities. We are carefully considering what the Court has said in relation to cases involving children and to exceptional cases where the income threshold has not been met.

30th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the taxation levels of front-line police and fire services across the constituent parts of the UK.

Both policing and the fire service are devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Council tax policy in Wales is a matter for the Welsh government. Council tax referendum principles for local authorities in England are set by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and are subject to the approval of the House of Commons. An announcement about principles for 2017/18 will, be made shortly.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying different immigration rules to Scotland and other constituent parts of the UK.

Immigration remains a reserved matter and we will consider the needs of the UK as a whole.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications of the UK leaving the EU on her Departmental responsibilities.

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) is working closely with all Government departments to ensure that the full range of opportunities are taken and risks mitigated across every area of Government policy.

A central unit has been established to coordinate EU exit work across the Home Office and act as a central contact for DExEU. Units across the Home Office are also feeding into this work.

24th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is the policy of her Department to require completion of immigration cards by UK citizens arriving at UK airports from EU destinations.

A citizen of the UK, encompassing Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is regarded as a British citizen. British citizens are not required to complete a landing card when arriving at UK airports from European Union destinations or anywhere else.

24th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to review immigration rules for students.

As the Home Secretary recently announced, we will shortly be consulting on what more we can do to strengthen the system to support the best institutions – and those that stick to the rules – to attract the best talent.

The consultation will include looking, for the first time, at whether our student immigration rules should be tailored to the quality of the institution.

Interested parties, including businesses and members of the education sector, will have the opportunity to engage with this consultation to help us get these reforms right.

24th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to reform the immigration detention estate.

The Government commissioned an independent review of the welfare of vulnerable individuals in detention by Stephen Shaw. We accepted the broad thrust of Mr Shaw’s recommendations, including the adoption of a wider definition of those at risk, and we have strengthened our policies and processes for dealing with the detention of persons who may be vulnerable.

The Government expect these reforms, and broader changes in legislation, policy and operational approaches, to lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained The immigration detention estate is kept under constant review to make sure we have the right resources in the right places and that we are providing value for money.

24th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the implications of the UK leaving the EU on her departmental responsibilities.

Teams across the Home Office are assessing the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on their work to establish future requirements

7th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to accelerate the family reunification process for unaccompanied children in Europe.

The Government began work to implement the ‘Dubs amendment’ immediately after the Immigration Bill gained Royal Assent. Over 30 children who meet the criteria in the Immigration Act have been accepted for transfer since it received Royal Assent in May, the majority of these have already arrived in the UK.

We continue to work with the French, Greek and Italian authorities and others to speed up existing family reunification processes or implement new processes where necessary for unaccompanied children. We have seconded a UK official to Greece; we have a long-standing secondee working in Italy and will shortly be seconding another official to the French Interior Ministry to support these efforts.

We have established a dedicated team in the Home Office Dublin Unit to lead on family reunion cases for unaccompanied children. Transfer requests under the Dublin Regulation are now generally processed within 10 days and children transferred within weeks. Over 120 children have been accepted for transfer this year from Europe.

We also continue to consult local authorities about the transfer unaccompanied refugee children from Europe to the UK, where it is in their best interests

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with people from other EU countries living in the UK since the EU referendum on their right to live in the UK after the UK's exit from the EU.

Government Ministers and officials engage with a wide range of stakeholders.

The Prime Minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals here. The only circumstances in which that would not be possible are if British citizens’ rights in other EU Member States were not protected in return.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to improve the provision of asylum accommodation.

We have worked closely with our COMPASS Providers to improve property standards and over the lifetime of the contract quality standards have increased. Where issues with accommodation are discovered we work with our contractors to ensure issues are quickly addressed. When they are not we can and do impose sanctions and seek remedial plans to drive improvement. Through continued engagement with service users and accommodation providers and regular property inspections the Home Office will continue to ensure asylum accommodation is adequate.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the Government will make a commitment at the UN General Assembly meetings on refugees and migrants on 19 and 20 September 2016 to allow more refugees to reach the UK safely and legally.

The Government has no plans to introduce additional pathways for refugees to come to the UK. The UK is already a leading resettlement state, offering a number of safe and legal pathways for refugees. In the year ending June 2016, a total of 3,439 people were resettled in the UK.

In addition to the 20,000 Syrian refugees and up to 3,000 vulnerable persons from the Middle East and North Africa region that the Government has committed to resettle by 2020, the UK has also committed to relocate unaccompanied refugee children from France, Greece and Italy. Under the family reunion policy we have reunited around 22,000 refugees with their immediate family over the past five years and will continue to do so. The Government supports the principle that those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. This allows vulnerable persons to receive help quickly rather than risking their lives on hazardous journeys into and across Europe or falling victim to criminal gangs who are exploiting the situation. Providing humanitarian aid in the region is the best way to provide much needed support to the majority of those fleeing persecution while working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to resettle the most vulnerable who cannot reasonably remain.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of excluding Scotland from the scope of the net migration target.

Our immigration system is designed to work for the whole of the UK and surveys show that people in Scotland want to see net migration reduced. We have a Scotland-specific Shortage Occupation List to accommodate skills shortages which are specific to Scotland. Applying substantially different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity, and cause confusion for applicants and difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff to other parts of the UK.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will intervene to suspend the decision by Capita relating to Mrs Marleen Baldwin; and if she will ensure that Mrs Baldwin is not forcibly removed from the UK until she has reviewed her case.

We do not comment publicly on individual cases. UK Visas and Immigration will write to the Honourable Member to provide an update on this case.

There are no plans for a specific review of the administrative handling of immigration applications from Canadian nationals for indefinite leave to remain. UK Visas and Immigration is, however, committed to the principles of continuous improvement and to applying these to ensure processes are efficient and effective.

The administrative requirements, and service standards, to which applicants for indefinite leave to remain are subject, are set out at www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/settle-in-the-uk. This information is reviewed regularly, with a view to ensuring it is as clear as possible.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will review the application for indefinite leave submitted by Mrs Marleen Baldwin and the notice of subsequent curtailment issued by her Department.

We do not comment publicly on individual cases. UK Visas and Immigration will write to the Honourable Member to provide an update on this case.

There are no plans for a specific review of the administrative handling of immigration applications from Canadian nationals for indefinite leave to remain. UK Visas and Immigration is, however, committed to the principles of continuous improvement and to applying these to ensure processes are efficient and effective.

The administrative requirements, and service standards, to which applicants for indefinite leave to remain are subject, are set out at www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/settle-in-the-uk. This information is reviewed regularly, with a view to ensuring it is as clear as possible.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to review applications from Canadian nationals for indefinite leave to remain to ensure that decision-making is (a) appropriate and (b) evidence-based.

We do not comment publicly on individual cases. UK Visas and Immigration will write to the Honourable Member to provide an update on this case.

There are no plans for a specific review of the administrative handling of immigration applications from Canadian nationals for indefinite leave to remain. UK Visas and Immigration is, however, committed to the principles of continuous improvement and to applying these to ensure processes are efficient and effective.

The administrative requirements, and service standards, to which applicants for indefinite leave to remain are subject, are set out at www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/settle-in-the-uk. This information is reviewed regularly, with a view to ensuring it is as clear as possible.

4th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish Government plans to deploy armed officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to support territorial police forces and to use the military to backfill such officers in civil nuclear establishments.

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary and territorial police forces offer mutual support through individual agreements. As the Prime Minister said in his statement to the House of Commons on 23 November [23 Nov 2015: Column 1051], plans are in place to enable military personnel to support the Police in the event of major terrorist incidents in the UK. Military personnel will be able to fill a number of operational tasks. For national security reasons, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on these detailed operational agreements.

3rd May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Canadian nationals have been refused indefinite leave to remain in the UK in each of the last 10 years.

The requested information for the period 2005 to 2014 is provided in the table below.

Canadian nationals refused indefinite leave to remain

Year

Total refusals

2005

40

2006

20

2007

23

2008

30

2009

36

2010

30

2011

15

2012

12

2013

18

2014

18

Source:
Immigration Statistics Oct-Dec 2015, Home Office, table se_03

Corresponding information for 2015 will be published on 26th August 2016.

The Home Office publishes figures on people refused indefinite leave to remain by nationality (in country refusals of settlement) in table se_03 of the Immigration Statistics release. A copy of the latest release, Immigration Statistics October to December 2015, is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release.

13th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to establish an Infrastructure Police Force to replace the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review made a commitment to “integrate infrastructure policing further and to review the options to do this” and this review is underway.

28th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that criminalisation of the use or possession of drugs, or injecting equipment, does not deter (a) people from seeking services because of fear of arrest and prosecution and (b) harm-reduction service providers from offering assistance because of concerns about their own legal liability.

The 2010 Drug Strategy contains a clear ambition that drug users will be supported to become drug free. The UK is a good example of how it is possible to achieve good health outcomes while retaining a criminal offence for drug possession. Service providers are encouraged to create a confidential environment for users to discuss their drug dependency. In addition, data on an individual’s substance misuse is collected in a way which preserves their confidentiality. We will shortly be publishing a new Drug Strategy

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and its regulations support healthcare providers, including drug treatment services, by providing exemptions for the supply of injecting equipment and other drug paraphernalia where there is evidence that their provision and use will help prevent harm or support recovery. The most recent example of this was the exemption made in 2014 to enable the lawful provision of foil.

25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to decriminalise drug use and encourage the implementation and enforcement of anti-discrimination and protective laws, based on human rights standards, to eliminate stigma, discrimination, social exclusion and violence against young people who inject drugs based on actual or presumed behaviours and HIV status.

The Government has no intention of decriminalising drugs in the UK. Decriminalisation would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities.

The Government’s approach to drugs, based on our balanced 2010 Drug Strategy, remains clear. We must prevent drug use in our communities and support people dependent on drugs through treatment and recovery. At the same time, we have to stop the supply of illegal drugs and tackle the organised crime behind the drugs trade.

There are promising signs our approach is working, with a downward trend in drug use over the last decade and more people recovering from dependency now than in 2009/10.

5th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to relax immigration rules on the reunification of families and allow members of a refugee's extended family to join them in the UK.

Our refugee family reunion policy allows immediate family members of a person in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status - that is a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18, who formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin - to reunite with them in the UK.

We have no plans to widen these criteria, which are fully compliant with our international obligations and enable thousands of people each year to be reunited with their families in the UK.

We are also making a significant contribution to support refugees and their families in other ways. The UK has contributed over £1 billion in humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis and we intend to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees displaced to neighbouring countries over the lifetime of this Parliament.

5th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many refugee families she expects to be relocated to Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency; where such families will be housed; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that such families have access to education for their children.

With regard to the resettlement of 20,000 Syrians that the Prime Minister announced on 7 September, this is a voluntary scheme whereby local authorities sign up to accept refugees on a voluntary basis and there is no expectation on any particular local authority.

We are working closely with those local authorities that have indicated they wish to be involved as well as with the Local Government Association and with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. We do not disclose the details of where refugees are resettled upon their arrival in the UK under the Government resettlement schemes as this may undermine the privacy and recovery of this vulnerable group of people.

The Home Office alongside other departments and the Local Government Association and the Convention of Scottish Authorities will work with individual local authorities who are volunteering to take Syrian refugees to secure appropriate accommodation.

The Government has committed to investing £7 billion on new school places over the next six years, and in the last Parliament funding for school places doubled to £5 billion to create 445,000 additional places. Local Authorities are allocated funding for school places based on their own local data on school capacity and pupil forecasts, in which they take account of factors including rising birth rates, housing development, trends in internal migration and migration to England from elsewhere in the United Kingdom and from overseas. We continue to work with Local Authorities to make sure that every child has a school place.

2nd Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what measures are in place to protect orphaned children from exploitation subsequent to their being taken to the UK from (a) Syria and (b) other countries and removed from their extended family.

Any child who arrives in the UK unaccompanied, either as a result of resettlement or via another route, would be expected to receive the same protection and support as a child who is resident in the UK, under the provisions set out in the Children Act 1989, as amended, and related statutory guidance.

29th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Wilson Doctrine has been consistently applied to the parliamentary communications of the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; and whether that hon. Member has been subject to surveillance.

The Government’s position on the Wilson Doctrine was set out by the Prime Minister in a written ministerial statement made on 4 November 2015.

As the Prime Minister made clear, the Wilson Doctrine has never been an absolute bar to the targeted interception of the communications of Members of Parliament or an exemption from the legal regime governing interception. The Doctrine recognised that there could be instances where interception might be necessary.

The Prime Minister announced that as matter of policy the PM will be consulted should there ever be a proposal to target any UK Parliamentarian’s communications under a warrant issued by a Secretary of State. This applies to Members of Parliament, members of the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Welsh Assembly and UK members of the European Parliament. It applies to all activity authorised by a warrant issued by a Secretary of State: any instance of targeted interception and electronic surveillance and equipment interference when undertaken by the Security and Intelligence Agencies. This is in addition to the rigorous safeguards already in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and the Code of Practice issued under it which set out a series of robust safeguards for any instance of interception.

It is long standing policy of successive Governments neither to confirm nor deny any specific activity by the Security and Intelligence Agencies. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 it is an offence for anyone to identify an individual interception warrant or an individual interception that takes place.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department takes to avoid human rights abuses in those states that receive financial aid from the Government to maintain and sustain operational anti-narcotic services.

The Government provides counter-narcotics assistance to a range of international partners, including Pakistan. We do so to tackle the international drugs trade and minimise the threat it poses to the UK and its citizens. It is important to protect activities which form part of the UK's contribution to the international counter-narcotics effort and to respect the principle that international partners are able to operate in secrecy on matters of national security against organised crime. As such, it is our policy not to disclose details of financial assistance relating to our counter narcotics work, as to do so risks reducing its effectiveness and damaging international relations.

The Government strongly opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and we are consistent in our communication on this issue. UK Ministers have and will continue to urge countries, including Pakistan, to repeal the death penalty and take action to ensure human rights are safeguarded.

When engaging internationally, all government departments must adhere to Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance. This enables a comprehensive and ongoing assessment of the human rights risks attached to international activity. When the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in Pakistan the Government reviewed its security engagement. Our engagement in Pakistan continues to be conducted in full accordance with the OSJA guidance, with respect for human rights as one of its core principles.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to increase transparency of the distribution and extent of financial aid provided to assist other countries to maintain and sustain anti-narcotic operational services.

The Government provides counter-narcotics assistance to a range of international partners, including Pakistan. We do so to tackle the international drugs trade and minimise the threat it poses to the UK and its citizens. It is important to protect activities which form part of the UK's contribution to the international counter-narcotics effort and to respect the principle that international partners are able to operate in secrecy on matters of national security against organised crime. As such, it is our policy not to disclose details of financial assistance relating to our counter narcotics work, as to do so risks reducing its effectiveness and damaging international relations.

The Government strongly opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and we are consistent in our communication on this issue. UK Ministers have and will continue to urge countries, including Pakistan, to repeal the death penalty and take action to ensure human rights are safeguarded.

When engaging internationally, all government departments must adhere to Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance. This enables a comprehensive and ongoing assessment of the human rights risks attached to international activity. When the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in Pakistan the Government reviewed its security engagement. Our engagement in Pakistan continues to be conducted in full accordance with the OSJA guidance, with respect for human rights as one of its core principles.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much financial aid the Government provides to support operational anti-narcotic services organised and implemented by Pakistan; to what extent the deployment of that aid is affected by that state's use of the death penalty for those detained as a result of convictions for narcotic-based crimes; and if she will make a statement.

The Government provides counter-narcotics assistance to a range of international partners, including Pakistan. We do so to tackle the international drugs trade and minimise the threat it poses to the UK and its citizens. It is important to protect activities which form part of the UK's contribution to the international counter-narcotics effort and to respect the principle that international partners are able to operate in secrecy on matters of national security against organised crime. As such, it is our policy not to disclose details of financial assistance relating to our counter narcotics work, as to do so risks reducing its effectiveness and damaging international relations.

The Government strongly opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and we are consistent in our communication on this issue. UK Ministers have and will continue to urge countries, including Pakistan, to repeal the death penalty and take action to ensure human rights are safeguarded.

When engaging internationally, all government departments must adhere to Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance. This enables a comprehensive and ongoing assessment of the human rights risks attached to international activity. When the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in Pakistan the Government reviewed its security engagement. Our engagement in Pakistan continues to be conducted in full accordance with the OSJA guidance, with respect for human rights as one of its core principles.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much financial aid the Government provides to support operational anti-narcotic services organised and implemented by states that support and implement the death penalty; and if she will make a statement.

The Government provides counter-narcotics assistance to a range of international partners, including Pakistan. We do so to tackle the international drugs trade and minimise the threat it poses to the UK and its citizens. It is important to protect activities which form part of the UK's contribution to the international counter-narcotics effort and to respect the principle that international partners are able to operate in secrecy on matters of national security against organised crime. As such, it is our policy not to disclose details of financial assistance relating to our counter narcotics work, as to do so risks reducing its effectiveness and damaging international relations.

The Government strongly opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and we are consistent in our communication on this issue. UK Ministers have and will continue to urge countries, including Pakistan, to repeal the death penalty and take action to ensure human rights are safeguarded.

When engaging internationally, all government departments must adhere to Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) Guidance. This enables a comprehensive and ongoing assessment of the human rights risks attached to international activity. When the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted in Pakistan the Government reviewed its security engagement. Our engagement in Pakistan continues to be conducted in full accordance with the OSJA guidance, with respect for human rights as one of its core principles.

6th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, at what rank and in which section of the armed forces is the officer responsible for day-to-day management of RAF Tain Air Weapons Range.

Air Weapons Range Tain, formerly RAF Tain, is part of and managed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), its day to day operation is supported by Landmarc Support Services.

The Principal Training Safety Officer (PTSO), an Army Lieutenant Colonel, has overall responsibility for Air Weapons Range Tain. The Training Safety Officer (TSO), a Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian C2 grade, has delegated responsibility for the day to day management of Air Weapons Range Tain.

All air activity at Tain is managed through 1 Group RAF and all ground activity at the range is managed through the PTSO/TSO, users are also responsible for their specific exercises.

6th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, at what rank and in which section of the armed forces is the officer who holds overall responsibility for management of RAF Tain Air Weapons Range.

Air Weapons Range Tain, formerly RAF Tain, is part of and managed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), its day to day operation is supported by Landmarc Support Services.

The Principal Training Safety Officer (PTSO), an Army Lieutenant Colonel, has overall responsibility for Air Weapons Range Tain. The Training Safety Officer (TSO), a Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian C2 grade, has delegated responsibility for the day to day management of Air Weapons Range Tain.

All air activity at Tain is managed through 1 Group RAF and all ground activity at the range is managed through the PTSO/TSO, users are also responsible for their specific exercises.

28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 23 October 2015 to the hon. Member for Reigate to Question 12151, whether he plans for the boats built to replace the nuclear submarine fleet to be built with steel manufactured in the UK.

Steel for key defence programmes, including submarines, is sourced from a range of suppliers. It is the responsibility of prime contractors to obtain the steel required to complete MOD programmes at a competitive cost, within time constraints and to the required quality.

I expect a range of UK suppliers and others will be invited to bid and provide steel for the Successor programme.

6th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many passes were made by (a) Royal Air Force (RAF) and (b) non-RAF aircraft over RAF Tain in each of the last 15 years; and what munitions have been dropped during those passes.

The information requested is shown in the attached table.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he expects the Coastal Communities Fund to reopen for a further round of funding.

Details of future funding arrangements for the Coastal Communities Fund are currently being considered as part of the 2015 Spending Review. An announcement about the timing of future funding rounds is expected after the Autumn Statement.

Marcus Jones
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
25th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to provide alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people with drug-use disorders and to encourage alternatives to imprisonment facilitating the eventual rehabilitation, re-skilling and reintegration of drug users.

We are currently trialling ‘Liaison and Diversion’ services. These services place health professionals at police stations and courts to assess suspects for a range of health problems, including drug misuse, and make referrals to treatment and support. Information shared with the criminal justice system can be used to inform decisions, supporting diversion into treatment as part of an alternative to charge or to custody where appropriate.

We are also interested in problem-solving courts, such as drug courts, given evidence of success in other jurisdictions. Officials are now working with members of the judiciary to consider how the problem-solving approach might be developed for England and Wales.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
7th Jul 2015
To ask the Leader of the House, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of his proposal to introduce English votes on English laws with the Union with England Act 1707; and if he will make a statement.


The Union with Scotland Act 1706 and the Union with England Act 1707 provide that the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall be represented by one Parliament. I am satisfied that the proposal to introduce English votes on English laws is compatible with this legislation. Parliament will remain the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and all Members will be entitled to debate and vote on all legislation.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's signatory status to the European Convention on Human Rights on the competencies of the Scottish Parliament.

Section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998 sets out that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate incompatibly with any of the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights. There are no plans to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the effect of levels of immigration on Scotland's economic performance in the last five years.

Migrants from outside the UK and within the UK make a significant contribution to Scotland – not only in terms of its economy, but also society and wellbeing. This Government will always welcome the brightest and the best who come here to work.

10th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for the Scottish agricultural sector.

I meet regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss a wide range of matters. Just last month, I met with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss a number of issues relating to the Scottish Agricultural Sector.

15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on future funding for the Scottish Government.

I have regular discussions with my cabinet colleagues, including the Chancellor, on a wide range of issues.

In February, the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Government signed the agreement on the Scottish Government’s fiscal framework.

As set out in the Smith Agreement, changes in the Scottish Government’s block grant will continue to be determined via the operation of the Barnett Formula.

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what opportunities are available to households in Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters to switch between electricity suppliers.

Households in Scotland with dynamically teleswitched meters can switch to a single-rate or an Economy 7 tariff offered by their existing supplier or by a rival supplier. At present, some suppliers may require the dynamically teleswitched meter to be replaced at a cost to the customer and they may suffer a loss of functionality. In its final report in June, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) included in its remedies an order on energy suppliers with more than 50,000 domestic customers to make all their single-rate electricity tariffs available to all existing and new domestic electricity customers with restricted meters, without requiring the meter to be replaced. Suppliers will also need to ensure these customers receive regular information on the options to switch supplier or tariff. The Citizens Advice will become a recognised provider of information and support for customers with restricted meters.

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many households in (a) Scotland and (b) the Highland area of Scotland have their electricity supplies controlled by dynamically teleswitched meters.

We do not hold information on how many households in Scotland and the Highland area of Scotland have their electricity supplies controlled by dynamically teleswitched meters. In Ofgem’s response to the Competition Markets Authority’s Notice of Remedies published in August 2015, it was estimated that there were 160,000 households across Great Britain with dynamically teleswitched meters in operation at the end of 2014.

The Competition Markets Authority’s Notice of Remedies is available online at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/561e1fbaed915d39bc000013/Ofgem__revised_with_additional_material_.pdf.

10th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what incentives are provided by the Government to encourage electricity providers to create opportunities for households with dynamically teleswitched metres to switch between electricity suppliers.

The Government recognises that customers using dynamically teleswitched meters do not enjoy the same wide choice of energy suppliers as other domestic customers. In its final report in June, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) included in its remedies an order on energy suppliers with more than 50,000 domestic customers to make all their single-rate electricity tariffs available to all existing and new domestic electricity customers with restricted meters, without requiring the meter to be replaced. Suppliers will also need to ensure these customers receive regular information on the options to switch supplier or tariff. The Citizens Advice will become a recognised provider of information and support for customers with restricted meters. These provisions will be implemented through CMA orders on suppliers and amendments to their licence conditions.

7th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the compatibility of proposals to implement English votes on English laws with the Union with England Act 1707; and if he will make a statement.

The Union with Scotland Act 1706 and the Union with England Act 1707 provide that the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall be represented by one Parliament. I am satisfied that the proposal to introduce English votes on English laws is compatible with this legislation. Parliament will remain the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and all Members will be entitled to debate and vote on all legislation.

11th Jun 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, with reference to the statement by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury of 10 June 2015, if he will take steps to (a) ensure the Royal Bank of Scotland continues to meet the commitments in its 14 Point Customer Charter and (b) prevent the closure of Royal Bank of Scotland branches in Invergordon, Lochinver and Lybster.

The 14 Point Customer Charter was a commitment set out by RBS following an internal RBS review to improve customer service.

The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, a bank must carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch. The steps include establishing the impact of a branch closure before it takes place; finding suitable alternative provision; and putting satisfactory alternative measures in place before a branch is closed.

The UK government recognises the concerns for consumers and small businesses that branch closures continue to play in affected communities and wrote to the British Bankers’ Association to set out our expectations around effective compliance with the bank branch closure protocol.

The full text of the joint-letter by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin MP and the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise Anna Soubry MP can found at the following:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/452900/Letter-from-Anna-Soubry-and-Harriet-Baldwin-to-British-Bankers-Association-branch-closures.pdf