Bob Seely Written Questions

Questions to All Government Departments tabled by Bob Seely


Date Title Questioner
5 Nov 2019, 11:18 a.m. Fisheries Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect UK fish stocks from over-fishing after the UK leaves the EU.

Answer (George Eustice)

The UK Government remains fully committed to sustainable fisheries management and the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). This will not change once we are outside the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy. We will continue to work with other coastal states in partnership to sustainably manage shared stocks.

The Government will be reintroducing a Fisheries Bill, which will provide a framework to enable us to continue to push for more stocks being fished at MSY and delivering our ambition for sustainable fishing in the future. The first clause of this Bill will enact several sustainability objectives, one of which is to restore fish stocks to levels capable of producing MSY. The Bill will create a binding duty on the UK Government and Devolved Administrations to produce a statutory Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS). This statement must include policies for the achievement of the sustainability objectives, including on MSY.

We will take back control of our waters ensuring that they are fished sustainably. In England, Defra has worked with the Marine Management Organisation to assess the risk of increased illegal fishing when the UK leaves the EU and strengthened our control and enforcement resources accordingly. We are also working closely with the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure a coordinated approach to fisheries control and enforcement across UK waters.

5 Nov 2019, 11:08 a.m. Fisheries Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that industrial fishing vessels operating off the UK coast (a) comply with environmental standards and (b) use fishing methods that do not present a risk to (i) dolphins and (b) other marine life; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (George Eustice)

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has robust control and enforcement systems in place to monitor and enforce compliance with the full range of fisheries and environmental regulations. The MMO uses inspections at sea and in port to assure compliance by individual fishing vessels on key measures including those governing types and size of fishing gear. Technology, combined with intelligence-gathering, is used daily to ensure vessels do not fish illegally in protected areas where marine life could be adversely impacted by fishing activities.

We are committed to protecting vulnerable marine species such as dolphins and seabirds in UK waters. We are currently developing plans and implementing regional measures, in close collaboration with the fishing industry, to reduce bycatch of these iconic species.

1 Nov 2019, 12:19 p.m. Camp Hill Prison Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the upkeep of the Camp Hill prison site on the Isle of Wight since its closure.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The estimated cost to the public purse of the upkeep of the former prison since its closure for the period 2013/14 to 2018/19 is £1.19m.

The department will continue to work with the council and others on the future of the site.

1 Nov 2019, 11:38 a.m. Foreign Agents Registration Act Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals on foreign agents' registration.

Answer (Brandon Lewis)

This is a thorough process to assess whether additional powers are required to clamp down on the activities of hostile states which threaten the UK, both here and overseas.

As part of this, we are considering like-minded international partners’ legislation to see whether the UK would benefit from adopting something similar.

This work is ongoing.

31 Oct 2019, 3:40 p.m. South Western Railway: Standards Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average speed was of South Western Railway trains operating between (a) London and Portsmouth and (b) Southampton and Woking in the last 12 months.

Answer (Chris Heaton-Harris)

The Department does not hold this information. However, my Hon. Friend may wish to contact South Western Railway and Network Rail, who may be able to provide him with the data he requires.

28 Oct 2019, 5:24 p.m. Prisons: Private Sector Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of ending private sector involvement in the prison system.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We remain committed to a role for the private sector in operating custodial services. I have not made any assessment of the cost associated with the ending of private sector involvement in the prison system.

The Government believes that the private sector has an important role to play in delivering custodial services in England and Wales, and currently runs some high-performing prisons, in the delivery of an estate which is both decent and secure.

We believe that competition can deliver improvements to service quality, encourage innovation, secure capital investment, and achieve value for money.

9 Jul 2019, 3:58 p.m. Camp Hill Prison Bob Seely

Question

What progress he has made on the sale of the Camp Hill prison site to Isle of Wight Council.

Answer (Robert Buckland)

We have commissioned a demolition survey of the former prison results should hopefully be available, in late July.

The Camp Hill element of HM Prison Isle of Wight closed on 31 March 2013. In summer 2014, the then Secretary of State decided that the former prison sites at Camp Hill, Reading and Wellingborough would be retained in case they offered a useful contingency option to deal with population pressures. The site was released for disposal on 10 January 2017.

10 Jan 2019, 9:41 a.m. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Overseas Aid Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding his Department has allocated to programmes overseas that is not part of Official Development Assistance in each of the last three years; and how much such funding his Department plans to allocate in each of the next two years.

Answer (Chris Skidmore)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s expenditure in the last three years on overseas programmes that are not part of Official Development Assistance is set out in the table below.

2016-17 Actual

2017-18 Actual

2018-19 Year-to-Date

2018-19 Forecast

£591m

£575m

£355m

£515m

Funding for 2019/20 and periods covered by the Spending Review 19 have not yet been agreed.

7 Jan 2019, 5:21 p.m. Cabinet Office: Overseas Aid Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much funding his Department has allocated to programmes overseas that is not part of Official Development Assistance in each of the last three years; and how much such funding his Department plans to allocate in each of the next two years.

Answer (Sir David Lidington)

Cabinet Office has a number of Business Units which have involvement with overseas programmes. However, the data is not held centrally and it would therefore be a disproportionate cost to collect the data.

21 Dec 2018, 1:24 p.m. Overseas Aid Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of funding allocated to programmes overseas which are not part of Official Development Assistance.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

Information on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) programme spend is available in its Annual Report and Accounts. Detail of the FCO’s Official Development Assistance is also routinely published on the gov.uk website. Expenditure in the remaining year(s) of this spending period will be subject to the normal departmental business planning process, or programme allocation process. Expenditure in the next spending period will be determined at the next Spending Review.

20 Dec 2018, 4:44 p.m. Home Office: Overseas Aid Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding his Department has allocated to programmes overseas that is not part of Official Development Assistance in each of the last three years; and how much such funding his Department plans to allocate in each of the next two years.

Answer (Caroline Nokes)

The government publishes the threshold which would need to be crossed in order for a written question to be responded.

To obtain the information requested would exceed the disproportinate cost threshold.

20 Dec 2018, 4:10 p.m. Department for International Development: Overseas Aid Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much funding her Department has allocated to programmes overseas that is not part of Official Development Assistance in each of the last three years; and how much such funding her Department plans to allocate in each of the next two years.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

In line with HMT allocations, the funding the Department for International Development has allocated to programmes that are not part of Official Development Assistance is as follows:

  • 2015/16 - £20.9m

  • 2016/17 - £14.4m

  • 2017/18 - £33.9m

The Department are forecasting to spend £17m in 2018/19. The 2019/20 allocation will be decided through our annual planning cycle in 2019 and all future allocations will be subject to the outcome of the Spending Review in 2019.

8 Jun 2018, 2:01 p.m. Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timetable is for the introduction of the improved testing methods for (a) bovine tuberculosis testing and (b) Phage.

Answer (George Eustice)

Research is underway to develop an improved version of the tuberculin skin test, and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is facilitating the provision of samples to companies who wish to validate their test but until this work is concluded successfully it is not possible to set a timetable for the introduction of new tests.

From April 2016, new breakdown herds in the High risk Area (HRA) regardless of post-mortem or laboratory culture results require two consecutive short interval herd tests with negative results, read under ‘severe’ interpretation, before restrictions are lifted. This measure reduces the risk of leaving TB infected cattle in de-restricted herds.

Since April 2017, the more sensitive interferon-gamma test has been used (alongside the skin test) to help resolve TB breakdowns with lesion and/or culture positive animals in the HRA, in certain circumstances.

Farmers in England can, via a private veterinarian and with prior APHA approval, submit blood samples for TB testing to an APHA laboratory at their own expense where farmers seek additional assurances as to the TB-free status of animals over and above those afforded by statutory testing.

I have held discussions with the developers of a so called "Phage test" and Defra officials have assisted them by giving them information about the authorisation process for their concept.

6 Jun 2018, 3:31 p.m. Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Bovine TB Strategy Review committee chaired by Sir Charles Godfray will include a review of badger culling; and what the timetable is for that committee to report.

Answer (George Eustice)

The published terms of reference set out that badger culling is within the scope of the Bovine TB strategy review. They explain that this is not narrowly a review of culling alone, but of the whole strategy, of which culling is just one part. The review is forward looking and will consider what steps can be taken to improve, enhance or accelerate interventions to achieve the eradication of bovine TB.

The review is expected to conclude by the end of September 2018. The findings will be submitted to Defra Ministers for consideration and a final report published in due course.

Further details on the review can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-strategy-for-achieving-bovine-tuberculosis-free-status-for-england-2018-review.

12 Mar 2018, 12:16 p.m. Aviation Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that general aviation is a catalyst for future growth and high-tech jobs; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

The new Aviation Strategy will address the potential, the needs and the concerns of all types of aviation. This includes including General Aviation, and its potential to be a catalyst for future growth and high-tech jobs.

The Government recognises the importance of the UK’s General Aviation sector and has appointed Byron Davies to be the General Aviation Champion. This Champion will be tasked with engaging with the sector, developing a thorough understanding of the relevant issues, and championing the role that it plays in the economy and society. At the end of 2018 he will deliver a report on the value of general aviation to the economy. He will have the help of York Aviation, which we have commissioned to carry out research on airfields of strategic significance.

17 Jan 2018, 2:01 p.m. Overseas Aid: Cost Effectiveness Bob Seely

Question

What steps she is taking to promote value for money in aid.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

In my department every project is rigorously appraised before approval to ensure value for money. All projects are also measured against a robust monitoring framework to ensure they remain cost effective. DFID supports other aid spending departments, who are responsible for ensuring value for money of their aid spend.

22 Nov 2017, 4:36 p.m. Public Expenditure Bob Seely

Question

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the per head spending from the public purse was in 2016-17 on islands around (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK.

Answer (Elizabeth Truss)

The UK government does not have a breakdown of spending per head for islands around Scotland and the rest of the UK. However, the latest figures for 2016-17 public expenditure per capita in Scotland and the rest of the UK were published in the government’s Country and Regional Analysis in November 2017, and can be found at the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/630570/60243_PESA_Accessible.pdf

16 Nov 2017, 2:11 p.m. Solent Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government classifies the Solent as (a) an estuary or (b) open water.

Answer (Sir John Hayes)

The body of water defined as The Solent is neither classified as an estuary nor as open-water. The Solent is a strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England. For the purposes of safe navigation and equipment requirements for ships, the Solent is classified as Category D waters, defined as ‘tidal rivers and estuaries where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 2.0 metres at any time’.

13 Oct 2017, 12:48 p.m. BBC World Service: Departmental Responsibilities Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will transfer governmental responsibility and funding of the BBC World Service to the Department for International Development.

Answer (Mark Field)

​There are no plans to transfer governmental responsibility and funding of the BBC World Service to the Department for International Development (DfID). The BBC World Service is primarily funded through the licence fee. An additional £291m is being invested by the FCO over four years to support the development and implementation of 12 new language services and other enhancements to existing services.

The new services are tangible proof of a truly Global Britain – making the most of the UK's soft power to help the world's poorest while also projecting the UK's values around the world. Further information on the implementation of the services is available from the BBC World Service.

13 Oct 2017, 12:46 p.m. BBC World Service Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress is being made in enabling access to BBC World Service in (a) North Korea, (b) Russia and (c) other countries where the service is not currently easily available, and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Mark Field)

The BBC World Service is delivering 12 new language services and enhancements to existing services with an investment of £291m from Government over 4 years. The Foreign Secretary agreed the funding and the new language services proposed by the BBC. Good progress has been made in delivering these services including:

  1. New radio services in the Korean language (launched 25 September 2017).
  2. Enhanced services for Russian speakers (further expansion in October 2017).
  3. Other new high quality and impartial news programmes for global audiences, including in places where free speech is limited. This includes some of the most remote places in the world, providing a link to the UK for individuals and societies who would otherwise not have this opportunity.

I was in New Delhi on 3 October 2017 at the inauguration of the foreign language Indian service.

The new services are tangible proof of a truly Global Britain – making the most of the UK's soft power to help the world's poorest while also projecting the UK's values around the world. Further information on the implementation of the services is available from the BBC World Service.

12 Oct 2017, 11:52 a.m. Railways: Ryde Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the cost of necessary infrastructure works on the Ryde Pier rail route will be funded by Network Rail; and whether such funding will be borne by the (a) public purse and (b) franchise.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The infrastructure on the Isle of Wight is owned by Network Rail and the responsibilities for maintenance and renewal of these assets is apportioned between Network Rail and the Train Operating Company (South Western Railway, SWR) under the terms of the lease between these organisations. This lease is due for renewal in 2019.

We would expect Network Rail to make provision for any routine maintenance and renewal works required within their overall cost base for activities for Control Period 6 and to reflect these in the renewed lease. Ultimately, costs falling to Network Rail are borne by the public purse.

In addition to this, South Western Railway are due to submit a costed option to the Secretary of State by the end of March 2018 in relation to the future operation of the Island Line. To the extent that this is acceptable, it may result in an adjustment to franchise payments made to Government by the franchisee. SWR are in the process of consulting with local stakeholders regarding options.

12 Oct 2017, 11:44 a.m. South Western Rail Franchise: Standards Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what obligations and timescales he has placed on the new South Western Railway under its franchise agreement on the introduction of faster trains from London Waterloo to (a) Portsmouth and (b) Southampton.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The Train Service Specification is part of the Franchise Agreement and will see a recasting of the South Western timetables, in December 2018 and December 2020. December 2018 will see the introduction of the modified fleet of Class 442 trains on the Portsmouth Direct services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour. While the contracted maximum journey times for off-peak services to both Portsmouth Harbour and Southampton Central are consistent with current fastest journey times, we are expecting to see journey time improvements arising from the December 2018 Timetable re-cast. South Western Railway, will be carrying out consultation with Stakeholders on the December 2018 timetable in the coming months.

12 Oct 2017, 11:43 a.m. Railways: Ryde Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment (a) his Department and (b) Network rail have made on the scale and timing of any required infrastructure works on Ryde Pier, Isle of Wight, to ensure that there is no risk to the continued and long-term provision of rail services on that route; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The Department for Transport has made no assessment of the scale and timing of any required infrastructure works on Ryde Pier, Isle of Wight

The infrastructure on the Isle of Wight is owned by Network Rail and the responsibilities for maintenance and renewal of these assets is apportioned between Network Rail and the Train Operating Company (South Western Railway, SWR) under the terms of the lease between these organisations. This lease is due for renewal in 2019.

The Department would expect Network Rail to make provision for any routine maintenance and renewal works required within their overall cost base for activities for Control Period 6 and to reflect these in the renewed lease.

11 Oct 2017, 3:09 p.m. Responsibility to Protect Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his policy is on the UN's Responsibility to Protect policy; and if he will make representations to his Russian counterpart to request their unequivocal support for that policy.

Answer (Rory Stewart)

​The UK is fully committed to the concept of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which was endorsed by all UN Member States in 2005. We regularly remind all states of their commitment to protect populations from atrocity crimes and to use all three pillars of the concept to uphold the responsibility to protect. Additionally, by signing up to the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) group's Code of Conduct we have committed to never vote against credible Security Council action to stop mass atrocities and crimes against humanity. We urge all present and future Security Council members to support the Code.

9 Oct 2017, 3:21 p.m. Disaster Relief Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make representations to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on the relaxation of international aid rules to permit countries to use their discretion in allocating aid funding to support relief efforts in other countries affected by natural disasters.

Answer (Rory Stewart)

The Secretary of State for International Development wrote to the Chair of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) on 14 September to request that the DAC urgently develop options to ensure the aid rules reflect today’s needs, giving certainty to donors that aid to those impacted by Hurricane Irma can be considered official aid. This would take into account the scale of devastation and vulnerabilities of small island states. We will work with international partners to ensure the rules remain relevant.

9 Oct 2017, 11:12 a.m. Gaming Machines Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving additional powers to local authorities to review, amend and revoke betting premises' licences for establishments with fixed-odds betting terminals which those authorities consider to be detrimental to their local communities.

Answer (Tracey Crouch)

The Government announced a review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures in 2016 to ensure that we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy, and one that is socially responsible and doing all it can to protect consumers and wider communities. We hope to publish the findings of the review by October at the earliest.

31 Jul 2017, 2:23 p.m. Combined Authorities Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what further plans he has to introduce combined authorities in non-metropolitan or unitary authority areas.

Answer (Jake Berry)

The Government’s manifesto commitment is to support councils that wish to combine to serve their communities better and we will consider any proposals councils put forward for a combined authority.

26 Jul 2017, 3:38 p.m. Commonwealth: Equality Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government will put equalities issues on the agenda for the 2018 Commonwealth Summit; and if he will make a statement.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The Government believes that the Commonwealth is an enormous force for good around the world, through its promotion of freedom, democracy, human rights, development and prosperity.

The Commonwealth Summit, which the UK will host in April 2018, will encourage all Commonwealth members to uphold the Charter's commitment to oppose all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political, religious or other beliefs.

While it is too early to set out the specific agenda, a key goal of the Summit will be to reinforce the Commonwealth's commitment to the rules-based international system based on members' shared values of democracy, good governance, equality and the rule of law.

19 Jul 2017, 4:58 p.m. Coastal Communities Fund Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when he plans to introduce a fifth round of the Coastal Communities Fund.

Answer (Jake Berry)

We expect to provide details of the fifth round of the Coastal Communities Fund in early 2018. Coastal areas should not wait for the fifth round to be launched before developing and implementing their plans for revitalising their local communities.

19 Jul 2017, 4:57 p.m. Housing: Isle of Wight Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the level of New Homes Bonus payments made to Isle of Wight Council in each of the last four years were; and what the affordable and other housing delivery figures were on which those payments were made.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The New Homes Bonus was introduced in 2011/12 to provide an incentive for local authorities to encourage housing growth in their areas. The payment recognises newly built properties and conversions as well as bringing long term empty properties back into use and there is an additional payment for each affordable home delivered. Figures for the Isle of Wight for the last four years are set out in the attached table.

19 Jul 2017, 2:35 p.m. Fire and Rescue Services: Finance Bob Seely

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the per capita funding was to each (a) combined and (b) local authority fire authority; and whether such funding to local authorities is provided as a discrete budget.

Answer (Mr Marcus Jones)

Core Spending Power is the Government’s preferred measure of local authority income as it is a broader measure of the resources available to a local authority including income that can be raised locally. This data can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/593183/Core_Spending_Power_summary_including_per_dwelling.xlsx

The Department does not publish core spending power on a per capita basis but does publish core spending power per dwelling, which is available at the same link.