Andrew Bridgen Written Questions

23 Questions to Government Departments tabled by Andrew Bridgen


Date Title Questioner
27 May 2020, 4:23 p.m. Firearms: Licensing Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, how many UK companies have a licence to supply firearms.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

Data on how many UK companies have a licence to supply firearms is not available. The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of firearm dealers that are registered with the police in England and Wales. The latest figures on the number of firearm dealers is available from table 6 of the Firearm and Shotgun Certificates in England and Wales Statistics - Financial Year 2018/19publication.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Statistics on Firearm Certificates on issue in Scotland are published by Police Scotland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland lists its statistical outputs on the Statistics page of its website, but there are no series that are directly comparable to those for England and Wales.

27 Apr 2020, 11:40 a.m. Post Offices: ICT Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much the special shareholder approved in the Post Office Horizon litigation; and whether the special shareholder took into account the amount claimants were asking for in the settlement mediation.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is pleased that a resolution has been reached between the parties to settle this long-running litigation and the steps they have taken through the mediation talks. Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes Post Office Limited's (POL) relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

On 11 December following mediation talks, the parties to the litigation agreed a settlement figure of £57.75m. Government was not party to the mediation discussions. The agreed settlement included all legal and other costs, The settlement was funded entirely by POL’s commercial revenues. The Government as shareholder specifically required that government funding was not used for this purpose.

Given the nature and scale of the settlement payment, the Government did approve the final figure.

27 Apr 2020, 11:38 a.m. Post Offices: ICT Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Horizon software litigation, whether the Government has provided Post Office Ltd with funds in addition to the £57 million cost of that litigation.

Answer (Paul Scully)

The Government is pleased that a resolution has been reached between the parties to settle this long-running litigation and the steps they have taken through the mediation talks. Postmasters are the backbone of the Post Office, and their branches are vital to communities across the country. That is why Government takes Post Office Limited's (POL) relationship with its postmasters very seriously.

On 11 December following mediation talks, the parties to the litigation agreed a settlement figure of £57.75m. Government was not party to the mediation discussions. The agreed settlement included all legal and other costs, The settlement was funded entirely by POL’s commercial revenues. The Government as shareholder specifically required that government funding was not used for this purpose.

8 Oct 2019, 4:39 p.m. Tourism: Gardens Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to respond to the recommendations made by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in its Fourteenth Report of Session 2017-19 entitled Garden design and tourism, HC 2002.

Answer (Helen Whately)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

5 Jun 2019, 11:28 a.m. Council Tax: Students Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to made an assessment of the potential merits of revising the Council Tax Formula Grant to allow compensation for student discounts in respect of Parish and Town Councils.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The majority of funding for Parish and Town Councils is provided through a precept on council tax bills and the Government has no plans to change that arrangement. The precept is calculated based on the Parish or Town Council's assessment of income and expenditure for the following financial year. The funding settlement for principal local authorities takes account of income foregone due to mandatory council tax discounts, including that for full time students.

21 May 2019, 10:13 a.m. Driving: Licensing Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in the event that a UK driving test is taken and failed before a 12 month international licence expires, whether that international licence is revoked in the UK.

Answer (Jesse Norman)

In Great Britain, the law allows new residents with valid driving licences issued by countries outside the EU/European Economic Area (EEA) to drive for up to one year from the date they become a resident. Driver licensing is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland.

In order to be able to take a driving test here, new residents must apply for a provisional GB licence. However, the law does not allow for their original, third country driving licence to be invalidated if they do not pass the test. This means they can continue to drive using the third country licence until the one year period expires.

If a driver has not passed a test here within the one year period, they must then stop driving once this has elapsed. Although they can continue to drive as a GB provisional licence holder, provided that they adhere to the rules applying to provisional licences.

Driving licences issued by EU and EEA member states are mutually recognised and can be exchanged without the need to take a test.

26 Feb 2019, 5:29 p.m. Venezuela: Presidents Andrew Bridgen

Question

What recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the status of the presidency in Venezuela.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

On 24 January, the Foreign Secretary discussed Venezuela with Vice-President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo in Washington, and further discussed Venezuela at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Bucharest on 30 January.

On 26 January, I represented the UK at the UN Security Council where I discussed Venezuela with European and regional counterparts. On 4 Feburary, I went to Ottawa for the meeting of Lima Group countries, where I discussed Venezuela with regional and Foreign Ministers.

7 Feb 2019, 11:34 a.m. High Speed 2 Railway Line Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the most recent assessment is of the benefit cost ratio for phase 2B of HS2; and whether an assessment has been made of the potential merits of running 14 trains an hour at 195mph.

Answer (Ms Nusrat Ghani)

HS2 Phase 2b is estimated as delivering high value for money, with a Benefit-Cost Ratio including Wider Economic Impacts (WEIs) of 2.6 and a BCR excluding WEIs of 2.1. This analysis was presented in the Phase 2 Economic Case in 2017.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/634196/high-speed-two-phase-two-economic-case.pdf

The business case for Phase 2b assumes that up to 18 trains per hour will run on the HS2 core network at speeds of up to 225mph (360km/h). HS2 Ltd is working to the scope of the project as set out by Government. If any changes were made to these requirements then there would be an assessment of the potential impact on the business case and this work would be published.

21 Dec 2018, 1:38 p.m. Nurses: Training Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming long-term plan for the NHS will include the matter of investment in nursing higher education.

Answer (Stephen Hammond)

The National Health Service runs on the dedication of its workforce and ensuring we have the right staff in the right place when they are needed is fundamental to this. Workforce will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan, supporting our drive to ensure the NHS has, not only the nursing workforce it needs but other key groups too to deliver excellent, safe care for patients.

10 Jul 2018, 12:04 p.m. Solar Power: Import Duties Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what plans the Government has to remove external tariffs on technical parts and components required for solar technology once the UK has left the EU.

Answer (Sir George Hollingbery)

The Department for International Trade published a call for evidence on the 28 November 2017 with the aim of identifying which UK businesses produce goods currently subject to anti-dumping, or anti-subsidy measures, or to on-going investigations related to these.

It asked those businesses to state whether they support, are neutral to, or oppose the maintaining of those measures, when the UK begins to operate its independent trade remedy framework. It asked for data about those businesses’ production and sales, and total UK production and sales.

Measures which meet the criteria set out in the call for evidence will be maintained once the UK begins to operate its independent trade remedy framework. Measures which do not meet the criteria will be terminated – cutting unnecessary costs for UK businesses and consumers.

The Call for Evidence closed on 30 March 2018. However, we continue to invite other interested parties to provide relevant information for measures of interest to them. This will enable us to make an accurate assessment of applications to maintain measures.

18 Jun 2018, 4:29 p.m. Angus Sinclair Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the redundancy payment paid to Angus Sinclair was in line with the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules.

Answer (Tom Brake)

The exit payment made to Angus Sinclair was in line with the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules. The House of Commons was not a member of the Civil Service pension arrangements until 2014, but prior to this date it had a ‘by-analogy’ scheme that followed the same rules.

14 Jun 2018, 2:42 p.m. Charities: Bullying and Harassment Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Minister for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what safeguards are in place to protect volunteers employed in the charity sector from workplace bullying and harassment.

Answer (Tracey Crouch)

The Government expects charities to take robust action against any bullying and harassment relating to employees or volunteers.

Charity employees have some protection in law under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 from detrimental treatment or victimisation from their employer if, in the public interest, they report concerns about serious wrongdoing at their charity to the Charity Commission, provided that the concerns they report meet the conditions in the Act for a ’protected disclosure’. There are other mechanisms for volunteers to report such concerns to the Charity Commission, although they are not covered by the Act.

Government, regulators and the charity sector are working together to reaffirm the importance of safeguarding as a governance priority for charities, and to agree and commit to actions jointly and individually to strengthen the safeguarding capability and capacity of charities working across the UK. The Charity Commission has already announced a suite of measures to help ensure charities learn the wider lessons from recent safeguarding cases revelations involving Oxfam and other charities, and to strengthen protection from harm for charity beneficiaries, employees and volunteers. This includes a review of its whistleblowing processes and guidance.

6 Jun 2018, 10:49 a.m. House of Commons: Redundancy Pay Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of cost to the public purse of redundancy payments over and above the statutory contractual requirement for house staff since 2009.

Answer (Tom Brake)

Redundancy payments for employees of the House of Commons Commission are paid in line with the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules. These offer an enhanced redundancy payment compared to the statutory requirement but provide specific rules that the House and other “Schedule 1” employers who are part of the Civil Service Pension Arrangements must follow when calculating redundancy payments. House of Commons employees have a contractual entitlement to redundancy payment on these terms and no redundancy payments have been made over and above the Civil Service requirements since 2009. That includes Speaker’s Office staff who are employees of the Commission.

6 Jun 2018, 10:49 a.m. House of Commons: Redundancy Pay Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the Commission has made of the cost to the public purse of redundancy payments over and above the statutory contractual requirement for house staff working in the Speaker's office since 2009.

Answer (Tom Brake)

Redundancy payments for employees of the House of Commons Commission are paid in line with the Civil Service Compensation Scheme rules. These offer an enhanced redundancy payment compared to the statutory requirement but provide specific rules that the House and other “Schedule 1” employers who are part of the Civil Service Pension Arrangements must follow when calculating redundancy payments. House of Commons employees have a contractual entitlement to redundancy payment on these terms and no redundancy payments have been made over and above the Civil Service requirements since 2009. That includes Speaker’s Office staff who are employees of the Commission.

15 Nov 2017, 11:03 a.m. Endoscopy: Training Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the number of additional NHS endoscopies that will be performed annually by 2020 as a result of the additional number of clinical endoscopists in training under the accelerated training programme.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Health Education England estimates that the additional 200 clinical endoscopists being training through the accelerated training programme will result in approximately 225,000 additional procedures a year.

13 Nov 2017, 3:31 p.m. Endoscopy: Training Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many clinical endoscopists have been trained as part of the accelerated training programme.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

To date, 48 clinical endoscopists have completed Health Education England’s (HEE) accelerated training programme, of which 17 completed training in 2017. A further 40 clinical endoscopists are currently in training across two cohorts and are due to complete the programme in December 2017 and April 2018.

HEE plan a further three cohort intakes in 2018.

Training of endoscopists outside of England is a matter for each of the devolved administrations in that country.

18 Oct 2017, 2:52 p.m. Package Holidays: Compensation Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what progress has been made on plans to tackle bogus holiday sickness claims.

Answer (Dominic Raab)

The Government is committed to taking action to address the issue of package holiday personal injury claims and announced a package of measures on 9 July 2017. As part of this, we published a Call for Evidence on 13 October 2017, the responses to which will inform future decisions. In addition, the Claims Management Regulator and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have taken significant steps to deal with abuses in this area. The travel industry itself also has a vital role to play and is taking steps to address the issues around package holiday claims.

9 Oct 2017, 3:03 p.m. Family Courts: Perjury Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) men and (b) women were prosecuted for perjury in the family court in 2016.

Answer (Dominic Raab)

10 men and 6 women were prosecuted for perjury in the family court in England and Wales in 2016.

This information was obtained from a manual review of court case files that centrally held data indicated may be relevant, and as such has not been through the same quality assurance processes as for routinely published data.

These figures relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

12 Sep 2017, 2:34 p.m. Construction Industry Training Board Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans her Department has to increase the level of transparency of the Construction Industry Training Board's administration of levy income and grants.

Answer (Anne Milton)

The department is reviewing the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as part of the Post-16 Skills Plan in July 2016. Along with ministers in DCLG and BEIS, I published an open letter to the Chair of CITB in July 2017 which confirms government support for CITB, conditional on reform and industry support during the vote taking place on the levy rate during summer 2017. It is my intention to publish the Industry Training Board (ITB) Review in October 2017.

The CITB produces and publishes information regarding the administration of its grant scheme as part of its Annual Report, which was laid before Parliament on 29 June 2017. CITB also published a funding impact report on 1 September 2017, which set out how CITB grants are used to support training in industry.

CITB have recently developed and publicised significant plans for reform, including plans to automate and digitalise the payment of grants to employers that will reduce administrative burden, particularly for small business. These reforms will supplement and reinforce any proposals to help increase the transparency of CITB’s decision making, and accountability to industry, made in the ITB Review.

11 Sep 2017, 4:52 p.m. Family Courts: Perjury Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been prosecuted for perjury in the family court in each year since 2007, by gender.

Answer (Dominic Raab)

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

18 Jul 2017, 12:40 p.m. Police: Pensions Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will assess the potential merits of people widowed to police officers prior to April 2015 being entitled to a widow's pension in the event of their re-marriage.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

Survivors of officers who were members of the 2006 and 2015 police pension schemes are, since 2006, paid survivor pensions for life.

On 18 January 2016, the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 were amended to allow widows, widowers and civil partners of police officers in England and Wales who have died on duty and who qualified for a survivor pension after 1 April 2015 to continue to receive their survivors’ benefits for life. Successive governments have been clear that we have a general presumption against making retrospective changes to public service pension schemes. However the Government believes that the arguments for making this change in respect of police officers who died on duty are sufficiently compelling to allow a limited exception in this case.

There are no plans to make any further changes to survivor benefits for police pension schemes.

14 Jul 2017, 10:52 a.m. Trade Promotion: Developing Countries Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps the Government is taking to promote trade between the UK and the least-developed countries.

Answer (Greg Hands)

In June we announced that on leaving the EU, we will secure existing duty-free access to UK markets for around 48 Least Developed Countries. Once we have left, we will seek to strengthen existing support and seize new opportunities to increase trade links. Additionally, the UK’s aid programmes encourage economic growth, helping to ensure that this growth improves conditions for those living in poverty.

UK Export Finance has appetite to support UK exports to 41 Least Developed Countries. Following the 2016 Autumn Statement, it has increased the support it has available for 6 of these countries, and will be reviewing its support for others.

4 Jul 2017, 4:31 p.m. NHS: Fees and Charges Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made on recovering money from overseas visitors and other chargeable NHS patients.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

As set out in our manifesto, this Government, having been the first to clamp down on this issue, remains committed to ensuring overseas visitors and migrants not eligible for National Health Service-funded care make a fair contribution.

The steps we have taken have resulted in identified income from overseas visitors and migrants rising from £89 million in 2012-13 to £289 million in 2015-16. We expect this to increase significantly once figures are finalised for 2016-17.