Danny Kinahan

Ulster Unionist Party - Former Member for South Antrim

First elected: 7th May 2015



Division Voting information

Danny Kinahan has voted in 315 divisions, and 8 times against the majority of their Party.

6 Jul 2016 - EU Nationals in the UK - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 245 Noes - 2
13 Jun 2016 - Policing and Crime Bill - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 155 Noes - 264
13 Jun 2016 - Policing and Crime Bill - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 155 Noes - 268
6 Jun 2016 - Investigatory Powers Bill - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 67 Noes - 281
13 Apr 2016 - Tax Avoidance and Evasion - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 266 Noes - 300
10 Feb 2016 - Local Government Finance (England) - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 1 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 315 Noes - 209
15 Dec 2015 - Housing - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 2 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 205 Noes - 297
26 Oct 2015 - Finance Bill - View Vote Context
Danny Kinahan voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Ulster Unionist Party Aye votes vs 1 Ulster Unionist Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 316 Noes - 278
View All Danny Kinahan Division Votes

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
James Brokenshire (Conservative)
(17 debate interactions)
Theresa Villiers (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton (Conservative)
Foreign Secretary
(11 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Northern Ireland Office
(55 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(22 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(22 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Danny Kinahan's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Danny Kinahan

26th April 2017
Danny Kinahan signed this EDM on Wednesday 26th April 2017

CHILDHOOD TOOTH DECAY

Tabled by: Steve McCabe (Labour - Birmingham, Selly Oak)
That this House notes with concern that a quarter of five-year olds in England have tooth decay; further notes that tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions for five to nine-year olds, despite being largely preventable, with tens of thousands of children undergoing general anaesthesia for tooth extractions …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
The Independent Group for Change: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Ulster Unionist Party: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
18th April 2017
Danny Kinahan signed this EDM on Thursday 20th April 2017

LGBT PEOPLE IN CHECHNYA

Tabled by: Clive Lewis (Labour - Norwich South)
That this House notes with grave concern the Human Rights Watch report of a brutal campaign against LGBT people in the semi-autonomous Russian region of Chechnya, with more than 100 men reportedly detained over several weeks in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such as part of …
22 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Independent: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Ulster Unionist Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Danny Kinahan's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Danny Kinahan, 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.


Danny Kinahan has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Danny Kinahan has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Danny Kinahan has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


188 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
8 Other Department Questions
1st Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what change there has been in the number of jobs in the solar industry in Northern Ireland since January 2015.

The Size and Performance of the Low-carbon Economy (2015) report by the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills estimated the number of low-carbon jobs in Northern Ireland in 2013.


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/416240/bis-15-206-size-and-performance-of-uk-low-carbon-economy.pdf


Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the benefits to the construction industry of rectifying the six calculation errors made in the home energy efficiency calculation software known as SAP referred to in the letter to the Prime Minister from BDP Limited, dated 12 November 2015.

When proposals are made to change the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), the revised draft specification is accompanied by a draft Impact Assessment during public consultation. Any future proposals would therefore include an assessment of the impact on business.


Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will take action to correct the six calculation errors made in the home energy efficiency calculation software known as SAP referred to in the letter to the Prime Minister from BDP Limited, dated 12 November 2015.

We are reviewing the energy efficiency standards which underpin the national calculation methodology for assessing fuel use in dwellings, the Standard Assessment Procedure or SAP.



Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the six calculation errors made in the home energy efficiency calculation software known as SAP referred to in the letter to the Prime Minister from BDP Limited, dated 12 November 2015.

I regularly discuss building standards with other Ministerial colleagues but have not had discussions on the specific six issues raised in the letter cited.


Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what assessment she has made of the effect on the competitive parity of the Northern Ireland energy sector with that sector in other countries of the UK of the decision not to introduce a small-scale feed-in tariff scheme.

Energy policy is devolved in Northern Ireland and it is for Ministers in Northern Ireland to decide on what support mechanisms they deem appropriate and to assess what impact their decisions have on the competitive parity of the Northern Ireland energy sector.


The primary focus of the current review of the Feed-in Tariffs is to ensure generators are incentivised appropriately whilst seeking views on how to control future costs. We therefore do not consider it appropriate at this moment to extend the scope of the scheme.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what recent discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the extension of feed-in tariffs to Northern Ireland.

The focus of the current Feed-in Tariff review is to ensure generators are incentivised appropriately and to seek views on how to control future costs.We do not consider it appropriate at this moment to extend the scope of the scheme.


Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, if she will assess the effect of the lack of a support mechanism for small-scale wind projects in Northern Ireland on those projects.

Energy policy is devolved in Northern Ireland and it is for Ministers in Northern Ireland to decide on what support mechanisms they deem appropriate.

The primary focus of the current review of the Feed-in Tariffs is to ensure generators are incentivised appropriately whilst seeking views on how to control future costs.We therefore do not consider it appropriate at this moment to extend the scope of the scheme.



Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Dec 2015
To ask the Attorney General, what factors the Crown Prosecution Service takes into account when assessing the reliability of evidence which is more than 30 years old.

Evidence is assessed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors in arriving at a decision whether to prosecute a case. A prosecutor will look at whether the evidence is admissible in court, its importance in relation to the evidence as a whole, its reliability, accuracy, integrity and credibility. It is the duty of prosecutors to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible. In doing so a prosecutor must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to develop (a) the British-Irish Council, (b) the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and (c) other such east-west structures.

The UK Government hosted the most recent British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit, in London, on 27 November 2015. At the Summit, the Council agreed a set of principles to make sure the BIC work sectors continue to deliver value for all Member Administrations. The UK Government is working with the other BIC Member Administrations to implement this work and will report back at future Summits. Further information can be found in the summit communique:

http://www.britishirishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/communiqu%C3%A9s/London%20271115%20Communique.pdf

The Government continues to operate the structures of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in line with international agreements. There are no plans to develop its use. The UK enjoys a strong relationship with the Republic of Ireland.

To ensure that we continue to build on this strong foundation, the Prime Minister holds an annual summit with the Taoiseach at which they discuss mutual challenges and opportunities to work on issues of common interest. This is supported by an annual summit in the autumn between the Permanent Secretaries of the UK Government and Irish Government, which oversees and takes forward a joint work programme between the UK and Ireland governments.

17th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason a representative of Northern Ireland was not present at the COBR meeting on 15 November 2015.

As is the case with information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees, detailed information about attendance at COBR meetings is not disclosed. As a general principle, where an emergency directly affects areas of competence of a Devolved Administration, then they will either be invited to attend or advised on significant developments.

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the exclusion of Northern Ireland from the Warm Home Discount Scheme on (a) the environment, (b) fuel poverty and (c) pensioner health and well-being.

The Warm Home Discount scheme does not apply in Northern Ireland as the primary legislation for the scheme only extends to Great Britain.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and therefore it is for the Northern Ireland Executive to decide its own fuel poverty objectives and policies.

15th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent discussions he has had with universities on the wide implementation of the Race Equality Charter Mark.

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) is a higher education sector body that supports equality and diversity for staff and students across the UK. They developed and launched the Race Equality Charter (REC) in January 2016, with the aim of improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education. Institutions can apply for a Bronze or Silver REC award, depending on their level of progress.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has set a goal of increasing by 20% the number of BME students in higher education by 2020. In guidance to the Director of Fair Access, which we published on 11 February, we ask him to maximise the contribution of Access Agreements towards this ambition.

15th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will take steps to tackle the lower expected offer rate to Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups higher education applicants.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has set a goal of increasing by 20% the number of BME students in higher education by 2020. Entry rates for 18 year olds in each ethnic group increased in 2015, reaching the highest recorded values for each group. Between 2009 and 2015, the entry rate for young people in the Black ethnic group increased by over 40 percent proportionally. The Government has introduced a number of policies, including those set out below, to achieve my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s goal.

We recently announced that universities would be required to publish admissions and retention rate by gender, ethnic background and disadvantage. Greater transparency will expose where offer rates for students from the poorest and black and minority backgrounds are particularly low and help to encourage universities to take further action.

In addition, UCAS are consulting on making applications to university name-blind from 2017 to make sure that everyone, no matter what their background, is treated equally.

I have asked Universities UK to establish an expert advisory group on social mobility to provide further advice in this area.

29th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what total annual payments were made for renewable heat under the renewable heat incentive (RHI) in (a) 2012-13, (b) 2013-14, (c) 2014-15 and (d) 2015-16 to date; and how such payments compared to the RHI budget estimates for each such year.

Figures for payments made under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are published in our annual accounts, which are available through DECC’s website at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decc-annual-reports-and-accounts.

Available figures for the years requested are attached.

Payment figures for 2015/16 are not available yet; but we will publish these in our 2015/16 accounts, which we expect to publish in July this year. The budget figure for 2015/16 is £430m.

Andrea Leadsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will make an assessment of the variation in the number of teaching hours provided to and fees paid by university students.

No such assessment currently exists. However, in our Green Paper: “Fulfilling our potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice,” we proposed that the new Teaching Excellence Framework could consider information about levels of teaching intensity and contact hours. We will be setting out our response to the Green Paper in due course.

25th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to promote an international antiquities code of conduct to prevent the illegal trade in such objects.

The UK welcomes steps towards developing a collaborative approach to tackling the illicit trade in antiquities and plays a key role in supporting international initiatives on this matter.

The Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 makes it a criminal offence to deal dishonestly in tainted cultural property from anywhere in the world. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has issued guidelines to the relevant UK sectors.

In addition, in the UK, trade associations for dealers in antiquities have codes of conduct for their members. For example, the Antiquities Dealers Association’s Code of Conduct obliges its members to ensure to the best of their knowledge and belief that all objects sold are genuine and as described and legal.

1st Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much of his Department's £13.9 million First World War commemoration funding will be provided to projects in Northern Ireland; and to which such projects that funding will be provided.

The Heritage Lottery fund have allocated £13.9m to 58 projects in Northern Ireland to commemorate the First World War. The projects are spread across Northern Ireland and two are in South Antrim. I have asked the HLF to write to you with details of all the projects.

21st Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much of the £50 million fund established for First World War commemorations has been allocated to or spent in Northern Ireland.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has committed £13.9m of Lottery funding to 58 projects across Northern Ireland and continues to welcome applications for First World War projects of any size. One of these projects is the restoration and display of HMS Caroline - the only surviving ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland – in Belfast's historic maritime quarter.

13th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has received from journalists on the practice of regional publications not recruiting journalists who have qualifications equivalent to the National Council for the Training of Journalists from EU member states other than the UK; and if he will make a statement.

No representations have so far been received from journalists on the practice of regional publications not recruiting journalists who have qualifications equivalent to the National Council for the Training of Journalists from EU member states other than the UK.

9th Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure schools have policies in place to look after children with medical conditions.

We know how important it is that children with medical conditions are supported to enjoy a full education. That is why we introduced a new duty to require governing bodies to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions and have provided statutory guidance outlining schools’ responsibilities in this area.

We continue to work with Ofsted, and organisations such as the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance who have experience in supporting children with medical conditions, to help raise awareness of the duty.

8th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the presumption against closure of rural schools in England contained in the Education and Inspections Act 2006; and what assessment she has made of the effect of that provision on rural communities.

The Government recognises the importance of rural schools and the need to maintain access to a local school in rural areas. Often these schools are at the heart of their community. This is why the Government is supportive of the presumption against closing rural maintained schools. The Government is also introducing a new ‘double lock’ to provide additional protection against the closure of rural academies, to ensure that both local authorities and the Department for Education have a role in such closures.

The Government has committed £7 billion to create new school places between 2015 and 2021, in addition to our investment in 500 new free schools, to support LAs in meeting this duty.

17th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with devolved administrations on the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Department for Education officials hold regular discussions with their counterparts in the devolved administrations to consider the implications of the apprenticeship levy on their own apprenticeship programmes and for cross-border employers.

We want to ensure that apprenticeship funding works for employers and learners, wherever they are in the UK.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to guarantee to match any EU funding lost to universities and colleges.

University researchers can continue to bid for competitive EU research funding while we remain a member of the EU. We will work with the Commission to ensure payment when funds are awarded. HM Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. Further details about Government safeguarding funding can be found in the statement Jo Johnson made on 13 August: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/safeguarding-funding-for-research-and-innovation


2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to progress reforms to Disabled Student Allowances.

The Government set out, in a Written Ministerial Statement dated 2 December 2015, a number of reforms to Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs). These changes apply to students making an application for DSAs for the first time from the 2016/17 academic year.

The aim of these reforms is to ensure that HE Institutions are properly adhering to their Equality Act 2010 duties to make reasonable adjustments to ensure higher education is accessible for disabled students, while re-balancing support between HE providers and DSAs and improving value for money.

The changes are as follows:

  • Institutions are expected to take primary responsibility for less specialist non-medical support roles, with the exception of sighted guides for which DSAs will retain primary responsibility.

  • DSAs funding will remain primary for the most specialist non-medical help support, with the exception of specialist transcription services for which HE institutions are expected to take primary responsibility.

  • DSAs funding is not available where specialist accommodation is provided by the institution or their agent, other than by exception. HE institutions should no longer pass any additional costs for accommodation on to the student.

  • Devices for printing and scanning will continue to be funded through DSAs, but institutions are expected to reduce the need for their purchase through improved library services and access to printing and scanning services.

  • Standard computer peripherals and other accessories are now funded by exception only. Laptop carry cases continue to be provided as standard to help students protect their equipment.

Students who are in dispute with their HE provider over the making of reasonable adjustments are able to invoke a new Exceptional Case Process to consider DSA support in the interim.

19th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many school buildings under wave 1 of the Priority Schools Building Programme received additional funding for those buildings; and for what that additional money was used.

Under the first phase of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), third parties have chosen to contribute funding at 133 schools. The majority of the third party funding is for additional places beyond the capacity requested in the PSBP application.

The Department provides basic need funding to local authorities for the provision of additional places to meet basic need. Between 2011 and 2015, the Government allocated over £5 billion of basic need funding to local authorities for new school places and will be spending a further £7 billion between 2015 and 2021.

By co-ordinating PSBP projects and the provision of additional places we are able to drive value for money for the public purse.

11th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to introduce independent and impartial advice from qualified professionals into careers advice and guidance.

All maintained schools have a legal duty to secure access to independent careers guidance for year 8-13 pupils. Guidance secured under the duty must be delivered in an impartial manner.

The duty gives schools the flexibility to commission a broad range of support for pupils – from careers advisers but also from employers, mentors and coaches, who can give young people real-life insight into the world of work. This allows schools to identify their own priorities and configure their careers education and guidance offer to meet the needs of their pupils. The Careers & Enterprise Company is taking a lead role in transforming the provision of careers, enterprise and employer engagement experiences for young people to inspire them and prepare them for the world of work.

Careers professionals can play an important role in supporting pupils as one element of a varied careers programme. The careers statutory guidance is clear that schools should include consideration of the role that careers professionals can play in supporting pupils. The statutory guidance provides information about the register of careers professionals, developed by the Career Development Institute, which schools can use to search for a career development professional who can deliver a particular service or activity.

Ofsted has given higher priority to careers guidance in school inspections - and destination measures help schools and colleges to be held to account locally and inform choices by parents and students.

23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has discussed the study, The impact of classroom design on pupils' learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, with her counterparts in the devolved administrations; and if she will make a statement.

The Secretary of State has not discussed the study, The Impact of Classroom Design on Pupils' Learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, with her counterparts in the devolved administrations.

19th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the built environment on learning progress in schools.

The Department’s approach to the built environment is informed by a range of expert research.

The James Review of Education Capital, published in 2011 recommended the implementation of standardised designs for schools that could be continually improved upon and deliver buildings that ‘act as manageable tools for those delivering outstanding education to our children.’ In response to this the Education Funding Agency (EFA) developed ‘Baseline Designs’, which help to ensure that the Department’s funding goes further and that as many pupils as possible benefit from improved school buildings.

Alongside this, the Department recognises the importance of factors such as daylight, temperature and air-quality and offers guidance to schools, contractors and designers through EFA Building Bulletins and the requirements in EFA’s Facilities Output Specification, used in procuring new school buildings.

19th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's policies on the design of new schools of the study entitled, The impact of classroom design on pupils' learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, published in July 2015.

The Department continuously monitors literature published on the built environment as it relates to schools. Where relevant, the findings from this literature inform the development of the Department’s guidance on design and maintenance[1]. The Department uses this guidance to communicate with contractors, designers, schools and sixth form colleges about the standards in class room design.

Professor Barrett has met with officials from the department to discuss the findings of his research. Professor Barrett’s recommendations regarding daylight, temperature and air-quality in schools reinforce those already made in the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Building Bulletins and the requirements in EFA’s Facilities Output Specification, used in procuring many new school buildings.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/school-building-design-and-maintenance

19th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has taken steps to disseminate the findings of the study, The impact of classroom design on pupils' learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, published in July 2015, to (a) primary schools, (b) secondary schools and (c) sixth form colleges.

The Department continuously monitors literature published on the built environment as it relates to schools. Where relevant, the findings from this literature inform the development of the Department’s guidance on design and maintenance[1]. The Department uses this guidance to communicate with contractors, designers, schools and sixth form colleges about the standards in class room design.

Professor Barrett has met with officials from the department to discuss the findings of his research. Professor Barrett’s recommendations regarding daylight, temperature and air-quality in schools reinforce those already made in the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Building Bulletins and the requirements in EFA’s Facilities Output Specification, used in procuring many new school buildings.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/school-building-design-and-maintenance

19th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential benefits of using adjustable furniture in schools to improve the classroom learning environment.

The Department has not undertaken its own assessment of the potential benefits of using adjustable furniture in schools.

The Department recognises the advantages and disadvantages of using adjustable height furniture detailed in research carried out by appropriate professionals and through working jointly with organisations such as the Furniture Industry Research Association.

Our jointly produced website on ergonomics highlights the option of using adjustable chairs and tables for effective management of the classroom environment.

19th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much her Department has spent on horticultural training in each of the last five years.

It is not possible to give an estimate of how much funding the Department has spent on horticultural training, as the post-16 funding formula does not attribute funding to specific subjects. We fund institutions based on their whole programme content and student profile. Institutions then divide their funding between subjects as they see fit.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to ensure consistency of GCSE grades across the UK after changes to the grading system.

This is a matter for Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. I have therefore asked its Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey, to write directly to the Honourable Member. A copy of her reply will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the number of (a) special needs students and (b) higher skills learners in horticultural training.

We want all young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), whatever their chosen career path, to be well prepared for adult life. As we have made clear in the SEND Code of Practice, the vast majority of young people with SEND are capable of sustained employment with the right preparation and support. Study programmes for individual young people with SEND should be tailored to their individual aspirations and abilities.

Our reforms to technical and vocational education incentivise schools and colleges to teach only those qualifications that meet rigorous quality criteria, develop the skills and knowledge that employers need, and enable young people to progress into employment. For 16-18 year olds this includes eight qualifications in horticulture that will equip them to apply for a range of jobs in the sector.

However, we want to go further to reform technical and professional education to develop a world-leading system. In November 2015, the Government announced reforms to technical and professional education that will simplify the skills system and ensure it is owned, understood and valued by employers. This Government will simplify and streamline the number of qualifications so that individuals have a clear set of routes which allow for progression to higher level skills. This will make it clearer to young people how they can gain the skills necessary to access different occupations, including horticulture related occupations. An independent panel, chaired by Lord Sainsbury, is developing proposals for these reforms and will report to Government in the spring‎ of 2016.

13th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with her Northern Ireland counterpart about the provision of England-based teaching jobs for unemployed teachers in Northern Ireland.

Officials at the Department for Education have regular discussions with their Northern Ireland counterparts. The National College of Teaching and Leadership has worked with a range of partners in Northern Ireland to ensure that teaching opportunities in England are widely promoted. These partners include:

  • Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

  • Department for Employment and Learning Employment Service

  • Department of Education Northern Ireland

  • General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

Together with these partners, the Department has helped prospective teachers in Northern Ireland find vacancies in England through the Get Into Teaching website. The Teaching School Council and Regional School Commissioners also promoted teaching opportunities in England. Schools in the West Midlands, North West and East of England engaged with and benefited from these initiatives.

16th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she has taken to encourage unemployed teachers to seek work in England.

Qualified teachers not currently in the workforce, including those who are unemployed, are an important supply of teachers for schools. The number of those returning to teaching has been increasing in recent years, from 11,710 in 2011 to 14,100 in 2014 (School Workforce Census, 2014[1]). The Government is keen to support schools to attract teachers back to the profession and to provide support to refresh their skills where required.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is undertaking a new pilot, the Return to Teaching Programme. 61 school partnerships have been successful in applying for funding to support potential returners. Qualified teachers outside the profession who plan to teach a secondary English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subject can access free tailored support provided by these schools. Support could include subject knowledge training, training to update knowledge of classroom practice and assessment frameworks as well as access to classroom experience and mentor support. In addition, teachers returning to mathematics or physics also have access to one-to-one advisors.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/440582/Additional_Tables_SFR21_2015.xlsx

20th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the planned move to a numeric GCSE grading system in England on the comparability and portability of GCSE results in Northern Ireland.

It is a matter for the regulator Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, to set grade standards. Ofqual ran a consultation and carried out impact assessments on a move to a numeric GCSE grading system in England.

I have asked Ofqual’s Chief Regulator, Glenys Stacey to write directly to the Honourable Member. A copy of her reply will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

20th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has discussed the planned move to a numeric grading system for GCSEs in England with her Northern Ireland counterpart.

The Secretary of State has not had any meetings with Northern Ireland’s Minister for Education to discuss the grading system for GCSEs in England. Her predecessor discussed reforms to GCSEs in England with John O’Dowd (Minister for Education, Northern Ireland) and Leighton Andrews (Minister for Education and Skills, Wales) in May 2013.

Department for Education officials have regular meetings with officials from the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the regulators Ofqual and Qualifications Wales, to discuss the qualification reforms taking place in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when her officials met with their counterparts in the devolved administrations in the last three years; and what the subjects for discussion or agreement were at each of those meetings.

Officials in the Department for Education are in contact with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on a range of subjects, such as cross-border checks on those working in childcare and participation in international studies, including the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment.


To provide a complete breakdown of every meeting over the past three years would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with her counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on the need for that Executive to help increase shared and integrated education.

At this time, no such discussions have taken place.

The International Education Division leads the relationship with the devolved administrations and is currently developing a Devolution Plan that will outline the steps that we as a Department will take to improve our collaboration with the devolved administrations.


28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what mechanisms are in place to facilitate regular engagement with her counterparts in the devolved administrations on policy development.

Officials hold regular meetings with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on different policy areas. Officials discuss and coordinate international issues where policy is reserved.

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to learn lessons from the ban on microbeads in the US; and if she will make an assessment of the merits and effect of the US measures.

The US ban has not yet come into force, but we will continue to monitor its progress and look to learn any lessons from its approach.

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to reduce the use of microbeads in products that are not included within the scope of her Department's proposed ban on microbeads.

We ran a consultation between 20 December 2016 and 28 February 2017 on proposals to ban microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. The consultation also sought to gather evidence on the extent of the environmental impacts of microplastics, including microbeads, found in other products. We are now reviewing the responses to the consultation and any new evidence will be used to inform future UK actions to protect the marine environment.

21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her policy is on a temporary ban on the commercial netting of sea bass.

Bass have been in serious decline due to fishing pressure and an earlier succession of winters with poor reproduction. The latest proposals for measures to apply at EU level in 2017 are due to be agreed at December Fisheries Council.

I recognise the level of challenge the restrictions on bass catches in 2017, as proposed by the European Commission, would present for both recreational and commercial fishing sectors. We are considering the Commission’s proposals carefully, including the absence of any provision for sea bass caught in nets to be landed. We will be seeking to secure a balanced package of measures which builds on the progress to date to continue to bring bass catches down to a recommended level while the stock recovers. This is a UK Government priority, to secure sustainable fishing for bass in the long term

21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to introduce the bottle deposit return system proposed by Surfers Against Sewage.

There are currently no plans to introduce a deposit return system. We will continue to review new evidence regarding such schemes.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reasons Northern Irish beekeepers are prevented from registering on BeeBase.

Bee Health is a devolved matter. The decision to join BeeBase is a matter for each devolved government to make in conjunction with Defra.

Beekeepers in Northern Ireland can benefit from the wealth of information on the public pages of BeeBase which provide advice and guidance on identification of bee pests and diseases and good beekeeping practices to keep their hives healthy.

14th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs were imported into Northern Ireland for (a) non-commercial reasons under the PETS scheme and (b) commercial reasons in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what the countries of origin of those dogs were in each category.

The movement of dogs into the United Kingdom, whether through the Pet Travel Scheme or for commercial reasons is a devolved matter.

The Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland has suggested that the Honourable Member write to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Northern Ireland Executive.

21st Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dogs brought into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme were found to be non-compliant with that scheme's requirements in each year since 2012.

The requirement to ensure that pet dogs travel to Great Britain on approved routes is the responsibility of the relevant transport companies. It is a condition of their approval that the transport companies check 100% of pets declared by their owners for compliance with the EU Pet Travel Scheme.


The table below lists the number of audits completed by APHA staff on pet checkers and the number of fails identified during the audits.

Year

No of Pets travelling to GB under PETS

No. of QA checks on Pet animals

No. of non-compliances

2012

184,338

6070

74

2013

167,507

4894

58

2014

170,659

5978

54

2015

267,613

4863

69


The data on the number of pets travelling from 2012/2014 was taken from the PETS database. We rely upon Pet checkers who operate upon behalf of APHA to complete the database and so cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data. A different system of recording the number of pets entering Great Britain in 2015 was implemented in Jan 2015. However, we still rely on pet checkers to provide this info and so cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data.


Of the pets found not to be in compliance with the entry rules, these pets were either detained until their compliance could be established, re-exported or placed into quarantine.

14th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of options for controlling ash dieback other than through the destruction of saplings; and if she will take steps to support research into new means of controlling outbreaks of devastating diseases in plants and animals.

Defra has taken a number of steps in response to the outbreak of ash dieback including supporting measures to slow the spread. An associated programme of research has assessed different management options, including identification and development of resistant ash trees and chemical treatments. Further information is provided in the Tree Health Management Plan[1] published in April 2014. This document sets out key commitments on tree pests and pathogens as well as how the Government is working with others to manage these.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tree-health-management-plan

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Government is gathering and monitoring the views of UK citizens who live in non-UK EU countries on the process of the UK leaving the EU.

We are working with our embassies across the EU to listen to any concerns and ensure that we understand the priorities of UK nationals living in EU countries. This work has been particularly sustained in countries with large British expatriate populations such as France and Spain, as well UK nationals in Ireland who benefit from the Common Travel Area.

Securing the status of, and providing certainty to, EU nationals already in the UK and to UK nationals in the EU is one of this Government's early priorities for the forthcoming negotiations.

1st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what steps is he taking to ensure that each of the four main political parties in Northern Ireland continue to be consulted on his Department's work while the Assembly is dissolved.

Ministers in the Department for Exiting the European Union are fully engaged on issues related to Northern Ireland. Both the Secretary of State and I have visited Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland keeps closely engaged on a range of issues of mutual interest and concern with Northern Ireland’s political parties and independents, including on the subject of the UK’s exit from the EU. This engagement includes parties that opted not to join the outgoing Executive.

We want to hear views from all parts of the United Kingdom. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations (JMC(EN)) has met on a monthly basis since its inception, and will continue to meet regularly to understand and consider each administration’s priorities; to seek to agree a UK approach to, and objectives for, negotiations, and to consider proposals put forward by the devolved administrations. The Joint Ministerial Committee is also meeting more frequently in plenary format: the Prime Minister has chaired two meetings since the referendum. Representatives from the DUP and Sinn Fein both attended JMC(P) on Monday 30th January and have attended every JMC(EN). Northern Ireland Executive Ministers remain in place until any election and discussions can continue. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to undertake discussions with all of the main political parties and independents in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister are fully committed to ensuring that as we establish our negotiating position the unique interests of Northern Ireland are protected and advanced. They have a clear understanding of the range of views from across Northern Ireland and will continue to champion NI’s interests over the coming months.

We want to see the political situation in NI resolved and Assembly government continuing and that is what the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is working hard to achieve.

Ministers in our Department will continue to seek the views of all communities and parties in Northern Ireland.

1st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what recent discussions he has had with the main opposition parties in Northern Ireland.

Ministers in the Department for Exiting the European Union are fully engaged on issues related to Northern Ireland. Both the Secretary of State and I have visited Northern Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland keeps closely engaged on a range of issues of mutual interest and concern with Northern Ireland’s political parties and independents, including on the subject of the UK’s exit from the EU. This engagement includes parties that opted not to join the outgoing Executive.

We want to hear views from all parts of the United Kingdom. The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations (JMC(EN)) has met on a monthly basis since its inception, and will continue to meet regularly to understand and consider each administration’s priorities; to seek to agree a UK approach to, and objectives for, negotiations, and to consider proposals put forward by the devolved administrations. The Joint Ministerial Committee is also meeting more frequently in plenary format: the Prime Minister has chaired two meetings since the referendum. Representatives from the DUP and Sinn Fein both attended JMC(P) on Monday 30th January and have attended every JMC(EN). Northern Ireland Executive Ministers remain in place until any election and discussions can continue. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to undertake discussions with all of the main political parties and independents in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister are fully committed to ensuring that as we establish our negotiating position the unique interests of Northern Ireland are protected and advanced. They have a clear understanding of the range of views from across Northern Ireland and will continue to champion NI’s interests over the coming months.

We want to see the political situation in NI resolved and Assembly government continuing and that is what the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is working hard to achieve.

Ministers in our Department will continue to seek the views of all communities and parties in Northern Ireland.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will take steps to let current EU staff and students know they are welcome to stay beyond the UK exit from the EU.

The Prime Minister has been clear that during negotiations she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here, and the only circumstances in which that would not be possible is if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not also protected.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will take steps to make international collaboration between UK and EU universities a key part of the negotiations on the UK leaving the EU.

The Government has been clear that we will make a success of Brexit, including for our world class universities. The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK remains a world leader in international research and innovation collaboration and that is why the Government has been consulting, and will continue to consult, with a broad range of stakeholders in this sector.

We are not going to provide a running commentary on every twist and turn of the negotiations, but we will work hard to get the best deal for Britain, its universities, and the wider research sector.

15th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assistance her Department has provided to separatist occupied areas of eastern Ukraine in the last two years.

Since 2014 the UK has been the fourth-largest provider of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

25th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department has taken to assist the Kurdistan region.

The UK has committed £79.5 million of humanitarian assistance to Iraq since summer 2014. This includes cash assistance, access to clean water, food, medicines and other life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable. Our partners distribute our aid on the basis of need across Iraq, including to internally displaced persons in northern Iraq.

Given the importance of a coordinated response, we are providing funding to UNDP to support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Centre (JCC), as well as its equivalent for the Government of Iraq, the Joint Crisis and Monitoring Centre (JCMC). In close collaboration with the JCMC, UN, donors and NGOs, the JCC is leading humanitarian efforts for the KRG.

25th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to assist internally displaced persons in northern Iraq with humanitarian aid.

The UK has committed £79.5 million of humanitarian assistance to Iraq since summer 2014. This includes cash assistance, access to clean water, food, medicines and other life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable. Our partners distribute our aid on the basis of need across Iraq, including to internally displaced persons in northern Iraq.

Given the importance of a coordinated response, we are providing funding to UNDP to support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Centre (JCC), as well as its equivalent for the Government of Iraq, the Joint Crisis and Monitoring Centre (JCMC). In close collaboration with the JCMC, UN, donors and NGOs, the JCC is leading humanitarian efforts for the KRG.

28th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department has taken to develop agriculture education links with countries that would benefit from UK expertise.

The Department for International Development has supported Partnership Projects covering agriculture and veterinary sciences, across 17 developing countries linking UK Universities and developing country institutions. We have funded research programmes for collaborative projects between UK researchers and partners in Africa and Asia at postgraduate level.

28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the refugee crisis in Lebanon.

To date, the UK has pledged over £1.1 billion in response to the crisis in Syria and the region, with £304 million being allocated to meet the immediate needs of refugees and to support host communities in Lebanon. This makes us the second largest bilateral donor after the US.


As part of the No Lost Generation initiative, DFID has pledged a total of £80 million of this allocation to support education in Lebanon, including support for the Lebanese Government’s ‘Reaching All Children with Education’ RACE scheme toexpand the public education systemto include an additional 200,000 Syrian refugees and improve the quality for Lebanese students.


DFID also works in Lebanon to alleviate the impact of the humanitarian crisis through advocacy focused on civilian and refugee protection, humanitarian access for aid, and improving the effectiveness and funding of the international response.


For more information and to stay up to date with what DFID is doing in response to the Syria crisis in Lebanon and across the region, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/syria-the-latest-updates-on-uk-aid.

27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to tackle the blockage of foreign aid to Nepal across the Indian border.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of the border blockages and resulting fuel crisis in Nepal. This has affected all sectors of the economy and has affected the humanitarian relief effort and the supply of reconstruction materials.


The UK has urged all parties to resolve their differences through peaceful dialogue. I issued a statement on 13th October expressing concern that much needed humanitarian supplies are yet to reach many people still living in temporary shelter.


7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent changes have been implemented on internal UK flight security checks; and what plans he has to change those security checks in the future.

Flights departing from UK airports fall under the same EU and UK aviation security regulation, regardless of whether they are to a domestic or international destination.

We keep our aviation security measures under constant review.

15th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of expanding Heathrow Airport on Belfast International's ability to establish its own direct international connections.

The Government values the vital contribution airports right across the UK make to the growth of regional and local economies, and recognises that air connectivity between areas of the UK and beyond is very important.

The Airports Commission shortlisted three airport expansion schemes, two at Heathrow and one at Gatwick. The Government accepted the Commission’s shortlist in December 2015 and is considering all of the evidence very carefully before reaching a view on its preferred scheme. The Government is not providing a running commentary on this work before an announcement on its preference.

19th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Consumer Council on UK ferry operators and their pricing structures.

I have held no such recent discussions. The level of charges on ferries across the Irish Sea is a commercial matter for the companies concerned, subject to normal competition law.

19th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with UK ferry operators on their pricing structures.

I have held no such recent discussions. The level of charges on ferries across the Irish Sea is a commercial matter for the companies concerned, subject to normal competition law.

19th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will assess the level of charges by ferry companies to cross the Irish Sea.

I have held no such recent discussions. The level of charges on ferries across the Irish Sea is a commercial matter for the companies concerned, subject to normal competition law.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will support Jet2.com's Onboard Together campaign to reduce disruptive behaviour on aircraft.

Last month I met with the management of Jet2.com to discuss their work on reducing disruptive behaviour on aircraft. The Government supports the aviation industry’s efforts to find solutions to the issue of disruptive passengers. The Government encourages collaboration across the industry to tackle the problem, including airlines, airports, retail outlets and the police working together to ensure consistent approach and messaging.


28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of safety measures used on the road network to protect road maintenance workers.

The Department for Transport and Highways England are working closely with the Highways Maintenance Term Association and the wider construction sector on safety initiatives to ensure the safety and protection of operatives working on the highway network in England.


27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the role of automated cone laying and retrieval on road maintenance worker safety.

Highways England and the Department for Transport (DfT) fully support the adoption of innovative techniques such as automated cone laying, where this will realise safety benefits for road maintenance workers. The then Highways Agency tested one machine – ‘Conemaster’ built by Jordan products Ltd., some years ago. On-road trials facilitated by the Highways Agency were successful and this indicated that the technique did offer positive safety benefits. In addition, the Highways Agency subsequently commissioned an independent economic assessment of the benefits of Conemaster in 2011. The final report, produced early 2012, concluded that the cone laying machine also offered positive economic benefits.


Highways England has a client role and it is for its supply chain to design and deliver traffic management solutions and it is for these suppliers to procure such equipment. The DfT has worked to assist Conemaster in its efforts to market its product and a meeting was facilitated with the then Highways Agency’s suppliers to demonstrate the benefits of the product.

27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had on the influence of major contractors over procurement processes in the Highways Agency.

The Secretary of State and Minister for Transport hold frequent discussions with Highways England on all aspects of their performance and delivery of the Road Investment Strategy. Highways England has recently published its Supply Chain Strategy. This sets out its procurement approach and strategies which are being developed with input from highways suppliers and others, to ensure effective and efficient delivery of the Road Investment Strategy.



27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to reduce barriers to small and medium sized enterprises supplying new products to the Highways Agency.


Highways England has set up an Engagement Council to ensure all highways suppliers, wherever they sit within the supply chain network, can have a voice and show leadership in identifying waste (cost, time and quality) and improvement to deliver better value.


Engagement Council

  • Membership extends to all highway suppliers wherever they sit in the supply chain for Highways England contracts
  • Prime route for collaboration
  • Promotes innovation and improvement

Other ways which Highways England encourages SME involvements in its supply chain are:

  • The use of Constructionline - a case study recently published by Constructionline recognises the benefits it brings to removing barriers through our Meet the Buyer events which allow us to directly engage with SMEs. This helps to identify potential tendering opportunities and give advice on the tendering process.
  • Contract clauses - A standard contract clause included in our Model Contract documents to encourage the use of SMEs by our Tier 1 suppliers.
  • Project Bank Accounts (PBA) - Highways England promotes the use of these on all contracts (unless there is a compelling reason not to do so) benefitting suppliers from a significant acceleration in payment of their monthly invoices.

Current PBA data at August 2015

  • 48 PBAs in operation for live schemes.
  • PBA total declared contract value of £4.66bn as of August 2015.
  • In the first quarter of 2015/16 27% of the overall scheme spend is with SMEs. This data however is only based on those SMEs included in the PBAs and does not take account of spend with SMEs in the extended supply chain which could significantly increase this %.

Highways England is currently developing an SME mentorship scheme alongside key industry associations as well as the larger contractors operating on the network. The scheme will allow SMEs the chance to develop their capability and help to create an environment which removes barriers to market allowing them to operate effectively. Health & Safety, innovation and leadership will be key elements of the scheme.


27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the operation of the procurement process in the Highways Agency.

Highways England complies with the Public Procurement Regulations. Each procurement exercise is led by a professional Procurement Officer who oversees the process to ensure that best procurement practice is followed.

Highways England is continually looking to improve its procurement processes. For example, when a contract is being renewed, a contract working group (CWG) is established to consider lessons learnt from the previous contract and to look at opportunities to improve.

Highways England is corporately accredited by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) which is an external endorsement of its procurement processes. CIPS Corporate Certification is an independent, comprehensive and procurement-specific assessment and signifies that Highways England has all the procurement governance mechanisms in place for effective and efficient procurement.

14th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on (a) Belfast City and (b) Belfast International Airport of a new runway at (i) Heathrow and (ii) Gatwick Airport.

To ensure our long term connectivity needs can be met, the previous Government established the independent Airports Commission to identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining this country’s status as an international hub for aviation. Three options for expansion were shortlisted by the Commission for further examination.

The Airports Commission has discussed and consulted on how airports outside the South East might be affected by expansion at the shortlisted expansion options. The relevant documents can be found on the Airports Commission website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/airports-commission

The Commission’s final report was published on 01 July 2015. The Government will not be commenting on the any of the Airports Commission’s recommendations until it has had time to examine all the evidence.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will review the adequacy of the level of protection against discrimination in employment, training and career development for people with disabilities.

Equality legislation for Disabled People is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

In Great Britain, the Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-today activities”. Where an employee/applicant or service-user has a condition that fits the definition of a disability, they are protected under the 2010 Act. Employers and service-providers are therefore required to make reasonable adjustments available in order to ensure that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who do not have a disability.

It is for the courts to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether there has been disability discrimination where a reasonable adjustment has not been made available.

For those who need additional support over and above that which is a reasonable adjustment, Access to Work can help. Access to Work provides practical and financial support with the additional costs faced by individuals whose health or disability affects the way they do their job. Access to Work continues to support over 36,000 people per year take up or retain employment.

Disability Confident, on which this Department leads, was launched by the then Prime Minister in July 2013 to challenge perceptions, engage employers and promote good practice.

Disability Confident is about creating a movement for change - getting employers to think differently about disability and to take action to improve how they attract, recruit and retain disabled workers.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to improve the life chances of people with disabilities.

The Government is committed to improving the life chances of disabled people and has made a commitment to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people.

The Government is working with employers through Disability Confident to challenge attitudes towards disability and ensure that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations. Since 2013 the number of disabled people in work has increased by almost half a million (493,000). Nearly 3.4 million disabled people are now in employment.

Access to Work provides practical and financial support with the additional costs faced by individuals whose heath or disability affects the way they do their job. 36,470 individuals were helped by Access to Work in the 2015/16 including record numbers of people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions and young people. Last year’s Spending review announced a real-terms increase in funding for access to work starting in 16/17 to enable the scheme to help a further 25,000 people by the end of the parliament.

Work Choice is a voluntary contracted specialist disability employment programme introduced in 2010 and helps people with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through other employment programmes, Access to Work or workplace adjustments. It provides individually tailored support (e.g. job search skills, basic training, and work placements) for disabled people who face the most complex employment barriers to find and stay in work.

Later this year, we will produce a Green Paper exploring a range of options to close the disability employment gap and transform the lives and prospects of disabled people, and conduct a consultation which will reach out to disabled people and their representative organisations.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
16th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of how many women affected by state pension age equalisation live in Northern Ireland.

The issue raised is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

7th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what funding the Government provides to care for people affected by the troubles in Northern Ireland living in England.

Details of specific funding for people affected by the troubles in Northern Ireland living in England are not available. In England we make no special provision, but all British citizens living in England are fully entitled to National Health Service services.

7th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will take steps to establish the Mental Trauma Service in Northern Ireland proposed in the Stormont House Agreement.

This is a matter for the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland Executive.

17th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the average referral time for doctors seeing patients was in each NHS trust area in the last 12 months.

NHS England publishes data on the median waiting time in weeks for patients admitted to hospital and non-admitted outpatient pathways each month. The table attached shows the data for each National Health Service trust that submitted data in the last 12 months.

17th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive about shortages of GPs.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has not had any discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive about shortages of general practitioners (GPs).

Health is a devolved subject; therefore GP recruitment in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive.

8th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the average waiting time in accident and emergency departments was in each of the last three years.

The NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) measure accident and emergency (A&E) waiting times in England from arrival to assessment, treatment and departure. A table showing the mean and median waiting times for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 is below. Data for 2015-16 is provisional and may be subject to in-year changes.

Mean and median1 time to assessment2, treatment3 and departure4 in all A&E departments in England, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16

Duration to Assessment2

Duration to Treatment3

Duration to Departure4

Year

Mean1
(minutes)

Median1
(minutes)

Mean1
(minutes)

Median1
(minutes)

Mean1
(minutes)

Median1
(minutes)

2013-14

38.2

9

70.2

51

144.6

129

2014-15

43.2

10

76.1

54

153.8

134

2015-165 (provisional)

35.6

11

77.3

56

160.2

139

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Notes:

Activity in English National Health Service Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector.

1 Mean and Median: The mean (average) and median (middle in ranking when all values are sorted in order) duration in minutes to assessment, treatment or duration.

2 Duration to assessment: This is the total amount of time in minutes between the patients’ arrival and their initial assessment in the A&E department. This is calculated as the difference in time from arrival at A&E to the time when the patient is initially assessed.

3 Duration to treatment: This is the total amount of time in minutes between the patients’ arrival and the start of their treatment. This is calculated as the difference in time from arrival at A&E to the time when the patient began treatment.

4 Duration to departure: This is total amount of time spent in minutes in an A&E department. This is calculated as the difference in time from arrival at A&E to the time when the patient is discharged from A&E care. This includes being admitted to hospital, dying in the department, discharged with no follow up or discharged and referred to another specialist department.

5 2015-16 is provisional data and may be incomplete or contain errors for which no adjustments have yet been made.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans his Department has to support the development of clinician-led neuromuscular networks across England.

NHS England is responsible for commissioning specialised neurological services, including some services for patients with neuromuscular disorders. NHS England has published a service specification for neurological care that includes an exemplar service specification for neuromuscular conditions that sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services.

The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf

National Health Service providers, working with local area teams, may establish neuromuscular networks if they consider it would benefit service provision; such decisions are a local matter.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what discussions his Department has held with NHS ambulance trusts on undertaking collaborative work with Muscular Dystrophy UK to increase health professionals' knowledge of care for people with muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular conditions.

NHS England is responsible for commissioning specialised neurological services, including some services for patients with neuromuscular disorders. NHS England has published a service specification for neurological care that includes an exemplar service specification for neuromuscular conditions that sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services.

The specification can be found at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/d04-neurosci-spec-neuro.pdf

National Health Service providers, working with local area teams, may establish neuromuscular networks if they consider it would benefit service provision; such decisions are a local matter.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will take steps to ensure that UK access to emerging treatments for (a) muscular dystrophy and (b) other neuromuscular conditions is maintained in the event of the UK leaving the EU.

I refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) on 5 July 2016 to Question 41576.

26th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent discussions he has had with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on granting that Institute the power to be able to approve cancer drugs for use off-license.

Clinicians can prescribe any treatment, including an unlicensed product or a product not licensed for a particular indication, which they consider the best available medicine to meet the individual clinical needs of their patient, subject to their primary care organisation agreeing to fund this treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) already produces Evidence Summaries which critically review the best available evidence for significant uses of unlicensed or off-label medicines. They help commissioners and clinicians to make evidence-based prioritisation, treatment and funding decisions where there are no clinically-appropriate licensed alternatives.

Ensuring that patients get timely access to any new treatment, including off-label medicines in new indications, is complex and the Department is committed to working with stakeholders including NICE, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the General Medical Council, patient and professional groups, and charities to co-ordinate activities and set plans in place that will make this easier. This includes work to look at more systematic inclusion of off-label uses of drugs in the British National Formulary and development of case studies looking at re-purposed medicines and their pathways from research results into clinical practice.

Alongside these, the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Act 2016 will, in due course, provide the National Health Service with a newly created database which will provide a mechanism for collecting and sharing information on innovative treatments including off-label drugs and medicines in development. Now that the Act has received Royal Assent the work to implement its provisions can begin.

8th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the number of e-cigarette users who have (a) resumed smoking and (b) purchased vaping supplies from black market sources.

The best thing a smoker can do to improve their health is to quit smoking for good.

The Department recognises that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can help smokers quit and the evidence indicates that they are considerably less harmful to health than cigarettes.

This Government has committed to publishing a new tobacco control plan to further reduce the prevalence of smoking in England. The development of this plan is underway and will be published later this year. The new strategy will consider the role of e-cigarettes in further reducing the prevalence of smoking in England. To help inform this element of the strategy the Department has been engaging with e-cigarette experts to ensure that local authorities and Stop Smoking Services are provided with up to date, evidenced based advice on e-cigarettes.

Whilst the Department has not made a formal assessment of the number of e-cigarette users who have resumed smoking, the evidence suggests that in the short-term, relapse rates are lower in those using e-cigarettes to quit.

The Department has not made an assessment of the number of e-cigarette users who have purchased vaping supplies from black market sources.

8th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent discussions he has had on the (a) positive and (b) negative effects of e-cigarettes on people who try to stop smoking.

The best thing a smoker can do to improve their health is to quit smoking for good.

The Department recognises that electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can help smokers quit and the evidence indicates that they are considerably less harmful to health than cigarettes.

This Government has committed to publishing a new tobacco control plan to further reduce the prevalence of smoking in England. The development of this plan is underway and will be published later this year. The new strategy will consider the role of e-cigarettes in further reducing the prevalence of smoking in England. To help inform this element of the strategy the Department has been engaging with e-cigarette experts to ensure that local authorities and Stop Smoking Services are provided with up to date, evidenced based advice on e-cigarettes.

Whilst the Department has not made a formal assessment of the number of e-cigarette users who have resumed smoking, the evidence suggests that in the short-term, relapse rates are lower in those using e-cigarettes to quit.

The Department has not made an assessment of the number of e-cigarette users who have purchased vaping supplies from black market sources.

8th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many verbal and physical assaults on NHS staff have been recorded in the last three years.

Information on the number of verbal assaults on National Health Service staff is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

NHS Protect collates figures annually on reported physical assaults on NHS staff in England.

The table below shows the number of reported physical assaults in the last three years:

Reported physical assaults against NHS staff

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

63,199

68,683

67,864

Detailed tables of information on the number of physical assaults since 2004-05, as reported by each health body, is at:

http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/3645.aspx

1st Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the Answer of 28 January 2016 to Question 23467, what progress has been made on the procurement of the HPV vaccine.

The Department is considering the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice on this potential programme. Following this, consideration will be given to the procurement of vaccine.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when HPV vaccinations are planned to be available at sexual health clinics to men who have sex with men.

In November 2015, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the expert body that advises the Government on all immunisation matters, advised that a targeted human papilloma virus vaccination programme should be undertaken for men who have sex with men up to 45 years of age who attend genitourinary medicine and HIV clinics. They noted that this should be subject to procurement of the vaccine and delivery of the programme at a cost-effective price.


The Department is considering the JCVI’s advice and will confirm its plans in due course.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that the men who have sex with men population is aware of the availability of the HPV vaccination at sexual health clinics.

In November 2015, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the expert body that advises the Government on all immunisation matters, advised that a targeted human papilloma virus vaccination programme should be undertaken for men who have sex with men up to 45 years of age who attend genitourinary medicine and HIV clinics. They noted that this should be subject to procurement of the vaccine and delivery of the programme at a cost-effective price.


The Department is considering the JCVI’s advice and will confirm its plans in due course.

13th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to deal with antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics.

The Department is leading the United Kingdom’s wide-ranging response to address the significant threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).


In September 2013 Department of Health, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations published the UK 5 Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 – 2018, which is available at:


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-5-year-antimicrobial-resistance-strategy-2013-to-2018


The Strategy addresses AMR within a “one health” context, spanning people, animals, agriculture and the wider environment. The overall aims of the Strategy are to prevent the number of infections requiring antibiotics occurring in the first place, protect the antibiotics we currently have by using them responsibly, and promote the development of new antibiotics and diagnostics.


Globally, the UK has been leading an international response to tackling AMR. In May 2015, the World Health Assembly adopted an ambitious World Health Organization Global Action Plan on AMR (WHO GAP) that the UK contributed towards developing. Furthermore, we are supporting a high level meeting on AMR at the United Nations General Assembly later this year, as was called for in the WHO GAP.


We are also promoting the independent review led by Lord O’Neill exploring ways in which the development of new antibiotics can be stimulated internationally.

17th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to improve outcomes for people with rarer cancers.

Health is, of course, a devolved matter; however, ensuring the National Health Service is able to support the use of effective treatments for rare cancers, is a key priority. The four United Kingdom health departments and Cancer Research UK are jointly funding a network of 18 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres. These are driving the development and testing of new anti-cancer treatments to deliver real benefits for patients, including those with rare cancers.


In England, the Cancer Taskforce published its report, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes, in July 2015, and made many recommendations relevant to rarer and blood cancers, focussing on improving access to diagnostic testing, and increasing patient access to the most advanced treatments.

14th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will place greater emphasis on improving cancer diagnosis rates when forming his Department's policies in future.

Improving early diagnosis of cancer is a priority for this Government. We will continue to work with NHS England, Public Health England and other partners to achieve early diagnosis through improved screening programmes, Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to raise awareness of symptoms of cancer to encourage people with symptoms to present promptly to their general practitioner (GP), and help for GPs to refer more accurately.


We have committed to implementing recommendation 24 of the Independent Cancer Taskforce’s report Achieving World-Class Outcomes that by 2020, everyone referred with a suspicion of cancer will receive either a definitive diagnosis or the all-clear within four weeks. NHS England is working with partners across the health system to consider how best to take this forward. This standard will be underpinned by investment of up to £300 million more in diagnostics each year by 2020.


NHS England has launched a major early diagnosis programme, Accelerate, Co-ordinate, Evaluate (ACE), working jointly with Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to test new innovative approaches to identifying cancer more quickly. Outputs from the first wave of test sites, which commenced in April 2015, will be delivered on a phased basis, with the majority falling between September 2015 and December 2016. It is expected that ACE Wave 1 evaluation will be complete by mid-2017.


In June this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published an updated guideline ‘Suspected cancer: recognition and referral’. The guideline focuses on key symptoms, to make it easier to use and will continue to support GPs to identify patients with symptoms of suspected cancer, and urgently refer them as appropriate. The guideline recommends a lower referral threshold for urgent referrals where cancer is suspected.

9th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will implement the recommendations made in the Independent Cancer Taskforce's new Cancer Strategy.

The Independent Cancer Taskforce published its report, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes, in July this year. It identified improving support for people living with and beyond cancer, and improving long-term quality of life as high priorities.


NHS England is currently working with partners across the health system to determine how best to take forward the recommendations of the Taskforce report. A cross-system Cancer Transformation Board, chaired by the new National Cancer Director, Cally Palmer, will be established to oversee implementation of the strategy, and will have its first meeting in early 2016. The Transformation Board will formulate more detailed plans for implementation of the report’s recommendations based on the final outcome of the spending review. More details will be available in early 2016.

9th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make it his policy to allocate enough funding to cover predicted changes in the cost of cancer care beyond treatment.

The Independent Cancer Taskforce published its report, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes, in July this year. It identified improving support for people living with and beyond cancer, and improving long-term quality of life as high priorities.


NHS England is currently working with partners across the health system to determine how best to take forward the recommendations of the Taskforce report. A cross-system Cancer Transformation Board, chaired by the new National Cancer Director, Cally Palmer, will be established to oversee implementation of the strategy, and will have its first meeting in early 2016. The Transformation Board will formulate more detailed plans for implementation of the report’s recommendations based on the final outcome of the spending review. More details will be available in early 2016.

9th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what the annual cost is of the health needs of UK thalidomide survivors.

In addition to using NHS services, thalidomide survivors have access to health grants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The grants are administered by the Thalidomide Trust and allocations in 2015 are set out in the following table.


Allocations under the Thalidomide Health Grants in 2015


Country

Total Allocation (£000s)

Number of beneficiaries

England

7,454

325

Scotland

1,254

55

Wales

782

31

Northern Ireland

472

19


30th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the reasons for removing treatment options for (a) multiple myeloma and (b) other rare cancers from the Cancer Drugs Fund.

No such assessment has been made. NHS England is responsible for the operational management of the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) and decisions on which treatments are included on the national CDF list are made by the CDF expert clinical panel, which includes expert oncologists, oncology pharmacists and patient representatives.

30th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of removing treatments for multiple myeloma from the Cancer Drugs Fund on investment in clinical trials for that condition in the UK.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 September 2015 to Question 10093.

28th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the implications for NHS policies of the use of a regional eye inspection liaison officer in Northern Ireland.

The Health and Social Care Board Northern Ireland (HSCB) have funded Eye Care Liaison Officers since 2012. The HSCB are not aware of any regional eye inspection liaison officers in Northern Ireland.


In England, the Government fully appreciates the impact that sight loss can have on a person’s life and the importance of information being available for those newly diagnosed with sight loss, including signposting patients to appropriate support and rehabilitation services.


Eye clinics and their staffing, including eye clinic liaison officers, are commissioned and funded by individual clinical commissioning groups on the basis of local assessments of need.



24th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help to prevent military action being taken against Syrian civilians by the Assad regime.

The British Government has been clear in its condemnation of regime attacks against civilians in Syria, including the appalling chemical weapons attack on 4 April in Khan Sheikhoun which killed over 70 people and wounded hundreds. We supported the US action against the Shayrat airbase on 7 April. We hope it will deter further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. By destroying up to 20 strike aircraft, this operation will have reduced the regime's ability to bomb civilians.

The UK also continues to support the UN mediated negotiations on a political settlement. Only a transition away from Asad can deliver sustainable peace.

1st Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of increased revenue from oil production in Libya on the effectiveness of economic sanctions imposed on that country.

​The increase in Libya's oil production is a welcome development and should provide additional government revenue to enable the delivery of public services. As production increases, it is important that the international community remains vigilant to ensure the effective enforcement of the sanctions reaffirmed under UN Security Council Resolution 2278 against any attempts to divert oil revenue from legitimate channels, including by parallel institutions that claim to be the legitimate authority but are outside of the Libyan Political Agreement. UN Security Council Resolutions 2259 and 2278 highlight the importance of the Libyan State financial institutions, including the National Oil Corporation, the Central Bank of Libya, and the Libyan Investment Authority, continuing to function for the benefit of all Libyans.

7th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Nepal Government on permitting Christian non-governmental organisations to register and carry out humanitarian work unhindered in that country.

I have not personally made representations to the Nepal Government on permitting Christian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to register and carry out humanitarian work, but our Embassy in Kathmandu has raised the issue of NGO operating space regularly with the Government of Nepal and will continue to do so. The former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Sir Hugo Swire), also raised the issue of operating problems encountered by NGOs with former Foreign Minister Thapa in July 2016.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the treatment of Christians in Nepal.

The right to freedom of religion is enshrined in the Nepali Constitution of September 2015, but we have concerns regarding the interpretation of the proposed legislation on religious conversion. There have been some isolated reports of attacks on Christians and some cases where Christians have been arrested by the authorities; we continue to monitor the situation. There is no specific category for registration of religious organisations in Nepal, which therefore have to register as Non-Governmental Organisations.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
23rd Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the Libyan Government of National Accord on compensation for UK victims of Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism.

We have made clear to the Libyan authorities that resolution of legacy issues remains a priority for us. I raised the issue of compensation during respective meetings with Prime Minister Serraj and Deputy Prime Minister Maiteq during the London Ministerial on 31 October 2016. We will continue to encourage the Libyan authorities to engage with UK victims, and their legal representatives, seeking redress, including those seeking compensation. Deputy Prime Minister Maiteq is expected to attend the Libya Reconstruction and Investment Forum in London on Thursday 26 January. We hope to have the opportunity to discuss legacy issues in the margins of this event.

21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the £40 million compensation for Chagossian people will be effectively distributed.

I refer the hon. Member to my response to PQ 53323 of 24 November.

24th Jun 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the US State Department on changes to the US visa waiver programme affecting people who have visited Iraq since 2011.

While US immigration processes are a matter for the US authorities, we have raised with the US administration the importance of clearly communicating changes to their immigration policy. We remain in close contact with the US Embassy in order to avoid inconvenience to British nationals travelling to the US.

The Secretary of State for Home Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) raised migration issues with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in Washington on 17 February.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make it his policy to distribute a proportion of the frozen assets of the Muammar Gaddafi administration in the UK to the families of people killed (a) by Libyan-supplied semtex and weapons and (b) on flight LW1103.

There is no legal basis upon which the UK could re-direct frozen Libyan assets or the interest accrued to individuals for the purposes of compensation. Regarding assets which belonged to Qadhafi or other regime figures, the UN Security Council has stipulated that when these are unfrozen, they will be made available to, and for the benefit of the Libyan people. For the duration of time that these assets are frozen, they and any interest they accrue will be governed in accordance with the specific sanctions in place over the individuals or entities to which the assets belong. In this case, the asset freezing measures are set out under EU Regulation 204/2011 which prohibits the release of frozen funds and the interest accrued belonging to listed individuals or entities except in very specific circumstances, which do not apply here.

1st Mar 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will assess the potential merits of exempting hot sandwiches that are made to takeaway from VAT.

There are currently no plans to alter the VAT treatment of hot sandwiches that are made to takeaway.

20th Dec 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the effect on the household income of UK citizens of increasing insurance premium tax from 10 to 12 per cent.

Insurance Premium Tax is a tax on all general insurance. It is paid by insurers and it is up to insurers to decide whether to pass on any tax paid.

If insurers choose to pass on the full cost of the rate rise this would increase the average household’s spending on insurance by £18 per year. This is calculated using data from the Office for National Statistics. This takes into account the fact that only a third of households have two cars and only 11% of the population have medical insurance.

29th Nov 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 28 November 2016 to Question 53935, on which occasions since his appointment he has discussed reducing air passenger duty with the Northern Ireland Executive.

In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not routinely disclosed.

21st Nov 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent representations he has received from the Northern Ireland Executive on reducing air passenger duty in Northern Ireland.

The Chancellor discusses matters of interest with his counterparts in all devolved administrations on a regular basis, including APD where relevant.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will bring forward proposals to ring-fence and secure EU infrastructure funding for projects in Northern Ireland when the UK withdraws from the EU.

On 12 August, the Chancellor set out the steps the Treasury was taking to offer reassurance to recipients of EU funding as part of the UK Government’s wider work on the UK’s exit from the EU.

I wrote to the Northern Ireland Finance Minister on the same day, clarifying that the Treasury was offering guarantees in relation to the funding required to cover European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) projects administered by the Executive within its devolved responsibilities, which will have signed contracts or funding arrangements in place in advance of Autumn Statement.

My letter further indicated that the Treasury will consider what procedures to put in place for funding in relation to ESIF projects which are expected to be signed after Autumn Statement.

26th Apr 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to reduce the obstacles to first-time house-buyers due to their outstanding student loans.

The Government is committed to making the aspiration of home ownership a reality for as many households as possible. The Government has announced a series of measures which will help people become homeowners, including plans to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes, 135,000 Shared Ownership homes and the Help to Buy: ISA, through which the Government tops up mortgage deposit savings for first time buyers by up to £3,000. The Government has also announced the creation of the Lifetime ISA, which will help young people save flexibly towards a first home and retirement at the same time.

The Council for Mortgage Lenders advise that a student loan is very unlikely to materially impact on an individual’s ability to get a mortgage.

This is because it is only repayable when a borrower’s income is over £21,000.

13th Jan 2016
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of business lost to the Northern Ireland economy from the maintained level of air passenger duty.

The government has devolved control over the direct long-haul rate of air passenger duty to the Northern Ireland Assembly (NIA). The NIA has set this rate at zero.


In March 2015, the Northern Ireland Executive (NIE) published an economic impact assessment on air passenger duty. The report informed the NIE’s decision not to pursue devolution of the short haul rate.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
9th Dec 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the practice of HM Revenue & Customs is to deal with illegal fuel seized by that body.

Illegal fuel seized by HMRC is rendered into burning oil by contractors who are approved waste oil recyclers.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
9th Dec 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the Exchequer was of disposing of illegal fuel in each of the last three years.

HMRC does not have specific figures for disposing of illegal fuel.

HMRC fights fraud on a wide range of fronts, from special units performing thousands of roadside checks to raiding laundering plants. The UK has recently announced, jointly with Ireland, an improved new marker for rebated fuel, which will make it much harder to launder marked fuel and sell it at a profit.


Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
27th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will investigate UK multinationals' corporate tax practices in Zambia.

Any investigation of UK multinationals’ corporate tax practices in Zambia would need to focus on, and require a full understanding of, the interaction between multinationals and the tax regime of Zambia. It would not be feasible or appropriate for the UK Government to undertake such an investigation.


The UK is supporting tax reform in Zambia. For example, the Department for International Development has funded the OECD and World Bank Group to provide technical assistance to Zambia to implement improvements in transfer pricing and related controls. More generally, the Government is committed to supporting developing countries access sustainable sources of revenue and collect the taxes they are due. The UK is a world leader on tax capacity building, contributing considerable human and financial resources to help developing countries to build robust tax administrations. And earlier this year we committed to doubling our funding for tax projects in developing countries.


The Government has also set up a specialist Tax Capacity Building Unit in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). At Autumn Statement 2014, the Chancellor announced that HMRC would recruit a new team of tax inspectors to work fulltime on tax capacity building, supporting HMRC’s Tax Capacity Building Unit and fulfilling missions such as the OECD’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders project.

27th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will introduce legislative proposals to prevent UK tax rules allowing companies to avoid paying tax in developing countries.

The UK, like most countries, has a territorial tax system that focuses on taxing profits generate from economic activity in the UK. It is not possible to use the UK tax system to prevent companies from avoiding paying tax in other countries. Our corporate tax system is designed to protect the UK’s tax base, not those of other countries.


The key issue is ensuring that developing countries have the assistance required to develop their own rules to protect their tax bases. The UK has set up a specialist Tax Capacity Building Unit in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which deploys HMRC staff to developing countries to provide technical expertise. Earlier this year, we committed to doubling our funding for tax projects in developing countries.


The UK is also at the forefront of global efforts to address tax avoidance by multinational companies through the OECD-G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. Over 60 countries have been involved in this work, including developing countries.


The BEPS project was completed on 5 October, and the focus is now on implementation. The UK is chairing a group of over 90 countries, including developing countries such as Zambia, who are working together to develop a multilateral instrument (MLI) to update the global network of tax treaties in line with the BEPS project outcomes. The MLI will help developing countries whose tax treaty negotiation expertise may be more limited than in governments of developed economies.

27th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage the development of enterprise zones in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, many of the benefits associated with Enterprise Zones are the devolved responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive.


The 2013 economic pact, Building a Prosperous and United Community, indicated that the Government would consider designating a range of sites within any Northern Ireland Enterprise Zone as eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances, which as part of the UK’s tax system remain a non-devolved responsibility.


In March 2014 the NI Executive indicated that it was considering creating a pilot Enterprise Zone near Coleraine. The Government remains open to examining the case for offering Enhanced Capital Allowances at that, or alternative, locations when proposals are brought forward by the Executive.


Budget 2014 announced that businesses located within the Executive’s proposed pilot Enterprise Zone near Coleraine will benefit from enhanced capital allowances until 2020. I understand the Executive continues to work towards the implementation of this pilot Enterprise Zone.


Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
27th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to restore the cider differential.

The government recognises that small cider producers are a traditional part of rural economies and its support for small cider producers has helped create a diverse and vibrant market, improving consumer choice and creating jobs. To support the wider industry, at the March 2015 Budget the duty on lower strength cider was cut by 2 per cent.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
21st Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what budget reductions he plans to the fire and rescue service.

Funding for fire and rescue authorities, national resilience and other central programmes will be determined as part of the Spending Review.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what changes in the block grant to Northern Ireland will arise as a result of the Summer Budget 2015.

The Barnett Formula was applied in the usual way to changes in departmental spending at Summer Budget 2015. As a result the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £3 million in additional allocations.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department plans to publish the 2013 HM Revenue and Customs Equal Pay Audit; what the reasons are for the time taken to publish that audit; and if he will make a statement.

The 2013 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Equal Pay Audit will be published by the autumn this year. The audit was scheduled for publication in April 2014, but this has been delayed due to a requirement to include additional statistical analysis.

10th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq (a) applied for and (b) were refused entry clearance to the UK between October 2015 and September 2016.

I am sorry but this information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

17th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that social media activity by terrorist groups both within the UK and abroad is effectively monitored.

This Government takes extremely seriously the threat from those that post online terrorist and extremist material.

In the UK, our dedicated police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) proactively identifies and refers online terrorist and extremist content to communication service providers for removal. Since its inception in February 2010, CTIRU has secured the removal of more than 220,000 pieces of terrorist-related content. Its work has a global impact as content is removed by industry from their social media platforms world-wide.

Internationally, the UK assisted in the establishment of the European Internet Referrals Unit (EUIRU) which replicates the UK model at European level and services all Member States. The Unit went live on 1 July 2015 and has focused on a broad range of non-English language content, including Arabic, French and German. Since its creation, the EUIRU has secured the removal of over 12,000 pieces of terrorist-related content.

8th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the time taken to process counter-terrorism checks for job applications in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) other constituent parts of the UK.

Counter-terrorism checks conducted by the Home Office form part of the national security vetting process required for employment in the Home Office.

We continue to reduce the processing time for all national security vetting checks. Processing times will vary from case to case and are not broken down by constituent parts of the UK.

23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 25 June 2015 to Question 3343, if she will commission an independent review of the reasons for the refusal of visa applications by people from the Kurdistan region of Iraq over the last three years.

There are no plans to commission an independent review into visa refusals of applications made by people from the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

UKVI places great importance of the quality of all entry clearance decisions. All applications are assessed against the Immigration Rules. Decision quality is assured both by local managers and as part of the overall Home Office audit and assurance framework to make sure that the correct decision is reached on all visa applications.

Further assurance is provided by regular third party inspections and audits.

8th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people from the Kurdish Region in Iraq (a) applied for and (b) were refused entry clearance to the UK in the last six months for which figures are available.

For the purposes of this answer, ‘people from the Kurdish region of Iraq’ has been interpreted to mean people making visa applications at the Visa Application Centre in Erbil, UKVI’s application point in the Kurdish region. It is possible for people not ordinarily resident in the region to apply in Erbil, and for people from the region to apply at other locations, but worldwide data specific only to people from the Kurdish region could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The most recent figures available are from April 2015 to September 2015 and show A) the number of Entry Clearance applications made via the Visa Application Centre in Erbil, Iraq, to be 1790 and B) the number of refusals 1165. * The figures quoted are not provided under National statistics protocols but have been derived from local management information. They are therefore provisional and subject to change.

20th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether Syrian refugees and asylum seekers were informed of mental health provisions they could expect in Northern Ireland before they agreed to settle there.

The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme prioritises those who cannot be supported effectively in their region of origin. Northern Ireland, in common with other devolved administrations and local authorities, is provided with full case details of all referrals before deciding whether to accept them for resettlement so they can make an assessment of whether they have the infrastructure and support networks needed to ensure the appropriate care and integration of these refugees. Whilst the Government provides funding to ensure these needs can be met, it is up to individual local authorities to decide how this should be achieved.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to make the email and telephone inquiry service within UK Visa and Immigration more user-friendly.

UKVI Contact Centres currently handle approximately 34000 calls and 15000 emails a week from customers both in and outside the UK. We continuously review our processes and use customer feedback to inform any changes made.

UKVI Contact Centres currently answer over 90% of all calls within an average 1:18 minutes and respond to 100% of emails within the published service standards.

The latest customer survey returned a high satisfaction rating of 85%.

24th Apr 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what effect the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive has on the ability of the recent appointment of the Northern Ireland representative to the UK-wide Covenant Reference Group to carry out her role.

The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed to nominate appropriate representatives to the national governance bodies of the Armed Forces Covenant on 6 December 2016. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has urged all parties to make appropriate nominations to the Covenant's national governance bodies a priority for the devolved Government once reconvened. In the interim, Northern Ireland's interests on the national governance bodies of the Armed Forces Covenant are represented by Ministers and officials from the Northern Ireland Office.

2nd Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the uptake level has been of the Defence Discount Service in each region and constituent part of the UK since its introduction.

The Defence Discount Service (DDS) is operated by Blue Light Card Ltd on behalf of the Ministry Of Defence. Blue Light is responsible for all marketing and promotion of the DDS throughout the United Kingdom and uses a variety of initiatives to engage both locally and nationally.

As at 3 March 2017, the DDS scheme had approximately 386,000 members. A regional breakdown of membership is unavailable. However, the following table provides a breakdown by constituent part of the UK:

England

316,400

Scotland

29,700

Wales

23,200

Northern Ireland

5,800

Outside UK

2,300

Opted not to provide location

8,700

2nd Mar 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how his Department is promoting the Defence Discount Service in each region and constituent part of the UK.

The Defence Discount Service (DDS) is operated by Blue Light Card Ltd on behalf of the Ministry Of Defence. Blue Light is responsible for all marketing and promotion of the DDS throughout the United Kingdom and uses a variety of initiatives to engage both locally and nationally.

As at 3 March 2017, the DDS scheme had approximately 386,000 members. A regional breakdown of membership is unavailable. However, the following table provides a breakdown by constituent part of the UK:

England

316,400

Scotland

29,700

Wales

23,200

Northern Ireland

5,800

Outside UK

2,300

Opted not to provide location

8,700

1st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the potential diminishment of US commitment to NATO after President Trump's reorganisation of the US National Security Council.

During a recent call with Secretary of State for Defence, US Defense Secretary Mattis emphasised the United States' continued firm commitment to NATO.

This was reiterated during the Prime Minister's visit to the US, where President Trump stated that he is '100 per cent behind' NATO.

21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how contribution in lieu of council tax is calculated for service personnel stationed in Northern Ireland.

Service Families Accommodation and Single Living Accommodation for Service personnel in England, Scotland and Wales is formally exempt from the Council Tax regime and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) instead pays a Contribution in Lieu of Council Tax (CILOCT) to local authorities, broadly equivalent to the amount of Council Tax that would otherwise be due. The average contribution, determined by the type of property occupied, is then recovered from Service occupants with their accommodation charge. The levels of CILOCT charge applied to personnel living in Northern Ireland ensure consistency of charging with the same type of accommodation within the United Kingdom. The MOD pays the applicable rates in Northern Ireland.

Information on the amount of CILOCT that Service personnel living in Northern Ireland have paid in each year since 2011 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much funding the Capita-led consortium receives from the public purse to manage the defence estate annually.

The Capita-led consortium (known as the Strategic Business Partner (SBP)) is responsible for leading and managing the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the business unit within the Ministry of Defence that manages the majority of the defence estate.

As set out in the NAO Report "Delivering the defence estate" dated 15 November 2016, fees payable to the SBP for the period June 2014 to July 2016 totalled £90.2 million as follows:

2014-15 £33.3 million

2015-16 £55.2 million

2016-17 £1.7 million

Total £90.2 million

In the period to 30 September 2016 further fees of £7.3 million have become payable. The majority of the fees payable to the SBP are based on them delivering savings to the MOD that can be reinvested in Defence.

As the SBP is incentivised to achieve savings in the delivery of DIO's outputs and the fee payable in future years is, therefore, dependent on the level of savings delivered.

25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of Royal Navy staffing levels.

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review made clear that the Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Marines (RM) will increase in numbers with a 2020 target strength of 30,450. With regard to current staffing levels, the RN and RM Monthly Personnel Situation Report provides information on the number of RN and RM personnel joining and leaving the Regular Service. These can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/royal-navy-and-royal-marines-monthly-personnel-statistics-2016

25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to monitor (a) staffing levels and (b) training of Royal Naval Reservists.

Commander Maritime Reserves continually plans and monitors current manning levels as detailed in Future Reserves 2020.

Royal Naval Reserves training is delivered by both Regular and Reserves personnel across a variety of locations around the UK and overseas. Training quality and consistency is achieved through audits and inspections conducted by internal and external organisations. In addition, training is subject to an internal feedback system from students and training documentation is reviewed on a three yearly cycle. Instructors are also assessed annually to ensure currency of training.

17th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the value was of his Department's naval maintenance contracts by shipyards in (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales in the last 10 years.

The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the funding levels are for Combined Cadet Forces in schools in 2016-17.

There is no set budget for the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) and the cost of Ministry of Defence (MOD) sponsorship of the CCF is calculated retrospectively.

The latest assessment of the cost to the MOD of funding the CCF was for Financial Year (FY) 2013-14 when the total was £30.144 million. This figure covered the running costs and fixed costs of over 350 cadet units with a total of over 41,000 cadets. Running costs include equipment, rations, uniforms, transport, and remuneration for Adult Volunteers. Fixed costs include training infrastructure and overheads, regional structures, and central management administration and support.

The baseline cost of the CCF for FY 2016-17 will not be substantially different from the 2013-14 figure, although the Government has committed an additional £50 million from LIBOR fines to the joint MOD/Department for Education Cadet Expansion Programme to increase the number of cadet units in schools to 500 by 2020. Most of the new units will be CCF contingents.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the capability of the current Royal Navy fleet to police British waters and protect UK interests abroad.

The Royal Navy continues to meet all of their current operational commitments, including the contribution to the protection of British waters and UK interests abroad.

I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the former Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Mr Mark Francois) on 24 March 2015 to Question number 218389 to the hon. Member for Gelding (Vernon Coaker).

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's plans are for the unused housing at RAF Aldergrove.

Demolition of the unused housing at RAF Aldergrove is planned to commence in 2017.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to highlight the potential benefits of a military career to young people from deprived areas.

Our Armed Forces welcomes people from all backgrounds. There is a role in the Services for people regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin or religious belief. No account is taken of sexual orientation or social background. The Armed Forces has a strict code of conduct to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. As a major employer we are working to create a more inclusive working environment in which people are able to reach their full potential.

The Armed Forces has an extensive programme of engagement with schools and educational establishments, including deprived areas. However, the Armed Forces does not recruit in schools and only visits educational establishments when specifically invited to do so.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his proposals to time-limit civil claims made in relation to military operations will apply to Operation Banner.

We are not currently in a position to confirm our plans with regards to limitation. We will make an announcement in due course.

7th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's plans are for the future of RAF Aldergrove.

The estate optimisation strategy aims to provide a more efficient and better quality Defence estate to support our Armed Forces, which will be fit for purpose for future generations.

This long-term, detailed work seeks to identify a rationalised Defence estate which more appropriately meets the needs of our Armed Forces by being of better quality, more cost effective and more efficient, as well as 30% smaller overall, by 2040.

No decision about the future of individual sites has been made at this point, other than those that have been previously announced

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the rationale was for his Department's decision to allow soldiers who have completed only Phase One training to be called up to perform frontline tasks.

The rationale behind the decision to plan to use Army Phase 1 trained Regular and Reserve personnel in response to crises within the UK was set out in the Written Ministerial Statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Michael Fallon) on 29 June 2016 (HCWS49).

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reasons people who are from or live in Northern Ireland are required to complete a counter terrorist check as part of an application to join the armed forces.

Every eligible applicant, irrespective of their background, residency or nationality undergoes appropriate security vetting as part of the selection process to join the UK Armed Forces.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on the appointment of a representative from Northern Ireland to the Armed Forces Covenant Reference Group.

The Armed Forces Covenant is making a real difference in Northern Ireland, where it is enshrined in law. Funding bids have been more successful there than in any other part of the UK - grants include £450,000 to Combat Stress to provide mental health support to veterans.

There is an open invitation to the Northern Ireland Executive to join the Covenant Reference Group (CRG). The Government wishes them to take a full and active part in the group, alongside the other Devolved Administrations. Whilst the Northern Ireland Executive has not yet put forward a representative for the CRG, much useful and effective engagement takes place at Executive departmental level.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent discussions he has had with the Royal British Legion on their Count Them In campaign.

The Ministry of Defence supports the aspiration of the Royal British Legion to include questions on the Armed Forces Community in the 2021 Census. In June 2016 I wrote to the National Statistician to formally request a review of the decision not to include such questions in the 2021 Census. I explained that an ability to identify veterans through direct questioning would provide data that is detailed enough to allow local authorities, Government Departments and other public bodies to meet their Armed Forces Covenant obligations and design and measure local interventions for veterans. At the same time I wrote to the Royal British Legion on behalf of the Secretary of State and the Service Chiefs to explain that Defence considers the inclusion of a veterans marker in the 2021 Census to be the best way to provide an accurate benchmark for the veteran community. Defence Ministers have not met with the Royal British Legion to discuss this issue.

I welcome the Office for National Statistics' decision to set up a working group to look into the legal, methodological and process obstacles currently standing in the way of data sharing and data linking across Government. Data sharing has the potential to fill in some gaps in our knowledge of the veterans' community, although it remains our position that an accurate baseline could only be obtained through the inclusion of a veterans' marker in the 2021 Census.

25th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of his Department's ability to identify all veterans with mesothelioma.

Veterans UK has written to existing War Disablement Pension claimants with mesothelioma to inform them of the new option of a lump sum. In addition to the announcements I made in this House on 16 December 2015 (Official Report, column 1629) and 29 February 2016 (Official Report, column 667), news stories were posted by the Ministry of Defence on the gov.uk website. At the same time we informed ex-Service organisations and asbestos support groups for them to bring the change to the attention of their members.

We have also provided information on the War Pensions Scheme and new lump sum for mesothelioma to NHS England and the Devolved Administrations for the awareness of GPs.

14th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 prevents the full implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 January 2016 to Question 22174 to the hon. Member for Belfast East (Mr Robinson).

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-01-12/22174/

14th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when compensation payments to veterans with mesothelioma caused by service were commenced.

The Government has continuously made compensation available under the War Pension Scheme for injuries, illness or disease caused by service before 6 April 2005, including mesothelioma.

The War Pension Scheme provides veterans with mesothelioma with the maximum award paid on a weekly/monthly basis and additional supplementary allowances and, where appropriate, entitlement to dependant's benefits.

Following representations from ex-Service organisations and others, on 11 April 2016 a new legislative provision was introduced under the War Pension Scheme, this allowed individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma to opt for a lump sum payment of £140,000.

The first lump sum payments under the new provisions were made on 11 April 2016.

15th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what funding has been received by organisations in Northern Ireland from the Community Covenant Grant Scheme.

All of the applications from Northern Ireland under the first round of the 2015-16 Small Grant Covenant Grant Scheme were successful, amounting to just over £35,000. This is in addition to the £80,000 already awarded under the now closed Community Covenant Grant Scheme.

This funding is in addition to the £35 million of Libor money which the Chancellor agreed to transfer to support the Armed Forces community. The fund has supported 96 charities and good causes in a variety of ways across the UK. We anticipate that the Armed Forces community in Northern Ireland will benefit from a number of UK-wide projects which have received funding.

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant fully addresses the healthcare needs of all active and retired servicemen and women with (a) post-traumatic stress disorder and (b) other conditions.


The Armed Forces Covenant sets a number of goals with respect to healthcare, including that members of the Armed Forces community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, healthcare as received by any other UK citizen in the area where they live. With regard to Mental Health, the Armed Forces Covenant states that veterans should be able to access mental health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture.

The Ministry of Defence provides primary healthcare for all Service personnel including mobilised Reservists. The provision of veterans' healthcare, including for those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions, is primarily the responsibility of the National Health Service in England and the Devolved Administrations. Veterans in England, Scotland and Wales are entitled to priority access to secondary healthcare for conditions suspected to be due to their service in the Armed Forces, subject to the clinical needs of others. In Northern Ireland, the mental health needs of returning ex-Service personnel continue to be addressed either through the Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish Aftercare Service, through Combat Stress, or directly within the mainstream Primary Care and Mental Health services.

For a summary of our approach to ensuring that our serving Armed Forces personnel receive the very best mental healthcare provision, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 September 2015 to Question 9141 to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson). http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-09-07/9141/

For details of the steps we have taken to ensure that veterans are provided with the support they need, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 September 2015 to Question 9865 to the hon. Member for Inverclyde (Mr Cowan). http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2015-09-10/9865/

15th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will introduce a service medal to people serving in Operation Helvetic.

There are no plans to issue a Service medal for the support provided by the UK Armed Forces to the Police Service of Northern Ireland since 1 August 2007, known as Operation Helvetic.

29th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to halt the proposed business rates increase for commercial solar installations.

Business rates policy in Northern Ireland is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly. In England, business rates are based on valuations from the Valuation Office Agency and we do not intervene in their independent assessments. We will put in place a £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme for England to ensure that no ratepayer is unfairly penalised by the 2017 revaluation.

Marcus Jones
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
6th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of recent changes in business rates on corporate demand for rooftop solar power.

Draft 2017 rateable values prepared independently by the Valuation Office Agency will be published for the first time on 30 September 2016. Once rateable values are available we will look closely at the impacts of the forthcoming revaluation and consult on how to make sure the right support is in place for businesses to adjust to any changes.

Marcus Jones
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if she will ensure that her Department includes an extension to Northern Ireland of a pardon for gay and bisexual men convicted under now abolished offences and seeks a Legislative Consent Motion on this matter from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

I am proud that the Government is delivering its manifesto commitment to posthumously pardon gay and bisexual men convicted of now abolished sex offences. We are also going further and pardoning living individuals who have had their historical convictions deleted through the Home Office disregard process.

Lord Sharkey’s amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill on this issue extend to England and Wales only.

It is an established principle that the UK Parliament only legislates on devolved matters in Northern Ireland with the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly. My officials are in preliminary discussions with the Northern Ireland Department of Justice regarding this.

4th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of prison inspections in providing an accurate reflection of the work of prison service staff.

The Ministry of Justice welcomes the external scrutiny of the treatment of those in custody by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons. Annually, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons agrees with the Ministry of Justice the approach they intend for their inspection programmes. For each inspection completed, a report is published which includes recommendations for improvement. These reports are all in the public domain and available from the Inspectorate’s website. While the factual accuracy of information in inspection reports will be checked before publication, it is an important principle that the judgements expressed in reports are the Chief Inspector’s own, based on evidence collected by independent inspectors. After each inspection, recommendations made will inform an action plan adopted by those responsible for the management of the inspected establishment.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many compensation claims against prison staff were made by prisoners in each of the last five years.

NOMS defend robustly all claims brought and successfully defend two thirds of claims brought by prisoners. It is not possible accurately to separate prisoner compensation claims against prison staff from other similar claims (e.g. assaults by other prisoners).

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
9th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recent Inspectorate report of HM Prison Maghaberry.

Prisons are a devolved matter and responsibility for HMP Maghaberry lies with the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.


Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
21st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with the National Crime Agency on its investigations into allegations of political influence on the operations of the National Assets Management Agency in Northern Ireland.

As this is an operational matter for the National Crime Agency, I have not discussed this issue with them.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had on maintaining the level of funding for disabled people in Northern Ireland when support for such people from the European Social Fund ceases.

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has regular discussions with colleagues on a range of issues regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed on 13 August that European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) projects signed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

For projects signed after the Autumn Statement, the Government will work with the devolved administrations on funding arrangements to allow them to prioritise projects within their devolved responsibilities. As we transition to longer-term arrangements, we will ensure the devolved administrations are treated fairly and that their circumstances are taken into account.

2nd Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on securing infrastructure funding for projects in Northern Ireland when the UK withdraws from the EU.

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has regular discussions with colleagues on a range of issues regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed on 13 August that European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) projects signed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

For projects signed after the Autumn Statement, the Government will work with the devolved administrations on funding arrangements to allow them to prioritise projects within their devolved responsibilities. As we transition to longer-term arrangements, we will ensure the devolved administrations are treated fairly and that their circumstances are taken into account.

23rd Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on cross-border trade in Northern Ireland.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the United Kingdom will be stronger, safer and better off by remaining in a reformed European Union.

This includes Northern Ireland, where UK membership of the EU helps ensure a stable and secure relationship for trade and investment within the Union and in particular with its largest export partner, the Republic of Ireland.


13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what proportion of the funding of £500 million for shared schooling in Northern Ireland is expected to come from her Department's budget.

In the ‘Stormont House Agreement’ signed on 23 December 2014, the UK Government agreed a contribution of up to £500m over 10 years of new capital funding to support shared and integrated education, subject to individual projects being agreed between the Executive and the UK Government.

In the recent ‘A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan’ the UK Government agreed a number of further flexibilities to the funding commitments contained in the ‘Stormont House Agreement’ including that capital funding for shared and integrated education can be used to support shared housing projects, with individual projects to be agreed by the UK Government.

This funding to the Northern Ireland Executive will come from Her Majesty’s Treasury through the Northern Ireland Office.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment the Government has made of the risks to the security of electricity supply in Northern Ireland posed by the failure to build and have operational by 2020 the 400kV North-South electricity interconnector between County Tyrone and County Meath.

Non-nuclear energy policy is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and the responsibility of Northern Ireland Executive Ministers.



9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what the Government's policy is on the proposed 400kV North-South electricity interconnector between County Tyrone and County Meath.

Non-nuclear energy policy is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and the responsibility of Northern Ireland Executive Ministers.



9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions she has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and (b) her counterpart in the Republic of Ireland on steps to ensure the proposed North-South electricity interconnector is delivered.

Non-nuclear energy policy is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and the responsibility of Northern Ireland Executive Ministers.



4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on ensuring that as many schools as possible receive Shared Education Signature Project funding.

The Government communicates with the Northern Ireland Executive frequently on a wide range of issues.

As part of ‘Building a Prosperous and United Community’, the ‘economic pact’, the Government committed to provide £100 million of additional borrowing to help support specific shared housing and education projects.

Through the Stormont House Agreement the Government committed to make substantial capital funding available, up to £500 million over 10 years, to help support shared and integrated education in Northern Ireland. This funding is subject to the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement and individual projects being agreed between the Executive and the Government.


4th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on further plans to increase the provision of shared and integrated education.

The Government communicates with the Northern Ireland Executive frequently on a wide range of issues.

As part of ‘Building a Prosperous and United Community’, the ‘economic pact’, the Government committed to provide £100 million of additional borrowing to help support specific shared housing and education projects.

Through the Stormont House Agreement the Government committed to make substantial capital funding available, up to £500 million over 10 years, to help support shared and integrated education in Northern Ireland. This funding is subject to the full implementation of the Stormont House Agreement and individual projects being agreed between the Executive and the Government.


27th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps she is taking to ensure that discussions on the Stormont House Agreement include tax credits.

A range of issues are under discussion in the cross-party talks. These include welfare reform, the Executive’s budget and delivering longer term economic reform. The Government is committed to its long-term economic plan, key elements of which are tackling the deficit, making the costs of welfare sustainable and getting more people into work.

21st Oct 2015
IRA
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to her oral statement of 20 October 2015, Official Report, column 381, on Paramilitary Groups (Northern Ireland), in relation to the structure of the Provisional IRA, what is meant by departments.

The independently reviewed assessment of paramilitary organisations states that PIRA retains "some departments with specific responsibilities". It is only the policy of her Majesty’s Government to publish the report. It is a long held convention of Government not to discuss or disclose detailed intelligence.

13th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what representations he has received on the Scottish Government's proposals to absorb the British Transport Police into Police Scotland.

The cross-party Smith Commission agreed that the functions of the British Transport Police in Scotland would be devolved. The Government has received representations about the transfer of these functions in Scotland, including correspondence from MPs. The Department for Transport and Scottish Government officials are in regular contact about the delivery of the transfer of functions.

17th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what assessment he has made of the security of electricity supply in Wales.

The UK’s electricity supply remains the most reliable in Europe. Wales plays an important role in contributing to our diverse energy generation mix.

11th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he is taking to ensure that Wales receives the maximum funding possible from the EU before the UK leaves the EU.

The Government is taking a practical approach to EU funding. As my Rt hon Friend the Chancellor has made clear, structural and investment funds projects signed before the date of exit will be fully funded by the Treasury even where payments fall after we leave the EU; in keeping with the devolution settlement, it will be for the Welsh Government to decide the conditions used to assess projects within its devolved competence.