Mark Williams

Liberal Democrat - Former Member for Ceredigion

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)
29th Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Welsh Affairs Committee
13th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Welsh Affairs Committee
17th Jul 2005 - 30th Mar 2015
Shadow Minister (Innovation, Universities and Skills)
20th Dec 2007 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Wales)
10th Mar 2006 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Education)
10th May 2005 - 10th Mar 2006


Division Voting information

Mark Williams has voted in 1803 divisions, and 43 times against the majority of their Party.

7 Dec 2015 - Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 292 Noes - 187
2 Dec 2015 - ISIL in Syria - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 6 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 211 Noes - 390
2 Dec 2015 - ISIL in Syria - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 6 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 397 Noes - 223
23 Feb 2015 - Serious Crime Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 29 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 201 Noes - 292
11 Feb 2015 - Infrastructure Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 25 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 257 Noes - 203
26 Jan 2015 - Infrastructure Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 33 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 52 Noes - 308
26 Jan 2015 - Infrastructure Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 15 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 26 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 245 Noes - 293
15 Dec 2014 - Firefighters’ Pension Scheme (England) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 34 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 261 Noes - 313
27 Oct 2014 - Recall of MPs Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 37 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 166 Noes - 340
30 Apr 2014 - Wales Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 30 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 5 Noes - 243
22 Jan 2014 - Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 10 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 37 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 310 Noes - 278
22 Jan 2014 - Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 5 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 42 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 0 Noes - 0
14 Jan 2014 - Offender Rehabilitation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 42 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 247 Noes - 313
14 Jan 2014 - Offender Rehabilitation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 44 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 244 Noes - 315
14 Jan 2014 - Offender Rehabilitation Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 47 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 239 Noes - 318
9 Oct 2013 - Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 40 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 304 Noes - 260
4 Jun 2013 - Energy Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 16 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 29 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 267 Noes - 290
20 May 2013 - Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 38 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 148 Noes - 339
18 Apr 2013 - Finance (No. 2) Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 25 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 11 Noes - 233
21 Jan 2013 - Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 9 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 36 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 305 Noes - 246
12 Mar 2012 - Backbench Business Committee - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 27 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 105 Noes - 186
12 Mar 2012 - Backbench Business Committee - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 13 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 20 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 101 Noes - 166
1 Feb 2012 - Welfare Reform Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 37 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 310 Noes - 268
30 Nov 2011 - Hairdressers Registration (Amendment) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 9 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 67
31 Oct 2011 - Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 8 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 39 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 237 Noes - 305
14 Sep 2011 - Energy Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 32 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 128 Noes - 278
2 Feb 2011 - Public Forest Estate (England) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 43 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 260 Noes - 310
2 Feb 2011 - Public Forest Estate (England) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 39 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 301 Noes - 253
15 Dec 2010 - Water Supplies (Developing World) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 33 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 304 Noes - 221
9 Dec 2010 - Higher Education Fees - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 27 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 323 Noes - 302
9 Dec 2010 - Higher Education Fees - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 27 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 323 Noes - 302
12 Nov 2008 - Deferred Division - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 2 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 48 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 430 Noes - 54
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 25 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 206 Noes - 298
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 30 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 194 Noes - 306
22 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 18 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 31 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 183 Noes - 308
20 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 27 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 28 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 173 Noes - 309
20 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 32 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 233 Noes - 304
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 26 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 29 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 223 Noes - 286
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 20 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 34 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 181 Noes - 314
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 16 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 40 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 149 Noes - 318
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 43 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 163 Noes - 342
19 May 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [Lords] - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 32 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 293
5 Jul 2006 - Ambulances (County Durham) - View Vote Context
Mark Williams voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 21 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 26 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 409 Noes - 53
View All Mark Williams 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
Jonathan Edwards (Independent)
(46 debate interactions)
David Jones (Conservative)
(38 debate interactions)
Guto Bebb (Independent)
(32 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Wales Office
(136 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(77 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(73 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(42 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Mark Williams's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Mark Williams

21st March 2017
Mark Williams signed this EDM on Tuesday 18th April 2017

SOCIAL SECURITY

Tabled by: Ian Blackford (Scottish National Party - Ross, Skye and Lochaber)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Regulations 2017 (S.I., 2017, No. 349), dated 9 March 2017, a copy of which was laid before this House on 13 March 2017, be annulled.
76 signatures
(Most recent: 26 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 38
Labour: 25
Independent: 6
Conservative: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
15th March 2017
Mark Williams signed this EDM on Wednesday 22nd March 2017

FREE PROVISION OF SANITARY PRODUCTS FOR GIRLS FROM LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

Tabled by: Greg Mulholland (Liberal Democrat - Leeds North West)
That this House is deeply concerned that girls in the UK are missing time in school because of a lack of access to sanitary products; recognises the unaffordable cost of sanitary products for some low-income individuals and families; notes that this is a hidden problem that some girls may find …
21 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Apr 2017)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 8
Liberal Democrat: 5
Scottish National Party: 4
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
View All Mark Williams's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Mark Williams, 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.


Mark Williams has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Mark Williams has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

4 Bills introduced by Mark Williams


A Bill to make provision for the transfer of ownership and return to Greece of the artefacts known as the Parthenon Sculptures, or Elgin Marbles, purchased by Parliament in 1816; to amend the British Museum Act 1963 accordingly; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 11th July 2016

A Bill to devolve to Welsh Ministers responsibility for the determination of specified bank holidays in Wales; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 1st March 2016

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the physical and emotional welfare of children; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 19th June 2013

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for carers' rights to flexible working; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 26th January 2011

Mark Williams has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


144 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
16 Other Department Questions
28th Mar 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, which Government Ministers visited (a) Kenya and (b) Uganda in 2016; and how many times each such Minister visited those countries.

Details of Ministerial overseas travel is published quarterly and is available on the gov.uk website.

26th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether local planning authorities can only grant hydraulic fracturing consent for a well after an environment impact assessment directive compliance assessment has taken place.

The Infrastructure Act 2015 makes clear that my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not grant consent for associated hydraulic fracturing unless the environmental impact of the development, which includes the relevant well, has been taken into account by the local planning authority.

We will expect operators to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment in order to fulfil condition 1 in section 50 of the Act.

18th May 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what her Department's policy is on restricting the import of cheap, inferior-quality coal to the UK.

The decision of where to source coal is a commercial decision for companies. Through our efforts to decarbonise our electricity system, we are increasing the diversity of our energy mix and reducing our reliance on unabated coal.

8th Mar 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, which projects in Wales have received European Commission funding in each of the last five years; and how much each such project received in each year.

A list of all projects financed by the European Structural Funds in the 2007-13 period can be found on the Welsh Government website under ‘Funding’, ‘European funds in Wales’, ‘Previous European Structural Funds programmes’, ‘Approved project database 2007-2013’.

Implementation of the 2014-2020 European Structural Funds programmes is at an early stage. A list of projects to be financed in Wales by the Structural Funds for 2014-2020 can be found on the Welsh Government website under ‘Funding’, ‘European funds in Wales’, ‘European Structural Funds 2014-2020’, ‘Approved projects and ideas under development’.

The Seventh Framework Programme 2007-2013 has provided grants to research and innovation projects across the EU. The European Commission’s figures show that the total value of grants awarded to organisations in Wales under this programme was €145,243,199 (up to and including 11 November 2015). For 2014-2020, the Horizon 2020 programme (the successor to the Seventh Framework Programme) has awarded grants with a total value of €39,932,431 to organisations in Wales (up to and including 23 February 2016).

15th Dec 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what progress has been made in negotiations with Lloyd's Bank plc about business banking services being offered through the Post Office.

The Post Office is negotiating with the major banks, including Lloyds and Barclays, with a view to extending and standardising the services available to the banks’ small business customers. These are commercial negotiations which are still ongoing. The Government is clear that completion of these negotiations should be a priority.


The Government is keen to see continued and wider availability of banking services through Post Office branches. In this context, we welcome the recent agreement between HSBC and the Post Office to provide HSBC’s business customers with services through Post Office branches.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what steps her Department is taking to support the development of domestic oil purchasing syndicates.

I continue to see domestic oil purchasing syndicates as an important route for consumers to get the best price possible. My priority is keeping bills low for hardworking families and businesses, and with winter on its way it makes sense for consumers to plan ahead. The Department also recommends heating oil users to buy their heating fuel sooner rather than later to avoid longer delivery times as demand increases.

20th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what fiscal steps he plans to take to help unincorporated businesses with the introduction of the living wage.

The Government believes that the new National Living Wage is affordable given the strength of the UK economy and labour market.

The Government will publish a full impact assessment for the introduction of the National Living Wage alongside the implementing regulations. This will contain a section on the impact on small businesses which includes many unincorporated businesses.

The Government is reducing Corporation Tax to 19% from 2017-18 and then to 18% from 2020-21; setting the Annual Investment Allowance at a new permanent level of £200,000; and increasing the Employment Allowance by £1,000 to £3,000 from 2016-17. The increase in the employment allowance means a business could employ four people on the National Living Wage and pay no National Insurance Contributions.

20th Oct 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the Government's living wage on unincorporated businesses.

The Government believes that the new National Living Wage is affordable given the strength of the UK economy and labour market.

The Government will publish a full impact assessment for the introduction of the National Living Wage alongside the implementing regulations. This will contain a section on the impact on small businesses which includes many unincorporated businesses.

The Government is reducing Corporation Tax to 19% from 2017-18 and then to 18% from 2020-21; setting the Annual Investment Allowance at a new permanent level of £200,000; and increasing the Employment Allowance by £1,000 to £3,000 from 2016-17. The increase in the employment allowance means a business could employ four people on the National Living Wage and pay no National Insurance Contributions.

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on the level of care home fees and planned changes to the national minimum wage.

The Government carried out an analysis of the impact of the National Living Wage, using a similar approach to that published by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which considered the implications at the business, sector, regional and aggregate economy level.

The Government will publish a full impact assessment for the introduction of the National Living Wage alongside the implementing regulations. These regulations will be debated in both Houses of Parliament in time to come into force on 1 April 2016.

4th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to the minimum wage on the care sector in Wales.

The Government carried out an analysis of the impact of the National Living Wage, using a similar approach to that published by the Office for Budget Responsibility, which considered the implications at the business, sector, regional and aggregate economy level.

The Government will publish a full impact assessment for the introduction of the National Living Wage alongside the implementing regulations. These regulations will be debated in both Houses of Parliament in time to come into force on 1 April 2016.

17th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether windfarms that were subject to appeal or judicial review at the time of her announcement on ending the onshore wind subsidy on 18 June 2015 will qualify for that subsidy.

Following my rt hon Friend's the Secretary of State’s Written Ministerial Statement and Oral Statement to Parliament on 18 (HCWS40) and 22 June (Column 617) 2015 respectively, DECC is engaging with the onshore wind industry and other stakeholders to hear their views on our proposed grace period criteria as we frame the terms of the legislation. The precise grace period eligibility requirements will be determined through the legislative process and are subject to approval by Parliament. It will be for the developer of each individual project to determine in due course whether they meet those eligibility requirements and to apply for the grace period.

11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the declaration by the African Union that the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara, should be cancelled.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has received and declined an invitation to this forum and my Department does not plan to send a representative. We are aware of reports that the African Union has called for the forum to be cancelled but we do not intend to make any assessment.

10th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, whether he has received an invitation to the Crans Montana forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara; and whether he plans to send a representative to that forum.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has received and declined an invitation to this forum and my Department does not plan to send a representative. We are aware of reports that the African Union has called for the forum to be cancelled but we do not intend to make any assessment.

17th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what guidance his Department gives to companies about doing business in (a) Morocco and (b) Western Sahara.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) helps UK companies do business with Morocco through a range of exporting services, advice and practical support. UKTI informs companies of the UK’s position in relation to Western Sahara and UK businesses and human rights.

30th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he agrees that responsible and sustainable investment practices are beneficial to businesses, the wider economy and society as a whole.
10th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to ensure that GOV.UK is accessible by Welsh speakers in the Welsh language.

The Government is enthusiastically committed to the Welsh language and to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand for them.

The Cabinet Office is improving the quality of service for Welsh speakers through user research, conducted jointly by the Wales Office and the Government Digital Service (GDS), as well as feedback from subject matter experts in governmental Welsh Language Units.

GDS has liaised with government departments on a user needs-based review of current Welsh-language content on GOV.UK. The content in Welsh will be more prominently promoted from the equivalent English-language pages.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department introduced the Welsh Language Scheme; when that scheme was last updated; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that scheme.

The Government is enthusiastically committed to the Welsh language and to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand for them.

The Cabinet Office is improving the quality of service for Welsh speakers through user research, conducted jointly by the Wales Office and the Government Digital Service (GDS), as well as feedback from subject matter experts in governmental Welsh Language Units.

GDS has liaised with government departments on a user needs-based review of current Welsh-language content on GOV.UK. The content in Welsh will be more prominently promoted from the equivalent English-language pages.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the need to provide access to his Department's services in Welsh.

Cabinet Office work closely with the Wales Office to support Welsh speakers in accessing government information and services.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the percentage target was for people responding to the census online in 2011; and what proportion of people so responded.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he will take to ensure that people who do not have online access will be able to participate in the census in 2021.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

21st Feb 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent estimate he has made of the number of jobs in the green economy.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carry out an annual survey to report on economic activity in the low carbon and renewable energy sector in the UK.

The latest release provides first estimates for 2015 and shows that an estimated 233,000 full-time equivalent employees were working directly in low carbon and renewable energy activities.

The ONS has not yet published estimates for 2015 of the additional employees supported in the supply chain to the sector. However, estimates for 2014 indicate that this activity could amount to around a further 200,000 full-time equivalent employees. Further information on the ONS releases can be found at the links below.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/bulletins/finalestimates/2015

https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/ukenvironmentalaccountslowcarbonandrenewableenergyeconomytotalactivity2014

8th Dec 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how much has been spent promoting British tourism in (a) Europe, (b) Asia, (c) North America and (d) total in (i) 2016, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2014.

The below table from Visit Britain, which contains spending figures on Tourism for the aforementioned periods. The increase in funding during Financial Year 15/16 can be attributed to the inclusion of the North and South West Growth Funds.

Europe

Asia

North America

Total Overseas Investment

2014/15 Actuals

7,912,466

8,769,694

7,714,661

25,641,070

2015/16 Actuals

10,016,595

9,555,699

9,154,013

29,574,545

2016/17 Forecast

6,053,255

7,923,478

6,659,807

20,961,784

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to publish the Government's response to the recent consultation on Tackling Partial Not-Spots in Mobile Telephone Coverage.

The consultation on tackling partial not-spots closed on November 26. We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision. I will respond to the consultation in due course.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of (a) the type and quantity of data to be shared under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and (b) the additional costs that such data-sharing would incur should a system of national roaming be implemented.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including national roaming. The Impact Assessment noted the potential impact the various options, including national roaming, may have on law enforcement work.

Additionally, during the consultation process, my officials held a series of discussions with the Home Office and the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone) to consider further the impact of each measure on law enforcement. This, together with the responses received to the consultation, is informing our thinking on any potential impact of the consultation options.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what analysis he has made of the possibility of network outage contagion under a system of mobile national roaming.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what extra mobile telephone network and signalling infrastructure will be needed to deliver the Government's proposed system of national roaming; and how that infrastructure will be funded.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect a system of national roaming would have on the frequency of dropped mobile telephone calls.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what analysis his Department has undertaken of the effect on mobile telephone battery life of a system of national roaming.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of regulatory changes, other than national roaming, that could speed up the delivery of improved mobile telephone coverage.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage. The options under consultation were national roaming, infrastructure sharing, reforming virtual networks and a coverage obligation.

Alongside this my officials are considering the implications of the Law Commission’s recommendations of reform on the Electronic Communications Code and how these impact on network roll out and service provision to consumers.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, which other countries have introduced a system of domestic national roaming; and whether any analysis has been made of the effect such a system has had on consumer bills, investment and network coverage in each such country.

National Roaming has been implemented in France on a localised level and in Australia on a voluntary basis between two operators, accessible to consumers on a subscription basis. The French and Australian models are outlined in my recent consultation on tackling partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, however neither model correlates directly to the model of national roaming on which I have consulted.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the amount of time it would take to implement a successful system of national roaming.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to respond to the Law Commission's recommendations on a revised Electronic Communications Code (Law Commission Report No. 336), published on 28 February 2013.

Since the publication of the Law Commission’s report on the Electronic Communications Code, DCMS has been considering the implications of the recommendations on network roll out and service provision to consumers. In January 2014, we published an economic analysis of the impacts of various wayleave valuation regimes. A copy of this report has been placed in the House of Commons library.

My officials are continuing to assess the implications of the Law Commission’s recommendations and I will make public my plans to reform the Electronic Communications Code in due course.

5th Dec 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the potential financial costs for consumers of a system of national roaming; and what discussions he has had with mobile telephone operators about the effect of those costs on consumer bills.

I have recently consulted on potential measures to tackle partial not-spots in mobile phone coverage, including on national roaming. The consultation document and accompanying Impact Assessment set out my analysis of the potential impacts of each option under consideration on the telecoms industry and consumers.

We received a large amount of new information in response to the consultation, including from the four UK mobile network operators (EE, Three, Telefonica, Vodafone). My officials are currently analysing this information ahead of a final policy decision.

30th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how the level of funding for the GREAT Britain campaign has changed over the past 10 years.

The GREAT Britain campaign was established in 2011. It showcases the very best of what this country has to offer. The campaign is currently active in over 140 countries around the world and aims to deliver significant and long-term increases in trade, tourism, education and inward investment in support of our prosperity and growth agenda. Detailed evaluation of available results shows that the campaign is making a significant economic and reputational impact, with measurable returns to date significantly exceeding the cost of the campaign.

Government funding for GREAT Britain campaign:

2011/13 (development and launch costs covered two financial years) - £37 million

2013/14 - £30 million

2014/15 - £46.5 million

2015/16 - £46.5 million

26th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to help the tourism industry retain its role as a key provider of skills and training for the UK workforce.

The Government has recently launched a new Tourism Council, whose remit is jobs, skills and enterprise. The Council is a partnership between Government and industry and will be jointly chaired by myself, Matthew Hancock MP, the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, and Simon Vincent, Chair of the Hospitality Guild and Hilton President, Europe, Middle East and East Africa. In March, the Prime Minister announced that there will be two new apprenticeship Trailblazers for Tourism and Hospitality.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Great Britain Tourism Survey that domestic trips in the UK fell by three million in 2013; and if he will make a statement.

The number of trips taken in GB in 2013 was the 3rd highest in the 8 years that the current survey has been running and well above pre-recession averages, with spending second only to 2012. We do expect to see a natural increase in people booking holidays abroad as the economy improves but people are continuing to choose Britain for their holiday. Through its Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign, VisitEngland continues to promote England as a place for all residents of Britain to enjoy, and Visit Scotland and Visit Wales are also actively promoting their offer. The GB Tourism Survey also noted the record number of inbound tourists in 2013 reaching nearly 33 million.

26th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the importance of regional tourism in the UK; and what steps he has taken to support small, local hospitality businesses.

Estimates of the direct tourism gross value added (GVA) contribution to the UK economy for each English region, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were recently published by the Office for National Statistics for the year 2011. In total, they show that tourism directly contributed a GVA of around £50 billion to the UK (4% of the economy).

Region

ONS figures for 2011

(direct in £bn)

Scotland

5.0

Wales

2.3

Northern Ireland

0.3

London

13.1

Rest of England

North East

1.1

North West

5.1

Yorkshire and the Humber

2.6

East Midlands

2.3

West Midlands

2.5

East of England

3.4

South East

6.6

South West

4.4

Further economic analysis by Deloitte, commissioned by VisitBritain, suggests that if indirect economic effects are also included, GVA is forecast to be as high as £127 billion (9% of the UK economy) in 2013.

In terms of supporting small, local hospitality businesses, since April 2013 community venues have not had to apply to the local council for an entertainment license for events such as dance displays and concerts. Previously, such licenses currently cost, on average, more than £200 for new applications or needed at least 10 days' notice for Temporary Event Notices. At the 2014 Budget, the tax on a typical pint of beer was cut by 1 penny, the duty on ordinary cider was frozen this year, and the duty escalator for wine was ended. Duty on spirits was also frozen for 2014-15.

Furthermore, thematic marketing campaigns focusing on what England is most loved for including Heritage, Coast, Countryside and Culture, as well as Sport and Literature, will be delivered and developed as part of the three-year, £19.8m project 'Growing Tourism Locally', funded by the Government's Regional Growth Fund (BIS), with contributions from VisitEngland and private sector. The project focuses on working directly with destinations and the private sector, to create a number of dedicated marketing campaigns throughout the country with emphasis on specific areas and themes. This will also benefit SMEs in the hospitality sector.

30th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress she has made on improving financial education in schools.

Citizenship education is part the national curriculum at key stages 3 and 4. From September 2014 the new citizenship programmes of study included, for the first time, a requirement for schools to prepare pupils to manage their money and make sound financial decisions.

At key stage 3, pupils should be taught about the functions and uses of money, the importance and practice of budgeting, and managing risk. At key stage 4, this should progress onto pupils being taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

The new mathematics programme of study also makes clear that pupils should use formal mathematical knowledge to interpret and solve problems, including in financial mathematics.

11th Jan 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department's press release, Lamb exports to America closer, published on 27 July 2016, what information she holds on when the first Welsh lamb exports to the US are expected to take place.

The US authorities are conducting the necessary steps to formally lift their restrictions on exports of EU lamb to the US. Defra is working with the US authorities to ensure exports of lamb from the UK can commence as quickly as possible once the restrictions have been lifted.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many inspections Trading Standards has undertaken of animals during transit for slaughter abroad in each of the last three years.

Defra does not hold data on local authority Trading Standards inspections of animals during transit for slaughter abroad. APHA carry out supervised loadings on export consignments of live animals for slaughter.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions there have been for breaches of the animal welfare regulations governing live animal exports in each of the last three years.

Information is available on the number of convictions rather than on the number of prosecutions. In the last three years there have been the following number of convictions for breaches of the regulations protecting animal welfare during transport in England and Wales. Separate figures are not kept for convictions relating to live animal exports.

2015 - 8

2014 - 15

2013 – 14

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
1st Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many vehicles the Animal and Plant Agency has inspected (a) during the loading of live animals and (b) at ports from which live animals have been exported in each of the last three years.

Number of vehicles the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has inspected:

(a) during the loading of live animals:

  • 99 during 2014

  • 66 during 2015

  • 127 during 2016

(b) at ports from which live animals have been exported:

  • 96 during 2014
  • 121 during 2015
  • 72 during 2016
George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
20th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the (a) the environmental benefits of the plastic bag charge and (b) potential merits of introducing such a charge for disposable coffee cups.

A full impact assessment considering the potential environmental benefits of the plastic bag charge was developed as part of introducing it in October 2015. It is available at: www.legislation.gov.uk/

We recently published the first 6 months’ data reported to us on the charge. Based on this, we expect English consumers to use around six billion less single-use plastic carrier bags this year.

Major coffee chains already have a financial obligation to recover and recycle a proportion of the packaging they place on the market, including disposable coffee cups, as they are captured under the Packaging Waste Regulations. The industry is also taking further voluntary action aimed at significantly increasing paper cup recycling rates by 2020.

The Government is developing the 25 Year Environment Plan, part of which will consider our policies for resources, waste and recycling.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
24th Feb 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications for emergency authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids have been received in 2016; and how many of those applications have been granted.

No applications have been received in 2016 for the emergency authorisation of neonicotinoids.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
11th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the declaration by the African Union that the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara, should be cancelled.

Having received no invitation, no assessment has been made.

10th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has received an invitation to the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara; and whether she plans to send a representative to that forum.

An invitation to the Forum in Dakhla has not been received.

14th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the financial return from her Department's investment in agricultural research and development since 2010.

Defra has not made any assessment of the financial returns on investment in agricultural research since 2010 as this is considered too short a time frame to fully evaluate the impact of research and development. However, research used for the ex-ante evaluation of the £160 million UK Agri-tech strategy suggests strong returns to UK public research of the order of 17-60% per year (internal rate of return) for a period of 25 years¹.

An ex-post evaluation design and baseline study for the Agri-tech strategy is currently being developed by Defra, BIS and DfID in conjunction with evaluation experts SQW. We are also developing a framework for estimating the value for money of new Defra research and development activities.

¹ Thirtle and Holding (2003) “Productivity of UK Agriculture: Causes and Constraints”

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
10th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether any UK trawlers are fishing in the waters of Western Sahara under the new protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement; and what her policy is on utilising the UK allocation under that agreement.

There are currently no UK vessels fishing under the new protocol to the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. Decisions on any quota allocation and licensing would be made by UK authorities under the existing regulatory regime.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
26th Sep 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much (a) her Department, (b) the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and (c) other public bodies spent on each category of agricultural research in each of the last 10 years; what estimate she has made of public expenditure on research and development on agriculture as a proportion of total spending on research and development in each of those years; and what proportion of publicly-funded research and development related to agriculture is (i) basic and (ii) applied research.

Defra’s investment in agricultural research over the past 10 years can be categorised as follows:

Financial year

Research spend (£million)

Farming

Agri-environment

Soils

Animal health & welfare

Total

2004/2005

37.0

2.7

1.2

38.5

79.4

2005/2006

35.7

2.8

1.3

37.9

77.8

2006/2007

29.1

2.7

1.1

38.6

71.5

2007/2008

25.0

1.6

1.0

37.3

64.9

2008/2009

22.7

1.8

0.8

34.1

59.4

2009/2010

26.0

1.8

1.4

31.9

61.1

2010/2011

23.0

1.9

1.3

32.9

59.0

2011/2012

23.5

2.1

1.6

30.7

57.8

2012/2013

21.1

2.0

1.7

27.4

52.1

2013/2014

16.2

1.1

1.8

24.5

43.5

The majority of this investment was in applied research.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) investment in agriculture-related research has steadily increased over the past 10 years. The expenditure can be broken down as follows:

Financial Year

Research spend (£million)

Basic

Applied

Total

2004/05

16

42.2

58.2

2005/06

22

45.1

67.1

2006/07

26.5

44.7

71.2

2007/08

28

47.1

75.2

2008/09

33

50.8

83.8

2009/10

33.3

56.4

89.6

2010/11

30.7

57.5

88.2

2011/12

30.9

60.6

91.6

2012/13

23.1

66

89.2

2013/14

27.7

67.1

94.9

Department for International Development (DfID) has invested the following amounts in agricultural research over the past decade:

Financial Year

Research spend (£million)

2004/2005

37.1

2005/2006

38.6

2006/2007

35.9

2007/2008

38.3

2008/2009

40.6

2009/2010

65.1

2010/2011

67.9

2011/2012

86.9

2012/2013

69.2

2013/2014

94.9

As with Defra, the majority of this investment was in applied research.

Together, Defra, BBSRC, and DfID’s investments in agricultural research account for more than three-quarters of the total spend by public bodies in this area. Smaller, but significant investments are made by the devolved administrations and other research councils., The Scottish Government, for example, annually invests around £50 million in research on rural affairs, food, and environment. A substantial proportion of this investment is focussed on both basic and applied agricultural science research.

Figures on the total government spend on research across all categories are held by the Office of National Statistics. However, information regarding total public investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) as a proportion of total Government spending on R&D across all categories is not readily available.

Defra is currently working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to deliver Action 1 of the Agri-Tech Strategy: a comprehensive mapping and evaluation of both private and government funding for research into agricultural technologies. This exercise will determine the total spend on agricultural R&D in the UK, categorise agricultural research investments by topic and identify the relative proportions of funding for basic and applied agricultural research in the UK. The findings of this work will be published next year.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
15th Sep 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether his Department is undertaking sectoral analyses of the effect of the UK leaving the EU on different sectors of the economy.

The Secretary of State's oral statement on 5 September 2016 explained that his officials, supported by officials across Government, are carrying out a programme of sectoral and regulatory analysis, which will identify the key factors for British businesses and the labour force that will affect our negotiations with the EU. They are looking in detail at over 50 sectors and cross-cutting regulatory issues.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much Government overseas development assistance expenditure is spent directly or indirectly on low-fee, for profit private schools in (a) Nigeria, (b) Pakistan, (c) Kenya and (d) Uganda.

Our absolute priority is to ensure children in the world’s poorest countries get the education they deserve, regardless of whether the school is public or private. When state provision is not delivering for the poorest, we work with low-cost privately run schools to provide an education to children who would otherwise get none. DFID has made direct investments in low-fee schools in Nigeria, Kenya and Pakistan. In Nigeria, we have spent £7.6m since 2013, 4,000 students are enrolled in 17 new schools in deprived areas of Lagos, with ongoing work to improve the quality standards of education provided to 1.8 million primary students in private schools. In Kenya we have spent £2.4m since 2014. We paid for 20,000 children to go to private schools in deprived urban areas where there is very limited state provision.

In Pakistan we have spent £28m since 2012, contributed to enrolling 1.7 million children in Punjab and 16,000 children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. In addition, the UK’s development finance institution, CDC, invested $7.1m in 2014 on low fee private schools, which includes support in Uganda.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to respond to the recent recommendations by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on privatisation and the right to education.

The United Kingdom notes the recent recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Our priority is to ensure children get the education they deserve and in the vast majority of cases this means investing in the state sector. However, where state provision is weak or non-existent we work with paid-for schools to provide an education to children who would otherwise get none.

It is important for national governments to define the appropriate balance between private and public provision in their country, in compliance with their international human rights obligations. We do not accept that DFID’s funding of private provision of education violates children’s right to an education. On the contrary, in many cases it secures it.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, when her Department plans to publish a new global education strategy setting out how the UK will help to meet Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The UK Aid Strategy sets out how the Government will tackle the great global challenges of our age in order to eliminate poverty. DFID is helping to ensure that every girl and boy can access, and complete, a good quality basic education.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to ensure that her Department's education spending delivers the best learning outcomes.

A focus on improving access to school and learning outcomes drives DFID’s approach to investment in education in priority countries.

DFID has pledged to support 11 million children with an education between 2015 and 2020. Not just to get children into school, but to ensure they are learning. All of DFID’s education programmes prioritise learning and we are seeing results; for example the Girls Education Challenge has increased the learning outcomes in literacy and mathematics for 700,000 girls across 18 countries. Motivated, trained, effective teachers are essential for children to learn. In Tanzania we are rolling out in-service teacher training with a focus on literacy, numeracy and better pedagogy for over 45,000 teachers in 7 disadvantaged regions.

In Bangladesh, DFID support the ‘English in Action’ programme in which school teachers receive specially designed training modules and lesson plans directly to their low cost mobile phones. It has been shown to improve their teaching and is being modified for use in Nigeria. DFID is also working internationally to embed a global focus on the quality of education.

DFID championed the inclusion of learning indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals and increased support for international monitoring to track progress. We have commissioned rigorous impact evaluations to understand what works to improve learning and ensure good value for money is achieved.

14th Nov 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of direct or indirect Government overseas development assistance expenditure on low-fee, for profit private schools on the performance of those schools.

Through targeted investments in programming and research DFID is helping to build, and expand, the emerging evidence base on the performance of the low cost private education sector. It is also directly enabling children to attend school.

In East Africa, CDC’s investments have led to 245 schools opening, educating 60,000 children in areas with limited state school provision. Latest evidence shows that children educated in private and philanthropic schools in developing countries often fare better in terms of both teaching and learning than those in educated in public schools. However it remains the case globally that too many children are either out of school altogether or not achieving basic competencies, which is why the government continues to invest in providing a decent education for millions of children in developing countries.

26th Sep 2014
CDC
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will review CDC investment policy to determine if the requirement that investee companies have non-discrimination policies in place effectively addresses the inclusion of disabled people as employees, customers and service users.

CDC requires all of its fund managers and investee companies to apply and demonstrate progress towards the ILO core labour standards, including specifically ILO Convention 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation). CDC investment policy states that non-discrimination (including disability) is a requirement for all investee companies.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the need to provide access to his Department's services in Welsh.

This Government is fully committed to the Welsh language and fully committed to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand for them.

The Department for Work and Pensions has a Welsh Language Scheme which was approved by the former Welsh Language Board on 25th March 2010.

The Department has a dedicated Welsh Language Unit to oversee the requirements of the scheme. The scheme is kept under constant review and the Department has reported annually each June to the Welsh Language Commissioner on progress against its objectives when delivering services in Wales.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived on deprived communities in the UK.

The Government is currently considering the best use of the money. It is therefore too early to assess what impact it might have.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons the UK Government voted against the establishment of a Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived.

The UK did not refuse any money, it simply voted against adopting the regulation establishing the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived on the basis that we think MemberStates, and not the European Union, should decide how the money is spent. This was in line with the reasoned opinions adopted by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for how many and what proportion of employment and support allowance claimants in the Work Related Activity Group Atos has sought further medical evidence and opinion from the person's nominated professional.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that rural, remote and small settings will continue to receive milk under the Nursery Milk scheme.

Next Steps for Nursery Milk, published on 27 March, set out the Government’s plans to modernise the Nursery Milk Scheme. Ensuring supply to all eligible childcare settings will be a key consideration for the Department in developing the modernised scheme.

16th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what training on the potential risks of opioid substitution treatment medications is provided to pharmacists, social workers and health visitors.

There is robust clinical guidance on substitute prescribing, which covers the timing and circumstances under which people with opiate dependency may be allowed to take home and be responsible for their opioid substitution medicine.

It is for the professional bodies of pharmacists, social workers and health visitors to set the standards that training equips professionals to meet, and for employers to ensure that staff who are involved in or might encounter opioid substitution treatment are trained in its potential risks, including to children.

16th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the recommendations in the report Medications in Drug Treatment: Tackling the Risks to Children published on 29 April 2014 by Adfam.

We welcome the valuable work of Adfam in producing this report.

Officials from the Department and Public Health England have regular contact with Adfam and will be discussing with them what actions would be appropriate.

10th Jul 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of a potential link between nuclear power and the prevalence of cancer; and what estimate he has made of proportion of the NHS budget spent on treating patients suffering from cancer caused by nuclear power generation.

No such estimate has been made.

There has been extensive research into the possible links between nuclear power and cancer over a number of years. In particular, the independent expert Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment has published a number of major reports addressing exposure to man-made radiation from major nuclear installation operations and possible links with childhood cancers - www.comare.org.uk . Similarly, the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, based at Imperial College London and part of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environmental and Health, has published reports examining suggested links between local incidence of cancers and radioactive discharges from some nuclear installations.

All of these reports have concluded that public exposures to radiation as a result of nuclear operations is extremely unlikely to have caused discernible health consequences.

All radioactive discharges in the United Kingdom are regulated and monitored by the UK's environmental regulators.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many hospital day beds were taken because of delayed discharge relating to inaccessible housing available for disabled outpatients in (a) 2013-14 and (b) May 2014.

This data is not collected centrally.
18th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations at the meeting of the UN Security Council on 26 July 2016 that MINURSO must be enabled to fulfil its original mandate.

We continue to make clear our expectation that MINURSO be returned to full functionality in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2285.

15th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations at the meeting of the UN Security Council on 26 July 2016 for the establishment of an independent human rights monitoring mechanism in occupied Western Sahara and the refugee camps in that country.

The purpose of the UN Security Council meeting on 26 July is to assess whether MINURSO has returned to full functionality in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2285 of 29 April 2016, rather than to seek to alter the mandate of MINURSO. The UK does not therefore plan to raise human rights monitoring at this meeting, given that the current MINURSO mandate does not include a human rights element.

15th Jul 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to further progress on bringing about a referendum in Western Sahara since the renewal of the MINURSO mandate in April 2016.

It is for parties to the dispute to agree a resolution of the final status of Western Sahara. The UK encourages both sides to cooperate with the United Nations process to reach a mutually acceptable solution that provides for the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

20th Apr 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if his Department will raise with the Moroccan ambassador to the UK the death of Brahim Saika in Gulemin police station on 15 April 2016.

The British Embassy in Rabat raised the case of Mr Brahim Saika with Morocco’s National Human Rights Commission, CNDH, on 18 April 2016. The Commission had been following the case closely and is preparing its report on his detention and death. We will consider any further action in the light of the Commission’s report.

18th Jan 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 20 November 2015 to Question 1543, on Western Sahara: referendum, whether any referendum would put forward a choice between independence for Western Sahara and integration of that region with Morocco.

The terms and choices of a referendum on the status of Western Sahara are for Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree as the two parties to the dispute. The UK fully supports UN-led efforts to encourage both parties to agree a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) discuss with the Moroccan Ambassador to the UK and (b) instruct the British Ambassador to Morocco to investigate the condition and treatment of Ali Aarrass who is on hunger strike in Sale prison.

Non-Government Organisations reported on 10 November that Ali Aarrass suspended his hunger strike after 72 days. We monitor the human rights situation in Morocco closely.

9th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the options that were agreed by the UK, Morocco and the Saharawi under the 1990-91 ceasefire agreement for a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara have changed.

The options for a referendum on the self-determination of Western Sahara, as set out in the UN Secretary General’s 1990 report and the 1991 MINURSO mandate, have not changed. The UK fully supports UN-led efforts to encourage Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

11th Mar 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on how many (a) Saharawi people and (b) Moroccan settlers live in the part of Western Sahara under Moroccan control.

The population of Western Sahara is approximately 540,000 (UN, 2012). We are not aware of any accurate data on the composition of the population.

10th Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has received an invitation to the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, occupied Western Sahara; whether he plans to send a representative to that forum; and what reports he has received on the African Union's call for that forum to be cancelled.

I have not received an invitation to this forum and I do not plan to send a representative. I am aware of reports that the African Union has called for the forum to be cancelled.

14th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Spanish counterpart on (a) the position of that country in relation to the administration of Western Sahara and (b) whether Spain has submitted information to the UN about conditions in that territory, as is required of an administering power.

We have not made representations to the Spanish government relating to Western Sahara. Spain is not listed by the UN as the administering Power of Western Sahara and has not therefore transmitted information on the territory in accordance with Article 73 e of the charter of the UN.

13th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on reports made to the UN by Morocco as required of an administering power of Western Sahara.

Morocco is not listed by the UN as the administering Power of Western Sahara and has not therefore transmitted information on the territory in accordance with Article 73e of the charter of the UN.

12th Jan 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department recognises Morocco as the administering power in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara.

Like the UN, the UK does not recognise a de jure administering power in Western Sahara. Morocco exercises de facto control over part of the territory.

10th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received on attacks by the Israeli Ground Force and Navy on farmers and fishermen in Gaza in October 2014; and if he will raise this matter with his Israeli counterpart.

The IDF has demarcated a 6-mile radius at the western nautical border. The demarcation of the northern border is not as clear to fishermen and this border area is the site of many incidents. During Operation Protective Edge, we raised our concern with the IDF several times over incidents in which fishermen were reportedly shot. The IDF maintained that the Israeli Navy fired only warning shots into the air when the fishermen ventured over the nautical border. We have received unconfirmed reports from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem on attacks in October. We have not raised the October incidents with the Israeli authorities, but continue to monitor developments closely.

10th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent reports he has received on IDF incursions into the West Bank and East Jerusalem and violence by settlers; and what plans he has to raise the issue with his Israeli counterpart.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office receives regular reports from our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Consulate-General in Jerusalem on political developments in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) spoke to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on 10 November where he said he was deeply concerned about rising tensions in East Jerusalem. On 10 November, our Ambassador to Tel Aviv raised UK concerns over rising tensions with the Israeli Ministry of Defence Director-General Political-Military and urged the need for calm.

10th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will raise with his Israeli counterpart the death of Bahaa Samir Badir in Beit Liqiya on 16 October 2014.

The Government has repeatedly expressed concerns to Israel about the appropriate use of force, including the use of live ammunition, by the Israel Defence Force and Police, as well as the need for Israel to implement the recommendations of the Turkel Commission on improving how the Israeli authorities investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law. We will continue to do so as long as this remains an issue of concern.

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received of ethnic discrimination by the Bahraini government against Bahraini Shia; and what steps he is taking to condemn and to prevent such discrimination in Bahrain.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry made a number of observations regarding long-standing complaints of sect-based discrimination in Bahrain. We have raised these concerns with the Government of Bahrain and we continue to encourage the Bahraini authorities to implement in full the recommendations set out in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representation he has made to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr; and what steps he is taking to condemn such acts and prevent their re-occurrence.

We understand that Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr has been sentenced to death. It is still possible for him to appeal the decision, and we will not be making representations while the legal process is ongoing.

The death penalty undermines human dignity and its abolition is a human rights priority for the UK. Ministers, our Ambassador in Riyadh and the Embassy team raise the issue of the death penalty with the Saudi authorities, both bilaterally and through the European Union. We recognise that total abolition of the death penalty is unlikely in Saudi Arabia in the near future. Our focus is therefore on the introduction of EU minimum standards for the death penalty as a first step, and on supporting access to justice and rule of law.

16th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) raise with the Moroccan ambassador to the UK and (b) instruct the HM Ambassador in Rabat to investigate the death of Hasena Luali on 28 September 2014.

We were saddened to hear of the death of Hassan El Wali in a military hospital in Dakhla. According to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice, this was a result of undiagnosed diabetes complicated by Mr El Wali’s recent hunger strike. The British Ambassador discussed the matter with the president of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) on 10 October. Mr El-Yazami told us that he had called for an immediate investigation. A CNDH medical examiner had been sent to Dakhla, who had confirmed the official version of events.

It is clearly important that Morocco ensures prisoners have access to appropriate medical care, a point we will be stressing in our future dialogue with the Moroccan government on human rights. The Ambassador also discussed human rights more generally with the Moroccan Foreign Minister on 11 October.

16th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has instructed HM Ambassador in Rabat to investigate the matter of the mistreatment of the UK citizen, Joanna Allen.

Ms Allan visited the British Embassy in Rabat on 25 April and spoke to consular staff there. The Embassy explained that they could not intervene with the Moroccan authorities regarding her alleged surveillance by the Moroccan police. If Ms Allan wishes to send a letter of complaint through our Embassy in Rabat they will pass it on to the relevant authorities.

10th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have been affected by the Cypriot government's decision to withdraw funds from bank accounts belonging to foreigners in 2013; how many such people were banking with Laiki Bank; and what steps the Government is taking to recover the funds of such citizens.

We do not hold any figures relating to the number of UK nationals affected. Deposits in Cypriot banks are subject to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Cyprus, and we have no authority to intervene in individual cases. We recommend that British Nationals consider seeking independent professional advice regarding their assets overseas.

10th Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) discuss with the Moroccan Ambassador to the UK and (b) instruct HM Ambassador in Rabat to investigate the death of Hasena Luali on 28 September 2014 at a military hospital in Dajla.

We were saddened to hear of the death of Hassan El Wali in a military hospital in Dakhla. According to the Moroccan Ministry of Justice, this was a result of undiagnosed diabetes complicated by Mr El Wali’s recent hunger strike. The British Ambassador discussed the matter with the president of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) on 10 October. Mr El-Yazami told us that he had called for an immediate investigation. A CNDH medical examiner had been sent to Dakhla, who had confirmed the official version of events.

It is clearly important that Morocco ensures prisoners have access to appropriate medical care, a point we will be stressing in our future dialogue with the Moroccan government on human rights. The Ambassador also discussed human rights more generally with the Moroccan Foreign Minister on 11 October.

24th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 June 2014, Official Report, column 384W, on Western Sahara, if the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa will meet representatives of POLISARIO, the administering power de facto in the area east of the Berm dividing Western Sahara, to discuss security and terrorism.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regularly meet POLISARIO Front representatives to discuss Western Sahara. Officials also undertake visits to the region, and to the refugee camps at Tindouf. British Ministers do not have direct contact with the POLISARIO Front.

9th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his sources of advice are on security and terrorism in the part of Western Sahara not occupied by Morocco.

We are open to all relevant sources of information on security and terrorism East of the Berm including MINURSO, which has a presence in this area.

9th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the UK position is on the future status of Jerusalem.

The Government considers that Jerusalem has the status of a corpus separatum as defined by the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Although we accept de facto Israeli control of West Jerusalem we do not recognise Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem, which we consider to be occupied territory. Jerusalem holds particular significance for many groups around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

We believe that a solution to Jerusalem must be sought as part of a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the solution must allow for all those people for whom Jerusalem means so much to access and enjoy it.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2014, Official Report, column 515W, on Western Sahara, if the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa will also meet representatives of POLISARIO, the UN-recognised body, to discuss issues relating to Western Sahara.

British Ministers do not have direct contact with the POLISARIO Front. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Officials in London regularly meet POLISARIO representatives to discuss Western Sahara. FCO Officials also undertake visits to the region, and to the refugee camps at Tindouf.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received on how the ongoing conflict in Western Sahara affects the ability of terrorist and criminal gangs to recruit disaffected youth in the refugee camps or the occupied territory.

We monitor the security situation in the region from a number of sources. We are aware of frustration in both Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps at the lack of progress in the political process and at the socio-economic conditions in the camps. However, we are not aware of any evidence to suggest increased radicalisation of Sahrawi youth by terrorist or criminal gangs.

15th Dec 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what information his Department holds on the number of communities of 5,000 people or more in England where there is no bank branch within a radius of three miles.

The Government does not hold the information requested.


Banks and building societies need to balance customer interests, market competition, and other commercial factors when considering their strategy. Decisions on the opening and closing of individual branches are taken by the management of each bank on a commercial basis without intervention from Government.


The Government welcomed the industry-wide Access to Banking protocol announced in March 2015. From the first of May this year, each participating bank has committed to carry out a number of steps if it is closing a branch, including the preparation of meaningful local impact assessments. There is a commitment to a review of the operation of the protocol after one year, and the Government looks forward to its conclusions.


The availability of alternative locations for accessing basic banking services is also important. The ongoing negotiation between the banks and the Post Office to agree a standard set of services – to be made available to personal and small business banking customers at Post Office counters across the country – remains vital. The Government is clear that completion of these negotiations should be a priority.


23rd Nov 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department plans to respond to the Eleventh Report from the Treasury Committee, Session 2014-15, Conduct and competition in SME lending, HC204.

The Government response, which was published on 21 December 2015, is available on gov.uk.

20th Oct 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support the Government is giving to unincorporated businesses via the taxation system.

The government is committed to supporting unincorporated businesses. At Budget 2015, the government announced that it would transform the tax system over the course of this Parliament by introducing digital tax accounts for everyone, removing the need for annual tax returns.

In addition, the government has introduced cash basis accounting so that the smallest businesses can report their income and expenses to HMRC in a simpler way.

Building on recommendations by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the government will consult in autumn 2015 on abolishing Class 2 NICs and reforming Class 4 NICs. This will simplify the NICs system and reduce the administrative burden of NICs for millions of self-employed individuals.

At Summer Budget 2015, the Chancellor announced the Annual Investment Allowance would rise to its highest ever permanent level from January 2016.

The allowance enables businesses, including unincorporated businesses, to write down 100% of all qualifying investment in plant and machinery against its taxable profits up to £200,000, providing a cash flow benefit to companies who invest.

16th Jul 2015
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he next plans to publish an updated National Infrastructure Plan.

The date for publication of the National Infrastructure Plan will be confirmed in due course.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to update the work of the Holtham Commission on funding for Wales.

The Secretary of State for Wales has announced a process to consider the Welsh devolution settlement, with the aim of reaching cross-party agreement by 1 March 2015.

Building on the joint review process agreed in October 2012 and undertaken as part of the Spending Round in 2013, the UK and Welsh governments have also agreed to revisit the arrangements for considering relative funding in light of the powers contained in the Wales Bill.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the report by Nevin Associates Ltd, entitled The fiscal impact of lower VAT rates on visitor accommodation and attractions in the United Kingdom: Final Report, published in July 2014, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the conclusion on page 29 of that report that a reduction in VAT on tourism would generate a positive net present value of £3.9 billion for his Department over the course of 10 years and would create 123,000 jobs in the tourism sector.

The Government does not always agree with the conclusions of the reports it receives, nor the assumptions underlying them. I refer the Hon gentlemen to my comments during the Westminster Hall debate on 11 February 2014.

29th Aug 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2014, Official Report, column 121W, on gold prices, if he will request that the review into the operation of the gold market consider the appropriateness of allowing and encouraging gold investments within ISAs.

The Fair and Effective Markets Review, which has been tasked with considering how to raise standards in fixed income, currency and commodity markets, has been in operation since June 2014. The terms of reference for the FEMR can be found at: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/news/2014/tor.pdf

At this time, the Government has no plans to amend the terms of reference.

26th Jun 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 29W, on gold: prices, and the academic draft report of February 2014, by Professor Rosa Abrantes, Adviser to the EU and International Organisation of Securities Commission on Financial Benchmarks, entitled Gold Price Fix, and her reports of systemic manipulation of the twice daily gold fix over several years, if he will make an assessment of the effect of (a) US regulatory authorities' interventions in the gold market and (b) such interventions on gold market-related securities in ISAs.

The Government monitors all aspects of the gold market. Although no specific assessment of US regulatory interventions has been made, the Government is committed to taking action, whenever necessary, to ensure the efficient functioning of these essential markets. In order to raise standards of conduct in the financial system the Government has launched a joint review by the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority into the way wholesale financial markets operate, including commodity markets.

26th Jun 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 29W, on gold: prices, and to the Financial Conduct Authority's decision to fine Barclays Bank for gold fix manipulation, if he will make an assessment of the effect of (a) US regulatory authorities' interventions in the gold market and (b) such interventions on gold market-related securities in ISAs.

The Government monitors all aspects of the gold market. Although no specific assessment of US regulatory interventions has been made, the Government is committed to taking action, whenever necessary, to ensure the efficient functioning of these essential markets. In order to raise standards of conduct in the financial system the Government has launched a joint review by the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority into the way wholesale financial markets operate, including commodity markets.

4th Jun 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Bank of England has engaged in any selling, leasing, loaning, hypothecating or re-hypothecating either independently or in conjunction with other parties, which could have had the effect of lowering or suppressing the quoted market price of gold since May 2010.

The Bank of England has not been active in the gold market during or since May 2010, either in its own capacity, or acting as agent for Her Majesty's Treasury for the UK's official reserves (the “Exchange Equalisation Account” or EEA).

As a result, the Bank did not engage in any selling, leasing, loaning, hypothecating or re-hypothecating of gold during this period.

4th Jun 2014
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Answer of 24 February 2014, Official Report, column 29W, if he will make an assessment of the effect of US regulatory authorities' interventions in the gold market on gold market-related securities in ISAs.

The Government monitors developments in the gold market including, where relevant, regulatory action in other jurisdictions. The Government is committed to taking action, whenever necessary, to ensure the efficient functioning of these essential markets.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of unresolved cases of mis-selling of mortgage endowment policies.

The Government has not made an estimate of the number of unresolved cases of mis-selling of mortgage endowment policies.

If a borrower feels the risks were not explained properly to them when they took out an endowment mortgage, in the first instance they should complain to the company through which they bought the product. Customers who then feel that their complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily are able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - an independent body set up to provide arbitration in such cases, which is free for consumers to use.

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he plans to take to resolve unresolved cases of the mis-selling of mortgage endowment policies.

The Government has not made an estimate of the number of unresolved cases of mis-selling of mortgage endowment policies.

If a borrower feels the risks were not explained properly to them when they took out an endowment mortgage, in the first instance they should complain to the company through which they bought the product. Customers who then feel that their complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily are able to refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - an independent body set up to provide arbitration in such cases, which is free for consumers to use.

25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she intends to submit any new police funding formula for England and Wales to a public consultation.

Reforming the police funding formula remains a key priority for this Government and we are engaging with the sector to look at the options for taking this forward. We will not take further decisions until we have considered the conclusions of this process. Any new arrangements would be subject to public consultation before implementation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what consideration her Department gives to (a) tourism and (b) mental health statistics in assessing funding for policing.

Reforming the police funding formula remains a key priority for this Government and we are engaging with the sector to look at the options for taking this forward. We will not take further decisions until we have considered the conclusions of this process. Any new arrangements would be subject to public consultation before implementation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress has been made towards a review of the Police Core Grant Distribution Formula for England and Wales.

Reforming the police funding formula remains a key priority for this Government and we are engaging with the sector to look at the options for taking this forward. We will not take further decisions until we have considered the conclusions of this process. Any new arrangements would be subject to public consultation before implementation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what measures of rural deprivation are used by her Department when calculating police funding formulas.

Reforming the police funding formula remains a key priority for this Government and we are engaging with the sector to look at the options for taking this forward. We will not take further decisions until we have considered the conclusions of this process. Any new arrangements would be subject to public consultation before implementation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
25th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the value of using alternative measures of the policing needs of the night-time economy rather than the volume and density of bars.

Reforming the police funding formula remains a key priority for this Government and we are engaging with the sector to look at the options for taking this forward. We will not take further decisions until we have considered the conclusions of this process. Any new arrangements would be subject to public consultation before implementation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
11th Sep 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of recent changes to immigration rules on nurse staffing levels in the independent and private sectors.

Following advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee, the Government introduced an annual limit on Tier 2, the skilled work route, in 2011. In 2012 the Government announced that from 6 April 2016 Tier 2 migrants who apply for settlement in the UK will be required to meet a minimum annual salary requirement of £35,000.

The Home Office published full impact assessments on these changes when the rules were laid before Parliament. The impact assessments are available on the gov.uk website as follows:

Annual limit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/migration-permanent-limit-tier-1-and-tier-2-impact-assessment

Settlement: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-affecting-employment-related-settlement-tier-5-and-overseas-domestic-workers

Under the annual limit, NHS trusts have been given more than 1,400 Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship for nurses since April this year but over 600 of the places allocated to them in April and May this year have been returned unused.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the need to provide access to her Department's services in Welsh.

This Government is fully committed to the Welsh language and to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand for them.

Since September 2009, the Home Office has adopted a Welsh language scheme which applies to Home Office headquarters and the Home Office’s non-departmental bodies that do not have their own schemes. The Home Office produces an annual report detailing progress against the targets outlined in the Welsh language scheme, which is then submitted to the Welsh Language Commissioner (WLC) for comment.

The Commissioner’s response to the monitoring reports can be found on the WLC website www.comisiynyddygymraeg.org

22nd Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the factors responsible for delays in processing injured Armed Forces veterans' War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims.

The combined effects of the implementation of the Boyce Review on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and the increase in the number of applications for War Disablement Pension, as a result of more people with pre-April 2005 Service reaching the end of their engagement, led to delays in processing prospective claims for these schemes.

Actions were therefore put in place which had the effect of reducing the on-hand cases in the AFCS by half and the programme has returned to target. In War Disablement Pension the on-hand cases have fallen by 35% and waiting times have reduced.

The average length of time taken to process War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims since 2010 can be found below:

WAR PENSIONS SCHEME

2010-11 - 39 working days

2011-12 - 51 working days

2012-13 - 82 working days

2013-14 - 110 working days

2014-15 (as at 21 October 2014) - 103 working days

ARMED FORCES COMPENSATION SCHEME

2010-11 - 93 working days

2011-12 - 125 working days

2012-13 - 164 working days

2013-14 - 109 working days

2014-15 (as at 21 October 2014) - 89 working days

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what Veterans UK policy is on prioritising the compensation claims of armed forces veterans with more serious illnesses or injuries.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) attaches importance to ensuring that claims for compensation which are particularly deserving are treated as a priority. Veterans UK administers the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes. Within both Schemes, compensation claims from, or in relation to, Armed Forces veterans are treated as a priority where they are identified by the caseworker as 'seriously injured or vulnerable Service leavers' (as decided through the single Service welfare cells), or are diagnosed terminally ill, or have died in Service or have claimed a number of serious medical conditions in their application.

These claims are subject to an accelerated process, marked as 'Priority' and treated as such at all stages of the administrative process. They are settled at the earliest opportunity once a decision has been taken.

In Armed Forces Compensation cases Veterans UK's objective is to make a decision and clear the case within 20 working days of the last piece of evidence being received. This aim has been achieved for at least the last four years.

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what change there has been in the time taken to process War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims since 2010.

The combined effects of the implementation of the Boyce Review on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and the increase in the number of applications for War Disablement Pension, as a result of more people with pre-April 2005 Service reaching the end of their engagement, led to delays in processing prospective claims for these schemes.

Actions were therefore put in place which had the effect of reducing the on-hand cases in the AFCS by half and the programme has returned to target. In War Disablement Pension the on-hand cases have fallen by 35% and waiting times have reduced.

The average length of time taken to process War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims since 2010 can be found below:

WAR PENSIONS SCHEME

2010-11 - 39 working days

2011-12 - 51 working days

2012-13 - 82 working days

2013-14 - 110 working days

2014-15 (as at 21 October 2014) - 103 working days

ARMED FORCES COMPENSATION SCHEME

2010-11 - 93 working days

2011-12 - 125 working days

2012-13 - 164 working days

2013-14 - 109 working days

2014-15 (as at 21 October 2014) - 89 working days

21st Oct 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, where his Department has found delays in the processing of injured veteran's claims in the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claim process.

Each claim is different. Many are complex. It is inevitable that processing these can take a considerable time, for example while evidence is gathered from third party organisations and individuals.

In the case of the War Pension Scheme, there are no time limits for claiming, and claims for injuries dating back to World War Two are still being received. Assessing these claims involves locating 70 year old paper records, both Service and medical, and often requires a person to be medically examined so that a decision can be made based on up-to-date evidence. We attach much importance to dealing with all such claims as quickly as possible. Improvements have already been implemented and work is ongoing to further speed up the claims processing times.

1st Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the cost was to local authorities in England of (a) collecting and (b) disposing of road sweepings in the latest period for which figures are available.

Data on the expenditure by local authorities on Street cleansing (not chargeable to Highways) is published online in the Revenue Outturn Cultural, Environmental, Regulatory and Planning Services (RO5), which is available at the following link:

http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing

Marcus Jones
Comptroller (HM Household) (Whip, House of Commons)
3rd Feb 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the total cost incurred in the disposal of rural road sweepings in England in the latest period for which figures are available.

This information is not centrally held in the form requested.

9th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what information his Department holds on the proportion of new homes planned for construction in 2014-15 that will be (a) wheelchair accessible and (b) built to lifetime homes standards.

DCLG does not collect information on the number of wheelchair-accessible or lifetime homes standard planned for 2014-15.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many houses built in each of the last five years are (a) wheelchair accessible and (b) built to lifetime homes standards.

DCLG does not collect information on the number of wheelchair-accessible or lifetime homes standard properties built each year.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many houses not compliant with Part M building regulations were built (a) in the last two years and (b) since 2010.

My Department does not hold the information requested.

Building control bodies (local authorities or private sector approved inspectors) assess new dwellings for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, including Part M, at both plans stage and throughout the course of building work on site. If at any stage the building control body considers that a new dwelling would not be compliant on completion it will give the person carrying out the work advice and guidance on what is needed to make the dwelling compliant and a warning that a failure to comply might result in formal enforcement action. In almost all cases this is sufficient to achieve compliance. At the completion of work, if the work complies, the building control body will give a compliance certificate.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what recent estimate he has made of the demand for (a) homes built to lifetime home standards and (b) wheelchair accessible homes.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, does not hold information on the overall demand for lifetime homes or wheelchair-accessible properties in the UK.

While the Department's English Housing Survey does ask respondents whether their current accommodation requires adaptations given their disability or long standing illness, these questions do not ask specifically about wheelchair accessibility. It is therefore not possible to estimate demand for wheelchair accessible properties in England using this data source.

Estimates using the English Housing Survey show there to be around 1.1 million wheelchair-accessible homes in England, equating to 5 per cent of the dwelling stock. Data reported by social landlords, in England, shows that around 1 per cent (2,700 of 240,000 general needs lettings) of tenants taking up a social letting in 2011/12 identified their household as needing wheelchair accessible housing (source: The Continuous Recording of Lettings and Sales of Social Housing in England).

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, how many people in receipt of disability living allowance or personal independence payments have received support from the Help to Buy scheme.

This Government is committed to supporting people's aspirations to own their own home. That is why we have introduced schemes such as Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme and Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee scheme, which is managed by HM Treasury. We do not collect data on the number of people purchasing a home using either of the Help to Buy schemes who are in receipt of disability living allowance or personal independence payments.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the average waiting time was in each local authority for an assessment for a disabled facilities grant in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Department for Communities and Local Government does not collect this information.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if his Department will provide incentives to developers to ensure that new homes planned for construction in 2014-15 will be (a) wheelchair accessible and (b) built to lifetime homes standards.

Part M of the Building Regulations set minimum access standards for new homes. The Government plans to introduce an optional level of accessibility above these minimum access standards which will set out criteria for age friendly, accessible and adaptable standards. The Government also plans to set out within Part M an optional standard which will set out criteria related to the specific needs of wheelchair adaptable and accessible housing.

Furthermore, the National Planning Policy Framework already sets out that Local Plans should take into account the current and future needs of range of households including older and disabled people.

This combination of Building Regulations and national planning policy sets a robust framework to promote adaptable and accessible housing.

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to ensure accessible housing, meeting internationally recognised visitability standards, for people who become disabled in 2014-15; and if he will make a statement.

The Approved Document to Part M (Access to and use of buildings) of the Building Regulations already includes key criteria for visitability including requiring reasonable provision for level or gently sloping entrances, level thresholds, minimum entrance door widths and circulation in the entrance storey, and provision of an entrance level WC

5th Jun 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what proportion of homes in (a) Ebbsfleet and (b) other planned garden cities will be (i) wheelchair accessible and (ii) built to lifetime homes standards.

It is important that all locally-led large scale new developments like Ebbsfleet incorporate a high standard of design, and I am keen to see the use of design tools like Building for Life 12 which can serve this objective. Responsibility for delivering on the local plans for Ebbsfleet will sit with the new Urban Development Corporation and it would be premature to make any commitments on design standards at this stage. Ultimately, the development should be created in partnership with local communities and it should reflect and respond to their needs.

27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if she will clarify the remit of the review into driving offences and penalties for drivers who cause death or serious injury to other people on the roads.

The Government is committed to making sure that sentencing for those who kill or cause serious injury on the roads is proportionate within the context of our wider sentencing framework.

It is our intention to commence a consultation before the end of the year which will look at driving offences and penalties.

27th Oct 2016
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the timescale is for the review into driving offences and penalties for drivers who cause death or serious injury to other people on the roads.

The Government is committed to making sure that sentencing for those who kill or cause serious injury on the roads is proportionate within the context of our wider sentencing framework.

It is our intention to commence a consultation before the end of the year which will look at driving offences and penalties.

20th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that debt solicitors provided through legal aid provide services bilingually in Wales.

All solicitors acting under the legal aid scheme in Wales are contractually obliged to ensure their services are accessible to and understandable by clients whose language of choice is Welsh, in accordance with the Welsh Language Act 1993 (as amended) and Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011.

20th Jul 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure the continuation of legal aid in the form of duty solicitor provision in Ceredigion.

Details of the steps we are taking in Ceredigion can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/legal-aid-crime-tender-2015 (3 procurement areas update: 28 July 2015)

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the need to provide access to his Department's services in Welsh.

This Government is fully committed to the Welsh language and fully committed to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand for them. It is important that in the non-devolved areas sufficient support should be given to the Welsh language, and the Government is committed to ensuring this is done.

The Ministry of Justice, and each of its main delivery arms conducting business or delivering services to the public in Wales, operate Welsh Language Schemes in accordance with section 5 of the Welsh Language Act 1993. These Schemes are used to ensure that Welsh language requirements are considered and delivered for the public and offenders in Wales, so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable.

10th Nov 2015
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, on what grounds the decision was taken to refuse Crown consent for provisions within the Environment Bill currently passing through the Welsh Assembly.

The Welsh Government has sought the consent of the Secretary of State to impose the biodiversity duty in the Environment (Wales) Bill on Ministers of the Crown. This request is the subject of ongoing discussions between the UK Government and the Welsh Government.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what changes there have been in Welsh language provision at Departments providing services to residents of Wales since the judicial review of the National Savings Scheme.

Following the outcome of the judicial review in March, NS&I has reinstated Welsh language services provided under its Welsh language scheme. NS&I’s reinstated Welsh language pages can be accessed online via: http://www.nsandi.com/cymraeg.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent assessment he has made for the need for further provision for access to government services in Welsh.

The Government is fully committed to the Welsh language and fully committed to providing Government services in the Welsh language where there is demand. The Wales Office is currently undertaking a review of Government services provided in Welsh to determine how they can better meet the needs of Welsh speakers in a reasonable, proportionate and cost-effective way. An official has been seconded from the Welsh Language Commissioner’s office to lead this review.

4th Nov 2014
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, how many Government departments have a Welsh language service.

The Government is fully committed to the Welsh language, and to providing Government services in Welsh where there is demand. Ten Government Departments have Welsh language schemes, approved in accordance with the Welsh Language Act 1993. These include Departments delivering key public services in Wales, such as the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions.