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Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes flying the St. Georges flag or Union flag on St. Georges day 23 April and the European flag on Europe day 9 May on buildings with two or more flag poles provided they are flown alongside the Union flag with the Union flag in the superior position.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The DTI is not sponsoring GovNet Expo 2006. It is being jointly sponsored by a private sector body and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) which is providing support at a total cost of £21,150. EOC was formerly sponsored by the DTI until its transfer to the Department of Communities and Local Government in May 2006.
Malcolm Wicks: Grants for the installation of a number of microgeneration technologies producing heat and electricity are available to householders under the new Low Carbon Buildings programme (LCBP). This programme supersedes the previous Clear Skies and Major Photovoltaics Demonstration programmes. Stream one of the LCBP provides grant support for householders and applications are now being taken. The scheme is managed on behalf of the Department by the Energy Savings Trust.
Microgenerators producing electricity can also benefit from the Renewables Obligation (RO) where they will receive one Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) for every 1MWh of eligible renewable electricity generated. We will also be consulting later this year on changes to the RO, which will allow microgenerators to gain further benefits. This includes allowing agents to act on behalf of microgenerators; amalgamating generation from several microgenerators; and removing the need for a sale and buy-back agreement.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to establish an accreditation scheme for green tariffs for domestic electricity customers; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Ofgem will shortly be publishing a response to its consultation on the Revision of Guidelines on Green Supply Offerings and we will consider the introduction of an accreditation scheme for green electricity tariffs in the light of this.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with Ofgem concerning claims made by electricity suppliers about their green tariff schemes. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 June 2006]: UK Coals recent decision to proceed with the mothballing of Harworth Colliery is a sad one, particularly for the work force, a representative of whom I met yesterday. This is, of course, a commercial decision for the company and I remain hopeful that a commercial solution can still be found. I have asked to be kept closely informed of developments.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with (a) Heinz, (b) unions representing workers at Aston Cross HP Sauce factory and (c) Birmingham city council regarding the Heinz proposal to move production of HP Sauce from the UK to the Netherlands. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government office for the west midlands attended a meeting on Wednesday 24 May which was chaired by Councillor Ken Hardeman (Birmingham city councilcabinet member for regeneration) and included representatives from Birmingham and Solihull Learning and Skills Council, Advantage West Midlands (RDA) and Heinz.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 15 June 2006]: DTI published the Government's manufacturing strategy in 2002 and carried out a review of that strategy with key industry stakeholders across the regions in 2004.
As an outcome of the review, we established the joint industry and Government-led manufacturing forum to drive forward the implementation of the strategy and monitor progress. Regional development agencies are represented on the forum, reflecting their strong involvement in delivering the strategy.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what regulations are in place to ensure that staff at points of mobile telephone sales are (a) trained and (b) encouraged to communicate information about handset specific absorption rates. 
In addition, the UKs five Mobile Network Operators, namely Orange, T-Mobile, Hutchison 3G, O2 and Vodafone, have resources within their customer service departments to provide information and advice to users regarding specific absorption rates (SAR) values on handsets.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent steps he has taken to increase the participation of Muslim women in the labour market; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Ethnic Minority Business Forum was established in 2000 by the DTI as an independent, strategic advisory body to represent the views of ethnic minority business communities. It advises Government on the right help and advice ethnic minority businesses need for growth and success.
Additionally the DTI's Public Service Agreement 10, which is a joint target with the Department for Work and Pensions, is to promote ethnic diversity, co-operative employment relations and greater choice and commitment in the workplace while maintaining a flexible labour market.
In addition, the Government's Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force brings together Government Departments and key stakeholders to work towards increasing the employment rate of ethnic minorities, including Muslim women.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 875W, on light fittings (hazardous substances), what guidance he has issued on whether the wholesale and retail of existing stock of non-electrical light fittings are within the scope of the Restriction of
the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2005, S.I. 2005, No. 2748. 
Malcolm Wicks: The RoHS Regulations have no impact on any existing stock that has been placed on the EU market. The Governments non-statutory Guidance Notes make it clear that the regulations only become enforceable from 1 July 2006.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the Prime Ministers answer of 14 June 2006, Official Report, columns 764-5, on nuclear power, what the source was for his statement (a) that 50 to 60 nuclear power plants are under construction and (b) that the new generation of nuclear power stations generate around one-tenth of the radioactive waste of the previous generation of reactors. 
The website illustrates that there are 25 reactors under construction and 38 reactors planned, giving a total of 63 reactors. The definitions given on the website for construction and planned are:
Construction: first concrete for reactor poured, or major refurbishment under way; Planned: Approvals and funding in place, or construction well advanced but suspended indefinitely.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department takes to ensure that nuclear decommissioning costs are (a) kept to budget and (b) cost-effective. 
The policy intention behind the creation of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which assumed responsibility for the decommissioning and clean-up of the UK's civil nuclear legacy on 1 April 2005, is to provide national strategic control and direction for decommissioning of those sites previously operated
by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. and to deliver accelerated clean-up safely, securely, cost-effectively and in ways that safeguard the environment for this and future generations. The DTI has arrangements for the oversight of NDA so as to be sure that it is achieving this task, and like other areas of Government activity the activities of NDA are also subject to review by the National Audit Office.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any funds provisionally set aside for (a) the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and (b) the disposal of nuclear waste have been used for any other purposes since 1997. 
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money has been set aside by (a) the Government and (b) the nuclear industry towards the cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants since 1997. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government are committed to funding the full costs of the decommissioning and clean-up of the historic civil nuclear liabilities by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The Consolidated Fund is the mechanism for funding this. Under the 2004 Spending Review the NDA received a budget of £2.2 billion for 2005-06about half of which was to be raised by the NDAs commercial activities. Following the successful conclusion of the EC State Aid Review on 4 April 2006, financial responsibility for decommissioning BNFL sites has passed to the NDA under the Energy Act 2004. Until this point BNFL held nuclear funding assets of some £17.3 billion on its balance sheet to fund future decommissioning costs. Following the transfer of the nuclear decommissioning liability to the NDA, these assets have been transferred back to the Government.
There are separate arrangements for funding the decommissioning of British Energy nuclear sites. Since privatisation in 1996, British Energy has been making contributions into a segregated decommissioning fund. As a result of the restructuring, which completed in January 2005, British Energy will make enhanced contributions into the fund and Government will underwrite the fund to the extent that its liabilities outweigh its assets. On recent valuation, the assets of the segregated fund total some £8.1 billion, the majority of which relates to the value attributed to the funds 64.6 per cent. convertible stake in British Energy.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he plans to take to ensure that oil companies are required to offer supply contracts to independent petrol retailers; and what assessment he has made of the compliance of oil companies with Government fair trading and competition policies in respect of their dealings with independent petrol retailers. 
An assessment has not been made by the DTI of the compliance of oil companies with Government fair trading and competition policies in respect of their dealings with independent petrol retailers. However, the supply of fuel is subject to UK competition law under the Competition Act 1998. Under the Act, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has powers to investigate situations where there are reasonable grounds to suspect anti-competitive agreements or abuse of a dominant market position in the fuel market.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies (i) make available and (ii) have made available in the last five years through the Post Office network; through how many outlets the service is or was made available; and how many relevant transactions were undertaken in each case in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the purchase price is of a kilowatt hour of electricity generated by (a) wind power and (b) incinerators accepting municipal waste; and how this purchase price is reduced by renewable obligation certificates in each case. 
Malcolm Wicks: In the UK's competitive and liberalised energy market, the purchase price of a kilowatt hour of electricity generated, by (a) wind power and (b) incinerators accepting municipal waste, is a commercial matter between generators and suppliers.
Renewable obligation certificates allow accredited renewable generators to receive a premium price for every one megawatt hour of eligible electricity generated. An incinerator accepting municipal mixed waste is not eligible for renewable obligation certificates.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what penalties will be imposed on organisations selling goods which do not comply with the restriction of hazardous substances directive; 
(2) what (a) powers, (b) funds and (c) responsibilities have been given to the relevant agencies to ensure that all goods entering the UK after 1 July comply with the restriction of hazardous substances directive; 
(3) what assessment his Department carried out prior to the implementation of the restrictions of hazardous substances directive of the impact of using non-lead solders on the reliability of electronic equipment manufactured; 
(7) what steps HM Revenue and Customs is taking to ensure that all goods entering the UK after 1 July are compliant with standards imposed by the restriction of hazardous substances directive. 
Malcolm Wicks: The EC restriction of hazardous substances directive (2002/95/EC) has been transposed into UK legislation by the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (SI 2006 No. 1463), which come into force on 1 July this year. These regulations, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House, contain full details of the powers and responsibilities that the enforcement authority will hold and the details of the penalties that could be imposed on those that do not comply with the requirements. HM Revenue and Customs is not given specific additional powers by these regulations.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government are committed to supporting the rural post office network with annual Social Network Payments of £150 million for the next two years. We are carefully considering options for the network beyond 2008 and are not working to a fixed timetable.
Ms Barlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of independent retail shops that have (a) opened and (b) closed in Hove constituency since 1997. 
Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures.
DTI data on the number of VAT retail business registrations and de-registrations in Hove from 1997 to 2004 are shown in the following table.
|VAT registrations and de-registrations in retail( 1) in Hove, 1997-2004|
|(1) Standard Industrial Classification 52, retail trade (except of motor vehicles), repair of personal and household goods. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 for data protection reasons. Source: Small Business Service figures based on data from the ONS Inter Departmental Business Register.|
The number of VAT registrations and de-registrations in Hove across all sectors from 1997 to 2004 is shown in the following table. Since 1997 the overall stock of businesses in Hove has risen by 12 per cent.
|VAT registrations and de-registrations and start of year stock in Hove (all sectors), 1997-2004|
|Registrations||De-registrations||Start of year stock|
| Source: Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2004, Small Business Service, available at http://www.sbs.gov.uk/vats|
VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register may not have closed. In the retail sector 63 per cent of enterprises in the UK (200,000 out of 320,000) were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small businesses that began trading since 1997 have subsequently ceased trading in (a) Bury St. Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk, (c) the east of England and (d) England. 
Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business starts and closures. Latest VAT data on the total number of registrations since 1997 and the number of these registrations that subsequently de-registered, covering up to 2004, are shown in the following table for (a) Bury St. Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk, (c) the east of England and (d) England.
|VAT registrations and subsequent de-registrations, 1997 to 2004( 1)|
|Number of registrations and de-registrations|
|(1) VAT registration and de-registration data are not available by size of business. However, 98 per cent. of the total stock of VAT registered businesses are small (0-49 employees). Source: Office for National Statistics, UK Business: Activity, Size and Location2005, available from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product..asp? .vlnk=933. Source: New analysis of VAT Survival Rates data 1994-2003, Small Business Service, available at http://www.sbs.gov.uk/survival; SBS analysis of ONS Inter Departmental Business Register data.|
VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register may not have closed. Only 1.8 million out of the 4.3 million businesses in the UK (42 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.
A social enterprise approaching bankruptcy has access to all publicly-funded sources of assistance that any traditional business can expect to draw upon. This includes their local business link, which as well as offering advice to start-up companies, also helps businesses to deal with problems and challenges they may encounter. Guidance is also available on the businesslink.gov website which offers advice on avoiding insolvency, recovering debt through the courts, and alternatives to bankruptcy.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Competition Commission inquiry into supermarkets will include the implications of the international business practices of the largest chains. 
Mr. McCartney: Although the Office of Fair Trading have been specific in the issues they feel could be a problem within the market, the Competition Commission (CC) investigation is not limited to considering only those issues identified in the reference document. It is for the CC to make that decision.
In its statement of issues published on 15 June, the CC has indicated that it has received evidence on a range of issues of public concern associated with grocery retailing which it has no power to investigate or resolve. These issues, and public concern about them, may interact with competition issues and provide background and context for the investigation but the CC has stated that its focus must be on the competition issues. The full statement of issues can be found at:
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) standard individual trade control licences and (b) open individual trade control licences have been issued to UK-based companies for the transfer of small arms from Bosnia to (i) Iraq and (ii) other destination countries since June 2003. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government publish details of trade control licences issued, in their annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. The Government's annual reports are available from the Libraries of the House and the DTI export control organisation website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/europeantrade/strategic-export-control/index.html.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether it is the Government's policy
to preserve the UK's opt-out from the working time directive in its entirety; and if he will make a statement; 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The UK Government, in common with the Governments of several other European member states, have made it clear that they would oppose any proposal for a revised directive that phases out the opt-out, or that prevents individuals from choosing to work longer than 48 hours if they wish to do so.
Malcolm Wicks: The Government publish detailed information on their export licensing decisions, by destination, in their annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. The Governments annual reports are available from the Libraries of the House and the DTI Export Control Organisation website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/europeandtrade/strategic-export-control/index.html.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance the Export Credits Guarantee Department has offered to UK companies seeking to export to Zimbabwe over the past three years. 
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many websites there are within her responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects to lay orders relating to the amount of data which can be carried on a digital radio multiplex and to change the definition of a digital programme service. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps to ensure an increase to 100 per cent. of the coverage of digital services following digital switchover; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woodward: Currently digital terrestrial television is available to three quarters of the population, and the vast majority of households can receive digital TV services via digital satellite, terrestrial or cable. 70 per cent. of households in the UK have already chosen to take up digital TV.
Mr. Lammy: As an employer, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is subject to duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which requires us to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. These may include adjustments to physical features of premises.
The principle of "reasonable adjustment" is fundamental to the Act and factors such as the practicability of making an adjustment and the extent to which it overcomes the difficulties faced by the disabled person may be taken into account in determining what is reasonable. As the Disability Discrimination Act requires adjustments that are reasonable in the individual circumstances, it is not prescriptive about the level of access to buildings which must be provided for disabled people, and there are no disability access regulations made under the Act.
However, Part M of the building regulations aims to ensure that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, should be able to gain access to, and within buildings, and use their facilities, both as visitors and as people who live or work in them. The provisions of Part M apply only to new buildings and those non-domestic buildings undergoing alteration, change of use or which are being extended. Crown-owned or occupied buildings are exempt from the building regulations but it is the Government's policy for their buildings to comply with the regulations where there is no reason not to.
DCMS is currently undertaking a major refurbishment of our main Cockspur Street offices. We have given careful consideration to the needs of staff and visitors and are making many improvements to the building aimed at improving access for all. For example, all workstations will be fully adjustable; primary and secondary circulation routes are being
widened and all will exceed the standards set by British Standard BS8300. There will be accessible signage, toilets and meeting rooms with induction loops on all floors.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria the Government used in deciding not to display the flag of (a) Norfolk Island, (b) the British Antarctic Territory, (c) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, (d) the Turks and Caicos Islands, (e) Montserrat, (f) Bermuda, (g) Anguilla, (h) the Cayman Islands and (i) the British Virgin Islands at this years Trooping the Colour. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria the Government used in deciding not to display the flag of (a) the Isle of Man and (b) Guernsey at this years Trooping the Colour. 
Mr. Lammy: Only the flags of the Commonwealth Countries are flown at Trooping of the Colour. The Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man are Crown dependencies and are not member states of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recommendations have been made by the Gaming Board of Great Britain on machine stakes and prize levels since 1976. 
In casinos, stakes and prizes were increased to £2 and to £4,000, respectively, in October 2005.
From October 2005, casinos were also able to offer a new style of machine with a maximum stake of £100 and a maximum prize of £500.
In bingo halls stakes and prizes were increased to 50p and £500, respectively, in October 1998.
In registered clubs stakes and prizes were increased to 50p and £250, respectively, in October 1998.
The stake on both all cash and coin or token AWPs was increased to 30p in October 1997.
The prize on all cash AWPs was increased to £25 in January 2002.
The prize on coin or token AWPs, where the prize is all cash, was increased to £5 in October 1997.
The prize on coin and token AWPs, where the prize is non-cash, was increased to £8 in October 1995.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how her Department is monitoring the extent to which council licensing departments are applying the Licensing Act 2003 consistently and appropriately in respect of charity fund raising functions. 
Mr. Woodward: Under the Scrutiny Council initiative, officials from my Department are working with council officers and through them with local police and other responsible authorities, residents' groups, businesses and other stakeholders, to gather information about how the new regime is working on the ground.
In addition, we are conducting a review of the guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act). A comprehensive formal review of the guidance including a full public consultation will be completed by summer 2006 and a revised version of the guidance will be laid before Parliament by the end of 2006.
However, in the first instance, it is for licensing authorities to interpret the law on the basis of their own legal advice. An appeal mechanism has been built into the 2003 Act to ensure that licensing authority interpretations can be challenged in the courts to ensure that they are reasonable and fair.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications for lottery funding were received from organisations and groups in Bexleyheath and Crayford in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Caborn: This Department has never collected comprehensive information on either the number or value of applications for lottery grants received by the distributing bodies. The information requested could be collected and provided only at disproportionate cost.
Public Library Statistics, published by the Chartered Institute for Finance and Accountancy
Mr. Lammy: The table shows the number of public libraries in England, by opening hours band, for 1997-98 to 2004-05 (the latest available) and, for context, the comparable figures for 1978-79. This data are drawn from the public library statistics report published for those years by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). The reports do not contain averaged hours.
|Static libraries in England (by hours open per week)|
This covers a reply for parliamentary questions 79901 and 79903.
Mr. Lammy: The following list details proposals where individual libraries have been named by the parent authorities. These proposals are still subject to public consultation, possible deferral or to ratification following a trial period of extended opening hours.
Devon County Council
12 closures proposed at:
Dorset County Council
13 proposed closures at:
Hertfordshire County Council
4 Proposed closures
2 in the St Albans area.
We are looking into the status of some other reported closure proposals with the authorities concerned. There have been a number of figures for such proposals in the press and media. However, we believe that some of those figures have not taken account of proposals that have been dropped or scaled down.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in how many local authorities the future of public libraries is open to public consultation; and how long each consultation is expected to last. 
Mr. Lammy: Information regarding public consultations on library services within the 149 library authorities in England is not held centrally. However, we are aware that a number of consultations are planned or in progress in areas such as Devon and Dorset where library closures are being considered.
We want to see public library services that are responsive to the needs of local people. Individual library authorities are best placed to judge those needs but they should ensure that their judgements are based on soundings from the communities that they serve.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of public library stock was made up of (a) books, (b) tapes, (c) CDs, (d) videos and (e) DVDs in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Lammy: Percentage figures are not held centrally, nor are actual items figure held precisely in the form requested. However, the table shows the number of books, sound recordings (encompassing music and talking books), and videos/DVDs from 1997-98 to 2004-05 (the latest year available).
|Books( 1)||Sound recordings( 1)||Video/DVD( 1)|
|(1) Lending stock only.|
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
The Prime Minister: My officials and I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a wide range of subjects. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.
Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 883W, on Chequers, if he will list those persons who gave oral evidence to the Hutton Inquiry, other than hon. Members and Government officials, whom he met at Chequers in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. 
The Prime Minister: For accounting purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Hilary Armstrong) today.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer from the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs of 14 June 2006, Official Report, column 1268W on the Hutton Report, how many final copies of the Hutton Report were obtained by 10 Downing street; at what price per copy; and to whom they were issued. 
The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Harriet Harman) on 14 June, Official Report, column 1268W.
The Prime Minister: I discussed a wide range of issues with President Chirac during our recent meeting, including UK/French defence cooperation and European Security and Defence Policy. I refer the hon. Member to the press conference I held with President Chirac on 9 June 2006. A transcript of this is available on the No. 10 website and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister (1) pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 827W, on parliamentary questions, what the reasons were for the time taken to reply to the original question; 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 120W, on Sovereign Strategy, on how many occasions his official diary shows that he met a representative of Sovereign Strategy during the last 12 months. 
John Healey: The recent Budget announced the extension of the 20p per litre duty differential for biofuels until 2008-09, and set out a range of announcements about the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which will begin in 2008-09.
Under agreements with our European partners we can keep our existing VAT zero rates, but we may not extend them or introduce new ones. It is therefore not possible to remove VAT from children's sunglasses.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2006, Official Report, column 1354W, on construction industry (registration cards), how many temporary construction industry services registration cards (a) have been issued and (b) are in use; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Of the 2.4 million construction industry registration cards (CIS4) issued since the scheme began in 1999, 350,000 are temporary registration cards. This number includes some renewed temporary cards. 240,000 temporary registration cards have been used.
Unused cards are generally attributable to holders of recently issued cards having not yet been paid within CIS or holders that normally work within the domestic sector having applied for a card in case they become involved in CIS work.
Ed Balls: The Government welcome the role of the credit union movement in helping to promote financial inclusion and contributing to choice and diversity in the financial services sector. The Government aim to encourage credit unions to be sustainable professional bodies so they can more effectively meet their members needs and assist the financially excluded on a long-term basis.
Some of the Government action to facilitate this since 1997 includes bringing credit unions under the regulatory supervision of the Financial Services Authority in 2001, and using a regulatory reform order in 2003 to allow credit unions greater operational flexibility. More recently and following consultation with the sector and consumer groups, the Government introduced legislation increasing the maximum permitted interest rate on loans, from 1 per cent. to 2 per cent. per month, in order to provide flexibility to lend to more people on low incomes. In addition, credit unions are now able to offer cash ISAs.
These measures are complemented by a £36 million Growth Fund for credit unions and other community-based lenders announced at PBR 2004, and to be administered by the Department for Work and Pensions from mid-2006.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 177W, on the Data Protection Act, what longest period of time elapsed between HM Revenue and Customs (a) receiving the administration fee and providing the information requested and (b) receiving a request for information and providing the information requested under the Data Protection Act 1998. 
The average length of time HM Revenue and Customs take to reply to subject access requests is 11 days. However, in an exceptional instance, that involved both an appeal and a subject access request under the Data Protection Act, the entire matter took 341 days to process.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 201W, on the Euro-preparation group, what the date of the autumn meeting is; and which local authorities have been invited. 
Ed Balls: The next meeting between central Government officials and local authorities is provisionally scheduled for 21 September 2006. This is part of the regular programme of activities with stakeholders on euro preparations. On the local authorities involved in this work, I refer the hon. Member to the answer he received on 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 512W, from the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Jim Fitzpatrick).
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) single parent households with children under the age of 16 years and (b) single-person households there were in Tamworth constituency in each of the last 15 years; and what estimate he has made of the number of cohabiting couples living in Tamworth constituency in each of the last 15 years. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many (a) single parent households with children under the age of 16 years and (b) single-person households there were in Tamworth constituency in each of the last 15 years; and what the estimate is of the number of cohabiting couples living in Tamworth constituency in each of the last 15 years. (80127)
Estimates of these figures are not produced on an annual basis for local areas. Available figures are from the censuses of 1991 and 2001. These are shown in the table below.
|(1) Lone parent households with dependent children aged under 16, (2) one person households and (3) cohabiting couples in households: Tamworth, 1991 and 2001|
|(*) In 1991 responses to relationship questions were only processed for approximately 10% of the population. The figure in this table has been grossed up by a factor of 10.16 to account for this.|
1. 1991 Census Local Base Statistics Table 32 and 2001 Census data.
2. Table F in the Census 1991 New Parliamentary Constituency Monitor West Midlands &.Table KS20 in the Census 2001 Report for Parliamentary Constituencies.
3. 1991 & Table KS03 in the Census 2001 Report for Parliamentary Constituencies.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about average income per person in the Tamworth constituency. (80128)
The ONS published estimates of household income for regions and local areas of the UK on 9 May 2006. Tamworth is within the NUTS 3 (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) area of Staffordshire County Council This is the most detailed level of geography for which estimates are produced.
Table A contains estimates of total incomes per head and gross disposable household income (GDHI) per head for Staffordshire County Council.
|Table A: Staffordshire county council NUTS3|
|£ per head( 1)|
|Total income( 2)||GDHI( 3)|
|(1) Population measure is based upon mid-year estimate for total population.|
(2) All household income including employers social contributions, imputed social contributions, social benefits and other current transfers received.
(3) Gross disposable household income (GDHI) is the amount of money that households have available for spending or saving after deductions and expenditure associated with income, e.g. taxes and social contributions, and provision for future pension income.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will place in the Library the preliminary regulatory impact assessment into the changes in the inheritance tax treatment of trusts announced in the Budget; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) on what date the decision was taken to produce a full regulatory impact assessment into the changes in the inheritance tax treatment of trusts announced in the Budget; whether the document will be publicly available; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the effect on revenue to the Exchequer arising from the changes in the inheritance tax treatment of trusts announced in the Budget in the years 2008-09 to 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
The preliminary regulatory impact assessment did no more than identify that, in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance, a full regulatory impact assessment was not required. In line with normal procedure, the preliminary assessment will not be published.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answers of 11 July 2006, Official Report, columns 693-94W, on Ministers (tax treatment), what amount is assessed as taxable for each residence provided by or on behalf of the Government for Ministers, including those owned by charitable trusts. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the impact of the repeal of section 295 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 on the tax position of Ministers. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to make additional funding available to the Department of Health to assist in financial recovery of the NHS in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding European Commission fines for not paying all of the single farm payment by 30 June; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a range of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy analysis, development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such discussions.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many properties sold in (a) Bury St. Edmunds
constituency and (b) the Suffolk county council area in each of the last three years attracted stamp duty at (i) zero per cent., (ii) 1 per cent., (iii) 3 per cent. and (iv) 4 per cent. 
Ed Balls: Estimates of the number of property transactions for parliamentary constituencies and counties are only available for 2004-05 and 2005-06, and are given in the following table for Bury St. Edmunds and Suffolk, grouped by stamp duty band.
|Property transactions attracting:|
|0 per cent. rate||1 per cent. rate||3 per cent. rate||4 per cent. rate||Total|
The number of transactions bearing stamp duty will be lower than the number shown in the non-zero bands due to the use of various reliefs, e.g. disadvantaged area relief, group relief, registered social landlord relief etc. There are also some lease transactions which fall in the 0 per cent. band on account of consideration, but which bear stamp duty on the lease rental.
Estimates of amounts of stamp duty payable from residential property sales for each local authority in the United Kingdom has been deposited in the House of Commons Library. The local authority relates to the location of the property on which the stamp duty was paid.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claimants of working tax credit continued to be paid in cases where the stop notice had not been received between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2006. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2006, Official Report, column 1273W, on tax credits, what data the Treasury has on the number of underpayments of tax credits which have now been paid; and if he will make a statement. 
HMRC repay underpayments or offset them against any outstanding overpayments, as soon as the underpayments are recognised.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2006, Official Report, column 5806W, on training courses, if he will list the courses to which the answer refers; how many people have taken part in these courses in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these courses was in each year. 
Dawn Primarolo: Breakthrough has been designed to help the Department achieve its aim of increasing diversity at all levels by harnessing the potential of individuals whatever their background. As a self- development programme it enables both mentors and delegates to make better use of their skills and abilities, and helps them in their careers and to compete more effectively for other opportunities.
Ideally Breakthrough is looking for a mix of participants from various backgrounds on each programme. Experience has shown that there is great benefit in bringing together people from both majority and minority groups on programmes such as this.
|Old Products (Former IR)( 1)|
|(1 )It has not been possible to extract this data in the time given.|
|Former Customs-PAEM( 1) Training Events 2002 to 2006|
|(1 )Positive action for Ethnic Minority.|
|Number of events||Number of students||Cost per programme||Cost per student||Total cost (£)|
|(1 )Product in review.|
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in Tamworth constituency in each of the last 10 years, broken down by age. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in the Tamworth constituency in each of the last 10 years, broken down by age. (80126)
Numbers of conceptions under age 16 and the number of maternities in Tamworth County District for the years 1995-2004 are shown in the table below.
Information on conceptions is routinely published for local authorities and strategic health authorities. Figures cannot be provided by Parliamentary Constituency because of the risk of disclosing individual's information due to small differences with local authority boundaries.
ONS does not publish figures by single year of age below the age of 16 by either local or health authority and also does not release figures for individual years because of the risk of disclosing individual's information.
Maternity figures cannot be provided for Tamworth Parliamentary Constituency for the same reason as that indicated above for conceptions.
Annual numbers of maternities to girls aged under 16 and figures by individual year of age are too small to be released because of the risk of disclosing individual's information. For this reason only the total number of maternities in the 10 year period (1995-2004) is given in the table below.
|Conceptions and maternities under age 16, Tamworth CD, 1995-2004( 1)|
|(1 )Conceptions for 2004 are provisional.|
Mr. Soames: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason he chose not to apply to the European Commission for the reduced rate of VAT on repair and renovation work for domestic buildings by 31 March. 
The VAT reduced rate for the renovation and repair of private dwellings is one of a number introduced into EU legislation on an experimental basis whose objective is to create employment opportunities by stimulating demand through lower prices. The Government have always
chosen not to participate, as we believe that our employment objectives are better targeted through measures such as the welfare to work strategy and new deal, which have contributed to the 2.4 million rise in employment since 1997. We continue to take this view.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average annual administrative costs of collecting Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) have been in the last three years; what proportion of the revenue raised this represents; and how much VED was collected in total in 2005-06. 
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many people took adult education courses (a) funded and (b) partly funded by his Department in (i) Lambeth and (ii) Vauxhall in the last three years; 
Bill Rammell: We do not hold information on the number of individual adult education courses that are funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) but we know the total number of learners aged over 19 on LSC funded courses in 2002/03 was 3.49 million, 3.43 million in 2003/04 and 3.46 million in 2004/05. These are national figures and include all LSC funded learners.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many air miles have been accrued by senior civil servants in his Department in each of the last three years; and how they were used. 
Mr. Dhanda: The report of the research commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, to scope the problem of child abuse in England linked to belief in possession or witchcraft, is being considered by Ministers across Government. We hope to be in a position to publish the report by the end of June, or soon thereafter.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage local authorities to seek representation of military establishments on local safeguarding children boards; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) were set up in all English local authority areas by 1 April 2006. Government guidance on LSCBs forms chapter three of the revised Working Together to Safeguard Children which was published in April 2006. The LSCB guidance was also published separately in December 2005 to help local authorities and their partners set up LSCBs.
in areas where they have significant local activity, the armed forces.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) which organisations were unsuccessful in their application for funding under the Children, Young People and Families Grant programme; what each organisation's proposal was; how much funding each organisation sought; and why each application was rejected; 
Beverley Hughes: Over 1,400 applications were received for this grant, and many organisations submitted more than one application. Just over £17 million is being allocated to 67 applications from 65 organisations in 2006-07. Lists of successful organisations with their allocations and unsuccessful organisations are being placed in the Library of the House. The list of successful organisations can also be found on www.everychild matters.gov.uk/strategy/voluntary andcommunity/cypfgrant.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills why the work of community family
trusts previously funded under the MARS Grant programme did not continue under the Children, Young People and Families Grant programme. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 22 June 2006]: Organisations supported under the Marriage and Relationship Support Grant programme (MARS) continue to receive funding until their grant expires. Organisations funded through MARS were eligible to apply for funding to the Children, Young People and Families Grant programme. One Community Family Trust was among the 65 organisations funded through this Grant programme in 2006/07.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many young people have received support from Connexions in (a) Lewisham, Deptford constituency and (b) Lewisham borough in the past year. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department collects data on the number of interventions provided but not on the number of young people receiving support. In the year 2005-06 18,849 young people were counted in the Connexions cohort of young people in the borough of Lewisham. They received a total of 22,488 interventions. The Department does not hold this information at constituency level.
Departmental guidance is that to count as an intervention there needs to be some element of assistance involving a substantial or meaningful exchange with the young person. As a rule of thumb this should be of enough significance to be noted in their client record. It would normally exclude straightforward referrals to specific opportunities e.g. job submissions, the provision of factual information and simple follow up to find out if the young person still wanted assistance.
It is accepted that there are some events, whose primary purpose is for non-civil servants, where not providing alcohol could be seen as unusual or cause embarrassment. It is done with due regard to value for money, any provision being modest and proportionate, and requires a senior manager's approval.
Mr. Dhanda: Car-sharing is one of a number of measures my Department encourages to enable staff to travel more sustainably. In general, we encourage staff, wherever possible, to use public transport or cycle to work especially those commuting to our London offices due to very limited car parking and traffic congestion.
Our three sites outside London do facilitate car sharing by the provision of electronic site notice boards to enable staff to contact others who may wish to car share. The incentive is the greater likelihood of securing a free parking space.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action has been taken by his Department to implement Education and Skills Select Committee recommendations since the 2001-02 session; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department is unable to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost. However, the Government in their responses to Committee recommendations make clear whether or not they are accepted.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many illegal immigrants have been discovered to be employed by his Department in each year since 2001; in what capacities they were employed; how many were discovered as part of a criminal investigation; and what the nature of the charges brought against them were. 
Bill Rammell: We recognise that plagiarism is a serious matter. As higher education institutions are autonomous bodies they are responsible for determining what advice should be provided to their students on plagiarism, in all of its forms. The Quality Assurance Agency's Code of Practice and the Joint Information Systems Committee provide advice and guidance to institutions on dealing with this issue.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if his Department will consider the introduction of a proscribed list of customised essay websites in order to reduce internet plagiarism. 
The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) which provides advice and guidance to institutions on dealing with plagiarism, includes on
its Plagiarism Advisory Service website a list of well-known European and US essay bank websites, to make academics and teachers aware of these sites. In its workshops with academic staff JISC also suggest that students are made aware that staff know of these sites and are also shown the poor quality of essays that are being offered.
In addition, last November the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority appointed Professor Jean Underwood of Nottingham Trent University to advise it on further measures which might be taken in schools and colleges and by awarding bodies to reduce the risk of plagiarism from internet sources.
Bill Rammell: Higher education institutions, as autonomous bodies, are responsible for determining what advice should be provided to their students on plagiarism, and also what policies should be in place to detect plagiarism and determine disciplinary action. The Quality Assurance Agency's Code of Practice and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) provide advice and guidance to institutions on dealing with this issue. JISC includes on its Plagiarism Advisory Service website a list of well-known European and US essay bank websites, to make academics and teachers aware of these sites. In addition, last November the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority appointed Professor Jean Underwood of Nottingham Trent University to advise it on further measures which might be taken in schools and colleges and by awarding bodies to reduce the risk of plagiarism from internet sources.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on recent trends in the (a) provision and (b) funding of health and safety training funded by the Learning and Skills Council. 
Bill Rammell: The funding strategy that we announced last October included the decision for the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to cease funding provision from 2006-07 that is rightfully the responsibility of employers, such as health and safety training. This was part of our commitment to rebalance responsibilities among learners, employers and the state as well as ensuring that we direct resources to enable those without the basic skills for employability to receive the support they need.
Following wide consultation on these changes the LSC has considered representations from key stakeholders and has agreed to allow some local discretion in 2006/07 to provide limited support for this provision depending on the assessment of need. Where this provision is part of a coherent curriculum offer supported by a clearly stated rationale then the provision will remain eligible for LSC funding.
The LSC is committed to carrying out an impact assessment of these changes working with key stakeholders and partner organisations. The LSC will continue to monitor the position but feedback from
individual colleges indicates that many will continue to offer health and safety courses to employers, mainly on a full cost basis.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Government Bills sponsored by his Department he has bid for in the next Session of Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many adult education courses in lip-reading were available at educational institutions in England in (a) 2000 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Bill Rammell: Lip-reading courses are provided by a range of organisations including further education colleges, local authorities, social services and voluntary sector organisations. We do not have detailed information at a national level on the number of courses available. However, we have been clear that this provision is a priority and we are working with Hearing Concern to identify any areas where there is an unmet need for lip-reading provision and how this can be addressed.
Since 1999 the Government have published, on an annual basis, the total costs of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. This information is available in the Library. Information for the financial year 2004-05 was published on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 158WS. Information for the financial year 2005-06 is in the process of being collated and will be published shortly.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on how many occasions (a) civil servants and (b) special advisers in his Department have stayed overnight in (i) five star, (ii) four star and (iii) three star hotels s in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list those occasions when the recommendations of a report from the parliamentary ombudsman have been (a) rejected and (b) partly rejected by his Department since 1997. 
Mr. Dhanda: I am not aware of any occasion since 1997 in the Department, its predecessor or associated executive agencies or NDPBs when the recommendations of the parliamentary ombudsman were not fully accepted and implemented.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what meetings officials in his Department have had with representatives of the public relations company Portland PR; what contracts Portland PR has with his Department and agencies for which he has responsibility; and what the nature of the contract is in each case. 
Mr. Dhanda: The Department does not maintain a central list of such meetings. Civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and business delivery. All such meetings are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Code and Guidance for civil servants on contacts with lobbyists and people outside Government.
Mr. Dhanda: My Department, via the Parenting Fund, supports voluntary and community sector projects that enable an increase in parenting provision, and access to that provision for groups that are currently less well served. These projects provide a range of information, advice and guidanceincluding the promotion of positive parenting.
Since its announcement in 2002 to date, the Parenting Fund has provided £22 million to support 154 projects. An additional £20 million will provide support from 2006-08 for a further 137 projects in 23 geographic areas.
Mr. Dhanda: In the last three years, my Department has completed two full on-line staff surveys and three mini telephone surveys, which surveyed a cross representative sample of staff across the Department.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to encourage long-term unemployed people in Hartlepool constituency to return to education and training. 
Phil Hope: Responsibility for encouraging long-term unemployed people to return to education and training is shared between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.
Both Departments, along with their respective delivery agencies Jobcentre Plus (JCP) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), are working closely together to ensure that long-term unemployed people have the skills they need to secure sustainable and productive jobs. There has already been significant progress in joint working between the LSC and JCP and the Hartlepool area is now covered by joint delivery planning in order to meet local employment and skills needs. As part of this joint delivery plan, the LSC Tees Valley is currently piloting access trials to enable JCP customers in receipt of allowances to access LSC-funded provision. This enables customers to continue to receive their allowances while improving their skills with recognised qualifications and improve their employability.
The Government's Skills Strategy sends out a strong signal about the priority we attach to helping adults
with few or no qualifications to attain a platform of wider employability skills. All those on jobseeker's allowance or income-related benefits and their dependants receive free tuition in further education, in addition to the support available through their local JCP office. Unemployed people also have access to in-depth advice about their education and training options through the Learndirect one-stop telephone and on-line advice service.
The Government do, however, recognise that more needs to be done to tackle long-term unemployment and published a Green Paper in January 2006, A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work, including measures to help low skilled adults secure employment through the New Deal for Skills. These include piloting skills coaching in a number of JCP districts and our latest evidence shows that skills coaching is helping long-term unemployed people improve their employability skills.
In addition, the Chancellor announced in his Budget Report that Lord Leitch's review of skills would be extended to include better alignment of measures to tackle worklessness to support labour market flexibility, better employment outcomes and greater progression to productive and sustainable jobs for those with skill needs. We expect Sandy Leitch's report this autumn and my Department looks forward to working with the Department for Work and Pensions to take forward Lord Leitch's proposals.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many university students in England were resident in Scotland in the last three academic years for which figures are available. 
|Scottish domiciled( 1) enrolments at English HE institutions|
|Level of study||Mode of study||2002/03||2003/04||2004/05|
|(1) Domicile refers to the country of the student's permanent or home address prior to entry to the programme of study. Notes: 1. Figures are on a HESA Standard Registration Population basis. 2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record data.|
Mr. Dhanda: Anyone concerned that a child may be a child in need, whether as a young carer or for any other reason, should refer the case to local childrens services for an initial assessment. Children and their families are also able to make such contact direct.
Section 1 of the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 provides that at the time a local authority assess a persons needs for community care services or assess the needs of a disabled child, an individual who provides or intends to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for that person has the right to request an assessment of his ability to provide and continue to provide care. The authority must take that assessment into account when making any decision about services for the cared for person or to meet the needs of the child, as the case may be.
The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 (the 2004 Act) makes three principal changes to the law with the objective of providing further support for carers and helping to ensure that they are not placed at a disadvantage because of the care they provide. First, the Act requires local authorities to inform carers, in certain circumstances, that they may be entitled to an assessment. Second, when undertaking a carers assessment, the local authority must consider whether the carer works, undertakes any form of education, training or leisure activity, or wishes to do any of those things. The effect of this is that the local authority will have to ask the carer about those activities during an assessment, and then take this into account when making the decision about whether the needs of the cared for person call for the provision of any services by them. Third, the Act provides for co-operation between local authorities and other bodies in relation to the planning and provision of services that are relevant to carers.
Guidance makes clear that children who are carers should routinely be assessed under the Children Act 1989. The Children Act 1989 already gives local authorities a duty under paragraph 1(2) of schedule 2 to publicise their services to families with children in need and to take steps to ensure that those who might benefit from the services receive the information.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the finance director of her Department. 
Hilary Armstrong: The Cabinet Office finance director is Jerry Page, who has been a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants since 1991. He has worked in Government for over 30 years, 22 of them in finance. He spent much of this time in Her Majestys Revenue and Customs, working in a variety of finance roles which included implementation of financial systems (purchasing; costing; asset management; accounts receivable; budgeting), operation of financial systems (purchasing; accounts payable; accounts receivable), implementation of internal charging. His two previous roles before joining the Department were as head of investment appraisal and public/private partnerships for HMRC and, immediately prior to joining, head of financial operations in the Valuation Office Agency.
Hilary Armstrong: The Department does not keep a separate record of expenditure incurred on alcohol for hospitality purposes and at present does not plan to introduce a process which records this expenditure separately on the accounting system.
All Cabinet Office expenditure on official hospitality is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many websites there are within her responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. 
These figures exclude websites relating to the areas of policy brought within the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancasters responsibility at the recent Machinery of Government changes, as the future of these sites are subject to review.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on what date the Deputy Prime Minister first moved into the Admiralty Office at 26 Whitehall following the abolition of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. 
Hilary Armstrong: As a result of the machinery of Government changes which followed the 2001 General Election the Deputy Prime Minister was based in Dover House until September 2002, when the Office for the Deputy Prime Minister moved into 26 Whitehall.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Private Members Bills were drafted by her Department, or the Cabinet Office, in each Session since 1997; and which of those received Royal Assent. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many vehicles were clamped as a result of the owner not paying a fine in each year since 1997; and how many fines were subsequently paid as a result of the clamp being applied in each year. 
Ms Harman: The specific sanction of clamping cars for non-payment of fines was introduced in the Courts Act 2003, the phased implementation of which was completed on 31 March 2006. Since January 2006, 820 clamping orders have been issued although data are not held centrally on the number of cars that are consequently clamped or on fines paid as a direct result of clamping. Data are not available nationally prior to January 2006.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many (a) male and (b) female offenders paid their fine on the day of the hearing in each year since 1999, broken down by age group. 
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the total cost was of fees remitted in the Newport Isle of Wight county court in the cases initiated recently against the Home Office by inmates of Isle of Wight prisons; and what comparable figures are available of the total cost of fees remitted in each county court in the last year for which information is available. 
Ms Harman: Approximately 50 cases have been issued by inmates at Albany prison in which fees valued at around £6,000 have been remitted. The full information requested has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance her Department has issued to local authority electoral registration departments on prisoners on the electoral register and their status in relation to elections. 
The Representation of the People Act 2000 clarified the right to register and vote of prisoners detained on remand. Circular RPA 432 issued in April 2000 by the Home Office (at that time responsible for electoral policy) brought these provisions to the attention of local electoral registration officers. The Home Office also contributed to guidance issued in January 2001 by the Association of Electoral Administrators, which made clear that while remand prisoners were entitled to register and vote, convicted prisoners were not.
The Government are committed to a full public consultation on the enfranchisement of convicted prisoners, in response to the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirst v. UK. The consultation process will include consideration of practical issues around the registration of convicted prisoners, which will inform any subsequent guidance that is produced on the issue.
Robert Key: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when construction work will commence on the Salisbury combined court house; and when the new building will be in service. 
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the occasions on
which he has used 32 (The Royal) Squadron since 2001; what the approximate take-off and landing times were of each flight; whether the carbon emissions were offset in respect of each flight; which other transport options were considered for each flight; why other transport options were not used; for what official duties each flight was used; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: The rules on the use of special flights are set out in Travel by Ministers. The annual lists of overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500 set out when special flights are used, and the purpose of each trip. Copies are available in the Library. Special flights are only used as a last resort once all alternative transport options have been considered.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers have been in detention for (a) more than four weeks, (b) more than 13 weeks, (c) more than 26 weeks and (d) more than 52 weeks. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 19 June 2006]: Quarterly snapshots are published showing the number of people detained under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter and these can be broken down by length of detention. The following table shows the length of detention of persons who had claimed asylum at some stage and were detained as at 25 March 2006. Information on the number of persons detained is published in the Quarterly Asylum Bulletin, on the Home Office research development and statistics directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
|Asylum seekers recorded as being in detention in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at 25 March 2006, by length of detention( 1,2)|
|Length of detention( 3)||Asylum seekers( 4)|
|(1) Figures rounded to the nearest 5 may not sum due to rounding and exclude persons detained in police cells and those detained under both criminal and immigration powers.|
(2) Includes persons recorded by IND as detained in Prison Service establishments.
(3) Relates to current period of detention only.
(4) Persons detained under Immigration Act powers who are recorded as having sought asylum at some stage.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications have been made since 31 December 2005 by citizens of countries to which the Government will not return failed asylum seekers for safety reasons. 
By definition, there are no countries to which the Government will not return failed asylum seekers for safety reasons. Each asylum and human rights claim is considered on its individual merits in accordance with our international obligations and taking full account of conditions in the country concerned as they impact on the individual. Those
found to be in need of international protection are provided with it. Failed asylum seekers of all nationalities who have been found by the Home Office and the appeals process not to be in need of international protection and have no legal basis of stay in the UK are expected to return to their country of origin and may have their removal enforced. The one exception to this is Zimbabwe, to where we have undertaken not to enforce returns pending the outcome of an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing in early July.
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 22 June 2006]: Wellingborough is a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) area. Partnerships were set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and data are only available from 1999-2000. Data for 2005-06 are due to be published on 20 July.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has commissioned on crime trends in the UK following the accession of EU countries in May 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: No research has been commissioned on crime trends in the UK following the accession of EU countries in May 2004. However, the Home Office does routinely monitor and publish trends in crime, as measured by the British Crime Survey (BCS) and police recorded crime, on an annual and quarterly basis. The latest quarterly publication is available on the web at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb0606.pdf
The CRB operates to a set of published service standards (PSS), which for the financial year 2005-06 was to process 93 per cent. of Standard Disclosure applications within two weeks and 90 per cent. of Enhanced Disclosure applications within four weeks. The CRBs performance for that financial year against the PSS for Standard Disclosure was 99.6 per cent. During this same period, the performance against the PSS for Enhanced Disclosure was 84.6 per cent. The CRB recently published its Five-Year Strategy and Business Plan 2006-07 and the PSS for the financial year 2006-07 for Standard Disclosures is 90 per cent. within 10 days and for Enhanced Disclosures 90 per cent. within 28 days.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. 
Mr. Byrne: The number of staff that did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total of staff in each case, is shown in the table.
|Number( 1)||Percentage( 2)||Number( 1)||Percentage( 2)||Number( 1)||Percentage( 2)|
|(1) Of staff receiving 'unacceptable mark'.|
(2 )Of staff receiving 'unacceptable mark'/centrally recorded annual report marks awarded in period.
(3) Including Immigration and Nationality Directorate.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance has been given to immigration officers at UK entry ports on the entry to the UK of individuals from EU accession countries who have a criminal record in their own country; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Guidance for immigration staff is set out in the immigration directorate instructions. This makes it clear that where an immigration officer is aware that a national of one of the EU accession states has a criminal record and, that as a result of that record, a genuine present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society is perceived, then an immigration decision to exclude may be made.
Mr. McNulty: Figures for the number of items handed in during the first week of the knife amnesty have been collected at force level. A total of 17,715 items were surrendered in England and Wales. Staffordshire police reported that they received 383 items.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which Government Bills sponsored by his Department he has bid for in the next Session of Parliament; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to discover the identity of the Whitehall source quoted by the News of The World as stating that Abul Koyair fired the weapon which wounded Mohammed Abdul Kahar in the incident on 2 June; and if he will make a statement. 
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of the data cleansing exercise required of
police databases before the full implementation of the National Firearms Licensing Management System. 
Mr. Coaker: Live testing of the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) began in two forces on 5 June and if successful it will be rolled out to all forces by March 2007. The data cleansing exercise is needed before an interface with PNC can be successfully made. This will be carried out on a force by force basis after each has been migrated to NFLMS.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what procedures the Passport Service follows when a passport is reported as not having reached its destination; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ryan: Where a passport is reported as not received by Secure Mail Services (SMS), who provide the Identity and Passport Services (IPS) secure delivery service, information held is checked to establish the date, time and location of delivery. Couriers record details of the property they deliver to and these are compared to the description given by the applicant.
Where IPS is satisfied that the applicant has not received the passport the document is recorded on the IPS Lost and Stolen database to ensure it cannot be used. A replacement passport is then provided to the customer.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of passports dispatched by courier did not arrive at their destination in the last period for which figures are available. 
Joan Ryan: From the commencement of Secure Delivery in February 2004 to January 2006, Secure Mail Services have delivered around 13 million passports and supporting documents. The estimated number of losses during this two year period is 1,626, equating to less than 0.013 per cent. of items despatched.
During the last year of the Royal Mail contract in 2003, 3,593 passports were reported as undelivered, equating to around 0.06 per cent. of passports issued. The introduction of Secure Delivery has therefore seen an 80 per cent. reduction in the annual number of losses from within the delivery process.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police community support officers (a) were recruited and (b) left the
service in Greater London in (i) 2004-05 and (ii) 2005-06. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 22 June 2006]: As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 19 June 2006, Official Report, columns 1057-58, we hope to lay the Order to provide for the merger of Cumbria and Lancashire police forces before the summer recess. This is a voluntary merger supported by both chief constables and both police authorities and we see no need for additional consultation.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reconsider the merger of Essex police force in the event that the Essex-wide consultation being run by Essex county council and Essex police authority demonstrates public opposition to the merger. 
Mr. McNulty: Under the terms of the Police Act 1996, before making an order for a merger of police forces (other than where the merger is a voluntary one), the Secretary of State must give notice of his intentions to every affected council and allow for a period of objections.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent meetings (a) he and (b) representatives from his Department have had with (i) Essex county council, (ii) Essex police authority and (iii) the chief constable of Essex police regarding the proposed merger of Essex police force. 
Mr. McNulty: Home Office officials have held meetings with the Essex chief constable and the police authority jointly on 29 March and 24 May, with the deputy chief constable on 19 May, and with the police authority on 28 April. I held a meeting with the leader of Essex county council on 31 May.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures will be included in the planned reorganisation of police forces to improve responses to local neighbourhood concerns in (a) England and Wales, (b) Crosby and Formby and (c) Merseyside. 
By April 2007, neighbourhood policing will have been introduced to every community in England and Wales, and by April 2008 every area will have its own dedicated neighbourhood policing team. Neighbourhood policing puts local people's own concerns and priorities at the heart of local policing.
Neighbourhood policing teams will be highly visible, will engage with communities to understand their priorities, and will tackle these issues in partnership with local partners. Neighbourhood policing will be protected and supported by the proposed reorganisation of police forces by getting more resources to the front line and keeping them there. The creation of strategic forces to deal with major investigations or public order incidents will help safeguard local policing by reducing the need to abstract officers from neighbourhood policing teams.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Cabinet Office briefing room mechanism (COBRA) considered the merits of the anti-terrorist police operation in Forest Gate on 2 June 2006 in advance of the operation taking place. 
Mr. McNulty: The decision on whether to mount any anti-terrorist operation is an operational matter for the police. A meeting of officials was held in the Cabinet Office briefing room, at which the Metropolitan police informed relevant departments of their intention to conduct this operation and its likely scale given the public safety issues involved. Both the merits of the operation and how it was to be conducted were matters decided solely by the Metropolitan police.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) injuries and (b) fatalities have been recorded in London in each of the past five years which were sustained as a result of a collision involving a police vehicle; and in how many of those incidents the police vehicle was travelling above the speed limit, broken down by borough. 
Mr. McNulty: The available information for the numbers of casualties and degree of injury from road traffic collisions resulting from immediate/emergency response and police pursuits on public roads involving the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police is provided in the table. Figures are not held centrally at individual borough level.
|Degree of injury from road traffic collisions involving police forces in the London area|
|(1 )The Metropolitan Police are unable to provide data for 2002-03.|
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 18 April 2006, Official Report, column 359W, on the security industry, when the Department expects to clear the backlog of licences. 
Mr. Coaker: The Security Industry Authority (SIA) has a target of processing 80 per cent. of all applications within six weeks, measured from the date that a properly completed application enters the processing system. Due to receiving a large number of late applications, the SIA currently has a backlog waiting to enter the system. This is currently adding between two and four weeks to the processing time, so it is now taking up to 10 weeks to process most applications. As of 13 June there were 7,933 applications for the manned guarding sector in this backlog. The SIA has put significant additional resources into clearing this backlog, and expect it will have been cleared by early August.
Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sexual attacks there have been in England and Wales by people falsely posing as taxi drivers in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people (a) arrested, (b) charged and (c) convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000 were from (i) Coventry and (ii) the West Midlands region. 
Mr. McNulty: Statistics on the number of people arrested, charged and convicted under the Terrorism Act (2000) are published on the Home Office website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/security/terrorism-and-the-law/terrorism-act.
There is no UK Police Task Force in Trinidad and Tobago. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago have recruited 39 police officers, most of whom are retired, from the UK to work as part of Trinidad and Tobago's Special Anti-Crime Unit. Questions on their role would be for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to answer. The UK has provided substantial other assistance to the security and defence forces in Trinidad and Tobago and continues to support the Government's efforts to tackle serious crime.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set a limit on the amount that can be charged by wheel clamping companies for (a) the removal of a wheel clamp, (b) the recovery of a vehicle that has been removed and (c) vehicle storage costs. 
Mr. Coaker: Under the Private Security Industry Act 2001, the Security Industry Authority has responsibility for licensing vehicle immobilisers, to help ensure that vehicle immobilisation on private land is conducted in a responsible manner. The Government have no plans to set limits on these fees.
Mr. Sutcliffe: Prevention programmes for those young people at risk of getting involved in crime and antisocial behaviour are funded through the Youth Justice Board and delivered by local Youth Offending Teams (YOTs). The Government have recently announced an additional £45 million funding for targeted youth crime and ASB prevention activities for those young people at most risk. This increase in funding means that all YOTs now have dedicated money to spend on prevention. Programmes are delivered by a range of multi-agency staff, including youth workers, enabling a wide variety of experience and expertise to be brought together. The new funding has been allocated to local YOTs and areas are beginning to deliver new prevention services from June 2006.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the formula is by which the
£45 million given to the Youth Justice Board as part of its youth prevention budget is allocated to youth offending teams. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 21 June 2006]: The overall allocation from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) for prevention programmes totals £59 million, which includes existing Youth Inclusion Programme (YIP) funding of £14 million, as well as the £45 million of additional funding. The additional funding was allocated differently in England and Wales, as the Welsh Government became involved in devising the formula for the latter.
For the 138 YOTs in England, the allocation was based on the same funding formula as that used for the core support grant to YOTs. This formula weights each area's allocation according to the following elements: 10 to 17 population (40 per cent.); size of area (10 per cent.); and six deprivation indices, including income and employment (50 per cent.).
For the 18 YOTs in Wales, the allocation was based on a new funding formula devised by the All Wales Youth Offending Strategy Group. The formula weights each YOTs allocation according to the following elements: 10 to 17 population (50 per cent.); sparsity (low population density, leading to difficulties accessing services and greater cost of providing them) (13.33 per cent.); five deprivation indices on income, employment, health, education and housing (26.66 per cent.); and caseload (10 per cent.)
When the new funding formula was applied, the effect in these areas would have been to reduce the overall funding allocated to prevention. To avoid this and to allow them to begin to develop additional prevention services, funding for the affected YOTs was adjusted so that they all received an amount of at least £20,000 more than they were previously receiving.
Yvette Cooper: The Governments plan for implementing Kate Barkers recommendations was set out in its response to the Barker Review on 5 December. I have placed a copy of the response in the Library of the House. In the response, the Government signalled their ambition to provide more homes for future generations through a step change in housing policy.
The response comprised a range of measures addressing the full range of Kate Barkers recommendations, including among others: an ambition to increase the level of housing supply to 200,000 per year over the next decade;
a commitment to make Social Housing supply a priority in CSR07; a £40 million start up fund for infrastructure projects for new growth points and consultations on a Planning-gain Supplement and Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3), responses to which are currently being considered.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were in receipt of (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement 
|Income support (IS) and IS minimum income guarantee (MIG) caseloads: Great Britain each November 1997 to 2005|
|Pension credit caseloads: Great Britain each November 2003 to 2005|
|Income based jobseekers allowance (JSA(IB)) caseloads: Great Britain each November 1997 to 2005|
|Housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) caseloads: Great Britain each November 1997 to 2005|
| Notes: 1. PC/HB/CTB figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. 2. IS/JSA(IB) figures are rounded to the nearest 100. 3. HB/CTB figures for any non-responding authorities have been estimated. 4. HB figures exclude any extended payment cases. 5. CTB figures exclude any second adult rebate cases. 6. JSA(IB) figures and IS figures for November 1997 and 1998 are derived by applying 5 per cent. proportions to 100 per cent. WPLS data are therefore subject to sampling variation. 7. Some JSA(IB) claimants may also have entitlement to benefit via the contributory route. 8. Totals may not sum due to rounding. 9. Pension credit replaced MIG on 6 October 2003. 10. Overlaps between benefits have not been removed. Source: DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS); Information Directorate 5 per cent. samples; and Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken in November 1997 to November 2005.|
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to her comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. 
Yvette Cooper: Under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, all public bodies have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in the exercising of their functions. There is no statutory obligation on Departments to monitor the extent to which public bodies comply with this duty. However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working with a wide range of partners to develop guidance for public bodies to support the implementation of this duty and will involve all relevant Departments on the development of guidance.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2663W, on biodiversity (planning applications), what progress has been made on the incorporation of a question relating to biodiversity interests into the standard planning application form; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: We have agreed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, English Nature and Association of Local Government Ecologists the wording of a question on biodiversity that will be included in the standard application form for full and outline planning permission.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Minister in her Department is responsible for monitoring her Departments compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological
diversity in carrying out its functions; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: Under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, Ministers and Government Departments have a duty to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity. This has been replaced by a similar provision under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act which comes into effect on the 1 October 2006. There is no statutory duty to monitor compliance with this duty. However, the Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessor the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have taken a number of steps to benefit biodiversity including:
Introducing Planning Policy Statement 9 on Biodiversity and Geological Conservation and an associated guide to good practice prepared jointly with English Nature and Defra;
Working to introduce Sustainable Community Strategies as an evolution of Community Strategies, thereby supporting Local Strategic Partnerships in placing greater emphasis on sustainability issues such as biodiversity (see the recent consultation on our website at http://www.communities.gov. uk/index.asp?id=1162320);
Setting out, in our Sustainable Development Action Plan, our intention to issue a draft biodiversity action plan for the major non-office estate by December 2006.
Angela E. Smith: Local authorities building control departments or approved inspectors, a private sector alternative, are responsible for checking compliance with the building regulations. They do this by considering written proposals, sometimes in the form of plans, and often by inspecting building works during construction. When the work has finished and they are satisfied that it complies they can issue a completion certificate, or when an approved inspector has been engaged, a final certificate.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of levels of compliance with part L of the building regulations among building control officers; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: As part of the comprehensive review leading to the recent amendment of part L of the building regulations, my officials engaged with building control bodies and industry about levels of compliance and on ways that this could be improved. This work influenced the amendment and procedures that came into effect in April 2006 and the ongoing dissemination of training for builders and building control officers.
Yvette Cooper: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not hold the records of the Central Manchester Development Corporation centrally. However some of the records are held by the Government office for the north-west.
The information is not available in the form requested. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, which operates throughout the English coalfields, is an independent grant giving body that seeks to spearhead the social and economic regeneration of the coalfields. Grants awarded by the trust range from small grants to local groups to larger awards that benefit coalfields more widely, sometimes at regional or national level. Grants are not constituency specific, with even small grants often benefiting areas outside of the constituency within which the group securing the grant is based. It is not therefore practicable to produce a list of constituencies which have received the highest level of funding. It should be noted that any list would change once a subsequent round of grants was released by the CRT, and therefore could significantly alter should a grant of considerable value be given to an organisation based in a constituency within a coalfield area.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on compulsory land purchases in each London borough in each year since 1996; and if she will make a statement. 
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by how many days her Department exceeded its target for answering letters when replying to the letter written by the hon. Member for Windsor about Mr. D. Ashworth. 
The Department target was exceed by 47 days. The original letter was not received in the Department and only after a duplicate was received on 10 March was this seen by officials. I apologise for the
unacceptable delay. The Department is putting additional resources into improving performance in this regard.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter of 8 May 2006 from the hon. Member for Billericay requesting that she meet local residents from Crays Hill, Hovefields and Pitsea to discuss traveller issues. 
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of staff of registered social landlords working with vulnerable people were checked by the Criminal Records Bureau in 2005-06. 
Yvette Cooper: The data to answer this question are not available. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) does not record information about whether an organisation applying for a CRB check is a registered social landlord (RSL). The Housing Corporation expects RSLs to comply with the law, including where relevant the requirement to conduct CRB checks under the Care Standards Act 2000.
Hinckley and Bosworth District Council
Oadby and Wigston District Council
Redditch District Council
Ribble Valley District Council, and
Lancaster District Council.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the finance director of her Department. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government is in the process of recruiting a professionally qualified finance director. Pending the appointment, the post is being temporarily covered by a career civil servant.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will keep a separate record of the amount spent annually by her Department on alcohol for hospitality purposes. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not keep a separate record of the amount spent annually on alcohol for hospitality purposes. Expenditure in the Department is conducted in accordance with the principles of Government accounting. The Department's policy on hospitality is set out in its staff handbook, which advises that, on each occasion, careful consideration should be given to the need, form and extent of hospitality and whether if it can be justified.
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government was formed on 6 May 2006. The table following shows the number of staff under and over the age of 55 years as at 31 December 2005 in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
|Age||Number of staff|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people over the age of 55 years have been recruited into her Department in each of the last three years. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department for Communities and Local Government was formed on 6 May 2006. The following table shows the number of staff over the age of 55 years recruited through open competition to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
|Number of new recruits over 55|
Yvette Cooper: The Government are committed to devolving and decentralising functions to the English regions and to developing and strengthening the democratic oversight of those functions. They believe a regional approach is necessary to analyse and address the causes of economic disparity; to ensure planning and investment decisions are properly integrated; and to co-ordinate sub-national issues which extend beyond the boundaries of even the largest local authority. To this end, they created the Greater London Authority and have recently consulted on an extension of the powers of the London Mayor and Assembly.
Respecting the outcome of the November 2004 north east referendum, the Government have continued to support the work of the voluntary regional assemblies which comprise a majority of elected local councillors together with stakeholder representatives drawn from the social, economic and environmental partners. They have given these assemblies responsibility for scrutinising the regional development agencies established to promote economic growth; and as regional planning bodies overseeing the regional spatial strategies. Later this year, as recommended in the 2004 Barker Review of Housing Supply and again following consultation, they will give regional assemblies a new role undertaking the regional housing board function.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her policy is on (a) the devolution of power to the regions and (b) the creation of directly-elected regional bodies. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government are committed to devolving and decentralising functions to the English regions and to developing and strengthening the democratic oversight of those functions. They believe a regional approach is necessary to analyse and address the causes of economic disparity; to ensure planning and investment decisions are properly integrated; and to co-ordinate sub-national issues which extend beyond the boundaries of even the largest local authority. To this end, they created the Greater London authority and have recently consulted on an extension of the powers of the London Mayor and Assembly.
The Government have continued to support the work of the voluntary regional assemblies which comprise a majority of elected local councillors together with stakeholder representatives drawn from the social, economic and environmental partners. They have given these assemblies responsibility for scrutinising the regional development agencies established to promote economic growth; and as regional planning bodies overseeing the regional spatial strategies. Later this year, as recommended in the 2004 Barker review of housing supply and again following consultation, they will give regional assemblies a new role undertaking the regional housing board function.
Respecting the outcome of the November 2004 north east referendum on the creation of an elected regional assembly, the Government have no current plans for the creation of directly-elected regional bodies.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which the (a) best and (b) worst performing councils in England are with regard to tackling empty private sector properties in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what Luton borough council's performance was in that period. 
Yvette Cooper: Local authorities are required by law to report on a set of national performance indicators and standards set by Government. Best Value Performance Indicator 64 measures the number of private sector dwellings that are returned to occupation or demolished each year as a direct result of action by the local authority. Information, comprising local authorities' returns for Best Value Performance Indicator 64 for 2004-05 has been placed in the Library of the House. In the period 2004-05, the number of empty properties brought back into use or demolished by Luton council was 11. However, the variance in the overall size of the private sector housing stock, and the proportion of these houses which can be defined as empty, will differ between each local authority area and therefore, the indicator is not a straightforward reflection of individual councils' performance.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2006, Official Report, column 751W, on EU Directive 2002/91/EC, what the timetable is for the implementation of Articles 7 to 10; and what the deadline is for implementation under the directive. 
Yvette Cooper: I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the statement made to this House on 14 June about implementation of the EU energy performance of buildings directive. The directive allows an additional period of three years to apply fully the requirements for energy certificates and plant inspections meaning the deadline for implementation of Articles 7 to 10 is 4 January 2009.
Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many uniformed firefighters insured under the Group Life Assurance Scheme were (a) subject to a health examination at retirement and (b) subsequently excluded from the scheme on the basis of failing health in the last five years for which full data are available. 
Angela E. Smith: The Department does not operate any group life assurance schemes for firefighters and information is not available centrally about schemes administered by fire and rescue authorities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many faulty
(a) fire extinguishers and (b) smoke alarms were identified in schools in the last 12 months. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of fires in (a) schools, (b) higher education institutions and (c) further education colleges in the last 10 years were set deliberately. 
|England: Deliberately set fires in educational establishments attended by fire and rescue services, 1995-2004|
|Percentage of school fires set deliberately||Percentage of further education establishment fires set deliberately|
| Source: Fire and Rescue Service returns to DCLG. Excludes any fires in November 2002 and January to February 2003 strike periods.|
|England: Primary fires in schools attended by fire and rescue services, 1995-2004|
| Source: Fire and Rescue Service returns to DCLG. Excludes any fires in November 2002 and January to February 2003 strike periods.|
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of emergency fire service call-outs made to schools in each year of the last 10 years were on the basis of a fraudulent call. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fires there were in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each of the last 10 years, broken down by (i) region and (ii) local education authority. 
Angela E. Smith: The available information is for fires in schools attended by fire and rescue services and reported to the Department on the FDR1 return. These are broken down by region and fire and rescue service area.
|School fires attended by fire and rescue services, England, 1995-2004|
| Source: Fire and Rescue Service returns to DCLG. Excludes any fires in November 2002 and January-February 2003 strike period|
Angela E. Smith: It is the Department for Communities and Local Governments policy to follow the guidance issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for flying flags on Government buildings. This includes recommending flying the St. Georges Flag on St. Georges Day 23 April and saying the European Flag should be flown on Europe Day 9 May on buildings with two or more flag poles, provided they are flown alongside the Union Flag with the Union Flag in the superior position.
Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the merits of relocating a Government Department or agency to (a) the Thames Gateway growth area and (b) Kent Thameside; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: Individual Departments are responsible for deciding on sites for relocation. However, they must take account of both their individual business needs and local economic factors, as set out in the central guidance, Choosing Locations for Government Business.
Yvette Cooper: Areas of landscape outside nationally designated areas, that are particularly highly valued locally, may be the subject of local landscape designations. The Department for Communities and Local Government does not monitor which authorities have made these local designations.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to protect (a) green belt and (b) open green spaces in (i) the county of Greater Manchester, (ii) Tameside metropolitan borough and (iii) Stockport metropolitan borough. 
National policies to protect the green belt are set out in PPG2. Polices to protect other areas of open space are set out in PPG 17. Planning authorities are required to have regard to these policies when preparing their development plans and these policies may be material to individual planning decisions.
In addition, the Residential Development on Greenfield Land Direction requires local authorities to notify the Secretary of State of applications for the provision of 150 houses or flats on greenfield land or any applications for the provision of houses or flats on five hectares or more on greenfield land. The notification requirements provide the Secretary of State with an opportunity to check general compliance with the guidance set out in national planning policies, and to consider whether an application should be called in for her own determination.
Regional policies to protect green belt and other areas of open space are set out in Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the North West of England, formerly known as RPG13. Particular emphasis is given to maintaining urban form and enhancing urban living. The continued and extensive use of green belt policy is an essential tool. The RSS says that the case for exceptional substantial change to green belt will need to be established by a strategic study and that, in turn, will inform a future review of RSS. It says that there will be no need for such a study in Greater Manchester before 2011. The RSS is currently in the process of being reviewed. The North West regional assembly published the revised Draft RSS for consultation on 20 March 2006. The responses to the consultation will be examined by a panel set up by the Secretary of State. The panel will then carry out an examination in public to debate selected topics, based on issues raised in the consultation responses, before making their recommendations to the Secretary of State. It is likely that any proposed changes to regional
green belt policies will be examined carefully by the panel and subsequently by the Secretary of State.
Local policies to protect green belt and other areas of open space are set out in local authority development plan policies. The Government office for the north west scrutinises these plans on behalf of the Secretary of State to ensure that the authorities have had regard correctly to national and regional planning policies.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications for new housing on land designated as green belt have been approved in the county of Greater Manchester in each year since 2000. 
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of planning applications to build on brownfield sites involved building on gardens in (a) Greater Manchester, (b) Tameside metropolitan borough and (c) Stockport metropolitan borough in the last period for which figures are available. 
Meg Munn: Grant awards to local authorities for the establishment of new Gypsy and Traveller sites, and for the refurbishment of existing sites, are made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 1979. In the 2005-06 round of the Gypsy Sites Grant the following payments were made:
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what funding has been provided to Bedfordshire county council to accommodate Travellers in 2006-07; and if she will make a statement; 
Meg Munn: We have received five proposals for funding by Bedfordshire county council under round 1 of the Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant (GTSG) 2006-08. GTSG is a capital grant available through the regional housing budgets for local authorities and registered social landlords (RSLs), covering both the development of new sites and the refurbishment of existing sites. Bedfordshire CC is bidding for refurbishment schemes, which are funded at 75 per cent. of the total bid.
Does the scheme meet a clearly assessed need?
Does the scheme offer value for money?
Is the site sustainable?
Schemes must also demonstrate that they will be able to deliver to time and budget, and that stakeholders have been consulted. Another key criterion which will be used to determine whether a bid receives funding will be the extent to which schemes contribute to addressing emerging regional priorities in respect of Gypsy and Traveller provision, which is assessed by the Regional Housing Boards (RHBs).
Yvette Cooper: The decision in Harlow BC v. Hall was that drawing up a possession order postponed on conditions, using the wording of Form N28 introduced in 2002, had the unintended effect of invariably terminating a secure tenancy regardless of the tenants compliance with the conditions. As an interim measure, an amended version of the form is being used. Officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government are currently working with the DCA to come up with a permanent solution.
Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information was included in the Home Information Packs Home Condition Report in the trial run in Bristol. 
Yvette Cooper: The Home Condition Report used in the Bristol trial run included all the questions currently proposed in the Home Condition Reports content in the regulations but also contained a report giving a rating of the energy performance of the property using the Government approved Standard Assessment Procedure together with information about possible improvements.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether standard conditions are expected to be issued by all home inspectors saying precisely what is and what is not included in a Home Information Pack. 
Yvette Cooper: Home inspectors will be responsible for the content of the Home Condition Report. The Home Condition Report is a statutory element of the pack and home inspectors will be expected to complete the document in full.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) vendors and (b) purchasers will be able to take legal action against inspectors responsible for the production of inaccurate home condition reports. 
Yvette Cooper: Yes. The regulations to be laid shortly will specify that sellers, buyers and mortgage lenders will have a legal right to rely on the home condition report. Certification schemes will be required to ensure that their home inspector members hold appropriate indemnity insurance.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will supervise the training and certification of home inspectors; what provision there is for ongoing training of home inspectors; and under what circumstances the approval of an inspector may be withdrawn. 
Yvette Cooper: All home inspectors will be required to obtain a qualification before they can become members of a certifications scheme. That qualification must meet the National Occupational Standards for Home Inspection and be approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Once qualified, home inspectors can apply to become a member of a Government approved certifications scheme. Certification schemes will be required to uphold standards set by Government to ensure home inspectors are fit and proper, qualified and insured persons. Government will regularly audit the activities of certification schemes and have the power to withdraw approval if a certification scheme falls short of their statutory responsibilities.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total expenditure was of the Homeless and Housing Support Directorate's conference at Hampton Court Palace in May 2006; and how many (a) civil servants and (b) others attended the conference. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will estimate (a) the number of houses in £50,000 bands up to £1 million, (b) the number of houses worth in excess of £1 million and (c) the average price of a house in each such band in England and Wales in the latest year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
|March||Overall average price (£)|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her estimate is of the median number of houses (a) sold and (b) marketed in England and Wales per annum over the last five years; what her assessment is of the reasons why house selling transactions fell through; and how many more transactions she expects to succeed every year as a result of the introduction of home information packs. 
Yvette Cooper: The median number of annual property transactions of homes in England and Wales between 2001 and 2005 was 1,228,000, based on figures from the Land Registry. Information on the number of properties marketed annually is not collected, but this is estimated to be 1.6 million.
The Departments 1998 research study, Key research on easier home buying and selling, reported that 28 per cent. of transactions fail between offer acceptance and completion. The research study, a copy of which has been deposited in the Library, also described the reasons why transactions fail. For example, the report indicated that 43 per cent. of transaction failures were attributable to an unfavourable survey report and the remainder were due to a seller deciding to sell elsewhere, unacceptable delays, chain breakdown and the property being taken off the market. The key findings of the research study indicated that many of the problems associated with the current system are down to information emerging later in the process and that buyers, sellers and professionals all agreed that sellers should offer more information up front.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to encourage the development of shared ownership housing schemes in (a) Peterborough and (b) other growth areas; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government have allocated a substantial increase in funding for the East of England for 2006-08, much of which will be invested in new affordable housing. In Peterborough, the regional housing board for the East of England (RHB) has allocated just over £19 million which is expected to deliver 572 new affordable units, via the Housing Corporations National Affordable Housing Programme. In the other growth areas of the region, the RHB has allocated £152.7 million which is expected to deliver 6,081 new affordable units.
The Housing Corporation is delivering the Governments affordable housing agenda in partnership with local authorities, registered social landlords and developers in developing schemes across the range of tenure which meets the needs of local people including the pathway to low cost home ownership.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was allocated per head of population by the Housing Corporation to (a) the North East and (b) London and the South East in each of the last three years. 
Yvette Cooper: The following table shows the funding per head based on allocations through the Housing Corporations Affordable Housing Programme for 2006-08 in relation to 2004 mid year population estimates for the North East region and London/South East regions combined from the Office for National Statistics.
|North East||London and South East|
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria the Housing Corporation used to determine bids for funds under the National Affordable Housing Programme; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Housing Corporation invited bids for funding from the National Affordable Housing Programme 2006-08. These were assessed for compliance with the competition requirements as follows:
(i) Additionalitygrant must be necessary for the affordable housing to be delivered;
(ii) Rent levels in accordance with Corporation or statutory rent regimes to ensure affordability;
(iii) Schemes must be financially independent;
(iv) Schemes must meet or exceed the minimum standards covering design and quality (expressed through the Corporations Scheme Development Standards, Housing Quality Indicator system, and a Very Good EcoHomes rating);
(v) Scheme must start on site by 31 March 2008;
(vi) Schemes must complete before 31 March 2011;
(vii) Scheme must conform to the relevant regional housing board priorities;
(viii)Schemes must meet management and maintenance standards (for housing associations schemes must comply with all of the Corporations regulatory requirements in relation to the management and maintenance of affordable homes);
(ix) Bidders must have the capacity to enter into a programme agreement.
Fit with regional and local housing strategies;
Deliverability within the programme time scale.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will take steps to provide a right of appeal to owners of properties subject to final empty dwelling management orders. 
Where the owner objects either to the making of the final EDMO or some of the terms on which it is made (including the terms of the management scheme), and the council has not accepted their representations, they will be able to appeal to a Residential Property Tribunal.
Yvette Cooper: Information on new build dwellings is collected by the Department for Communities and Local Government and is available by local authority not constituency. No information on new build dwellings with gardens is held centrally.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice her Department has issued to councils on best practice for use of the money given to them by her Department for discretionary housing payments. 
General guidance was issued to all local authorities when the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme was introduced in July 2001, setting out the conditions for entitlement to an award. However, the decision on whether to make a Discretionary Housing Payment is entirely at the discretion of the local authority concerned so we cannot prescribe whether or not an authority must make a payment in any particular circumstances.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much her Department provided for housing in Tees Valley in 2005-06; and whether an element of the funding was top-sliced for regional housing purposes. 
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not available centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Some of the information may, however, be available from the National Land Use Database of Previously-Developed Land (NLUD-PDL). This is a list of sites supplied by local authorities covering vacant and derelict land and also land currently in use with known potential for development. It does not cover other land currently in use but does record whether a site is owned by the local authority.
Yvette Cooper: Wirral borough council has built no new dwellings in Wirral since 1990. Total development (by the private sector and Registered Social Landlords) in Wirral, West constituency since 1997 has totalled 1,032 gross new build dwellings (20.7 per cent. of the borough total of 4,992 gross new dwellings).
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average house price was in (a) Wirral, West and (b) Wirral borough area on 30 April in each of the last five years. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes quarterly information on average house prices for local authority areas on our website at: http://www.communities .gov.uk/ embedded_object.asp?id=l 156155
| Source: Land Registry|
Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. It is for each local authority to use this provision as it considers appropriate to meet its housing needs.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the resources available to district councils in housing expansion growth areas to process large-scale planning applications. 
Yvette Cooper: Local authorities in the growth areas have received £75,770,362 in total Planning Delivery Grant since 2003 to help them deal with major applications and other planning requirements. They also receive funding of £7 million annually to support local delivery vehicles in the major growth locations, some of which directly help with handling big schemes.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new affordable housing units were completed in (a) Dudley, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each year since 2000. 
Yvette Cooper: According to information provided by local authorities the number of new affordable housing units completed is as follows. These numbers include homes for rent, shared ownership, and other affordable private sector homes. They include homes funded by the Government and those funded by the private sector under section 106 agreements negotiated by local councils.
|(1) Figures for 2005-06 are forecasts as at April 2005 because local councils have not yet supplied actual data for 2005-06.|
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to encourage the provision of affordable housing for key public sector workers in Swindon. 
Yvette Cooper: The Key Worker Living programme does not currently operate in the South West region. In the South West region £302.7 million has been allocated by the Housing Corporation for housing schemes to start in 2006-08. They will provide 8,465 new affordable homes, of which 625 will be in Swindon.
Of the 625 homes being provided in Swindon, 455 will be for social rent, eligibility for which will be decided by the local authority through their nomination procedures. The remaining 170 will be for low cost home ownership or intermediate rent.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced the final bidding round of the Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) programme and launched the publication of the outcome of the ALMO review, which sets out how Government see the long term future of ALMOs, and a discussion paper setting the decent homes programme in its broader context in a written statement to the House on Wednesday 7 June.
Yvette Cooper: The Government aim to help an additional 100,000 households into home ownership from 2005-10. We are implementing a number of measures to boost housing supply and deliver more affordable housing. This includes increased investment of £970 million being provided through the Housing Corporations Affordable Housing Programme in 2006-08 for low cost home ownership schemes to help 35,000 new homeowners get their first step on the home ownership ladder and bringing forward more public sector land to increase the supply of new homes.
The Shared Equity Task Force, led by myself and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has been established to examine further ways to increase the number of people able to benefit from shared equity products. The task force will report by the end of 2006 to inform decisions on the comprehensive spending review in the summer of 2007.
In addition, the Government intend to publish a revised Planning Policy Statement for Housing (PPS3) later this year to improve the delivery of both market and affordable housing through the planning system.
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 June 2006]: Coventry city council has not built any new homes since 1997. New provision of affordable housing is now delivered through the Governments Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) which primarily funds housing associations who can lever in additional independent borrowing.
Mr. Jim Cunningham:
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress
has been made towards the decent home standards for social housing in Coventry South; and if she will make a statement. 
It is not possible to provide separate information about social housing in Coventry South.
There is no social housing in the ownership of the city council because of the transfer in September 2000 of all the council housing (around 20,000 dwellings) to the Whitefriars Housing Group under the large-scale voluntary transfer (LSVT) arrangements.
The Housing Corporation, which has a regulatory role for RSLs, monitors progress towards the Decent Homes target for this sector of social housing.
The Housing Corporation began collecting local authority area-based data about levels of decency in RSL social housing stock in 2005.
This data showed that at March 2005 there were 23,665 social homes in the city of Coventry owned and managed by RSLs, and that just over 6,000 (26 per cent.) of these did not meet the Decent Homes standard at that time.
The Housing Corporation is satisfied that the 32 RSLs with social housing stock in the Coventry area are on target to meet the Decent Homes target in 2010.
The Whitefriars Housing Group is by far the largest social landlord in Coventry, with 17,075 dwellings in March 2005, making up 72 per cent. of the total social housing in the city.
The councils decision in 2000 (supported by a tenant ballot) to transfer the council housing stock was driven by the need to access new sources of funding. A stock condition survey had shown that the investment requirement at that time to bring the housing up to modern standards was £250 million and the council was unable to identify the necessary resources.
At the time of the stock transfer the Decent Homes standard had not been developed, but in March 2004 approximately 42 per cent. of the Whitefriars homes were identified as non-decent. By March 2005 this level had been reduced to 27 per cent., when only 4,593 homes failed to meet the standard.
Yvette Cooper: The Government award Regional Housing Pot funding to each region in England and ask Regional Housing Boards to recommend how the funding should be allocated in accordance with the Regional Housing Strategy. In the West Midlands, 2006-08 Regional Housing Pot funding has been allocated to fund provision of an additional 2,683 homes for social rent.
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what acreage of private residential gardens in North Somerset has been lost to infill development in each year since 2000. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Private Members' Bills were drafted by her Department, or predecessor Department, in each Session since 1997; and which of those subsequently received Royal Assent. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which Bills sponsored by her Department are still to be introduced during the current Session; and when, and into which House, each will be introduced; 
Yvette Cooper: The Essex Development and Regeneration Agency (ExDRA) Sub-Regional Economic Partnership allocated £50,000 from its delegated (from EEDA) Rural Renaissance fund in January 2005 to partly fund a company to produce a feasibility study about Walton Hall Barns.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance is issued to local authorities on the desirable (a) size, (b) nature and (c) value per head of population of the non-housing properties and facilities owned by local authorities. 
Mr. Woolas: The Department for Communities and Local Government has not issued any specific guidance on the desirable (a) size, (b) nature and (c) value per head of population of the non-housing properties and facilities owned by local authorities. We expect local authorities to decide this according to their local needs.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will meet the hon. Member for Castle Point to discuss (a) the performance of local government officers in Castle Point, (b) their code of conduct and (c) their delivery of services to the population of Castle Point. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what her policy is on providing accommodation in London to take account of its projected population increase. 
Yvette Cooper: The Mayor of Londons London Plan, published in February 2004, and borough development plans, set out targets for housing provision in London, and take account of the need for housing. The London Plan housing targets are currently under review.
Yvette Cooper: The Northern Way is an ambitious pan-regional growth strategy being driven by the three northern regional development agencies and their partners. It aims to close the £30 billion output gap between the north and the England average and its work will therefore play an important part in delivering the Governments regional economic performance PSA target.
The Department for Communities and Local Government co-ordinates the Governments involvement with the Northern Way. Alongside Treasury and DTI, the Department works closely with the Northern Way to help them develop their plans and facilitates their engagement with the other Government Departments. The Department also match funded the regional development agencies contribution to create a £100 million growth fund for pilot projects exploring innovative ways of increasing economic growth in the north.
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance
(a) the Government and (b) the Standards Board for England has issued to local authorities on the predetermination of decisions. 
Yvette Cooper: The Department for Communities and Local Government has issued no guidance of the sort mentioned. In addition, the avoidance of predetermination is not an issue explicitly mentioned in the model code of conduct for local authority members, and so would not be an issue for the Standards Board. As far as determining planning applications is concerned, the Standards Board does provide specific guidance relating to members personal and prejudicial interests. The Local Government Association published guidance in January this year, Probity in Planning: The role of Councillors and Officers. This gives propriety guidance to members of planning committees to help avoid accusations of predetermining applications.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of applications to build on brownfield sites were applications to build on gardens in the last period for which figures are available. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 16 June 2006]: The four growth areas announced by the Government in the Sustainable Communities Plan 2003 are being taking forward further to Regional Planning Guidance for the wider south east (2001), and are based on proposals by regional and local partners. They were identified because of their potential to take on further growth more sustainably, with less environmental impact, and to exploit major transport and economic investment.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has issued to local authorities on the recommended average length of consultation times for proposals for (a) sex shops, (b) casinos and (c) the sale of council owned land; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 provides that, when a planning application is made, the local planning authority has to publicise it and then allow 21 days for people to comment.
However, if a local authority is proposing to dispose of open space (including land laid out as a public garden or used for public recreation) the Local Government Act 1972 requires the authority to advertise its intentions in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks, and to consider any objections.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether the Government have appointed consultants to undertake research into councillor involvement in planning decisions; 
The Government have appointed Arup to undertake research to provide information on councillor involvement in planning decisions. We have
no proposals for change either to the way planning decisions are made or to councillors involvement in the planning process.
|PPS number||Subject||Consultation draft||Publication of revised PPS/PPG|
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many sites in England have planning permission for educational use but are not currently occupied by a school. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many sites in each London borough have planning permission for educational use but are not occupied by a school; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 19 June 2006]: The Department does not hold the information requested, and it could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Local authorities are responsible for considering planning applications and the great majority are not referred to my Department.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she issues to local authorities on the assessment of risks from flooding when considering planning permissions for new basement properties in London near to the River Thames. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 12 June 2006]: The Government's guidance to planning authorities on development and flood risk is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 25. This advises that planning applications in flood risk areas are always accompanied by a flood risk assessment, and that the Environment Agency is consulted. Flood risk areas are those mapped by the Agency as being at risk from river and tidal flooding, but sites outside such areas can also be at risk due to local topography, for example at the foot of hills where storm-water runoff may overwhelm sewers. Flood risk assessments should address the source of flooding, its potential extent, depth and speed of inundation and its likely impact on the development during its lifetime, taking climate change into account. They should demonstrate how the risk will be managed and identify any residual risk (the risk remaining after flood defences have been taken into account). Proposals for the development of new properties with basements would have to demonstrate (to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency and the Local Planning Authority) that the residual risk to the development and its occupants was acceptable. In addition, the introduction of basement accommodation into a flood risk area should also not materially increase the flood risk to other properties or occupants. The new Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 25 that we intend to issue this autumn will strengthen this advice.
(a) Following the announcement that £12 million had been allocated to the Rushenden Link Road (bringing the total investment to £19 million) discussions are continuing, with the South East England development agency (SEEDA), to complete the Department's internal appraisal requirements and agree the final funding package.
(b) Responsibility for the build programme rests with SEEDA with the works being undertaken by Kent county council (KCC).
Forecast start date for construction on site is June 2007. This is dependent on the adoption of the masterplan and receipt of planning permission.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to achieve the aims of the Secured by Design initiative through the planning process. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government have issued detailed planning guidance on planning and crime prevention in England. Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1), published in 2005, places strong emphasis on the role of planning in helping to create safe and sustainable communities. Planning authorities are asked to have robust policies which address crime prevention issues in their development plans. Crime prevention is also capable of being a material planning consideration in the consideration of planning applications.
In applying the policy in PPS1 we have asked planning authorities to have regard to the guidance we have published in Safer Places: The Planning System and Crime Prevention (Office of the Deputy Prime Minster/Home Office, 2004). This offers detailed guidance on the lay-out of all buildings and spaces to reduce the risk of crime, including, where appropriate, the incorporation of target hardening measures such as CCTV in new development.
Safer Places advises that in designing and considering development proposals, the physical protection of development by using target hardening principles such as Secured by Design should be considered. The guidance also highlights a number of examples of best practice involving Secured by Design principles and urges all involved in the planning and design of buildings and environments to work closely with police architectural liaison officers or crime prevention design advisors.
Alongside this guidance we are also examining how best to incorporate measures to improve the security of new homes. Compliance with Secured by Design standards is one of the options being considered.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to encourage Swindon borough council to apply the higher level standards of the new Code for Sustainable Buildings to new homes. 
Yvette Cooper: Consultation on the proposed Code for Sustainable Homes ended on 6 March 2006. In the light of the consultation responses, the Government announced proposals to strengthen the code on 9 March 2006. This announcement also said that these improvements would be developed over the coming months.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funds have been allocated for greenspace projects in the Thames Gateway in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 22 June 2006]: Our proposals for environmental and greenspace improvements were set out in the Greening the Gateway implementation plan published in February 2005. The total funding toward greenspace and environmental projects from the Thames Gateway Programme fund between 2003-04 to 2007-08 is just under £25 million, of which about £19.7 million has already been spent. Expenditure in 2006-07 and 2007-08 is expected to be £4.6 million and £612,000 respectively.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when her Department will publish the report Trees in Towns II; and why its publication has been delayed from Autumn 2005. 
Yvette Cooper: The final report for Trees in Towns II was received by my Department at the beginning of June 2006. Preparation of the material for publication in a range of media is in hand and publication is expected later in 2006.
Yvette Cooper: The Local Government (Publication of Information About Unused and Underused Land) (England) Regulations 1992 referred to underused land but only that owned by specified local authorities. The regulations were revoked in 1996.
The register of surplus public sector land, set up in 2003, records land that becomes surplus to the operational requirements of the owning body and is therefore available for disposal. It covers land owned by central Government bodies. See http://www.englishpartnerships.co.uk/rspsl.htm.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which best consideration decisions for disposing of property at an undervalue have been (a) refused and (b) permitted by the Secretary of State further to the Local Government Act 1972 in each year since 1977. 
Data on local authority land disposals at less than best consideration made under the Local Government Act 1972 are not available
centrally for the whole of this period. The revised General Disposal Consent issued in 2003 requires disposals with an undervalue of more than £2 million to receive the specific consent of the Secretary of State. There have been no cases under the current General Disposal Consent where consent has been refused. Consents given by the Secretary of State since the introduction of these arrangements are set out in the following table:
Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if she will take steps to strengthen controls preventing village pubs from being bought and closed down by property speculators; 
Yvette Cooper: Government policies in relation to planning for village pubs are set out in planning policy statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (PPS6) and planning policy statement 7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas (PPS7).
PPS 6 asks local planning authorities where appropriate to adopt policies that enhance the vitality and viability of rural service centres, such as villages. In considering proposals for new development, local authorities should take into account the likely impact of the new development on services that are important to the local community.
Local planning authorities are also asked to consider the scale of new leisure development, including pubs, and its likely impact on the character and function of a village, for example in terms of antisocial behaviour, crime and the amenities of residents.
PPS7 supports the PPS6 policy approach to enhancing the viability of village services, including village pubs. It advises local planning authorities to support the retention of valuable local facilities and to set out in their local development documents the criteria they will apply in
considering planning applications that would result in the loss of important village services.
The planning system cannot control the closure of a business or the sale of land or premises. Planning permissions relate to the use of land, and ownership is not a relevant consideration. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, as amended, allows a change of use from A4 (drinking establishments) to A3 (restaurant and cafes), A2 (financial and professional services), and A1 (shops). A change to any other use would require planning permission.
If a pub is converted to a use other than those described, without planning permission, local planning authorities have a wide range of discretionary enforcement powers to enable them to deal with unauthorised development. It is for the local planning authority to decide in each case which is the most appropriate course of action.
The Government have no plans to control the buying and selling, or closure of village pubs. The use to which land and premises are put is a matter for individual land owners, so long as the necessary consents are in place.
Yvette Cooper: Dorset county council is currently considering a planning application for the Weymouth relief road. Once they have completed their consideration the Secretary of State will decide whether the application should be called in for her own determination or remain with Dorset county council for decision.
Des Browne: British forces are working closely with other Government Departments to deliver an integrated package of military, economic, diplomatic and developmental assistance. The role of UK forces is primarily to assist the Afghans in creating a secure environment within which the countrys reconstruction and development can take place.
20. Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units have been earmarked as replacements for the units currently serving with 16 Air Assault Brigade in Afghanistan; and when the replacement is due to take place. 
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications from Northern Ireland to join the Army were rejected on national security grounds in (a) 2003-04 and (b) 2004-05. 
Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer he was given on 12 September 2005, Official Report, columns 2276-77W. From 21 July 2005 until 31 December 2005 four more applications from Northern Ireland to join the Army were rejected on national security grounds.
Mr. Watson: The Veterans Challenge Fund has allowed substantial improvements to be made to the work of Government and other organisations addressing the needs of veterans. Over 50 projects have been supported, covering issues from homelessness and suicide among veterans to recognition of their achievements. A full list of the projects that have received challenge fund backing can be found on the Veterans Agency website. We have work in hand to improve understanding of the purpose and availability of the fund.
Mr. Ingram: I have taken aircraft available for frontline service to mean those aircraft that are fit for purpose; that is assessed to be available for tasking within a 24 hour period. On that basis, over the first two months of this financial year, about 480 aircraft across Strike Command, Joint Helicopter Command and the Royal Navy were fit for purpose, equating to around half of total fleet numbers.
Aircraft are not available for tasking if they are undergoing scheduled maintenance, modification programmes or any unforeseen rectification work, and an aircraft assessed as not fit for purpose may be returned to the front line at very short notice to meet the operational need.
Mr. Watson: My right hon. Friend the former Defence Secretary announced in a written ministerial statement on 27 April plans for the commemoration next year of the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. We are planning major events in the UK and the Falkland Islands and are working closely with veterans organisations and others to ensure their success.
Mr. Watson: Over 250,000 badges have so far been issued to veterans who left the armed forces before the end of 1954 at a rate of up to 5,000 per week. I am sure many hon. Members on both sides will agree with me that the badge has had a remarkably positive impact. I have been invited to several badge presentations organised by hon. Members and have never failed to be heartened by the pleasure these badges are clearly giving to our veterans. From tomorrow applications will be accepted from those who served up to 31 December 1959 and will be extended further on a phased basis to all qualifying veterans as soon as practicable. In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister launched the UK Merchant Seafarers Veterans Badge on 24 June and applications will be accepted from tomorrow for those eligible up to the end of 1959.
Mr. Watson: The main event in Scotland to celebrate Veterans Day will be held in Dundee on 1 July and will include a Veterans Badge presentation, a parade of veterans and veterans entertainment in the Town Hall. Veterans Day events are also being planned elsewhere, including Lairg, Dunfermline and Crieff and on the former Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when since January 2006 Ministers, officials and other employees or consultants working for his Department have (a) met and (b) had discussions with representatives of the National Trust on the northern corridor proposals for a route for the A303(T) north of Stonehenge; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: Neither Ministers nor officials have met with representatives of the National Trust (NT) to discuss Stonehenge road issues since 16 January 2006, when NT and Defence estate officials last met. The chief executive of Defence estates met with the director general of the National Trust on 8 February to discuss general issues.
Mr. Ingram: There are no significant changes planned with regard to the Air Training Corps or its Squadrons. The Air Training Corps continues to promote a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force; to provide training useful to Service or civilian employment; and to encourage good citizenship and leadership, as well as a sense of adventure among young men and women. The Air Training Corps will continue to be supported by the Royal Air Force, and is an integral part of the Government's Over-Arching Youth Strategy.
Mr. Watson [holding answer 20 June 2006]: The number of non-Commonwealth foreign UK regular service personnel serving in the armed forces at 1 April 2006, broken down by nationality, are shown in the following table:
|Country||All services||Naval service||Army( 1)||Royal Air Force( 2)|
|(1) Army figures are provisional pending investigation.|
(2) Due to the introduction of a new personnel administration system for RAF, all RAF data are provisional and subject to review. RAF data are for personnel serving at 6 March 2006. They include personnel who at that date had attested but had not begun basic training.
(4) Fewer than five.
(5) Includes personnel with nationality recorded as West German.
(6) Includes personnel with nationality recorded as foreign/foreign.
1. Data are rounded to the nearest five to prevent disclosure of sensitive information.
2. Data are for UK regular forces (trained and untrained), including nursing services and excluding full-time reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the home service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists.
|Commonwealth UK regular service personnel broken down by posted location at 1 April 2006|
|Posted country||All services||Naval service||Army||RAF|
(2) Less than five.
1. Data are for UK regular forces (trained and untrained), including nursing services and excluding full-time reserve service personnel, Ghurkhas, the home service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists.
2. Location is based on the posted location of the unit/posting which an individual is recorded against. Personnel deployed on operations to an area away from their posted unit location are shown against their posted unit location.
3. Data are rounded to the nearest five to prevent disclosure of sensitive information.
4. Army figures are provisional pending investigation.
5. Due to the introduction of a new personnel administration system for RAF, all RAF data are provisional and subject to review. RAF data are for personnel serving at 6 March 2006. They include personnel who at that date had attested but had not begun basic training.
6. These figures do not include 540 (provisional) UK regular service personnel who have an unknown nationality marker.
Des Browne: There is no programme to develop a new UK nuclear warhead. As was stated in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, we retain a minimum capability to design and manufacture a new warhead, should one be required. Work by officials is now underway to prepare for decisions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent and also to keep options open in advance of these decisions. It remains the case that no decisions have yet been taken.
Des Browne: There are currently no plans to construct an additional tritium facility at AWE. Essential refurbishment and replacement of existing facilities is planned as part of the site investment programme announced by my predecessor on 19 July 2005.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans there are for the construction of a new facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston to make highly enriched uranium warhead components. 
A number of options are under consideration for ensuring we retain the requisite capability. No decisions have yet been taken. The capability to manufacture highly enriched uranium is
required in order to maintain the existing Trident warhead throughout its intended in-service life and to provide material for naval propulsion.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of Challengers performance in desert conditions in Iraq; and whether he has plans to (a) increase the number deployed and (b) improve performance of the Challenger in hot climates. 
Mr. Ingram: A programme of modifications to optimise the Challenger 2 Main Battle tank (CR2 MET) for use in desert conditions was begun in October 2002, including a dust mitigation package. The CR2 has performed extremely well throughout operations in Iraq and continues to do so. There are no plans to increase the numbers currently deployed. Performance, under all climatic conditions, is kept under constant review.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the review of his Department's harassment complaints procedure was initiated; what its terms of reference were; what the target date is for completion; and what arrangements he is making for publication. 
Mr. Watson: The review of harassment complaints procedures was initiated on 10 May 2006. Its purpose is to review current procedures and guidance and to recommend changes as necessary. The review is due to be completed in December 2006 and the outcome will be published in a Defence Instruction Notice and other internal media.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many websites there are within his responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the efficiency of the operation of the administration of disability pensions awarded to former members of the British Army recruited from the Indian subcontinent during the Second World War. 
Mr. Watson: There is no evidence of systemic problems with the administration of the scheme. In one recent case resolution was delayed due to the difficulties of arranging a medical board in India, compounded by an administrative oversight.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) name and (b) rank of police officers his predecessor, the right hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon), met in his official capacity between 1 July and 31 August 2003. 
Des Browne: My right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon) met no police officers in his official capacity as the then Secretary of State for Defence between 1 July and 31 August 2003, apart from the regular contact he had with those responsible for his personal protection.
Mr. Ingram: FRES is in its initial Assessment Phase. The broad aims of this phase are to further define the FRES capability and develop a series of affordable options for meeting the requirement; to develop optimum procurement and support strategies for future phases and to manage technology and supplier risk to acceptable levels.
|(1) This figure is based on the statistics for the total applications assessed, minus 2 per cent. which is the estimated percentage for those applications rejected as not meeting the eligibility criteria.|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2006, Official Report, column 1989W, on the Iraq medal, whether any British civilian police officers have been awarded the Iraq service medal. 
Des Browne: The NATO Missile Defence Feasibility Study is classified and the disclosure of its content would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of UK armed forces or that of our allies. NATO has no plans to publish the study, but any decisions based on it will be the subject of NATO discussions in the normal way, in which the UK will be fully engaged.
[pursuant to the reply, 22 May 2006, Official Report, c. 1329-30W]: The WE117 nuclear
bomb referred to in the answer should have been shown as the WE177 nuclear bomb.
Remainder of field force users and RAF.
Mr. Ingram: Dstl Porton Down submits annual returns to the Home Office detailing the number of procedures undertaken which involve the use of animals as defined in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work has been carried out to (a) locate
and (b) monitor foreign subjects who are a potential terrorist threat to (i) the UK and (ii) British people living abroad. 
Law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies have development programmes for fighting terrorism which includes work to locate and monitor foreign nationals who represent a potential terrorist threat. The specific police budget for counter terrorism will have grown fourfold between the financial years 2002-03 and 2007-08 (in the period after the attacks of 11 September 2001). Across Government there has been a doubling of resources for counter terrorism and resilience in the same period to over £2 billion. This has included substantial additional resources to the security and intelligence agencies, including an additional £85 million since the July bombings last year to bring forward planned enhancements of their ability to collect, analyse and act upon intelligence to seek out and disrupt terrorist activity.
The specific actions taken to locate and monitor foreign nationals who are a potential terrorist threat to Britain and British citizens abroad are operational matters for law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many service personnel have been treated by the Priory Group in each year since the contract with the Group began; and how many have subsequently (a) returned to duty and (b) been discharged; 
Mr. Watson [holding answer 19 June 2006]: We assess that the Priory Group provides an excellent in-patient psychiatric service based on an individual's clinical needs. Service liaison officers routinely visit the Group's hospital units where we have in-patients to ensure that our arrangements are working effectively in terms of patient care and treatment, including attending ward rounds that involve service patients; the service liaison officer also acts as a service advocate for the patient. They also meet regularly with Priory representatives to discuss treatment and best practice. We assess the contractual elements of our agreement with the Priory Group at quarterly meetings held between the MOD and the Priory Group. Both the service liaison officer and contract meetings examine the Priory's performance against the particular performance indicators of the contract. Furthermore, the MODs Directorate of Healthcare monitors, on a daily basis, case management and financial components of the contract.
The MOD's requirement for the provision of in-patient mental healthcare was advertised in the "Official Journal of the European Communities" and the "MOD Contracts Bulletin". Four companiesThe Priory Group Ltd.,
Cygnet Healthcare Ltd., Affinity Healthcare, and Selrack Consultingexpressed an interest in the requirement. They were then invited to an Industry Day, in order to give them a better understanding of the requirement and to enable them to discuss with MOD in more detail what they would be able to provide. Following the exchange of information at the Industry Day, the MOD decided that Selrack Consulting would be unable to provide the services required and therefore invited the three remaining companies to tender. The Priory Group Ltd. and Cygnet Healthcare Ltd. submitted bids. The bid from The Priory Group Ltd. best met our requirements to provide high-quality mental health in-patient care nationwide, without delay, and within easy reach of unit, base or home.
The contract with the Priory Group commenced on 1 December 2003. Reception of service patients by the Priory Group's inpatient facilities was phased in between 1 December 2003 and April 2004. This phase-in period allowed MOD and the Priory Group to develop interoperable working procedures and the MOD the opportunity to gradually enhance its community-based mental health teams.
|Number of patients|
|(1 )From l December 2003.|
While an individual's medical record will show their medical history, at present, we do not hold centrally a collated set of records specifically limited to former patients who have returned to duty or have been discharged following treatment at the Priory. However, we have started a study into the medium to long-term prognosis of former patients who were discharged from Priory care between the 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2005. This will help to enhance our understanding of the long-term effectiveness of the treatment they received.
Mr. Watson [holding answer 22 June 2006]: Ministry of Defence officials are discussing with other public sector agencies, including the Scottish Executive, alternative future uses of the site and how best to manage any disposal, to protect the longer term interests of the local community and other stakeholders.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what date the case conference relating
to the case of Sergeant BB took place; how many persons attended; what (a) disciplines, (b) fields of expertise, (c) military agencies and (d) external bodies were represented; and what measures were taken to hear evidence from (i) victims and (ii) their families; 
Mr. Ingram: A case conference relating to Sergeant BB was convened by the Director of Personal Services (Army) on 11 May 2006. 12 individuals attended the conference representing Policy, Welfare, Military Discipline, Training, Military Postings, Legal and Police disciplines, from the Director of Personal Services (Army), Army Training and Recruiting Agency, Headquarters Adjutant General, Provost Marshal (Army), Headquarters Land Command and the Directorate of Army Legal Services. No external agencies were present and no evidence was taken.
A number of recommendations were agreed following the case conference, which relate to an individual's suitability for employment with under 18s: the selection process; career management; standards of reporting; and awareness of the complaints process. The Army is currently considering how best to take these recommendations forward.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his timetable is for (a) planning, (b) commissioning, (c) construction and (d) opening 4,000 new accommodation units for phase two trainees by 2012. 
Mr. Watson: The arrangements for new accommodation units to be supplied to phase 2 trainees are currently being evaluated as part of the Defence Training Review (DTR) Rationalisation programme. Very different bid proposals have been received for both DTR packages and until evaluation has concluded, and a preferred bidder for each package identified, the specifics of the solutions in terms of planning and execution of accommodation units cannot be confirmed. I anticipate announcing preferred bidders and their solutions later this year.
Des Browne: The UK carries out unarmed Trident missile firings at the United States of America's Eastern Test Range after each submarine's build and Long Overhaul Period. The information collected includes accuracy data.
|Date||Vessel||Purpose||Number of unarmed missiles|
Des Browne: The UK has no Trident missile system components on loan from the US. The UK purchased the rights to 58 Trident missiles and removable missile components under the Polaris Sales Agreement (as amended for Trident). The warheads were procured separately by the UK.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which police force is responsible for investigating a serious crime committed against a British citizen where such a crime occurs on a base where US personnel outnumber UK personnel. 
Mr. Watson: In accordance with the Visiting Forces Act 1952, and depending on the circumstances of the case, either the local Home Department Police or the Ministry of Defence Police, can investigate a crime committed against a British citizen on a base utilised by the United States Visiting Forces.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what consultation (a) his Department and (b) the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston have held with representatives of the Y-12 plant in the United States of America on the construction of uranium production facilities; 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed (a) by his Department and (b) at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston on warhead option studies; what the purpose is of these studies; and what their cost is. 
Des Browne: There is no programme to develop a new UK nuclear warhead. As was stated in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, we retain a minimum capability to design and manufacture a new warhead, should one be required. Work by officials is under way to prepare for decisions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent and also to keep options open in advance of these decisions.
A number of people are involved in this work but it is not possible precisely to distinguish between staff employed in support of this work and those involved in sustaining the existing Trident warhead, and neither is it possible separately to identify costs.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the number of Taliban fighters operating in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: It is not easy to distinguish between the Taliban and other groups hostile to the current political process in Afghanistan. We estimate that at any one time the Taliban may be able to call upon up to a thousand fighters in the south of Afghanistan, a primary operating area. Some groups can temporarily augment their numbers by leveraging tribal, personal and criminal networks.
According to an Afghan spokesmen for the 'Strengthening Peace Programme', the Afghan-led programme aimed at reconciling insurgent fighters, which is led by the Senate Speaker and former President, Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, around 1,200 former insurgents have entered the programme as of early June 2006.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of (a) the change in the volume of Chinas trade with Africa since 2005 and (b) its effect on (i) standards of living and (ii) democracy in those states in Africa. 
The volume of trade between China and Africa has quadrupled since 2001, standing at almost US$40 billion in 2005, with the balance marginally in favour of Africa. Growth in trade looks set to continue, and is helping to fuel economic growth in Africa of
more than 5 per cent., which should help to reduce poverty and improve standards of living. China has a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. We continue to encourage China to engage with Africa in a way that promotes human rights, conflict prevention, sustainable development and democratic and accountable governance, in line with the principles set out in the New Partnership for Africas Development.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the recent bilateral meeting between the Government and the Government of Algeria; and what agreements on extradition and penal issues were made at the meeting. 
Dr. Howells: I visited Algeria on 7-8 June to co-chair the inaugural meeting of the UK/Algeria Joint Commission which aims to further the growing bilateral ties between the two countries. We discussed a range of issues including bilateral trade, support for Algeria's reforms, co-operation in areas such as counter-terrorism and illegal migration, and regional issues. We also discussed UK representation in Algiers, including the British Council. I was pleased to be able to announce that President Bouteflika will visit the UK on 11-12 July.
During the visit the UK initialled four treaties with Algeria on Extradition, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Judicial Co-operation in Civil and Commercial Matters, and the Re-admission and Circulation of Persons.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions have been held with the Government of Peru regarding a United Nations Security Council resolution on Burma; 
Controls on imports into the European Community, including the UK, fall within the scope of the Community's Common Commercial Policy which is an area of exclusive Community competence. Member states can unilaterally adopt
measures but these are limited to strictly defined and exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, any such measures would have to be notified and justified under these exceptions to the European Commission.
Any unilateral measures taken by the UK against Burma would also have to satisfy relevant World Trade Organisation rules on imports of goods and services. For example, a ban on imports of goods from Burma would be in breach of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rules and therefore would, if challenged by Burma, have to be justified under either the general or security exceptions set down in the GATT Agreement.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government have taken to ascertain whether genocide or attempted genocide is being committed in Burma. 
Mr. McCartney: In co-operation with other Governments, the UN, other humanitarian organisations and non-governmental organisations, we scrutinise evidence of human rights abuses we receive from a wide range of sources. There are credible reports of large-scale human rights abuses in Burma.
Our assessment is that there is currently insufficient evidence to establish that the intent to commit genocide exists. We shall continue to confer with the UN and international partners to ascertain whether genocide or attempted genocide is being committed in Burma.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she (a) last met and (b) next expects to meet with representatives of the democratically elected government of Burma. 
Mr. McCartney: Burma has no democratically elected government. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no meetings with members of the Burmese Parliament elected in 1990. However, Ministers, our ambassador in Rangoon and senior officials have met members elect of the Burmese Parliament.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many websites there are within her responsibilities; and what the total cost of maintaining such websites was in the last year for which figures are available. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has responsibility for some 211 websites, which cost £670,000 to maintain in the financial year 2005-06. These websites include the main FCO website, Ukvisas website, more than 180 embassy and High Commission websites and the i-UK.com portal website. A full list of
the websites will be placed in the Library of the House and a copy of the list will be sent to the hon. Member.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Union Flag will be flown from 8 a.m until sunset above Government buildings in all Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies on Her Majesty The Queen's official birthday on 17 June 2006. 
Mr. Hoon: The Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are constitutionally not part of the United Kingdom and they all have their own flags. All of the Territories and Crown Dependencies marked Her Majesty the Queen's Official Birthday by flying their own flag and/or the Union Flag above government buildings, except for Pitcairn Islands. Turks and Caicos Islands chose to celebrate the occasion on 10 June in line with their standard practice.
Since 1999 the Government have published, on an annual basis, the total costs of all ministerial overseas travel and a list of all visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500. This information is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2004-05 was published on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 158WS. Information for the financial year 2005-06 is in the process of being collated and will be published shortly.
All foreign travel undertaken by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code. Since 2004 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has followed a policy of offsetting carbon dioxide and other emissions generated by air travel of Ministers and officials based in the UK.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the establishment
of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the UN's effectiveness in upholding human rights. 
Dr. Howells: The new UN Human Rights Council has the potential to improve on the work of its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, in addressing pressing human rights issues around the world today. The UN General Assembly resolution establishing the Council provides for some significant improvements, including: more frequent meetings each year, at least three meetings per year for at least 10 weeks in total, which should allow the Council to address human rights issues more systematically; a new system of universal periodic review, under which the human rights record of each UN member will be reviewed; a higher election threshold for election to the Council; a wider-ranging mandate; and a more central place within the UN system, better reflecting the importance of human rights. At the same time, we expect that it should preserve some of the strengths of the Commission, including proper provision for the participation of non-governmental organisations. But, much will depend on member states' commitment to making a success of the new Council, and it is the responsibility of all UN members to ensure that it can work more effectively than its predecessor.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the election process for members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. 
Dr. Howells: The General Assembly resolution of 15 March establishing the new UN Human Rights Council raised the threshold for membership in comparison with the Council's predecessor body, the Commission on Human Rights. Candidates are now required to win a simple majority, at least 96 votes, in the General Assembly to be elected. Candidates for the first elections, in May 2006, were encouraged to make voluntary pledges and commitments on the protection and promotion of human rights, to be taken into consideration when membership was voted on. All candidates did so, although some commitments were much more substantive than others. Members are expected to uphold the highest human rights standards, to co-operate fully with the Council and to be among the first to submit themselves to the new Universal Periodic Review. Although some countries with weaker human rights records were still elected, we expect all members to take seriously the responsibilities of membership and will be looking to hold them to this.
Dr. Howells: The first session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) opened in Geneva on 19 June and will continue its discussions until 30 June. The session began with an inaugural ceremony, at which the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the UN General Assembly gave speeches on the establishment of the HRC and their expectations for its work. The Nobel Peace Laureate of 2004, Wangari Maathai, also spoke.
The first week of this first meeting of the HRC (19-22 June) was devoted to a high level segment allowing Ministers from UN member states to make statements
on their expectations for the Council. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade represented the UK on Tuesday 20 June. In his speech, he called for all to work together towards an effective HRC. Non-governmental organisations and national human rights institutions will have the opportunity to address the Council at this inaugural session. We expect the agenda for the further work of the session to be presented for agreement towards the end of this first week.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of the recent territorial talks between Japan and South Korea; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The latest round of territorial talks, concluded in Tokyo on 13 June, did not bring Japan and South Korea (RoK) any closer to resolving their dispute. Japan and RoK still remain apart over demarcating their exclusive economic zones around a pair of RoK-controlled islets, known as Takeshima in Japan and Tokdo in South Korea.
The islets have long been a source of dispute between the two nations which both claim sovereignty over them. Even though no concrete progress was made during the talks, it is welcome that they took place, after a six-year suspension. The two sides agreed in principle to hold their next round of talks in September in Seoul.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much her Department spent in each of the last five years on building links between the UK and (a) Korea and (b) Japan in the (i) science, (ii) engineering and (iii) innovation sectors. 
Mr. McCartney: Since 2000, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been improving its links on Science, Innovation and Engineering in Japan and South Korea through a dedicated network of Science and Innovation Officers. This has been as part of the Government overall science strategy. The FCO has spent the amounts listed on promoting Science, Innovation and Engineering in Japan and South Korea. Since the FCO does not promote Science, Innovation and Engineering separately the figures relate to spending on all three of these areas.
The figures are displayed by country, year and the type of spending. The staff costs given relate to the full economic costs of employing the science officers working in each country in a given year. The number of science officers employed in each country is given in brackets next to the staff costs.
|Financial year||Cost (£)|
|Financial year||Cost (£)|
|(1) Figures not available.|
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made by the European Union in achieving agreement on the future status of Kosovo; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The EU continues to support the UN led status process and looks forward to a settlement that will bring lasting peace and security to Kosovo and the wider region. The European Council held on 15/16 June declared
its support to the ongoing talks about the future status led by UN Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and stressed the crucial importance of moving forward on the implementation of standards in Kosovo. In close consultation with key international actors, the EU stands ready to enhance its role in Kosovo following a status determination, in particular in the areas of police, rule of law and the economy.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the constitutional status of Norfolk Island in the response to the Australian Government's proposals to change the arrangements for governance of the Island. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government plans to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Norfolk Island being given to the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island by Queen Victoria. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there is a mechanism by which Norfolk Island could petition the Government to secede as a self-governing Australian Territory and become a self-governing British Overseas Territory. 
Mr. McCartney: Norfolk Island has been an external territory under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia since 1914. Its system of government remains a matter for the Government of Australia to determine.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government has had discussions with the Australian Government on the sovereignty of Norfolk Island since 2000. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of reports that North Korea can launch a Taepodong-2 missile with potential nuclear capability; and what recent discussions she has had with the (a) UN, (b) US and (c) EU on this issue. 
Mr. McCartney: We are very concerned about reports of a possible test-launch of a Taepodong-2 missile/Satellite Launch Vehicle and are monitoring the situation closely. We have made clear our view to the Democratic Peoples Republic Korea, as have the EU, US, Japan and others, that this would be seen as a provocative act, which would add considerable tension to an already complex regional situation. We have urged them not to test, but to stick to their commitments under the 1999 moratorium and the 2002 Pyongyang Declaration and return to the Six Party Talks. We continue to work closely with allies, including US, NATO and EU partners to ensure a co-ordinated UN response if the test goes ahead.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to implement the last part of Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; when she expects the Article to be implemented; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK has undertaken many important steps in fulfilling its disarmament obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Since the end of the Cold War we have reduced the total explosive power of our nuclear forces by over 70 per cent. and we are the only nuclear weapon state to have reduced its deterrent capacity to a single nuclear weapons system, Trident.
We continue to press for multilateral negotiations towards both nuclear, and general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, as required by Article VI of the NPT. On nuclear disarmament our current priority is to push for negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, without pre-conditions, at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which we view as the next appropriate step towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament. On conventional arms control, we are also active. The UK is leading the campaign to launch work within a UN framework towards an Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the global trade in all conventional weapons. And next week in New York at the First Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), the UK will be leading the campaign to build maximum support for common international guidelines for transfers of SALW.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2006, O fficial Report, column 628W, on organ harvesting (China), what assessment she has made of the legality of contracts entered into by Chinese prisoners with the Chinese Government for organ donation. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government has the Chinese Governments assurance that prisoners agree to the donations voluntarily and that, in some cases, their families are paid. We are not privy to the way these donations are agreed and therefore not in a position to make any form of assessment. We continue to be concerned about the use of prisoners organs and to raise these concerns with the Chinese Government.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2006, Official Report, column 628W, on organ harvesting (China), what further representations she plans to make to the Chinese government following the implementation of regulations relating to the sale of organs in China on 1 July. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government remain concerned about the use of organs from executed prisoners in China. At the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in May 2006, delegates discussed the detail of Chinas new regulation to ban the sale of organs and introduce medical standards for organ transplants, and the importance of adhering to World Medical Association standards for organ transplants. We will continue to pursue these issues with Chinese interlocutors.
The Outer Space treaty (1967), to which the UK is a depository, entered into force on 10 October 1967. The treaty places important constraints on the use of space, including prohibiting the deployment of
weapons of mass destruction in space and military activity on the moon and other celestial bodies. Since 1967, there has been growing support for the Outer Space treaty: 98 states have now ratified the treaty and an additional 27 are signatories. The Outer Space treaty has become the cornerstone of international space law and the UK continues to be a firm supporter and to abide by each of the treaty's principles.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in the hunt for (a) Radovan Karadzic, (b) General Ratko Mladic and (c) Vlastimir Djordjevic; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: In her address to the UN Security Council on 7 June, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Carla Del Ponte, was critical of the Serbian authorities efforts to arrest Ratko Mladic and the other remaining fugitive indictees. She noted that there was serious political and administrative resistance from within the Serbian system, and underlined that strong political will was required to overcome these obstacles.
The Chief Prosecutor also stressed that the Republika Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) had to increase its efforts to locate and arrest fugitives. It was unclear where Radovan Karadzic himself resided, but part of his network and his family remained in BiH. She also expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in locating Vlastimir Djordjevic. She believes he may be in Russia but investigations by the Russian authorities have failed to produce results.
As we regularly make clear to the countries of the region, full co-operation with the ICTY remains a fundamental requirement for progress towards the EU and NATO. We supported the decision in May of EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to disrupt Serbias Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations because of Belgrades failure to co-operate fully with the ICTY. The Commission has made clear however, that they stand ready to resume the talks as soon as full co-operation is achieved.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any (a) known and (b) suspected al-Qaeda operative found in the UK since 1997 has been rendered to the US. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement by the then Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw) of 20 January 2006, Official Report, columns 37-38WS, which summarises the position in respect of renditions through UK territory or airspace since May 1997.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions
Ministers in her Department have had with candidates for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations. 
Dr. Howells: Ministers and officials have held a number of meetings in recent months with candidates who have declared an interest in the position of United Nations Secretary General. They have met all four declared candidates, Ban Ki-Moon, Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, Jayantha Dhanapala and Shashi Tharoor. These discussions focussed on a wide range of issues including UN reform.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK Government will be supporting any candidate in the forthcoming selection of the new Secretary General of the United Nations. 
Dr. Howells: It is long standing UK policy not to reveal publicly our voting intentions for the election of the UN Secretary-General. The Government will carefully consider the merits of each candidate. We believe the successful candidate needs to have the political skills and management experience to carry forward necessary reforms to the UN.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written statement of 15 June 2006, Official Report, columns 69-70WS, on Sierra Leone, who will bear the costs if Charles Taylor is sent to prison in the United Kingdom. 
Dr. Howells: If Charles Taylor were convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and imprisoned in the United Kingdom, the UK would meet the cost. This is in line with established policy for commitments arising from sentence enforcement agreements with international criminal tribunals.
It is judged preferable for the UK to meet directly the costs associated with prisoners held in the UK system than to take on the more general, and possibly greater, financial commitment that would arise if all sentence enforcement costs, relating to imprisonment in any state of those convicted by an international criminal tribunal, were added to the tribunal running costs, to which the UK contributes.
Mr. McCartney: Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice continues firmly to advise British citizens against all travel to Somalia. We keep that advice under review and have updated it to take account of the most recent developments. We have no diplomatic representation in Somalia and very little capacity to assist any British citizens based there.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the situation in Sri Lanka following the bombing on Thursday 15 June and the subsequent government attacks on Tamil forces; and what role the UK is playing in seeking to stabilise the country. 
Dr. Howells: We remain deeply concerned at the violence in Sri Lanka and, again, offer our condolences following last weeks attack in Kebitigollawe. Such barbaric acts have no place in the search for a solution to the conflict. I issued a statement on 15 June condemning this attack unreservedly along with all forms of violence and intimidation. That statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
There is a real need for political will on all sides to change the dynamics of the conflict. Violence can never be an answer to Sri Lankas problems; all sides need to understand this. It is vital that both sides, which were at the Geneva talks in February, live up to their commitments. This includes the Sri Lankan Government acting constructively to ensure that paramilitaries or others are not able to operate, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE) calling a halt to acts of violence against civilians, the security forces and police, and both sides ensuring that intimidation, acts of violence, abductions and killings cease. We continue to believe that dialogue is the only way to achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict, which takes full account of the legitimate demands of all communities and promotes a democratic and stable Sri Lanka. All sides need to exercise restraint and act constructively.
We fully support the Norwegian peace facilitation efforts. We welcome the recent statements of commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE and continue to do what we can to encourage both sides to return in good faith, to face-to-face talks. We make this clear in our regular contacts with the Sri Lankan Government, Members of Parliament, including representatives of Tamil political groups, and civil society. We also actively contribute to the EUs work, not least in its role as one of the Tokyo co-chairs to the Sri Lankan peace process.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many working days have been lost to the Department and its executive agencies in each year since 1997 due to staff absenteeism, expressed as the average annual number of absent days per employee; and what the estimated cost to the Department and its agencies of absenteeism was in each year. 
[holding answer 19 June 2006]: The average number of working days lost through sick
absence since 2000, the year from which reliable records were held, and the estimated cost to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is as follows:
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of the recent discussions between the Syrian and Iranian Governments on strategic and military co-operation; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Syria and Iran reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defence issues during a visit to Tehran by the Syrian Defence Minister, Hassan Turkmani, on 15 June. We continue to have serious concerns about the role of Syria and Iran in the region, including their support for Hizbollah and Palestinian rejectionist groups that continue to espouse violence. Further military co-operation between Syria and Iran is unlikely to build international confidence. We urge both countries to fulfil their obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in accession negotiations on Turkey's membership of the European Union; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Since opening accession negotiations on 3 October 2005, the Commission has been assessing Turkey's existing legislation against the 35 chapters of the EU acquis and has now published its reports on five. We were pleased that on 12 June the EU and Turkey opened and provisionally closed negotiations on the first chapter, Science and Research. As both the EU and Turkey recognise, much remains to be done before accession.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations the Department has received on behalf of the people of West Papua; and what representations she has made on their behalf to the Government of Indonesia. 
In recent months, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has received a small number of letters from members of the public and hon. Members about Papua. There have also been a few parliamentary questions tabled. The then Minister of State for Trade
my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, South (Ian Pearson) held a meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Papua on 16 March. Some civil society representatives interested in Papuan issues also attended that meeting.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not made any representations about Papua to the Government of Indonesia. However, our embassy in Jakarta discusses Papua with the Indonesian authorities. During his visit to Indonesia on 29-30 March, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister expressed the UKs support for dialogue between the central Government and representatives of the Papuan people. The UK supports the territorial integrity of Indonesia. We believe that full implementation of existing Special Autonomy legislation is the best way to proceed towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous Papua.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent per head of population on the Age Positive campaign in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and how much has been spent in 2006-07. 
|£||£ per head of population|
|(1) No costs have yet been incurred during the current financial year|
Paul Goggins: The Assets Recovery Agency is not a prosecuting authority and does not investigate individuals, but rather investigates assets. In terms of caseload since the agency's inception, ARA has adopted and investigated the following case levels for civil recovery and tax:
|Referrals( 1)||Adoptions( 2)|
|(1) Referrals include all cases referred including cases under assessment for adoption, adopted cases, completed cases and rejected/withdrawn cases.|
(2 )Adoptions include cases under investigation and completed cases. This does not include cases that were adopted and subsequently withdrawn.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were breathalysed in (a) West Belfast, (b) East Belfast, (c) South Belfast, (d) North Belfast and (e) Castlereagh District Command Units in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
|East Belfast||West Belfast||South Belfast||North Belfast||Castlereagh|
|(1) Earliest date for which information is available.|
|Cervical cancer incidence in Northern Ireland: 1994-2003|
(1) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision code C53 for years 2001-05 and Ninth Revision code 180 for years 1996-2000.
|Deaths due to cervical cancer|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals from each health board area in the Province (a) were offered and (b) received screening for cervical cancer in each of the last five years. 
Paul Goggins: The following table provides figures for the number of women from each Health Board area in Northern Ireland who (a) were eligible to receive cervical screening and (b) received cervical screening at least once in the previous five years. The totals provided are for five year periods from period ending 31 March 2001 to period ending 31 March 2005.
|(a) Eligible population||(b) Received cervical screening at least once in last five years|
|Five year period ending 31 March 2005/Health Board||Number||Number||Percentage|
The eligible population is the number of women aged 25-64, from the mid year estimates of population who were eligible for cervical cancer screening in Northern Ireland.
Quality Assurance Reference Centre
|Number of abnormal smear results|
Quality Assurance Reference CentreKC53a
Paul Goggins: The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is currently considering if and how a human papilloma vaccination programme might be introduced across the UK. There is currently no human papilloma vaccine licensed in the UK.
Paul Goggins: The following table details the number of admissions(1 )to hospital with a primary diagnosis of cervical cancer, for each year between 2000-01 and 2004-05 (the latest year for which data are available).
It should be noted that any individual could have been admitted to hospital more than once over the course of a year or over a number of years and would therefore be counted more than once in the table.
|(1) Discharges and deaths are used as an approximation to admissions.|
Hospital Inpatients System
Paul Goggins: The following table details the number of bed days accounted for by admissions to hospital with a primary diagnosis of cervical cancer, for each year between 2000-01 and 2004-05 (the latest year for which data are available).
Discharges and deaths are used as an approximation to admissions.
Hospital Inpatients System
|Removal of cervical lesions|
Hospital Inpatients System
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many criminal offences resulted in a sentence of community work in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months; and how many were completed. 
Mr. Hanson: According to figures provided by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) in relation to the period 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, 652 community service orders were made, representing a contribution of approximately 95,000 hours of unpaid work to the community, while 212 combination orders were made, representing a contribution of approximately 25,000 hours of unpaid work to the community.
Over the same period, 514 community service orders and 154 Combination orders were completed. It should be noted that figures are collated based on the number of persons convicted rather than the number of offences.
Mr. Peter Robinson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action his Department is taking
to reduce the cost of auditing local councils in Northern Ireland. 
David Cairns: Audit fees, which are determined by the Department in discussion with the local government Audit Office, seek to recover 100 per cent. of auditors' time. Time spent on the audit of district councils' accounts is kept to a minimum and the Department monitors the position of these statutory audits through regular meetings with the Chief Local Government Auditor.
|District council||1998-99||1999-2000||2000-01||2001-02||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05( 1)|
(2) Audits not yet complete.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the chief accounting officer of his Department. 
Paul Goggins: Accounting officer is a role that the permanent secretary combines with his personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the Department and for department-wide procedures in financial and other matters.
The accounting officer is assisted in the discharge of these duties by suitably qualified and experienced senior managers. The head of financial services division of the Northern Ireland Office is a professionally qualified accountant.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what steps (a) education and library boards and (b) the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools are taking in their rationalisation plans to ensure that the principles of the Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations in Northern Ireland: A Shared Future are delivered; 
(2) what the timescale is for the strategic review of the schools estate; and whether it will consider how promoting cross-community and cross-sectoral sharing can be incorporated into rationalisation of schools. 
Maria Eagle: The independent Strategic Review of Education will consider how strategic planning and rationalisation of the schools' estate can best encourage and support cross-community and cross-sector collaboration and models of schooling that promote greater integrating of education. It is due to be completed by November 2006. In line with the First Triennial Action Plan for A Shared Future, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and the Education and Library Boards will be required to demonstrate that options for collaboration/sharing on a cross-community basis have been considered and fully explored in developing their plans for reorganisation/rationalisation of the schools' estate. The outcome of the strategic review of education may lead to further refinement of the commitments and detailed actions in the Action Plan.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what role the new district councils will have in planning for educational choice in Northern Ireland following the Review of Public Administration. 
David Cairns: As part of the implementation of the Review of Public Administration, district councils will be given community planning powers. The Department of Environment (DoE) is currently developing proposals to inform the necessary legislation. The community planning process will afford local government the opportunity to influence the planning for educational choice
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) who will be responsible for ensuring that actions to support greater sharing in education under the Triennial Action Plan for A Shared Future are monitored; 
The Shared Future Triennial Action Plan, published on 27 April 2006, sets out ministerial commitments and actions in relation to A Shared Future. Specific actions are set out to promote greater sharing in education.
(1) Figures for Northern Ireland Ambulance Service attacks differ slightly from those previously supplied as a result of a data cleanse in 2005, which removed duplications, and introduction of new software to record the information.
On 30 January the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Angela E. Smith), announced the introduction of competition for natural gas users in the Phoenix licence area of Greater Belfast and Larne. This will be introduced on a phased basis to all customers by 1 January 2007 and end the monopoly position held by Phoenix. Competition elsewhere has provided consumers with increased choice of supplier, greater transparency, improved customer service and a downward pressure on the price of gas.
In March 2006 my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further five year exemption from 2006-11 from the climate change levy for natural gas industrial and commercial users in Northern Ireland. This will improve competitiveness and save £20 million over the five year period. It makes natural gas a more competitive fuel and encourages the uptake of gas which facilitates the roll-out to domestic customers in ten towns outside the greater Belfast and Larne area.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many false alarm call-outs have been registered by the (a) Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, (b) Police Service of Northern Ireland and (c) Northern Ireland Fire Service in each of the last three years, broken down by constituency; how many prosecutions were pursued in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
|Parliamentary constituency||Hoax caller||No case/Nothing found at scene||Total|
|Parliamentary constituency||Hoax caller||No case/Nothing found at scene||Total|
Under the Communications Act 2003, the maximum penalty for those caught making hoax or malicious calls is a fine not exceeding £5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months. NIAS and NIFRS have not pursued any prosecutions to date.
Hoax calls and false alarms are serious distraction to the excellent work done by the emergency services and are a waste of their time and resources. However, the most serious aspect is the potential for serious injury or
loss of life if the emergency services are not available to respond to genuine emergencies or are delayed in responding because crews are deployed responding to hoax calls or false alarms.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been (a) fined and (b) imprisoned for illegally selling knives to under 16-year-olds in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Hanson: During the period 1994 to 2003, there were no convictions for the offence of unlawful sale of a knife to person under 16. Data beyond 2003 is not yet available. Data are collated on the principal offence rule, thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included. The Government are concerned by the issue of knife crime and is attaching high priority to finding ways in which the law can be strengthened and enforced in respect of illegal possession and sale of knives.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many individuals in Northern Ireland suffering from depression were recorded as attempting suicide in each of the last five years, broken down by health board. 
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what seizure powers are available to (a) the police and (b) local authorities in Northern Ireland in relation to mini-motorbikes; 
However, we recently consulted on legislative proposals to give the PSNI powers to seize motor vehicles, including mini-motorbikes, being driven on public roads while uninsured and these will be brought into effect in due course.
Furthermore, we will shortly be consulting on a range of measures to improve the environmental quality of local neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland, including proposals to update legislative powers in relation to statutory nuisance, including noise nuisance emanating from vehicles (such as mini-motorbikes in the street).
However, the police have powers under Road Traffic and Vehicles legislation to prosecute users of vehicles (including mini-motorbikes) where they are used on a road without being modified to comply with construction and use, lighting and type approval requirements. Police can also prosecute for breach of the requirements for drivers of such vehicles to be 16 or over, to hold an appropriate driving licence, have minimum third party insurance and have the vehicle insured.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pensioners are living in poverty in each constituency in Northern Ireland; what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners who do not claim the benefits to which they are entitled; and what steps the Government are taking to increase take-up of benefit by pensioners. 
Mr. Hanson: Figures for the number of pensioners on a single year basis by parliamentary constituency are not statistically valid due to insufficient sample sizes. However it is possible to provide figures on a combined yearly basis.
|Relative poverty (before housing costs)||Relative poverty (after housing costs)|
|Parliamentary constituency||Number( 1)||Percentage||Number( 1)||Percentage|
|(1) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.|
Households below average income NI 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 Estimate of unclaimed benefits
The most recent information on take-up of benefits was reported in the 'Income Related BenefitsEstimates of Take-Up in 2002-04 Northern Ireland'. The report estimated that between 1,200 and 8,400 pensioners were not claiming Housing Benefit for which they may have been entitled, and between 49,800 and 96,400 were not claiming Minimum Income Guarantee/Pension Credit for which they may have been entitled,
The 2005-06 benefit uptake strategy piloted a number of exercises targeting 3,750 pensioners offering them a comprehensive benefit assessment. Of those targeted by the 2005-06 benefit uptake strategy 10 per cent. made successful claims; resulting in £400,000 paid in arrears and an average weekly increase of £30 for each successful customer amounting to additional yearly benefit spend of £575,000.
Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of (a) the number of people employed in Northern Ireland that have private pension provision and (b) what percentage of them are women. 
1. Figures refer to persons from working age 20 to state pension age who are either full or part-time employed (whether employees or self-employed) and do not include those not working.
2. Estimates are taken from the Family Resources Survey 2004-05 which is the latest year for which data are available.
3. Members who are contributing to a private pension scheme include those who are building up rights within a salary related scheme, those who are currently contributing to a scheme or whose employer makes a contribution on their behalf. Private pension refers to an occupational personal or stakeholder pension scheme.
4. Individuals who contribute to both occupational and personal schemes are counted only once in these estimates.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning applications for building in rural communities in Northern Ireland are affected by Planning Policy Statement 14 introduced by the Department of Environment Planning Services; and if he will make a statement. 
David Cairns: All planning applications for development in the Northern Ireland countryside outside designated limits for cities, towns, villages and other small settlements and received after 16 March 2006 will be affected by the policy provisions of draft PPS 14.
David Cairns: It is estimated that there are 270.8 hectares of land remaining with potential for housing development within the urban areas of Strangford parliamentary constituency. This could provide approximately 5,282 dwelling units.
However, it should be noted that there is a degree of policy uncertainty in relation to land which is currently the subject of objection through the development plan process; this issue will be publicly debated at the public inquiries convened to hear objections to the relevant draft plans i.e. draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) and the Draft Ards and Down Area Plan.
The Ards and Down public inquiry has recently been reconvened and has been scheduled to continue to 21 June 2006 to hear strategic objections to the extent of housing land identified within the draft plan proposals. It will reopen in September to hear site specific objections. No date has yet been set for the public inquiry to consider objections to the draft BMAP.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many sealed packages of monies seized by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the course of operations are currently held by each PSNI District Command Unit finance office; and how many such packages have gone missing in each of the last seven years. 
The PSNI do not hold this information on a central record. To obtain this
information would require a manual trawl of records across all finance offices and as such could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the attendance record was for (a) elected and (b) non-elected members of the Policing Board of Northern Ireland at (i) full Policing Board meetings and (ii) Policing Board committee meetings in each of the last three years. 
|Members attendance at policing board meetings|
|(1 )Appointed by the Secretary of State in 2001 as Independent Members.|
The total number of Board meetings that it would have been possible for each Member to attend is shown in brackets.
|Members attendance at policing board committee meetings|
|Member||Attendance details||2003 (1 January to 31 May) (Possible)||2003 (1 June to 31 December) (Possible)||2004 (Possible)||2005 (Possible)||Total (Possible)|
|(1 )Appointed by the Secretary of State in 2001 as Independent Members.|
1. The total number of Committee meetings that it would have been possible for each Member to attend is shown in brackets.
2. This list excludes sub-committees, working groups, ad hoc groups, briefings etc. This list also does not reflect the attendance of members on committees of which they were not formally membersincluding as deputies for absent colleagues from the same political grouping.
A & B VAudit and Best Value Committee
A & RMAudit and Risk Management
CACommunity Affairs Committee
CICommunity Involvement Committee
CMComplaints Monitoring Committee
CPCorporate Policy Committee
F & G PFinance and General Purposes Committee
F & RFinance and Resources Committee
H RHuman Resources Committee
H R & P SHuman Rights and Professional Standards Committee
P & PRPress and Public Relations Committee
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) male and (b) female prison populations are in Northern Ireland; and what those figures represent as a percentage of total prison capacity. 
Paul Goggins: At 13 June there were 1,409 male and 34 female prisoners in Northern Ireland. These figures represent 107 per cent. and 55 per cent. respectively of the accommodation currently available for each category.
Paul Goggins: The latest IMC report confirmed that the Real IRA continues efforts to recruit and train members and has a continuing aspiration to arm and equip itself. The organisation remains violent, dangerous and ruthless.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland bases its recommendations to employers on whether to include in recruitment advertising the reference that specific groups of people would be particularly welcome to apply on (a) the overall composition of the work force and (b) recent recruitment to the firm concerned. 
Mr. Hanson: The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland refers to the relevant Codes of Practice and Guidance available from the Commission when considering making recommendations to employers on whether to include in recruitment advertising the reference that specific groups of people would be particularly welcome to apply. A recommendation that employers consider the use of such equality statements, is based on an evaluation of work force trends. Such an evaluation would include the work force composition and recruitment flows. Both (a) and (b) would therefore be taken into account.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2006, Official Report, column 540W, on road traffic accidents, how many road traffic accidents there were in the years covered for which a police officer was responsible; how much has been paid out in compensation to members of the public for such accidents; what the total cost of repairs to police vehicles was in relation to such accidents; how many officers have been disciplined for such incidents; and what sanctions were imposed. 
Paul Goggins: My response to the hon. Gentleman of 11 May 2006 referred to road traffic collisions for which a police officer was responsible while on duty and covered the calendar years 2003-05. The following table is also based on these parameters and shows how many road traffic collisions there were during 2003-05 for which an on-duty police officer was responsible. None of these collisions resulted in disciplinary action being taken against the police officer involved. The total cost of repairs to police vehicles during the period 2003-05 was £257,634.92.
|Calendar year||Number of collisions|
|(1) The definitions used for police collisions were revised in 2004 and a third category of collision was addedSlight Contact. This has resulted in some incidents being recorded which previously may not have been which accounts for the increase in the number of incidents for 2004 and 2005.|
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 13 June 2006, Official Report, column 1096W, on roads, when the report of the preliminary studies of environmental, land form and traffic modelling in relation to the Londonderry to Dungiven dualling is expected to be published. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question, pursuant to the Answer of Tuesday 13th June 2006, Official Report, column 1096W, on roads, when the report of the preliminary studies of environmental, land form and traffic modelling in relation to the Londonderry to Dungiven dualling is expected to be published.
I have been asked to reply as these issues fall within my responsibility as Acting Chief Executive of Roads Service.
In Dr McKibbin's reply to your earlier question, he advised that the current study is well advanced and will report later this summer. He further advised that it is not normal practice to make announcements at this stage in a scheme development and that the results would be made public through a public exhibition and consultation that will be undertaken as the next step in the more detailed development of the Londonderry to Dungiven scheme. It is not anticipated that the next stage of the scheme development would be sufficiently progressed to support the exhibition until the first couple of months in 2007.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were employed in each Divisional Roads Service Office in Northern Ireland in April (a) 2000 and (b) 2006. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question regarding how many people were employed in each Divisional Roads Service Office in Northern Ireland in April (a) 2000 and (b) 2006.
As this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Roads Service, I have been asked to reply.
The tables attached at Annex 1 detail the number of industrial and non-industrial Roads Service staff employed in each Divisional Roads Service office on 1 April 2000 and 1 April 2006.
I hope you find this information helpful.
|Non-industrial staff: Annex|
|Staff in post|
|Divisional Roads Service Office||1 April 2000||1 April 2006|
It should be noted that some of the people employed in respect of Road Service Offices are attributable to general accommodation moves.
|Staff in post|
|Divisional Roads Service Office||1 April 2000||1 April 2006|
1. It should be noted that in some instances, the difference in the number of staff in various locations is attributable to general accommodation moves.
2. The reduction in number of industrial staff at a number of offices reflects a major exercise to re-grade certain industrial grades.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many court cases have been pursued by teachers on the grounds of assaults by pupils in each of the last three years, broken down by education and library board area; and how much compensation was paid in total in each year. 
|Number of cases||Compensation paid (£)||Number of cases||Compensation paid (£)||Number of cases||Compensation paid (£)|
|(1 )Compensation paid in respect of a case brought in 2002-03.|
(2 )Compensation paid in respect of a case brought in 2003-04.
The table excludes voluntary grammar schools.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many suspensions for physical attacks on staff there were in each of the last three years for which figures are available in each education board in Northern Ireland. 
Maria Eagle: From the 2002-03 school year, statistics on the reasons for suspension have been gathered annually from each education and library board and relate to the number of individual suspensions not to the number of pupils suspended.
|Physical attacks on staff|
|Education and library board||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05|
|(1) The count of occasions is based on each incidence of suspension, where an incident is defined as a count from the first day a pupil was suspended until the last day suspended. In previous years, the count of occasions was based on each record of suspension identified by the education and library boards, where in some instances, longer periods of suspension may have had more than one record. This change is due to an improvement in the data collection systems for suspensions in the education and library boards which has enabled better analysis of the data. As a result, the number of occasions pupils were suspended in 2004-05 has decreased from previous years. However, care should be taken when comparing the number of occasions in 2004-05 with the number of occasions in previous years.|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he received new security information directly relating to Sean Kelly subsequent to his re-arrest prior to his order to re-release Kelly. 
The Secretary of State's decision to grant Sean Kelly temporary release from prison on 27 July 2005 was based on the material from which he
based his original decision and because he believed that the IRA statement the next day, would create a new situation in which the context of Kelly's license suspension decision had changed and no longer supported the conclusion that Kelly would be a danger to others if at liberty.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will review the appropriateness of the policy of 50 per cent. remission of sentences in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to those convicted of serious (a) violent and (b) sexual attacks. 
Mr. Hanson: Last year the Northern Ireland Office undertook a public consultation on the Review of the Sentencing Framework in Northern Ireland. Consultees were asked to consider a range of sentencing disposals, including indeterminate and extended public protection sentences. I will shortly be examining policy options considered in the Review and the responses to the consultation.
Maria Eagle: The Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs sets out a 5-stage approach to the process. At Stage 4 the Education and Library Board considers the need for a statutory assessment, following a request from the parents, the school or other agencies. If the Board considers that such an assessment is necessary, the parents will be notified and the assessment will be undertaken and if a statement of Special Educational Needs is considered appropriate, the Board has 18 weeks, subject to certain exceptions, to issue a draft statement.
The following table shows the total number of children at Stage 4 of the Code of Practice, i.e. the number of children whose formal assessment of Special Educational Needs has been completed and for whom it is proposed to issue a statement of special educational needs, but the statement has not yet been issued.
|Education and Library Board||Number of children at stage 4|
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children in Northern Ireland require places for September in Special Needs Schools; and how many places are available. 
The following table shows the total number of children who at present require a place in a
Special School in September 2006 in Northern Ireland (by Education and Library Board area) and the total number of places available in Special Schools.
The apparent number of vacant places is based on maximum school enrolment figures set some years ago, and is not a meaningful reflection of the current capacity of Special Schools. In recent years the complexity of the needs of children in Special Schools has increased and the ratio of teachers to pupils has decreased accordingly in order to meet this need.
|Education and Library Board||Number of children requiring place in Special School (September 2006)||Number of Special School places available|
|(1) The Belfast Education and Library Board have more children placed in Special Schools than other Boards. In addition they have significant proportions of children transferring between Special Schools at Year 4 and attending Special Schools for Year 1 placements.|
(2) The Southern Education and Library Board, unlike the other Boards, do not have Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD) Special Schools and therefore the figures relate only to pupils requiring a place in a school for children with severe learning difficulties.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total cost was of staff surveys conducted by each department in Northern Ireland, including the Northern Ireland Office, in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Hanson: The following table provides a breakdown of the costs involved in undertaking staff surveys in each of the 11 NICS core departments and the Northern Ireland Office for the financial years from 2003-04 to 2005-06.
|Costs by financial year|
|(1 )Includes 29,478 internal and external costs for European Foundation Quality Management assessment for the Veterinary Service.|
(2 )Not available.
(3 )No surveys undertaken.
(4 )The DHSSPS figure for 2005-06 includes a cost of £60,503.78 for a Workplace Health and Well-being survey that was issued across the NICS. The survey was commissioned by the NICS Workplace Health Committee and the cost of the survey should be attributed to all departments and not solely DHSSPS.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps teacher training colleges in Northern Ireland have taken to develop sharing in teacher education as set out in the Policy and Strategic Framework for Good Relations: A Shared Future. 
Maria Eagle: Since 2005, the Northern Ireland University Colleges have jointly delivered, an Inter-College Programme for Diversity and Mutual Understanding, as an essential aspect of study for all student teachers. The programme is designed and organised by the colleges joint liaison group comprised of members of academic staff and students who work alongside the Nation Union of StudentsUnion of Students of Ireland (NUS-USI) to deal with issued such as racism, sectarianism and development of positive community relations.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether there have been any recent reported breakouts of bacterial kidney disease in trout fisheries in the Province; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cameras the Valuation and Lands Agency in Northern Ireland owns; and how many it has purchased in each of the last five years. 
|April to March each year:||Number|
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Valuation and Lands
Agency in Northern Ireland has purchased (a) software and (b) consultancy services from CDC Ltd. in the last five years. 
(a) The Valuation and Lands Agency purchased "Spatialest" Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) software from CDC.
(b) The Valuation and Lands Agency also purchased consultancy services from CDC to facilitate the setup and use of this software.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average waiting time for a vehicle test was (a) in each test centre and (b) in Northern Ireland in the last period for which figures are available. 
|Centre||Average waiting time (days)|
Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of waste from Government Departments in Northern Ireland was recycled in the last period for which figures are available. 
David Cairns: Data have not been collected in this form. However, waste management action plans have now been prepared for all 11 NICS Departments in accordance with a requirement of the recently published Waste Management Strategy for Northern Ireland. Copies of these documents may be found in the Library.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate the annual total effect on costs if each of Northern Irelands acute hospitals were to construct a wind turbine in their grounds similar to that operated by Antrim Hospital. 
Paul Goggins: If wind turbines were to be successfully installed at the nine acute hospital sites identified in Developing Better Services the estimated total net reduction in payments to the electricity supply company would be £495,000 at current price levels.
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