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9 Oct 2006 : Column 108W—continued

This list will exclude any relevant Bills introduced into the Lords but not reported on by the Joint Committee or sent to the Commons. The only such bill of which we are aware is the Conveyancing Services Bill (1986-87 session).

Departmental Expenditure

Grant Shapps: To ask the Leader of the House (1) how much was spent by his Office in respect of hotel and other similar privately-provided accommodation (a) in the UK and (b) abroad for (i) Ministers, (ii) staff and (iii) other persons in each year since 2001-02; [91889]

(2) how much was spent by his Office on food and alcohol for its staff working out of office in each year since 2001-02. [91890]

Mr. Straw: Total travel and subsistence costs for the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons for the years 2001-02 to 2005-06 are set out in the following table. Information broken down by cost of hotel, food, Ministers and staff is not held by this Office. All spending is in accordance with agreed hospitality limits.

Travel and subsistence
UK (£) Overseas (£)

2001-02

6,763.38

559.69

2002-03

712.63

0

2003-04

1,815.52

1,337.56

2004-05

2,017.81

31,197.08

2005-06

3,846.86

30,517.81

Total

15,156.20

63,612.14


Departmental Staff (Bicycles)

Hywel Williams: To ask the Leader of the House what tax efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles his Office makes available to its employees; how many and what percentage of his Office’s staff purchased bicycles through such schemes in 2005-06; whether the schemes are available through a range of suppliers; and whether arrangements are made to enable staff with disabilities to purchase adapted bicycles from a specialist supplier. [90057]

Mr. Straw: Staff in the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons are part of the Privy Council Office, which provides administrative support. The Privy Council Office does not operate a tax-efficient scheme for the purchase of bicycles but does offer interest free loans to staff for this purpose.


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Legislation (European Commission)

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Leader of the House what proportion of the legislation passed in the Commons in the last nine years was in support of legislation arising from the European Commission. [91618]

Mr. Straw: The information is not held centrally and it would anyway be difficult to provide a full response to the question because of difficulties of categorisation and interpretation. For example, some primary legislation which includes provisions implementing community law might have been introduced anyway, for other reasons.

However, parliamentary analysis of UK statutory instruments implemented annually under the European Communities Act since 1998 suggests that on average around 9 per cent. of all statutory instruments transpose EC legislation. I refer the hon. Member to section F of the House of Commons Library Standard Note SN/IA/2888 (25 July 2006).

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Harper: To ask the Leader of the House how many parliamentary questions tabled and due for answer before the summer recess are awaiting a substantive reply. [87865]

Mr. Straw: None.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Leader of the House which Government Departments answer parliamentary questions by means of (a) centralised answering and (b) officials involved in policy formation. [87866]

Mr. Straw: All Departments have central units for the administrative co-ordination and processing of answers. Officials responsible for the issue concerned will be involved in the preparation of the answer, under the arrangements made within that Department.

Ministers are responsible for the answers given. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for St. Albans (Anne Main) on 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1641W.

Sinn Fein

Lady Hermon: To ask the Leader of the House how much was paid to Sinn Fein following the decision to allow that party to claim money analogous to Short money in the House. [89762]

Mr. Straw: Following the resolution of the House to extend financial assistance for Opposition parties to parties whose Members have chosen not to take their seats, £35,163 was paid to Sinn Fein for the 2005-06 financial year.


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Education and Skills

Adult Fitness Classes

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure adequate funding for adult fitness classes in colleges. [92402]

Bill Rammell: The Government remain committed to lifelong learning for its own intrinsic value. We have allocated through the Learning and Skills Council £210 million per annum in 2006/07 and 2007/08 to safeguard learning for personal and community development. This includes fitness classes. LSC providers, including both local authorities and colleges, have access to this budget with allocations made in the light of local needs and the quality of provision.

AimHigher

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of AimHigher’s budget was spent on administration costs in 2005-06. [91335]

Bill Rammell: The majority of the Aimhigher budget is distributed to schools, colleges and universities. Information is not held centrally on the proportion of the budget spent by these institutions on administration costs or any other individual type of activity.

Alcohol Misuse

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of children living with parents who misuse alcohol; and if he will make a statement. [91983]

Beverley Hughes: Recent Turning Point research suggests that up to 1.3 million children in the UK live with parents who misuse alcohol.

The Government fully acknowledge that parental alcohol misuse can have serious consequences for children and young people. The Government are addressing parental alcohol misuse and the harm it causes through action by local children’s services within the “Every Child Matters” programme.

The Children Act 2004 places on Directors of Children’s Services responsibility to protect children and young people from significant harm, including from alcohol misusing parents.

The Government also encourage sensible drinking by adults through unit labelling and health messages.

Black and Minority Ethnic Population

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken on (i) the level of teenage pregnancies and (ii) attitudes to abortion within the black and minority ethnic population; and what steps he is taking to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in the black and minority ethnic population. [89502]


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Beverley Hughes: Several research projects that examine the sexual attitudes and behaviours of BME groups have been commissioned as part of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, details of which are provided at annex 1. The strategy has also drawn upon routinely collected data to inform our understanding of ethnicity and teenage pregnancy.

The evidence suggests that young people from different ethnic groups are more or less likely to experience teenage pregnancy than others. But establishing the precise impact of ethnicity is difficult because: ethnicity is not recorded at birth registration; BME groups are over-represented in deprived areas where higher rates would be expected; and sexual behaviour, knowledge and attitudes may vary considerably within BME groups.

Data on mothers giving birth under-19, identified from the 2001 Census, show rates of teenage motherhood are significantly higher among young women of ‘Mixed White and Black Caribbean’, ‘Other Black’ and ‘Black Caribbean’ ethnicity. ‘White British’ young women are also over-represented among teenage mothers, while all Asian ethnic groups are under-represented. Girls and young women of Black and Black British ethnicity are also over-represented among abortions under-18. In 2004, Black ethnic groups (which represent around 3 per cent. of all females aged 15-17) accounted for 9 per cent. of all abortions under-18.

The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy has a target to halve the rate of under-18 conceptions by 2010 (compared to the rate in 1998). Between 1998 and 2004 (the latest year for which data are available) the under-18 conception rate fell by 11.1 per cent., to its lowest level for 20 years and the under-16 rate fell by 15.2 per cent. The strategy does not have targets to reduce conceptions among different ethnic groups, although local areas are asked to take account of factors that increase the risk of early pregnancy, including social deprivation, poor educational attainment, living in care and ethnicity, in the delivery of local strategies.

Connexions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1356W, on Connexions, how much of the remaining budget for the Connexions card payable to Capita under the contract ending in December 2008 his Department expects to recoup following the ending of the scheme. [90345]

Mr. Dhanda: As a result of early wind down of the Connexions card, the Department for Education and Skills expects to recoup an estimated £23.8 million.

Departmental Agency Staff

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what average hourly rate his Department paid to employment agencies for agency staff in each year since 1999, broken down by agency. [89529]


9 Oct 2006 : Column 112W

Mr. Dhanda: Since 1 November 2004, my Department has used a single provider (Adecco). The key requirement of DfES is the provision of temporary administrative and secretarial cover. Agency engagements are kept as short as possible and only used to meet genuine short-term needs—no more than 13 weeks.

Prior to 1 November 2004, my Department used Brook Street and Manpower employment agencies. To establish the average working rate from these agencies since 1999 would entail disproportionate cost.

The average hourly rate paid by the Department for staff employed through Adecco for the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06 was as follows:

2004-05
Grade Average hourly charge rate (£)

AA

8.58

AO

9.94

EO

12.14

HEO

16.89

Messenger

7.97

Pers sec

14.05

Snr pers sec

14.74


2005-06
Grade Average hourly charge rate (£)

AA

8.73

AO

10.12

EO

12.40

HEO

17.24

Messenger

8.09

Pers sec

14.24

Snr pers sec

14.97


Departmental Carbon Emissions

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the total carbon emission from his Department's buildings in each year since 1997. [89550]

Mr. Dhanda: A complete answer cannot be provided as validated carbon emission information is only available from 1999. The following figures are based on kilograms of carbon emitted per square metre of lettable area in our HQ buildings.

kgC/m2

1999-2000

28

2000-01

30

2001-02

29

2002-03

28

2003-04

32

2004-05

31

Note:
These figures exclude carbon emissions from road vehicles used for Government administrative operations as this information is not held.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 113W

Departmental Child Care Facilities

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what child care (a) provision and (b) assistance is available to his Department’s staff; [89530]

(2) which of his Department’s premises have child care facilities on site; [89531]

(3) whether there are waiting lists for places at child care facilities which his Department provides for its employees. [89532]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department is committed to providing quality child care support and offers a range of the following options to staff:


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