|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
5 July 2007 : Column 1173Wcontinued
21. Julie Morgan: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of the reasons for the under-representation of women on local authorities. 
Barbara Follett: I have been asked to reply.
The Government set up the Councillors Commission to, among other things, look at the underrepresentation of women in local government. It aims to report in November 2007 and will make recommendations to help address the imbalances.
At present women make up 29.3 per cent. of councillors in England. Only three per cent. Of them are from ethnic minorities. I am committed to improving these figures.
22. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government are taking to tackle inequalities affecting ethnic minority women in the workplace. 
Barbara Follett: I have been asked to reply.
As the EOCs investigation revealed Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black Caribbean women often struggle to get jobs and progress within them. The Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force will take steps to enable ethnic minority women to address this problem. The establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights will help address instances of multiple discrimination.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 5 June, Official Report, column 327-8W on alcoholic drinks: young people, when he expects the Police Service of Northern Ireland Community Safety Branch to publish its first set of statistics outlining the number of incidents of underage drinking in public places. 
Paul Goggins: PSNI have advised that data are currently being collected about the number of young people who are detected drinking alcohol and dealt with through the Youth Diversion Scheme.
This statistical information will be available for issue in January 2008.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. 
Paul Goggins: The Northern Ireland Office paid £4,395 to Common Purpose during the 2006-07 financial year as part of the Departments Leadership Development Programme for senior managers. The outcome will be evaluated later this year to determine the extent to which the Common Purpose Programme met the identified development needs and contributed to meeting NIO business objectives.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in 2006-07. 
Paul Goggins: Within the Northern Ireland Office six members of staff did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in 2006-07.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff in his Department have taken (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in the last 12 months. 
Paul Goggins: The details requested on sick leave in the last 12 months are shown in the following table:
|Number of staff|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, columns 17-18W, on sexual offences, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the 31 per cent. rate of successful prosecutions for rape. 
Paul Goggins: Rape and serious sexual assaults are some of the most serious crimes that police have to investigate, especially with regard to the traumatic effect it has on the victims. Historically there have been a significant number of victims who initially report rapes to police but who later decide they do not wish to pursue the investigation through to court. These cases therefore form a major element of the number not proceeding to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). In addition a significant proportion of those that do proceed to the PPS subsequently fail and go no further due to lack of evidence.
PSNI are seeking to improve performance in such investigations in a number of ways:
PSNI have recently contributed to a multi-agency sexual violence strategy. One important aspect of this work is the proposed establishment of a specialist sexual assault referral centre. The improvement in services and support to victims, together with the more effective ways of retaining forensic evidence, is expected to increase the number of prosecutions;
An internal review has recently been carried out into the way the child abuse and rape enquiry (CARE) teams carry out their investigations. As a result, the PSNI are planning later this year to restructure these investigations by establishing specialist teams whose sole task will be to investigate rape and other serious sexual assaults;
PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service have recently begun to analyse a number of rape investigations in order that they continue to develop models of best investigative practice. In particular, attention will focus upon case building and the significant number of cases that currently do not make the threshold for prosecution.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland were prosecuted for smuggling fuel into Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. 
Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.
In the year 2004-05 there were four prosecutions for smuggling fuel into Northern Island resulting in two convictions. In 2005-06 there were five prosecutions, but no resulting convictions. In the same year there were two successful prosecutions for dealing with fuel on which duty had not been paid. In 2006-07 there were five prosecutions resulting in five convictions.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Prime Minister which Ministers are unpaid; and if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of the provision of facilities for them to carry out their ministerial duties. 
The Prime Minister: The cost of the provision of facilities for Ministers who are unpaid will be met from existing departmental budgets.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. 
David Cairns: The Scotland Office has made no payments to Common Purpose in the last five years.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions; and what steps he has taken in the last 12 months to encourage more people to make such contributions. 
David Cairns: The staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from the Scottish Executive or the Ministry of Justice and remain on the payroll of their parent Department. The Scotland Office does not hold information on which staff avail themselves of AVCs.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the First Minister on security of the energy supply (a) to and (b) in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. 
I have not yet had the opportunity to discuss this matter with the First Minister. The Governments Energy White Paper, published in May this year, sets out how we will approach ensuring secure, clean and affordable energy supplies while tackling climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Many of the policies in the White Paper
apply to the UK as a whole, although some key areas, such as planning consent for new power stations, are devolved to the Scottish Executive.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what procedures he will adopt to determine how to prioritise his responsibilities as Secretary of State for Scotland against his other ministerial responsibilities. 
David Cairns: The previous two Secretaries of State for Scotland have both undertaken a combined role, holding two portfolios in the Cabinet. It is a tried and tested model and has worked well in the past four years. The approach involves managing priorities and structuring work loads, working in close liaison with ministerial colleagues in both Departments.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether free concessionary travel will be available to older and disabled passengers on open-top tourist buses registered as local bus services under the proposed national scheme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: An eligible pass holder will be able to travel for free in the off-peak on any registered local bus service anywhere in England from April next year. Although the Concessionary Bus Travel Bill does not change the definition of what is an eligible service for the statutory concession, we are considering whether changes should be made via an Order in the future if it is decided that clarification is required. In the interim, it will remain for operators and local authorities to assess which services are covered in accordance with the criteria set out in the current legislation.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to allocate the £212 million additional funding being made available to local authorities for the 2008 English National Concessionary Fares Scheme to local authorities according to the costs of each local authority scheme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government will be providing up to an extra £250 million per year for the national bus concession (£212 million after Barnett allocations). We are confident this will be sufficient overall to cover the total extra costs to local authorities.
The extra funding will either be distributed via the formula grant system (as is the case for current funding of mandatory concession) or specific grant. A decision on the funding route will be made in due course.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the cost of introducing smartcard readers to the English bus fleet;
and what discussions she has had with representatives of (a) small and (b) large bus operators on the schedule for implementing such a scheme. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There is no accurate estimate available for the cost of introducing smartcard readers to the English bus fleet. There would be a wide range of cost estimates depending on the number of eligible buses, the number and scope of back office systems, the extent to which the whole life cost of bus equipment was borne upfront and the impact of higher production volumes on costs.
Discussions have taken place with bus operators, and local authorities, on the possibility of specifying ITSO compliant smartcards as the format of the pass for the new national bus concession commencing in April 2008. However, these have not covered the schedule for any introduction of smartcard readers.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many high occupancy vehicle lanes have been brought into use since 1997. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Three high occupancy vehicle lane schemes have been brought into use in England since 1997. These are on the A370 Long Ashton Bypass in North Somerset, the A647 in Leeds, and the A4174 Avon Ring Road in South Gloucestershire.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in her Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Officials throughout the Department for Transport are involved in the full range of EU business. Those working specifically on EU business in the Europe, International and Better Regulation Division total 15. The Department currently has four officials seconded to the UK Permanent Representation in Brussels and seven to the European Commission. In the Department as a whole, including its Agencies, resourcing must respond to the level of EU business. A breakdown of the figures as requested would incur disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in her Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in 2006-07. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: 47 staff in the Department for Transport did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in 2006-07.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which projects originally valued at more than £5 million her Department has funded since 1997, broken down by Government Office region; and what (a) the cost at inception and (b) the outturn cost at project completion was of each. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the following NAO publications, which give initial and outturn costs for the West Coast Main Line and Channel Tunnel Rail Link, as well as all Highways Agency schemes:
HC321 2006-07Estimating and monitoring the costs of building roads in England;
HC22 2006-07The Modernisation of the West Coast Main Line; and
HC77 2005-06Progress on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
Copies are available from the Libraries of the House.
The compilation of comparable information for the Department's remaining projects could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|