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4 Jun 2008 : Column 978W—continued


Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on private security contractors for UK military facilities in Iraq in each year since 2003. [207693]

Des Browne: Since UK forces first deployed into Iraq in 2003, we have not employed private military security contractors in order to help secure UK military facilities in Iraq.

Between 1 July 2007 and 31 August 2007, we placed a contract with Armor Group in order to protect two vacant UN compounds within the Basrah Palace complex, at a cost of some £1.1 million.

Military Bands

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) military and (b) naval bands there were in each year since 1997. [207278]

Derek Twigg: The information is as follows.

1997

There were 55 Army Bands, 30 of which were Regular Army Bands and 25 Territorial Army (TA) Bands

1998

As a result of the Strategic Defence Review, the number of TA Bands was reduced to 16 bringing the total number of Army Bands down to 46

2006

Future Army Structures led to six Regular Army Bands being amalgamated whilst four TA Bands were established as part of TA Re-Balancing. This gave an overall Army total of 44 bands (24 Regular Army and 20 TA)

2007

Northern Ireland Normalisation led to the disbandment of The Band of The Royal Irish Regiment leaving 23 Regular Army Bands and 20 TA, a total of 43 Army Bands

Since 1996

The Royal Marines Band Service has comprised of five bands


Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Foreign Investment in UK

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what definition his Department uses for high value in relation to foreign direct investment projects facilitated by UK Trade and Investment. [208156]

Mr. Thomas: A high value project has at least one of the following attributes:

Overseas Trade: Burma

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to dissuade companies based in the UK from trading with Burma. [207879]

Mr. Thomas: The UK Government discourage trade and investment with Burma. We offer no commercial services or support to UK companies wishing to trade with or invest in Burma. British companies who inquire about trade with Burma are informed of the grave political situation, the regime's atrocious record on human rights and the country's dire economic prospects.

We have consistently supported measures that target those responsible for the regime's policies, rather than a
4 Jun 2008 : Column 979W
blanket ban that would hurt the ordinary people of Burma. These include the EU's ‘Common Position’ on Burma, which imposes sanctions on Burma, including a ban on EU companies investing in certain Burmese state-owned companies.

Current trade levels are very low—with overall bilateral trade just over £30 million and with UK investment negligible.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate has been made of the cost of implementing the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for local shops if those supervising newspaper deliverers were included. [207303]

Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.

Earlier this year, the Department concluded a consultation on many aspects of the scheme including issues for business. Responses were received from the retail sector about under-16s working in shops. The Government published their formal response to that consultation on 30 May. The response made clear that shopkeepers and members of their staff will not be required to register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) scheme in respect of any newspaper deliverers aged under the age of 16 whom they may employ. However adult staff will commit an offence if they frequently train, supervise, or instruct children under the age of 16 while barred; and employers or managers will commit an offence if they knowingly allow a barred adult employee to have such contact with children under the age of 16. The ISA scheme will not apply at all to adult shop workers’ contact with 16 and 17-year-old workers.

We will continue to work with business and other stakeholders on preparing regulations and implementing the Act. The Government’s 2006 impact assessment for the ISA scheme found that costs for businesses, some of whom already vet staff supervising children, will be offset by savings—for example on repeat work, since ISA registration will be portable from job to job—as well as by reduced risk of unsuitable employees.

Communities and Local Government

Arm's Length Management Organisations

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have transferred housing stock to arms length management organisations (ALMO); what the most recent Audit Commission rating of each such ALMO is; what permissions to borrow each has been granted; and what guidance her Department has issued to those ALMOs which have not achieved two stars. [204019]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local authorities do not transfer their housing stock to arms length management organisations (ALMOs). The Department makes available additional capital funding allocations to local
4 Jun 2008 : Column 980W
authorities who have a high performing ALMO. That funding is in the form of supported borrowing through the housing revenue account subsidy system, and is in addition to other supported borrowing authorities may receive for housing investment. ALMOs receive their funding from their local authorities via a management fee. The following table lists the most recent Audit Commission inspection rating of each ALMO, and capital allocations made from the ALMO programme up to 2008-09.

The Department has issued a guidance note, “Policy on the arrangement for the re-inspection of ALMOs”. Officials liaise regularly and provide advice as required with those ALMOs who have not achieved a two star inspection rating. ALMOs also receive support and guidance from their local authorities, the Audit Commission, the National Federation of ALMOs, and Government offices through the ALMO support network.


4 Jun 2008 : Column 981W
Local authorities with ALMOs: Inspection ratings and ALMO capital funding allocations
Council Star rating Allocation to 2008-09 (£)

Ashfield

3

(1)

55,320,000

Barnet

2

(2)

68,981,400

Barnsley

2

(2)

141,600,000

Bassetlaw

2

(2)

16,500,000

Blackpool

2

(1)

11,000,000

Blyth Valley

2

(2)

48,358,000

Bolton

3

(2)

157,560,000

Brent

3

(1)

67,997,000

Bury

2

(2)

24,490,000

Carrick

3

(2)

23,060,000

Cheltenham

3

(1)

31,440,000

Colchester

2

(2)

35,710,000

Derby

3

(1)

97,176,000

Doncaster

2

(2)

93,200,000

Ealing

2

(2)

132,548,000

Easington

1

(3)

Eastbourne

2

(2)

19,494,000

Gateshead

2

(2)

161,205,980

Gloucester

2

(2)

23,735,000

Hackney

1

(2)

Hammersmith and Fulham

2

(1)

142,954,000

Haringey

2

(2)

29,999,000

Havering

1

(2)

High Peak

2

(2)

9,306,000

Hillingdon

2

(1)

59,300,000

Hounslow

3

(1)

99,650,000

Islington

2

(1)

120,823,200

Kensington and Chelsea

3

(1)

43,439,000

Kirklees

3

(2)

149,800,000

Leeds

2

(2)

410,100,439

Manchester (part)

2

(1)

92,988,000

Newark and Sherwood

2

(2)

38,120,000

Newcastle upon Tyne

2

(2)

255,220,000

Newham

2

(2)

123,226,000

Nottingham City

1

(3)

Oldham

2

(2)

86,400,000

Poole

3

(2)

30,080,120

Rochdale

2

(2)

106,300,000

Rotherham

2

(3)

157,500,000

Sandwell

2

(2)

200,600,000

Sheffield

3

(2)

376,057,060

Slough

2

(2)

22,635,000

Solihull

3

(1)

54,245,000

South Lakeland

2

(2)

18,882,000

South Tyneside

2

(2)

Yet to be agreed

Stockport

3

(1)

63,146,000

Stockton on Tees

2

(2)

63,000,000

Sutton

1

(2)

Waltham Forest

2

(3)

49,349,750

Warrington

3

(1)

30,199,680

Wear Valley

2

(3)

11,000,000

Westminster

3

(1)

74,000,000

Wigan

2

(3)

137,300,000

Wolverhampton

2

(2)

72,000,000

(1 )Excellent prospects for improvement.
(2 )Promising prospects for improvement.
(3) Uncertain prospects for improvement.

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