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James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had with Southend-on-Sea borough council on the proposed highway improvement at Priory Crescent and the A127 junction; 
(2) what plans he has to meet (a) hon. and right hon. Members, (b) Southend Borough Council members and (c) Southend Borough Council officers in relation to the proposed highway improvement at Priory Crescent and the A127 junction. 
At present the Department for Transport's regional and local major schemes team are working closely with officers of Southend-on-Sea borough council,
the scheme promoters, to prepare a revised major scheme business case which is due to be submitted shortly in order to reduce overspend on the original scheme. Following submission of this case meetings with appropriate hon. and right hon. Members, Southend borough council members and officers will be convened.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the adequacy of supply of engineering and other skills required to implement his Department's transport strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Department for Transport, and its agencies, work closely with professional and trade bodies to understand what engineering and technical support capacity will be required by transport in the future. We acknowledge there has been, and remains, a shortage of relevant engineering and technical skills within the UK. However, these constraints are now less critical than in the past given the greater international mobility of labour and the shorter period needed to train people in these skills.
For example, the Highways Agency publishes a forward look of work to enable its suppliers to allocate and manage resources effectively. It works closely with key suppliers, professional and trade bodies to identify and address potential skills and other constraints. The Highways Agency also supports apprenticeship schemes in the construction sector through the national roads programme.
And for Crossrail, where at the peak of construction in 2013-15 some 14,000 jobs, involving over 40 trades and professions, will be needed, we are working with industry bodies to establish a Tunnelling Academy offering training and recognised qualifications.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much the Government have spent on research on the potential for biofuel use overseas in the last 12 months. 
UK Government policy on biofuels has always been based on making their production and use sustainable. A number of studies on biofuel sustainability have considered the supply and demand of biofuels anticipated globally. These include the Gallagher Review commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Agencythe Gallagher Review and the studies underpinning it are available via the Renewable Fuels Agency's website
and a study on the environmental sustainability of international biofuels production commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA), available on DEFRA's website at www.defra.gov.uk. These studies cost approximately £300,000.
Research has also been commissioned to consider key social, economic and ecological consequences of the development of bioenergy and its impacts on the rural poor in developing countries. These include a study commissioned by the Department for International Development on the impact of biofuels on agriculture and poverty reduction in developing countries, costing approximately £8,000, and available on the Overseas Development Institute website; and, under the auspices of the Brazil: UK: Southern Africa Taskforce on Biofuels, the Brazil:UK:Africa Partnership on Bioethanol Scoping study, which was commissioned by the Office for Science and Innovation (part of the former Department of Trade and Industry). The study looked into the technical potential for sugar cane for bioethanol in Africa, cost approximately £116,000 and is available on the Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website.
The Government have recently committed a further £170,000 to a five year transnational consortia research programme, "Bioenergy - an opportunity or threat to the rural poor" as part of the ERA-ARD (European Research Area for Agricultural Research and Development net).
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead of 1 July 2008, Official Report, columns 770-74W, if he will place in the Library a copy of the reports on (a) distributional impacts of personal carbon trading, (b) personal carbon trading: public acceptability, (c) public understanding of sustainable energy use in the home and (d) waste infrastructure research. 
I am arranging for copies of the reports on Distributional Personal Carbon Trading, Personal Carbon Trading: Public Acceptability, and Public Understanding of Sustainable Energy Use in the Home to be placed in the Library of the House. I have been informed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that the navigator waste infrastructure research study has not yet been completed.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage contribution to a reduction in UK carbon emissions on 1990 levels, as defined by the Climate Change Bill, are expected to be made by full compliance with the EU Renewables Directive by 2020. 
Potential measures set out in the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) consultation, to achieve 15 per cent. energy from renewable sources by 2020, are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 by 20 to 25 MtCO2 outside the EU emissions trading scheme (transport and smaller scale heat), and to contribute 50 to 55 MtCO2 of savings within the EU emissions
trading scheme cap (electricity and larger scale heat). The estimated savings outside, and additional to, the EU ETS cap represent around 10 to 15 per cent. of the reduction in carbon emissions required to achieve the Climate Change Bills target of at least a 26 per cent. reduction in carbon emissions on 1990 levels for the five-year budgetary period including the year 2020, which implies a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 154 MtCO2 on 1990 levels.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the further review of the Environment Agencys plans for lock-keepers cottages along the Thames will be published; whether the review has included a re-examination of the business case for disposal of the cottages; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 23 October 2008]: The Environment Agency intends to announce proposals for lock houses on the River Thames in the new year, after further negotiations have been held with the unions about all the terms and conditions for lock staff. The review will include a re-examination of the business case and will consider the issues raised by MPs, members of the public and staff.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 October 2008, Official Report, column 938W, on River Lymington: ferries, what the role of the Government Office for the South East will be in resolving the situation regarding Wightlinks application for shore works in the Lymington River. 
Huw Irranca-Davies [holding answer 23 October 2008]: It is part of Government Offices role to connect Whitehall to key regional players and join up the agencies, non-departmental public bodies and regulators which operate regionally. In this instance, Government Office for the South-East is working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, other Government Departments and the many regulators involved in this project to promote progress and a joined up response to the issue.
Mr. Straw: The Government take very seriously their responsibility to tackle international and domestic corruption and as the anti-corruption champion, I will be taking forward the reform of the law on bribery and developing a comprehensive UK strategy for tackling foreign bribery, including a full response to the recent OECD report.
The UK is recognised as one of the least corrupt countries in the world16(th) in the world and 3(rd) of G8 countries and we are committed to tackling foreign
bribery by UK firms. We have had the first conviction for foreign bribery in international transactions this summer and over 20 foreign bribery investigations.
We have already announced in May this year in the draft legislative programme that we intend to introduce a draft Bribery Bill in the next Session. This will be informed by the Law Commission report on bribery, due next month.
12. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the system of regional pay within the courts system; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The planned review of the pay and grading arrangements introduced last year for the Ministry of Justice is now under way. The review will cover all aspects of the new pay structure, including local pay. However, I can confirm that over the year since it was introduced, the Ministry has not experienced any difficulties in recruitment, retention or other operating issues arising from local pay.
Maria Eagle: Rigorous performance assessment systems are in place. Performance is monitored and managed against CICAs agreed objectives as set out in the 2008-09 Business Plan, on a monthly basis by the sponsor unit. Assessment to date shows that CICAs unit cost per case has reduced, the time for registering an application has reduced, the cycle time to reach a first decision has reduced, and the size of the live case load has reduced and is the lowest it has been in 20 years.
Mr. Straw: Rigorous performance assessment systems are in place. Performance is monitored and managed against CICA's agreed objectives as set out in the 2008-09 Business Plan, on a monthly basis by the sponsor unit. Assessment to date shows that CICA's unit cost per case has reduced, the time for registering an application has reduced, the cycle time to reach a first decision has reduced, and the size of the live case-load has reduced and is the lowest it has been in 20 years.
14. Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on how to expand initiatives on, and awareness of, citizenship among people between the ages of 16 and 30. 
Earlier this year, the Government established an independent Youth Citizenship Commission, to examine what citizenship means to young people, and exploring ways to encourage them to be active citizens. It will report to the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice in spring 2009.
Bridget Prentice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor meets with the senior judiciary on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues, including the budget or Her Majestys Courts Service.
19. Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the (a) court time expended and (b) cost to the Courts Service of cases of television licence fee evasion. 
Bridget Prentice: In 2006, we published estimates regarding television licence evasion cases in Delivering Simple, Speedy, Summary Justice showing that in 2005 there were 173,000 cases taking approximately 5,800 hours of court time.
20. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he next expects to meet senior members of the judiciary to discuss the budget for HM Courts Service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: We expect the proposed allocation of funds to Her Majesty's Courts Service for 2009-10 to become known in early November. We expect to be consulting with the judiciary under the terms of the Framework Agreement during mid/late November. We expect the allocation to Her Majesty's Courts Service to be finalised by the Ministry of Justice after these discussions have concluded.
17. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received on staffing levels in the Northamptonshire courts service and the implications of such levels for the effectiveness of judicial arrangements. 
Mr. Straw: Formal representations have been received from the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) and my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Phil Hope) in relation to communications from the Northamptonshire Magistrates' Bench chairmen voicing concerns about the impact on the delivery of the magistrates' courts service as a result of delays in recruitment of staff.
Mr. Straw: Ministers and the Prison Service are committed to ensuring that violence in prisons is not tolerated in any form. Since 2004 every public sector prison has had in place a local violence reduction strategy. From mid 2007 this policy has included the contracted out prisons. The National Offender Management Service and the Prison Officers' Association are jointly committed to 'zero tolerance' on assaults on staff.
Mr. Wills: In order to donate to UK political parties, companies must be registered and carry on business in the UK. I acknowledge the concerns which have been expressed about the scope for evasion of the ban on foreign donations contained in these provisions, and I would be very happy to discuss how they might be improved to better deliver their underlying purpose. I suggest that this may be most usefully done in the context of debates on the Political Parties and Elections Bill which will be considered by Public Bill Committee in November.
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