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10 Feb 2009 : Column 1844W—continued

Social Rented Housing

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the guideline social housing rent increase for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11 is for each local authority in England. [253238]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local authority social housing rents are set by the individual authority, not by central Government.

I have placed a table setting out guideline rent changes for 2009-10 by authority in the Library of the House. Changes for 2010-11 between individual local authorities have not been set.

To protect tenants from large annual rent rises, we have put in place arrangements so that no authority need raise its actual rent per property above RPI+1/2+£2 in any one year.

Travelling People: Caravan Sites

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what targets for new traveller sites have been included in each draft regional spatial strategy. [255187]

Mr. Iain Wright: Local planning authorities are required to assess the accommodation needs of gypsies and travellers in the same way that they assess the housing needs of other members of their local communities.

Local planning authorities do this through Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Assessments (GTAAs). The GTAAs inform the preparation of policies in the draft regional spatial strategy (RSS).

The RSS identifies the number of pitches required (but not the location or sites); it is for local planning authorities to consider the location or sites where pitches required for their area, possibly in conjunction with neighbouring local planning authorities.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Departmental Surveys

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what areas were identified by his Department’s June 2008 stakeholder survey as needing improvement, as referred to in his Department's autumn 2008 performance report; and if he will place a copy of the survey in the Library. [246258]


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David Miliband: Areas identified as needing improvement are outlined in the Department’s June 2008 stakeholder survey, a copy of which I will place into the Library of the House.

Departmental Training

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Answer of 3 November 2008, Official Report, column 162W, on departmental training, if he will place in the Library a copy of the audit of skills in his Department conducted in 2008. [240673]

David Miliband: A copy will be placed in the Library, once work on the audit of skills has been completed.

Developing Countries: Trade

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the next proposed World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting on the Doha Development Agenda to take place; and if he will make a statement. [244134]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 16 December 2008]: No timing has been set for a ministerial meeting in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). The possibility of such a meeting in December 2008 did not materialise and now further consultations will be needed, including with the new US Administration, before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General is likely to be able to propose a new timetable for negotiations.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and other Ministers have worked tirelessly in support of a DDA deal and the Government’s determination to work for fairer trade rules remains undimmed. Early conclusion of the DDA remains a top priority and we will continue to work closely with the WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, the European Commission and EU partners to secure a deal. The revised negotiating texts on agriculture and industrial goods issued in December captured the key aspects of the progress made at the July WTO ministerial. We must now build on this, bridging the few remaining gaps to reach agreement. In the meantime, we urge WTO members to resist resorting to protectionism.

International Relations

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the countries which have been recognised by (a) the UK, (b) the US, (c) Russia, (d) France, (e) Germany, (f) China and (g) Israel since 1998 without the approval or with only partial approval of the countries in question. [246320]

Gillian Merron: Since 1998, the UK has recognised the following states: East Timor (20 May 2002), Montenegro (13 June 2006) and Kosovo (18 February 2008). In each case, the Government of the state in question has welcomed its recognition by the UK.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not systematically hold information on which countries have been recognised by the US, Russia, France, Germany, China or Israel.


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Mujaheddin-e Khalq

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government’s policy towards the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran is in the light of the recent judgment by the European Court of First Instance. [245442]

Bill Rammell: On 26 January 2009, taking account of the judgment by the Court of First Instance on 4 December 2008, the General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted a list which did not include the MeK (Mujaheddin-e-Khalq, also known as the People’s Mojaheddin of Iran).

However, we remain mindful of the MeK’s history as an organisation responsible for a number of serious terrorist attacks—it claimed responsibility for large numbers of violent attacks inside Iran for a number of years, including 96 in a three-month period in early 2001. We do not agree with its claim that it represents a credible democratic opposition in exile.

Zimbabwe: Overseas Visitors

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department provides to UK citizens on travel to Zimbabwe. [246332]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 12 January 2009]: The latest travel advice for Zimbabwe and elsewhere can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at

Treasury

Carbon Emissions

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his definition of the low-carbon sector is as referred to in the pre-Budget report 2008. [255081]

Angela Eagle: We have used the definition from the forthcoming independent study by Innovas, commissioned by BERR, which includes:

Renewable energy, such as:

And emerging low carbon technologies and activities, such as:

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal incentives are available for the research and development of low-carbon technologies. [255082]


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Angela Eagle: The Government provide a range of tax incentives to encourage the adoption of new energy technologies:

And further tax incentives to support investment in innovative new technologies and higher risk ventures:

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much pooled funding is available to support cross-departmental co-operation on building a low-carbon economy. [255084]

Angela Eagle: Funding is allocated to individual Departments. Cross-departmental co-operation is supported through the Cabinet Office.

Coastal Areas

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who owns the foreshore in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) Wales, (e) Cornwall and (f) the Isles of Scilly. [254698]

Angela Eagle: The Crown Estate owns around 55 per cent. of the foreshore around the UK. The rest of the foreshore is owned by various bodies, including the Crown and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, such as port authorities, local authorities, the National Trust and private individuals.

The Duchy of Cornwall owns all of the Isles of Scilly foreshore, and the majority of the foreshore in Cornwall.

Departmental Assets

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what departmental assets are planned to be sold in each financial year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; what the (a) description and (b) book value of each such asset is; what the expected revenue from each such sale is; and if he will make a statement. [251662]

Yvette Cooper: The Treasury does not publish asset sales by Department. Figures for aggregate central Government asset sales in 2007-08 to 2010-11 can be found in the 2008 pre-Budget report: the economy and public finances--supplementary material, table 2.3

The actual assets disposed of will depend on the decisions made by specific Departments.

Departmental Impact Assessments

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many equalities impact assessments his Department has undertaken in the last 12-month period for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of such assessments. [255064]


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Angela Eagle: The Treasury has not led on or undertaken any formal equalities impact assessments in the last 12 months. The Treasury works with other Government Departments on a wide range of policies and the Departments implementing the policies and services are responsible for producing equalities impact assessments.

The Treasury's equality schemes (race, disability and gender) are available on the Treasury's public website and give examples of how the Treasury has promoted best practice and worked with other Departments to assess equalities impacts.

Departmental Lobbying

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether Ministers in his Department received representations from (a) Lord Moonie, (b) Lord Taylor of Blackburn, (c) Lord Snape and (d) Lord Truscott in the last seven months. [255221]

Angela Eagle: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

Environment

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his definition is of the UK’s environmental industries as referred to in the pre-Budget report 2008. [255085]

Angela Eagle: We have used the definition from the forthcoming independent study by Innovas, commissioned by BERR. The UK’s environmental industries are broadly defined by three categories:

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the evidential basis is of the estimate in the pre-Budget report 2008 that over the next 20 years more than one million people could be employed in the UK's environmental industries. [255087]

Angela Eagle: The UK CEED (Centre for Economic and Environmental Development) report on ‘Emerging Markets in the Environmental Sector’ (November 2006) estimated that the UK environmental sector employed around 400,000 with an annual turnover of £25 billion. This report predicted that the market would grow to £46 billion by 2015.

Other studies, such as that undertaken by Roland Berger, suggest that the global market could double by 2020. It is therefore reasonable to assume that if the UK maintains its share of the growth, more than one million could be employed in this sector over the next 20 years.


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A more recent study (the forthcoming independent study by Innovas, commissioned by BERR) estimates that the UK already employs 880,000 in this sector if the wider supply chain is included.

Government Departments: Consultants

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much each central Government Department spent on the purchase of consultancy services, standard chart of account code 51401400, in 2007-08. [247568]

Yvette Cooper: The information requested is not held centrally.


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