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Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) applicants and (b) posts to available for such applicants there were to join the Civil Service fast stream in each year since 1996-97. 
Mr. Watson: Application and recruitment figures for the Fast Stream as a whole, which consists of the Graduate Fast Stream, the Economist Fast Stream, the Statistician Fast Stream and, since 2007, the Technology in Business Fast Stream, are as follows:
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he plans to increase the retirement pension age for the Civil Service pension schemes in line with the planned changes to the state retirement age. 
Mr. Watson: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Gillian Merron) on 26 July 2007, Official Report, column 105WS, which gave details of the package of Civil Service pension reform. There are no plans to increase the retirement pension age at present. If costs go up at future actuarial valuations, action will be taken to limit the contributions paid by Civil Service employers. This could include increasing the pension age.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Public Disclosure Act 1998 on (a) the Civil Service and (b) public authorities. 
Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff of his Department were recorded absent for non-medical reasons on (a) 2 February 2009 and (b) 3 February 2009; what estimate he has made of the (i) cost to his Department and (ii) number of working hours lost due to such absence; and what guidance his Department issued to staff in respect of absence on these days. 
Short periods of special leave with pay are authorised and recorded by managers and not held centrally. To obtain this information in relation to 2 and 3 February 2009 would represent a disproportionate cost.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff in (a) the Prime Minister's Office and (b) the Leader of the House's Office were disciplined for (i) bullying and (ii) harassment of colleagues in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Watson: It is not the policy of the Cabinet Office to release personal data relating to individual staff. I can confirm that in the period specified, there were fewer than five cases in the Department where staff were disciplined for bullying and harassment of colleagues. It would not be appropriate to provide a further breakdown.
Kevin Brennan: The Futurebuilders Fund draws down funding from the Cabinet Office when commitments made by the Fund are ready to be disbursed to third sector organisations. The budget allocations made by the Cabinet Office are indicative only, and for transparency, the annual actual and audited expenditure is recorded separately in the Cabinet office Annual Report and Accounts.
|Budget including management charge|
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether there have been any changes to the Futurebuilders operational budget since the publication of the Government's Recession Action Plan for the Third Sector. 
Kevin Brennan: The operational budget for the Futurebuilders Fund is set out in the contract between the Cabinet Office and Adventure Capital Fund Management, which was signed on 4 February 2008. The Fund Manager is paid a fixed fee for managing the Futurebuilders fund with a small, additional sum to cover contingency and a performance-related bonus. Since the agreement was signed, this has not changed.
Kevin Brennan: The contractual operating terms for the Futurebuilders Fund were set out in the contract between the Cabinet Office and Adventure Capital Fund Management, which was signed on 4 February 2008. This contract came into effect on 1 April 2008. Since the original agreement, the contractual operating terms have not changed.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what changes have been made to the allocation of funding to Futurebuilders since the start of the current comprehensive spending review. 
The Futurebuilders Fund draws down funding from the Cabinet Office when commitments made by the fund are ready to be disbursed to third sector organisations. Due to the time it can take for third sector organisations to become fully investment
ready following an in principle commitment from the Futurebuilders Fund, it is often difficult to accurately predict expenditure of the Fund in any given financial year. Budget allocations to the Fund are therefore updated on a regular basis.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Government departments have fully implemented the recommendations of the review of data handling procedures in Government; and what recent steps he has taken to set cross-Government standards on the management of information. 
Mr. Watson: Departments have already reported on information risk management and implementation of the Data Handling Report (DHR) requirements in their annual resource accounts and will continue to do so on an annual basis. The DHR stated that a report on information risk and assurance will be placed before Parliament following annual reporting from departments on the 2008-09 financial year. This report will also cover departments' implementation of the recommendations of the DHR and information risk in general. Indications so far are that departments are making good progress, and are focused on completing the implementation of the DHR requirements.
Recent steps taken by my Department include: the rolling-out of a civil service wide e-learning package for all staff on data security with around 100 different public sector organisations accessing the training to date; the delivery of updated guidance on information risk assessments and reporting procedures; further and ongoing training and development sessions for Senior Information Risk Owners across departments.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how the funds for protection of the forest environment announced at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Poznan will be allocated; and from which budget the funds will be allocated. 
Joan Ruddock: The contribution comes from the UK's £800 million Environmental Transformation FundInternational Window. The funding will provide support to countries seeking to initiate change towards low carbon emission and climate resilient sustainable forest management. It will help to demonstrate and implement the measures required for a country to reduce overall emissions from forestry and potentially access payments from a future Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) funding mechanism.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has to commission further research into the use of international financial mechanisms to reduce levels of forest loss. 
Joan Ruddock: It is clear that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) cannot be financed by public funds and carbon markets alone. There is a strong case for early action and a public-private partnership to mobilise additional funding for REDD.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for International Development have commissioned a study to examine the options for financing mechanisms that use public funding to mobilise substantial private investment into sustainable forest management, leading to reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation with environmental and developmental co-benefits. We hope to be able to consult on the outcomes of this in April this year.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme in the light of the recession. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: In the EU carbon market we are currently witnessing lower carbon allowance prices due to a variety of factors including reduced manufacturing output and lower electricity demand. The fall in the price of carbon allowances has also followed the fall in other commodity prices. Allowing carbon allowance prices to reflect these changing market fundamentals is necessary for achieving fixed emissions reductions at least cost as it incentivises participants to change their behaviour accordingly.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned on the volume of carbon dioxide emitted from processes involving the use of indigenous deep-mined coal compared to similar processes involving the use of tar sands, shale and other unconventional oils. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government agrees with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report which shows that the emissions associated with extraction and conversion of these unconventional sources of energy are several times those associated with conventional sources of oil per unit of energy produced. The Government have not made an assessment of the volumes of carbon dioxide produced by processes involving unconventional sources of oil compared with indigenous coal.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what funding he has allocated to the work of the UK-Indonesia Working Group on Environment and Climate Change (WGECC); when and where the group will next meet; and which UK organisations will participate in the WGECC. 
Joan Ruddock: A joint MoU (DECC/DEFRA with the Indonesian Environment Ministry) establishing the WGECC was signed in Poznan in December 2008. The first meeting of the WGECC is due to take place in April in London. There will be UK representatives from DECC, DEFRA, DFID, FCO, DFT, and UKTI.
Funds have not yet been allocated to the work of the WGECC as a work programme is yet to be agreed. April's meeting will consider the shape of the work programme and help to identify funding requirements.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's average response time to a letter received from (a) an hon. Member and (b) a member of the public has been since it was established. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of departments in replying to Members correspondence. The report for 2007 was published on 20 March 2008, Official Report, columns 71-74WS. Information for 2008 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it ready. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House.
With respect to correspondence from members of the public, this information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs. The Department does however aim to respond to all written correspondence within 15 working days.
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