24 Nov 2009 : Column 47W

24 Nov 2009 : Column 47W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 24 November 2009

House of Commons Commission

Members: Allowances

Mr. Allen: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission whether the House authorities have requested the return of the disc containing personal financial information of hon. Members from the Daily Telegraph. [300229]

Nick Harvey: In the absence of a police investigation the House authorities are not in a position to confirm whether or not there is such a disc, or who may have such a disc in their possession. I refer the hon. Member to Mr. Speaker's statement of 11 May 2009 referring to steps the House authorities have taken to remind publishers of the serious security implications if personal data that might expose Members and others to risks to their safety were to be published.

Mr. Allen: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the House of Commons Commission will advise hon. Members on changing their bank details following the disclosure of hon. Members' personal financial information. [300238]

Nick Harvey: All Members were advised, by letter, on 13 May that they should consider taking action. I will send the hon. Member a copy of the letter.

Electoral Commission Committee


Mrs. Laing: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether the Electoral Commission has provided guidance to electoral registration officers in local authorities on the storage of electoral records. [300736]

Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it issues guidance to all electoral registration officers, which highlights the importance of ensuring that electoral records containing personal data are stored securely.

In particular the Commission's guidance recommends that electoral registration officers should seek guidance from the appointing authority's Data Protection Officer and IT department on appropriate procedures to mitigate risks to the security of electoral data.

The Commission further informs me that the Ministry of Justice has published guidance on common standards for the storage of electors' details on the electoral register.

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Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Conditions of Employment

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many and what proportion of staff of his Department, its executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies work flexibly or part-time; and what his Department's policy is on making jobs available on a job-share or flexible basis. [301336]

Mr. Simon: Currently there are 50 (10.3 per cent.) out of a total of 481 staff working part-time in DCMS. However, all staff are actively encouraged to work alternative working patterns, including flexible working, compressed hours, and working from home. These are mainly arranged at local line management level and the Department does not hold comprehensive data centrally about the percentages of staff involved. The Department's policy is that all posts are considered suitable for part-time employees or job-share unless there is a clear business case outlining why this should not be the case.

The Royal Parks Agency currently has seven (7 per cent.) out of 100 staff working part-time. Application forms ask for applicants to state their preferred working patterns including whether they wish to be considered for a job share.

We do not hold information centrally about our non-departmental bodies.

Departmental Food

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) lamb, (b) beef, (c) chicken, (d) pork, (e) turkey, (f) other meats, (g) vegetables and (h) fruit procured by his Department that was produced in the UK in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [300182]

Mr. Simon: The proportion of food procured by the Department during 2008-09 which was produced in the UK was as follows:


















Other meats




Ware potatoes-whole, unprepared


Processed potatoes-whole, prepared


Root vegetables and onions






Protected vegetables-e.g. tomatoes


Other vegetables-e.g. asparagus




Orchard fruit


Soft fruit


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Departmental Legal Costs

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the (a) cost and (b) purpose was of legal (i) representation and (ii) advice sought by his Department and its agencies in each year since May 1997. [300334]

Mr. Simon: The overall legal costs incurred by the Department and its Agency, The Royal Parks, from 2005-06 to 2008-09 are set out in the table.

Information relating to prior years can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Legal advice is provided by the Treasury Solicitor's Department and, where required, by counsel and private sector legal firms. The purpose of the advice is to support the whole range of the Department's activities, including policy making, the drafting of statutory instruments and the preparation of Bills.

Financial year Legal expenditure (£)









Departmental Official Cars

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of providing official cars for the use of (a) Ministers and (b) officials in the last 12 months. [301184]

Mr. Simon: The cost of providing official cars for the use of Ministers in 2008-09 was £276,668. No departmental official was provided with an official car.

Departmental Rail Travel

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what date he last travelled by train in the course of his official duties. [301195]

Mr. Bradshaw: I travelled by train to Nottingham on 20 November.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of jobs advertised by his Department in the last 12 months were online only applications; and what provision his Department makes for those wishing to apply for jobs in his Department who do not have access to the internet. [301547]

Mr. Simon: 95 per cent. (or 113 out of 119) of the recruitments that took place between November 2008 and November 2009 were advertised on the internet only. These were recruitments that were open to existing civil servants only. Posts open external to the civil service are often advertised in the press as well. As yet no provisions are in place to advertise internal Civil service recruitments in a non-electronic format, however, paper-only applications are accepted by the Department and information on current vacancies is available and readily given to any individual who contacts the Department inquiring about current opportunities.

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Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether his Department provides guidance on whether hon. Members and district councillors are included in the definition of 'interested parties' or 'responsible authorities' in section 13 of the Licensing Act 2003 and in the Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005. [301073]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) and associated guidance issued by the Secretary of State and by my Department sets out the individuals or bodies that are interested parties and responsible authorities under the 2003 Act. Members of Parliament and district councillors are not responsible authorities under the 2003 Act and, currently, are interested parties only if they live, or operate a business, in the vicinity of the premises. In addition, if requested to do so, they can make representations on behalf of a resident or a business who themselves is an interested party under the 2003 Act.

In recognition of the important role that local authorities play in co-ordinating efforts to manage local alcohol related problems, the Policing and Crime Act 2009 includes a provision which, when in force, will make local councillors interested parties under the 2003 Act and therefore able to make representations on licence applications and seek licence reviews in their own right as councillors.


Departmental Disclosure of Information

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many allegations of victimisation for whistleblowing have been made to his Department by its staff since 6 June 2006. [301499]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office has had no occurrence of whistleblowing.

Departmental Official Cars

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of providing official cars for the use of (a) Ministers and (b) officials in the last 12 months. [301179]

Mr. Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Paul Clark) on 16 July 2009, Official Report, column 80WS.

Departmental Taxis

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what contracts his Department has with private hire taxi companies; and what expenditure his Department has incurred against each such contract in each of the last three years. [300836]

Mr. Hain: None.

24 Nov 2009 : Column 51W


Armed Forces: Cadets

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much funding is required for cadet instructors to resume training; [301439]

(2) what remuneration cadet instructors will receive in 2009-10; and from what budget such remuneration will be drawn. [301440]

Mr. Kevan Jones: We fully recognise the contribution that the cadets make to the long-term future of the Army and to society in general. But tough choices have to be made. Our focus is on Afghanistan and the cadets do not contribute directly to that main effort. We have therefore taken the very difficult decision to reduce the amount of money available to the Army Cadet Force for the remainder of the year. This means that instructors will receive no further payments for weekend Cadet training, although we will continue to meet enabling costs such as travel where we can. We will also continue to provide training courses at the Cadet Training Centre and at Brigade level for adult instructors, as it is essential that we maintain that core of skill and expertise. Instructors are not paid for evening training activity, so this is continuing as normal. The reduction in activity is saving a total of £4 million. By the end of 2009-10 Army cadet instructors will have received some £13 million from the Army budget.

We acknowledge the huge level of commitment and enthusiasm within the Army Cadet Force, and among the volunteer adult instructors in particular.

Armed Forces: Pay

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many deductions of earnings requests each of the armed forces received from the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in the last three years for which figures are available; how many requests were (a) complied with and (b) not complied with by each service; and under what circumstances a service will not comply with a deduction of earnings request. [300694]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Data are not held in a format which would identify a breakdown of the number of deductions from earnings requests. However, the total numbers received across the services since January 2007 to date are provided in the following table:


January to December 2007


January to December 2008


January 2009 to date


Deductions from earnings requests are complied with in all but exceptional circumstances. If an individual was not in receipt of pay, for example because they were absent without leave, this would prohibit compliance. In instances where a non-resident parent cannot be contacted because they are committed to operational duties, the CSA would be informed accordingly, and asked to resubmit the request in six months.

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