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21 Jan 2010 : Column 429W—continued

Unemployment: Leeds

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she has taken to reduce levels of unemployment in Leeds, West constituency amongst lone parents since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [306951]

Jim Knight: Lone parents in Leeds, West have access to a wide range of pre-employment and in-work support, including the new deal for lone parents, dedicated personal advisers, working tax credits and in-work credit. Lone parents claiming jobseeker's allowance also have access to support available to other jobseekers, such as to self-employment support, provisions such as work-focused training and recruitment subsidies available as part of the six month offer, the flexible new deal, and access to Local Employment Partnerships, where available.

According to the Household Labour Force Survey, the employment rate of lone parents in West Yorkshire was approximately 50.2 per cent. in 2001 (Quarter 2) and approximately 52.8 per cent. in 2009 (Quarter 2). West Yorkshire is the smallest region which includes Leeds, West for which the Department has employment data for lone parents.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Fraud

7. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for South-West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what steps the Commission is taking to minimise the risk of fraud in the general election. [312133]

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Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it is working with police forces, electoral registration officers and returning officers to establish a network of single point of contact officers for electoral matters and has delivered training seminars for police forces and electoral administrators on electoral fraud.

The Commission has also, with the Association of Chief Police Officers, published guidance for electoral administrators and police forces on tackling electoral malpractice, and has established performance standards for electoral registration officers and returning officers on how to identify fraudulent activity.

General Election Counts

9. Richard Ottaway: To ask the hon. Member for South-West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what information the Electoral Commission holds on the number of election counts that are not planned to commence on the evening of polling day in the general election. [312135]

Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has asked all returning officers to provide information about their current plans for counting ballot papers at the next UK parliamentary general election. This information has been made available in the House of Commons Library.

In summary, as of 7 January, returning officers for 586 out of 650 constituencies had provided information. Of these, 52 currently do not plan to count ballot papers on the evening of polling day at the general election. A further 17 have indicated they may defer counting in the event that the general election is combined with local authority elections, and 187 were still undecided.


Departmental Electronic Equipment

Mr. Hands: To ask the Solicitor-General how many iPODs have been bought by the Law Officers' Departments since 2005; and at what cost. [311893]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service is a devolved organisation. To obtain this information would require local managers to review all paper procurement records and would incur disproportionate cost.

The remaining Law Officers' Departments have not purchased any iPODs during this period.

Leader of the House

Reform of the House of Commons Committee

27. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Leader of the House when she plans to bring forward proposals for the House to decide on the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Reform of the House of Commons. [312143]

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Barbara Keeley: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House gave to the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson) in oral questions today.


Economic Situation: Wales

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what meetings Ministers in his Department have had with (a) Welsh Assembly Government Ministers, (b) ministerial colleagues and (c) representatives of Bosch to discuss the closure of Bosch operations in Wales; what the date of each such meeting was; and who attended each; [312250]

(2) when he was informed of Bosch's intention to end their operations in Wales; [312251]

(3) what discussions he has had with Unite on the closure of Bosch operations in Wales. [312252]

Mr. Hain: : I have had discussions with a range of interested parties, including the First Minister and Unite.

Last October Bosch announced that it was holding a 90 day of consultation on the future of the plant, either to cut 300 posts or to close the site completely. On 14 January, Bosch management confirmed that it was recommending the closure of the factory, phasing out production and all jobs by the summer of 2011.

Although the consultation period continues until the end of February, we are already working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to provide the support and assistance necessary to help those affected to find new opportunities and get them back into work as quickly as possible.

Prime Minister

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2009, Official Report, column 547W, on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of machinery of government changes; and whether he has made such an assessment since 5 June 2009. [310345]

The Prime Minister: The machinery of government is kept under constant review.

Ministerial Policy Advisers: Pay

John Mason: To ask the Prime Minister what severance payments have been made to Ministers who have left office since May 2007. [311198]

The Prime Minister: Severance pay is payable in accordance with section 4 of the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991.

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Olympic Games: Canada

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Prime Minister how many (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Office are planning to attend the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010; and what estimate he has made of the cost of such attendance. [310842]

The Prime Minister: Since 1999 the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. From 2007-08 the list was extended to include all Ministers. The list also provides information on the number of officials who accompany Ministers. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House. Information for 2009-10 will be published as soon as the information is available.

All travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Management Code respectively.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Employment Tribunals Service

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employment tribunals relating to his Department have been held in each of the last five years; and what the total cost to his Department was of such tribunals in each such year. [309940]

Dan Norris: DEFRA and its executive agencies have been taken to an employment tribunal 14 times in the last five years. Of these 14 cases, five cases were found in favour of the individual and DEFRA incurred costs. As the number of employment tribunals upheld in each of the last five years is such a small number, we cannot give further details because of the possibility of identifying individuals.

Fly Tipping: Fixed Penalties

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the flycapture fixed penalty notice dataset for each local authority for 2008-09; [311485]

(2) what proportion of local authorities provide flycapture fixed penalty notice data for waste receptacle offences to his Department. [311495]

Dan Norris: DEFRA collects information from local authorities, on fixed penalty notices for a range of environmental offences, including litter, graffiti, abandoned vehicles and waste receptacles. These are published on the DEFRA website:

The most recent complete year is 2006-07-the first year many of the FPNs came into being. The return indicates that 43 out of 354 English local authorities (12 per cent.) issued a total of 988 fixed penalty notices for waste receptacle offences.

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Figures for 2007-08 and 2008-09 are being collected from local authorities and these will be published on the DEFRA website shortly.

Forestry Commission: Land

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the Forestry Commission plans to sell any of the land it holds. [312490]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Forestry Commission has an ongoing programme of asset sales, the proceeds of which are re-invested in the management and development of the public forest estate.

House of Commons Commission


Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2010, Official Report, columns 825-6W, on bars, for what reason the House of Commons Commission decided not to consult the Administration Committee on possible sites for location of nursery facilities; and if he will make a statement. [312365]

Nick Harvey: The Commission considered it important to have the planned nursery facility operating early in the new Parliament, before new Members had made other childcare arrangements. This is a challenging timescale, given the need for listed building consent and consent for change of use, the time required to make the premises ready and the requirement to pass the Ofsted inspection and be registered with Ofsted. In view of the time constraints, the Commission decided it was not feasible to consult the Administration Committee.

Legislation: Internet

Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the House of Commons Commission will bring forward arrangements to ensure that legislation introduced in the House is published on the internet in the format recommended by in its Free Our Bills campaign. [312170]

Nick Harvey: The House Administration is currently considering, together with its counterpart in the House of Lords, a proposal for a Procedural Data Programme to update the IT systems holding data about the proceedings of the House, including Bills and amendments to them, so that the data is made available in an open standardised electronic format. The programme would aim to produce Bills and amendments in an electronic format which both complies with open standards and is readily re-usable so that it can be exchanged between parliamentary systems and made available to the public for further processing by others. This output would be similar to what is being requested in the Free our Bills campaign, and also to what is referred to by the House of Lords Information Committee in its recent report "Are the Lords Listening? Creating Connections Between People
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and Parliament (HL Paper 138-1, 2008-09)". The work would be undertaken in consultation with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, the Office of Public Sector Information (responsible for publishing Acts) and the Cabinet Office.

Staff are working with the existing software supplier to improve the quality of the XML output from the Bill drafting software. In addition, staff are examining the possibilities of using Bill data in its existing form to publish improved information on the parliamentary website, such as by linking Bill texts to existing Acts of Parliament which the Bill would amend. Some Bill texts showing the amendments made at Committee stage are already published on the parliamentary website (for example, the Financial Services Bill).

Members: Email

Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 622W, on "Members: email", whether PICT has had discussions with representatives of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) to find a technical fix to allow PGP software to be used on hon. Members' computers in a way which is not incompatible with Parliament's current version of VPN (remote access) software. [312432]

Nick Harvey: No. PICT provide support to an alternative encryption software product which is deemed to be completely satisfactory. However, Members are not restricted to using the encryption product that PICT offer and support, and can choose to use other products, including PGP.

Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 622W, on "Members: email", if the House of Commons Commission will ask PICT to undertake a further evaluation of whether Pretty Good Privacy software can be used by hon. Members following the introduction of new versions of the PGP email proxy and the Infoexpress VPN client. [312433]

Nick Harvey: No, there is no need to do so. Members are not restricted to using the encryption product that PICT offer and support.


Olympic Games 2012: Construction

Philip Davies: To ask the Minister for the Olympics with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire of 29 October 2009, Official Report, columns 517-8W, on the "Olympic Games 2012: construction", if she will list the construction contracts which have been awarded to firms based on each region. [309302]

Tessa Jowell: Full details of Olympic Delivery Authority's direct suppliers, including a map showing benefits to each region is available on London 2012's website at:

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Details of companies which have construction contracts through the supply chains of ODA's tier one contractors are also provided on the website, this includes the region they are from.

Olympic Games 2012: Finance

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what commitments the Government Olympic Executive has received from other Government bodies in relation to support for the London 2012 Olympics; and what budget is attached to each such commitment. [312343]

Tessa Jowell: As part of the £9.325 billion public sector funding package for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), and the Department for Transport (DfT) are providing funding to the Olympic Delivery Authority for venues, infrastructure and Olympic Park security. As part of that package, the Home Office is providing £600 million for the wider policing and security of the games, and there is a further £238 million as a security contingency. CLG is providing £2.851 million and DfT £1.016 million.

In total 19 Government Departments are engaged in delivering the games and the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) is currently working closely with those Departments to help them develop their plans and confirm the associated costs.

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