Fuel Poverty: Stroud

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in Stroud constituency were in fuel poverty in (a) 1997, (b) 2003 and (c) 2009. [315882]

Mr. Kidney: The most recently available sub-regional split of fuel poverty relates to 2006, and shows that there were around 4,200 fuel-poor households in the Stroud constituency. In 2003 there were around 2,600 fuel-poor households in the Stroud constituency. Figures prior to 2003 are not available.

The methodology used for the 2006 work differs from that previously used, so care should be taken in comparing the fuel poverty levels in one area between 2003 and 2006.

Work and Pensions

Crisis Loans

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the amount spent by her Department on crisis loans on each day in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. [313268]

Helen Goodman: The available information is in the following table.

Crisis loans in Great Britain in 2008 and 2009
£ million
Calendar yearAverage gross expenditure per working dayAverage recoveries per working dayAverage net expenditure per working day










The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using official/National Statistics but in this case we only have management information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as official/National Statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, they do not include applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System.


DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System

4 Feb 2010 : Column 447W

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on works and refurbishment to offices allocated to Ministers in her Department's buildings in the last 12 months. [305677]

Yvette Cooper: Expenditure in respect of new works, refurbishments and planned maintenance to Ministers' offices in the last year was £19,223.85.

Post Office Card Account

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations her Department has received on the use of automated teller machines (ATMs) other than Bank of Ireland ATMs to access Post Office card accounts. [315511]

Helen Goodman: The Department has received representations about this from LINK.

Social Security Benefits: Ex-servicemen

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (War Pension Disregard) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, (SI 2009 No. 3389), if she will take steps to ensure that local authorities disregard service attributable pensions in considering eligibility for housing and council tax benefit. [315748]

Helen Goodman: A mandatory £10 disregard of income from war pensions (war disablement pension, a pension to a war widow or war widower or a similar pension paid to a surviving civil partner), applies in the calculation of entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit. In addition, local authorities have discretionary powers to disregard some or all of income from war pensions, including service attributable pensions, once the mandatory disregard of £10.00 has been made. It is a matter for each authority to decide the extent to which they apply the additional disregard. We have recently issued guidance clarifying that service attributable pensions fall to be disregarded under the discretionary powers.

State Retirement Pensions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations her Department has received on the restoration of the link between salaries and pensions. [314918]

Angela Eagle: The Department has received a number of representations on restoring the earnings link to the basic state pension.

The basic state pension will increase in line with earnings, rather than prices, in the future. The exact date from which this will start has yet to be fixed, but it is expected to happen from 2012, or by the end of the next Parliament at the latest.

4 Feb 2010 : Column 448W

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations her Department has received on expanding the age range for eligibility for winter fuel payments. [314917]

Angela Eagle: The Department has not received any formal representations on the changing of the age range related to eligibility for winter fuel payments.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Sustainable Fisheries

9. Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs What steps he plans to take to encourage sustainable fisheries. [315383]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The UK's response to the Commission's Green Paper on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy states that to achieve the effective, sustainable exploitation of fish stocks, the EU must set itself a series of more challenging objectives. We shall seek to persuade the Commission to look beyond the world summit on sustainable development commitment to fish stocks at maximum sustainable yield and deliver a mechanism which optimises the renewable wealth of marine fish resources.


Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress his Department has made towards meeting its 2010 biodiversity targets; and if he will make a statement. [315395]

Huw Irranca-Davies: We have continued to make progress on our biodiversity priorities. For example, nearly 91 per cent. of Sites of Special Scientific Interest are now in favourable or recovering condition; we have a Marine and Coastal Access Act which will ensure productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas; and internationally we continue to support a wide range of conservation projects through our Darwin initiative.

International Whaling Commission

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what objectives he has set for the outcomes of the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission in March 2010. [315398]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The agenda for the forthcoming inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission is yet to be announced and a report by the Chair on reform discussions has not yet been produced; therefore I am unable to comment in detail.

I can reassure you that we will continue to strive to ensure long-term protection and conservation of whale populations worldwide. The UK Government will not agree to any proposals which increase risk to future whale populations.

4 Feb 2010 : Column 449W


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will set out, with statistical information as closely related to Chorley constituency as possible, the effect on that constituency of the policies of his Department and its predecessor since 1997. [314233]

Dan Norris: Due to the broad nature of the question and the wide range of DEFRA policies implemented in Chorley, it is not possible to provide a detailed answer in the form requested.

As a local authority, Chorley is obliged through statute to comply with central Government legislation. DEFRA's policy responsibilities are summarised in its departmental strategic objectives (DSOs) that have been agreed with the Treasury:

DEFRA publishes annual departmental reports which set out progress against its public service agreement targets and DSOs. The 2009 report is available at:

Past reports are available online in the National Archives.

For information on a specific DEFRA policy in Chorley, the Government office for the north-east is able to provide information on implementation and the benefits to the area.

Departmental Advertising

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what advertising campaigns his Department has been responsible in each of the last three years; which such campaigns have (a) commenced and (b) continued in 2009-10 to date; and what the total cost of each such campaign has been. [309919]

Dan Norris: Since the beginning of the current financial year DEFRA has spent around £2 million on campaign advertising. This was primarily on campaigns for conservation volunteering, water saving, waste and resource efficiency. A further £23,841 was spent on advertising vacancies within the same time period.

Spend covering the previous two years is outlined as follows:

4 Feb 2010 : Column 450W


Cost (£)

Act On CO2(1)


Resource Efficiency


Reach Communications








DEFRA Conservation Volunteering


Recruitment Advertising





Cost (£)

Climate Change—Citizen and Public Engagement Project




Communications (Pre-Registration Stage)


Climate Challenge


Animal Disease Prevention Campaign


DEFRA WATO Announcement Ad




Catering Insertion


Nature Magazine Insertion


Sheep and Goats Identification


Greener Living Pages


Act On CO2(1)


Recruitment Advertising




(1 )Funded by DEFRA and DfT—DEFRA share shown above.

Departmental Compensation

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess the adequacy of the level of consolatory payments made by his Department. [315393]

Jim Fitzpatrick: As agreed at the Public Administration Select Committee meeting on 28 January, further discussions will be held between DEFRA and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on a range of customer service and redress issues affecting the Rural Payments Agency.

Departmental Empty Property

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough of 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 63W, on departmental buildings, what the (a) book value and (b) estimated annual rental value is of vacant residential properties owned by his Department. [315968]

Dan Norris: The Department's empty residential property, which had been vacant in excess of six months as cited on 5 January, Official Report, column 63W, has a combined book value of £87,000 and combined potential annual rental value of £18,000.