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Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) programmes his Department supports and (b) discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues in other Government Departments on the global eradication of tuberculosis. [2554]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The UK remains strongly committed to reducing death and suffering from tuberculosis. The Department for International Development (DFID) invests in a broad range of actions to combat tuberculosis (TB) from TB specific programmes, to strengthening health systems and strategies to address poverty and inequity. DFID uses a variety of channels including country programmes, support to the Stop TB Partnership, UNITAID and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and through research partnerships. We see this as the best way of tackling the many challenges posed by TB.

I have not yet met ministerial colleagues in other Government Departments to discuss TB, but expect to do so in due course.

We are currently reviewing all our aid, including aid channelled through multilateral agencies to ensure it is as effective as possible and brings real benefit to the world's poor.

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Work and Pensions

Children: Maintenance

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that payments made through the Child Support Agency contribute directly towards the welfare of children. [1699]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Departmental Flags

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on flying the Union flag each day from each official building for which his Department is responsible. [1821]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issues the guidance for the flying of the Union flag on UK Government buildings. The guidance encourages the Union flag to be flown 365 days a year, and as a minimum all Departments must fly the Union flag on the 19 special designated days e.g. the Queen's Birthday, Remembrance Day, etc. and other special occasions as required e.g. State Opening of Parliament. More information on the guidance is available on the DCMS website:

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My Department flies the Union Flag on the 19 designated days and on other special days as required. We also fly the flag on every day of the year at the Department's London Headquarters building, Caxton House and the Adelphi.

Future Jobs Fund

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of young people who have been placed into training, employment or work experience through the Future Jobs Fund are (a) registered disabled, (b) women and (c) from a minority ethnic background. [1584]

Chris Grayling: The latest Official Statistics show that:

Housing Benefit

Dr Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to amend the regulations on the award of local housing allowance to (a) registered drug addicts and (b) those undergoing treatment for alcoholism. [1890]

Maria Miller: We have no plans to amend the housing benefit regulations in the manner described.

Dr Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to amend the regulations on (a) the award of local housing allowance and (b) the payment of local housing allowance to landlords in 2010. [1891]

Maria Miller: The Department concluded its consultation on reforms to housing benefit earlier this year. The Government are considering the responses to the consultation and will bring forward proposals to ensure that housing benefit under the local housing allowance arrangements is fair and affordable while giving tenants access to reasonable accommodation.

A review of the first two years' operation of the local housing allowance arrangements is being undertaken to monitor the impact of the local housing allowance at a national level. The review aims to cover a range of issues including direct payment to tenants and will report later this year. Changes to the payment arrangements will be considered in the light of that report.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Official Cars

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what his policy is on the use by Ministers in his Department of cars allocated from (a) his Department's pool and (b) the Government car pool which are manufactured in the UK; whether Ministers in his Department are entitled to request the use of a car manufactured in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [2409]

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Hugh Robertson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary under Secretary of State (Roads and Motoring) (Mike Penning) on 14 June 2010, Official Report , columns 290-1W.

Digital Broadcasting: Oxfordshire

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions his Department has had with (a) Digital UK and (b) broadcasters on compensation to viewers in respect of disruption to television reception in Oxfordshire arising from works on the Beckley transmitter. [2680]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has discussed this matter with Digital UK, which provides public information about switchover on behalf of the public service broadcasters. It is regrettable that some viewers are suffering disruption to their TV services, but I am reassured by Digital UK that the mast operator, Arqiva, is doing everything possible to build the new antenna and get it in place as soon as possible, and that full services should be restored by the end of September, weather permitting.

In the intervening period, those affected should still be able to receive some services. Compensation is not payable to viewers who experienced limited disruption to their television reception due to engineering works of this kind. For completeness, I should add that, where there is a complete loss of TV services, there are circumstances where a licence fee refund may be available but we are not aware of any such cases.

Supporters Direct

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Football Association, (b) Football League and (c) Premier League on supporters' trusts; [2476]

(2) whether he plans to meet representatives of Supporters Direct; [2477]

(3) what funding his Department plans to provide to Supporters Direct in the 2010-11 financial year. [2478]

Hugh Robertson: I have had no official meetings with the football authorities or Supporters Direct on the subject of supporters' trusts. While my officials remain in regular contact with the football authorities and Supporters Direct, I anticipate that there will be an opportunity for me to meet them in the near future.

The Government currently have no plans to fund Supporters Direct.


Pensioners: Poverty

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State +for Wales what her most recent estimate is of the number of pensioners living in poverty in Wales. [2397]

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Mr David Jones: The most commonly used measure of poverty relates to those with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income, after housing costs.

The latest figures for Wales are published in the "Households Below Average Income series". Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility. Figures show that for the period 2006-07 to 2008-09 there were around an estimated 18% of all pensioners in Wales in poverty, corresponding to around 100,000 pensioners. Figures are quoted to the nearest 100,000 and percentages are quoted to the nearest whole percentage point. The three year average of 18% of pensioners in relative poverty in Wales is the same level as the current UK three year average.

This Government will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011, with a 'triple guarantee' that pensions are raised by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5%.

We will help prevent people from falling into poverty in later life by simplifying the rules and regulations relating to pensions to help reinvigorate occupational pensions. We will encourage companies to offer high-quality pensions to all employees and will work with businesses and the industry to support auto enrolment.


Manchester Metrolink

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he estimates the extension work to phases 3a and 3b of the Manchester Metrolink will be completed; [2375]

(2) what evaluation has been made of the cost to the economy of not completing phases 3a and 3b of the extension to Manchester Metrolink; [2378]

(3) how much has been spent from the public purse on phases 3a and 3b of the Manchester Metrolink extension. [2379]

Norman Baker [holding answer 15 June 2010]: Manchester Metrolink Phase 3a is currently under construction and is expected to open in late 2011.

Metrolink 3b is currently under review following the announcement by Her Majesty's Treasury on 17 May 2010 which asked for all spending approvals granted since 1 January 2010 to be re-examined. If the project subsequently receives re-approval it is expected that the two extensions will be completed by early 2014.

No evaluation or technical analysis has been undertaken on the economic costs of Phases 3a or 3b if these were not completed.

The Department for Transport has to date provided capital funding of £129.6 million for Phase 3a and £10.241 million for 3b. These figures exclude any costs incurred by the Department on the assessment of the two Metrolink Phases. It also does not include any public expenditure incurred by the promoter, Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive.

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Transport: Oxford

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to maintain the £88 million Access to Oxford funding for local transport schemes. [2681]

Norman Baker: In his written ministerial statement to the House on 10 June, "Transport: Local Authority Major Schemes", the Secretary of State for Transport announced that the Department would not support further work on major investment schemes until after the Government's spending review is concluded and the departmental budget is settled.

Transport: Schools

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department provides to local authorities on assessing the suitability of section 19 permit holders in the provision of home-to-school transport; and if he will make a statement. [2479]

Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) publishes an on-line guide entitled "Passenger transport provided under Section 19 or Section 22 permits". This is available on the agency's website:

Home Department

Asylum: Children

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unaccompanied child asylum seekers were deported to each destination from the UK in each month over the last five years. [2630]

Damian Green: Our statistics do not record the number of unaccompanied children removed separately from the number of children removed as part of a family group. The number of unaccompanied children removed is, however, very small and generally confined to those returned to EU countries under Dublin convention procedures or the few that can be returned direct to their parents.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government plans to review arrangements for the removal of unaccompanied child asylum seekers from the UK. [2631]

Damian Green: We are looking to expand the reintegration assistance we make available to adult returnees who we remove to Afghanistan, in order to make it suitable for a limited number of males aged 16 or 17. This should result in some of this age group being returned but this will depend on individual assessments of their circumstances.

We are constantly monitoring the range of assistance available for returnees to a variety of countries. In respect of young people under 18, our preference is to return them direct to their parents. Only when that is
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not possible do we need to look to provide interim assistance on return while onward passage to parents or family is arranged.

Borders: Security

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has for the use of vehicular x-ray scanners by the UK Border Agency. [2104]

Damian Green: UKBA currently has 15 freight scanners. Of these, 13 are mobile. The deployment, use and effectiveness of these scanners is continually assessed, as is the level of risk they are deployed to combat. The scanners and supporting resources are deployed according to risk.

All current scanners have been specified to safely detect a wide range of commodities including prohibited items, fiscal goods and concealed persons. This capability allows UKBA to effectively address risk with the minimum disruption to legitimate trade.

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the UK Border Agency budget was spent on vehicular x-ray scanners in the latest period for which figures are available. [2106]

Damian Green: During the 2009-10 Fiscal Year, £9,771,389 capital was spent on the purchase of seven mobile and two fixed freight scanners. £2,290,343 was spent on servicing and maintaining the UKBA fleet of 15 units.

This expenditure represents five per cent. of the UKBA capital budget allocation for 2009-10.

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