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5 July 2010 : Column 64W—continued

Mackerel

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what instructions she has given to her negotiating team for the 29 June 2010 meeting of the Fisheries Council on the UK allocations for mackerel; and if she will make a statement. [4599]

Richard Benyon: At the Fisheries Council on 29 June 2010 the UK plans to make clear that Iceland and the Faroe Islands should promote responsible fishing and that their current actions are unacceptable. We want an agreement to be reached as soon as possible on the negotiations but behaviour that undermines the long-term health of the mackerel stock should not be rewarded when quotas are allocated between different coastal states.

Milk

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to provide dairy farmers with a greater margin on milk sold in supermarkets. [3992]

Mr Paice: The Government have committed to create an ombudsman in the Office of Fair Trading to enforce the provisions of the Grocery Supplies Code of Practice (GSCOP). The GSCOP will control supply chain practices, such as retrospective price changing, that transfer excessive risks and unexpected costs from retailers to their suppliers.

Packaging

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging. [4763]

Richard Benyon: There are two sets of regulations that encourage producers to minimise, recycle and recover packaging and reduce packaging waste: the essential requirements and the producer responsibility regulations.

More still needs to be done to reduce the amount of packaging and packaging waste being generated, however. 'Responsibility deals' such as the Courtauld Commitment have proven to be a good way by which Government and industry can work together to tackle this problem. In 2008 signatories to phase 1 of the Commitment achieved their target to halt growth in grocery packaging. Signatories are now building on this achievement and working towards the targets set in phase 2 of the Commitment, one of which is to reduce the carbon impact of grocery packaging by 10% by 2012.

In carrying out our review of waste policy we will consider the possibility of extending 'responsibility deals' like the Courtauld Commitment to other sectors.

Potatoes

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research and development grants her Department has provided for the development of agronomic methods for controlling potato cyst eelworm since May 1997. [4886]

Mr Paice: DEFRA has provided funding for the following research projects that contribute to improved control of potato cyst nematode/eelworm through improved agronomic practice.


5 July 2010 : Column 65W

5 July 2010 : Column 66W
Project number Project title Start date End date DEFRA grant (£)

HP0124T

Improved estimation of between and within field distribution of potato cyst nematodes and the implications for sampling

1 April 1997

31 March 2000

432,661

HP0126

PCN - biological control.

1 April 1997

31 March 2000

168,000

HP0133

Validation of PCR-based techniques alongside other technique used to determine the species of PCN and the increase...

1 January 1999

31 May 1999

15,000

HP0139

Within-field population changes of potato cyst nematodes related to potato yield and nematicide treatments

1 April 2000

31 March 2001

36,526

HP0115

Impact of nematophagous fungi on the regulation of potato cyst nematode populations

1 April 2000

1 April 2003

204,950

LK0918(1)

Integrated control for PCN

1 January 2001

31 December 2004

467,803

HP0143

Development of a robust assay to estimate the viability of potato cyst nematodes Globodera spp.

1 February 2003

31 January 2004

35,686

HH3111TPO

Investigation of potato cyst nematode (PCN) control

1 March 2003

31 August 2003

32,400

HH3110SPO

Nematode destroying microbes and the decline of potato cyst nematodes

1 April 2003

1 April 2004

74,011

LK0955(1)

Development of drip irrigation technology as a delivery system for the improved targeting and control of nematode pests in a range of root crops

1 April 2004

31 March 2007

211,764

LK0966(1)

Managing potato cyst nematode through maximising natural decline and population suppression

1 January 2006

31 December 2008

209,195

(1) LK0918, LK0955 and LK0966 were collaborative projects with industry in the Sustainable Arable Link Programme.

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if (a) she and (b) other Ministers in her Department will visit the Sárvári Research Trust's blight resistant potato trials in 2010. [4891]

Mr Paice: DEFRA Ministers do not currently have plans to visit the Sárvári Research Trust.

Six-Day Rule

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale of 24 June 2010, Official Report, column 412, what advice she has received on the effect on the spread of (a) bovine tuberculosis and (b) other animal diseases of ending the six-day movement rule. [5162]

Mr Paice: The advice I have received is that standstills confer significant protection against the spread of fast moving diseases such as foot and mouth. The biggest factor in the size of an outbreak is the length of time between the disease entering the country and its detection (the so called silent spread period-typically three weeks). Properly observed standstills limit the number of movements livestock can make during this period and hence reduce the number of potentially infected premises. Standstills are not effective against slower moving diseases such as bovine tuberculosis. As I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), the six-day rule will be considered by the taskforce.

Water Charges

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the monetary value is of the fund accumulated from water abstraction charges through the environmental improvement unit charge; and how much has been (a) paid from and (b) committed from this fund since its inception. [5052]

Richard Benyon: The value of the fund accumulated from water abstraction charges through the environmental improvement unit charge is £11.96 million. To date no compensation has been paid. In 2010-11 the Environment Agency allocated around £6 million for environmental improvements in East Anglia and the North West. Implementation of these schemes is awaiting ministerial approval.

Once the solution to an abstraction problem has been identified, its delivery is subject to the speed of recovery of funds, ministerial approval and, if necessary, a decision by the Lands Tribunal to decide the level of compensation payable.

Water: Private Sector

Mr Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable she has set for the transfer of responsibility for private drains and sewers to water companies; and if she will make a statement. [4737]

Richard Benyon: I am aware of concern for certainty about the timing of the private sewers transfer.

The Government are currently considering how to take forward previously announced proposals for the transfer of private sewers and lateral drains connected to the public sewerage system into the ownership of the water and sewerage companies in England.

Whales: Conservation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take (a) to ensure the conservation of whales and (b) to oppose commercial whaling. [4630]

Richard Benyon: I attended the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Agadir, Morocco in June 2010 and worked strongly with the Commission and others to ensure that the EU took a strong, pro-conservation position and resisted a proposal which would have effectively legitimised a resumption of commercial whaling.


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We will continue to strive to ensure long-term protection and conservation of whale populations worldwide. This Government oppose the resumption of commercial whaling, and protecting the moratorium on commercial whaling is of great importance.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of Japan on the moratorium on commercial whaling; and if she will make a statement. [4631]

Richard Benyon: At the recent annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in June, 2010 (IWC62) the UK called on countries to cease their lethal whaling operations and engage only in non-lethal research on whales.

I will shortly be writing to the Japanese Fisheries Minister to express the UK's continued opposition to the killing of whales in the southern and Northwest Pacific oceans, and to the hunting of small cetaceans in Japanese coastal waters.

The UK Government will continue to make our position known to Japan at every appropriate opportunity and argue that Japanese whaling operations undermine the credibility of the IWC as an effective organisation for the conservation of cetacean stocks world-wide.

Wildlife: Crime

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made an estimate of the number of individuals involved in committing offences related to wildlife crime reported in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. [5403]

Richard Benyon: We have not made an estimate of the number of individuals involved in committing offences related to wildlife crime reported in the last 12 months. Information upon which to base an estimate is not held centrally.

Wind Power: Fisheries

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will discuss with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change steps to mitigate the effects on the UK fishing industry of (a) offshore wind farms and (b) other clean energy projects. [5010]

Richard Benyon: The licensing process for offshore wind farms includes the consideration of a range of impacts, including those on other uses of the sea, such as fisheries activity. DEFRA officials and officials in the Marine Management Organisation are engaged in the licensing process to ensure that offshore renewable energy is taken forward sustainably.

Prior to the licensing process commencing, fisheries were considered at a strategic level in the Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) 2009 for some 33 GW of offshore wind. Furthermore, fisheries will be considered in the new Offshore Energy SEA2 that is currently under way to assess oil and gas, gas storage, offshore wind and wave and tidal activities.
5 July 2010 : Column 68W
Both SEAs were produced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change and further details are available at:

In addition, DEFRA officials are working to implement the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act to develop new marine planning and licensing systems that will help to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development, and are working with officials in other Departments to deliver this.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to bring forward proposals to end the testing of household products on animals. [4989]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government are committed to ending the testing of household products on animals. Work is under way to define the range of products affected and to determine how this can best be achieved. I am not yet in a position to confirm when such testing will be finally brought to an end, but hope to be able to do so shortly.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to bring forward proposals to reduce the use of animals in scientific research. [4990]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government are committed to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research. I am currently considering how this can best be achieved. I am not yet in a position to confirm when measures will be introduced.

British Nationality: War Crimes

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been prosecuted for an offence of fraud in connection with lying on immigration or citizenship application forms about participation in war crimes. [4798]

Damian Green: There have been no prosecutions for fraud in connection with lying on immigration or citizenship application forms about participation in war crimes.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Preseli, Pembrokeshire of 24 March 2010, Official Report, columns 351-52W, on the UK Border Agency's War Crimes Unit, what the country of origin is of those recommended for refusal/exclusion in each year since 2004. [4825]

Damian Green: UKBA does not disclose information on the country of origin of individuals recommended for refusal/exclusion due to the suspicion of involvement in war crimes. This information is operationally sensitive and disclosure could damage immigration control.


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Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Preseli, Pembrokeshire of 24 March 2010, Official Report, columns 351-52W, on the UK Border Agency's War Crimes Unit, how many people the Border Agency recommended for refusal/exclusion in each year since 2004 are still in the UK. [4826]

Damian Green: The UKBA does not hold this information. The UKBA only collates statistics on the number of cases referred to its specialist research team, and the recommendations that the team makes.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire of 24 March 2010, Official Report, columns 351-52W, on the UK Border Agency's War Crimes Unit, how many people whose cases the Border Agency referred to the Metropolitan police in each year since 2004 are still in the UK. [4828]

Damian Green: The UKBA does not hold this information. The UKBA only collates statistics on the number of cases referred to its specialist research team, and the recommendations that the team makes.

Cannabis

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to (a) reduce the use of cannabis inhaling devices and (b) restrict the availability of devices which can be used to inhale cannabis through high street shops. [4196]

Nick Herbert: The National Policing Improvement Agency and the Association for Chief Police Officers in England and Wales and Northern Ireland have issued "Practice Advice on Tackling Commercial Cultivation and Headshops". This guidance can be found at:

It directs police, local authorities and other partners to legislation and powers that can be used to curtail the sale and promotion of drugs paraphernalia, including inhaling devices, by taking local, targeted action.

Legislation available to enforcement authorities includes section 9A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which establishes an offence to supply any article, often referred to as drug paraphernalia, which may be used for administering or preparing an illegal drug, believing that the article is to be used in this way.

Community Policing

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to review the effectiveness of safer neighbourhood team policing. [5186]

Nick Herbert: The Government support neighbourhood policing. The programme set out by the Coalition explains our approach to policing with greater freedom for police forces from ministerial control, police forces which are better able to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that blights people's lives, and are much more accountable to the public they serve. This includes:


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We will consider how neighbourhood policing-working with local government and other local partners-can take forward these aims.

Control Orders

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) people and (b) foreign nationals were subject to a control order in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007, (iv) 2008, (v) 2009 and (vi) 2010 to date. [4899]

Nick Herbert: The Secretary of State reports to Parliament on the exercise of her powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 on a quarterly basis and additionally on an ad hoc basis if required. As the figures for control orders vary within any given year, my hon. Friend is advised to consult the reports which include the number of individuals subject to a control order and the number who are foreign nationals.

I accordingly refer my hon. Friend to these reports, dated 21 June 2010, 16 March 2010, 15 December 2009, 16 September 2009, 15 June 2009, 12 March 2009, 15 December 2008, 15 September 2008, 12 June 2008, 13 March 2008, 12 December 2007, 17 September 2007, 21 June 2007, 24 May 2007, 22 March 2007, 16 January 2007, 11 December 2006, 11 September 2006, 12 June 2006, 13 March 2006.

Further reports dated 12 December 2005, 10 October 2005 and 16 June 2005 include the number of individuals subject to a control order but do not include the number of foreign nationals. The number of foreign nationals in these reports is seven, two and 11 respectively.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals are subject to a control order. [5075]

Nick Herbert: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary reports to Parliament on the exercise of her powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 on a quarterly basis and additionally on an ad hoc basis if required.

These reports include the number of individuals subject to a control order. I refer my hon. Friend to the most recent such report, published on 21 June 2010, which indicates that as of 10 June 2010, the last date covered by the report, there were 12 control orders in force.

These reports give as much information as we can provide about controlled individuals, given the national security sensitivities of these cases, and the need to avoid publishing any information that could lead to the identification of an individual who is subject to an anonymity order.

Counter-terrorism: Birmingham

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are in place for the sharing of information gathered from monitoring undertaken under Project Champion in Birmingham, Hall Green constituency. [3814]


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Nick Herbert: The system design for Project Champion will ensure that all data from ANPR cameras are presented, as is the case with other existing ANPR provision, to the West Midlands Police back-office-facility for onward transmission to the ANPR National Data Centre.

As such, only police officers and police support officers will have access to the data which, as "personal data" are defined by Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and must be compliant with the principles of DPA and conform to existing force policy. De-personalised data will be shared under existing Safer Birmingham Partnership (SBP) information sharing protocols

The system design for Project Champion will ensure that CCTV imagery data will be dealt with in accordance with existing force policy, including an information sharing protocol. Data would be shared with existing local authority CCTV monitoring arrangements in accordance with existing force policy. Additionally, viewing capability is planned to be provided to local policing (via Birmingham East LPU Contact Centre at Stechford Police Station) and to the Counter Terrorism Unit.

Departmental Legislation

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her Department are working on the Identity Documents Bill; and how many are working on preparations for (a) the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill and (b) the Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill. [5118]

Damian Green: The Identity Documents Bill is managed by a Bill manager who engages as and when required with colleagues across the Identity and Passport Service.

There are currently two people working full-time on the Bill management of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. There are also a number of policy officials and legal advisors contributing to various aspects of the Bill.

A number of officials in the Home Office and other Government Departments are providing advice on a range of policy options for possible inclusion in the Freedom Bill. The exact content of the Bill will be announced in due course and, until this has been determined, it is not possible to know how many officials will be involved in preparation of the Bill.

Scrapping the ID cards scheme will result in net savings of £86 million over the next four years.

Departmental Private Finance Initiative

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will estimate the revenue cost of each project sponsored by her Department under the private finance initiative over the lifetime of the project. [1825]

Nick Herbert: The estimated cost of each PFI project sponsored by the Home Department over the lifetime of the project is as follows:


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Commissioning body Project name Estimated cost over lifetime of project (£ million)

Cheshire Police Authority

Centralised Custody Suites

185.62

Cheshire Police Authority

Force HQ

159.44

Cleveland Police

Rationalised Custody

128.44

Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary

Firearms Facility

34.43

Cumbria Constabulary

Workington Police Station

25.18

Derbyshire Police

Divisional HQ

116.27

Derbyshire Police

Ilkeston Police Station

14.16

Dorset Police

Joint Emergency Services Project

171.28

Dorset Police

Regional HQ and City Police Stations

92.62

Dyfed Powys Police Authority

Ammanford Police Station

19.18

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Force HQ

87.99

Greater Manchester

Property Review-Divisional/Sub Divisional HQ and Police Stations

290.17

Gwent Police

Tstrad Mynach Police Station

30.32

Home Office

Home Office Central London Accommodation Strategy

1,406.55

Home Office

IT2000

610.05

Kent Constabulary

Medway

86.92

Kent Police

North Kent PFI Project

71.52

North Wales

Divisional HQ

70.71

Norfolk Police Constabulary

HQ, Operations and Communications Centre

153.93

Northumbria Police

Mounted Facilities

4.13

Nottinghamshire Police

Traffic Wing and Vehicles Services

78.32

Sussex Police Authority

Centralised Custody Suites

270.04

Thames Valley Police

Abingdon Area DHQ

50.39

Wiltshire Police

Air Support

6.07

Wiltshire Police

HQ

72.58


Departmental Public Expenditure

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of her Department's contracts with its suppliers are under review as a result of the recently announced reductions in public expenditure; and what the monetary value is of all such contracts which are under review. [3642]

Nick Herbert: Work is currently under way in the Home Office led by our Commercial Department to manage the process of reviewing contracts with suppliers. Identification of the contracts for review has not yet been finalised.


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Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her Department are working on renegotiating contracts for the supply of goods and services to the Department as a result of recently announced reductions in public spending; what savings are expected to accrue to her Department from such renegotiations; how much expenditure her Department will incur on such renegotiations; and when such renegotiations will be completed. [3664]

Nick Herbert: Work is currently under way in the Home Office led by our Commercial Department to manage the process of any contract re-negotiation. The savings are, therefore, subject to commercial negotiation.

Such negotiations will be undertaken by existing officials and it is difficult to quantify how much expenditure will be incurred, if any. Eventual costs and charges will be included in the final net savings and reported accordingly.

Deportation: Offenders

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of proposed deportation extradition or other transfer of foreign nationals from the UK have been stopped by the UK court or her Department wholly or partially on (a) any legal ground, (b) human rights grounds relying on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), (c) human rights grounds relying on Article 8 of the ECHR and (d) human rights grounds relying on both Article 3 and Article 8 of the ECHR. [5003]

Damian Green: The Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency indicated in her letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 19 October 2009 that management information in this area is particularly complex.

In order to provide a breakdown of specific reasons for deportation not to be pursued against a foreign national prisoner either at initial decision stage or following a successful appeal can only be obtained by investigating individual case-files which would incur a disproportionate cost.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals who are in prison or who have been convicted of a criminal offence but are not serving a custodial sentence are the subject of proceedings for deportation, extradition or other transfer to their country of nationality. [5004]

Damian Green: According to Ministry of Justice figures on 31 March 2010, there were 11,400 foreign nationals within the prison population (including those in the immigration removal centres Dover, Hasiar and Lindholme). This figure includes those held on remand, serving a custodial sentence (time-serving) and those held under immigration law (time-served). Foreign national prisoners will at some point during their sentence be considered for deportation against the following criteria:

A court recommendation;


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There was a monthly average in 2009 of 550 time-served foreign national offenders detained in prisons who the UKBA was seeking deportation against.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) with which countries the UK has a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the return of foreign nationals without the risk of torture or other inhuman and degrading treatment; [5007]

(2) with which countries the Government is negotiating with a view to signing a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the return of foreign nationals without the risk of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment. [5008]

Damian Green: The UK has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon and Libya which set out in general terms the manner in which an individual deported to or from the UK and one of those countries under the terms of those Memoranda will be treated. Similar arrangements, which were set out in an exchange of letters between the then Prime Minister and the President of Algeria in July 2006, apply in respect of deportations from the UK to that country. The texts of these Memoranda and of the exchange of letters are available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website:

We have made it clear that we intend to extend the practice of seeking assurances to more countries, but it would not be appropriate to identify the countries concerned until negotiations have been successfully concluded.

DNA: Databases

Alan Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases of (a) homicide, (b) rape, (c) sexual assault and (d) serious violence which took place in 2008-09 a sample from the DNA database of an individual who had previously been arrested but not charged with an offence was used in evidence. [1604]

Mrs May: DNA profiles on the National DNA Database are used to match against material taken from crime scenes. Any such match is used as a tool to direct an integrated criminal investigation, and all the normal investigative tools are used in building a case to the point where it is put before the courts.

We do not hold centrally the number of DNA profiles from the Database used in evidence to secure a conviction. During 2008-9, there were four convictions for rape in which Senior Investigating Officers reported Database matches with unconvicted individuals that were of direct and specific value to the investigations. It is not possible to identify from the material held centrally the weight of other evidence available in these cases.

No such reports were received in the other categories of case.


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Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas students were awaiting a decision on their application for a visa to study in the UK at the latest date for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [5143]

Damian Green: Our records show that, as of 31 March 2010, there were 28,610 student visa applicants who were awaiting a decision on their applications.

This information is based on management information and as such has not been quality assured. It is provisional and subject to change.

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the terms of reference are of the ministerial review of the points-based immigration system rules applied to visa application forms for overseas students wishing to study in the UK. [5145]

Damian Green: As the Home Secretary has indicated, the Government will be reviewing the non-economic immigration routes with a view to bringing forward proposals for parliamentary consideration in due course. I intend to undertake a thorough evaluation of the student system. The aim of that work will be to ensure that the right balance is struck between providing a user-friendly route for bona fide students and education providers and keeping out those who would seek to abuse the student system. The work will also take into account the Government's overall objective to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of the parliamentary term.

Identity Cards

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many identity cards have been provided free of charge under the provisions of the Identity Cards Act 2006. [5575]

Damian Green: Under the Identity Cards Act 2006, a provision was made for the issuance of identity cards to airside workers at no cost to the applicant. Across the two airports, 2,928 cards were issued.

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many identity cards have been provided to employees of (a) Manchester Airport Group, (b) London City Airport Group, (c) her Department and (d) other Government Departments. [5582]

Damian Green: The information is as follows:

(a) IPS has issued 2,426 cards to employees of the Manchester Airport Group.

(b) IPS has issued 502 cards to employees of the London City Airport Group.

(c and d) Information held on the NIR does not include the occupation of the individual.


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Immigration Act 1971

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been under sections (i) 5(1), (ii) 5(2), (iii) 5(3), and (iv) 20(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1971 in each of the last 10 years. [5377]

Damian Green: Section five of the Immigration Act 1971 relates to the "procedure for, and further provision as to, deportation" not prosecutions or convictions. There is no section 20(1)(d) within the Act.

Immigration Controls

Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has for an annual limit on the number of immigrants to the UK. [4924]

Damian Green: On 28 June the Government launched a 12 week consultation with businesses and other interested sectors on our plans for implementing annual limits on non-EU economic migration. At the same time, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise the Government on the level at which the first annual limit should be set. In order to prevent a surge of applications while we consult, we introduced an interim limit on the General routes of Tiers one and two of the Points Based System and raised the pass mark for all new Tier one (General) applicants to ensure that those coming through the route are the most valuable to the UK.

Immigration Controls: English Language

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documents people making immigration applications as spouses and partners will be required to show to demonstrate that they have reached the A1 standard in the English language (a) in the UK and (b) when applying for entry clearance abroad. [4803]

Damian Green: On 9 June, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a new language requirement for those seeking entry to the UK as either a spouse or civil partner, fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same sex partner of a British citizen or someone who is present and settled in the UK.

Spouses and partners both in the UK and when applying for entry clearance abroad will need to demonstrate competence in English language speaking and listening at a basic level (Common European Framework of Reference, level A1). A spouse or partner will need to provide evidence to the UK Border Agency with their visa application that they have passed an English language test to this standard with one of the UK Border Agency's approved test providers. Details of acceptable qualifications, approved test providers and documentary evidence to be submitted with an application will be published on the UK Border Agency website at the earliest opportunity.

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations she has received on the adequacy of teaching and examination facilities for the English language A1 standard
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examination for immigration purposes; what discussions she has had on the subject; and if she will make a statement. [4804]

Damian Green: The Government have received no formal representations on the adequacy of teaching and examination facilities for the A1 standard English language examination for immigration purposes.

Immigration: Hungary

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the likely effect on levels of inward migration to the UK of the decision of the Hungarian government to grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians in non-EU states. [5240]

Damian Green: No assessment has been made to date, but the UK Border Agency will continue to monitor closely any significant changes in numbers of individuals registering on the Worker Registration Scheme for workers from the A8 countries that acceded to the EU in 2004, or applying for EEA residence documentation.

National Referral Mechanism

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism to date; and how many such people were subsequently indentified as victims of human trafficking. [4765]

Nick Herbert: National Referral Mechanism statistics are published quarterly on the SOCA website:

Between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010, 706 individuals have been referred into the National Referral Mechanism. The breakdown of reasonable grounds decisions are as follows:

Number

Accepted

358

Not accepted

192

Reconsideration-accepted

3

Suspended

8

Withdrawn

23

No decision recorded

122

Total

706


'Suspended' cases are where the individual has either absconded or is missing prior to the reasonable grounds decision being made.

'Withdrawn' are cases where the individual no longer consents to the case being considered under the NRM or where the individual has left the UK prior to the reasonable grounds decision being made.

'No decision recorded' means the decision has not been officially logged with UKHTC. In most instances this is where the reasonable grounds decision is still being considered.

'Reconsideration-accepted' is where a negative decision has been reviewed and reversed. In most cases this is where new information has come to light.


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Passports: Biometrics

Alan Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to announce the outcome of commercial negotiations with suppliers of second generation biometric passport technology; and what estimate she has made of the likely cost to the public purse of the termination of such contracts. [4614]

Mrs May: Commercial negotiations with suppliers whose contracts are affected by the decision to halt second generation biometric passports are ongoing and are currently planned to conclude by end-July 2010.

We do not expect to terminate any contracts as a result of the decision to halt second biometric passports, but we do expect this to result in net savings to the exchequer of approximately £134 million over the period 2010-11 to 2013-14.

Costs and savings specific to existing contracts remain the subject of commercial negotiation and to protect the taxpayers' interests will not be released until negotiations are complete.

Police Community Support Officers

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to increase the powers and responsibilities of Police Community Support Officers. [4199]

Nick Herbert: The Government recognise and value the role that police community support officers (PCSOs) play in neighbourhood policing. We do not believe that the powers of PCSOs should be further increased, not least because their purpose is to spend more time in communities. It is important that PCSOs have the right set of powers to meet their responsibilities; some of these are standard and some of these are discretionary. It is a matter for forces to determine the deployment of PCSOs and the discretionary powers granted to them.

Police: Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations she has received on proposals to increase police numbers in Ashfield constituency. [4291]

Nick Herbert: None. Decisions about the number of police officers, police community support officers and other police staff in Ashfield are a matter for the chief constable and police authority for Nottinghamshire.

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police community support officers Nottingham Constabulary has assigned to Ashfield constituency; and what estimate she has made of the number of each to be assigned there in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2015. [4582]

Nick Herbert: Police personnel statistics are not collected by the Home Office by parliamentary constituency. Ashfield constituency is in the 'City of Nottingham' Basic Command Unit (BCU) (Area A).


5 July 2010 : Column 79W

Latest available data show that there were 301 police officers in Nottinghamshire BCU area A and 44 police community support officers as at 31 March 2009.

The estimate of the number of police officers and police community support officers Nottingham Constabulary will assign to Ashfield constituency in 2011 and 2015 is not available centrally. These decisions are made by the Chief Constable.

Police: Bureaucracy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received on the average annual amount of time taken by police officers on administrative tasks. [4587]

Nick Herbert: I refer my hon. Friend to my written answer given on 22 June 2010, Official Report, column 149W.

Police: Elections

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice she has received from chief constables and other senior police officers on her plans to introduce elected police commissioners. [5263]

Nick Herbert: A number of constructive meetings have already taken place with the leadership of the service, giving both chief constables and the Government opportunities to set out their priorities for the development of the policy on directly elected individuals, including meetings between chief constables, the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary on 21 June, and the recent ACPO/APA conference (the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities).

We will continue to seek input from policing professionals before the introduction of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Police: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police community support officers there are in (i) Stockport and (ii) Tameside; and how many she expects to be assigned there in (A) 2011 and (B) 2015. [5002]

Nick Herbert: Latest available data, as at 31 Match 2009, show that in Stockport Basic Command Unit (BCU) there were 489 police officers and 55 police community support officers, while in Tameside BCU there were 428 police officers and 44 police community support officers.

The estimate of the number of police officers and police community support officers in 2011 and 2015 is not available centrally. These decisions are made by the Chief Constable of the police force.

Police: Jet Skis

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many jet-skis are in use by police forces in England and Wales; how much was spent by each police force on purchasing jet-skis in
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each of the last two years; for what purpose jet-skis are used by police; who is authorised to operate them; and if she will make a statement. [4302]

Nick Herbert: This information is not held centrally as the purchase and operational use of equipment of this nature is a matter for each individual police force.

Police: Television

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department provides to the police on participation in television documentaries; and what her policy is on remuneration of police forces for their participation in such documentaries. [4524]

Nick Herbert: The Home Office does not issue guidance on such matters. The participation in television documentaries and policy on remuneration for participating in such documentaries is a matter for the chief constable in each police force.

Police: VAT

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate she has made of the change in the amount of value added tax police forces in England and Wales will be required to pay in the financial year (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; [4564]

(2) what estimate she has made of the change in the level of value added tax Essex Policy Authority will be required to pay in the financial year (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [4567]

Nick Herbert: The liability for value added tax is a matter for each police authority.

Pre-charge Detention

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people suspected of offences related to terrorism were held in pre-charge detention for more than 14 days in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008, (e) 2009 and (f) 2010 to date. [4897]

Nick Herbert: The data requested for (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008 and (e) 2009 are available in the statistical bulletin series bulletin Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain the links to which are as follows:

Data from 2010 are not yet available.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people suspected of committing offences relating to terrorism have been held for 28 days in pre-charge detention and subsequently convicted of the offence for which they were detained. [4900]


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Nick Herbert: Since July 2006, no individuals have been held for the full 28 days pre-charge detention period. However, two individuals who were arrested under section 41 TACT 2000 and subsequently charged and convicted of terrorism related offences were charged on the 27-28 day of detention following their arrest in a counter terrorist operation led by Greater Manchester Police.

Special Constables

Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has for future numbers of special constables; and if she will make a statement. [5570]

Nick Herbert: The Special Constabulary is an important and cost-effective resource in policing. The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) is committed to supporting the Special Constabulary and increasing its numbers across England and Wales. As part of this the NPIA created nine regional coordinator posts to help police forces increase numbers and improve retention rates. In particular, they are working in partnership with police forces to develop effective marketing and recruitment strategies and to implement the National Strategy for the Special Constabulary. This aims to make the management of the recruitment process easier for police forces. Work is also ongoing to engage employers support to enable their staff to volunteer as special constables.

Defence

Portsmouth: Frigates

18. Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review the previous administration's decision to baseport frigates at Portsmouth; and if he will make a statement. [5322]

Peter Luff: On 6 May 2009, the previous Government announced that, subject to main investment decisions to be made early in this decade, the most complex variant of the Future Surface Combatant, the Type 26 Combat Ship, would be base-ported in Portsmouth.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review will review all major equipment and support contracts as well as the defence estate, to ensure the future programme is affordable and coherent with future defence needs.

Employment: Scotland

19. Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the number of jobs in the defence sector in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [5323]

Nick Harvey: In 2008-09 the Ministry of Defence directly employed approximately 17,900 people in Scotland, including service personnel and civil servants. We do not currently estimate the number of jobs dependent on broader Defence expenditure in any particular nation or region of the UK; the last available estimate for Scotland was for 2007-08 and was some 6,000 jobs.


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Afghanistan

20. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent assessment is of the security situation in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [5324]

Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr Offord).

Homelessness

21. Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on reducing the level of homelessness among former members of the armed forces. [5325]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence works closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government, devolved authorities, other Government Departments, ex-service organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach to the issue of homelessness among former members of the armed forces. Our aim is to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for those ex-service personnel who find themselves in that position.

Measures have been introduced making it easier for former service personnel to access social housing, become home owners and occupy void MOD properties as an interim measure after leaving the services.

I attended the first cross-Government Ministerial Working Group. This committee will agree priorities and review progress made in tackling and preventing homelessness.

Procurement

22. Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to procure defence equipment from British-based companies. [5326]

Peter Luff: Our duty is to provide the armed forces with the equipment they require, when they need it, at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer. In the majority of cases, competition on the global market (in which British companies more than hold their own), is the best way to achieve their goal.

However, following the Strategic Defence Security Review, a new defence industrial strategy will outline the sovereign capabilities that should be retained in the United Kingdom.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Snatch Vixen and (b) Snatch Land Rover vehicles are in use in Afghanistan. [5033]

Peter Luff: Snatch 2a, Snatch Vixen and Snatch Vixen Plus are currently deployed in Afghanistan. Of these, Snatch 2a and Snatch Vixen are used only inside base locations. Snatch 2a is in the process of being withdrawn from Afghanistan.


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I am withholding the information on the number of vehicles deployed in Afghanistan as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Armed Forces Bill

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's officials are working on preparations for the Armed Forces Bill. [5026]

Mr Robathan: The Armed Forces Bill Team comprises four Service officers and two civilian officials who, together with legal advisers and policy staff elsewhere in the Department, are working on preparations for the forthcoming Bill.

Army: York

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information (a) his Department's and (b) the Army's website gave to the presentation of new colours to (i) the Yorksire Regiment on 18 June 2010 and (ii) the subsequent parade in York on 19 June 2010. [5201]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence featured both events on the Army's website. The announcement that the Yorkshire Regiment was to be presented with new Regimental Colours can be viewed at the following link:

The Regiment's York parade can be viewed at:

This includes details of the day as well as ten images of the event.

Reports and photographs from the events were also included in the Army's website 'Regimental News' section at the following link:

There was no separate coverage on the MOD website www.mod.uk, which does, however, feature a prominent link to the Army website.

Defence

Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable he has set for completion of the Strategic Defence and Security Review; and if he will make a statement. [5310]

Dr Fox: The Government expect the Strategic Defence and Security Review to report in the autumn, alongside the new National Security Strategy. This will coincide with the outcome of the Government's Spending Review.

Departmental Mobile Phones

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East of 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 501W, on departmental mobile phones, what the (a) purchase cost of the handset, (b) network provider, (c) type of tariff and (d) name of the supplier was in
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respect of the mobile devices issued to (i) the Secretary of State and (ii) the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. [4067]

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 501W, on departmental mobile telephones, what the (a) purchase cost of the handset, (b) network provider, (c) type of tariff and (d) name of the supplier is in respect of the (i) mobile telephone issued to the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology and (ii) the BlackBerry device issued to the Secretary of State. [4690]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 24 June 2010]: The handsets for the Secretary of State for Defence and the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology were provided at no additional purchase cost as part of the Ministry of Defence's corporate contract with its network provider Vodafone, which is part of the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service Agreement with British Telecom. The Secretary of State's BlackBerry is on the BlackBerry Enterprise tariff; the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology's Nokia mobile handset is on the network tariff. Both tariffs are monthly with call charges additional and variable depending on the nature and duration of each call.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Construction

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) which 150 social housing developments are under review, broken down by local authority area; [5222]

(2) what housing developments funded through the National Affordable Housing Programme are to be cancelled, broken down by local authority area; [5227]

(3) what housing and local government projects are under review, broken down by local authority area. [5226]

Grant Shapps: The Government remain committed to the provision of new affordable housing and have secured an additional £560 million for affordable housing and other housing programmes in 2010-11. This includes £390 million additional funding announced today-which means a further 4,500 social rented homes, over 3,000 homes for sale at affordable prices and 1,000 homes stalled by the recession. This is on top of the £170 million made available by the coalition Government on 24 May, which will protect delivery of 4,000 new social homes.

The coalition Government nevertheless remain strongly committed to reducing the United Kingdom's budget deficit-the Government's announcement on 24 May set out immediate savings of over £6 billion. The Chief Secretary has also announced today that Departments have agreed to reductions totalling £1.5 billion amongst a range of spending commitments planned by the previous administration but where the funding was reliant on underspending across Government through the End Year Flexibility system. The £1.5 billion savings includes £220 million of the £780 million housing funding planned by the previous administration. As the Chief Secretary
5 July 2010 : Column 85W
says in his statement, without this remedial action Government borrowing would have been higher this year.

It is likely a number of housing projects will be affected by the need to find these £220 million savings. To date, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has been holding back from making any new commitments in 2010-11 until the position on funding could be finalised. Now that the funding position has been confirmed, the HCA will fully review the impact of any changes on its investment programmes, and will then contact affected schemes to advise them. The HCA will also publish a list of the confirmed schemes. Throughout 2010-11, the agency will continue to publish on its website the quarterly regional investment statements, detailing all allocations to the National Affordable Housing Programme.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 2 June 2010, Official Report, column 29W, on affordable housing: construction, if he will take steps to protect the interests of those with exceptional housing needs in cases where neighbourhoods determine that these needs should not be met. [5657]

Andrew Stunell: I refer the hon. Member back to the answer that he was given on 2 June 2010, Official Report, column 29W. A statement on the consolidated national planning framework will be made to Parliament in due course.

Council Housing: Construction

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the council houses authorised by the previous administration for construction in 2010-11 (a) have been started, (b) have been completed and (c) are being planned. [5394]

Andrew Stunell: Work started on 2,068 units under the Local Authority New Build programme in 2009-10; none was completed in 2009-10. Figures for 2010-11 are not yet available, but Grant Agreements are in place to deliver just over 1,000 more.

Council Housing: Finance

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to permit local authorities which retain their housing stock to retain (a) rent revenues and (b) Right to Buy proceeds from that stock for the purposes of funding regeneration or new build projects. [5395]

Andrew Stunell: The Government are committed to reviewing the unfair Housing Revenue Account subsidy system. As part of this review we will consider responses to the consultation on a devolved council housing finance system that closed on 6 July. The consultation included proposals for local authorities to retain rents and right to buy receipts.


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Departmental Flags

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost was of decorating his Department's building with England flags during the Football World cup. [5508]

Grant Shapps: Approximately £30.

The new Government believe Government Departments and councils should do their bit to help reclaim the English flag as a proud symbol of our nation's identity.

We believe the expenditure of £30 on English flags represents significantly better value for money than the £134,503 spent last year buying luxury Parisian sofas for the Department.

Government Office for the North West: Finance

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the budget is of the Government Office for the North West for 2010-11. [5872]

Robert Neill: The 2010-11 running cost budget for the Government office for the north-west is £9,009,690.

Homelessness

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households were provided with assistance in finding or retaining accommodation as an alternative to making a homelessness application in each (a) region and (b) local authority area in England in the last 12 months. [5397]

Grant Shapps: Homelessness prevention means providing people with the ways and means to address their housing and other needs and avoid homelessness. Homelessness relief is where an authority has been unable to prevent homelessness but helps someone to secure accommodation, even though the authority is under no statutory obligation to do so.

The number of cases of homelessness prevention and relief taking place outside the statutory framework in England in 2008/09 is published on the Communities and Local Government website in the statistical release Homelessness Prevention and Relief: England 2008/09 Experimental Statistics. A link to this release is as follows:

A table giving local authority figures on cases of homelessness prevention and relief has been placed in the Library of the House.

Housing: Asbestos

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of homes in the West Midlands which contain asbestos. [5524]


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Andrew Stunell: No estimate of the number of homes in the West Midlands that contain asbestos has been made by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

However, in July 2009 in relation to maintaining public sector stock in a decent condition beyond 2010, as part of the review of the major repairs allowance the Department published the estimate of the number of local authority homes in England containing untreated asbestos at 69,761. This report is available for download from:

Housing: Construction

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made a decision on Kickstart funding for new homes on the Clapham Park Estate shortlisted for funding under round two of the scheme. [5651]

Andrew Stunell: The announcement on 24 May set out the immediate savings of over £6 billion that needed to be made as down-payment on the public deficit. A full review of outstanding Kickstart projects will be undertaken by the HCA, once the final funding position for 2010-11 is clear.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his plans are for the Kickstart housing delivery programme. [5653]

Andrew Stunell: Decisions on future levels of funding for affordable housing will be made in the spending review.

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether district councils which meet the criteria for Government incentives to build houses may retain the (a) full and (b) district council element of council tax on those houses. [5993]

Grant Shapps: We are committed to increasing housing supply and seeing more of the homes that people want, in the places that people want them, to meet Britain's housing need. The coalition agreement set out our clear intention to provide incentives for local authorities to deliver sustainable development, including new homes and business. I will set out further details of the timetable for introducing incentives in due course.

Local Government Finance

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to initiate a review of the local government finance formula. [5953]

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) on 10 June 2010, Official Report, columns 448-50.


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Local Government Finance: Wigan

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what projects in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan that were previously earmarked for capital grant will now be subject to the removal of ring-fencing in 2010-11. [5219]

Robert Neill: The coalition Government are committed to providing a shift of power from Westminster to individuals and their communities. As part of the devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local authorities to meet that aim, we announced on 10 June a number of capital grants to local authorities which now have their ring fence removed.

The capital grants which have been de-ringfenced are shown in the following table.

Wigan council is free to decide how to use the money received from un-ringfenced grants to fund local priorities. Funding for specific local projects is for Wigan council to determine.

Capital grant Government Department

Fair Play Pathfinders

DFE

Fair Play Playbuilders

DFE

Innovation in Extracare Housing Grant

DH

Capital Investment for Transformation in Adult Social Care Grant

DH

AIDS/HIV

DH

Common Assessment Framework

DH

Social Care IT Infrastructure

DH

Detrunking

DFT

Major Projects

DFT

NEXUS (Tyne and Wear Metro)

DFT

Green Bus Fund

DFT

Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management

DEFRA

Coastal Change Pathfinders

DEFRA

Contaminated Land

DEFRA

Housing Market Renewal

CLG


Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) for what capital projects in the metropolitan borough of Wigan funding has been agreed by his Department but not yet allocated; [5220]

(2) what projects his Department plans to fund in the metropolitan borough of Wigan; and which are currently under review. [5225]

Grant Shapps: The coalition Government are committed to reducing the United Kingdom's budget deficit. It has led us to identify savings across Government, starting with the £6 billion of immediate savings announced on 24 May. The Government are also re-assessing spending approvals granted between 1 January 2010 and the general election to ensure that they offer good value for money and are consistent with the Government's priorities. Further announcements will be made by the end of July.


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Local Government: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his plans are for the future of the (a) Manchester City-Region pilot scheme and (b) proposals for a Combined Authority for Greater Manchester. [5619]

Robert Neill: We welcome Manchester's strong ambitions for delivering economic success and expect it to continue to be a key driver of national growth. We will want to work closely with Manchester to ensure that it has the freedoms and tools to deliver on its economic ambitions. We have recently written to local authorities and business inviting them to come together to form local enterprise partnerships. We will consider Manchester's proposal for a combined authority once consultation has ended and in the light of their proposals on local enterprise partnerships.

Local Government: Information Officers

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total cost was of communications staff in local government in (a) financial year 1996-97 and (b) the most recent financial year for which figures are available. [5761]

Robert Neill: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Local Government: Manpower

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with representatives of local authorities on the effects on levels of employment in local government of likely reductions in central Government funding to local authorities. [5675]

Robert Neill: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with representatives of local government. These discussions cover a range of matters pertaining to councils and their work forces.

Mayors: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he plans to introduce elected mayors at the district level across Greater Manchester; [5673]

(2) whether he plans to introduce a city regional mayoral system in greater Manchester. [5704]

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Chris Leslie) on 9 June, Official Report, column 174W.

Multiple Occupation: Licensing

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many landlords have been prosecuted under legislative provisions governing the operation of houses in multiple occupation in each of the last five years. [5049]

Andrew Stunell: This information is not held centrally.


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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation governing houses in multiple occupation in (a) protecting the rights of tenants in such houses and (b) raising housing standards. [5050]

Andrew Stunell: Communities and Local Government published the BRE report on local authority implementation of the HMO licensing provisions on 27 January 2010. The review looked at the practical implications and the impact of HMO legislation. A copy of the report is available via the CLG website.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment his Department has made of the views of tenants in houses in multiple occupation on the implementation of legislation governing such properties. [5051]

Andrew Stunell: The Department has not carried out an assessment of the views of tenants in houses in multiple occupation. Local authorities are however required to consult all interested parties, including tenants, on proposals to introduce additional HMO licensing schemes in their area. The local authority must also consider and respond to the views of all affected persons.

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to bring forward proposals to change the law relating to houses in multiple occupation. [5374]

Andrew Stunell: We have recently announced our intention to amend the planning legislation for houses in multiple occupation (HMO). Details of our proposals can be found in the written ministerial statement issued on 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 54WS.

We however have no plans to amend the HMO licensing provisions in the Housing Act 2004. Local authorities were granted a general consent on 1 April 2010, to introduce discretionary licensing schemes in their areas without having to first seek approval from the Department. We believe that it is right for these local decisions to be made by those who are directly accountable to local communities.

Planning Permission: Blackpool

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he gave to the provisions of Blackpool's local plan in his decision not to call in for determination the development application to Blackpool borough council (No. 09/0740). [6027]

Robert Neill: The considerations given to this development application were based upon the adopted Local Plan for Blackpool, having regard to the need to employ a sequential site approach to housing provision, i.e. brownfield land first, the housing requirement for Blackpool, along with the other existing and emerging plans and strategies, among them the Local Development Framework Draft Core Strategy Preferred Option
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Document. Consideration was also given to the question of prematurity in relation to Planning Policy Statements PPS1 and PPS3.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what aspects of the development application to Blackpool borough council (No. 09/0740) were relevant to his assessment of policies Planning Policy Statement 1, Planning Policy Statement 3, Planning Policy Statement 9, Planning Policy Guidance 13 and Planning Policy Guidance 17 as the main matters relevant to his decision whether or not to call in the application for determination. [6028]

Robert Neill: These matters were initially considered in detail and assessed by Blackpool council, as local planning authority. The case was referred to the Secretary of State for consideration on whether or not he should call the application in for his own determination. In this context the relevant issues which this proposal raised, along with the representations made, were considered and assessed in relation to the national planning policies to which you refer. I have previously outlined the issues considered in relation to Planning Policy Statement 1, Planning Policy Statement 9, Planning Policy Guidance 13 and Planning Policy Guidance 17. On Planning Policy Statement 3, growth point status; development proposed around the "M55 Hub"; the council's assessment of its five-year supply of housing land; the availability and considerations of suitable, alternative brownfield sites; the density of dwellings on site; and affordable housing provision were all considered.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the abolition of regional spatial strategies on the outcomes of the development application to Blackpool borough council (No. 09/0740); and if he will make a statement. [6029]

Robert Neill: None. Once the Secretary of State gave his decision not to call in this application he has no further jurisdiction on this matter. Blackpool council was initially responsible for assessing and achieving the housing provision set out in the regional spatial strategy (RSS). Following the recent announcement regarding the abolition of RSS, it remains a matter for the council to assess how to meet its housing needs based upon a robust assessment of need within its area. Abolition of the housing figures in RSS will give the council responsibility for determining numbers, based on the evidence available to them.

Trade Unions

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many paid officials in his Department are full-time trade union officials; and what the (a) salary and (b) expenses entitlement of each is. [5053]

Robert Neill: There are five paid officials in the Department who are engaged full-time on trade union activity and four further part-time officials for whom costs are met centrally. Two full-time and two part-time officials are employed within the main Department,
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two full-time in the Government Office Network and one full-time and one part-time in the Planning Inspectorate.

The aggregate cost of this provision was £245,644 (excluding Planning Inspectorate) in the financial year 2008-09 and £237,325 (including the Planning Inspectorate) in the financial year 2009-10.

In addition, as members of this Department, these officials are entitled to claim business related expenditure under the same rules governing expenses as all other employees.

Wind Power: Planning Permission

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that the views of residents in areas affected by proposed wind farms are taken into account in determining planning applications for such wind farms. [5369]

Greg Clark: The views of local residents on the planning issues affecting their community should be taken into account when planning applications are determined. We are radically reforming the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live.

Simon Reevell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what discussions he has had with his departmental officials on proposals to introduce a minimum separation distance between large wind turbines and occupied dwellings; and if he will make a statement; [5664]

(2) whether he plans to bring forward measures to introduce a minimum separation distance between large wind turbines and occupied dwellings; and if he will make a statement. [5665]

Greg Clark: My Department has received representations on this issue. Policy on separation distances is set out in the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Eric Ollerenshaw) on 30 June 2010, Official Report, column 587W, and in the answer my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change gave in the House to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) on 1 July 2010, Official Report, column 995.

Treasury

Benefits: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the measures in the 2010 Budget on those resident in Denton and Reddish who are in receipt of tax credits; [5001]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the measures in the 2010 Budget on those resident in Denton and Reddish who are in receipt of child benefit. [5021]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not available.


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The effect of the Budget is modelled based on data from the Family Resources Survey, which do not contain a large enough sample to produce results at a constituency level.

Business Services Association

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which (a) Ministers and (b) officials within his Department have met the Business Services Association since he took office. [5212]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials regularly hold meetings with businesses and business representative bodies as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Governments, the Government do not disclose the outcome or results of all such meetings and discussions.

Capital Gains Tax

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the additional revenue that would be generated in one year if capital gains tax were set at (a) 30 per cent., (b) 35 per cent., (c) 40 per cent., (d) 45 per cent., (e) 50 per cent. and (f) 28 per cent. [4834]

Mr Gauke: The policy costings document published alongside the 2010 Emergency Budget Book sets out the methodology for arriving at such estimates and the likely effects on revenue. This document is available at:

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the total revenue generated by capital gains tax was paid by those who pay income tax at the (a) basic and (b) higher rate in the latest period for which figures are available. [4835]

Mr Gauke: Indicative proportions of capital gains tax accrued by basic and higher rate income tax payers are shown in National Statistics Table 14.3 on the HMRC website at:

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in line with what measure of the rate of inflation the annual exempt amount for capital gains tax will rise. [4836]

Mr Gauke: The Annual Exempt Amount for Capital Gains Tax continues to increase each year in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation. As announced at the Budget, the Government are reviewing how the Consumer Price Index can be used for the indexation of taxes and duties while protecting revenues.

Child Benefit

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the average real terms change per child in 2010 prices of freezing child benefit payments in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [4652]


5 July 2010 : Column 94W

Justine Greening: The following table shows the estimated average change per week per child as a result of freezing the rates of child benefit for the next three years rather than uprating by the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

These estimates are based on the Office for Budget Responsibility's latest projections of CPI.

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Forecast change 1st child (£)

-0.60

-1.15

-1.55

-1.60

Forecast change subsequent child (£)

-0.40

-0.75

-1.00

-1.05


To ensure support is better targeted at low-income families with children, the savings from the freeze in child benefit have been recycled into significant increases to the child tax credit. The child element of the child tax credit will be increased by £150 above indexation in 2011-12 and £60 above indexation in 2012-13. As a result of this, the Budget will have no measurable negative impact on child poverty over the next two years.

Child Tax Credit

Liz Kendall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many households with annual incomes of over (a) £20,000, (b) £25,000 and (c) over £35,000 are in receipt of child tax credits in (i) England, (ii) Leicester and (iii) Leicester West constituency. [6025]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Number of households benefiting from tax credits by income
Number of families by income

England Leicester Leicester Wes t

£20,000-£25,000

422,345

2,635

700

£25,000-£35,000

956,300

4,430

1,325

Over £35,000

1,054,815

2,870

1,330


These estimates are based on provisional information on families receiving tax credits as at April 2010. Further details about these data can be found in the HMRC snapshot publication "Child and Working Tax Credits. Geographical Analysis, April 2010". This is available at:

Departmental Manpower

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers are employed by his Department at each Civil Service pay grade. [1251]

Justine Greening: For information on special advisers, I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement given by the Prime Minister on 10 June, Official Report, columns 32-34WS.

The following numbers are for press officers and are based on FTE figures.


5 July 2010 : Column 95W
Press officers employed in HM Treasury as at 3 June 2010
HM Treasury pay range Civil service payband Press officers (FTE)

Range D

HEO/SEO

6

Range E

Grade 7/Grade 6

2

Range F

Grade 5

1


Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr MacShane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the names are of the special advisers in his Department appointed since 10 June 2010. [5176]

Justine Greening: Since 10 June 2010 Julia Goldsworthy has been appointed as a special adviser to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Housing Benefit

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Financial Statement of 22 June 2010, Official Report, columns 166-80, what the evidential basis is for his statement that there are some families receiving £104,000 a year in housing benefit. [5703]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply.

The latest information the Department holds is for March 2010, when the maximum local housing allowance rate was £1,800, and shows that there were customers who received this rate. All these customers were located in the central London broad rental market area.

In June 2010 the maximum local housing allowance rate rose to £2,000 a week which would be equivalent to receiving £104,000 a year in housing benefit assuming the individual remains in receipt of the same level of benefit for 52 continuous weeks. Information on housing benefit awards in June will be available in September 2010.

Personal Savings: Children

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he plans to bring forward proposals to (a) encourage and (b) provide incentives for children and young people to save; [3232]

(2) what steps he plans to take to provide incentives for those on low incomes to save. [3233]

Mr Hoban: The Government are committed to creating the conditions to support saving. For individuals and families it wishes to encourage financial responsibility, and saving for retirement, through well targeted and affordable support. The Government are considering the options for achieving this, and will announce their plans in due course.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are the Government's main savings incentive for adults, and over 20 million adults now hold ISAs, including one in five people among low income groups.


5 July 2010 : Column 96W

Pregnant Women: Grants

Helen Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Health in Pregnancy grants were made to people in (a) Bishop Auckland and (b) Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency in 2009-10. [5278]

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many health in pregnancy grants were made in West Lancashire constituency in 2009-10. [5633]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost.

Private Sector: Manpower

Chris Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of private sector jobs, directly and indirectly, on the reductions in departmental spending announced in the budget. [5270]

Danny Alexander: The OBR released further information on its employment forecast on 30 June 2010. The OBR forecasts show that total employment is expected to rise by 1.3 million by 2015-16.

The OBR forecast release can be found on the following webpage:

Public Finance

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which ongoing capital projects allocated funding by his Department are under review in each constituency; and what the monetary value is of each such project. [4830]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply.

The review of Government's Major Projects is currently under way and is due to be completed by 31 July 2010. Once the review is complete and the findings have been analysed I will be in a better position to provide information on this matter.

The projects under consideration include some with major capital spends but these projects tend to be large, complex undertakings that span geographically many parts of the country, and are not linked to any one constituency. For that reason it will not be possible to supply a list of projects with values impacting on individual constituencies.

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the distributional effects of the proposed reductions in public expenditure by income decile of the population in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland, (d) Wales, (e) England and (f) each English region in each year from 2010-11 to 2015-16. [4978]

Mr Gauke: The Government set out in its document Spending Review Framework that it will "look closely at the effects of its decisions on different groups in
5 July 2010 : Column 97W
society, especially the least well off, and on different regions." (2.4, page 7) Further information will be available at the Spending Review.

Chris Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Chief Secretary's Statement of 17 June 2010, Official Report, columns 1040-42, which spending commitments for 2010-11 where funding was reliant on underspending are now under review. [5281]

Danny Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I have issued today.


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