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7 Sep 2010 : Column 416Wcontinued
Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on employee away days in each year since 1997. 
Justine Greening: The information available on spending on employee team building events by the Department, its agencies and non-departmental body is shown in the following table.
|HM Treasury (HMT)||Asset Protection Agency|
Data for HMT prior to 2005-06 are not available as spending on team building events was not separately identified prior to that date. The initial data collected in 2005-06 are not directly comparable to figures for later years due to a change to the accounting system to more accurately capture spending on team-building events.
Information on team building events held by the Debt Management Office is not held centrally and could not be provided within the disproportionate costs threshold. The Royal Mint Advisory Committee has not held any team building events during the period in question.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of her Department's progress in promoting sustainable agriculture. 
Mr Paice: One of DEFRA's priorities is to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production. This is supported by a number of specific actions with associated milestones as set out in the Department's Structural Reform Plan. Additionally, the Department publishes on the Food and Farming Statistics pages of its website a comprehensive set of indicators which track the performance of the sector in economic, environmental and social terms and collectively provide a broad measure of its sustainability.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what guidance her Department issues on the housing and sale of animals in pet shops; what recent representations she has received on the issue; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) whether she plans to review the regulations regarding pet shops, with reference to (a) the age at which children can buy animals and (b) the conditions in which animals are kept; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) under what legislation the sale of exotic pets is regulated; what plans she has to amend such regulation; and if she will make a statement; 
(4) what exotic animals may lawfully be sold in pet shops; whether she plans to make changes to that regime; and if she will make a statement; 
(5) what recent representations she has received on the sale of (a) exotic animals and (b) endangered species; and if she will make a statement; 
(6) what plans she has to amend the regulatory system governing the sale of exotic animals and dangerous animals in pet shops; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The business of selling animals as pets is regulated by the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended, 1983). This means that anyone who wishes to sell pet animals as a business must obtain a valid licence from their local authority. Local authorities have powers of inspection and can decide whether or not a premise should be licensed. Guidelines for local authority inspectors, which include minimum standards of welfare, are produced by the Local Government Association with assistance from the British Veterinary Association, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association and Pet Care Trust and are currently being updated.
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates trade in endangered animals and plants. Although not a welfare convention it aims to make sure that international trade is conducted sustainably, ensuring the long-term survival of species. CITES strictly regulates and monitors trade through a permitting system. Trade in those species at most risk of extinction from international trade is banned except in exceptional circumstances.
CITES provisions are applied uniformly in the European Community (EC) through two EC Regulations (Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 and Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1808/2001). The regulations are often stricter than CITES itself.
I am satisfied that the current legislation, including the Animal Welfare Act 2006, provides adequate protection for the welfare of animals being sold as pets.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2010, Official Report, column 121W, on animal welfare: circuses, whether Ministers have concluded their consideration of the recent public consultation exercise on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses; and when the results of that consideration are expected to be announced. 
Mr Paice: There has been a considerable amount of information for us to consider, as well as a need to meet representatives of the circus industry and animal welfare organisations in order to hear their views. We are currently considering matters raised at these meetings. We expect to be in a position to announce our decision on the proposed way forward in the autumn.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department and its predecessor spent on (a) reimbursement of staff expenses and (b) the 10 largest staff expense reimbursement claims in each year since 1997. 
Richard Benyon: The Department was formed in 2001; to seek information prior to 2005 would incur disproportionate cost.
From data held centrally and by the executive agencies, the following shows expenditure on (a) reimbursement of staff expenses and (b) the 10 largest staff expense reimbursement claims in each year since 2005-06.
|(a) Reimbursement of staff expenses|
|(b) 10 largest staff expenses reimbursement claims in each year since 2005-06|
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public
body and (ii) executive agency for which her Department is responsible in each year since 2005. 
Richard Benyon: Expenditure on external consultants and advisers for each year since 2005 is shown in the following table. Main delivery NDPBs have been included, to go to them all would incur disproportionate cost.
|n/a = Not available|
(1) DEFRA core-2005-06 and 2006-07 as reported in Department report for management and business consultancy. From 2007-08, as defined by Office of Government Commerce category codes and reported in the public sector procurement expenditure survey. 2009-10 subject to final verification before the PSPES submission in October 2010.
(2) Formerly Central Science Laboratory. Figures for 2008-09 and 2009-10 include consultancy costs for start up of FERA.
(3) SDC formed in 1 January 2009 and figures include consultancy costs for start up.
(4) GLA for 2005-06 includes consultancy costs for start up.
(5) NE for 2006-07 includes consultancy costs for start up.
(6) RBG Kew-To provide a consultancy figure for earlier years would incur disproportionate cost.
AH-formed in October 2005 and data not available for 2005-06 and 2006-07 without disproportionate cost. 2007-08 and 2008-09 as reported for PSPES and 2009-10 as reported in accounts.
RPA-With effect from 2007-08 RPA does not employ consultants or advisers. From then all external resources employed to provide expert opinion, including holding interim positions, are recognised and accounted for as contractors. The figures are consistent with a previous answer supplied to the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), 19 July 2010, Official Report, columns 8-10W.
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) average and (b) highest daily rate paid to consultants by her Department was in each of the last five years. 
Richard Benyon: The rates paid to consultants reflect the scope and duration of the work; the grade and experience of the consultant(s) chosen for the work; and supply market conditions.
The Department does not hold information centrally on the daily rates paid to consultants hired by the Department in each of the last five years. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the expenditure on vehicles of (a) her Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which her Department is responsible in each region of England was in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is in each case for 2010-11. 
Richard Benyon: Expenditure on the purchase and/or lease of vehicles for the last three financial years and the planned expenditure for 2010-11 are shown in the following table. Main delivery NDPBs have been included, to go to them all would incur disproportionate cost.
|n/a = not available|
(1) RPA lease all vehicles. Figures shown are the cost for leasing and maintenance costs, but exclude fuel and road fund licence costs.
(2 )Environment Agency: The capital purchase cost of vehicles (commercial) deployed to support operational activities in the Environment Agency for each of the last three financial years and the planned expenditure for 2010-11 is as follows:
2010-11 forecast: £1,878,000
The majority of Environment Agency commercial vehicles support flood risk management activities, while lease cars are used to support environmental regulatory and advisory roles which involve visits to customer sites.
Lease Car expenditure is as follows:
2010-11 forecast: £12,111,000
These figures do not include service, repair and maintenance, fuel and insurance costs.
(3) Natural England provides pool cars for people to use, primarily on front line delivery activity, and where public transport is not a viable option. Pool cars are currently located at most office locations. NE National Nature Reserves (NNR) operations also have specific requirements for vehicles which are used in the management and maintenance of the reserve. No capital budget has been provided for the purchase of vehicles in 201-11.
(4 )RBG Kew expenditure excludes gardens equipment (which includes tractors/JCBs but also mowers, trailers, composting equipment etc.)
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for the future funding of the (a) Darwin Initiative and (b) Overseas Territories Challenge Fund. 
Richard Benyon: The next round (Round 18) of Darwin funding was postponed in July, pending the completion of the Government spending review. A letter explaining the situation from the chairman of the Darwin Advisory Committee (DAC) is available on the Darwin Initiative website.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many external training courses were attended by staff of her Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost to the public purse was of each such course. 
Richard Benyon: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when the provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 relating to (a) private drains and sewers, (b) sustainable urban drainage, (c) reservoir safety, (d) flood and coastal risk management and (e) surface water management will come into effect. 
Richard Benyon: As I announced at the Local Government Floods Forum Conference on 29 July, the transfer of private sewers will be implemented through regulations under the Water Industry Act 1991. We published a consultation on draft regulations to provide for the transfer of private sewers on 26 August, and intend to consult with interested parties on related standards for new sewers later in the autumn.
We plan to consult later this year on the implementation of the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, including a proposed timetable for commencement.
We intend that the reservoir provisions in Schedule 4 of the Act should be brought into effect in 2011-12 in respect of those reservoirs already regulated under the Reservoirs Act 1975. This will enable a more risk-based approach to be developed and lead to some deregulation. The extension of regulation to smaller reservoirs will be implemented some time later and will be proportionate to the risk that they pose.
Implementation of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 will begin with the laying of the Flood and Water Management Act (Commencement No.1 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2010 in September. We intend that responsibilities for local authorities to manage local flood risks, including surface water, will be the subject of further regulations from April 2011.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps are being taken to establish (a) an ombudsman for the food supply chain and (b) a Red Meat Road Map. 
Mr Paice: On 3 August the Government published their response to their consultation to take forward the establishment of a body to monitor and enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. They announced that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will bring forward new legislation in order to set up the Grocery Code Adjudicator, which will reside within the Office of Fair Trading. The proposal will require primary legislation and BIS will be seeking Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee approval to publish a draft Bill later this year with the intention of bringing forward a Bill in the second Session.
We are working closely with the beef, lamb and pig meat sector bodies on the development of environmental roadmaps. These industry-led roadmaps concentrate on mitigation of the impacts of climate change and will form the basis of each sector's contribution to the agricultural industry's Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.
The first roadmap for pig meat, co-ordinated by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), and part two of the beef and sheep meat roadmap, co-ordinated by the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX), are due to be published this autumn.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with Ministerial colleagues on the European Parliament's proposals to require food from animals which have not been stunned prior to slaughter to be labelled with that information, with particular reference to the likely effects on faith groups of the implementation of those proposals. 
Mr Paice: To date, no discussions have taken place with ministerial colleagues on this specific amendment proposed by the European Parliament.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the European Parliament's proposals to expand the remit of EU food labelling regulation to include the provision of labelling information on methods of animal slaughter. 
Mr Paice: The Government are still considering their position on this and the other amendments proposed by the European Parliament.
Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to revise the rules covering the movement of livestock to reduce the administrative burden on farmers. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA recently published a consultation document on the simplification of livestock movement rules and holding identification in England. 41 responses were received by the closing date of 30 June. Once these responses have been analysed, a summary will be published. Further action following the consultation will depend on the outcome of the Spending Review and on any recommendations the taskforce on farming regulation may make.
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to support research into the management of (a) Japanese knotweed and (b) other alien plant species. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA has been one of the main funding partners in a long-running project researching the possibility of identifying a biological control agent for Japanese knotweed. A controlled release of the highly specialist psyllid-"Aphalara itadori"-is now under way to help control this plant. If successful, this insect should restrict its growth, slow its capacity to spread vigorously and enhance the effectiveness of management effort, although it would not eradicate it altogether.
Other management-related research work on alien plant species supported by DEFRA includes a collaborative project with the Netherlands on four shared invasive aquatic non-native plants; scoping biological control for a further four highly damaging non-native species of plant; and developing a support protocol and methodology to enable the Overseas Territories to access invertebrate plant pest identification expertise within the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera).
DEFRA, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly launched a comprehensive Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain in May 2008. It has been described in a 2010 European Environment Agency report as an outstanding national response to the issue in Europe. The Strategy provides a high-level framework for a range of activities including research and is being implemented on a prioritised basis. We have now started work on developing a clearer statement of evidence needs to support its continued implementation. This will include management-related research and we will be taking this forward in collaboration with key partners.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make it her policy to seek the introduction of an intra-EU trade ban on eggs produced by hens housed in conventional cages if more time is given to other Member States to phase-out conventional cages from January 2012; 
(2) what discussions she has had with egg producers on the introduction of a No. 41 production code for enriched cage eggs; 
(3) what steps she is taking to support the egg industry; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The UK Government remain entirely committed to the conventional cage ban coming into force on 1 January 2012 and to supporting industry during this transitional stage. We will continue to work with the Commission and industry to ensure that everything is done to protect UK producers who have already made significant investment to comply with the legislation and to maintain the ban on eggs and egg products produced by hens housed in conventional cages across the EU.
This could be by way of an intra-Community ban on the trade of eggs produced by hens housed in conventional cages after 1 January 2012, so they may only be sold in the member state of production for a limited period only; and/or the introduction of a code '4' in EU marketing regulations to distinguish eggs produced by hens housed in enriched systems, from those housed in conventional cages that will remain classified as code '3'.
I will be meeting the British Egg Industry Council shortly to discuss this and other matters.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions her Department has had with representatives of the egg industry on implementation of an action plan with the objective of ending the practice of beak trimming; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: On 1 March a preliminary meeting of the Core Stakeholder group for beak trimming was held to consider the consultation documents and raise issues of concern by industry and welfare groups in advance of the deadline for consultation responses.
The Beak Trimming Action Group, comprising key interested parties, will meet before the end of the year to discuss any new scientific research and explore all possible options on how to manage laying hens without the need to beak trim.
Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent reports she has received on the adequacy of supply of tags for the electronic identification of sheep; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA officials are in regular contact with tag suppliers to monitor supply. In the spring, delivery times were up to six weeks, due in part to a shortage of transponders following the Icelandic volcanic eruption which disrupted air freight. These delays have reduced significantly and supply times in most cases now vary from five days to three weeks.
DEFRA officials have worked closely with sheep industry bodies to ensure keepers order their tags promptly and in good time before they need to move their sheep.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of measures for the electronic identification of sheep. 
Mr Paice: Electronic identification (EID) of sheep is an EU requirement, but the administration and implementation of it in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is an issue for devolved administrations.
In England, EID was implemented on 31 December 2009. It is too early for any implementation assessment to be made, although DEFRA officials are in regular contact with the sheep industry and are reviewing issues with them as they arise.
We have identified some issues which require further discussion with the Commission and I have invited EU Commissioner Dalli to visit the UK in the autumn to see at first hand the practical challenges we are facing.
Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 32-3WS, on her Department's arm's length bodies, how the functions of the Sustainable Development Commission will be undertaken after its closure; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The Sustainable Development Commission's four existing functions are watchdog, policy advisory, capacity-building and advocacy.
There are already many organisations and commentators who will continue to hold the Government to account and we believe that a dedicated watchdog body is
unnecessary. Minsters are accountable to Parliament and we will continue to publish the data necessary for such scrutiny.
Where the expertise does not already exist internally, DEFRA and other Departments commission additional expert advice from a range of organisations, of which the Commission is one. In the future, where necessary, we expect policy teams to continue to do this through the usual procurement process.
DEFRA leads across Government on sustainable development. We will consider how best to do this taking account of this Government's priorities.
DEFRA will continue to champion sustainable development in policymaking across Government. We will build our internal capability and seek to work with the many external organisations already working within this field and who can support us in doing this.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department and its predecessor spent on taxi fares in each year since 1997. 
Richard Benyon: The Department was formed in 2001; to seek information prior to this date would incur disproportionate cost.
From data held centrally and by the delivery agencies, the following shows expenditure on taxis since 2005-06.
|(1) Would incur disproportionate cost.|
(2) AH formed October 2005.
(3 )CEFAS taxi fares are charged to a generic travel code, which includes other types of fares such as rail, air and bus. Obtaining costs allocated solely to taxi fares would incur disproportionate cost.
(4 )VLA 2009-10 covers period September 2009 to March 2010. Earlier details not available without disproportionate cost.
(5 )MFA formed October 2005. Became a non-departmental public body 1 March 2010.
(6 )FERA - formed 1 April 2009, earlier data for Central Science Laboratory.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made in establishing a national tree planting campaign; and how much will be spent on the campaign in each of the next four years. 
Mr Paice: The National Tree Planting campaign is an important part of the coalition Government's aims to enable local people to shape, improve and transform their communities, as part of the Big Society. The campaign will build on the work of many individuals and organisations to improve local quality of life by assisting local communities to plant trees in areas in which they are most needed and will be most valued.
We are considering the options for the campaign, including funding, in discussion with civil society organisations and local government and will be looking for support from the private sector. We anticipate the scope and arrangements for the campaign will be announced by the end of the year.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department and its predecessor spent on wine in each year since 1997. 
Richard Benyon: The accounting systems used by the Department and its predecessors do not record purchases down to the level of individual items and therefore the requested information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to encourage banks to offer a wider choice of short-term loans for vulnerable customers as an alternative to high-interest payday loans. 
Mr Davey: This is a complex issue with recent studies showing that some consumers are using payday loans to avoid sometimes higher unarranged borrowing costs charged by mainstream lenders such as banks. At present, the Government have no plans to encourage mainstream lenders to provide short-term loans as an alternative to payday loans.
BIS will be issuing a formal call for evidence later in the year on consumer credit and personal insolvency. The call for evidence will include the opportunity for industry and consumer groups to provide evidence on how they think the findings and recommendations of the Office of Fair Trading recent review of high cost credit, which included payday lending, should be taken forward.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what safeguards he plans to introduce to reduce levels of dependency on high-cost credit. 
Mr Davey: I recently announced a joint BIS and HM Treasury review of consumer credit and personal insolvency and my Department will be issuing a formal call for evidence later in the year.
The Office of Fair Trading has recently published the findings and recommendations from its review of high-cost credit products, including pawnbroking, payday loans and home collected credit. It concluded that in some respects, the markets for high-cost credit can be seen to be working reasonably well, although it identified some areas of concern. The OFT made a number of recommendations to Government to improve the sector.
Our call for evidence will give industry and consumer groups the opportunity to provide evidence on how they think the findings of the OFT review should be taken forward.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely length of time between the (a) abolition of Advantage West Midlands and (b) introduction of local enterprise partnerships in the West Midlands; and what steps he plans to take to encourage business growth in the West Midlands in this period. 
Mr Prisk: The Government have asked for outline proposals for local enterprise partnerships by 6 September 2010. We are determined that the transition to new arrangements will be orderly and are not planning that there should be a gap in the support for business growth during this period. The forthcoming White Paper on sub-national economic growth will set out our approach in more detail.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage private sector investment in the West Midlands. 
Mr Prisk: The Department's strategy for sustainable growth set out our approach to promoting investment across the country.
The Government believe that business is the driver of economic growth and innovation, and that we need to take urgent action to boost enterprise and build a new and more responsible economic model, to create a fairer and more balanced economy where new businesses and economic opportunities are more evenly shared between regions and industries.
The Government are committed to renewing and strengthening local economies. We will do this by enabling local authorities located in natural economic areas, in conjunction with business, to form local enterprise partnerships. Local Enterprise Partnerships will therefore be developed from the local level rather than being imposed by central Government giving the private sector of the West Midlands the opportunity to direct economic development policy within their respective partnerships.
The Regional Growth Fund, announced at Budget, a £1 billion fund that will initially operate in 2011/12 and 2012/13 will provide support for projects that offer significant potential for sustainable economic growth and can create new private sector employment. It will be
key to recovery across all parts of England, including the West Midlands, to get the private sector going so that it can lead stimulation of the economy as quickly as possible.
Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what guidance his Department issues on the classification of businesses in the hospitality industry offering free wi-fi access to the internet as (a) communications providers and (b) internet service providers under the terms of the Digital Economy Act 2010. 
Mr Vaizey [holding answer 6 September 2010]: The Department has not yet offered guidance on classification under the Digital Economy Act 2010 to those providing free wi-fi accesses to the internet. The relevant requirements of the Digital Economy Act will not have any effect until a code has been approved by Ofcom and Parliament. Ofcom is reviewing the responses to its consultation on its draft obligations code. It will issue a statement when this review is completed with a view to approving a code by the end of the year.
Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to prevent illegal file-sharing by those accessing the internet through free wi-fi hot spots; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey [holding answer 6 September 2010] : The relevant provisions in the Digital Economy Act 2010 are intended to address the online infringement of copyright irrespective of whether such activity is undertaken via a personal internet connection or through a commercially-or publicly-provided wi-fi network.
Many providers of public wi-fi networks, such as universities, already take measures to prevent infringement which go far beyond what the Act requires, but the Act brings regulatory certainty and consistency.
However, the Government recognise that more clarification is needed. The Initial Obligations Code, on which Ofcom has recently consulted, will set out how this will work in practice.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of credit card companies on the introduction of an annual dormancy fee; and whether he plans to bring forward proposals to cap such charges. 
Mr Davey: I have had no discussions with representatives of credit card companies on the introduction of annual dormancy fees and at this time the Government have no plans to introduce proposals to introduce a cap on these charges.
The Office of Fair Trading is not aware of receiving any consumer complaints regarding these types of fees. The Government would be concerned if dormancy fees were set at an amount that did more than cover the reasonable cost to the card issuer of maintaining and
administering the dormant account for the relevant period. It is also important that the card issuer is transparent about the existence of such fees and should take appropriate steps to ensure that the card holder is made fully aware of the possible application of a dormancy fee prior to them entering into the credit agreement.
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) average and (b) highest daily rate paid to consultants by his Department was in each of the last five years. 
Mr Davey: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many of his 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. 
Mr Davey: BIS is participating in the centrally-led programme of renegotiation with Government's key suppliers. However, the detailed information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many officials in his 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 his Department from such renegotiations; how much expenditure his Department will incur on such renegotiations; and when such renegotiations will be completed. 
Mr Davey: BIS is participating in the centrally-led programme of renegotiation with Government's key suppliers. The Department constantly reviews the contracts it has for ICT and facilities management services. Renegotiation of these contracts has so far realised annual savings of £8.8 million. Further savings are anticipated.
Other than this information on ICT and facilities management services, the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department paid in rent for properties in (a) total and (b) each (i) region and (ii) nation of the UK in each of the last five years. 
Mr Davey: This Department and its predecessors have paid the following amounts in rent in the last five financial years:
|Total||Yorks/Humber||East Midlands||North West||S outh West||Scotland||London|
The above figures are inclusive of VAT. They do not include charges paid to other Government Departments under MOTO (memorandum of terms of occupation) agreements, nor do they include income obtained from tenants (mainly other Government Departments).
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many external training courses were attended by staff of his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost to the public purse was of each such course. 
Mr Davey: Training budgets are not held centrally but delegated to line managers and business units. Decisions are made locally on how the money is spent and this information is not held centrally. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010 on public intermediaries, with particular reference to libraries and universities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey [holding answer 6 September 2010]: We considered carefully the position of public intermediaries, including libraries and universities, under the Act. Libraries and universities have taken the opportunity to contribute to the Initial Obligations Code discussions-the subject of a formal consultation by Ofcom, which closed on 30 July 2010. Ofcom is now in the process of reviewing the responses it has received from all stakeholders and will publish a formal statement when the review is complete.
It is in everyone's interest to ensure that their connection or network is not misused. Intermediaries will need to continue to play their role by taking precautions and taking measures to tackle infringement in order to ensure that their connections are not used by individuals to copy material and avoid any repercussions.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what new sources of revenue for post offices have been identified by his Department; and what progress has been made in establishing such sources. 
Mr Davey: As set out in 'The Coalition: our programme for government', we will ensure that post offices are allowed to offer a wide range of services in order to sustain the network, and we are working with Post Office Ltd and other Government Departments to develop new sources of revenue.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of former UK students living overseas who owe money to the Student Loans Company; what estimate he has made of the (a) total amount owed by such people and (b) average amount owned per person; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Willetts: The latest estimate of the number of former English domiciled students with income contingent loans who are now living overseas was 28,600 as at 30 April 2010. A breakdown is shown within the following table:
Not provided income details and are now considered to be in arrears
(a) The total value of their student loans was £327.2 million.
(b) The average amount owed per person is £11,450. This may exclude the effect of recent repayments made via the tax system before the borrowers moved overseas, as such repayments may not have been reflected in the borrower's Student Loans Company accounts yet.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to assist farmers in Africa to grow crops other than tobacco. 
Mr O'Brien: Increasing the productivity of small farmers in growing alternative crops has an important part to play not only in improving food security, but also as a building block for wealth creation. The Department for International Development (DFID) is already supporting such work in a number of African countries.
In the coming months, DFID will be reviewing its aid programmes to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate growth towards the Millennium Development Goals. Aid spending on agriculture in Africa is being reviewed as part of this process.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on (a) reimbursement of staff expenses and (b) the 10 largest staff expense reimbursement claims in each year since 1997. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has spent the following amounts on reimbursement of staff expenses since financial year 2004-05. Information for previous years and for financial year 2008-09 cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
|Financial year||Amount (£)|
|(1 )In 2008-09, DFID moved to a new financial management system. We suspect that duplicate entries exist in the two systems in this year. To determine which amounts have been entered into both systems, and the total amount paid in reimbursements would incur disproportionate cost.|
The 10 highest value claims in each of these years were as follows:
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of invoices from suppliers his Department paid within 10 days of receipt in July and August 2010. 
Mr Duncan: Information available for payments made to all UK suppliers within 10 days of receipt of invoice is:
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many external training courses were attended by staff of his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost to the public purse was of each such course. 
Mr Duncan: Information on the number of external training courses attended by staff is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Since the Department does not have a learning management system it is very difficult to collate data from 100 sub-departments. We do recognise the need to be able to centrally store, acquire and collate various types of human resources (HR) data to enable reporting-for example for parliamentary questions like one. Whilst it is possible to access data from a variety of different and diverse systems, this is not without considerable and often disproportionate effort. To that end we are working on the design and build of a new HR management system, incorporating the capability to provide (at short notice) a variety of learning and development reports, including those relating to further and higher education. This work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department is providing to developing countries to assist them to provide free healthcare to their people. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) always seeks to ensure that the benefits of health services are distributed equitably when investing in health systems in developing countries. In addition to increasing the quality and supply of services, DFID works closely with governments and other partners to make sure that these services reach the poor and vulnerable. This requires giving special attention to removing the barriers that prevent those most in need from accessing the care they require, including financial barriers for the poorest.
The Secretary of State has recently commissioned a review of DFID's aid programmes, including support to the health sector, to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department is providing to developing countries for training of (a) midwives and (b) other health care workers in 2010-11. 
Mr O'Brien: As a part of its health systems strengthening work, DFID funds (a) midwives and (b) other health care workers through various channels including through bilateral programmes, direct support to national health sector plans of partner countries, and multilateral organisations and global funding instruments such as the World Bank, and the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.
At central level, DFID supports the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to provide training to midwives and doctors in five countries. We also support the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) to deliver the UK International Health Links Funding Scheme, which promotes partnerships that strengthen capacity and improve health worker capacity in developing countries through training. DFID has provided £3 million for this programme which is funded jointly with the Department of Health (DH).
DFID is currently developing a new Health Partnership Scheme to enable UK based health workers to support human resources training in partner countries. The programme will be funded up to £5 million per year.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to encourage provision of (a) healthcare facilities and (b) medicines for emergency care in developing countries. 
Mr O'Brien: The core of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) work on health in developing countries is to support national partners in their efforts to build effective and accessible health services, including emergency healthcare and medicines, to prevent, identify and treat the major causes of ill health and preventable mortality.
DFID supports the planning and policy making process in our partner countries, but it is for national partners to identify their priorities for healthcare provision.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the oral answer of 2 June 2010, Official Report, column 423, on malaria, what estimate he has made of the effect on other aspects of his Department's annual health budget of his commitment to spend £500 million per year on malaria. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: Tackling malaria is a priority for the Government. We will increase our support to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by malaria in the poorest countries. We are also focusing on reproductive, maternal and newborn health and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Department for International Development (DFID) is currently reviewing all our aid programmes and a spending review is under way across Government.
Once the reviews are complete, we will set out details of how we plan to spend our commitment of up to £500 million on malaria, along with our work on maternal, reproductive and newborn health and other priorities to achieve the MDGs.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the oral answer of 2 June 2010, Official Report, column 423, on malaria, by what date he intends to fulfil his commitment to spend £500 million per year on malaria. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) is currently reviewing all our aid programmes and a spending review is under way across Government.
Once the reviews are complete, we will set out details of how we plan to spend our commitment of up to £500 million on malaria.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with (a) the Scottish Executive and (b) the Secretary of State for Scotland on funding for his Department's projects in Malawi. 
Mr O'Brien: The Secretary of State for International Development and the Scottish Executive's Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, held discussions on development issues in mid June. They agreed to increased co-operation and co-ordination, underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding, including work in Malawi. There have been no discussions on this issue between the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Department for International Development (DFID) officials are in regular contact with the Scottish Executive and the Scotland Office regarding our aid programme in Malawi.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on taxi fares in each year since 1997. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) spent the following on taxi fares since financial year 2002-03. Figures prior to 2002-03 cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
|(1) In 2008-09, DFID moved to a new financial management system. We suspect that duplicate entries exist in the two systems in this year. To determine which amounts have been entered into both systems, and the total amount paid in reimbursements would incur disproportionate cost.|
All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what records his Department holds on the uses to which the core funds of (a) the United Nations Population Fund and (b) the International Planned Parenthood Federation have been put over the latest two years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr O'Brien: The use of core funds given to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is governed through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNFPA and the Department for International Development (DFID). This MOU states that the funding should be used in support of the objectives set out in UNFPA's Strategic Plan, which they report against annually. DFID also annually assesses UNFPA's performance on a selected range of targets through a separate performance framework.
Guidance on the use of core funds to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) is contained in a Partnership Programme Arrangement (PPA) which was agreed in 2008. The PPA states that funding is provided in support of reproductive health.
Improving sexual and reproductive health and rights for women in developing countries is a priority for the Government. This includes better access to modern methods of family planning methods and promoting women's choices.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much was spent by (a) the United Nations Population Fund and (b) the International Planned Parenthood Federation in (i) China, (ii) Uzbekistan, (iii) South Africa and (iv) Namibia on reproductive health issues in each of the last two years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr O'Brien: This question seeks detailed information on the activities of two organisations external to the UK Government and it is therefore not appropriate for the Department for International Development (DFID) to answer. My hon. Friend may find the requested information on the websites of these organisations or by approaching the organisations directly.
17. Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish his Department's response to the consultation on hospital car parking charges. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Government's response to the NHS Car Parking Consultation will be published later this month.
18. Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how new community hospitals will be funded under the proposed new commissioning structures. 
Mr Simon Burns: Under our proposals for new commissioning arrangements, GP consortia will commission the great majority of national health service services for their patients, including, where appropriate, community hospital services. Arrangements for capital funding will be informed by the responses to the White Paper consultation.
19. Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which organisation will have responsibility for provision of ambulance services under his proposals for the reform of the national health service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Under the proposals for reform, ambulance services will be commissioned by GP consortia. Consultations on the proposals are however under way, including one on commissioning arrangements. The services themselves will continue to be provided by national health service ambulance trusts and, in the case of patient transport, trusts and private providers.
20. Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely effect on cancer patients in Blackpool of ending targets on health outcomes. 
Mr Burstow: This Government have retained cancer waiting time targets. We are currently consulting on a new Outcomes Framework for the national health service, which will increase transparency and accountability and end the use of targets where there is no clinical justification.
21. Karen Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to encourage take-up of organ donor cards. 
Anne Milton: In autumn 2009, NHS Blood and Transplant launched a public awareness campaign to encourage people to join the Organ Donor Register (ODR) and to discuss organ donation with their family. NHS Blood and Transplant also work with the national health service, commercial and third sector organisations to support national and local initiatives on organ donation.
22. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what resources he plans to allocate to local authorities in respect of their proposed new public health responsibilities. 
Anne Milton: The Department will create a ring-fenced public health budget. Within this, local directors of public health will be responsible for health improvement funds, allocated according to relative population health need.
Work is currently under way to determine baseline spend on public health. Details of the scope of the budget and allocation process will be announced in due course.
23. Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the running costs of Wiltshire primary care trust were in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The Department does not collect a single figure in respect of running costs from primary care trusts (PCTs). For the purposes of this question, the Department has estimated the running costs of Wiltshire PCT in 2009-10 to be £40.232 million. This
estimate, which represents 6% of the PCT's total gross expenditure, is derived from the organisation's own accounts.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to increase provision of GPs' out-of-hours services. 
Mr Lansley: General practitioner (GP) out-of-hours services should be provided as part of the 24/7 integrated urgent care service in each area. The national health service locally, through GP-led commissioning, in consultation with local authorities, will determine how to ensure access to high quality urgent care, including a GP service out-of-hours.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that appropriate numbers of anti-virals and vaccine doses are purchased in respect of future pandemics. 
Anne Milton: The National Framework for pandemic flu is being revised in the light of the swine flu pandemic and other evidence so that we remain as well prepared as possible to respond to any future influenza pandemic.
We continue to hold a stockpile of antivirals for over 50% of the population based on the stocks bought for pandemic preparedness prior to, and at the time of, the swine flu outbreak.
We are considering our requirements for future vaccine agreements, taking account of the findings of the independent review of the UK response to the 2009 influenza pandemic.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average vacancy rates were in accident and emergency departments of each London acute healthcare trust for (a) middle grade doctors and (b) nurses in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Vacancy data are not collected in the format requested. The following tables display (a) vacancy rates and numbers which have lasted three months or more and (b) total vacancy rates and numbers for doctors, consultants and qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting positions in each London acute hospital trust as at 30 March 2010.
|Three month vacancy rates and numbers for all hospital and community health services (HCHS) doctors (excluding doctors in training and equivalents) and qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff in the London strategic health authority area and by each acute Trust|
|All HCHS Doctors (excluding Doctors in Training and Equivalents)||Consultants|
|March 2009||September 2008||March 2009||September 2008|
|Three month vacancy rate %||Three month vacancy number||(Staff in post) full time equivalent||(Staff in post) headcount||Three month vacancy rate %||Three month vacancy number||(Staff in post) full time equivalent||(Staff in post) headcount|
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