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Norman Baker: During May and June 2010, Ministers in the Department for Transport spent a total of £377.52 on food and soft drinks. This relates to an Armed Forces Day on 23 June 2010, hosted by Mike Penning, for armed forces veterans and serving reservists from across the central Department and its agencies. There was no other expenditure for hospitality events during this period.
Norman Baker: I am aware of only one such event in July, when the Department for Transport spent £19.80 on refreshments at a meeting which I chaired. All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what severance payments have been paid to (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers in his Department who left office after the last general election. 
Norman Baker: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr Maude) on 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 55W, which lists the total severance payments made to Ministers from each Department who left office following the general election.
The Government publish annually the total cost of special advisers in the form of a written ministerial statement by the Prime Minister. The total cost of severance paid out to special advisers who left office after the last general election will be published in due course.
Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received from representatives of disability organisations on proposed changes to the driving test; and what representations he has received on making provision for those with special needs to enable them to take the test. 
Mike Penning: The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) made representations in summer 2010 regarding the introduction of 'independent driving' into the practical driving test. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has also received similar written representations from driving instructors who teach candidates with special learning needs. The agency then worked with the BDA to ensure that implementation arrangements will not discriminate against candidates with dyslexia.
As part of reforming the way that people learn to drive and are tested, we are introducing, from 4 October, an assessment of a candidate's ability to drive safely and make decisions independently (known as independent driving), to mirror what they will have to do once they have passed their test.
When developing proposals for independent driving, the DSA commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct independent trials, which included non-English speaking participants and participants with a disability. The majority of the participants perceived the independent driving exercises to be socially inclusive,
but the participants who considered themselves dyslexic reported that they had found the independent driving exercises more challenging.
DSA took into account potential difficulties that these groups may face when designing the independent driving tasks and further engaged with the BDA, which advised on the formatting of the supporting diagrams.
The methods adopted to help dyslexic candidates perform the independent driving task will also be useful for candidates with learning difficulties, especially if they have difficulties in reading or following a sequence of instructions.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to publish his consultation paper on the minimum standards for drivers with diabetes, epilepsy and vision required under EC Directive 2009/113/EEC. 
The Department's officials, with the Secretary of State's Honorary Medical Advisory Panels, have been considering how the directive should be applied in the UK. The Department will await the outcome of the consultation on proposals before making changes.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving licence photographic renewals the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has processed in each of the last three years; and how much revenue the Agency received from such renewals in each such year. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 13 September 2010]: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency started renewing photographs on driving licences in April 2008. The following figures reflect the volumes which have been processed since April 2008.
|Volume||Fee (£)||Volume x fee (£)|
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made an estimate of the average number of transfer passengers on aircraft movements taking place at Heathrow Airport (a) before 0600 hours and (b) between 0600 and 0700 hours. 
The Department for Transport does not hold estimates of the number of transfer passengers at Heathrow airport by time of day. However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) does hold information on the number of air transport movements, the total number of passengers and the number of transit passengers at
Heathrow by time of day. This information is not published but is available on request from the CAA.
Norman Baker [holding answer 14 September 2010]: I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) and with officials as part of a wider consideration of the topic of mobility scooters.
We are aware that the number of mobility vehicles is on the increase. In 2010 the Department initiated a survey to help assess the number of mobility scooter users and the extent to which their use may have injured people. I will be considering its conclusions as part of an overall review of the laws governing the use of mobility vehicles. The results of the survey can be viewed on the Department's website at:
Mr Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what definition of overcrowding his Department uses for passenger train carriages on services running between King's Cross and (a) Stevenage and (b) Royston. 
Mrs Villiers: Train operating companies submit morning and evening peak train plans to the Department for Transport for May and December timetable changes each year. Overcrowding levels are assessed by comparing counts of passengers against the plans.
Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent capacity surveys have been undertaken in respect of the railway line between King's Cross and Stevenage; what recent representations he has received on overcrowding on trains; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Franchised train operators are required by the Department for Transport to undertake passenger counts as part of their franchise agreements. Train counts are requested from all relevant operators twice yearly, for the morning and evening peak demand, counting arriving train passengers between 7 am and 9.59 am and departing passengers between 4 pm and 6.59 pm. The most recent surveys were undertaken during spring 2010.
Statistics on train crowding are published by the Office of Rail Regulation in the National Rail Trends Yearbook, which is available in the House Library, or from the Office of Rail Regulation website at:
The National Rail Trends Yearbook contains 'passengers in excess of capacity' (PiXC) statistics showing overcrowding on London commuter services. Latest published statistics are for the autumn 2009 period.
Mrs Villiers: Train operating companies submit morning and evening peak train plans to the Department for Transport for May and December timetable changes each year. Overcrowding levels are assessed by comparing counts of passengers against the plans.
Passenger counts data are assessed against the agreed seated and standing capacity of each train and the extent of crowding is calculated. The assessment informs the plans for the next timetable iteration and the deployment of train capacity. The Department uses the data as the base for strategic forecasts of peak demand change. The latest assessment for First Capital Connect, the train operator that provides the services in question, was for the May timetable change.
Sir Alan Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects his Department to publish revised forecasts for passenger numbers for Stansted and other airports in the South East over the period to 2030; and whether these will include detailed projections for each airport. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport published forecasts of the number of air passengers using UK airports, including Stansted Airport, most recently in "UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts 2009". The Department keeps its forecasts under review and will publish updated forecasts as appropriate.
Mrs Villiers: In accordance with the Budget statement (June 2010), the Government are exploring with other shareholders the options for a potential sale process in National Air Traffic Services. No decisions have yet been made on whether a sale will be proceeded with.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) amount of funding and (b) other support his Department has provided to Network Rail's Railway Communications Systems project. 
Mrs Villiers: Railway communications systems projects are the responsibility of Network Rail. They are included as part of the funding allocated in the periodic review 2008, the delivery of which is monitored by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The Network Rail Delivery Plan of 31 March 2010 states that £1,089 million will be expended between 2009-10 and 2013-14 on Telecommunications of which £829 million is for the Fixed Telecommunications Network/ Global System for Mobile Communications-Railways (FTN/GSM-R)-projects.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the level of outstanding parking fines owed to local authorities by drivers of foreign-registered vehicles. 
If all vehicles had the same propensity to park in contravention, approximately 0.4% of the approximately 9 million penalty charge notices (PCNs) served each year would relate to FRVs-perhaps some 36,000. Local authorities may use private debt collection companies that offer to pursue debts through foreign vehicle registration authorities. We understand that up to 40% of foreign keepers will pay a PCN when contacted by such companies.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to improve access for disabled individuals to train services serving (a) Coventry and (b) other cities in England. 
Norman Baker: The coalition Government place a high value on initiatives that promote equality and fairness. The Railways for All programme, launched by the previous Government, is currently installing level access routes at 148 priority stations across the railway network, and this is in addition to major programmes of investment and the commitments in rail franchises. Coventry station itself has not been identified for enhancement, as lift access to platforms is already provided.
In addition, all new trains entering service since 1998 have been required to meet modern accessibility standards. Almost 6,200 rail vehicles that meet those requirements are now in service, including the Pendolino high speed trains that serve Coventry. All rail vehicles must be accessible by January 2020.
The Government remain committed to improving access to rail travel. However, in common with other Departments we are carrying out a spending review which requires that we reassess a number of programmes for affordability. We are also carrying out a public consultation on the future of rail franchising. Once these have concluded we will be able to say more about our future plans.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to (a) his Department, (b) bus and coach transport providers and (c) passengers of implementation of the proposed regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport and amending regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 (05218/2010-C7-0077.2010-2008.00237(COD)); and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport produced a post-consultation impact assessment on the European Commission's draft regulation concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport in December 2009. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House. This indicated that the proposal would be likely to place a significant cost on the industry which could be passed on to passengers through higher fares. There would also be enforcement costs which are expected to fall to the Department.
Since then the Transport Council of Ministers agreed significant changes to the original proposal which should reduce the cost to industry. However, the European Parliament has opposed some of these changes, and so negotiations on the text are ongoing. We will continue to argue that the regulation needs to be proportionate and practical in its application. We will produce an updated impact assessment once the text is finalised.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on future funding for (a) bus services in London and (b) London Underground services. 
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made by his Department of the feasibility of the plans put forward by the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2009 to reinstate former railway lines; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport is not currently undertaking any formal assessments of the feasibility of the list of re-opening schemes suggested by the Association of Train Operating Companies, although we fully recognise the value of the work they have carried out on this issue. The lines and stations they have identified for re-opening would, for the most part, focus on improving local connectivity. It is therefore open to the relevant local transport authorities to consider whether re-opening might be an affordable and appropriate way to meet local transport needs, within the constraints of available funding.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on (a) the provisions of the Railways Act 2005 in respect of permitted closure of level crossings and (b) the effect on the economy of Lincoln, Lincolnshire and the East Midlands of Network Rail's proposal for revised hourly closures of the Lincoln High Street level crossing. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 14 September 2010]: Department for Transport Ministers have received recent representations on the second of these issues from my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Karl McCartney), the leader of Lincolnshire county council and the leader of Lincoln city council.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to Appendix K of the Route Frequency Study Final Report for High Speed Two, what public consultation he plans to carry out on the location of the marshalling depot referred to in paragraph K-9.3.3 of the Appendix; and if he will make a statement. 
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account he has taken of (a) the (i) cost and benefit and (ii) environmental impact of high speed rail operation at different design speeds and (b) the design speeds of high speed rail systems in (A) France, (B) Germany and (C) other countries in determining the most suitable design speed for High Speed Two. 
Mr Philip Hammond: HS2 Ltd has considered these issues in detail. Its findings are published in its report and supporting technical documents published by the Government in March 2010. These documents can be found at:
HS2 Ltd's proposals assume a potential maximum future line speed of approximately 250 miles per hour (mph), where route topographical, train performance and sustainability considerations would permit. However, the journey times and modelled benefits included in its report are based on current train technologies and therefore assume a maximum speed of 225 mph (subject to the same topographical and other considerations).
This approach is broadly in line with current practice in Europe and Asia, where most major lines currently under construction or recently completed have been designed for a maximum line speed of 225 mph, but lines in development are being designed for eventual speeds up to 250 mph and 275 mph respectively. Shorter 'in-fill' sections of high speed route linking conventional lines generally continue to be designed for 160-200 mph.
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) minimum peak ticket prices and (b) minimum daily passenger numbers in each year were assumed for a journey between Birmingham and London as part of the business case for High Speed Two; and if he will publish the full business case. 
The number of passengers is forecast using detailed transport models. The model estimates that around 145,000 passengers per day in 2033 would travel on HS2 services, of whom approximately 54,000 would travel between the west midlands stations (Fazeley Street and Birmingham Interchange) and London stations (Euston and Old Oak Common).
Mr Philip Hammond: A detailed business case for High Speed Two -the proposed line between London and the west midlands-was published by HS2 Limited in March 2010. In addition to the summary of the business case provided in the company's main report, the full detail is presented in its 'HS2 Demand and Appraisal Report'. This is on the Department for Transport website at:
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many applications his Department had received for payments under the HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether mechanisms are in place to obtain the views of (a) potential and (b) former customers of rail services in the assessment of the performance of rail franchises. 
Mrs Villiers: None of the current rail franchises require train operators to meet performance targets in relation to potential or former passengers, as distinct from current passengers. The most recently let franchise, South Central, contains passenger satisfaction targets. However all operators have a commercial incentive to fill trains, keep existing passengers and attract new passengers.
The Department for Transport is currently consulting on the future of rail franchising and would welcome views on how passenger preferences and experience should be captured in a new system. The consultation paper is available at
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of passenger views on the adequacy of information on rail ticket choices; and what steps he is taking to ensure that passengers have access to clear information on rail tickets and fares. 
Mrs Villiers: Despite some welcome progress by the rail industry, passengers can still find it difficult to understand which ticket is the best for their journey and where they can buy it. I am challenging the industry to make ticket buying easier for passengers and more efficient for the tax payer.
Mrs Villiers: The current level of direct services between London and Aberdeen and Inverness will continue to be provided when the new East Coast Main Line timetable is introduced in May 2011. The longer term future of direct services between London and Inverness and Aberdeen will be determined by forthcoming decisions on replacement of the current rolling stock.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the merits of giving additional powers to local authorities to prohibit utility companies which fail to repair roads to an acceptable standard from undertaking further street works. 
Norman Baker: An outright prohibition on street works by particular utility companies would put at risk the continuity of supply of essential services and, if it prevented utilities from maintaining and repairing their pipes, cables and other infrastructure, would present a significant risk to public safety.
Local highway authorities can inspect street works sites to ensure that the highway has been reinstated in accordance with the 'Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways' and, where a reinstatement is found to be unsatisfactory, the authority has powers to require the undertaker of the original works to carry out the necessary remedial works at the undertaker's own expense. Should the undertaker fail to do so, the authority can carry out the works itself and recover the costs from the undertaker.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on requiring utility companies undertaking street works to maintain pipes and cables to minimise disruption during such work. 
Norman Baker: It is for local highway authorities to ensure effective management and co-ordination of street works on their highways, where necessary using the powers available to them under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and the Traffic Management Act 2004. The Government would particularly encourage local highway authorities to consider the positive contribution that permit schemes can make in reducing the disruption caused by works.
The Government also believe there could be a role for stronger financial incentives to minimise disruption, and are considering responses to a recent consultation on proposals to increase the penalties that can be applied where works overrun on traffic sensitive streets. The Government are also exploring the potential for lane rental schemes targeted on the most critical parts of local highway networks.
The Department for Transport is also working with those involved in street works to progress non-regulatory measures, including the identification and dissemination
of best practice in street works management and better use of local performance data to help identify strengths and areas for future improvement.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the effect on the number of road accidents of the introduction of zonal 20 mph schemes in (a) Portsmouth and (b) Oxford; and if he will make a statement. 
The preliminary findings include that, in the areas covered by the 20 mph limits, recorded injury accident numbers have reduced from an average of 165 per year, during the three years before the speed limits were introduced, to 144 during the first year afterwards. This reduction of 13% is greater than the percentage fall in accident numbers nationally during the same period. A longer period after the introduction of the speed limits is likely to improve the robustness of the conclusions that can be drawn from the data.
The Department has more recently received accident information for the second year after the implementation of the 20 mph limits. This indicates that the annual average of the number of recorded personal injury accidents during the two years after the limits were introduced was about 21% less than the average during the three years beforehand. Again, nationally the number of accidents has fallen during that period, but by a smaller percentage.
The Department has also assessed the reduction of actual speeds in the areas of Portsmouth covered by the 20 mph speed limits. On average the mean speeds have fallen by about 1.3 mph. Previous research has indicated that such falls in average speeds in urban areas are typically associated with reductions in the numbers of injury accidents of about 7% (5% per mph of average speed reduction), which is consistent with the accident numbers recorded in Portsmouth.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times the Highways Agency has not met timescales for cleanliness standards of roads and verges as set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency is responsible for motorways and a small number of all-purpose trunk roads in England. Litter collection on all other highways is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.
Litter collection and carriageway sweeping is undertaken by the Highways Agency's service providers, who are required under their contracts to meet the standards of cleanliness set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The Act places a duty on authorities to ensure that their land, or land for which they are responsible, is kept clear of litter and refuse in so far as is practicable. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Highways Agency has not met time scales for the cleanliness of its roads and verges, as time scales do not apply under the Act.
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment has been made of the (a) value for money, (b) environmental impact and (c) associated labour costs of materials used to maintain roads in Leicestershire. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 15 September 2010]: The Highways Agency maintains the Strategic Road Network in Leicestershire, namely the M1, A14, M69, A5 and A46. This is achieved through a five-year maintenance contract which was renewed for the area covering Leicestershire in July 2009. As part of the process for awarding this contract the costs of the proposed maintenance programme submitted by each of the tenders were assessed across a range of operations to ensure value for money.
[holding answer 15 September 2010]: The Highways Agency is responsible for managing the strategic road network in England. It carries out annual road surface condition surveys, principally to measure the levels of rutting, the ride quality, general surface condition and the skid resistance provided by the road surface in the wet. In addition, visual surveys and inspections are conducted regularly throughout the year
to identify emergency repairs and to support future planned maintenance. Sections requiring potential maintenance are also further investigated to identify the road material quality and the overall structural aspects, as guided by the agency's standards and codes of practices. The agency also takes account of any maintenance issues raised by members of the public. Survey information is recorded either centrally in the agency's asset management systems and/or by the managing agents.
Local road condition is a matter for the relevant local highway authority. Such authorities currently report two National Indicators on road condition (NI168 and NI169). Information about the criteria used to derive these indicators can be found at
The same underlying data are used to produce the Department's Highways Condition index, which is published as part of its Road Conditions in England report. The 2009 report sets out the Index's methodology and is available at:
Norman Baker: In England, procurement of salt supplies for highway gritting are a matter for each local highway authority to determine, based on local priorities. The interim report by the independent review into the response of England's transport system to severe winter weather was published on 26 July:
In his written ministerial statement welcoming the report, the Secretary of State reminded local highway authorities that they should make appropriate salting provision for their highway networks, and urged them to take forward the recommendations in the report that relate to them.
Over the past few months, the Department for Transport has conducted two surveys of English local authorities, asking about their readiness for the coming winter. Officials have also held discussions with the Local Government Association and the UK Roads Liaison Group about implementing the recommendations of the independent review.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he has provided to local authorities on the introduction of zonal 20 mph schemes in residential areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Guidance on setting local speed limits, including that for 20 mile per hour zones is contained in Department for Transport Circular 01/2006: Setting Local Speed Limits published in August 2006 and Traffic
Advisory Leaflet 9/99: 20mph Speed Limits and Zones published in June 1999. Copies of both documents are available in the House.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward proposals for the level of speeding fines to be calculated in relation to the wealth of the driver and the speed recorded. 
Mike Penning: There are no plans to introduce a system of speeding fines calculated in relation to the wealth of drivers. Nor are there plans to introduce a penalty system with increased fines for those drivers exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount.
Mrs Villiers: Unfortunately due to diary commitments, neither the Secretary of State nor I have any immediate plans to visit the communities around Stansted. However, my Department's officials and I will continue to remain in close contact with my right hon. Friend and local residents on any issues of concern.
Sir Alan Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the results of the consultation on the Noise Action Plan for Stansted Airport; and what the reason is for the time taken to publish the plan. 
Mrs Villiers: The draft noise action plans submitted by airports have been subject to scrutiny by the Department for Transport (DFT) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to ensure that they meet the requirements of the EU Environmental Noise Directive as set out in DEFRA's March 2009 guidance to airport operators. This guidance requires airports to include details of their local public consultation and how issues raised have been addressed in the draft plan.
Following submission of Stansted airport's draft noise action plan, officials from both the DFT and DEFRA met with airport representatives to discuss the draft. Stansted airport submitted a further draft plan on 27 August for consideration. This draft is currently being given further scrutiny and we expect to take a decision on formal adoption shortly. Once the plan has been formally adopted by Government, it will be published on both DEFRA's and the airport's website.
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport was established following machinery of Government changes on 29 May 2002. Details of costs for the period prior to 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Financial year||Taxi fare spend (£)|
|(1) Figures only available for four of the Department's agencies.|
(2 )Figures only available for three of the Department's agencies.
(3) Figures only available for two of the Department's agencies.
Mike Penning: On 21 July, I announced an additional period for representations to be made on the transfer scheme submitted in January by Dover Harbour Board, which would allow the Board to sell the port of Dover. This period ended on 27 August. In reaching a decision on the proposals by the Dover Harbour Board all the relevant representations will be taken into account.
No other trust port has brought forward plans for a voluntary privatisation. The Department for Transport earlier this year received analyses from each of the other major trust ports in England and Wales, following their boards' reviews of corporate structure, and will now monitor their implementation plans to enhance efficiency and obtain value from their assets.
Danny Alexander: The Government committed in the June 2010 Budget to remove the effective requirement to purchase an annuity by age 75 from April 2010. A consultation on the details of the change was launched on 15 July and closed on 10 September. A summary of responses and draft legislation, containing full details of the final policy, will be published in the autumn.
The Government recognise that access to finance is essential if businesses are to invest, grow and make their important contribution to supporting the economic recovery. The Government have recently published a Green Paper on business finance to help inform and take forward their agenda on credit and other sources of finance for businesses.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on (a) levels of employment, (b) bus services and (c) the economy of ceasing the bus service operators grant; and if he will make a statement. 
An impact assessment was published in March 2008 alongside a consultation document on options for bus subsidy reform. A subsequent impact assessment was published in December 2009. Decisions on the future levels of bus service operators grant will be taken as part of the spending review.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff his Department employs to consider (a) departmental and (b) national strategy; what output such staff are required to produce; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Treasury has a central role in the development and implementation of strategy on a national scale, on both the economy and the public finances. The Treasury's departmental strategy is designed to support the Department in discharging this responsibility effectively. As this is the Treasury's central responsibility, the majority of the Department are involved in this endeavour.
Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received recent representations from people who experienced a financial shortfall as a result of the operation of the systems of regulation of endowment policies prior to the implementation of the provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. 
Danny Alexander: A number of central Government bodies have outsourced some or all of their internal audit services. The Treasury is currently conducting a review of internal audit services across central Government and tendering and contracting is part of that review.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Green Investment Bank to begin operations; and if he will bring forward proposals to make that bank subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is in discussion with colleagues from other Government Departments about implementing the coalition commitment to create a Green Investment Bank (GIB). The Government will be putting forward detailed proposals after the spending review. The proposals will be evaluated for effectiveness, fiscal affordability and transparency.
Justine Greening: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility. The Budget Responsibility Committee has been asked to reply.
As a Member of the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), I have been asked to reply to your recent question:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what revisions he made in the June 2010 Budget in respect of expected expenditure on jobseekers' allowance in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. (14899)
The OBR's June 2010 Budget forecast for total Social Security spending in Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) was published in Table C13 of the June Budget document. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a breakdown of the DWP benefits subsumed within the June 2010 Budget forecast. This breakdown is available on the DWP website at:
The published breakdown includes the final June 2010 Budget forecast for jobseekers' allowance.
DWP provided the OBR with a similar breakdown of the DWP benefits subsumed within the OBR's forecast for total Social Security that was published in Table 4.8 of the Pre-Budget forecast on 14 June 2010. This breakdown has not been published.
Following your request for supplementary information on its forecasts, the Office for Budget Responsibility will release the information concerning the jobseekers' allowance forecast contained within the pre-Budget forecast, and the revisions to the jobseekers' allowance forecast in the June Budget. This information will be released on the OBR website:
on 21 September 2010. This is consistent with the interim OBR's release policy, which is available at:
Copies of the published material will also be made available in the vote office and printed paper office.
Mr Hoban: The remit of the Northern Rock independent valuer was established in the Northern Rock Compensation Scheme Order 2008. The Chancellor and the independent valuer of Northern Rock have not met to discuss this matter.
Mr Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in respect of each project subject to the review of Government-funded projects reported on 17 June 2010, for what reason each project was (a) approved or (b) cancelled; what criteria were used to reach a decision on each project; what evaluation process was followed; and which (i) Government Departments and (ii) external organisations were consulted in each case. 
Danny Alexander [holding answer 6 September 2010]: 217 projects were considered as part of the coalition Government's review of the spending commitments made by the previous Government between 1 January 2010 and the election. Projects were assessed on the grounds of affordability, value for money and whether they fitted with the priorities of the coalition Government.
Danny Alexander: The Government received over 45,000 suggestions from members of the public through the Spending Challenge website. Members of the public were invited to review and rate the ideas received in order to help identify the most promising ones.
The Government have committed to reviewing the ideas with the most potential and, on Friday 10 September, announced that three ideas submitted to the Spending Challenge by members of the public and public sector workers will be implemented as policy by the Government.
These ideas are (a) to reduce the number of Criminal Records Bureau checks for junior doctors, by taking a more common-sense approach across the NHS, so that junior doctors are not checked repeatedly over a short space of time; (b) to distribute national insurance numbers to people with a letter rather than a plastic card; and (c) to increase the selling of surplus and second hand Government equipment by expanding the use of the Ministry of Defence's eDisposals service for use across all Government Departments.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the efficiency of the telephone inquiry service provided by the child tax credit unit of his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gauke: The performance and efficiency of HMRC contact centres (which include the tax credit helpline) was recently assessed by the National Audit Office. The National Audit Office findings "Handling Telephone Enquiries" was published on 15 January 2010 with the subsequent Committee of Public Accounts report published on 25 March 2010.
Mr Hoban: There are many issues that need to be further explored around whether the financial transaction tax model offers a stable and efficient mechanism to raise revenue. These issues need to be resolved before the potential revenue could be forecast. The bank levy, announced in the June 2010 Budget, offers an effective way forward and ensures that banks make a contribution in respect of the risks they pose to the UK financial system and wider economy.
Mr Davey: Table 1 shows the number of bankruptcy orders registered in the Carlisle constituency for the three most recent years available. Regional insolvency figures are compiled annually, therefore data for 2010 will not be available until summer 2011. The two other individual insolvency procedures-Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Debt Relief Orders (DROs)-are also included.
|Table 1: Individual insolvencies in the Carlisle constituency|
|(1) DROs were introduced in April 2009. The data shown here are for April to December 2009.|
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the level of availability of credit finance to small and medium sized enterprises. 
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many organisations registered with his Department and its non-departmental public bodies provide membership to building construction firms on condition that they adhere to a code of practice; and if he will make a statement. 
TrustMark is an independent company set up with the help of the, then, Department of Trade and Industry in order to help address the issue of cowboy builders. Through the TrustMark Scheme, Trade Associations and equivalent bodies meeting a set of competency and customer care standards are licensed by TrustMark to use the TrustMark brand, as Scheme Operators. They, in turn, are obliged under the licence to ensure that member firms are competent and that their work meets appropriate standards.
Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects the Office of Fair Trading to publish the report of its formal compliance review of debt management guidance. 
Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of his Department's budget was spent on debt, benefits and employment advice in each of the last five years. 
£5 million (£1 million each year) for telephone debt advice via the National Debtline;
£6.8 million for the Face-to-Face Debt Advice project (£2.8 million in 2008-09, £2 million in 2009-10, £1.9 million in 2010-11);
£5 million in 2009-10 to the umbrella bodies for the Citizens Advice Service in England and Wales and in Scotland to increase bureaux opening hours to help meet an increase in the recession-driven demand for advice. Although advice is provided on all manner of issues, at least 50% relates to debt, benefits and employment.
Since 2005, BIS has provided around £128.6 million (£23.8 million in 2005-06, £21.4 million in 2006-07, £21.4 million in 2007-08, £21.4 million in 2008-09, £21.4 million in 2009-10 and £18.9 million in 2010-11) of core grant in aid funding to the umbrella bodies for the Citizens Advice Service in England and Wales and around £18.8 million (£3.2 million in 2005-06, £2.9 million in 2006-07, £3 million in 2007-08, £3.3 million in 2008-09, £3.3 million in 2009-10 and £2.9 million in 2010-11) in Scotland. This funding enables the umbrella bodies to provide business services to their customers-the national networks of Citizens Advice Bureaux-which in turn enable bureaux to provide front-line services to the public. BIS funding also enables both organisations to provide online advice direct to the public through the Adviceguide website. Again, although advice is provided on all manner of issues, at least 50% relates to debt, benefits and employment.
In addition BIS provides funding for the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) which gives advice on employment rights and responsibilities to both employers and employees. This includes its collective conciliation function, as well as individual conciliation, the ACAS Helpline and other training and advice. The allocation for 2010-11 is £49.4 million, and spend so far is £17.5 million. Over the previous four years spend has been:
BIS also funds the unified Pay and Work Rights line, established in 2009, which provides information and advice about the national and agriculture minimum wage, employment agency regulations, gangmaster licensing and working time. Expenditure on the helpline in 2009-10 was £1.2 million, including set up costs. Prior to 2009-10, advice on these issues was provided by a number of individual helplines run by different agencies across Government as part of their compliance and enforcement work.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) name and (b) address is of each building (i) leased and (ii) owned by his Department; on what date each property was opened for occupation by his Department; what the estimated book value is of each such property; and if he will make a statement. 
1 Victoria street, London SW1H OET: 16 September 1963
10 Victoria street, London SW1H ONN: 1973 (precise date of occupation uncertain)
151 Buckingham Palace road, London SW1W 9SS: 5 November 1993
4 Abbey Orchard street, London SW1P 2HT: 22 December 1999
Kingsgate House, 66-74 Victoria street, London SW1E 6SW: 1 September 1965
Westfield House, 30 Knaresborough Drive, London SW18 4UT: 24 October 1989
St. Mary's House, 9-11 London road, Sheffield S2 4LA: 13 March 1998
Newtown House, Maid Marion Way, Nottingham, NG1 6GG: 20 July 2005.
The following properties, for which we do not hold information on original occupation dates, were inherited by BIS on 1 April 2010 following the closure of the Learning Skills Council. All properties are currently unoccupied and we are currently seeking new tenants for the space at each location:
Allergate House, Belmont Business Park, Durham DH1 1TW
Progress House, Guard street, Workington CA14 4EW
Unit 7, Pioneer Business Park, Amy Johnson Way, York Y03 8TN
First Floor, Earls Court, Henry Boot Way, Priory Park, Hull HU4 7DY
Royal Pavilion, Summerhouse road, Moulton Park Industrial Estate, Northampton NN3 6BJ
Suite G1, Hollinswood House, Stafford Court, Telford TF2 3DD
Units 6 & 7 Castle Court, 2 Castlegate Business Park, Dudley DY1 4TA
5 Brook Court, Whittington Hall, Whittington road, Worcester WR5 2RX
Stuart House, St Johns street, Peterborough PE1 1SA
Redwing House, Hedgerows Business Park, Colchester road, Chelmsford CM2 5PB
45 Grosvenor road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3AW
Lakeside 500, Old Chapel Way, Broadland Business Park, Norwich NR7 OWG
Ground/1st Floor, Dumayne House, 1 Fox Lane, Palmers Green, London N13 4AB
Canius House, 1 Scarbrook road, Croydon CRO 1SQ
Central House, Lampton road, Hounslow, Middlesex TW3 1HY
Boardman House, 64 Broadway, Stratford E15 1NT
Latimer House, Langford Business Park, Kidlington, Oxford 0X5 1GG
Technology House, 48-54 Goldsworth road, Woking GU21 6LE .
Provincial House, 25 Oxford road, Bournemouth BH8 8EY
Ground Floor, Richmond Court, Emperor Way, Exeter Business Park, Exeter EX1 3QS
First Floor, Kingston House, Blackbrook Park Avenue, Taunton TA1 2PX
Conway House, 33-35 Worcester street, Gloucester GL1 3AJ
The Bora Building, 1st Floor, Westlea Campus, Westlea Down, Swindon SN5 7E2.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff his Department employs to consider (a) departmental and (b) national strategy; what output such staff are required to produce; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey: The Prime Minister wrote to Cabinet colleagues on 29 May 2010 setting out that organograms for central Government Departments and agencies that include all staff positions would be published in a common format from October 2010.
It is difficult to state what constitutes "departmental" and "national" strategy, as most staff will work on formulating or co-ordinating departmental or national policies or sometimes a combination of both.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what severance payments have been paid to (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers in his Department who left office after the last general election. 
Mr Davey: I refer to the response given to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) on 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 55W, which listed the total severance payments made to Ministers from each Department who left office following the last general election.
The Government publish annually the total cost of special advisers in the form of a written ministerial statement by the Prime Minister. The total cost of
severance paid out to special advisers who left office after the last general election will be published in due course.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what process his Department follows to assess whether higher education institutions should be re-awarded degree-awarding powers under the provisions of the Higher Education Act 2004. 
Mr Willetts: There are no provisions about degree awarding powers in the Higher Education Act 2004. However, since September 2004, private higher education institutions have been granted taught degree-awarding powers on a time limited basis.
At the end of each period of six years, the Department will seek advice from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) or other external quality assurance agency as appropriate, on whether the institution meets the criteria for the renewal of degree-awarding powers.
(i) subscribed for the duration of those six years to the QAA (or such other external quality assurance organisation as may be specified);
(ii) been subject to an external audit by the QAA; and
(iii) received a judgement of confidence in the organisation made by the QAA at the time of the audit.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students from England began attending universities in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales in each of the last five years. 
Mr Willetts: The numbers of English-domiciled postgraduate and undergraduate entrants to higher education institutions in England, Scotland and Wales are shown in the tables. Figures are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record and are provided for the academic years 2004/05 to 2008/09. Information for the 2009/10 academic year will become available from HESA in January 2011.
|English-domiciled postgraduate entrants( 1) to higher education institutions in England( 2) , Scotland and Wales, academic years 2004/05 to 2008/09|
|Country of institution|
|(1) Covers all-aged postgraduate entrants to full-time and part-time courses.( 2) Excludes the Open University due to inconsistencies in their coding of entrants across the time series. Note: Figures are based on an HESA standard registration population and are rounded to the nearest five:|
Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record.
|English-domiciled under graduate entrants( 1) to higher education institutions in England( 2) , Scotland and Wales, academic years 2004/05 to 2008/09|
|Country of institution|
|(1) Covers all-aged undergraduate entrants to full-time and part-time courses.( 2) Excludes the Open University due to inconsistencies in their coding of entrants across the time series. Note: Figures are based on an HESA standard registration population and are rounded to the nearest five:|
Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record.
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his estimate is of the savings to the Exchequer arising from a reduction in the number of university places by 10,000 in 2010. 
Mr Willetts: This Government have increased, not reduced, the number of university places available this year by 10,000 compared to the position set out in the December 2009 HEFCE Grant Letter. Because of the need for deficit reduction, we have also made a saving of £200 million in HE budgets. We have refocused the University Modernisation Fund, announced by the previous Government, because insufficient quality bids were received to fill the 20,000 places initially offered. We are also making efficiencies at university level. But the total funding we are making available to HEFCE for this year is still higher than that announced in the Council's Grant Letter of December 2009.
Mr Willetts: For the purpose of student support, a private higher education institution is any provider of higher education which is not publicly funded. Higher education courses provided by private institutions in the UK may be specifically designated to attract student support on an individual basis. They must all be accredited by a recognised UK awarding body such as a university, with the exception of the University of Buckingham which has its own degree-awarding powers. English-domiciled students attending these courses can apply for student support. The table which shows the number of approved student finance applications by English-domiciled applicants planning to study at private higher education institutions in academic year 2009/10 will be placed in the Library of the House. The figures include applications for all types of full and part time undergraduate student support and postgraduate disabled student allowance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which private higher education institutions are awaiting the renewal of their
degree-awarding powers under the provisions of the Higher Education Act 2004. 
Mr Willetts: There are no provisions regarding degree-awarding powers in the Higher Education Act 2004. However, since September 2004, when the criteria for degree-awarding powers and university title were changed, private higher education institutions have only been granted taught degree-awarding powers on a time-limited basis. No private higher education institutions are awaiting renewal of their powers at present; the dates of expiry are given as follows:
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many applications his Department and its predecessors received from BPP to use the title BPP University College. 
Mr Willetts: The support of a Department or body specified in regulations is required before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will consider whether to approve the use of the word "university" in the registered name of a company. Since 1 October 2009, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills is the specified Department if the company's registered office is in England and Wales; previously it was the Privy Council in all cases.
The Privy Council received an application from BPP College of Professional Studies Ltd. in 2007 to use the term 'university college'. No further applications were received until May 2010 when the principal of the college wrote to the Department seeking support for the BPP College of Professional Studies Ltd. to change its name to BPP University College of Professional Studies Ltd.
(i) have been granted powers to award taught degrees;
(ii) normally have at least 4,000 full time equivalent higher education students, of whom at least 3,000 are registered on degree level courses (including Foundation Degree programmes); and
(iii) are able to demonstrate that they have regard to the principles of good governance relevant to the sector.
In accordance with these conditions, on 15 July 2010 BPP College of Professional Studies Limited became the first non-publicly funded higher education institution with its own degree-awarding powers to be given approval
to use 'university college' in a change of company name to BPP University College of Professional Studies Limited.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what requirement there is for the Privy Council to authorise the use of the title of university by a higher education institution. 
Mr Willetts: The Privy Council has a duty to authorise the use of the word 'university' in publicly funded higher education institutions under section 77 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and Section 39 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998. The Privy Council no longer has any involvement in the approval of the word 'university' for private higher education institutions applying to use university titles under business and company names legislation. That duty passed to this Department on 1 October 2009.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what process his Department followed in authorising the use by BPP of the title University College; and which Minister in his Department authorised the recommendation of this award. 
Mr Willetts: Any applicant for the approval of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for a company to adopt a registered name that includes the word 'university' must first request the specified Department to indicate whether (and if so why) it has any objections to the proposed name. If the company's registered office is in England and Wales, the specified Department is the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The application for approval must include a statement that the request has been made and be accompanied by a copy of any response received.
In the case of the change of name of BPP College of Professional Studies Ltd. to BPP University College of Professional Studies Ltd., the chief executive of the College wrote to me on 24 May 2010 seeking my support for the word 'university' in the proposed company name. An official responded on 6 July 2010 confirming that the Department had no objection to the use of the word 'university' in the proposed new company name.
|Welsh domiciled entrants( 1) , English higher education institutions( 2) , academic years 2004/05 to 2008/09|
|(1) Covers all-aged postgraduate and undergraduate entrants to full-time and part-time courses.( 2) Excludes the Open university due to inconsistencies in their coding of entrants across the time series. Note: Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded to the nearest five. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).|
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the future structure, functions and role of industrial development boards in England; and if he will make a statement. 
The landscape for the provision of assistance to business is changing. The seven industrial development boards supporting regional development agencies (RDAs), which were non-departmental public bodies appointed by Ministers, were replaced by advisory panels, providing the same functions, appointed and supported entirely by the RDAs during 2009/10. The abolition of the RDAs was announced in the June Budget. The advisory panels will thus close as their relevant RDA closes.
Mr Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding from the public purse his Department and its predecessors have allocated to each administering organisation for the purpose of (a) job creation and (b) employment training in (i) Copeland constituency and (ii) Cumbria in each year since 1997. 
Mr Prisk: The Department provides funding to the Northwest regional development agency (NWDA) for economic development. The funds are pooled into a single pot along with those from other contributing Government Departments.
Expenditure cannot be attributed specifically to job creation and/or employment training. The following table shows NWDA's annual programme expenditure for Cumbria and Copeland where elements of the projects/programmes supported included job creation and/or employment training.
|Cumbria sub-region||Copeland constituency|
| Note: The first four years record expenditure on projects which were still live in 2003 when NWDA's new Programme Management System came online. Expenditure on projects which were completed prior to 2003, and captured on earlier and now redundant IT systems, is excluded.|
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Royal Mail on the deletion of county names from the Postcode Address File. 
Postcomm, the postal services regulator, carried out a public consultation in 2009 which called for views on the perceived importance and use of county information in postal addresses. The findings of the consultation can be found on the regulator's website:
Mr Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to ensure that privately-owned utility companies provide timely service connections to new construction projects. 
The Water Industry Act 1991 specifies, subject to certain exceptions and conditions, the time allowed for water companies to install infrastructure, including connections to the public water supply. Timescales are as follows:
(a) water mains within three months;
(b) sewers within six months;
(c) water supply connections within 21 days and subject to the proposed connection being compliant with the water fittings regulations.
If there is a complaint from a developer against a water company, Ofwat, the economic regulator of the water and sewerage sectors in England and Wales, can take it up with the relevant company. If deadlines are not met, developers are able to pursue any losses through the courts.
Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the economic effects of public sector contracts in the North East; and what the monetary value of public sector contracts awarded in the North East was in 2009-10. 
Mr Davey [holding answer 9 September 2010] : An assessment on the economic effects of public service contracts in the North East has not been made as the information and its monetary value are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to increase the level of access to credit for small businesses in rural areas. 
As well as continuing to push banks to lend to viable businesses, the Government have extended the Enterprise Finance Guarantee by £200 million to £700 million, as well as operating Enterprise Capital Funds providing equity, and taking forward the Growth Capital Fund. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs oversees the delivery of the Rural Development Programme for England which aims to foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses.
Further to this, the Government recently published the Green Paper 'Financing a private sector recovery', requesting views from individuals, businesses and financial institutions on what they regard as the key challenges in facilitating business access to finance and the approaches that would best address these. The Government will respond to the views submitted.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what UK space projects his Department is (a) fully and (b) partially funding; what plans he has to fund such projects in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills currently contributes towards a number of UK space projects through support to industry and the research community. At this time, the plan is to continue funding each project to completion.
UK payloads for the ESA Exo-Mars mission; UK payloads for the ESA Cosmic Vision programme; the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI); and the UK Disaster Management Constellation operations.
Government Information from the Space Sector (GIFTSS); underpinning GEO Action Support; CubeSat; TechDemoSat; and educational support for the school curriculum. The Department is also making a significant contribution to the costs of setting up the International Science and Innovation Centre (ISIC) and for exploitation grants in the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent assessment officials in his Department have made of the quality of student accommodation in (a) Hertfordshire and (b) England and Wales; 
Universities are responsible for the quality of their student accommodation and have to abide by the health and safety standards in the Housing Act 2004 and are also required to sign up to one of the three codes of practice, developed by Universities UK or the Accreditation Network UK (ANUK)/Unipol, relating to the management standards of providing student accommodation.
The 2004 Housing Act has also been instrumental in raising the management standards and physical conditions of some private rented accommodation that pose the greatest risk to the health, safety and welfare of their occupants, namely houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Many university accommodation services provide students with lists of accredited private accommodation providers who have met an agreed set of quality standards. Students can also access lists of accredited private landlords from local councils or other organisations, such as ANUK/Unipol.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) name, (b) address and (c) size is of each (i) used and (ii) vacant space for each entry on the e-PIMS property database in April 2010. 
Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on the offshore wind industry of the abolition of regional development agencies. 
Mr Davey: Our proposals are for restructuring the delivery landscape for economic development. Replacing the regional development agencies (RDAs) with local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) will ensure that these partnerships better reflect the natural economic geography of the areas that they serve. Reorganising the delivery of economic development will ensure a focused targeted delivery of policy in areas where it can have the most benefit, allowing those locations which stand to benefit most from offshore wind to focus their attention on supporting the industry.
We are currently considering proposals for LEPs, which were submitted in early September. In the meantime, we are working closely with the RDA network during
the transition to minimise the impact on priority programmes including those supporting the offshore wind industry. Growing the offshore wind industry remains a priority for this Government and we will act to ensure that both inward investment and domestic firms wishing to move into this area continue to be supported.
Mr Davey: The Department allocates budgets to regional development agencies. The agencies determine how to spend their budgets, subject to the terms of the Accountability and Financial Framework and their delegated financial authorities. RDAs' investments have been guided by the regional economic strategy and their corporate plans. The Department does not hold details of how many companies receive RDA funding.