Mike Penning: The Welsh Affairs Committee and the Welsh Assembly Government are both undertaking reviews of the effects on the economy of Wales of the Severn Bridges' tolls. Both are due to report back with their findings next year. I will consider the findings of these reports and do not see a need for a further review at this time.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to moderate the level of local authority chief executive and senior officer (a) salaries and (b) early retirement payments; if he will place restrictions on such people taking new jobs at a senior level in the public sector within a specified period of taking early retirement; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 11 October 2010]: Decisions about the salaries of local authority chief executives and senior officers, and any early retirement payments which either fall within the appropriate pay negotiating machinery, or the appropriate regulatory framework are matters for each local authority employer to consider in the light of local circumstances. While the specific terms and conditions of current and future employment is a matter for the relevant local authority to consider, the Secretary of State has recently called for the most senior local government officers to take a voluntary reduction in pay and also stated that no new council chief executive should be paid more than the Prime Minister.
The Government's view is that there needs to be greater local democratic accountability and transparency over senior remuneration arrangements and policies within local government. In order to achieve this, the Government intend to bring forward proposals to ensure that councillors are better able to be held to account for their decisions on senior pay by providing them with the power to vote on their council's remuneration policies. On senior pay transparency, the Local Government Association (LGA) recently published draft guidance to support councils in publishing their senior salary information online. The guidance was published on 1 October and can be viewed and commented on at:
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much Apex Communications was paid for its work in establishing the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority; and what its remit was. 
Mr Charles Walker: Apex Communications was paid £69,375 for work conducted over the period October 2009-July 2010. Apex was commissioned to provide a press office capability to deal with a high level of media interest and to organise activities. Apex then helped to establish and support IPSA's small in-house communications team. While the process of recruiting a director of communications was undertaken, it continued to provide practical help and strategic communication advice to IPSA through to July 2010.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many responses the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority received to the invitation to tender for which Calyx (UK) was shortlisted; what the criteria were for the contract; and what the specification was for the system. 
Ability to provide a requirements compliance traceability document.
Ability to provide an executive summary including an overview of the solution and the associated perceived costs.
Ability to provide details of their organisation.
Ability to provide details of how their solution meets all functional and non functional requirements.
Ability to provide details of reference sites.
Ability to provide full details of the whole life cost including:
Software license capital costs
Technical architecture costs
Initial implementation costs
Annual costs associated with ongoing support
Suitable contingency plans detailed in the event of non-delivery.
Behaviours of the suppliers and cultural fit with IPSA.
Capability to deliver to required dates.
Creation of a web based access point for MPs and their staff.
Capability to publish data early and a flexible approach.
Outsourcing costs and implications.
Strong data security, both internal and nationally.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many staff members have been supplied to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority by Govgap since May 2010; and at what cost to the Authority. 
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many people at each pay band there are in the policy unit of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. 
|Pay bands (£)||Persons|
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, pursuant to the answer to Question 14306, on changes to the rules and procedures of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many changes there have been to the rules and procedures implemented by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority since its inception; and what the changes were which were made to the expenses scheme in July 2010. 
Mr Charles Walker: As per the answer of 13 September 2010, Official Report, column 741W, a small number of changes to the MPs' Expenses Scheme were introduced in July 2010, following the consultation required by the Parliamentary Standards Act. The changes are detailed in "The MPs' Expenses Scheme: Second Edition", which has been made available to all MPs and is available on:
MPs who own their own property, but are not claiming a mortgage interest subsidy, can now claim associated expenditure (e.g. bills).
MPs who are eligible for Accommodation Expenses can claim for journeys between any point in the constituency (or a home or office within 20 miles of their constituency) and Westminster or a London Area home.
For air travel, reimbursement is limited to the rate of an economy, or flexible economy, class ticket for the same journey at the time of booking.
Where more than one MP travels in the same car, only one of the MPs may submit a claim for the cost of the journey.
MPs may claim for the cost of an evening meal when they are required to be at the House of Commons because the House is sitting late but the meal does not need to be eaten on the Parliamentary Estate.
MPs may claim Travel and Subsistence Expenses for the cost of an overnight hotel for a member of their staff, where the staff member has necessarily travelled in assisting the MP in his or her Parliamentary functions, or in undertaking relevant training.
MPs may claim reimbursement for subsistence expenses for their staff members if the staff member necessarily stays overnight in a hotel to assist the MP in his or her Parliamentary functions, or if the staff member is undertaking training.
MPs may submit claims for the incidental expenses of interns and volunteers.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority how much has been spent under each budgetary heading on expenses for each member of the board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in each month of its operation; and for what purpose in each case. 
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority how much each member of the communications team of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority receives in (a) salary and (b) benefits. 
Mr Charles Walker: One member of the communications team receives a salary within the range £45,000-50,000, and the other member of the communications team receives a salary within the range £30,000-£35,000. The benefits received are similar to those offered by many employers-such as 25 days annual leave, pension contributions and the offer of a season ticket loan.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority how much the Director of Communications for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will receive in (a) salary and (b) benefits in 2010-11. 
Mr Charles Walker: The Director of Communications will receive a salary within the range £75,000-£80,000. The benefits received are similar to those offered by many employers, such as 25 days annual leave, pension contributions and the offer of a season ticket loan.
Mr Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, on average how many employees staff the hon. Members' enquiry line each day; and how many such employees staffed that enquiry line on 10 September 2010. 
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals for minimum standards for energy tariffs in his Department's Energy Security and Green Economy Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: Providing customers with information about their supplier's cheapest tariff is about giving them the information they need to take control of household energy costs. We are working on the details of this proposal, but we are clear that cheapest tariff information needs to be presented in a straightforward and meaningful way to consumers.
Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to change the rules of feed-in tariffs so those who installed microgenerators before 15 July 2009 will benefit to the same extent as those who installed microgenerators after this date. 
Gregory Barker: Since the establishment of the coalition Government, we have been looking at several aspects of the feed-in tariff scheme, including the treatment of installations commissioned before the announcement of the scheme. After careful consideration, we have concluded that the scheme as it relates to these early adopters should remain unchanged. Generators who had installed before 15 July 2009 will not be eligible for the full rate of FITs, but those that benefited from the renewables obligation will continue to be supported at an equivalent rate.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to open the Offshore Wind Site Development Competition; and what arrangements have been made for the administration of that competition. 
Charles Hendry: As with all public spending, funding for offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure is being reviewed in the context of the spending review. Administrative arrangements in connection with DECC policies will be finalised in the light of the outcomes of the spending review; announcements on the spending review will be made on 20 October.
Mr Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the difference is between the wholesale and retail price of a pint of Guinness sold in each House of Commons catering outlet. 
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has sought advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the likely effects of the implementation of the proposals in the Academies Bill on (a) black pupils, (b) Asian pupils, (c) pupils from a mixed ethnic background, (d) girls and (e) pupils with special educational needs. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 19 July 2010]: The Secretary of State did not seek advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the likely effects of the implementation of the proposals in the Academies Bill on the groups of pupils mentioned in the question.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his estimate is of the amount of additional funding that new academy schools will receive (a) nationally and (b) broken down by local authority area. 
The additional funding received by new academy schools is intended to ensure that they are no better or worse off than they were as maintained schools, having regard to their additional responsibilities. It will consist of a grant to meet VAT costs, and a grant known as Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent
Grant (LACSEG) which is paid in lieu of certain local authority (LA) services. The amounts payable on a national basis will depend on the number of schools converting in each area. The VAT grant is a fixed percentage of the General Annual Grant paid to academies, the current percentages being 4.13% (Inner London), 3.62% (Outer London) and 3.54% (elsewhere). The grant is calculated by using historical data on schools' expenditure to derive a typical proportion of spend that attracts VAT.
The table shows the amount per pupil of the grant in lieu of LA services, for each LA, expressed for the financial year 2010-11. Differences in the amounts reflect varying levels of delegation of funding. In some but not all LAs an amount for SEN services is also payable for relevant pupils and this is shown separately.
|LA name||LACSEG FY10-11||SEN LACSEG FY10-11|
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to enable (a) vulnerable, (b) disabled and (c) other people to participate in local decisions on identification of (i) areas in which savings may be made and (ii) services for which funding should be maintained at current levels in respect of proposed reductions in area-based grant funding. 
Decisions on the level of future grant support for local authorities are being considered in the context of the spending review. The spending review is being run in an open, responsible and fair way that protects the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. We have consulted broadly with the public over the summer through the Spending Challenge. This has meant engaging and involving the whole country in the difficult decisions that will have to be taken.
Some councils are using effective ways of engaging the community in making decisions about what to invest resources in and where to make savings. For example, a number of councils are using a web-based consultation tool called YouChoose, developed by LB Redbridge:
This enables the public to be involved in the process and also helps them to understand the difficult choices facing councils. I would commend this approach to any council wishing to improve contributions from the community; and to go further by giving local people a direct say in spending as a part of the budget in a participatory budgeting exercise.
The most promising ideas will be taken forward in time for the spending review on 20 October. We will limit as far as possible the impact of reductions in spending on the most vulnerable in society, and on those regions heavily dependent on the public sector.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 351W, on the New Schools Network, what consideration his Department gave to the relevant regulations and agreements when agreeing to enter into the grant agreement with the New Schools Network. 
Mr Gibb: The Department considered carefully the options for securing the requisite services from an external organisation. Given the need for specialist skills and experience to be in place quickly it was decided to award a time-limited grant to New Schools Network. In doing so the Department took account of the UK Public Procurement Regulations 2006 and the Compact Commissioning Guidance.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Garston and Halewood of 26 July 2010, Official Report, columns 684-86W, on convictions, what assessment he has made of the reason for the trends in conviction rates for (a) theft and (b) burglary in a dwelling between 2001 and 2008. 
On 26 July 2010, the Secretary of State for Justice reported that the conviction rate for theft had increased
from 79% in 1999 to 90% in 2008 and the conviction rate for burglary had increased from 63% to 74% over the same period.
The data show that performance started to improve noticeably after 2003. This coincides with three major initiatives aimed at increasing the effectiveness of criminal case management in the criminal justice system, namely the Charging Programme, the Effective Trial Management Programme and the 'No Witness, No Justice' Programme. It was the combined effect of these major initiatives that helped to deliver the improvement in conviction rates and as Minister responsible for the CPS I am delighted with its role in delivering these outcomes.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of convictions for criminal offences in each of the last nine years was attributable to convictions for offences of (a) burglary, (b) theft and (c) robbery. 
Mr Blunt: The number of defendants found guilty at all courts for burglary, theft, and robbery, and the proportion they are of all convictions, England and Wales 2000-08 (latest available) are shown in the following table.
|N umber of defendants found guilty( 1, 2) at all courts for burglary, theft, and robbery, by percentage of those found guilty of all offences, England and Wales 2000-08( 3, 4, 5)|
|Burglary||Theft( 5)||Robbery||All offence groups||Burglary||Theft||Robbery|
|* Less than 1%|
(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Staffordshire Police Force were only able to supply a sample of data for magistrates courts proceedings covering one full week in each quarter for 2000. Estimates based on this sample are included in the figures as they are considered sufficiently robust at this high level of analysis.
(4) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008.
(5) The following statute, sections of the statute, and corresponding offence descriptions are used for Theft:
Theft Act 1968 S.1, S.11 and S.13
Stealing from the person of another
Stealing in a dwelling other than from automatic machines and meters
Stealing by an employee
Stealing pedal cycles
Stealing from vehicles:
From motor vehicles
From other vehicles
Stealing from shops and stalls (shoplifting)
Stealing from automatic machines and meters
Stealing and unauthorised taking of motor vehicles:
Stealing motor vehicle
Other stealing and unauthorised taking:
Offences under the Theft Act 1968 S.1 not classified elsewhere
Removal of articles on show from places open to the public
Stealing conveyance other than motor vehicle or pedal cycle
Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.
Mr Blunt: The number of persons sentenced at all courts, the sentence they received and average custodial sentence length for grievous bodily harm offences, England and Wales 2004 to 2008 (latest available) are shown in the following table.
|Persons sentenced, the sentence they received and the average custodial sentence length( 1) at all courts for grievous bodily harm, England and Wales 2004 to 2008( 2, 3)|
|Offence and sentence outcome||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008|
|(1) Average custodial sentence length excludes life and indeterminate sentences.|
(2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(4) Offences against the Person Act 1861 S.18-Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
(5) Offences against the Person Act 1861 S.20-Malicious wounding:-wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.
(6) Offences against the Person Act 1861 S.20 as amended by Crime and Disorder Act 1998 S.29(1)(a)&(2)
Racially aggravated malicious wounding:-wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Religiously aggravated malicious wounding:-wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Racially or religiously aggravated malicious wounding:-wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Justice Statistics-Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the rate of terminations of pregnancies for women aged under 18 per 1,000 conceptions was in 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: In England and Wales, for women aged under 18 years, 494 per 1,000 conceptions were terminated by abortion in 2008 (the most recent year for which figures are available). Figures on conceptions are estimates based on the number of live births, stillbirths or legal abortions. They do not include miscarriages and illegal abortions. Figures are based on the woman's age at estimated date of conception. Data for 2008 are provisional. The rate of abortions in England and Wales for under 18-year-olds was 20.1 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 years in 2008.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many contracts to obtain data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency General Practice Research Database (a) his Department and (b) another agency of Government has entered into without tendering; 
(2) what studies his Department has undertaken to ensure that the cost to his Department and other Government bodies of acquiring medical data from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency General Practice Research Database represents value for money in comparison with the cost of obtaining similar data from commercial organisations. 
Mr Simon Burns: Over the last three years, the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) has added new and additional services which means that simple comparisons of the cost of access to primary care data between the GPRD and that from commercial organisations are not meaningful.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment has been made of the potential for a conflict of interest to arise between the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency function of regulating pharmaceutical products and that Agency's role as supplier of General Practice Research Database medical data to the same pharmaceutical companies; 
(2) whether the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency General Practice Research Database department repaid the initial funding loan it received from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) when the General Practice Research Database was moved from the Office for National Statistics to the MHRA. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has in place a robust separation of functions between the MHRA regulatory functions and the General Practice Research
Database (GPRD) to ensure there is no conflict of interest. The GPRD is run by its own dedicated team who have no involvement with any regulatory work of the MHRA, and none of the MHRA regulatory staff have access to the administration of the GPRD. The GPRD Group reports into a non-regulatory Division of the MHRA, the Information Management Division. The GPRD group maintains its own separate management accounts. GPRD and MHRA data are kept on separate physical servers, accessed through separate logical domains. As a result of this separation of functions the Agency is confident that no conflict of interest exists.
The GPRD moved from the Office of National Statistics to the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), the predecessor body to the MHRA in 1999. At that time the MCA took a decision to invest in the GPRD to develop it as a resource for medical and health research purposes undertaken in the public interest. This was an investment, not an 'initial funding loan' requiring repayment.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have discussed with NHS North West the (i) establishment and (ii) funding of the social enterprise Our Life. 
Paul Burstow: During the development and establishment phase of the Our Life programme, discussions took place between ministers and the North West strategic health authority (SHA). Along with other regional partners, departmental officials had discussions with the SHA in relation to this organisation. There is no requirement for the Department to approve the establishment of social enterprises.
The Department provided funding to each region to help support the reduction of harm from alcohol at a local level. In the North West, the regional Drink Wise programme contributed to specific projects, including Our Life.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. 
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if his Department will take steps to assess the effects on (a) equality of incomes, (b) equality of assets and (c) equality of access to services of measures relating to its expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review. 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff his Department has appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not employ staff directly. All its staff are on secondment from other public bodies, mainly the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government. As at 16 September 2010, the Scotland Office has appointed four members of staff on secondment since 7 May 2010. Two are from the Scottish Government and two are from the Ministry of Justice.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many interns his Department has engaged in the last 12 months; and how many were (a) unpaid, (b) remunerated with expenses only and (c) paid a salary. 
Mike Freer: To ask the Attorney-General what the average cost to the Law Officers' Departments was of processing the payment for an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period were paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. 
|Law Officers Department||Estimated average cost (£)||Proportion of payments by cheque (%)|
|(1) TSOL figures also cover the Attorney-General's Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate. (2) The SFO figures include invoices processed on behalf of the NFA.|
|(1 )Tsol data include costs for AGO and HMCPSI. Information is not recorded for 1997-98. (2) Data up to end of December 2009. RCPO merged with CPS on 1 January 2010.|
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