Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated on the treatment in the criminal justice system of people who are on the autistic spectrum. 
Mr Blunt: The Ministry of Justice has not undertaken any specific research, or evaluated any specific treatment of people who are on the autistic spectrum in the criminal justice system. However, offenders are known to have a higher level of needs across a wide range of conditions than the general population, and recently, the department has undertaken a survey of offenders in custody, and started a survey of offenders in the community, each including a range of emotional and other wellbeing questions. A report on the survey of offenders in custody will be published as part of a Reoffending Statistics Compendium on 4 November 2010. We are committed to working closely with our partners in the Department of Health and other departments to make sure offenders have access to appropriate treatment.
Mr Djanogly: The Justice Secretary announced on 23 June 2010, Official Report, column 16-18WS, via written ministerial statement, that the Government are undertaking a policy assessment of legal aid in England and Wales.
Currently a team of 10 is working on the legal aid policy assessment, which has been formulated from existing resources from within the Ministry of Justice and from the Legal Services Commission. The team has been supported by other officials across the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Services Commission as part of their other duties.
On 23 June 2010, Official Report, columns 16-18WS, the Justice Secretary announced, via written ministerial statement, that the Government are undertaking
a policy assessment of legal aid in England and Wales. The Government intends to seek views on proposals later this autumn.
Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library copies of documents held by his Department on the negotiation of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya which have not previously been released. 
Mr Blunt: The Prime Minister asked the Cabinet Secretary on 20 July to review papers held by the Government to see if more needs to be published about the background to the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to ensure the fullest possible explanation of the circumstances surrounding this decision. This includes papers related to the negotiation of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement. The review is ongoing and the Cabinet Secretary aims to conclude this work as soon as possible.
Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many (a) laptop and (b) desktop computers have been returned to PICT during its most recent refresh programme; and by what means such computers are to be (i) disposed of and (ii) re-used. 
Sir Stuart Bell: As of 11 October 2010, the Members' Programme has collected 401 laptops and 1,811 desktop computers. Where there is re-sale value, this equipment will be sold in order to reduce overall costs to Parliament; otherwise it will be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way. In both cases, all data and software will have been securely removed.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate the House of Commons Commission has made of the additional cost to the House Service of (a) interruption to repairs, maintenance works and refurbishments and (b) other activities undertaken in connection with the sittings from 6 to 16 September 2010. 
Sir Stuart Bell:
An early decision was made to adapt the programme of repairs, maintenance works and refurbishments to take account of the shorter summer recess and the September sitting. It is therefore difficult to quantify accurately the additional cost to the House Service of the September sitting. It was determined that it would not be cost effective or realistic to stop work while the House resumed in September and then recommence work during the three weeks of the conference season, because of the requirement for double set up and removal costs, and because the working time would
be too short for any meaningful work to be undertaken. The penalty has therefore been of deferred projects rather than increased costs.
Mr David Jones: In 2008-09 the Wales Office spent £1,558 on bottled water for water coolers. In February 2009 water coolers connected to the mains water supply were installed, eliminating the need to buy bottled water. The Wales Office has not routinely bought smaller bottles of water in this period, and any spending would require disproportionate cost to identify.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff her Department has appointed on secondment since 7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. 
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what (a) timetable has been set and (b) arrangements have been made for future discussions with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on the future funding of S4C; 
Mr David Jones: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has regular meetings with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics Media and Sport on a range of issues including S4C and Welsh broadcasting. My right hon. Friend and I will continue to monitor this situation closely.
As the scheme represents heritage spend, it would normally be a devolved matter. However, in this case, the devolved Administrations have assigned responsibility back to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in the interests of a single UK-wide scheme.
Michael Moore: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 14 September 2010, Official Report, column 945W. I will continue to take an interest in cross-border rail services and, if the hon. Member wishes to make his own representations, I would be happy to receive them.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether his Department monitors the number of British independent narrative feature films programmed by the British Film Institute at its festivals. 
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has to regulate the governance of the ownership of football clubs; what recent representations he has received on the role of supporters in the governance of such clubs; and if he will make a statement. 
It is for the football authorities to run our national game but the Government will continue to encourage The Football Association, Premier League, and Football League to work closely together to improve its governance and regulation. This includes exploring better ways to involve supporters in their local clubs.
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many full-time equivalent staff have worked for the Government Olympic Executive in each of the last five years. 
|Financial year||Number of FTEs|
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which of Team GB's sporting teams (a) have established and (b) plan to establish training camps for the London 2012 Olympics outside Greater London. 
Hugh Robertson: The British Olympic Association will provide a pre-games holding camp at Loughborough university and the British Paralympic Association at Bath university. However a number of sports have plans to create their own bespoke holding camp solutions totalling two in greater London, 27 across the rest of the UK, e.g. Newport, and three overseas. A further 15 sports have yet to confirm their pre-games camp arrangements.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many contracts related to the London 2012 Olympics have been awarded to businesses and organisations in (a) the South East, (b) the South West, (c) the East of England, (d) the East Midlands, (e) London, (f) Wales, (g) Scotland and (h) Northern Ireland; and what the monetary value of such contracts is. 
Information on businesses across the nations and regions that have won Olympic-related contracts directly supplying the Olympic Delivery Authority
(ODA), and in the supply chains of its contractors, is available in the business section of the London 2012 website under the heading ODA Suppliers, where you will be able to find suppliers listed by venue and sector:
|Region||Number of contracts||Total contract value (£)|
These figures only account for the contracts awarded by the ODA to its own top tier of contractors (tier one contractors). The figures do not include the values of contracts further down the supply chain, in tiers two, three and so on, which are awarded by the tier one contractors and not by the ODA. The ODA estimates that the total value of supply chain contracts to the regions runs into millions of pounds, but these are not public procurements and so the full value of contracts won across the UK is not captured by the figures provided. The ODA estimates that overall up to 50,000 contracts will be generated throughout its supply chains. The ODA is unable to release the value of individual contracts at this time as this is commercially sensitive information. These figures represent the committed spend to date, rather than the end contract value, as in many cases this will not yet be known.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 59W, on biodiversity: international cooperation, when she plans to appoint a UK representative to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 
Richard Benyon: The next step towards establishment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services should be taken by the United Nations General Assembly during the current 65th Session. Appropriate UK representation will be decided once it is formally established.
There is currently no charge for the issue of cattle passports, except when passports are lost or damaged, when a charge of £20 is levied for a replacement. The option to pass on the costs of cattle tracing to the
industry has been considered in the past but not implemented; there are no plans to introduce a charge at the present time. A programme of work is under way to reduce the administration costs of cattle tracing, including passport issues.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of biohazards, with particular reference to the interception of food products at ports. 
Mr Paice: Rules governing the importation of products of animal origin (POAO), including food products, are laid down in EU legislation. Imported food products must come from an approved establishment in an approved third country and be accompanied by appropriate animal and public health certification, which includes a guarantee that the products come from healthy animals. All consignments are checked on entry to ensure that they meet EU import conditions. These checks may include analysis for microbiological contaminants.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is responsible for anti-smuggling controls at the GB border on imports of POAO from outside the EU. All operational frontline UKBA staff are employed as multifunctional anti-smuggling staff with a responsibility to tackle a range of risks at the border, including illegal imports of POAO. Enforcement staff are deployed on a mobile and flexible basis and, at major ports and airports, are supported by the use of detector dogs specifically trained to detect POAO.
DEFRA and UKBA continue to work together to ensure that UKBA delivers a risk-based enforcement strategy that targets the entry routes that pose the greatest threat of introducing animal disease and responds flexibly to changing patterns in risk.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether contingency plans are in place for circumstances in which there is an increase in the incidence of tuberculosis in pigs; and what her policy is on active surveillance of pigs for that disease. 
Pigs are susceptible to infection with bovine TB, but are considered incidental spillover hosts and unlikely to play any significant role in maintaining the
epidemic in cattle and wildlife in the UK. However, Animal Health do receive reports of sporadic incidents of TB in pigs, often in high cattle TB incidence areas where infection has come from cattle or wildlife.
Surveillance for TB in pigs is based on routine post mortem meat inspection in abattoirs. In addition, TB in non-bovine species is a notifiable disease under the Tuberculosis (England) Order 2007. Under the order, carcases of pigs (and any other farmed animal or pet) with, or suspected of being affected with tuberculosis, are notifiable to Animal Health. When TB is suspected, Animal Health can impose movement restrictions on herds to reduce the risk of spread of infection out of the herd. We work with the herd owner to agree appropriate surveillance regimes for their particular enterprise aimed at lifting the restrictions at the earliest opportunity and in the most cost effective manner. Occasionally this can involve a test and slaughter (of TB test positive animals) approach, while at other times Animal Health vets rely on routine meat inspection information.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work her Department is undertaking on (a) supermarket competition and (b) the relationship of supermarkets with local communities. 
Mr Paice: We are working with colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to establish the Groceries Code Adjudicator to monitor and enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Any local supplier or producer will be able to complain to the Adjudicator if they consider that they are directly or indirectly affected by retailer behaviour. The Government are currently considering the Competition Commission's recommendations to improve local competition between large grocery stores and will be responding to these later this year.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of his Department's contracts for military garments has been placed with suppliers based in the United Kingdom in the last two years. 
Mr Gerald Howarth:
The Defence Clothing Team, part of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, has placed 67 contracts for supply of military garments in the last 24 months. Some 58 of these have been placed with suppliers based in the
United Kingdom (87%). Contracts are let in accordance with European Union Procurement Directives and Regulations which set out the law on public procurement. The Department's relationship is with the prime contractor who may choose to subcontract some or all of the manufacturing work to suitable companies worldwide.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. 
Peter Luff: The information requested is not held centrally and a full response could be produced only at disproportionate cost. However, we are able to provide information on external assistance contracted under enabling agreements and placed through the Central Top Level Budget Commercial (CTLBCom) branch, and on IT services placed through the Information and Communication Services (ICS) Catalogue for the period requested.
|Management consultancy contracts placed under enabling agreements by CTLBCom since 7 May 2010|
Historically the majority of MOD external assistance contracts have been placed by CTLBCom.
|Orders placed against ICS catalogue since 7 May 2010|
These represent work undertaken via a single overarching call-off contract, under which the above companies can supply good and services.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for (a) Work and Pensions, (b) Communities and Local Government, (c) Business, Innovation and Skills and (d) the Home Department on his Department's strategic defence and security review; and what assessment he has made of the implications of those discussions for the outcomes of that review. 
Dr Fox: I have had a number of discussions with my Cabinet colleagues on the strategic defence and security review. The Review is being led by the new National Security Council on which the Home Secretary sits and the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills has attended a number of times.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what account he took of levels of people who are registered to vote in more than one UK parliamentary constituency in developing proposals for a uniform electoral quota for constituencies. 
Mr Harper: The Government's proposals treat people registered to vote in more than one constituency in the same way as existing legislation. It has been a longstanding feature of the electoral register that some people are legitimately registered in two places. Although in some circumstances a person may legitimately appear on two or more electoral registers, it is an offence, subject to a fine of up to £5,000, to vote more than once at an election for the same body. Therefore a person cannot vote twice in a UK General election or European Parliamentary election, but can do so in different local elections where they are validly registered.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the system for allocating appointments for initial screening at the UK Border Agency Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon for those travelling from the North East; and whether alternative appointment times are made available for such people. 
An appointment system was introduced to manage effectively the flow of people into Croydon ASU. This offers applicants both choice and certainty on the specific date and time of their interview and is particularly useful for those who may need to travel some distance and who want to plan their journey. In those cases, where possible, applicants will be offered appointment slots to fit with their travel plans. The appointment system is monitored on a daily basis and can be adjusted as the number of applicants changes.
We also remain committed to dealing with vulnerable and destitute people on the day and so, alongside the appointment system, the ASU has retained a walk-in facility for all such initial applications.
It is also recognised that there may be a small number of cases who, because of exceptional circumstances, are unable to travel to Croydon-this may include some unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. In these cases alternative arrangements will be made to ensure such applicants can be screened locally and their claim processed.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which UK Border Agency offices provide child care when asylum seekers are being interviewed; and what plans she has for the future of that provision.  [Official Report, 29 November 2010, Vol. 519, c. 7MC.]
Damian Green: We are committed to ensuring that parents who are being interviewed about their reasons for seeking protection are not placed in the position of having to give an account of personal victimisation or humiliation in the presence of their children. In general, applicants are advised in their letter of invitation not to bring their children to the interview but to make alternative arrangements.
For some families, child care will be easier to arrange-in London, for example, the majority of asylum applicants are able to reside with family and friends and as a result have a wider support network for child care. We do recognise, however, that this will not be possible for all families.
At present, the only UK Border Agency building that provides child care facilities when a parent is being interviewed about their asylum claim is in the North West. Additionally, however, in the West Midlands, the UK Border Agency is currently in the final stages of discussions with the Children's Society and hope to be in a position to provide a supervised play facility for the dependents of interviewees by January 2011. If these facilities prove successful and cost effective, we will consider extending this approach to other offices.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many female asylum seekers were detained in mixed sex facilities in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Yarl's Wood is the main centre for women. Single women are accommodated in one of three units; those who are part of a family group may be held on a separate unit, where they may mix with other families.
Tinsley House and Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centres and the residential holding facilities at Pennine House and Colnbrook, hold both men and women, although the facilities are designed to ensure they sleep separately. Dover Harbour closed in July 2010.
Information on females detained solely under Immigration Act powers are available in the Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary, United Kingdom, April-June 2010 in the Library of the House and the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
|Female asylum seekers entering detention( 1, 2, 3) held solely under Immigration Act powers, by place of initial detention, (excluding Harwich), 2009-Q2 2010( 4, 5)|
|Number of persons|
|Females entering detention|
|Place of initial detention||2009||Q1 2010||Q2 2010|
|(1) Some detainees may be recorded more than once If, for example, the person has been detained on more than one separate occasion in the time period shown, such as a person who has left detention, but has subsequently been re-detained.|
(2) Persons detained under Immigration Act powers who are recorded as having sought asylum at some stage. Figures may under record due to instances of detainees claiming asylum after the data extract date.
(3) Management information.
(4) Figures rounded to the nearest 5 and may not sum to the totals shown because of independent rounding. Figures exclude persons recorded as entering Harwich short-term holding facility, police cells and Prison Service establishments, those recorded as detained under both criminal and immigration powers and their dependants.
(5) Figures include dependants.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she assessed the merits of changing the scope of the e-Borders contract in response to representations from Raytheon on the implications of EU legislation for the rollout of the e-Borders programme. 
Damian Green: The decision to terminate the contract with Raytheon was taken after careful consideration of all the issues and on the basis of the supplier's performance not having been compliant with their contractual obligations.
Officials continue to engage in regular dialogue with the EU Commission on matters relating to the e-Borders programme, including the EU personal data protection Directive. This dialogue has informed the management and direction of the e-Borders programme.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations her Department has considered on the legal basis for passenger data collection requirements under the e-Borders programme. 
Damian Green: The enabling provisions in primary legislation were debated in Parliament and are set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. The legal basis for the scheme has been subject to parliamentary and public scrutiny. Representations were made by some carriers to the European Commission in April 2009 regarding e-Borders compatibility with EU law on Free Movement and Data Protection directives.
Officials continue to engage in regular dialogue with the EU Commission on matters relating to the e-Borders programme, including the EU Personal Data Protection Directive. This dialogue has informed the management and direction of the e-Borders programme.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the waiting times for Criminal Records Bureau checks were in each month of 2010 for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: The following table details the average time taken for the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to process an enhanced disclosure and a standard disclosure in days, for each month in 2010, for which figures are available.
|Average turnaround (days)|
|Enhanced disclosure||Standard disclosure|
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) of 13 October 2009, Official Report, column 1872W, on female genital mutilation: prosecutions, what the nature of the anecdotal evidence was which suggested that the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 was helping to prevent the practice; what progress in tackling this issue has been made since the appointment of the cross-Government co-ordinator; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: The 2003 Act is intended to deter the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and we understand that in some cases social services departments have used the existence of the Act to warn parents-before they travelled with their daughters to countries where FGM is practised-that they could be prosecuted on their return if FGM were carried out abroad. Following this, the girls concerned have returned home intact.
Action plan for 2010 developed following consultation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), statutory agencies and professionals who have expertise in working on FGM. Actions include:
Improving prevention of FGM by helping more people to understand what it is, the damaging consequences of it and where to access to help.
Ensuring statutory agencies and other professionals know how to recognise potential victims of FGM and how to help them.
Publicity campaign (March 2010) including a website:
poster and leaflet, launched to raise awareness of FGM by helping people to understand the issue and its consequences as well as encouraging professionals and victims to seek support.
FGM Partner Forum to enable stakeholders to provide challenge, ideas, support and guidance on the work and the key issues relating to FGM.
Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines to assist practitioners handling cases of FGM. These guidelines are open for consultation at the website above. Following consideration of responses, we hope to publish these guidelines in spring 2011.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Female
Genital Mutilation Act 2003; and what steps her Department is taking to increase the proportion of people committing offences under that Act who are prosecuted. 
Lynne Featherstone: There has been no formal assessment of the 2003 Act. Legislation alone cannot eliminate the practice so our resources are also aimed at raising awareness of the law and the health implications with communities and front-line practitioners.
The Act has provided an impetus for outreach work with the practising communities and it has been widely used to raise awareness among the police, judiciary, health professionals, social services departments and the education sector so that female genital mutilation (FGM) is treated with the seriousness that it deserves.
The Government appointed a cross-Government FGM co-ordinator in September 2009 and a number of initiatives have been implemented to improve the Government response to tackling FGM. Most recently, the Home Office, in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Health and Department for Education, have developed draft multi-agency practice guidelines to assist practitioners handling cases of FGM. These guidelines are open for consultation at:
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has made an estimate of the likely effects on levels of immigration from Bulgaria of the extension by the government of Bulgaria of passport entitlement to Ukraine and Belarus citizens; and if she will make a statement. 
Damian Green: No estimates have been made, but the UK Border Agency will continue to monitor closely any significant changes in numbers of individuals seeking permission to work in the UK under the work authorisation schemes in place for workers from Romania and Bulgaria, or those individuals applying for residence documentation.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the use of khat in the UK; what estimate she has made of the monetary value of khat imported in the last 12 months; and what recent representations she has received on its legal status. 
James Brokenshire: In line with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' (ACMD) statutory duty under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, I have written to the ACMD asking for it to review the available evidence relating to the harms of khat and provide advice in relation to both control under the 1971 Act and a wider response. The British Crime Survey report "Drug Misuse Declared 2009/10" for the first time includes estimates of the prevalence of khat use in the general population. Preliminary findings (based on six months data) show that 0.2% of adults reported using khat in the last year. The Home Office commissioned two studies in 2009 to explore the social harms associated with khat use. The main and substantive research study "Perceptions of the social harms associated with khat use" is available at:
The second report, due to be published in November, is a review of the national and international literature examining the evidence on the social harms associated with khat and the impact of legislation in countries which have legislated against khat use and supply. No estimate has been made by the Home Office of the monetary value of khat imported into the UK in the last 12 months. No recent representations have been made on the legal status of khat.
James Brokenshire: In line with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs' (ACMD) statutory duty under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, I have written to the ACMD asking for it to review the available evidence relating to the harms of khat and provide advice in relation to both control under Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and a wider response. No representations have been made on the effects of the use of khat.
Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants for nationality in categories requiring residency in the UK of five years were granted nationality following a period of permanent residency of fewer than five years in the most recent period for which figures are available; for what reasons the residency requirements were waived in such cases; and if she will make a statement. 
Those avenues to British citizenship requiring five years residence (naturalisation under section 6(1) British Nationality Act (BNA) 1981 and registration under section 4(2) BNA 1981) include it as a mandatory
requirement. The applicant must have been resident in the UK five years prior to applying. The answer is therefore, strictly, nil.
However, up to 450 days' absence from the UK is allowed during the five-year qualifying period and there is discretion available to overlook absences in excess of this level, within reason, in certain circumstances. The number of such cases could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate costs.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to introduce a two-year grace period for biomass grandfathering; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: Biomass has an important role to play in increasing the amount of energy from renewable sources. The new arrangements announced in July to 'grandfather' support for bio-energy over 20 years under the renewables obligation already represent a major step forward in providing the reassurance and investor certainty required for bio-energy projects to access finance, and have been welcomed by industry.
We are now in the process of considering the levels of support that renewables projects will receive through the renewables obligation from April 2013 onwards, including whether it is appropriate to introduce a 'grace period' to extend the current support rates for plant such as biomass electricity plant with long build times. This analysis will take into account potential impacts on energy consumers' bills.
Gregory Barker: The Department uses a non-geographic number range starting 0300. This offers price certainty to callers, but does not add to the Department's telephony costs compared to the cost of an area-based number range.
The UK regime is robust-following the Inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster in 1998, a comprehensive offshore regulatory system was set up to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of all parties, including well operators, sub-contractors and regulators, are clear and well understood.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions his Department has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the safety of offshore deepwater drilling activities in the North Sea. 
Charles Hendry: Regulation of offshore drilling activities with regard to safety falls within the responsibilities of the Health and Safety Executive, but there is ongoing and regular contact between the Department and the HSE on their respective areas of responsibility.
There have been, and, as necessary, continue to be, discussions with regards to offshore deepwater drilling activities, and HSE and DECC also work together as active members of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG) which provides a focal point for the sector's review of the industry's practices in the UK in the light of the Gulf of Mexico incident, and the conclusions of investigations relating to that incident.
Charles Hendry: Following the announcement of the Bevin Boys Veterans Badge on 20 June 2007, the Department let a contract for the production of 6,000 badges at a cost of £7,740 excluding VAT. Since the first badge was issued on 25 March 2008 we have awarded 4,872 badges. The MOD's Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), administer the awarding of the badges on behalf of DECC but do not currently charge the Department for this service. A detailed cost breakdown for the administration of the scheme within DECC is not available. Oversight of the scheme and associated policy issues currently equates to less than 5% of one grade 7's time.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the further implementation of statutory quality contracts for bus services; and if he will make a statement. 
The coalition agreement made it clear that our focus will be on encouraging joint working between bus operators and local authorities. However,
as the guidance related to quality contract schemes has been published in full, local transport authorities are perfectly entitled to consult residents on their plans to make use of the new regulations on bus quality contract schemes to improve local bus services for passengers as they see fit.
The Competition Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into the local bus market following a referral from the Office of Fair Trading in January this year and the new regulations are within scope of its investigations. The Government therefore intend to wait for the outcome of the inquiry into the local bus market before deciding on the future of the current bus regulatory framework.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the relationship
between different modes of bus services ownership and bus ridership numbers. 
Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving tests have been conducted by each driving test centre in (a) Wiltshire, (b) Somerset and (c) Avon in each of the last three years. 
Mike Penning: The numbers of driving tests by category of vehicles conducted at each driving test centre in (a) Wiltshire, (b) Somerset and (c) Avon in each of the last three years are shown in the following tables.
|Tests conducted between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008|
|Tests conducted between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009|
|Tests conducted between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010|
|Car||Motorcycle (single test)||Motorcycle m odule 1||Motorcycle module 2||B+E||LGV||PCV|
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport is committed to identifying opportunities to raise awareness of obstructive sleep apnoea. A number of initiatives are ongoing with commercial drivers including questioning them directly about it as part of their compulsory medicals and sending our "Tiredness Can Kill" leaflet to them and their employers.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people have completed his Department's Enhanced Rider Scheme; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that scheme. 
Mike Penning: Since Enhanced Rider Scheme (ERS) training started in 2007, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has received 868 returns from trainers about participants who have completed the scheme. The submission of these returns is voluntary so this figure is unlikely to fully reflect take up across the country.
In April 2010, DSA launched an evaluation in partnership with local authorities in the South West, Warwickshire/West Mercia and the East of England to evaluate the scheme's effectiveness, in particular to see if it leads to lasting improvements in rider skills, attitudes and behaviour.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made a recent assessment of the merits of regulating (a) the sale of and (b) training schemes for the use of mobility scooters. 
Norman Baker: In 2010 the Department for Transport published a consultation on proposed changes to the laws governing powered mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. The consultation sought views on a number of issues including whether mobility vehicle users should be required to undergo an assessment of their suitability to use a mobility vehicle and whether they should undertake compulsory training; and on how both of these elements could be organised and delivered.
We will study the results of the consultation and consider how they may inform future policy options. The aim of any decision will be to balance carefully the mobility needs of disabled people with the safety of other road users. A decision will be published in due course.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations Network Rail has received on controlling and reducing the (a) growth of ragweed and (b) number of rabbits near railway lines. 
Mrs Villiers: These are operational matters for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail network. My hon. Friend should contact Network Rail's chief executive at the following address for a response to his questions:
90 York Way
London, N1 9AG.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the concession on the Severn bridges to expire and ownership of the bridges to be transferred to the Government. 
Mike Penning: The concession period is limited to a maximum of 30 years. The actual end date will be achieved when the concessionaire has collected a fixed sum of money from tolls (£995,830,000 in 1989 prices). The concession is expected to end in the first half of 2017 (based on the six monthly forecast at the end of June 2010). After this time both crossings will be handed back to the Government.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the tolls system on the Severn bridges after the bridges pass into ownership of the Government; and if he will make a statement. 
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has had recent discussions with the Welsh Assembly Government on the future of tolls on the Severn bridges; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport has met with the Deputy First Minister and Minister for Economy and Transport for Wales, where the Severn bridges were discussed. No decisions were made at the meeting regarding the future of Severn bridges, once the concession ends.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will undertake a consultation on the future of tolls on the Severn bridges in advance of the transfer of ownership of the bridges to the Government. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has received representations regarding the Severn bridges tolls once the concession ends from the Welsh Assembly Government. The Secretary of State has met with the Deputy First Minister for Wales, where the Severn bridges were discussed in brief. No decisions were made at the meeting regarding the future of Severn bridges, once the concession ends in 2017.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter of 27 July 2010 from the Homes and Communities Agency to development directors of registered social landlords in the East of England, on allocations in respect of the National Affordable Housing programme for 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if he will review the classification of areas as former coalfields for the purposes of ensuring that available resources are appropriately allocated; 
The Government intend to formally respond to the report in November. As part of the response we will consider the future of the Homes and Communities Agency National Coalfields sites programme, and the suggestion that the classification of coalfield areas should be reviewed. The response will be published on the Communities and Local Government website.
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account he plans to take of the principle of localism in his response to the recommendations of the Coalfields Regeneration Review. 
Andrew Stunell: Government intend to formally respond to the report in November. We will consider the principle of localism as appropriate in responding to the recommendations. The response will be published on the Communities and Local Government website.
Andrew Stunell: We have received a wide range of representations on the effects of debt on people in deprived areas from a number of bodies, including Shelter, Citizens Advice and the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of the budget of the Government Office for the North East was allocated to the promotion of enterprise in (a) Redcar constituency and (b) the North East in each of the last five years. 
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the average cost per home of improving its energy efficiency rating from F or G to E or above. 
The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that, of the total number of F and G properties in 2005, 37% can be improved to an E rating through basic insulation measures at a cost of £1,000 or less and 47% through installation of a modern condensing boiler at a cost of £3,000 or less. Some 15% of F and G rated homes, characterised as 'hard to make decent', will cost from £5,000 to £9,500 to improve to an E rating, leaving a small percentage (1.5%) costing up to £5,000 to upgrade.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans his Department has for the regulation of the housing sector following the ending of the Homes and Communities Agency. 
The Homes and Communities Agency is not responsible for housing regulation. The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) is responsible for regulating
social housing. The Government have been reviewing the role and purpose of TSA and the framework for social housing regulation. The outcomes of that review will be announced shortly.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of square hectares of land sold off by the National Playing Fields Association in each of the last five years. 
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of homes in the private rented sector with an energy efficiency rating of F or G; and if he will make a statement. 
The English Housing Survey (2008-09) estimates that almost 680,000 (20%) of privately rented homes can be categorised as having an energy efficiency rating of F or G. Across the whole English housing stock there are estimated to be about 3.8 million F or G rated homes and most of these are owner occupied.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of trends in the number of bank branches on high streets in the last 10 years; what discussions he has had with representatives of banks of the subject; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials meet with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.
Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse has been of recapitalising banks in each year since 2007, expressed (a) in current prices and (b) as a proportion of gross domestic product; and what estimate he has made of the equivalent figures in each of the next five years. 
Full breakdowns of financial support provided to UK banks are published by HM Treasury on a financial year basis. Details of the support provided for the years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 are set out
in the Treasury's resource accounts for 2007-08 (HC 539) and 2008-09 (HC 611) and 2009-10 (HC261), respectively. For ease of reference I set out as follows total recapitalisations by year and institution.
|Institution||£ billion||Percentage GDP( 1)||£ billion||Percentage GDP||£ billion||Percentage GDP||£ billion||Percentage GDP|
|(1) GDP in money terms for year stated. Where year not stated 2009-10 GDP has been applied.|
The Government published an updated estimate of the net direct cost of all financial sector interventions made by the previous Government in the June 2010 Budget. Using the latest market prices at the time, the cost of the financial sector interventions, net of fees and other income, is estimated at £2 billion. This estimate is based on:
Recapitalisation: The then prevailing market value of the Government's shareholdings in Lloyds and RBS which implied a cost of £7 billion on these investments net of the value of the Dividend Access Share in RBS and fees received during the recapitalisation and for the provision of contingent capital;
Asset Protection Scheme: the Asset Protection Agency's central expectation that there will be a net benefit to the taxpayer of at least £5 billion from the Asset Protection Scheme; and
Other: the expectation that the aggregate costs of all other interventions will not be material after fees, other income and recoveries are taken into account.
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the savings in expenditure from disposing of surplus and second-hand government equipment through a service based on the Ministry of Defence's eDisposals service in each of the next five years. 
Danny Alexander: The Disposal Services Agency (DSA) has delegated authority to dispose of all of Ministry of Defence surplus equipment in the UK and overseas. Until the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) has concluded the Government are unable to make an estimate of the volume or type of equipment that the DSA will be asked to dispose of. As part of the SDSR the Government are considering whether the DSA itself should be sold or its functions outsourced in order to secure better value for money for the taxpayer.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contracts his Department has awarded to voluntary sector organisations in the last two years; and what the monetary value was of each such contract. 
Mr Gauke: HM Treasury records show that the Department has awarded seven contracts to voluntary sector organisations in the past two years, at the following monetary values: £98,000, £43,000, £33,000, £15,000, £4,000, £3,000 and £1,000 (excluding VAT).
Mr Love: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the suggestions submitted to the Spending Challenge website were passed on by the cross-Government team for (a) further consideration and (b) development into policy proposals. 
Danny Alexander: Over 100,000 suggestions were submitted to the Spending Challenge website, including 63,000 from public sector workers. Every single public sector idea was reviewed to ensure it was compliant with the Spending Challenge exercise, so contained a clear idea about how to save money and was of acceptable language. All 34,000 compliant ideas have been sent to the relevant Department for further consideration, with the joint Treasury and Cabinet Office team working with Departments to develop the most promising as policy proposals.
Members of the public were themselves invited to review and rate the 48,000 ideas submitted by the public. The Government are currently in the process of reviewing which ideas have the most potential and will be sending those through to Departments to be developed further.
On 10 September, the Government 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 CRB 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.
Danny Alexander: Over 100,000 suggestions were submitted to the Spending Challenge website, including 63,000 from public sector workers. Every single public sector idea was reviewed by a cross-Government team. Members of the public were themselves invited to review and rate the 48,000 ideas submitted by the public. The Government are currently in the process of reviewing which ideas have the most potential.
Ministers will continue to review ideas as they are considered for policy announcements. The Government will highlight where ideas submitted by the public have been taken into account when the results of the spending review are announced on 20 October.
Tessa Munt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the factual accuracy of each section of the Chadwick report on Equitable Life; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hoban: The Government have announced that they will carefully consider Sir John's report and has invited representations from interested parties. This process is ongoing. A response to Sir John Chadwick's advice and the funding available for the scheme will be set out at the spending review on 20 October.
Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made a recent estimate of the (a) number and (b) average income of people in the top (i) 10, (ii) five, (iii) one, (iv) 0.1 and (v) 0.01 per cent. of taxpayers by income. 
|Total income group||Number of taxpayers (thousand)||Average income (£)|
Estimates are based upon the 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes and are uprated to 2010-11 using June 2010 Budget economic assumptions. Estimates are subject to increasing statistical margins of error as group size declines.
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