Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many allegations his Department received of electoral fraud in Helmand province during the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan in 2010. 
Mr Hague: The elections in Afghanistan were an Afghan-led process with support from the UK and the international community. The Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) is the official body in Afghanistan who handle and investigate complaints of electoral fraud. To date, the ECC has received over 4,000 complaints in connection with the recent parliamentary elections. Allegations of electoral fraud in Helmand have been limited to 57: six have been classed as category 'A' complaints (based on credible evidence and likely to affect the outcome); 15 were classed as category 'B' (credible, but not likely to impact the overall outcome); 36 were classed as category 'C' (low credibility, poorly evidenced, unlikely to affect the final outcome).
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to improve the effectiveness of the UN Mission Organization Stabilization in protecting women from sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr Hague: The UK has worked to ensure that civilian protection, including protecting women from sexual violence, remains the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO's) mandated top priority. In response to the recently reported mass rapes in Walikale, we have pressed for MONUSCO to take forward urgently recommendations to protect and defend civilians better, in particular through communications with the local population.
The primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) authorities, and my hon. Friend the Minister for Africa raised our concerns with Foreign Minister Thambwe both during a recent visit to the DRC and during their meeting in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. We will continue to urge President Kabila to implement his "Zero Tolerance" policy towards bringing perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) by how much his Department plans to reduce its contribution to the budget of BBC World Service in 2010-11; 
(2) by how much his Department plans to reduce its contribution to the budget of the British Council in 2010-11. 
Alistair Burt: Updated information on the budgets for the British Council and the BBC World Service will be published in the winter supplementary estimates.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for further changes to his Department's budget in 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hague: Updated information on the 2010-11 departmental budget will be published in the Winter Supplementary Estimates.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with President Karzai on the work of the High Peace Council. 
Mr Hague: We welcome the establishment of the High Peace Council in Afghanistan. We are in regular contact with the Government of Afghanistan on this and other issues.
Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of (a) Orthodox churches, monasteries and gravestones in Kosovo which have been destroyed or damaged and (b) people who have been (i) arrested and (ii) convicted for such damage or destruction in each of the last two years. 
Mr Lidington: In 2008, twenty incidents of criminal damage against Serbian Orthodox sites were reported. Twenty people were arrested in relation to these attacks. In 2009 there were nineteen incidents reported, leading to twenty six arrests. This year 18 cases of damaged or stolen religious monuments have been reported so far, predominantly damage to Serbian Orthodox cemeteries. Kosovo police statistics on arrests in 2010 will not be available until the end of the year. Data on the number of convictions are not readily available. This is because the Kosovo police do not hold such records centrally.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom-the first official visit by a Pope to this country-was an important milestone in the relationship between the UK and the Holy See.
The visit paved the way for further co-operation between the UK and the Holy See on a number of international issues where we share a common goal, including addressing the challenge of climate change, promoting multi-faith dialogue as a means of working for peace in the world, and fighting poverty and disease. These were among the issues discussed both in bilateral meetings during the visit and at the working dinner with the Papal delegation hosted by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.
The visit was also an opportunity to showcase the UK as a home to many religious traditions and to highlight the contribution they can make in a modern pluralistic society.
We value our co-operation with the Holy See, and look forward to building on the links established by the visit in the period ahead.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Serbian counterpart on talks between Serbia and Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hague: I visited Belgrade on 31 August this year for meetings with my Serbian counterpart, Mr Vuk Jeremic, and the Serbian President, Mr Boris Tadic. I subsequently met Mr Jeremic in New York in September during the UN General Assembly Ministerial Week.
On both occasions I urged Serbia to use the opportunity provided by the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, which stated that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not in violation of international law, to engage in a constructive dialogue with Kosovo, facilitated by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The Government warmly welcome the subsequent decision of the Serbian Government to engage in the dialogue process. The Government firmly believe that such a dialogue, which focuses on issues of practical concern, leaving aside the question of Kosovo status, is the surest way of achieving stability in the region.
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the cost to the public purse was of the most recent upgrade to her Department's website. 
Mr David Jones: The Wales Office spent £4,441.50 on the recent upgrade of its websites. This included recommended work on a security upgrade, an improved system for simpler administration and more cost-effective maintenance in the future. It is the first upgrade of the sites since the redesign of 2007, which cost £10,500.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on passport agency employment in Wales; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs Gillan: I had a brief discussion with the relevant Home Office Minister on 5 October who agreed to meet me the following week to further discuss issues relating to the Identity and Passport Service in Newport.
Following details of the consultation being leaked to the media on 8 October I met the Home Secretary that evening and discussed the issue. I subsequently met the chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service and the Immigration Minister on 12 October and will continue to have further relevant meetings and discussions during the consultation period.
Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total annual cost to the public purse is of dental care provision for the armed forces under each budgetary heading. 
Mr Robathan: In financial year 2009-10, £62.316 million was attributed to public funds for the provision of dental care to the armed forces. This sum is broken down as follows:
|Defence dental services, financial year 2009-10|
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to reduce the number of ex-service personnel entering the prison system. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the joint statement I made with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Justice in the House on 15 September 2010, Official Report, column 40WS, which indicated that 3.5% of the current prison population in England and Wales are ex-service personnel, with only 6% of these having started their current sentence within a year of being discharged from the armed forces.
Although the figures are low, our aim is to reduce them further, and work continues on analysing the ex-service prison population in terms of demographic and service in order to allow us to make informed policy decisions.
The principal contribution the Ministry of Defence (MOD) can make in reducing the potential to offend is by making personnel aware of the opportunities available to them on leaving service, in the form of resettlement programmes as part of their general preparation for transition. Furthermore, all service leavers, including those who leave early, are entitled to lifetime support from the Regular Forces Employment Association and Officers' Association charities, both of which are specifically focused on getting veterans into the right job.
Where former service personnel have entered the prison system, the Ex-Service Offenders Working Group (formerly known as the Veterans Prison In-Reach Working Group) which officials in the MOD chair, brings together charitable and voluntary sector organisations, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency of the MOD, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) of the Ministry of Justice, prison front-line staff, representatives from the devolved Administrations and a representative from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. Together, this group aims to provide a common and collaborative approach to the issue of ex-service personnel in the criminal justice system, and works to raise awareness amongst the ex-service prison population of the help and support available to them and their families while they serve their sentence and as they prepare for release. This is to ensure a common and collaborative approach to former personnel in prison in order to minimise the risk of reoffending amongst this community.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the Interim Electoral Management Board for Scotland and the appointment of its convenor. 
Michael Moore: The appointment of the Convenor of the Interim Electoral Management Board is a matter for the board and the Scottish Government have not asked to speak to me about this.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislative proposals to put the Interim Electoral Management Board for Scotland on a statutory basis in relation to elections which are the responsibility of the UK Government. 
Michael Moore: I plan to devolve my responsibility for the administration of the Scottish Parliament elections to the Scottish Government in accordance with the recommendations of the Calman Commission. It will be then for the Scottish Government to decide whether they wish to put the Interim Electoral Management Board on a statutory basis for that election. I do not have ministerial responsibility for other UK elections.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will have discussions with the Scottish Executive on the future operation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland. 
Michael Moore: I have not been approached by the Scottish Government to hold discussions on this issue.
I met with Kaliani Lyle, Scotland Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on 14 July 2010. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is one of the bodies covered by the Government's review of public bodies, on which the Minister for the Cabinet Office made an announcement on 14 October 2010. The review proposed that the commission should be retained but with a better focus on its core functions as an equality regulator and national human rights institution. Discussions between the Government Equalities Office and the Scottish Government on the future work of the Equality and Human Rights Commission are ongoing.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to take steps to increase the level of integration of cycling with other modes of public transport; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: This coalition Government are firmly committed to sustainable travel initiatives, including cycling and walking. That is why it is expressly referred to in the coalition agreement. We also want to give more power and more flexibility to local authorities as we strongly believe that they know best what is right for their communities.
On 22 September I announced a new 'Local Sustainable Transport Fund', a bid-based fund that will challenge local transport authorities outside London to develop packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon in their communities as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.
I anticipate that this will include sustainable travel measures, including walking and cycling, and initiatives to improve integration between travel modes and end-to-end journey experiences, better public transport and improved traffic management schemes. It could well include measures that support integration of cycling with other modes such as bike and rail and help fund initiatives like the Leeds Cyclepoint which I recently opened. This new facility is modelled on stations in the Netherlands and provides secure cycle storage for around 300 cycles, a small shop, workshop and staff facilities.
More details will be announced after the spending review.
Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many residents of City of Chester constituency hold a free concessionary bus pass; and how many such residents are higher rate taxpayers. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is not responsible for issuing passes and so does not maintain records of how many passes individual authorities have issued.
According to Office for National Statistics figures, taken at the mid-point of 2007, in the City of Chester constituency there were 21,266 people of eligible age for a concessionary bus pass. The Department for Transport does not hold any figures for the number of people eligible for concessionary travel by virtue of their disability. Information about how many higher rate taxpayers hold free concessionary bus passes in the City of Chester constituency is not available.
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that the revenue of district councils is not reduced by more than the cost of their concessionary travel schemes as a result of the implementation of his proposals to change the funding route for his Department's concessionary travel scheme. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Communities and Local Government held a consultation, which closed 6 October, on the distribution of formula grant to local authorities in England. The consultation covered proposals for how the transfer of responsibility for concessionary travel from lower to upper tier local authorities to will be taken into account in authorities' funding allocations from 2011-12.
The total amount of funding to be allocated to all local authorities will be decided as part of the spending review.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the M18 motorway north of Doncaster to be free of lane closures and temporary speed limits; what steps are being taken to expedite the current roadworks; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: There are five schemes being undertaken on the M18 between junctions 2 and 5 which will continue until the end of March 2011. This includes four schemes to replace steel central reserve barrier, which are approaching the end of their design life, with new concrete central reserve barrier. The fifth scheme comprises works to improve the interchange between the M18 and A1 (M) through the provision of traffic signals.
The programmes for the five schemes have been carefully co-ordinated to minimise the overall duration of the work. Lane restrictions are limited to night time only in order to minimise disruption to the road user. However, a 50 mph speed restriction remains in place at all times for the safety of the travelling public.
The benefits of the barrier work are improved safety as a result of the reduced likelihood of crossover type accidents, fewer repairs arising from collision damage and reduced future maintenance requirements. The improvements at the junction of the M18 and A1 (M) will improve reliability and safety by reducing delays at the junction.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 183W, on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, on how many occasions he has met the chief executive of that body since his appointment. 
Mike Penning: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Transport, has met Sir Alan Massey, the chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) since 20 July 2010, on one occasion.
Since my appointment I have met Richard Parkes, the interim chief executive of the MCA until 20 July 2010, five times and the new chief executive, four times.
David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many incidents attended by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have involved sky lanterns in the last 12 months; and on how many such occasions a (a) lifeboat and (b) helicopter was requested. 
Mike Penning: From 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2010 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency responded to 128 false alerts, which Her Majesty's Coastguard attributed to, or believed were caused by, sky lanterns. The majority of the 128 incidents were dealt with by volunteer Coastguard Rescue Teams in their communities. Lifeboats were tasked on 26 occasions, and on two occasions a helicopter was tasked.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce a mechanism to ensure that drivers of foreign-registered vehicles in the UK contribute towards road maintenance costs. 
Mike Penning: As stated in the coalition programme for Government, we are working towards the introduction of a new system of HGV road user charging to ensure that foreign heavy goods vehicles contribute to the upkeep of UK roads that they use and to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers.
The Secretary of State has ruled out national road pricing for cars on existing roads for the lifetime of this Parliament.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to regulate the level of rail fare increases. 
Mrs Villiers: Regulated rail fare increases are managed through provisions in the franchise agreements entered into between the Government and train operating companies. The current formula is RPI+1% with the exception of certain fares in south eastern and west Yorkshire which are currently regulated at RPI+3%.
Fares increases are regulated for commuter fares around London and other big cities; weekly season tickets and long-distance off-peak return tickets (formerly known as saver return tickets). For other tickets, train operators can set their own ticket prices according to market demand.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the future of regional transport boards; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: In line with the localism agenda it is for local areas to decide what structures will best assist the delivery of transport solutions in the context of emerging sub-national governance arrangements.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 8 September 2010, Official Report, column 589W, on roads: accidents, when he expects to bring forward proposals on road casualty reduction; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The coalition Government are finalising their priorities for road safety and will make an announcement by the end of the calendar year about the future direction of road safety policy.
Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries have occurred on roads in Dartford constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mike Penning: The information requested is shown in the following table.
|Reported fatalities and serious injuries in road accidents in Dartford constituency( 1) : 2005-09|
|Year of accident|
|(1) Based on 2010 constituency boundary.|
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many non UK-registered merchant ships have been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a result of UK Port State Inspections in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The number of non UK-registered merchant ships detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in each of the last three years is as follows.
|Number of ships|
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Counter Pollution and Response Branch last reviewed the strategic location of pollution response equipment. 
Mike Penning: The UK counter pollution stockpile of response equipment is maintained under a commercial contract. Following a review of this contract, in the second-half of 2009, a new contract was let in the first quarter of 2010.
This resulted in changed strategic locations of the equipment from Milford Haven, Liverpool and Perth, to Bristol, Barnsley and Dundee.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the order for new trains for the Thameslink route to be placed. 
Mrs Villiers: Any decision to place an order for new trains for the Thameslink route is subject to the outcome of the Government's spending review.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the number of additional posts for train drivers to be created as a result of the Thameslink programme. 
Mrs Villiers: Any decision to proceed with the Thameslink programme is subject to the outcome of the Government's spending review.
Furthermore, the detailed timetable to be operated should the Thameslink programme be fully implemented has not yet been finalised. Consequently, I am not currently in a position to estimate the numbers of additional posts for train drivers that will be required at this time.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many construction workers are employed on the Thameslink programme; and how many construction posts are expected to be (a) created during and (b) sustained throughout the remaining phases of the programme. 
Mrs Villiers: The Thameslink programme is currently employing approximately 2,600 construction workers and is also supporting a further significant number through the supply chain.
Decisions on progressing future stages of the Thameslink programme are dependant on the outcome of the spending review.
Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will assess the likely level of take-up of provision in legislation for civil partnerships for heterosexual couples. 
Lynne Featherstone: There have not been any assessments on the likely take-up by heterosexual couples seeking a civil partnership, were it to be provided for in legislation.
The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was designed to give same-sex relationships parity of treatment with civil marriage. To enter into a civil partnership, two people must be of the same sex.
Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will assess the likely level of take-up of provision in legislation for same-sex marriage. 
Lynne Featherstone: There have not been any assessments of the likely take-up of same-sex marriage, were it to be provided for in legislation.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable she has set for the implementation of the provisions of Article 9 of the Aarhus convention. 
Richard Benyon: The UK has implemented article 9 of the Aarhus convention. In addition, we intend to consolidate the case law on protective costs orders; and we are preparing draft rules for consideration by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee, which are expected to be implemented by April 2011 at the latest.
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the financial loss to farmers arising from (a) damage to crops, (b) damage to farm equipment and (c) injury or death of livestock attributable to the uncontrolled flight of Chinese lanterns in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Paice: We have anecdotal evidence of the damage caused by Chinese lanterns but this is insufficient to make any estimates of losses incurred. We have met with the farming unions and others in order to begin to build an evidence base of the problems caused.
DEFRA and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) are aware of concerns about the damage caused by Chinese lanterns and are looking into possible actions to reduce the risks posed. BIS will also be working with local authority trading standards to encourage importers to improve the safety of these products and to make them fully biodegradable.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated research into colony collapse disorder. 
Colony collapse disorder is the term given to the abnormally high colony losses occurring in the USA, usually characterized by sudden disappearance of bees. This characteristic has not been observed in the UK, although there have been some significant bee
losses. The Food and Environment Research Agency's (Fera's) National Bee Unit has investigated the causes of colony losses in England and Wales and the key results are available on its BeeBase website.
The results have shown that the most important risk factor in the mortality or weakening of colonies is deformed wing virus, a virus transmitted by the parasitic varroa mite, clearly indicating failed or unsuccessful treatments of mite infestations. This highlights the importance of improving bee husbandry standards, which is a key objective of the Healthy Bees Plan, currently being delivered in partnership by Fera, the Welsh Assembly Government and others such as the Bee Farmers' Association, NFU, British Beekeepers' Association and the Welsh Beekeepers' Association.
Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to implement its Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. 
Mr Paice: The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) contains agreed actions by Government and others to improve the sustainability of clothing. Although DEFRA has some, most of the actions belong to businesses and other organisations along the clothing supply chain.
As actions in the SCAP are completed, organisations have agreed to disseminate the lessons learned and best practice to the wider clothing sector. DEFRA will publish a progress report in early 2011.
Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to ensure that future proposals for intensive dairy farming in the UK (a) are examined by her Department, (b) take account of the views of local residents and (c) do not affect adversely the natural environment. 
Mr Paice: In the assessment of planning applications for agriculture development proposals, it is a matter for the relevant planning authority to take account of the views of local residents.
DEFRA already has comprehensive animal welfare and environment legislation which applies to all livestock farming whatever the system and regardless of size.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the health and welfare standards for large-scale dairy enterprises in which cows are housed indoors all year round. 
All dairy cattle, in whatever system they are kept, are protected by comprehensive animal welfare legislation. In England, the welfare of cattle is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals, this means that anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal's needs are
met. These general requirements are supplemented by more detailed ones in the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 for calves and cattle, covering areas such as accommodation, tethering, inspection, feed and water.
It is important to recognise that poor welfare may occur in both intensive and extensive systems. The most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which it is reared.
DEFRA is currently funding a three year project by the Scottish Agricultural College which is investigating the management and welfare of continuously housed cows. It will compare the health of cows in continuously housed systems with those in summer grazing systems, by using culling and fertility data. Work on this research is at an early stage, and is due to be completed at the end of June 2011.
Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to amend legislation regarding dangerous dogs. 
Mr Paice: The recent public consultation exercise on dangerous dogs legislation received 4,250 responses. My ministerial colleague Lord Henley is currently considering the responses and we expect to make an announcement on our proposed way forward later in the autumn.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made an estimate of the change in the level of carbon dioxide emissions from her Department since May 2010; and what steps she plans to take to meet her Department's target of reducing such emissions by 10 per cent. by May 2011. 
Richard Benyon: During the first four months since May 2010, DEFRA emitted 29% less carbon dioxide from its office estate (Core DEFRA and its Executive agencies) than the same period the previous year.
The Department has initiated a number of measures to ensure it meet the 10% carbon emissions target. These include: installation and upgrade of building equipment to high efficiency technologies; improved management of building controls; introduction of a 19°C winter temperature set point in offices; and a Department wide staff awareness campaign.
This performance information and more details on DEFRA's activities to deliver this target can be found at:
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many interns her Department has engaged in the last 12 months; and how many were (a) unpaid, (b) remunerated with expenses only and (c) paid a salary. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA has engaged 30 interns in the 12-month period up to October 2010 under two separate Government schemes. All interns worked on short projects within Core DEFRA lasting eight to 12 weeks and received payment for their work.
We do not have data for how many interns the agencies have engaged or data on unpaid interns and to gather these data would be a disproportionate cost.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many and what proportion of households in England are provided with a collection of at least two types of recyclable waste separately from non-recyclable waste; and what estimate she has made of the likely number of such households after 31 December 2010; 
(2) what steps her Department intends to take to ensure compliance by local authorities with the provisions of the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 after 31 December 2010; 
(3) how many and what proportion of households in England are not provided with a collection of at least two types of recyclable waste separately from non-recyclable waste on the grounds of (a) cost and (b) the provision of comparable arrangements; and what estimate she has made of the likely number of households in each such case after 31 December 2010. 
Richard Benyon: According to the Waste and Resources Action programme's (WRAP's) data, 94% of households in England were provided with a collection of at least two materials in 2008-09. WRAP is in the process of collating data for 2009-10.
Neither DEFRA nor WRAP holds data on the reasons why households are or are not provided with a collection of at least two recyclables.
The Government believe that local authorities are best placed to make decisions on the efficient use of local resources and are answerable to their local customers on how they comply with the legislation.
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the net effect of abolishing the Farm Animal Welfare Council on her Department's expenditure in 2011-12. 
Mr Paice: Further to the announcement on the Government's review of arm's length bodies made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude) on 14 October, the Farm Animal Welfare Council will be reconstituted as an expert committee to the Department. In this capacity, the new committee will provide independent, authoritative and cost effective advice to DEFRA and Departments in the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
The 2011-12 budget for the new committee has not been agreed and will be fixed in the light of the Government's spending review.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the statement of 14 October 2010, Official Report, columns 505-06, on public bodies reform, who will determine the composition of the committee of experts of the Farm Animal Welfare Council. 
Mr Paice: Further to the announcement on the Government's review of arm's length bodies made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude) on 14 October, Official Report, columns 505-06, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) will be reconstituted as an Expert Committee to the department. In this capacity, the new Committee will provide independent, authoritative and cost-effective advice to DEFRA and Departments in the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales.
Existing members of the FAWC will be given the opportunity to consider whether they are willing to serve on the new Committee. Those willing to serve will transfer to the new Committee. New expert committee appointments will be public appointments made administratively by the DEFRA Senior Responsible Owner on behalf of Ministers.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to regulate the importation of soya animal feed derived from cleared rainforest. 
Mr Paice: The Government have no plans to bring forward proposals to regulate the importation of soy animal feed derived from cleared rainforest. The importation of soy for animal feed is one of a matrix of policy issues associated with the sustainability of the livestock sector, and the Government need to take a holistic view and base policy decisions on a science-based understanding of alternatives. To that end, the Government have commissioned research into replacements for soy due that is due to report in 2012.
We would also be concerned that any move to regulate in this area would fall foul of international trade rules and could jeopardise the UK's and EU's negotiating stance in future World Trade Organisation discussions.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to ensure that food labelling includes information on the use of halal meat. 
Mr Paice: The European Parliament has suggested an amendment to the proposed EU food information regulations to require food labels to indicate whether an animal has been stunned before slaughter.
I appreciate that this is an issue which people feel strongly about and we will be working with interested groups to find a way to address their concerns. People should know what they are buying in shops or when they are eating out, and I will be discussing with the food industry whether labelling and point of sale information can play a greater role in giving consumers a choice.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with representatives of the insurance industry on renewing the Statement of Principles in 2013. 
Richard Benyon: A flood summit was held on 16 September 2010 where I met with key representatives from the insurance industry, the National Flood Forum, the Environment Agency and local government, amongst others.
Participants discussed the current availability and affordability of flood insurance and agreed on a roadmap towards 2013, when the current Statement of Principles between the Government and insurers expires.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make an assessment of the effects on the market for kosher meat of EU regulations on labelling kosher meat; and if she will make a statement. [R] 
Mr Paice: There are currently no specific EU regulations on labelling kosher meat. However, in the context of proposals for an EU food information regulation, the European Parliament has suggested an amendment to require food labels to indicate whether an animal has been stunned before slaughter. I will be meeting with members of the Jewish community in early November to hear their concerns about the European Parliament proposal.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the number of (a) slaughterhouses and (b) slaughterhouses practising halal slaughter. 
Mr Paice: There are currently 346 approved slaughterhouses operating in Great Britain. There is no separate approval of halal slaughterhouses and consequently we do not know the number of slaughterhouses practising halal.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2010, Official Report, columns 425-26W, on the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), which (a) organisations and (b) commentators she expects to fulfil the Sustainable Development Commission's watchdog function; what criteria Ministers will use to decide the data appropriate to provide to such organisations and commentators to scrutinise Government policy and actions on sustainable development; from which organisations her Department and other Departments plans to procure sustainable development expertise; whether her Department will receive any additional resources to build its internal capability to champion
sustainable development in policymaking across Government; and what assessment she made of the manner in which her Department will assume the SDC's capacity building function prior to the decision to abolish the SDC. 
Mr Paice: The Government expect that Parliament will play a major role in holding it to account on sustainable development. In addition, there are a range of other organisations and commentators with experience and expertise in sustainable development who will scrutinise and comment on our performance. These include national level non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academic institutions and business groups, as well as international organisations such as the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
DEFRA is reviewing its sustainability commitments and we will make sure we are transparent to Parliament and the public. We have released a draft departmental structural reform plan and publish monthly updates on its delivery. We are also looking at how we will measure progress using a set of indicators. On operations, we are already publishing real time energy data from departmental headquarters.
On procurement, the nature of any sustainable development work we might commission will determine which organisations will have the capability to deliver-but we would expect these to include, among others, research councils, academic institutions and NGOs.
The future resource for championing sustainable development will be agreed as part of the process to determine the overall priorities for the Department's budget, which is currently under discussion as part of the spending review.
In line with the Secretary of State's commitment to mainstream sustainable development across Government, DEFRA is reviewing what capacity building function will be required. DEFRA expects to concentrate its efforts on influencing core policymaking processes, such as ensuring that impact assessments are undertaken effectively and that sustainable development is fully embedded into HM Treasury's Green Book and central reporting processes.
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the functions of the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) continue to be undertaken after the closure of the SDC. 
Mr Paice: The Sustainable Development Commission's four functions are to be a watchdog, policy advisory, capacity-building and advocacy.
We believe that there are already many organisations and commentators who will continue to hold the Government to account and thus that a dedicated watchdog body is unnecessary. Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the carrying out of their duties. We will continue to publish the necessary data for such scrutiny.
Where the expertise does not already exist internally, DEFRA and other Departments commission additional expert advice from a range of organisations, of which
the Commission is one. In the future, where necessary, we expect policy teams to continue to do this through the usual procurement process.
DEFRA leads across Government on sustainable development. We are considering how best to address capacity-building taking account of the Government's priorities.
DEFRA will continue to champion and advocate sustainable development in policymaking across Government. We will build our internal capability and seek to work with the many external organisations already working within this field and who can support us.
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had at EU level on the level of EU subsidy for tobacco production. 
Mr Paice: Agreement was reached at the Council of Ministers in April 2004 on the reform of the EU tobacco regime. The reforms introduced decoupling into the tobacco sector, which means that the direct link between production and support is broken and the last direct subsidies of EU tobacco production are payable in 2010. Consequently it has not been necessary for Ministers to have further discussions on tobacco subsidy at EU level.
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had at EU level on the extent of EU wine reserves. 
Mr Paice: No discussions have been held on the extent of EU wine reserves.
The UK welcomed the removal, as part of the 2008 Wine Reform negotiations, of subsidies previously offered by the EU to producers to store wine in bulk prior to bottling, sale or destruction. The holding of stocks of wine for purposes such as improving its marketability through aging, or prior to supply is a commercial matter.
Richard Harrington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will bring forward proposals to amend the definition in legislation of antisocial behaviour in order to ensure more effective use of police time. 
James Brokenshire [holding answer 18 October 2010]: The definition of antisocial behaviour (ASB) was established in the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, but much of what is described as ASB is actually crime, and the public expect it to be dealt with properly. On 28 July, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a review of ASB tools and powers to ensure that, in future, the police and their partners at local level have a simpler toolkit that is less bureaucratic and provides a real deterrent. We will bring forward our proposals in due course.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) officials of her Department and (b) external advisers are working on her Department's review of antisocial behaviour orders. 
James Brokenshire: On 28 July, the Home Secretary announced a review of the tools and powers available to the police and other agencies to tackle antisocial behaviour, including antisocial behaviour orders. The review is being conducted by seven Home Office officials, amongst other duties. No external advisers have been employed, but officials are working closely with colleagues from other Government Departments and a range of front-line professionals.
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been (a) made and (b) breached in respect of those resident in Wolverhampton South West constituency in each of the last five years. 
James Brokenshire: The latest available data on the number of antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) issued and breached covers the period 1 April 1999 to 31 December 2008. Data collected centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the number of ASBOs issued and breached are not available below criminal justice system (CJS) area level.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the crime detection rate was (a) nationally and (b) in each basic command unit of Thames Valley Police in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Nick Herbert: The information requested is given in the table.
|Detection rates for basic command units in Thames Valley and England and Wales: 2009-10|
|Area||Total detection rate||Sanction detection rate|
Detection rates are a ratio of crimes detected in a period to crimes recorded in a period. They are not based on tracking whether individual crimes recorded in a given period have eventually been detected.
From 1 April 2007 the rules governing recording of non-sanction detections were revised to reduce the scope within which they can be claimed to a very small limited set of circumstances. This has significantly reduced the number of non-sanction detections which has been reflected in the overall detection rates.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) officials of her Department and (b) external advisers are working on her Department's new strategy to tackle drug misuse. 
James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 October 2010]: The development of the new drug strategy is being led by the Drug Strategy Unit within the Home Office. A core group of 12 members of staff are working on the development of the new strategy. Other areas of the Home Office and other Government Departments are also involved in contributing to what is fundamentally a cross-departmental strategy. No external advisers are working for the department on the development of the new strategy.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) officials of her Department and (b) external advisers are working on her Department's review of changes to UK licensing laws. 
James Brokenshire: The review is being led by the Alcohol Strategy Unit within the Home Office. Various officials within the unit are working on the review of the Licensing Act, alongside other policy tasks. Officials from other Government Departments such as Culture, Media and Sport, Health and Business, Innovation and Skills are also assisting on the review. No external advisers are working on this review.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of claims against employers made by employees on grounds introduced by the Equality Act 2010. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government's estimates of the number of claims against employers made by employees on grounds introduced by the Equality Act 2010 are set out in the impact assessment for the Act which was published in April 2010 and is available from the Government Equalities Office website.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many cases of female genital mutilation have been reported to UK police in each year since 2003; 
(2) what estimate her Department has made of the number of girls resident in the UK who have been taken overseas to undergo female genital mutilation in each of the last three years. 
[holding answer 18 October 2010]: There is currently no national database which records the number of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases reported in the UK. However, Project Azure, a specialist unit within the Metropolitan Police, has been flagging
FGM incidents since 2006, during which time they have recorded 166 possible cases of FGM.
Research suggests a number of barriers to reporting incidents of FGM including the age and understanding of the victim and pressure from the family or wider community.
No estimate has been made of the number of girls taken overseas to undergo FGM. In summer 2010, Project Azure ran a campaign to raise awareness of FGM with families travelling back to practicing countries. Officers operated in Terminal 4, Heathrow airport, in plain clothes with a view to identifying proactively those girls who may have been at risk of being taken out of the UK for FGM. The initiative also sought to raise awareness with those communities about the implications of FGM. Findings from this initiative are currently being assessed and will determine any follow-up enquiries with girls identified as being at risk of FGM.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2010, Official Report, column 199W, on firearms, if she will ask the National Ballistics Intelligence Service to extend its research into the acquisition and use of shotguns by criminals to cover handguns. 
James Brokenshire: The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) prepares and delivers a range of problem profiles and intelligence assessments to UK law enforcement organisations. The subjects covered by these problem profiles and assessments are informed by the Service's ongoing work to identify emerging threats and trends related to the criminal use of firearms.
In 2009-10, provisional data on firearm offences recorded by the police indicate that just under half of all firearm offences involved handguns. Therefore it is already the case that a significant proportion of the research and other work of NABIS is focused on the criminal use and acquisition of handguns.
Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests there were in connection with firearms in Dartford constituency in the last three years; and how many such arrests resulted in convictions for which a prison sentence of five years or more was imposed. 
James Brokenshire: The information requested on arrests is not collected centrally.
The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery.
It is not possible to separately identify which arrests under these offence categories were firearms related.
Information on defendants proceeded against, found guilty, sentenced to immediate custody of which five years or more was imposed and total sentenced for firearms offences in Kent police force area and England and Wales, provided by the Ministry of Justice, is provided in the table.
Data broken down to Dartford constituency area are not available.
Data on court sentencing in 2009 are planned for publication on 21 October 2010.
|Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty at all courts, and sentenced to immediate custody, of which more than five years, for firearms offences( 1) in the Kent police force area and England and Wales, 2006 to 2008( 2, 3, 4)|
|(1) Includes the following: Possession of firearms. Firearm certificate related offences, and Miscellaneous firearms offences.|
(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) The sentenced column may exceed those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year.
Justice Statistics Analytical Services in the Ministry of Justice.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children aged (a) 10, (b) 11, (c) 12, (d) 13, (e) 14, (f) 15, (g) 16 and (h) 17 have been granted shotgun licences in each authority area in (i) England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
James Brokenshire: The provided data are provisional and relate to the number of shotgun certificates held by persons aged under 18 years as at 7 September 2010 within the police force areas covering England and Wales. The information was extracted from the National Firearms Licensing Management System by the National Policing Improvement Agency and is subject to change. Such data are normally used for management and operational information only, and are not subject to the detailed quality checks applied to datasets used for National Statistics publications.
Shotgun certificates are renewable every five years. Therefore the certificates referred to in the following table will have been issued between 2005 and 2010.
Data relating to firearm and shotgun certificates issued by police forces in Scotland are submitted to, and published by, the Scottish Government.
|Number of shotgun certificates held by under-18s on 7 September 2010 by police force area: England and Wales|
|Age at last birthday (years)|
The data are provisional and subject to further quality assurance. They are normally for management and operational information only, and are not subject to the detailed quality checks that apply for National Statistics publications. The data represent the total number of shotgun certificates held on the system, for under 18 year olds, on 7 September 2010.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to improve its level of compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 13 October 2010]: The Home Office has recognised that its performance in handling Freedom of Information requests must improve. We have taken a number of steps to achieve this, including a full review of the process for handling requests and better monitoring and reporting procedures. These measures have led to an increase in each of the last three months in the proportion of requests answered within the deadline, which we are confident will be sustained.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will assess the merits of introducing legislative proposals for a right of appeal against seizure and removal of vehicles under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002. 
[holding answer 18 October 2010]: We have no plans to introduce such a right. Section 59 enables the police to seize a vehicle they reasonably believe is being driven both carelessly or inconsiderately on-road or off-road without authority and in a way that causes or is likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance. This power of seizure can only be used in carefully
restricted circumstances and following a warning. A vehicle that has been seized must be released immediately on payment of a prescribed sum intended only to cover police costs and this payment is waived if the owner is not personally at fault. When introducing the legislation the then Minister formally declared it compatible with the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1988.
The remedy for any person who wishes to challenge the police's decision to seize their vehicle is an action in the county court for trespass to goods. It is also open to them, if they believe the police acted in any way improperly, to make a formal complaint against the police.
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences involving (a) knives and (b) firearms were recorded in Wolverhampton South West constituency in 2009-10. 
James Brokenshire: Data on knife and firearms offences are collected by the Home Office at police force area level. They cannot be broken down to constituency area level.
In 2009-10, 3,216 offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument were recorded by West Midlands police. This figure includes unbroken bottle and unbroken glass offences.
Prior to April 2010, West Midlands police was one of four police forces that included unbroken bottle and glass offences in their knife and sharp instrument data returns to the Home Office, which are outside the scope of this collection.
From April 2010, West Midlands have aligned their recording practice with the national definition and now exclude these unbroken bottle and glass offences.
2009-10 data for police recorded firearms offences will be published in January 2011.
Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent reviews she has undertaken of efficiencies in police procurement. 
Nick Herbert: In Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting the police and the people, the Government have made clear that its approach to police value for money will involve ending the practice of procuring things in 43 different ways when it makes no sense to do so either operationally or financially. The Government are considering responses to the consultation paper "Obtaining Better Value for Money from Police Procurement" which set out proposals for regulations to mandate the police service to use specified contractual arrangements to purchase particular equipment and services.
The joint report from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Audit Commission and the Wales Audit Office, "Sustaining value for money in the police service", published on 20 July, identified opportunities for the police service to save money through greater efficiency, including better procurement. Sir Philip Green's efficiency review, published on 11 October, has also highlighted the potential to save substantial sums through better procurement across government.
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to review the administrative burden on the police consequent on the requirements of (a) the Office of Surveillance Commissioners and (b) the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. 
James Brokenshire: The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ('RIPA') requires that public authorities using covert techniques to obtain private information keep detailed records against which they can be independently inspected, any error rectified and suitable redress made. The Home Office continue to liaise with the Office of Surveillance Commissioners and the police to minimise any unnecessary bureaucracy associated with authorisation under RIPA.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) arrested, (b) charged, (c) prosecuted and (d) convicted in respect of offences under section 53A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. 
James Brokenshire: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts in England and Wales for the years 2004 to 2008 (latest available), for the offence 'controlling prostitution for gain' under section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, can be viewed in the table. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004. Court proceedings data for 2009 will be published on 21 October 2010.
The above information was provided by the Ministry of Justice. The information requested on arrests is not collected centrally. The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as sexual offences and robbery.
|Defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty( 1) , ( 2) at all courts for offences under section 53 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003( 3) , ( 4) , England and Wales, 2004 to 2008|
|Proceeded against||Found guilty( 5)|
|(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) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 may 2004. (4) The following corresponding offence description is used: Controlling prostitution for gain. |
|(5) The number of defendants found guilty in a particular year may exceed the number proceeded against as the proceedings in the magistrates court took place in an earlier year and the defendants were found guilty at the Crown court in the following year; or the defendants were found guilty of a different offence to that for which they were originally proceeded against. (6) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.|
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