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26 Oct 2010 : Column 246Wcontinued
Mr Woolas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the likely effect on the number of removals of illegal immigrants of the planned reduction in returns awards. 
Damian Green: During the past year we have made a number of changes to our return schemes for illegal immigrants. Our schemes include Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP), Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants scheme (AVRIM), Assisted Voluntary Return for Families and Children (AVRFC).
We have also made changes to the Facilitated Returns Scheme for Foreign National Prisoners.
Although the impact of the changes to these return schemes is unknown at this time, it is anticipated that the schemes will continue to significant illegal immigrant and foreign national prisoner removals in 2010.
Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications from UK residents returning to the UK from (a) Canada, (b) Australia and (c) New Zealand in the last year for which information is available were (i) approved and (ii) rejected. 
Damian Green: The information requested by my hon. Friend with regard to the number of returning resident applications approved and rejected for the period July 2009 to June 2010 for Canada, Australia and New Zealand is shown in the following table:
|July 2009 to June 2010 stats on returning resident from Australia, Canada and New Zealand|
These data are based on Management Information and is therefore provisional and subject to change.
A returning resident is a resident who has left the UK for no longer than two years and who wishes to return to live in the UK permanently.
Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her most recent estimate is of the average annual monetary value of assets seized by law enforcement agencies in the UK; and what proportion of the monetary value of such assets was reallocated to law enforcement in the latest year for which figures are available. 
James Brokenshire: The Home Office received a total of £150 million of criminal assets in 2009-10 after receivers' fees had been deducted. Under the current Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme half of all assets recovered are returned to law enforcement agencies involved in the asset recovery process, including the police, Crown Prosecution Service and HM Courts Service.
In 2009-10, £75 million was returned to front line agencies.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether changing the location of the National Border Targeting Centre resulted in an extension in the time taken to deliver the e-Borders programme; and if she will make a statement. 
Damian Green: The change in location of the National Border Targeting Centre did not affect the time scale for delivering the e-Borders programme.
Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will re-tender the e-passport contract; and if she will consider the merits of the proposal by 3M in respect of the cost of fulfilling the contract over the next 10 years. 
Damian Green [holding answer 21 October 2010]: Following your meeting with me on 15 September 2010, the position remains the same and the e-passport contract will not be re-tendered.
Subsequent correspondence associated with the meeting confirms that the merits of 3M's proposal have been carefully considered, and I can therefore see no objective or convincing arguments to justify changing the contractual relationship with De La Rue at this juncture.
Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fraudulent passports were seized in the UK in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. 
The following table details the detections of false passports encountered by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office (before 31 March 2007), the Border and Immigration Agency (between
1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008) and the UK Border Agency (since 1 April 2008).
The figures detail detections at the border and those made in country by caseworking offices and enforcement officers. They do not include the numbers of inadequately documented passengers denied boarding by commercial carriers overseas working in conjunction with UK immigration liaison officers and managers (formerly airline liaison officers). Some of these passengers will have held false documents but precise figures for the numbers denied boarding for this reason are unavailable.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times (a) she and her predecessor and (b) the Permanent Secretary of her Department have met representatives from each of the companies in Trusted Borders Consortium in the last 12 months. 
Damian Green [holding answer 19 October 2010]: The Trusted Borders Consortium was made up of Raytheon Systems Limited (prime), Accenture, Detica, Serco, QinetiQ, Steria, and Capgemini.
Meetings in the last 12 months were held as follows:
4 February 2010-Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson met Dawn Elaine, a Contract Director with Serco.
19 April 2010-the Permanent Secretary met Lord Geoffrey Filkin and Tom Riall of Serco.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visas of each type were issued to Mongolian nationals in each of the last 24 months; and what the average time taken was between receipt of application and decision for such visas issued in each such month. 
Damian Green [holding answer 21 October 2010]: The number of visas issued by month during the period July 2008 to June 2010 to Mongolians in each entry clearance endorsement category are shown in Table A. Table B shows the average time taken (in working days) to resolve an application in each entry clearance endorsement category in each month between July 2008 and June 2010.
The UK Border Agency has agreed customer service standards for processing visa applications. These are:
to conclude 90% of non-settlement applications within three weeks, 98% within six weeks and 100% within 12 weeks; and
to conclude 95% of settlement applications within 12 weeks and 100% within 24 weeks.
A guide to recent processing times for applications lodged at each of the UK Border Agency's visa application centres overseas is available on its website at:
|Table A: Number of visas issued to Mongolian nationals by endorsement category|
|Table B: Average working days taken to resolve an application by endorsement category|
|Endorsement category||Jul y||Aug||Sep t||Oct||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun e|
|Endorsement category||Jul y||Aug||Sep t||Oct||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun e|
| Source: CRS; Run date 21 October 2010.|
4. Mr Evennett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to establish a commission to consider the West Lothian question; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Harper: We aim to announce our plans for a commission by the end of the year.
7. Jo Swinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to take account of diversity in political representation in his political reform proposals; and if he will make a statement. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: The Government are committed to tackling the barriers preventing under-represented groups from participating in political life. We are developing proposals to introduce extra support for disabled people and our other proposed reforms give us the opportunity to help ensure that politics is representative of the communities it serves.
8. Amber Rudd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of the electoral register. 
Mr Harper: The Government have not made such an assessment. However, the Electoral Commission in its March 2010 report 'The completeness and accuracy of electoral registers in Great Britain' found:
"... it is likely that the accuracy of the registers remains broadly similar to past decades"
"... the major source of inaccuracy remains electors moving home and not informing the relevant Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)".
It is clear that more can be done to support accuracy. To this end, the Government have announced the implementation of individual electoral registration from 2014, which will ensure that only those entitled to vote will get on the register, so bringing greater protection against electoral fraud.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will bring forward legislative proposals to put the Interim Electoral Management Board for Scotland on a statutory basis in respect of elections which remain the responsibility of the UK Government. 
Mr Harper: The Scottish Government introduced the Local Electoral Administration (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 7 October. The Bill includes provisions to allow for the Electoral Management Board to be established in statute as an independent body, representing Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers. Its convenor will have a statutory power of direction over Returning Officers who are in charge of Scottish Local Government elections.
The Government intend to devolve 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.
For European Parliamentary elections a Regional Returning Officer (RRO) is appointed. The RRO has a power of direction over the local Returning Officer in his or her region. There are no plans at this stage to bring forward legislation to put the Interim Management Board for Scotland on a statutory basis in respect of elections which are the responsibility of the UK Government. However, we will keep the position under review.
Paul Uppal: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps the Government are taking to reduce the level of electoral fraud by personation. 
Mr Harper: The available evidence suggests that current instances of personation are relatively low. Data are not as yet available for the 2010 UK General Election, though the report by the Electoral Commission and the Association of Chief Police Officers, Analysis of allegations of electoral malpractice at the June 2009 elections, found that there were 13 cases of personation at the June 2009 elections. These figures should be put in the context that more than 22 million votes were cast in the June 2009 elections across the United Kingdom.
The Government are committed to tackling electoral fraud and have announced that it will legislate to bring Individual Electoral Registration into force in 2014, ahead of the next general election. Individual Electoral Registration will require each voter to register individually and to provide three personal identifiers; signature, date of birth and National Insurance Number, the last two of which will be cross checked with the Department for Work and Pensions before anyone is added to the electoral register. This will make the electoral register more accurate and more secure, and thus should strengthen the integrity of the voting process at elections.
The Electoral Commission's report on the administration of the May 2010 General Election published in July explained that the Commission had worked with the Association of Chief Police Officers to ensure that cases
of alleged electoral malpractice reported to the police have been consistently and comprehensively recorded across the UK since the beginning of 2010. The Electoral Commission will publish verified data and analysis on the extent and nature of cases of electoral malpractice at the General Election in January 2011.
We will consider the Electoral Commission's report carefully when it is published together with what action may be necessary to address any issues that may highlighted by the report.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Argentina on fossil fuel subsidy reform. 
Mr Bellingham: The issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform was discussed with the Government of Argentina during the Group of Twenty summit in Toronto in June.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many contracts his Department has with Capita; and how much it has paid to Capita under such contracts in 2010-11 to date. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has no current contracts with Capita and as a result, no payments have been made to them this financial year.
FCO Services, a Trading Fund of the FCO has six contracts with Capita. As a Trading Fund, FCO Services uses Capita under a Government procurement framework which allows it to acquire specific skills and resources on a flexible basis as and when the commercial need arises and only where it judges this option to be better value for money than to permanently recruit staff with those skills. It has spent £394,073 in 2010-11 to date.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines in each year since 1997. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office introduced a new financial accounting system in March 2004 therefore the figures given for the period before 2004-05 have been collected on a different basis from the subsequent period. From 2004 onwards, the costs quoted are worldwide spend and include monies spent on electronic subscriptions to enable staff based in the UK and our posts worldwide to access a range of different media.
|(1) Not held.|
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to publish equality impact assessments undertaken by his Department as part of the comprehensive spending review; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Following the announcement of the spending review, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will ensure that we fulfil our statutory requirements when considering any decisions that may potentially impact our workforce or the services we provide to British nationals.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to meeting our equality duties and will take appropriate and reasonable action to meet our obligations.
Yvette Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of his Department's programme spending on (a) counter-terrorism and (b) Afghan counter-narcotics programmes in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15; 
(2) what estimate he has made of his Department's programme spending in support of counter-proliferation in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15; 
(3) what estimate he has made of his Department's programme spending on human rights and democracy in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15. 
Mr Hague: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not yet set its budgets for 2011-12 or future years. We will be deciding on allocations in the light of the recent Spending Round Settlement.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what budget has been set for travel by Ministers in his Department in 2010-11. 
Alistair Burt: The budget set for both UK and Overseas travel for 2010-11 is as follows:
It is essential for Ministers to travel throughout the global network to attend high level talks, conferences and negotiations. Budgets have been set to reflect the demands of each Minister's portfolio. Distance and frequency of travel both impact on the costs incurred.
Any expenditure incurred on official travel is kept under rigorous scrutiny to ensure value for money and effectiveness and is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on overseas visits for senior officials in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Alistair Burt: I refer the hon. member to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website where this information is already available for UK based senior officials:
Information for overseas-based senior officials is not held in this format and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans his Department has for discussions on fossil fuel subsidy reform with other governments; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: The issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform was discussed by G20 Finance Ministers on 22 October. The issue will also be discussed at the G20 summit in Seoul in November, where the G20 will review the progress made to implement the national commitments to reduce fossil fuel subsidies.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of India on fossil fuel subsidy reform. 
Mr Bellingham: The issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform was discussed with the Government of India during the G20 summit in Toronto in June.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he made of the cost to his Department and its non-departmental public bodies of compliance with (a) domestic, (b)
European and (c) other international human rights requirements in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: My Department and its non-departmental public bodies are committed to the defence and promotion of international human rights. We ensure that our work is conducted with respect to our obligations under domestic, European and international law. Resources expended on this area are within the context of our normal work, but an accurate estimate of the total cost of compliance with human rights obligations could not be made without incurring disproportionate cost.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the US administration on resettlement of the outer Chagos islands; when such representations were last received (a) in public and (b) in private; what the rank was of the official who made such representations; and on what occasion he most recently discussed the issue with his US counterpart. 
Mr Bellingham: The use of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) including Diego Garcia is regulated by a series of bilateral agreements between the UK and US. The 1966 Exchange of Notes provides that the whole of the territory shall be available for defence purposes.
The US Administration have regularly made clear their concerns about the possible restoration of a settled civilian population in the territory. Letters dated November 2004 and January 2006 from the State Department confirming this position have been made available to the UK courts.
US concerns over the implications of resettlement of the outer islands were most recently confirmed in October during the annual UK/US Political-Military talks on BIOT when US officials set out the US Government's position.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have not discussed the issue directly with our US counterparts.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in respect of which countries he has received reports of attacks on Christians in the last three months; and what discussions he has had on this issue with his counterpart in each such country. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government condemn all instances of violence and discrimination against individuals and groups because of their faith or belief. Our overseas missions monitor human rights in their host countries, raise our concerns about individual cases and lobby for changes in discriminatory practices and laws.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and senior officials regularly raise human rights, including freedom of religion and belief.
Examples over the last three months include in Morocco, where our ambassador to Morocco raised concerns with the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs over the expulsion of 16 British nationals for alleged proselytising; in Pakistan, where the Minister for South Asia raised the issue of persecution of religious minorities with the Pakistan Federal Minister of Minorities; and in Burma where, following reports of attacks on Christian communities in Karen and Chin State, embassy officials met with representatives of these groups. Our ambassador to Burma also recently raised human rights concerns directly with the Burmese military Government.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what observers from the UK Embassy in Turkey have been present at the trial of Kurdish defendants in Diyarbakir which began on 18 October 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: Our embassy in Ankara is monitoring the Diyarbakir trial, but has not sent any observers to attend the proceedings. This is being kept under review and the embassy has not ruled out sending observers to the trial at a later date.
The trial has been monitored by Turkish and international media, UK parliamentarians (including the hon. Member himself) and non-governmental organisations. We expect high legal and judicial standards to be observed throughout the trial.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans Ministers in his Department have to participate in the Ministerial level debate on women, peace and security in the UN Security Council on 26 October 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: Our ambassador to the United Nations will represent the UK at the debate on Women, Peace and Security at the UN Security Council today, 26 October 2010.
The UK remains a leading supporter of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is committed to working for the protection of women in conflict and their participation in conflict resolution.
We will shortly launch our national action plan that sets out how the Government will integrate Women, Peace and Security into our core activity in conflict affected states. This includes specific action plans for priority countries, including Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to the United Nations of the establishment of the post of Head of United Nations Women. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The proposed budget for UN Women has not yet been published. We expect an announcement on funding, including for the Under-Secretary-General to head the agency, within the next few weeks.
The UK fully supports the establishment of UN Women, a powerful new body to deliver real change for the world's women.
Simon Wright: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office in which 10 parliamentary constituencies the (a) lowest and (b) highest proportion of the electorate were issued with postal vote ballot papers for the 2010 general election; and what the proportion of the electorate was in each case. 
Mr Harper: The 2010 General Election: aspects of participation and administration, prepared for the Electoral Commission by the elections centre at the university of Plymouth, finds that at the May 2010 general election the 10 parliamentary constituencies in which the (a) lowest and (b) highest proportion of the electorate were issued with postal vote ballot papers were as follows:
|Lowest proportion of the electorate issued with postal vote ballot papers|
|Parliamentary Constituency||Percentage issued with postal vote|
|Highest proportion of the electorate issued with postal vote ballot papers|
|Parliamentary Constituency||Percentage issued with postal vote|
Ian Austin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. 
Mr Maude: It is not possible to report on lifetime contract values awarded during this period without incurring disproportionate costs.
However, the accounting system shows the following in-year values for contracts awarded between 7 May and 18 October of the corresponding financial year:
|Value awarded for :|
A breakdown of those data by supplier will be placed in the Library of the House.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many officials in his Department have been (a) subject to disciplinary action, (b) removed from post, (c) transferred to another position and (d) dismissed for matters relating to their (i) disciplinary record and (ii) performance in each year since 1997. 
Mr Maude: The number of officials who were subject to serious and gross misconduct is set out in the table. There are no complete records held centrally about minor misconduct as these cases are devolved to local unit managers. To obtain this information would represent a disproportionate cost. There is no information held about disciplinary cases before 2004.
|(1 )Less than 5-The policy of the Cabinet Office is to withhold data which could identify an individual.|
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much was paid to officials in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies in bonuses and other payments in addition to salary in each year since 1997; how many officials received such payments; and what the monetary value was of the largest 20 payments made in each such year. 
Mr Maude: The Department only holds the information requested from 2003.
The following table details the amount paid in non-consolidated awards to officials, how many officials received such awards and the largest 20 payments made in the Cabinet Office for the years 2003 to 2009 is detailed as follows:
|Paid in||Number of officials who received a payment||Total paid in non-consolidated awards (£)||Value of largest 20 payments made (£)|
|(1) Information not available|
There are also a small number of staff who received in-year non-consolidated awards over this period. These decisions are delegated to line managers and as such the total cost is not held centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what allowances and payments in addition to salary were available to officials in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies in each year since 1997; and what the monetary value was of payments and allowances of each type in each such year. 
Mr Maude: Cabinet Office uses pay allowances as a cost effective way to recruit and retain staff to posts that require specialist skills or long or un-social hours. Allowances are non-consolidated monthly payments which are paid in lieu of a consolidated increase to basic salary and cease when staff move from qualifying posts.
The monetary value of allowance payments to staff in the Cabinet Office for the financial year 2009 to 2010 was £1.2 million.
Prior to 1 April 2009 the Department did not report on the value of allowance payments separately on payroll and as such providing information on the value of allowances for each year between 1997 and 2009 would be at a disproportionate cost.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many officials in his Department have had (a) fewer than five days, (b) five to 10 days, (c) 10 to 15 days, (d) 15 to 20 days, (e) 20 to 25 days, (f) 25 to 50 days, (g) 50 to 75 days, (h) 75 to 100 days, (i) 100 to 150 days, (j) 150 to 200 days, (k) more than 200 days, (l) more than three months, (m) more than six months and (n) one year on paid sick leave (i) consecutively and (ii) in total in each year since 1997. 
Mr Maude: Cabinet Office sick absence data are published on the Cabinet Office website at:
The specific information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would represent a disproportionate cost.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Emergency College at Hawkhills in training people to deal with major flooding events. 
Mr Maude: The effectiveness of the training delivered at the Emergency Planning College is subject to continuous assessment within its quality regime, which includes both post-course and in-employment measurement. The average quality rating over the past year has exceeded 80%, which reflects a very high degree of customer satisfaction with all aspects of the training. The college's quality system was subject to detailed audit as part of its 'Skillsmark' Recognition in 2009, and is consistent with accepted best practice in adult education and training.
The college does not deliver courses that specifically cover the management of major floods. Our resilience training policy rests on EPC delivering generic individual training, which underpins scenario-specific collective training and exercises conducted by local resilience forums. The scenarios and training priorities depend on the nature of the assessed local risks, with flooding featuring prominently in many areas.
Mrs Main: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of the working population of St Albans constituency is employed in the (a) public and (b) private sector. 
Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what proportion of the working population of St Albans constituency is employed by the (a) public and (b) private sector. (19690)
Public sector employment statistics for local areas can be calculated from the Annual Population Survey. On this basis, in the 12 month period April 2009 to March 2010, 79 per cent of the working population of the St Albans constituency were employed by the private sector, with the remaining 21 per cent employed in the public sector.
As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he made of the cost to his Department and its non-departmental public bodies of compliance with (a) domestic, (b) European and (c) other international human rights requirements in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Maude: Cabinet Office policies and processes comply with domestic, European and international human rights requirements. No assessment has been made as to the cost and to do so now would represent a disproportionate cost.
7. Julian Smith: To ask the Attorney-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase its level of assistance to victims of crime. 
The Solicitor-General: There is a network of joint police and CPS Witness Care Units, whose role is to provide support to victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. Additional training has recently been provided to the Witness Care Units and recent reports and surveys reveal that more than 80% of victims and witnesses are now satisfied with their experience of the criminal justice system.
8. Stephen Barclay: To ask the Attorney-General what reviews the Crown Prosecution Service has conducted of its handling of the case of Dr Daniel Ubani; and if he will make a statement. 
The Attorney-General: The hon. Member will be aware that the failure to extradite Dr Ubani from Germany was attributable to the prosecution of Dr Ubani in Germany for the offence in Cambridgeshire, without consultation with the CPS. There have, therefore, been no reviews of the handling of the case by the CPS. However there has been a meeting in The Hague, with the assistance of Eurojust, between German prosecutors, the CPS and the Cambridgeshire police to address the issues raised and seek good practice in the future.
9. David Tredinnick: To ask the Attorney-General what discussions the Crown Prosecution Service has had with the Ministry of Justice on steps to reduce the number of cases awaiting trial. 
The Attorney-General: There are regular discussions between the Crown Prosecution Service and the Ministry of Justice, particularly Her Majesty's Courts Service, on performance issues, including reducing the number of cases awaiting trial.
These include regular discussions at chief executive and chief operating officer level; at a local level between chief Crown prosecutors and resident judges; and between local operational managers. The Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty's Courts Service have also formed a Joint National Improvement Board with a focus on improving performance.
10. Bob Blackman: To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received on his recent report on unduly lenient sentences; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: I refer the my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the oral questions from the hon. Members for Dartford (Gareth Johnson) and for High Peak (Andrew Bingham) today.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Attorney-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase the proportion of people suspected of offences under section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 who are prosecuted. 
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers are currently working to develop a joint strategy on the enforcement and prosecution of prostitution-related offences and the exploitation of those involved in prostitution.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Attorney-General what steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to increase the proportion of prosecutions for offences of human trafficking which result in conviction. 
The Solicitor-General: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the oral question from the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) earlier today.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Attorney-General what assessment he has made of factors affecting the success of prosecutions for shop theft. 
The Solicitor-General: While no separate assessment has been made of the factors affecting the success of prosecutions for shop theft, I expect all prosecutions to be conducted in accordance with the requirements set out in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Code for Crown Prosecutors and the commitments outlined in the CPS Core Quality Standards.
The CPS's central records include a count of defendants proceeded against for offences of theft and handling, but do not separately identify cases of theft from shops. The figures for 2009-10 indicate strong performance in respect of theft and handling cases, with a success rate of approximately 93%.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the provision of funding for pre-apprentice courses. 
Mr Hayes: The Government are keen for as many people as possible to benefit from an apprenticeship. We are looking at how training and support available through a wide range of routes could be harnessed to prepare people for this opportunity, and at whether it may be necessary to create specific, designated pre-apprenticeship training. Indeed, our recent consultation on the future direction of skills policy sought views on what form of pre-apprenticeship training might be appropriate and how we could ensure it was a first step towards ongoing learning. However, the details of what these routes may look like have not yet been determined. Consideration of funding arrangements is a key element in the development of our policy.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria his Department used to determine the locations for each superfast broadband pilot. 
Mr Vaizey: The criteria used were those advertised on the BDUK industry day on 15 July 2010. The locations that were chosen by the devolved Administrations and regional development agencies were selected on the basis that they offered combinations of the following:
Are currently uneconomic due to unattractive payback period but would be long-term commercially sustainable;
Provide opportunity to reuse existing infrastructure: Telco supplier's infrastructure Utility infrastructure or Public sector networks;
Leverage additional sources of funds (e.g. European, public and private);
Provide maximum learning opportunities on cost, revenue take-up and other project information;
Testing different delivery and commercial models.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which locations considered for superfast broadband pilots were not proceeded with; and for what reason in each case. 
Mr Vaizey: 11 locations were proposed, one from each devolved Administration and regional development agency. Those selected were deemed to offer the required mix of learning opportunities from the selection criteria.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of each pilot scheme for superfast broadband. 
Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK is discussing the scope and scale of the pilots with the relevant local bodies and will assess the appropriate level of funding to provide for each dependent on the outcome of those discussions. A notional allocation of £5 million to £10 million has been made, subject to a process of due diligence.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department have had with other Departments on job and wealth creation for small businesses since his appointment. 
Mr Prisk: 99.9% of all businesses are SMEs. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has an important influencing role at the heart of government as the 'Department for Growth', both in terms of employment and wealth creation. Ministers and officials from BIS are therefore constantly meeting with other Departments to achieve this.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what initiatives his Department has taken to connect with small businesses through the use of new technology (a) in consultations and (b) otherwise since his appointment. 
Mr Prisk: BIS is employing new technology to connect with small businesses. Our consultation documents are published online and are all linked to Directgov, so that SMEs can search for relevant consultation exercise and provide responses. We are also using e-consultation and Survey Monkeys, and our published consultation documents support open RDF format making them easier to find.
In addition, BIS is committed to work with colleagues in HMRC, who manage the Businesslink.gov.uk programme, to ensure that we make the best use of new technology when delivering support to business. We are currently exploring several areas such as the use of Open Standards, APIs, syndication and mobile services with a view to further enhance our use of new technology in delivering service to both small and medium-sized companies.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on the number of companies listed on the FTSE 100 index who have women on their executive boards. 
Mr Prisk: Lord Davies of Abersoch is currently leading a review into Women on Boards. During the course of this work we will be consulting widely, including with FTSE 100 companies who have women on their boards.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has made a recent estimate of the number of private sector enterprises (a) in each sector and (b) of each size with women on their executive boards. 
Mr Prisk: BIS has not made any estimate of the number of private sector enterprises in each sector and of each size with women on their executive boards.
A broad estimate of the proportion of women on boards across the UK corporate sector as a whole is approximately 7.8%.
The most authoritative source that tracks developments in the UK's top performing companies is the Female FTSE Report, which monitors trends in the proportion of women holding executive and non-executive directorships across all the FTSE listings. The latest data are as follows:
'Women on Boards: A Statistical Review by Country, Region, Sector and Market Index; Governance Metrics International; March 2009'.
The sector information in this report is at a global level, not UK level.
|Board members who are women|
| Source: Female FTSE Report, November 2009.|
Richard Harrington: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans the Government have to encourage people to start up new businesses in their local areas. 
Mr Prisk: The coalition Government are committed to making the coming decade the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history.
The Department has brought together a forum of entrepreneurs, educators and sector representatives to build a consensus on how best learning institutions might further improve and promote enterprise education. This work is designed to ensure the opportunities to develop enterprise and entrepreneurial skills, including those needed to encourage people to start-up new businesses, are supported and promoted throughout education.
The Government have also announced a New Enterprise Allowance which will support start-ups among the unemployed. It will give an unemployed person entering self-employment the support they need to start a successful business.
Government have also announced a dedicated area on the businesslink.gov website for start ups. This will include a package of online training as well as tools and templates to help people think through what they need to do when starting up
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with banks on lending to small and medium-sized businesses. 
Mr Prisk [holding answer 25 October 2010]: I have had several discussions with banks recently regarding bank lending to small and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses.
As referred to in the Business Finance Green Paper, the major UK banks and the British Bankers Association (BBA) Taskforce has explored several issues affecting SMEs. I have met with the BBA Taskforce and as my hon. Friend may know the taskforce has now published its report 'Supporting UK Businesses' which sets out 17 actions designed to improve lending to small and medium-sized businesses by taskforce banks.
I recently chaired the first meeting of the Small Business Economic Forum which forms an important platform for bringing small business representatives and banks together on a regular basis to discuss bank lending alongside other business finance and economic issues facing small and medium-sized businesses.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to ensure that large businesses do not relocate outside the UK as a result of inadequate access to bank finance. 
Mr Davey: The decisions of businesses to remain in the UK are complex. The Government are committed to promoting growth by tackling the deficit, rebalancing the economy and creating the right conditions to support a private sector-led recovery.
Over the summer, the Government issued the Green Paper, "Financing a Private Sector Recovery". This consulted on what is needed to ensure stable financial conditions for business; improvements to the bank lending environment, and; to ensure businesses can access a range of sources of finance. Government will shortly be setting out the action that is being taken in response to this consultation, in ensuring that UK businesses have appropriate and adequate access to finance.
Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage banks to lend to small businesses. 
Mr Prisk: The coalition Government have articulated their ambition to ensure the flow of credit to viable SMEs. Our consultation on business finance issues, "Financing a private sector recovery" closed on the 20 September, and received many responses from a wide range of firms, business representative bodies, individuals and investors. We are currently considering the Government's response which will be given shortly.
As referred to in the Business Finance Green Paper, the major UK banks and the British Bankers Association (BBA) taskforce have explored several issues affecting SMEs. I have met with the BBA Taskforce and as the hon. Member may know the taskforce has now published its report "Supporting UK Businesses" which sets out 17 actions designed to improve lending to small businesses by taskforce banks. I will follow keenly to ensure that banks deliver on the recommendations outlined in the report.
I recently chaired the first meeting of the Small Business Economic Forum which forms an important platform for bringing small business representatives and banks together on a regular basis to discuss bank lending alongside other business finance and economic issues facing small businesses.
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