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NHS

Mr Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has issued guidance to local authorities on the implications for them of the proposals in his Department's White Paper on Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. [19592]

Paul Burstow: The Department's consultation on the Government's White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" closed on the 5 October, and the consultation on associated proposals for Increasing Democratic Legitimacy in Health, Transparency in Outcomes: A Framework, Commissioning for Patients and Regulating Healthcare Providers finished on 11 October. The Department is currently considering the responses to the consultations. No formal guidance has been issued to local authorities, although both Ministers and officials have been in discussions with representatives of local government about the proposals.

Palliative Care

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made on the development of a structured support service for people being treated for long-term conditions. [19624]

Paul Burstow: The national health service long-term conditions model focuses on supporting people to make decisions about how their care can be managed. It encourages a personalised approach offering one to one case management to those with the most complex needs, personalised care planning to fully involve people in decisions about their care and supporting people to self care.

Data from the GP Patient Survey suggest that around 80% of people with a long-term condition have had a care planning discussion and of those around 70% say their care has improved as a result of the discussion.
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The survey also suggests that around 80% of people with a long-term condition feel supported to be independent and in control of their condition.

Pharmacy

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the development of community pharmacy in (a) deprived and (b) other areas. [19622]

Mr Simon Burns: The development of community pharmacy is linked to the requirement for each primary care trust (PCT) to assess the pharmaceutical needs for its area under section 128A of the NHS Act 2006. The aim of these needs assessments is to better inform local commissioning of pharmaceutical services and in turn improve health outcomes, contribute to wider developments in primary care provision and reduce health inequalities, by facilitating better access to pharmaceutical services appropriate for population needs. PCTs are required to produce their first pharmaceutical needs assessment by 1 February 2011.

Subject to final analysis of the consultation on 'Liberating the NHS: Local democratic legitimacy in health', which closed earlier in October, and completion of the forthcoming Health Bill, we expect the responsibility for the development under regulations of local pharmaceutical needs assessments (which are closely aligned to Joint Strategic Needs Assessments) to pass from PCTs when they are abolished to Health and Wellbeing Boards in local authorities.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made in developing the National Medicines Concordance Scheme. [19623]

Mr Simon Burns: Discussions are continuing between NHS Employers (NHSE) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on potential community pharmacy service developments, such as support for people with a long-term condition newly prescribed a medicine.

Departmental officials have asked NHSE to submit revised proposals, reflecting the coalition Government's strategy for health and care, including as set out in the recent White Paper. We have made it clear that any additional investment in service developments will need to be supported by a robust business case and be informed by the comprehensive spending review.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether community pharmacies will be represented on the (a) National Commissioning Board and (b) Public Health Board. [19693]

Mr Simon Burns: We intend to introduce legislation to establish the NHS Commissioning Board later this year. The Health Bill will set out further details about the membership of the Board and the process for making appointments.

The forthcoming Public Health White Paper will describe the new Public Health Service.


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Thromboembolism

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future of the requirement on acute services providers to report to their lead commissioner on (a) local audits of the percentage of patients risk-assessed for venous thromboembolism who receive the appropriate prophylaxis and (b) root cause analysis of all confirmed cases of hospital-acquired pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. [19865]

Mr Simon Burns: As part of the National Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prevention Programme from 1 April 2010, the NHS Standard Contract for acute services requires providers to:

Failure to report in accordance with the provisions in the contract is a breach of performance that can lead to a withholding by the commissioners of up to 1% of monthly sums payable under the contract value until the breach is rectified. Where there is a persistent breach the withholding can be retained.

There are no current plans to remove this from acute care providers' contracts for 2011-12.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future of the national venous thromboembolism prevention strategy. [19867]

Mr Simon Burns: Reducing death and disability from venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a clinical priority for the national health service. The NHS leadership team have introduced a range of measures during 2010-11 to support the existing national VTE prevention programme.

The focus of the national programme is aimed at ensuring that:

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to include reduced (a) venous thromboembolism and (b) appropriate thromboprophylaxis as an indicator for safe treatment in the first NHS Outcomes Framework; and if he will make a statement. [19868]


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Mr Simon Burns: The consultation document "Transparency in Outcomes-a framework for the NHS" put forward a range of possible outcome measures that could be presented in the first NHS Outcomes Framework. This included a measure on venous thromboembolism as an improvement area in domain 5 of the framework (Treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm).

The consultation closed on 11 October. We are in the process of analysing the responses and it is expected that the first NHS Outcomes Framework, alongside the Government's response to the consultation, will be published in December 2010.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 275W, on thromboembolism, what proportion of providers has met the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation scheme's goal on the reduction of venous thromboembolism. [19887]

Mr Simon Burns: As stated in the previous answer of 6 September 2010, assessing and rewarding achievement of both locally and nationally defined Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) goals is the responsibility of local commissioners as part of their contractual relationship with providers, and the Department does not collect specific data on the achievement of CQUIN goals.

For the national CQUIN goal on venous thromboembolism (VTE), the period over which commissioners will assess achievement during 2010-11 is a matter for local negotiation between commissioners and providers, although published guidance states that achievement of 90% must be over at least a full quarter to earn the related CQUIN payment. We understand that many providers are aiming to achieve the goal during the last quarter of 2010-11. A national data collection on VTE risk assessment started in June 2010. The publication date of the first full quarter's data is 3 December 2010.

Treasury

Annuities

Jesse Norman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what methodology was used to calculate the 55% recovery rate, as proposed in his Department's consultation on reforming the pension tax framework and ending the effective requirement to purchase an annuity at the age of 75 years. [16884]

Mr Hoban: The Government announced at the June Budget that they will end the effective requirement to purchase an annuity by age 75 from April 2011, and published a consultation document in July. The consultation document set out that reforms should not incur Exchequer cost, and that relief previously given on contributions should be recovered for any funds remaining after death, as well as taking into account that no charge to inheritance tax will apply. Given these principles, the Government's preliminary view was that an appropriate recovery charge for most death benefits would be around 55%.


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The final policy has not been decided and further detail on the tax reform proposals and the recovery charge will be published by the Government in the autumn after consideration of the consultation responses.

Margot James: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to encourage more pensioners to search for competitive offers when converting their pension savings into an annuity. [17500]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 18 October 2010]: The Government believe that it is important for people to save for retirement and recognise the importance of the annuities market in providing an income in retirement.

The Government support the Open Market Option which enables individuals to shop around for the best rate, and continue to consider ways to make this more effective.

Complementing this, the Government will continue to work with interested groups to improve the quality of 'pre-retirement' advice.

The Consumer Financial Education Body will launch the Annual Financial Healthcheck next spring, which will form a key component of the National Financial Advice Service.

Together these will help people to access the advice they require to make important decisions about their retirement savings.

Endowment Mortgages: Scotland

Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of the number of people who have experienced a shortfall in their endowment policies sold by solicitors in Scotland since the implementation of the provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. [14896]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not held centrally.

Financial Markets

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department made of the value of the over-the-counter derivative market in each of the last five years. [17855]

Mr Hoban: The Bank for International Settlement provides information regarding the value of over-the-counter (OTC) derivative markets in its semiannual OTC derivatives statistics report. The latest detailed report can be found on the following website:

Financial Services Authority

Mr Raab: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will investigate the conduct of the Financial Services Authority in monitoring the activities of Crown Currency Exchange under the provisions of regulation 81 of the Payment Services Regulations 2009; and if he will make a statement. [19952]


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Mr Hoban: The day-to-day operations of the Financial Services Authority are independent from Government control and influence.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) does not regulate retail foreign currency exchange services. So the FSA did not regulate in any way the foreign currency exchange business of Crown Currency Exchange.

The Government will look at this case to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when his Department plans to respond to the letters of 9 August and 29 September 2010 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on his constituent Mr J. Lowe. [20001]

Mr Gauke: I have replied to the hon. Member.

Mr Baron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when his Department plans to respond to the letters of 17 August and 29 September 2010 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on his constituent Ms L. Keeble; [20005]

(2) when his Department plans to respond to the letters of 13 August and 29 September 2010 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on his constituent Mrs A. Black. [20002]

Mr Hoban: I have replied to my hon. Friend.

Personal Savings

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to encourage individuals to allocate a higher proportion of disposable income to savings; and if he will make a statement. [17924]

Mr Hoban: To ensure a sustainable and balanced economic recovery, the Government need to encourage people to save and invest. Recent levels of saving have been too low with the household saving ratio dipping into the negative in 2008 for the first time since the 1950s. The Government are therefore committed to creating conditions for higher savings.

The Government want a saving system based on freedom, fairness and responsibility, as well as ensuring lasting affordability and measureable effectiveness. These principles will guide the Government's aims of rewarding saving, supporting pensions, and helping vulnerable households to smooth their expenditure.

A number of measures have been announced which will take the first steps in meeting these aims, such as the Annual Financial Healthcheck, the indexation of annual subscription limits for Individual Saving Accounts (ISAs), meaning that savers will be able to pay an extra £480 into their ISAs in 2011-12, and an end to the effective requirement to annuitise pension savings at 75.

Public Expenditure

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in public spending per capita as a result of the £6.2 billion cost reductions announced on 24 May in each region. [735]


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Danny Alexander: Regional spending data for 2010-11 are not yet available. However, the savings announced on 24 May 2010 had the effect of reducing total managed expenditure (TME) per capita in the UK as a whole by around £84 this year.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 October 2010, (a) how many, (b) for what period of time and (c) at what cost to his Department staff were re-deployed temporarily to work on the Spending Challenge in July and August 2010. [18429]

Danny Alexander: As set out in my answer of 11 October the number of staff deployed on and contributing to the spending challenge in July and August 2010 varied depending on the particular requirements of the spending challenge at any one time. For those staff who were involved in the spending challenge while also taking forward other roles, I am afraid I can provide no further information as no record was made of the specific amount of time they devoted to the spending challenge alongside their other work.

In terms of staff being temporarily redeployed from other roles in the Treasury to devote the majority of their time to the spending challenge, this comprised two Treasury Range Es (Grade 7) and one Treasury Range D (HEO). Based on the estimated average costs to the Department of employing these staff, the staff costs incurred by the Treasury over July and August would stand at £27,666, all covered from within existing budgets.

As set out alongside the spending review, implementing ideas generated through the spending challenge will enable Government to save millions of pounds every year, far outweighing any costs imposed by the exercise.

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to publish an assessment of the effects on (a) growth, (b) employment and (c) average household incomes of the proposals of the comprehensive spending review in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) each region of England. [19780]

Danny Alexander: The Government have no plans to publish this data on a regional basis. However, Annex B of the 2010 Spending Review report (Cm 7942) contains a distributional impact analysis of the spending review.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the modelling undertaken by his Department on the likely social effects of the proposals in the comprehensive spending review. [19840]

Danny Alexander: The spending review, published on 20 October, set out spending plans for Departments to 2014-15. In implementing their plans, Departments will continue to give due consideration to the social effects of their undertakings, as per their obligations set out in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Treasury has published an overview of the impact of Spending Review 2010 on equalities at:

HM Treasury has no existing plan to publish a document further to this; individual Departments will continue to consider these issues as identified above.


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Public Expenditure: Children

Natascha Engel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans the Public Expenditure Committee has to take into account the UK's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in its deliberations on public spending. [19585]

Danny Alexander: The Public Expenditure Committee takes account of all the United Kingdom's international treaty obligations, including the United Nations convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC). The education, health and well-being of children are vitally important for our society. The Government are committed to the UNCRC and believe it is vital that children and young people have a strong, independent advocate to champion their interests and views and to promote their rights.

Public Expenditure: Public Consultation

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many submissions his Department has received to its Spending Challenge initiative; and how many such submissions addressed (a) the defence budget and (b) the maintenance or replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system; [18678]

(2) how many submissions his Department's Spending Challenge initiative received (a) in total, (b) on defence spending and (c) on the maintenance or replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon system; [19579]

Danny Alexander: Almost 64,000 ideas were submitted to the public sector element of the Spending Challenge, with over 45,000 further ideas being submitted through the general public element.

Following the sifting and amalgamation of similar ideas, there were 308 unique policy proposals relating to different aspects of the defence budget, including Trident, from the public sector website. The number of submissions relating to each policy proposal was not recorded during the Spending Challenge process.

On 20 October, we published the full list of unique policy proposals on the Spending Challenge website and will publish all the original ideas received through the Spending Challenge website that passed our moderation procedures shortly.

Public Sector: Pensions

Tony Baldry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people employed in the public sector were members of non-contributory pension schemes in the most recent period for which figures are available. [19788]

Danny Alexander: Public service employees who are members of the main public service pension schemes pay contributions towards their pensions, with the exception of members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme-although the value of armed forces pensions is taken into account by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body when they make their recommendations on military pay. The number of members of this scheme as at 31 March 2010 can be found in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme Resource Accounts 2009-10 under Membership Statistics, which is available at:


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Public Sector: Swansea

Geraint Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will conduct an impact assessment to establish the likely effects of implementation of the Comprehensive Spending Review outcomes on the number of public sector jobs in Swansea. [19583]

Danny Alexander: These data are not available and the Government have no plans to publish data of this kind. However, Annex B of the 2010 Spending Review report (Cm 7942) contains a distributional impact analysis of the spending review.

Tax Rates and Bands: Carlisle

John Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many higher rate taxpayers there are in Carlisle constituency. [18095]

Mr Gauke: The number of individual income taxpayers by constituency can be found in table 3.15 "Income and Tax by Parliamentary Constituency" at:

Estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes, of which 2007-08 is currently the latest available.

Information on the number of higher rate taxpayers at constituency level is not readily available. Sample sizes at constituency level are small and estimates can demonstrate a large variability from year to year, therefore any inference from the information in table 3.15 should take into account the confidence intervals in table 3.15a "Income and Tax by Parliamentary Constituency, Confidence Intervals".

Work and Pensions

Businesses

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department provides support for small business owners dealing with customers who fail to pay for services that have been provided. [19006]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

Business tells us that the number one priority is certainty of payment and that is why we support the Institute of Credit Management's (ICM) Prompt Payment Code, which requires signatories to pay according to agreed terms. Experian analysis suggests that signatories to the code represent around two-thirds of total UK supply chain value. We are also helping suppliers help themselves through our Managing Cash Flow guides, which are supported by all the leading business representative bodies.

It is open for any business to recover debts owed to it via the courts. The Bulk Claims Centre has been set up by HM Courts Service specifically to deal with straightforward high volume debt collection work. The Money Claims on Line (MCoL) system has been designed for creditors who do not issue high volumes of claims. Both systems remove the administrative and procedural work and provide users with a faster, guaranteed service. There are also discounts on the standard county court fees.


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Child Maintenance

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of non-resident parents who are liable to pay child maintenance to a parent with care who also receive child maintenance from that parent (a) nationally and (b) in Walsall South constituency. [18436]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of parents with care who both pay and receive child maintenance (a) nationally and (b) in Walsall South constituency. [18437]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:


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Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of non-resident (a) mothers and (b) fathers (i) nationally and (ii) in Walsall South constituency who have deductions for other relevant children taken into account before their income is tested for child maintenance payments to qualifying children. [18511]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) of 14 June 2010, Official Report, column 586, on child maintenance,
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what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission on a target for the collection of child maintenance payment arrears. [19818]

Maria Miller: The Government are considering the role that the child maintenance system can play in its overall commitment to support shared parenting and promote parental responsibility. In this context, and that of the spending review, the Department is in discussion with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission about a target for the collection of arrears.

Disability Living Allowance: Care Homes

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the removal of the mobility component of the disability living allowance for people in residential care will be included in the welfare reform trials in Aberdeenshire and Burnley. [19515]

Maria Miller: There are no plans to increase the scope of the trial regarding migration of cases from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance in Aberdeenshire and Burnley to include the removal of the mobility component of disability living allowance or people in care homes.

Employment and Support Allowance: Scotland

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of applications for employment and support allowance made in Scotland in 2009 and 2010 were rejected on the basis of the work capability assessment; and in respect of what proportion of such applications that decision was (a) reversed and (b) upheld on appeal. [19661]

Chris Grayling: The following table provides the latest available data on new ESA claims received in Scotland between October 2008 and February 2010:


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ESA outcomes at initial assessment for new claims received in Scotland between October 2008 and February 2010
Percentage
Month ESA claim started Support group Work related activity group Fit for work Claim closed before assessment complete Assessment still in progress

2008

October

5

8

47

39

1

November

5

8

46

40

1

December

5

9

44

41

1

2009

January

5

10

47

38

1

February

5

10

46

38

1

March

5

9

48

37

1

April

5

10

47

37

1

May

6

9

46

37

1

June

6

10

45

39

1

July

7

9

45

37

2

August

7

10

45

36

2

September

7

10

45

35

2

October

8

10

45

35

3

November

7

10

44

36

3

December

7

11

42

37

4

2010

January

7

11

41

36

6

February

7

10

40

35

8

Total

6

10

45

37

2


The following table gives the latest available data on the outcome of appeals for all new ESA claims received in Scotland between October 2008 and August 2009, where an appeal has been heard by July 2010. These are the latest dates for which we have available information.

Appeals against a fit for work decision in Scotland for ESA claims starting between October 2008 and August 2009 where an appeal has been heard by July 2010, rounded to nearest 10
Month ESA Claim Started Fit for work Appeals heard (to date) Percentage fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage decision in favour of appellant Percentage DWP decision upheld

2008

October

470

230

49

90

140

46

54

November

2,260

1,000

44

380

620

36

64

December

1,940

890

46

350

540

50

50

2009

January

2,570

1,190

46

490

700

37

63

February

2,590

1,230

47

530

710

34

66

March

2,940

1,370

47

600

770

42

58

April

2,710

1,240

46

550

690

52

48

May

2,790

1,230

44

500

730

42

58

June

2,870

1,200

42

520

680

34

66

July

2,730

970

36

400

580

32

68

August

2,720

820

30

330

500

35

65

Total

26,590

11,370

43

4,730

6,640

40

60


These tables are comparable to and consistent with those found in our latest publication of official statistics on the Work Capability Assessment, released on 26 October 2010. This publication can be found on the internet at:

Employment Schemes: North East

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to provide (a) training and (b) employment opportunities for people in the North East under the age of 25 years who have been unemployed for more than six months. [19256]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has lead responsibility for the provision of training and skills in England. BIS published a consultative version of its strategy paper "Skills for Sustainable Growth" in July 2010 which outlined their vision for an effective skills strategy. The final paper will be available in November and its results will factor into BIS's decisions to develop their skills strategy for the future. BIS Ministers see providing skills support to Jobcentre Plus customers, including young people who are unemployed, as a priority.

There are also regional programmes which specifically address local skills and employment needs. Skills North East is the regional employment and skills partnership which invests in the development of skills to enhance the chances of those unemployed to gain employment.

The Government aim to have the new Work programme in place nationally by the summer of 2011. This will help young people move into sustained employment rather then temporary jobs, and everyone, including young people, will have access to a fully integrated and coherent system of back-to-work support for the first time. We are planning further support for young people, including intensive work experience, more apprenticeships and more further education places.

Health and Safety Executive: Industrial Health and Safety

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints of breaches of health and safety legislation the Health and Safety Executive received in respect of its own organisation in each of the last five years; and how many such complaints were confirmed on investigation in each such year. [19405]

Chris Grayling: HSE's records indicate that, over the last five years, there has been a single breach of health and safety legislation with respect to HSE's own
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organisation. This occurred at HSE's Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) in Buxton in March 2008. As a result of HSL staff reporting structural and ventilation failings found in a laboratory, HSE's own specialist staff served a Crown Improvement Notice on HSL requiring a thorough examination of local exhaust ventilation equipment as required by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2005. HSL met the requirements of the notice by the compliance date and the notice was discharged.

Health and Safety: Licensed Premises

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the adequacy of the Health and Safety Executive's enforcement regime for the purposes of ensuring that health and safety requirements are implemented by owners of licensed premises. [20050]

Chris Grayling: HSE shares the enforcement of health and safety law with local authorities. Licensed premises are predominantly in the entertainment sector for which local authorities are the enforcing authority under the health and safety (enforcing authority) regulations.

HSE has responsibility for operational policy in local authority enforced premises. It fulfils this role by identifying issues of concern and developing standards, advice and guidance to local authority inspectors. It also provides operational support when needed to their investigatory and enforcement work.

Housing and Council Tax Benefit: Fraud

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of convictions for (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit fraud as a result of local authority fraud investigations in each of the last five years. [18088]

Steve Webb: The estimated number of convictions for housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud as a result of local authority fraud investigations from April 2005 to March 2008 are as follows:

Housing benefit and council tax convictions

Number

2005-06

6,234

2006-07

5,860

2007-08

6,493


These figures represent the total number of convictions for housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud. Information is not available on the number of convictions for housing benefit alone and for council tax benefit alone.

The number of convictions for housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud from April 2008 to date is currently unavailable. From 1 April 2008, the Department moved to monitoring performance on fraud and error activity through a new quarterly return, the Housing Benefit Recoveries and Fraud (HBRF). Work is currently under way to quality assure this data and the statistics will be published in due course.


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Housing Benefit

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much revenue his Department expects to accrue consequent on the removal of housing benefit excess in each of the next 10 years; and what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the administration of that change in each relevant year. [18541]

Steve Webb: The estimated saving to the Exchequer associated with this measure in terms of reduced annually managed expenditure in the next four financial years is:

£ million

2011-12

160

2012-13

310

2013-14

310

2014-15

310


The administrative impacts of this measure are expected to be negligible. The excess provision will be removed for existing customers when their claim is reviewed by the local authority which will usually be at the anniversary point of the claim.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from what local authorities he has received representations on local housing allowance and housing benefits since June 2010; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence with each such local authority. [20048]

Steve Webb: A search of correspondence addressed to Department for Work and Pensions Ministers has shown that the following local authorities have made representations following the June 2010 Budget announcements where the subject is recorded as local housing allowance or housing benefit.

Copies of the correspondence will be placed in the Library.

Other similar letters and representations may have been received, but recorded under different subjects, or not recorded on the system.

We have also consulted formally with the local authority associations on the reform proposals.

Housing Benefit: Children

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on local demand for school places of the proposed reductions in entitlements to housing benefit; and if he will make a statement; [20173]


28 Oct 2010 : Column 437W

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of children who will be required to move to another school as a result of their family moving home following a reduction in housing benefit in each of the next four years. [20174]

Steve Webb: We have discussed the possible impacts of the housing benefit changes with the Department for Education and the devolved Administrations. It is not however possible to estimate how many households with children will move, or where they will move to.

Housing Benefit: Poverty

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that the planned reductions in entitlements to housing benefit do not result in an increase in the number of children living in poverty in each of the next four years; and if he will make a statement. [20172]

Steve Webb: Our initial estimates suggest that the housing benefit policies announced in the June 2010 Budget will not have a significant impact on the overall number of children in poverty. We are currently working to refine this estimate. The welfare reforms announced in the June 2010 Budget and the 2010 spending review will enable a greater proportion of expenditure to be spent on services such as increasing support for the poorest in the early years and investing in Sure Start health visitors to ensure that the poorest families are not trapped in a cycle of dependency.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effects on the ability of housing associations to raise and service finance on the capital markets to fund the building of housing in each of the next five years of (a) the proposed weekly cap on housing benefit and (b) the uprating in housing benefit, with reference to the consumer price index rather than average rents. [18542]

Steve Webb: The weekly caps and the uprating in line with the consumer price index announced in the June budget apply to housing benefit claims from private sector tenants assessed under the local housing allowance arrangements. Housing Association tenants are not assessed using the local housing allowance and are not therefore subject to either of these measures.

Incapacity Benefits

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department's estimates of the number of recipients of benefits awarded on a condition of incapacity or limited capability who will in future be found to be fit for work include assumptions relating to the number of successful appeals against work capability assessments which will be made. [19911]

Chris Grayling: As we begin to reassess the work capability of incapacity benefit claimants, we anticipate that the volume of cases processed will result in higher
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overall volumes of appeals. The quantity and likely outcomes of these appeals have been factored into our estimates.

Independent Living 2006 Fund

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the future of the independent living fund; and if he will make a statement. [19307]

Maria Miller: We are considering options for the long-term future of the independent living fund in consultation with the Department of Health and the trustees of the independent living fund. In order to safeguard existing users' awards the independent living fund is not accepting new applications for the remainder of the year. In reaching any decision on the future of the independent living fund we will work with the trustees of the fund, disabled peoples' organisations and other key stakeholders to ensure that the needs of existing users of the independent living fund are taken into account.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when his Department plans to respond to the letters of 23 August and 30 September 2010 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on his constituent Mr M. Allison. [20003]

Chris Grayling: The Minister for Welfare Reform replied to the hon. Member's letters on 18 October 2010 (our reference: POS(4)10330/224). I have arranged for a copy to be sent to him.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons support for mortgage interest payments was reduced before agreement on averaging out rates was reached. [18639]

Steve Webb: The standard interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest was fixed at 6.08% by the last Administration. That rate resulted in the vast majority of people getting more than their eligible mortgage interest liability, which was unfair to taxpayers.

On 22 June 2010, the Chancellor announced in the emergency Budget that the standard interest rate would be based on the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage interest rate. Legislation to introduce this change came into effect from 1 October 2010 and the standard interest rate is currently 3.63%.

We believe this is fairer to claimants compared to the previous Administration's plans to revert to 2.08% from January 2011.

The Government will continue to explore with mortgage lenders the scope for them to "freeze" benefit claimants' mortgage accounts and apply a standard interest rate for a fixed period.

Personal Income

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the median gross household income was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [20264]


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Chris Grayling: The latest available figures show the median equivalised gross income in 2008-09 is £515 per week. This statistic is based on households below average income (HBAI) data sourced from the 2008-09 Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Gross incomes have been presented. The HBAI publication looks at net disposable incomes before and after housing costs. Figures have been rounded to the nearest pound sterling.

Public Expenditure

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he made of the monetary value of savings credit payments in 2014-15 (a) taking account and (b) not taking into account of the implementation of the proposed changes to that scheme announced in the (i) June 2010 Budget and (ii) comprehensive spending review. [19872]

Steve Webb: Any assessment of the monetary value of savings credit payments as a result of the announcements made in the June 2010 Budget and the comprehensive spending review will feed into the 2011 up-rating. An up-rating statement will be made in the House later this year.

Social Security Benefits

Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made an estimate of the number of residents of each local authority area in Scotland who are likely to be affected by the proposed time limit on the payment of employment and support allowance. [20009]

Chris Grayling: As part of the spending review announcement, we have set out our intention to introduce a time limit of one year for those claiming contributory employment and support allowance and who are placed in the work-related activity group. All other groups claiming employment and support allowance are not affected by this measure.

Estimates of the numbers affected by time limiting are not available by local authority area.

Social Security Benefits: Fines

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms will be put in place for benefit claimants who wish to dispute fines levied for not informing the relevant agency of a change of circumstances. [19838]

Chris Grayling: On 18 October, the Department published its new strategy to tackle fraud and error in the benefit and tax credits system. The strategy announced the introduction of a new £50 civil penalty for those individuals who fail to take reasonable care of their claim, or who knowingly let a change in circumstance run on while incurring an overpayment.

There will be a clear appeals process in place so that claimants can disagree with the overpayment decision and also against the decision to instigate a penalty. The
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claimant will be given full details on how to undertake their appeals and the timescales within which they may do so.

The penalty is intended to deter negligent behaviour and increase personal responsibility for keeping claims correct.

A copy of the full strategy can be found at:

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the loss to the Exchequer consequent on benefit fraud in each (a) local authority and (b) region in each year since 1997. [17444]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available.

DWP fraud and error estimates, published in the Fraud and Error in the Benefit System series, provide fraud and error estimates at a national level. The estimates are derived from the examination of a sample of benefit payments. The sample sizes are too small to produce valid estimates at sub-national level.

The total amount lost to fraud in the benefit system in 2009-10 is estimated at around £1 billion. Of this, around £260 million is estimated overpaid due to fraud in housing benefit.

The latest estimates of fraud and error in the benefits system can be found at:

On 18 October 2010 the Government published a radical new strategy for reducing fraud and error in the welfare system. The strategy sets out a range of measures to reduce fraud and error by over 25% by March 2015. The strategy can be found at:

Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been prosecuted for benefit fraud in (a) Bury North constituency and (b) the North West in the last three years; what the cost to his Department has been of benefit fraud in each such area in each such year; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of benefit fraud. [19251]

Chris Grayling: The number of people prosecuted for benefit fraud in Bury North and the North West in each of the last three years is not available. The cost to the Department of benefit fraud in Bury North is not available, but the value of fraudulent overpayments can be identified for part of the period for the North West. The following information is available:

Total value of identified fraudulent overpayments in the North West

£

2008-09

28,384,000

2009-10

24,766,000

2010-11(1)

12,296,000

(1 )To end September 2010. Notes: 1. Figures for 2007-08 are not available due to roll-out of the Fraud Referral and Intelligence Management System (FRAIMS). 2. Data in table extracted from FRAIMS. 3. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

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On 18 October 2010 the Government published a radical new strategy for reducing fraud and error in the welfare system. The strategy sets out a range of measures to reduce fraud and error by over 25% by March 2015. The strategy can be found at:

Winter Fuel Payments: British Nationals Abroad

Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the cost to the public purse was of payment of the winter fuel allowance to pensioners living in Spain in the latest year for which figures are available; [19026]

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the average annual cost to the public purse of payment of the winter fuel allowance to pensioners who are not domiciled in the UK. [19027]

Steve Webb: In 2009-10, the most recent date for which information is available, expenditure on winter fuel payments paid to people living in Spain was estimated to be £7 million.

Expenditure on winter fuel payments paid to people living in the European economic area and Switzerland in 2009-10, the most recent date for which information is available, was £15 million. This represents less than 1% of the total expenditure on winter fuel payments.

International Development

Developing Countries: EC Aid

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department holds figures on the monetary value (a) in total and (b) per head of population of the recipient country disbursed to each country from the (i) EU aid budget and (ii) European Development Fund in the latest period for which figures are available. [20007]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not collate these data. The latest figures can be found in the European Commission's annual report on the European Union's development and external assistance policies and their implementation in 2009. Total EU Official Development Assistance (ODA) by country and per capita in each country in 2009 is available in table 6.11 on page 180. I will arrange for a copy of the report to be deposited in the Library of the House. A breakdown of EU ODA provided through the EU Budget and European Development Fund (EDF) is not available. The majority of EU ODA to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries is provided through EDF.


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Economic Growth: Finance

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department plans to allocate to economic growth and wealth creation programmes in each year to 2014-15. [19826]

Mr O'Brien: The UK Government are reviewing all bilateral and multilateral programmes to ensure resources are focused where they will achieve most impact. The outcome of the reviews will determine allocations across the Department for International Development, including allocations to economic growth and wealth creation, for the four years of the spending review period. Wealth creation in developing countries is critical to poverty alleviation and is one of six key priorities for the UK Government, as set out in the Structural Reform Plan.

Haiti: Earthquakes

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information he holds on the monetary value of EU aid delivered to Haiti since the earthquake in that country; on what programmes his Department's contribution to that aid has been spent; what timetable has been set for the delivery of that aid; what proportion of that aid has been delivered on time on the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [20006]

Mr O'Brien: Since the earthquake in Haiti, the EU's immediate humanitarian response, managed by the European Commission, has amounted to €30 million (£27 million) up to the end of September. A further €90 million (£80 million) is planned to be spent by August 2011 on various interventions including shelter, water sanitation and hygiene, health, nutrition and food assistance. In the longer term, €460 million (£409 million) has been earmarked for reconstruction assistance.

The UK's share of this EU assistance is estimated at some 14%. It is not earmarked for any particular part of these EU programmes.

Overseas Aid

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department plans to allocate to (a) the Stabilisation Aid Fund and (b) the Conflict Prevention Pool in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13, (iv) 2013-14 and (v) 2014-15. [20280]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Stabilisation Aid Fund and Conflict Prevention Pool were merged into a single Conflict Pool in financial year 2009-10.

The Conflict Pool does not draw its resources from departmental budgets; it is part of a separate HM Treasury settlement on conflict resources which is managed jointly by the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence. The settlement provides resources to cover the United Kingdom's legally binding commitments on assessed peacekeeping costs (the Peacekeeping Budget) as well as discretionary expenditure on conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacekeeping (the Conflict Pool). As announced in the spending review, the Conflict Pool
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will increase over the next spending review period to £309 million in 2014-15. A statement on detailed allocations for Conflict Pool activity next financial year will be made in the coming weeks.

This financial year, the Conflict Pool is £178.5 million. DFID has allocated an additional £1.5 million from its departmental budget to supplement the Conflict Pool's programme in Sri Lanka and £10 million for stabilisation activities in Afghanistan.

Women and Equalities

Equality Act 2010

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities when the Government intend to commence the public sector duty on socio-economic inequalities contained in the Equality Act 2010. [19896]

Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 27 October 2010]: The Government are committed to tackling poverty and tearing down the barriers to equal opportunity. They are pushing ahead with policies that will make a real difference to people's life chances-the pupil premium, welfare reform, raising the income tax threshold, and improving work incentives.

No decision has been taken on the commencement of the socio-economic inequalities duty.

Equality: Court Orders

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on equal treatment for fathers and mothers in the enforcement of family court orders. [19941]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government have had discussions with a number of fathers' groups about supporting involvement of both parents in their children's upbringing following relationship breakdown.

The Family Justice Review, led by Sir David Norgrove is examining how to promote contact for non-resident parents and grandparents where this is in the best interests of the child.

Females: Low Incomes

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the contribution of the Minister for Equalities of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 152, in the adjournment debate on public expenditure reduction (women), what the evidential basis is that (a) the Library's analysis of the Budget's impact on women was (i) biased and (ii) not robust and (b) the Library research makes an extreme assumption that no income is shared; and what assumptions about (A) family structures and (B) how resources are shared within a household the Government made before the Budget. [15154]

Lynne Featherstone: Any analysis of tax and welfare changes by gender must make assumptions about how resources are shared within the household.


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Sharing of resources within the household will mean that although a benefit is received by a particular person in the household, the full impact does not fall on that person because the resource is shared with their partner and/or children. Taking account of this kind of income pooling is very difficult, as data and research in this area are sparse. Households share their resources in different ways-some will have no income pooling; some will share some income while others will share all their income. To analyse the impact of Budget decisions by gender, assumptions must be made about the extent to which resources are shared.

The House of Commons Library has chosen to assume no income pooling in their research. While I accept that this assumption was chosen without political bias, it is an extreme assumption, and is unlikely to represent the way most households share resources. The results of the analysis depend heavily on the assumption that there is no household sharing, and should be interpreted accordingly recognising that a different choice of income pooling assumption would give different results. The analysis only includes selected measures, such as the abolition of the Health in Pregnancy grant, and excludes others, for example, the council tax freeze. Therefore the coverage can only be partial.

In producing the analysis in annex A of the June 2010 Budget document, the Treasury based its assumptions about family structures on the Expenditure and Food Survey, and factors supplied by the Office for National Statistics. The Budget analysis was produced at a household level, and therefore assumptions around resource sharing would have no direct impact on the analysis presented.

Defence

Armed Forces: Germany

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs of reinstatement of facilities in Germany when UK armed forces personnel stationed there have left. [20260]

Nick Harvey: As announced by the Prime Minister on 19 October 2010, Official Report, column 797, as part of the strategic defence and security review, the Government have decided to accelerate the re-basing of 20,000 military personnel in Germany with aim to returning half of those personnel to the UK by 2015 and the remainder by 2020.

Detailed work is now under way to consider how this will be implemented, and reinstatement of facilities will form an important part of this planning. At this stage it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of likely reinstatement costs.

Armed Forces: Conditions of Employment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the new employment model for the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [19653]

Peter Luff: The new employment model is currently in the concept development phase, and we are examining how we might adjust terms and conditions of service in
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order to balance the expectations of service personnel with the demands placed upon them. The aim is to promote greater stability in service life while continuing to compensate for mobility.

Armed Forces: Germany

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many children of service personnel are resident in Germany; [19538]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on schooling of children of armed forces personnel in Germany. [19539]

Dr Fox: The latest figures available show that there are approximately 12,000 dependent children on the Ministry of Defence (MOD) estate in Germany.

Ministry of Defence officials engage with Department for Education and Ofsted officials on a regular basis about the education of service children, including those in Germany. For example, officials are currently closely involved with the consultation on and development of ideas about a pupil premium for service children. Furthermore, the MOD director of the Children and Young People's Trust, who is also chief executive of Service Children's Education, the body responsible for military schools overseas, meets regularly with the Department for Education Advocate for Service Children.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) value for money and (b) transparency of arrangements for letting subcontracts made by his Department's prime contractors; and if he will make a statement. [18045]

Peter Luff: It is the Ministry of Defence's policy to encourage competition at subcontract level. Prime contractors are required to do this and advertise opportunities in the MOD Defence Contracts Bulletin, where appropriate. The MOD and industry have agreed principles that should be observed in the flow down of standard terms and conditions of contract at lower tiers in the supply chain.

As part of our Green Paper on Defence Industry and Technology, to be published before the end of the year, we will be consulting on the role of small and medium sized businesses in defence acquisition.

Armed Forces: Personnel

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to use manning control points to terminate the contracts of service personnel. [20258]

Peter Luff: Since the days of National Service the Manning Control Point process has been used by the Army to address the difficulties created by individuals who have reached the limit of their employability or promotion prospects and are therefore restricting promotion opportunities for more junior soldiers. The process is not currently in use, and its future application is under review.


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Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his most recent estimate is of the cost of the Future Rapid Effects System programme; [19436]

(2) what the in-service date is for the Future Rapid Effects System utility vehicle. [19437]

Peter Luff: The Future Rapid Effect System programme has been recast from a single programme into a set of constituent programmes: the specialist vehicle programme, the utility vehicle programme, and the manoeuvre support vehicle programme.

Expenditure to 30 September 2010 for the specialist vehicle and utility vehicle projects totals £249 million. There has been nil expenditure to date on the manoeuvre support vehicle project.

The total estimated costs and the in-service dates cannot be confirmed until their respective main investment decisions are made. The timing of these decisions is subject to review following the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Army: Reorganisation

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely effects of implementation of his proposals for the reorganisation of the Army structure on force generation in the Army. [19546]

Nick Harvey: The reorganisation of the Army structure is designed to optimise force generation in the future to meet proposed Defence Planning Assumptions. The transformation over the next ten years to Future Force 2020 will provide five self-supporting Multi-Role Brigades and one specialist brigade, as opposed to the current mix of armoured, mechanised and light brigades which at present requires elements to be drawn from more than one formation to generate the forces required for current operations. In the period to 2015 no changes will be made which would have any adverse impact on our ability to generate forces for current operations in Afghanistan.

Civil Service: Redundancy

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the 25,000 reduction in civil service personnel he expects to be achieved through redundancy. [19544]

Peter Luff: It is too early to say. Discussions are under way with the trade unions to determine how the reductions may be achieved through various means including natural wastage and voluntary early release, thereby minimising the need for compulsory redundancies.

Defence Estates

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to reduce expenditure by rationalising defence estates. [19642]


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Peter Luff: No decisions have yet been made on changes to the management of Defence estates.

The Defence estate is kept under continual review to ensure that it is of the right size and quality to meet operational needs. However, estate rationalisation arising from the Strategic Defence and Security Review could lead to a further reduction in the size of the estate and to lower running costs.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes he plans to make to the management and delivery of infrastructure services across defence estates. [19643]

Peter Luff: No decisions have yet been made on changes to the management and delivery of infrastructure services across Defence estates.

Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will bring forward proposals to transfer the functions of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator to an independent external regulatory body under the control of the proposed new Office of Nuclear Regulation. [19709]

Peter Luff: There are no proposals to transfer the functions of the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) to any other body.

DNSR will continue to work closely with the statutory regulators, including the proposed Office of Nuclear Regulation, to provide complete regulation of the defence nuclear programmes including those aspects exempted from statutory oversight.

Defence: Telecommunications Spectrum

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how he plans to proceed with the sale of the defence stake in the telecommunications spectrum; [19635]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effects of the sale of the defence stake in the telecommunications spectrum on operations undertaken by UK armed forces. [19636]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence is currently evaluating its spectrum holdings between 70 MHz and 15 GHz to prepare for an initial release of spectrum in late 2012. This evaluation work will conclude in spring 2011 and a planned timetable of spectrum releases will be published shortly thereafter. MOD is considering several options for its approach to the market to release spectrum, including engaging a third party to trade spectrum on its behalf.

It is likely that there will need to be some changes to the use of spectrum, but we do not anticipate that there will be any adverse impact to operations in the UK or elsewhere.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate is of the monetary value of his Department's share of the national telecommunications spectrum. [19732]


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Peter Luff: We do not have an estimate of the total value of spectrum holdings assigned to Defence; this can only be determined realistically by reference to the market. Based on the Spectrum Audit conducted by Professor Martin Cave in 2004-05, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is paying a fee of some £64 million to Ofcom in financial year 2010-11 for the use of its spectrum holdings. The value of individual elements of MOD's spectrum holding will be determined when we bring some of our spectrum to market in the 2012-13 financial year. The precise details are yet to be established but the aim will be to maximise revenue to the Exchequer.

Defence: Expenditure

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 19 October 2010, Official Report, columns 797-801 on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, whether the figure to be notified to NATO in respect of the proportion of gross domestic product spent on defence was calculated on the basis of his Department's core budget; and what account this calculation took of direct funding of defence expenditure from the Exchequer. [19319]

Mr Gerald Howarth: The figures reported to NATO are for defence expenditure, detailed as per NATO instructions. This definition includes the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) core budget along with the cost of operations, pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments made to ex-military personnel, and non-budget costs.

The MOD has estimated spending on defence as a percentage of GDP will continue to meet the NATO target of 2% over the spending review period.

Defence: Cyber Operations

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure he expects his Department to incur on the UK Defence Cyber Operations Group in the first 12 months of its operation. [19566]

Nick Harvey: £650 million has been agreed to fund the National Cyber Programme across Government. Detailed work on the Defence Cyber operations Group is ongoing, including determining the level of resource allocation.

Departmental Apprentices

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many apprentices were in post at the Met Office on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many such apprentices recruited in the last 12 months (a) were previously apprentices, (b) had been long-term unemployed and (c) are graduates. [20268]

Peter Luff: There are no apprentices in post at the Met Office and none have been recruited in the last 12 months. The Met Office primarily meets its needs for trainees through graduate recruitment campaigns. The Met Office also runs an innovative IT trainee scheme, training individuals from A-level standard-seven have just completed this scheme and are now employed.


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Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the five most expensive hospitality events hosted by his Department and its agencies have been since his appointment; and what the (a) cost and (b) purpose was of each of those events. [19277]

Peter Luff: Comparative cost information on hospitality events across the Ministry of Defence is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

We offer hospitality to pursue the UK's security policy interests, to give the public a better understanding of our armed forces and to enhance professional contacts within the UK and with other countries. Expenditure must be modest and necessary-under current spending restrictions any new expenditure is prohibited except in exceptional circumstances and must be approved by a senior military officer or senior civil servant.

Yearly expenditure on entertainment and hospitality is published in the MOD's Annual Accounts, copies of which are placed in the Library of the House.

European Fighter Aircraft

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Typhoon jets he intends to order in the next five years. [19551]

Peter Luff: No decision has been made on any further orders.

Hercules Aircraft

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what savings he expects to accrue to his Department as a result of bringing forward the withdrawal of the C130J Hercules. [19545]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) made estimates of the cost savings accrued from measures in the strategic defence and security review for the purposes of formulating policy. Some of these have been published to help inform the public debate. Release of further detail may prejudice the MOD's negotiating position with its commercial suppliers. Furthermore, final savings figures will depend on detailed implementation, which will generally be subject to full consultation with all relevant parties, including the trades unions and the devolved Administrations, as well as the results of mandatory assessments on the impact that the measures will have on sustainability, equality and diversity, and health and safety. The MOD is therefore not prepared to release more detailed figures at this time.

Manpower

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in which areas of the Royal Navy he expects there to be (a) recruitment and (b) redundancies in the next five years; [19645]

(2) in which areas of the British Army he expects there to be (a) recruitment and (b) redundancies in the next five years; [19646]


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(3) in which armed forces (a) ranks and (b) units he expects headcounts to be reduced to achieve a 7,000 reduction in Army personnel; [19547]

(4) in which areas of the Royal Air Force he expects there to be (a) recruitment and (b) redundancies in the next five years. [19651]

Peter Luff: The Strategic Defence and Security Review announced that by 2015, the overall size of the Royal Navy would be reduced by around 5,000 to around 30,000, the Army by 7,000 to around 95,000 and the Royal Air Force by 5,000 to around 33,000. Further detailed work is required on how this reduction will be implemented. Some reduction will be managed through natural turnover. However, we do expect some redundancies. The process of identifying specific personnel requirements will take some time.

We will continue to recruit in many areas of Defence to ensure we maintain critical skills and a coherent mix of trained and experienced personnel for the future.

Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to proceed with the sale of Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre. [19634]

Peter Luff: The Government intend to sell the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre through an arrangement that continues to provide the Ministry of Defence with the levels of service support it requires while delivering best value for money. The project implementation plan is being developed. I will write to the hon. Member when this is complete.

Nimrod Aircraft

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Nimrod platform has in protecting continuous at-sea deterrence. [19240]

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what capabilities will fulfil the role that would otherwise have been undertaken by Nimrod MRA4 aircraft. [20262]

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the number of jobs of the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 programme; [20150]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 programme; [20151]

(3) what penalty payments his Department is liable to pay BAE Systems in respect of the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 programme. [20152]

Peter Luff: The decision not to bring the Nimrod MRA4 into service announced by the Prime Minister on 19 October was difficult, owing to the nature of the military tasks to which it was designed to contribute, the amount of public money that had been spent on it, and the impact of such a decision on the people who have dedicated their careers to delivering this capability, or who depend on it for their livelihoods.


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However, the severe financial pressures faced by the nation and the urgent need to bring the defence programme into balance meant that we could not retain all our existing programmes, and that we had to prioritise those capabilities that we could continue to maintain. This project has suffered from repeated delays and cost overruns. But it is the aircraft's future support costs that contributed to the decision not to bring it into service, despite its advanced state.

The Nimrod MRA4's role as an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance platform was to contribute to a wide range of military tasks. These included the protection of the nuclear deterrent and deployed Maritime Task Groups, surveillance and tracking of surface shipping, and a number of other operations relevant to the security of the UK and its overseas territories. The aircraft also fulfilled a secondary role in support of Long Range Search and Rescue.

Since the withdrawal of the Nimrod MR2 in March this year, the Ministry of Defence has sought to mitigate the gap in capability through the use of other military assets, including Type 23 Frigates, Merlin Anti Submarine Warfare helicopters and Hercules C-130 aircraft, and by relying, where appropriate, on assistance from allies and partners. Although it was originally assumed that such measures would only be required for a limited period of time, we are now developing a longer-term plan to mitigate the impact of cancellation on our continuing military tasks and capabilities. In view of the sensitive and classified nature of some of these military tasks, and the implications for the protection of our armed forces, including the nuclear deterrent, it is not possible for us to comment on these measures in detail.

Following last week's announcement we have also begun discussing with BAE Systems arrangements to terminate the contracts for production and support of the aircraft. Until these negotiations are complete it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the likely costs or the impact on personnel employed on the Nimrod MRA4 programme.

Reserve Forces

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable he has set for the review of the reserve forces; and if he will make a statement. [20023]

Peter Luff: Discussions on the terms of reference and timetable for the study into the future role and structure of the reserves (including the Maritime Reserve, Territorial Army and Royal Auxiliary Air Force) are currently taking place. Once agreed we will place a copy of the terms of reference in the Library of the House.

Reserve Forces

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had on the role of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association within the armed services as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. [17202]

Dr Fox: I refer my hon. Friend to the announcement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 19 October 2010, Official Report, column 799, about the review of our reserve forces.


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There has been engagement with the reserve forces and cadet associations by Ministers and senior officials throughout the strategic defence and security review and these will continue as the scope and terms of reference of the review are finalised.

Strategic Defence and Security Review

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what penalty payments his Department is liable to pay in respect of the cancellation of contracts announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. [20148]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will be engaged in an extensive programme of commercial negotiations with its suppliers in the coming months, as part of the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) implementation process. This will focus on the areas where savings can be delivered and contract changes are required as a result of SDSR measures.

Any liabilities as a result of contract cancellation or amendment will only emerge from this process.

Territorial Army

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the terms of reference are of the working group on the future of the Territorial Army. [19655]

Peter Luff: Discussions on the terms of reference of the study into the future role and structure of the Reserves (including Maritime Reserve, Territorial Army and Royal Auxiliary Air Force) are currently taking place. Once agreed we will place a copy in the Library of the House.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) he expects to order in the Spending Review period; and by what date he expects such vehicles to be in service; [20259]

(2) how many new unmanned aerial vehicles he expects to order; and what timescale he has set for their entry into service. [20418]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence has in recent weeks placed an order for a further 100 Mini Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Desert Hawk III Air Vehicles to sustain the capability which has been supporting our troops in theatre since 2007. These are expected to be delivered in 2011-12. Additionally, we plan to order and receive up to five additional Reaper remotely piloted aircraft during the Spending Review period. Consideration of our requirement for future persistent armed surface surveillance is in its early stages. A remotely piloted system is one of the potential options to deliver this capability.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Basic Skills: Finance

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department allocates for basic literacy and numeracy assessments undertaken in relation to the Basic Skills for Life programme; and if he will make a statement. [3461]


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Mr Hayes: The funding for assessment in literacy and numeracy provision is included within the overall funding provided for each course; therefore there is no separate allocated amount. Learners are placed on the appropriate course depending on an initial assessment of their needs, and then they have the opportunity to work towards the achievement of a qualification.

Business: Bexleyheath

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to increase access to finance for businesses in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency. [19966]

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.

There are various measures already in place to support access to finance for SMEs. I aim to continue to support and improve the diversity of sources and access to finance for SMEs that meet their needs. Such sources of finance available to SMEs including those in the hon. Gentleman's constituency of Bexleyheath and Crayford were announced by the Chancellor in the budget:


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