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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Scotland

West Dunbartonshire Council: Local Government Finance

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the likely effects on West Dunbartonshire local authority area of the implementation of the proposals in the Comprehensive Spending Review. [21335]

Michael Moore: I have had many discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues, including the effects of the spending review in Scotland. The spending review sets out how the Government will carry out Britain's unavoidable deficit reduction plan, and builds on the foundations for sustainable, balanced, private sector-led recovery set out in the Chancellor's June Budget. Alongside growth, the Government have prioritised fairness, including reforming the welfare system to put it on a sustainable long-term footing, while providing sustained routes out of poverty for the poorest. Scotland and its regions will stand to benefit from these priorities.

Communities and Local Government

Audit Commission

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has had recent discussions with Audit Commission staff on proposals for a mutual model for the Audit Commission. [21030]

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 25 October 2010, Official Report, columns 86-87W. Mutualisation is one of a number of options for moving the Commission's in-house audit practice into the private sector that are currently being considered. I shall shortly be meeting the Chairman and the Chief Executive of the Audit Commission.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company: Contracts

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Gloucester of 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 504W, on fire services, what contractual (a) obligations and (b) milestones in respect of the FiReControl project EADS has not delivered (i) on time and (ii) on budget. [21337]


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Robert Neill: The FiReControl project has been subject to repeated delays, missed milestones and failed obligations. In particular, the two main areas where EADS has not met its obligations under the Project Agreement are:

In November 2008 the previous Government had to announce a substantial delay-of nine months-and less than eight months later, in July 2009, a further delay of ten months.

I have made it clear that I now require this project to be delivered to time, cost and quality, and so we have activated a key milestone in our contract with EADS for the main IT system to be delivered in three control centres by mid-2011. This is in line with the July 2009 statement to the House and EADS's assurances given to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee in February this year.

While EADS is contracted to deliver the FiReControl system to a fixed price-and must deliver within this-every delay increases all DCLG's running costs associated with the project, including staffing and maintenance of buildings.

Our aim is to give operational certainty for the fire and rescue service and financial certainty for the taxpayer. We are not going to provide additional public funding to bail out this contract.

Faithwise Ltd: Contracts

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who authorised the establishment of his Department's contractual arrangements with Faithwise Ltd. [20114]

Robert Neill: The Department's contract with Faithwise was authorised by Jane Everton of the Preventing Extremism Unit.

Fire Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to publish the report of his Department's strategic review of the Fire and Rescue Service. [21284]

Robert Neill: The Fire Futures strategic review of the Fire and Rescue Service is a sector led project on fire and rescue provision in England.

The report will be presented to me by the sector in the autumn and a copy published on the departmental website shortly after. A copy will also be made available for the Library of the House.

Fire Services: North East

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to make a decision on proposals to develop or redevelop 17 community fire stations and other facilities submitted by fire authorities in the North East under the private finance initiative. [21115]


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Robert Neill: The Department's position on its PFI projects in procurement-including the North East fire authorities project-will be considered and confirmed as quickly as possible following the Spending Review 2010. We would expect to reach decisions by December.

As set out in the Spending Review framework, published on 8 June 2010, we will evaluate spending programmes against tough criteria on ensuring value for money. We will also assess projects on a case-by-case basis for value for money and against other departmental priorities.

Housing: Construction

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of (a) affordable and (b) social homes likely to be built in Hull in the next four years. [20673]

Andrew Stunell: The Department does not forecast levels of future house building and delivery will be determined by local housing plans.

The latest information on affordable housing completions in England for 2009-10 was published by the Department on 28 October.

Live Tables 1006, 1007 and 1008 provide information on the supply of affordable homes located within individual local authorities.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what capital funding his Department has allocated to constructing social housing in Tower Hamlets for (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. [20885]

Grant Shapps: The following table shows forecast spend on existing commitments for social housing schemes in Tower Hamlets through the Homes and Communities Agency's National Affordable Housing Programme and local authority new build for the years 2010-11 to 2012-13.

Social rent £ million

2010-11

59.6

2011-12

50.3

2012-13

26.8


We announced in the spending review almost £4.5 billion investment, including existing commitments, for new affordable housing which through a new delivery model is expected to deliver up to 155,000 new affordable homes over this spending review period. We will publish details of how these proposals will work shortly. A further £2 billion will be provided for the Decent Homes programme.

Housing: Oxfordshire

Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of housing in Oxford West and Abingdon constituency is (a) social and (b) private sector (i) owner occupied, (ii) shared ownership and (iii) rented housing. [21056]


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Andrew Stunell: Statistics on dwelling stock are not collected at constituency level. Local authority level figures are published in Housing Statistics live table 100 at the Department for Communities and Local Government website at the following link:

The figures show stock by private, registered social landlords and local authority tenures. Estimates are not available which separate the privately owned stock into that which is rented and owner occupied.

Ironbridge Gorge

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding he has allocated for land instability works in the Ironbridge Gorge. [21227]

Robert Neill: The long term strategy for addressing the land instability issues in Ironbridge Gorge and related funding is being considered following the outcome of the Spending Review published on 20 October.

Local Government: Contracts

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance his Department issues to local authorities on tendering for contracts with small and medium-sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement. [20744]

Robert Neill: Subject to their legal duties, including the duty of best value and public procurement law local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions. The Department has not issued general guidance to local authorities on tendering with small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Government announced on 1 November plans to help small and medium-sized businesses to flourish and to encourage entrepreneurs. The Prime Minister has also appointed Lord Young as an Enterprise Adviser to write a report on what more Government can do to help smaller enterprises and start-ups to prosper.

As part of the Government's commitment to increasing transparency and openness, all councils have been called on to publish invitations to tender and final contracts on projects over £500 by the start of 2011.

The Local Government Association Group (LGAG), through its 'Place Based Productivity' programme, is looking at a range of productivity topics, including procurement. This sector-led programme aims to identify best practice and new and innovative ways to support local government and its partners in finding greater efficiencies. For further details see:

Local Government: Expenditure

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of publishing each item of expenditure of £500 and above and responding to enquiries arising from such publication in 2011-12. [19572]


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Robert Neill: Local authorities that are already publishing items of expenditure of £500 and above suggest there is no additional cost. Rather than creating a new financial burden additional transparency should help reduce wasteful expenditure, which is why local authorities have been asked to publish such information, for example, research by Experian has highlighted that local authorities spend £150 million a year on duplicate payments, which the process of transparency will help avoid. Any formal requirement to publish this information will be accompanied by an impact assessment.

Local Strategic Partnerships

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the future of local strategic partnerships; and if he will make a statement. [19571]

Robert Neill: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 14 September 2010, Official Report, column 1030W.

Mitie Contract

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's cleaning contract with Mitie. [20113]

Robert Neill: The documents requested have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Mobile Homes

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to require owners of park homes to register their properties with the Land Registry. [21409]

Grant Shapps: There are no plans to require owners of park homes to register their homes with the Land Registry. A park home is a moveable chattel, stationed with the permission of the site owner. There is no estate or interest in the pitch. There is therefore nothing to register with the Land Registry.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many park home sites there are in each constituency. [21410]

Grant Shapps: This information is not held centrally.

Promotional Gifts

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what promotional gift products were purchased by his Department from (a) The Purple Company (UK) and (b) Giftpoint in each of the last three financial years; and at what total cost to his Department in each case. [20103]

Robert Neill: The Department has made no purchases from (a) The Purple Company (UK) and (b) Giftpoint in the last three years.


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Revenue Support Grant

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he proposes that unringfenced grants to be included in Revenue Support Grant are to be additional to or included in floor damping arrangements; [20776]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of local authorities which will receive no revenue support grant in 2011-12 owing to grant reductions and changes in responsibility for funding concessionary fares. [20777]

Robert Neill: We will announce our proposals for the distribution of formula grant to the House in due course.

Social Rented Housing

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment has been made of the likely effects on incentives to gain employment of reviewing social tenancies when tenants' circumstances change. [20465]

Andrew Stunell: In 2008-09 only 49% of social rented tenants of working age were in work. We need to take action to address the high levels of worklessness in the social rented sector.

We have rightly opened a wide debate about how we can create a social housing system which will provide stability where it is needed; provide more choice for tenants and prospective tenants; protect vulnerable households; and help get people into long-term employment.

We have recently pledged to introduce a national social home swap programme to make it easier for social tenants to move to another home or another part of the country, increasing their opportunities to find work.

We also plan to make it easier for social tenants to work from home and start up home businesses.

Squatting

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many instances of squatting were recorded in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. [20910]

Andrew Stunell: This information is not held centrally.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Pay

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) farm employees being paid wages below Agricultural Wages Board rates and (b) farm employers paying wages below such rates. [20742]

Mr Paice: The information is as follows:


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(a) In 2009, there were approximately 26,000 workers over the age of 21 (21% of non-salaried workers) who were recorded as being paid at lower rates than the minimums for their grade.

It is important to note that these earnings figures may include data for workers who are not covered by the Agricultural Wages Order. For example, this could be family workers who benefit from the profits of the business or apprentices. It could also include first year apprentices for whom the order supplies additional and lower minimum rates or trainees working as part of an approved agricultural training course. The analysis excludes those aged 21 and under to minimise these effects.

Therefore the proportion of workers apparently paid below the agricultural minimum wage rate might be overstated to the extent that the data will include some workers who are not protected by agricultural minimum wage rates or for whom there is a lower minimum rate.

Number of workers( 1) by AWB grade in England and Wales paid below the AWB rate for their grade (2009)
Grade Number of workers Percentage of workers at that grade

1

1,881

11

2

14,946

25

3

3,260

34

4

6,245

29

5

1,789

18

6

735

19

All grades

25,691

21

Notes:
1. Only includes workers aged 22 and above.
2. June survey information is based on data captured for 1 June 2009, whereas the Earnings and Hours Survey information is based on four quarterly surveys from January 2009, March 2009, June 2009 and September 2009 for the respective year.
3. These figures are based on a sample survey and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.
Source:
June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture and DEFRA survey of Earning and Hours.

(b) We do not have an accurate estimate for the number of employers in England and Wales who were found to have paid workers below the agricultural minimum wage rate for their grade.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many agricultural employers were found to have paid workers below rates set by the Agricultural Wages Board in each of the last five years. [20743]

Mr Paice: We do not have an accurate estimate for the number of employers in England and Wales who were found to have paid workers below the agricultural minimum wage rate for their grade.

Animal Welfare: Litter

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent representations her Department has received on stomach complaints in animals following the ingestion of wire from used sky lanterns; [21007]

(2) if she will estimate the number of occasions on which sky lanterns have damaged (a) livestock and (b) crops in each of the last 12 months. [21032]


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Mr Paice [holding answer 1 November 2010]: We have received no representations specifically on stomach complaints in animals following the ingestion of wire from used sky lanterns. However, we have received anecdotal evidence of damage caused by Chinese lanterns to livestock and crops. As this is insufficient to make any formal estimates of the damage incurred, we have met with the farming unions and others in order to begin to build an evidence base of the problems caused.

DEFRA and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) are aware of concerns about the damage caused by Chinese lanterns and are looking into necessary actions to reduce the risks posed. BIS will also be working with local authority trading standards to encourage importers to improve the safety of these products and to make them fully biodegradable.

Bees

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the risks to the beekeeping industry of the agricultural use of neonicotinoid pesticides. [19576]

Mr Paice: The UK pesticides regulatory body-the Health and Safety Executive's Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD)-has liaised with other EU regulatory authorities that have imposed restrictions on the use of these pesticides. It also reviews developments on how risks to bee health from the use of pesticides are assessed and monitored. CRD scientists attended the 10th International Symposium of the International Commission for Plant-Bee Relationships (ICPBR) on Hazards of Pesticides to Bees, in October 2008; no new scientific evidence was presented at this meeting, or more recently, to suggest a need for changes to current UK pesticide authorisations.

Ministers have also considered scientific advice, including views of the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides, on a report issued last year by a number of environmental organisations-the Buglife report 'The impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebees, honeybees and other non-target invertebrates (2009)'. The conclusion was that this report highlighted a need for data on the impacts of pesticides on overwintering of bees in the pesticides risk assessment process. This is an area where regulatory science has developed recently and which is being addressed by changes to the EU regulatory system. On the basis of current evidence there is no justification for making changes to data requirements in advance of these changes.

CRD would act on any substantive evidence should incidents occur in the UK and will continue to monitor research and developments in other EU member states and elsewhere to see if they are relevant to the UK.

Climate Change: Forests

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take in response to the recommendations of the Read report on 'Combating climate change: a role for UK forests'. [19823]


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Mr Paice: The Woodland Carbon Task Force (lead by the Forestry Commission) is establishing conditions for a step-change in woodland creation and an increase in sustainable forest management, to increase the harvesting and use of wood. The task force is exploring how carbon finance and future wood fuel and timber income make woodland creation and management an economically viable proposition. The task force will also encourage local initiatives for woodland creation and work with a range of interested parties to identify barriers to woodland creation and management.

The Forestry Commission has initiated a pilot phase for the Woodland Carbon Code that sets out robust requirements for voluntary carbon sequestration projects that incorporate core principles of good carbon management as part of modern sustainable forest management.

The Read report identified that adaptation is needed now; the Forestry Commission has recently published guidance on adaptation in England. This, and forthcoming climate change guidelines that will underpin the UK Forestry Standard will, for the first time, establish the consideration of climate change adaptation as a requirement of sustainable forest management in the UK.

The role of trees in helping society to adapt is also important, and we have indicated that we will launch a tree planting campaign later in the year, addressing the report's recommendation that tree planting should be targeted to where people live and congregate.

Fisheries

Amber Rudd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Marine Management Organisation requires fishermen operating vessels of under 10 metres to maintain log books. [21116]

Richard Benyon: The MMO has decided to introduce a requirement for the masters of under 10 metre fishing vessels fishing, in either ICES Areas IVc and VIId or ICES Areas VIId and VIIe in the same fishing trip, to complete and submit an EU logbook.

This new monitoring requirement is intended to provide greater assurance over the accuracy of catch information for fish stocks in those areas, following concerns that have been expressed over the potential misdeclaration of area of catch. The majority of fishermen operating in those areas, who do not fish in more than one area in a single trip, will as now not have to complete logbooks. On the other hand, a number of fishermen who are likely to be caught by the new requirement will already be completing logbooks because they lease fish.

Amber Rudd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requirements fishermen in the under 10 metre fleet had to complete log books in the last 30 years. [21119]

Richard Benyon: There is no requirement in EU law for the masters of under 10 metre vessels to complete logbooks, but member states may require the masters of vessels flying their flag to do so where they consider it appropriate for management purposes.

In the United Kingdom there has been no such general obligation. However, masters of under 10 metre
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vessels who lease quota are required to complete an EU logbook. In addition, those catching nephrops have been required to complete a weekly catch return (NEP 1) since 2001, and those with a shellfish entitlement have since 2005 had to complete, and submit, a monthly return containing details of their catches of crabs and lobsters.

Flood Control

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress she has made on implementing in Hull the recommendations of the Pitt review of lessons learned from the 2007 floods. [21194]

Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency, the local authority and Yorkshire Water have worked together to review how surface water flooding is managed in the city, and the local authority has produced a Surface Water Management Plan. The Environment Agency is working with partners to share information and develop a more co-ordinated approach to flood risk. The Environment Agency also invests in the maintenance of flood defences such as the Hull tidal barrier and the East Hull pumping station.

Work is ongoing to raise awareness among the local community about flood risk. The Environment Agency's Floodline Warnings Direct system covers 8,896 properties at risk of tidal or river flooding in and around Hull, and partnership work is under way to help the most vulnerable communities to become more resilient to flooding. The Extreme Rainfall Alert service will help predict surface water flooding in the city.

In 2011, the local authority will have the opportunity to test its incident response as part of Exercise Watermark.

Flood Control: Finance

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding she expects to provide to (a) Gloucestershire County Council and (b) Tewksbury Borough Council for flood defences in each of the next five years; and if she will make a statement. [20756]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 1 November 2010]: Local authorities' responsibilities under the Flood and Water Management Act will be fully funded by DEFRA, primarily through area-based grant, but it is too early to say what this means for expenditure in individual local authority areas. Local authorities will continue to be funded through formula grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government, and with capital grants from the Environment Agency. In addition, DEFRA will be fully funding new burdens under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, primarily through area-based grant provided directly to each lead local flood authority. Formula grant and area-based grant will be provided unringfenced, to give local authorities the flexibility they need to meet their priorities.

Forestry

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department plans to mark the International Year of Forests in 2011. [20722]


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Mr Paice: The International Year of Forests (IYF) provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the world's forests. The Government are committed to tackling deforestation, which contributes to climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty. Internationally, the IYF will provide an opportunity to highlight our achievements in this area, including action to ban the placing of illegally harvested timber on the UK market, and to raise the profile of forest issues worldwide. Here in the UK, the Forestry Commission is planning various initiatives and events to mark the IYF.

Forestry Commission

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to require (a) successor bodies to the Forestry Commission and (b) owners of former Forestry Commission sites to fulfil the Commission's undertaking to restore planted ancient woodland sites with native broadleaf species. [20863]

Mr Paice: In my letter to all Members of Parliament on 29 October I outlined the Government's plans for the Public Forest Estate in England. The Forestry Commission continues to play an important role in protecting and expanding the trees, woods and forests in England. There will be a new approach to ownership and management of woodlands and forests, with a reducing role for the state and a bigger role for individuals, businesses, civil society organisations and local authorities in a managed programme of reform in which the Forestry Commission will play a crucial role.

The protection of our most valuable and biodiverse forests will not be compromised. Full measures will remain in place to preserve the public benefits of woods and forests under any new ownership arrangements. DEFRA and the Forestry Commission will consult on the proposals and will invite views from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership options and the means to secure public benefits, including the restoration of planted ancient woodland sites.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether an environmental impact assessment has been undertaken of the Government's proposals to sell or lease part of the Forestry Commission estate. [20865]

Mr Paice: An impact assessment, along with an Equality Impact Assessment, will be published as part of the consultation on proposals for the Public Forest Estate in England.

Forestry Commission: Manpower

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed by the Forestry Commission at the latest date for which figures are available. [20908]

Mr Paice: At the end of September the Forestry Commission, as a non-ministerial Department for England, Scotland and Wales, employed 3,454 people, in both full and part-time positions.


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Forests

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Forestry Commission on sales from the public forest estate. [20778]

Mr Paice: The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial Government Department that reports to the DEFRA Secretary of State; The Forestry Commission has been closely involved in discussions on the new approach to ownership and management of woodlands and forests.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans she has for the sale of the public forest estate in (a) the Forest of Dean, (b) the New Forest and (c) Sherwood Forest; [20779]

(2) what plans she has for sales from the Public Forest Estate; [20780]

(3) how many hectares of the Public Forest Estate the Forestry Commission plans to sell. [20781]

Mr Paice: DEFRA and the Forestry Commission will consult the public on proposals regarding the Public Forest Estate. We will invite views from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership options while protecting public benefits. I envisage a managed programme of reform to further develop a competitive, thriving and resilient forestry sector that includes many sustainably managed woods operating as parts of viable land-based businesses. No decisions have been made in relation to any individual sites.

Poultry: Animal Welfare

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the egg production industry of meeting the requirements of Council Directive 1999/74/EC on minimum standards of welfare for laying hens. [20557]

Mr Paice: The estimated cost to the egg production industry of Council Directive 1999/74 is based on two key operational requirements placed on the poultry egg industry in 2012: the banning of conventional cages from 2012 and the introduction of stricter stocking density requirements for free-range and barn egg producers.

The total cost to the industry over a 25 year period from 2009 is estimated to be £176 million, of which capital costs are estimated to be £102.8 million and production costs are estimated to be £72.9 million.

These estimates are based on British Egg Industry Council analysis, DEFRA commissioned ADAS research and subsequent discussions with industry in 2009.

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the merits of taking steps to ensure that eggs not meeting the requirements consequent on the implementation of the proposed EU prohibition on conventional cages are not imported. [20558]


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Mr Paice: I recently wrote to the Commission about my concerns about possible non-compliance with the EU-wide ban on eggs and egg products produced from hens housed in conventional cages after 1 January 2012 and requested it begins work on a practical enforcement solution to help manage the transition across Europe. This might be through the introduction of an intra-community ban on the trade in eggs produced by hens still housed in conventional cages after 1 January 2012. In practice this would mean that such eggs may only be sold in the member state of production for a limited period only. This will help protect compliant producers and ensure that they are not disadvantaged if there is any delay to the ban, or other member states do not meet the 2012 deadline.

Trees

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of trees planted with Government funding since 6 May 2010. [20909]

Mr Paice: We have not yet made an estimate of trees planted since 6 May 2010 as the normal planting season runs from November to March.

Prime Minister

BP: Libya

Robert Halfon: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 2W, what timetable has been set for the Cabinet Secretary to review papers on whether his predecessor and his predecessor's officials met BP and the government of Libya on oil drilling off the coast of Libya between July 2007 and March 2008; and whether he plans to publish the Cabinet Secretary's conclusions. [20828]

The Prime Minister: The Cabinet Secretary expects to conclude his work shortly. Dependent upon the outcome, this may include publishing additional relevant papers.

Public Expenditure

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what definition of the UK's national interest the Government used in the (a) National Security Strategy, (b) Strategic Defence and Security Review and (c) Comprehensive Spending Review; and what
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the component elements were of the national interest as so defined; [20492]

(2) what criteria he plans to use to assess the effectiveness of the (a) National Security Strategy, (b) Strategic Defence and Security Review and (c) Comprehensive Spending Review in promoting the UK's national interest. [20493]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to section 2.12 of the National Security Strategy.

House of Commons Commission

Parliamentary Questions

Helen Jones: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many questions have been (a) rejected and (b) carded by the House of Commons Table Office since September 2010, broken down by political party. [21164]

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many notices of questions for oral answer submitted for inclusion in the shuffle on 25 October 2010 were not included in the shuffle; and how many such questions were submitted by members of the Official Opposition party. [20391]

Sir Stuart Bell: During the period between 1 September 2010 and 27 October 2010, 7,428 questions for written answer were tabled and printed; 4,564 questions for oral answer were entered into the shuffle (a process dependent upon automated random number generation to determine which questions appear on the Order Paper and in what order); of these oral questions, 1,534 were topical questions.

The Table Office can only put on to the Order Paper or into the shuffle questions which comply with the rules of the House. If a question appears to be disorderly the Member is sent a card and asked to discuss how it might be brought within the rules. Questions are not rejected and there is an appeal mechanism for Members dissatisfied with the advice they receive.

The available data are set out in the following tables:

Table 1: Questions for oral answer (other than topical questions), 1 September 2010 to 27 October 2010
Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat Other Total

Number of questions entered in 'the shuffle' by party

1,729

1,033

204

64

3,030

Proportion by party of total number of questions entered in 'the shuffle' (percentage

57

34

7

2

100

Number of questions printed by party (percentage)

313

170

35

7

525

Proportion by party of total number of questions printed (percentage)

60

32

7

1

100

Number of questions 'carded' by party

240

171

27

8

446

Proportion by party of total number of questions 'carded' (percentage)

54

38

6

2

100


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2 Nov 2010 : Column 684W

Table 2: Questions for written answer, 1 September 2010 to 27 October 2010
Conservative Labour Liberal Democrat Other Total

Number of questions tabled and printed by party

3,148

3,177

594

509

7,428

Proportion by party of total number of questions tabled and printed (percentage)

42

43

8

7

100

Number of questions 'carded' by party

760

920

106

99

1,885

Proportion by party of total number of questions 'carded' (percentage)

40

49

6

5

100


On 25 October 2010 the Table Office performed three shuffles; one for questions to the Secretary of State for Transport, one for questions to the Minister for Women and Equality and a third to determine the hon. Members to be called to put a topical oral question to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Shuffle No. of questions received before the cut-off No. of questions carded No. of carded questions later amended and put into shuffle No. of questions shuffled No. of questions received but not in shuffle No. of questions received from Members of the official Opposition but not in shuffle

Women and Equality

92

33

15

73

18

17

Transport (substantive)

139

15

15

138

0

0

Transport (topical)

119

0

n/a

119

0

0

Totals

350

48

30

330

18

17


Personal Safety Seminars: Expenditure

Mr Knight: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission what estimate he has made of the cost of running the three seminars on personal safety on 26 October, 2 November and 30 November; and for what reasons such expenditure was incurred. [21105]

Sir Stuart Bell: The cost of the Members' Personal Safety Seminar on Tuesday 26 October 2010 was £78.50; this covered the cost of the refreshments that were provided. It is not possible to project the costs for the next two seminars as we are awaiting confirmed attendance figures.

Tour Guides: Training

Mr Knight: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the House of Commons Commission what the cost of running training courses for tour guides for the Houses of Parliament was in the latest period for which figures are available. [21104]

Sir Stuart Bell: Following a detailed review of all aspects of visitor management at Parliament, an enhanced training and accreditation programme has been introduced as part of a package of measures designed to regularise and professionalise all aspects of guiding at Parliament. The programme provides refresher training for Parliament's pool of in-house guides, including updates on developments in both Houses, and training in the mechanics of guiding and managing groups. In order to recognise the expertise of the guides, on successful completion of the course guides will receive an accreditation from the Institute of Tourist Guiding.

The cost of the training programme will depend on the final number of participants, but were all of the 80 guides currently registered on the in-house guide list to undertake the training, it would cost a maximum of £34,186. These are gross costs. The costs are shared between the Commons and the Lords on a 70:30 basis, so the cost to the House of Commons would be £23,930. The costs will be met from within the existing departmental budget. Once the initial round of training is complete, future annual costs are estimated to be £4,710.

Defence

Civil Service Redeployment Pool

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence (1) staff based in (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland have been redeployed from the Civil Service redeployment pool in each of the last six months; [20154]

(2) how many Ministry of Defence staff based in (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland currently in the Civil Service redeployment pool have been in that position for more than six months; [20155]

(3) how many Ministry of Defence staff based in (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland are currently in the Civil Service redeployment pool. [20156]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) manages its surplus staff by using the Redeployment Pool (RDP). This service enables those who are or who will become surplus to be given priority consideration for vacancies. Staff in the RDP usually continue working in their last Directorate or are redeployed to cover short-term tasks. On average, staff spend six months in the RDP before
2 Nov 2010 : Column 685W
finding a post or leaving the Department. The RDP is also used by staff returning from overseas postings, including civilians supporting the Armed Services in Operational Theatres. The MOD is currently subject to a freeze on external recruitment and the RDP helps us to fill vacancies from within existing staff resources.

Data on the RDP is collected on a quarterly basis by Defence Analytical Services and Advice. The latest available data is as at 1 July 2010 and shows that on that date the numbers of staff in the RDP were:

Government Office Region July 2010

Other UK

1,105

Northern Ireland

75


2 Nov 2010 : Column 686W

As at 1 July, the numbers of Civil Servants who had been in the RDP for more than six months were:

Government Office Region July 2010

Other UK

215

Northern Ireland

5


The following table shows the number of staff who left the RDP in the six months prior to July 2010 in headcount terms, broken down into Northern Ireland and remaining areas of the UK with a monthly profile indicating whether they exited the RDP to another post within the MOD, or left the MOD as a whole.

Date of f low
January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010

Government Office Region

Other UK

75

160

315

185

145

200

Remained in MOD on leaving RDP

55

145

205

165

130

180

Exited MOD on leaving RDP

25

15

110

20

15

20

Northern Ireland

-

5

5

-

-

-

Remained in MOD on leaving RDP

-

-

5

5

-

-

Exited MOD on leaving RDP

-

-

-

-

-

-

(1). Denotes figures less than five.
Notes:
1. Totals exclude 75 personnel based in overseas posts or whose location is unrecorded.
2. Totals have been individually rounded to the nearest five, and may not sum precisely to overall totals.
3. Data are based on redeployment pool strengths as taken from the MOD Human Resources Management System (HRMS) on the first working day of each month.

Armed Forces

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure he expects his Department to incur on the Armed Forces Covenant Task Force in the first 12 months of its operation. [19537]

Mr Robathan: The Armed Forces Covenant Task Force was set up for a short period of time, starting in July 2010, under the direction of the Cabinet Office.

Two Ministry of Defence Civil Servants were seconded to the taskforce. Other than some small items incurred on travel and subsistence while undertaking focus groups, there was no additional expenditure associated with this work.

Armed Forces: Accommodation

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the different approach is that he intends to take on the provision of armed forces accommodation; and if he will make a statement. [19652]

Mr Robathan: We are undertaking a detailed review of our approach to accommodation as part of the work in developing the new employment model.

Consideration will be given to a number of options, with the intention of providing a range of flexible options to service personnel and their families.

Armed Forces: Anniversaries

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions his Department has issued to Royal Navy vessels on the celebration of Trafalgar Day. [20122]

Peter Luff: No instructions were issued by Navy Command Head Quarters for the celebration of Trafalgar Day.

Armed Forces: Closures

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which regional brigade headquarters he plans to close following the recommendations of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. [20414]

Nick Harvey: As stated in the White Paper on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Army will significantly reduce its non-deployable administrative structure in order to enhance its focus on front-line capabilities. The current four regional divisional headquarters will be replaced with a single UK Support Command and at least two regional brigade headquarters will close.

A project team has been established to examine and rationalise the Army's non-deployable regional administrative structure. This team will continue the detailed work of identifying which regional brigade headquarters may close.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 687W

Armed Forces: Conditions of Employment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanism he plans to use to make the career structure, pay and allowances and accommodation of the armed forces (a) simpler to administer, (b) more cost effective, (c) provide greater choice and (d) encourage greater personal responsibility. [19640]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence will take forward this work in the armed forces new employment model (NEM). The NEM is currently in the concept development phase and we are examining how we might adjust terms and conditions of service in 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: Higher Education

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the likely cost to the public purse of funding university education for ex-service personnel in each of the next five years. [19654]

Mr Willetts: I have been asked to reply.

No decisions have yet been taken about the level of funding over the next five years of the scheme to fund university education for service leavers.

We have agreed to co-fund the scheme in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and we are planning to contribute to an enhanced scheme in the future.

Armed Forces: Tower Hamlets

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of serving members of the armed forces who (a) are normally resident in and (b) were born in Bethnal Green and Bow constituency. [20881]

Mr Robathan: Residential address information for serving personnel is not held with reference to parliamentary constituency and there are questions over the accuracy and completeness of what is held, as the information is maintained by the individual service person. Birth address in not recorded on the Joint Personnel Administration system.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what savings he expects to accrue to his Department from a reduction in Challenger 2 capability of 40 per cent; [19548]

(2) what savings he expects to accrue to his Department as a result of reducing the AS90 armoured artillery capability by 35 per cent. [19549]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence 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 Department's negotiating position
2 Nov 2010 : Column 688W
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. I am therefore not able to release more detailed figures at this time.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Mastiff, (b) Ridgback and (c) Husky vehicles were in service in Afghanistan (i) in March 2010 and (ii) in October 2010. [21331]

Nick Harvey: We do not comment on the number of vehicles deployed in Afghanistan. I am withholding the information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service date is for the Future Rapid Effect System Utility Vehicle. [21339]

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

The total estimated costs and the in-service dates for each vehicle cannot be confirmed until their respective main investment decisions are made. The timing of these decisions will now be reviewed following the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Army: Training

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of his proposals for increasing simulation training in the army in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. [19639]

Nick Harvey: Implementation of the strategic defence and security review will begin this autumn and continue into 2011, using the planning round processes and the work of the Defence Reform Unit. Measures to increase simulation training in the Army will be considered and costed as part of this process. Detailed costing has not yet been carried out and the information requested is therefore not currently available.

Chinook Helicopters

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the in-service date is for the 12 Chinook helicopters on order; [19554]

(2) what cost savings he expects to accrue to his Department as a result of reducing the order for Chinook helicopters from 22 to 12. [19556]

Peter Luff: An order for 22 Chinook helicopters was never placed. The in-service date and cost of the 12 Chinook helicopters which we are now looking to buy will be determined at the project's Main Gate, the timing of which is subject to the ongoing planning round.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 689W

Defence Equipment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rationalisation in equipment holdings he plans to make other than those set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. [19550]

Peter Luff: The National Security Strategy set out Britain's role in the world, the risks to our security and their implication for the UK. The complementary strategic defence and security review (SDSR) set out the capabilities required to deliver the National Security Strategy aspirations in this area by the 2020s.

Accordingly, the SDSR announced reductions in certain types of capabilities. There may be further rationalisation of equipment and stocks as we progress, including as a result of a revised methodology for determining equipment fleet sizes in the Army and to meet the new Defence
2 Nov 2010 : Column 690W
Planning Assumptions (as outlined in the SDSR White Paper). The detail of this is, however, is still to be worked through.

Defence Equipment: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) aircraft, (b) helicopters, (c) armoured vehicles, (d) main battle tanks, (e) armoured reconnaissance vehicles, (f) transport aircraft, (g) conventional naval vessels, (h) submarines and (i) field artillery are permanently based in Scotland in respect of each (i) equipment type and (ii) location. [19727]

Peter Luff: The information requested is set out in the following table, which is accurate as of 26 October 2010.

Equipment type Location Permanently based (number)

Aircraft

Typhoon

RAF Leuchars

7

Tornado F3

RAF Leuchars

14

Tornado GR4

RAF Lossiemouth

45

Helicopters

Sea King MK3/3a

RAF Lossiemouth

2

Sea King MK5

HMS Gannet

3

Armoured vehicles

Snatch

Faslane

5

Snatch

Coulport

12

Main battle tanks

-

-

-

Armoured reconnaissance vehicles

-

-

-

Transport aircraft

-

-

-

Conventional naval vessels

Sandown Class Mine Counter Measure

HMNB Clyde

8

P2000 Patrol Craft

HMNB Clyde

2

Submarines

Swiftsure Class

HMNB Clyde

1

Vanguard Class

HMNB Clyde

4

Astute Class

HMNB Clyde

1

Field Artillery

Light Gun

7 Cdo RA, Arbroath

6

Light Gun

105 Regt RA (V) Edinburgh

(1)13

(1) 6 Light Guns are used for ceremonial purposes.

Defence Support Group

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to proceed with the sale of Defence Support Group. [19644]

Peter Luff: The Government intend to sell the Defence Support Group 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.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for future ownership of the defence support group. [19731]

Peter Luff: As set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review and spending review publications of 19 and 20 October, the Government intend to take forward the sale of the Defence Support Group.

Defence: Expenditure

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to reduce his Department's expenditure on (a) food, (b) energy and (c) professional services. [19649]


2 Nov 2010 : Column 691W

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has yet to finalise its plans to reduce expenditure in these areas. Release of detailed information at this stage may prejudice the MOD's negotiating position with its commercial suppliers.

MOD is co-operating fully with the Cabinet Office led initiative to centralise commodity procurement for Government Departments. This work is expected to deliver significant efficiencies.

Defence: Industry

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to consult representatives of (a) industry and (b) academia before publishing his Department's White Paper on defence industrial policy; [19630]

(2) what plans he has to consult representatives of (a) industry and (b) academia before publishing his Department's Green Paper on defence industrial policy. [19631]

Peter Luff: We intend to publish a Green Paper on our defence industrial and technology policy by the end of the year. There will then be a formal consultation period in the new year, during which all interested parties will have an opportunity to comment. We will subsequently bring forward a White Paper in spring 2011.

Departmental Allowances

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes to (a) service and (b) civilian personnel allowances he plans to make in the period to 2014-15. [21318]

Mr Robathan: The final shape of the package will depend on further work, which will be subject to full consultation with relevant parties, including the trades unions.

European Fighter Aircraft: Guided Weapons

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many successful tests of the Paveway IV bomb on the Typhoon F2 have been conducted. [19443]

Peter Luff: A programme to integrate Paveway IV on to Typhoon will culminate in full tests to deliver the capability in 2012. To date, 14 preliminary compatibility trials have been undertaken.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Typhoon F2 has successfully used the (a) air launched anti-radiation missile, (b) brimstone missile, (c) Stormshadow missile, (d) Harpoon AGM-84 D, (e) Sting Ray missile, (f) general purpose bomb, (g) CRV-7 rockets and (h) Enhanced Paveway bomb in (i) combat and (ii) testing and training. [19444]

Peter Luff: Typhoon Tranche 1 aircraft are equipped with the 10001b general purpose bomb, 10001b Paveway II and Enhanced Paveway II guided munitions; these
2 Nov 2010 : Column 692W
Typhoon capabilities have been used in training but not in combat. A programme to integrate the Paveway IV bomb onto Tranches 2 and 3 aircraft from 2012 is also under way.

Typhoon is not currently equipped to use any of the other weapons listed. The optimum weapon system solution, in light of Strategic Defence and Security Review decisions, is being evaluated. However, this will not include the Harpoon AGM-84 D anti-ship missile, which was taken out of service in 2004.

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what alternatives to the private finance initiative his Department considered as means of funding the future strategic tanker aircraft; and what the estimated cost of each such alternative was. [19734]

Peter Luff: The future strategic tanker aircraft requirement was tested against a private finance initiative (PFI) solution and a public sector comparator (PSC) throughout the approval process. It was also assessed against a fallback option involving a mix of second hand Airbus A3 30 and converted A400M aircraft. The precise cost comparisons were dependent on the scenarios tested, but in the majority of these scenarios the PFI solution was judged to be more cost effective when appropriate risk provision and full operating costs were taken into account.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the future strategic tanker aircraft will be deployed in high threat environments; what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of equipping the aircraft with platform protection measures; and what estimate he has made of the time required to modify the aircraft to include platform protection measures. [19735]

Peter Luff: No decisions have been made on whether the future strategic tanker aircraft will be required to deploy into high threat environments in its passenger carrying role and whether additional protection measures would be required. As options are being considered as part of the Department's planning round, it would be inappropriate to comment on costs or timescales at this stage.

Military Campaigns

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department plans to recognise veterans of military campaigns since 1939 who have not previously received campaign medals. [20745]

Mr Robathan: Veterans who took part in campaigns since 1939 for which a medal was instituted should have received that medal if they met the required qualifying criteria. Beyond recognised campaigns, we have no plans to institute a medal simply for service in the armed forces as this is recognised by the Veterans Badge. However, we are committed to review the awarding of medals and it is in our programme for government.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 693W

Military Decorations

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in his review of the rules governing the awarding of military medals; and if he will make a statement. [21058]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. member to the answer I gave on 20 October 2010, Official Report, column 747W, to the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis).

Navy

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability programme; and if he will make a statement. [21016]

Peter Luff: The requirement for the Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS) programme is driven by the logistic support needs of the future Navy; these are being assessed following the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

An international competition is underway for the MARS Tanker. The future MARS ships to deliver solid support remain uncommitted at this stage. It is too early to provide any details of how this capability is to be taken forward, and the requirement is being assessed against the scope and duration of future planned operations.

Nuclear Submarines: Accidents

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many collisions involving a UK nuclear-powered submarine and (a) another submarine, (b) another naval vessel, (c) a private vessel and (d) a merchant vessel there have been since 1979; and how many grounding incidents involving UK nuclear-powered submarines there have been since 2008. [20123]

Peter Luff: The full list of incidents of collisions and groundings involving Royal Navy nuclear powered submarines for which the Royal Navy holds records is as follows:


2 Nov 2010 : Column 694W

Nuclear Submarines: Training

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training is provided to submarine commanders in (a) collision avoidance and (b) groundings. [20125]

Peter Luff: Submarine Commanding Officers complete a comprehensive series of inter-related, increasingly complex and demanding career courses. At each stage, ability is assessed and tested and the avoidance of collisions and grounding form an integral part of the immersive learning process required to command an extremely testing platform.

Puma Helicopters

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of extending the life of the Puma helicopter; and if he will make a statement. [19637]

Peter Luff: The programme to extend the life of the Puma helicopter agreed by the previous Administration (Puma HC Mk2 project) remains within its approval level of £339 million and is progressing well. As with other battlefield support helicopters, we are also enhancing Puma's capabilities to match the threat environment. The Strategic Defence and Security Review has confirmed the ongoing need for Puma.

RAF Lossiemouth: Joint Combat Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure his Department had incurred to locate the Joint Combat Aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth on the latest date for which figures are available. [20212]

Peter Luff [holding answer 1 November 2010]: Prior to the Strategic Defence and Security Review, expenditure directly attributed to basing Joint Combat Aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth amounted to some £1.3 million. This work was to determine the detailed infrastructure requirements and estimated capital costs for the project, but there has been no expenditure on building or infrastructure work.

Rescue Services

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce his decision on the Search and Rescue contract under the Private Finance Initiative. [20751]

Peter Luff: On 17 June the Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced a review of the approval of the Search and Rescue Helicopter project in the context of the wider pressures on public spending. As soon as this review is complete an announcement will be made.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 695W

Strategic Defence and Security Review

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the number of the cancellation of contracts announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. [20149]

Peter Luff [holding answer 28 October 2010]: As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review implementation process, we are now engaging in an extensive programme of commercial negotiations, some of which will lead to the cancellation of contracts. This work will focus on the areas where there have been the most significant changes in the SDSR, but is expected to involve all of the Ministry of Defence's key suppliers. Until these negotiations are complete it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the likely impact on personnel employed on any of the programmes affected.

Type 26 Frigates

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Type 26 frigates he plans to order in the next three years. [21171]

Peter Luff [holding answer 1 November 2010]: The assessment phase for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship is not expected to conclude until late 2013, after which the main investment decision will be made and an initial order will be placed.

Sentinel

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what methodology he used to reach his decision on the future of the Sentinel programme after its role in theatre is complete. [19565]

Peter Luff: The decision on Sentinel reflected an assessment of the range of surveillance capabilities currently available to the armed forces, the extent to which their outputs could be delivered by other means, including planned future capabilities, and the requirements of the new planning assumptions.

Home Department

Asylum

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times a grant of asylum has been (a) revoked and (b) not renewed under paragraph 339 A of the Immigration Rules in each of the last five years. [20273]

Damian Green [holding answer 28 October 2010]: The number of times an asylum grant has been revoked under paragraph 339A of the Immigration Rules in each of the last five years is as follows:


2 Nov 2010 : Column 696W
Decision year No. of cases

2005

7

2006

11

2007

9

2008

16

2009

17


There have been no refusals to renew an asylum grant under paragraph 339A of the Immigration Rules since the process came into place in August 2010.

Borders: Personal Records

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what amendments will be required to her Department's e-Borders programme to take account of the European Commission decision of 17 December 2009 on minimum data requirements; [20452]

(2) what estimate she has made of the likely effect on the cost of the e-Borders programme of the implementation of the European Commission Decision of 17 December 2009 on minimum data requirements; [20453]

(3) what assessment she has made of the likely effects on the operation of her Department's e-Borders programme of the implementation of the European Commission Decision of 17 December 2009 on minimum data requirements; [20454]

(4) if she will estimate the number and percentage of passengers travelling into or out of the UK who are likely to exercise their right to opt out of producing advanced passenger information to the e-Borders programme as a result of the decision of the European Commission Decision of 17 December 2009 on minimum data requirements; [20455]

(5) what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of adapting (a) air carrier industry systems and (b) her Department's e-Borders system to ensure that they are compliant with the provisions of the European Commission Decision of 17 December 2009 on minimum data requirements. [20456]

Damian Green: The European Commission wrote to the UK on 17 December 2009 giving its opinion on the complaint raised by the British Chamber of Shipping and their French counterparts regarding e-Borders compatibility with EU law on free movement and data protection. In respect of data protection, the European Commission agreed that it is legal for carriers to collect Advance Passenger Information on EU routes and for this to be transmitted to the UK, subject to the approval of each member state's data protection authority.

Since the December 2009 letter, UK and Commission officials have also been working together to reach a mutual understanding of how e- Borders operates in a way that strengthens the security of the UK and the EU more broadly but does not have an impact on free movement. Discussions with the Commission on this issue are close to being concluded but we await final written confirmation of the Commission's position, which we expect to have before the end of the year.

Once those discussions are complete, (and we have fully explored any implications with the industry) we will then be in a position to assess fully whether there will be any impact on the operation or costs of the e-Borders programme.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 697W

Crime: Hertfordshire

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the crime detection rate was in respect of each basic command unit of Hertfordshire Constabulary in each of the last five years. [19711]

Nick Herbert: The information requested is given in the table.

Detection rates are a ratio of crimes detected in a period to crimes recorded in a period. They are not based on tracking whether individual crimes recorded in a period have eventually been detected. From 1 April 2007 the rules governing recording of non-sanction detections were revised to reduce the scope within which they can be claimed to a very small limited set of circumstances. This has significantly reduced the number of non-sanction detections which has been reflected in the overall detection rates.

Detection rates for Basic Command Units in Hertfordshire
Basic Command Unit Period Total detection rate Sanction detection rate

Hertfordshire Central

2005-06

26

21

2006-07

28

27

2007-08

29

29

2008-09

33

33

2009-10

38

38

Hertfordshire Eastern

2005-06

26

22

2006-07

30

30

2007-08

30

30

2008-09

34

34

2009-10

35

35

Hertfordshire Western

2005-06

26

24

2006-07

29

29

2007-08

29

29

2008-09

32

32

2009-10

32

32


Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her 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. [18782]

Nick Herbert: Information prior to 2005-06, and on the number of officials removed from post or transferred to another position, is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

The following table sets out information held centrally in the Home Office (excluding its agencies) on formal misconduct action taken against staff in relation to their disciplinary record in each full financial year since 2005-06.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 698W
Formal misconduct action within Home Office HQ
Number
Officials subject to misconduct action( 1) Officials dismissed for misconduct

2005-06

6

(2)-

2006-07

9

5

2007-08

12

6

2008-09

7

(2)-

2009-10

15

5

(1) Where an official was subject to misconduct action on more than one occasion within the same year they have been counted once within that year. (2) Where fewer than five members of staff were dismissed further information is withheld on confidentiality grounds.

We are unable to provide information on the number of officials subject to disciplinary action or dismissed in relation to their performance.

Departmental Sick Leave

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how many days on average her Department's staff in each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in 2009-10. [18574]

Nick Herbert: The average working days lost (per staff year) to sickness absence for each pay grade in the Home Department in the financial year 2009-10 alongside the number of staff employed in each grade are shown in the following table:

Working days lost to sickness absence by pay grade for the Home Department for financial year 2009-10
Pay grade Average working days lost per staff year (days) Staff employed in period (headcount FTE)

AA

8.94

91.48

AO

8.23

391.23

EO

7.42

606.24

HEO

6.31

626.43

SEO

5.11

604.78

G7

3.81

560.17

G6

2.4

277.30

SCS

0.98

157.41

Total

5.57

3,315.04

Note:
Data shown are for paid civil servants employed during the financial year 2009-10.
Source:
Data View, the Home Office's single source of monthly Human Resources data
Extract date:
31 March 2010

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many days her Department has lost to staff sickness in each year since 1997; and what estimate she made of the cost to her Department of sickness absence in each such year; [18783]

(2) how many officials in her 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. [18784]

Nick Herbert: Sick absence within the Home Office is reported using Cabinet Office standards and definitions, which were introduced with effect from 1 April 2007.
2 Nov 2010 : Column 699W
The Home Office has also undergone a number of Machinery of Government changes over the period concerned, therefore we are only able to provide information from 2007. It is not possible to break down sickness absence into the 15 categories asked for over the period since 1997 as absence data are not recorded in this way and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Table 1 provides information for the Home Office headquarters on the number of days the Department has lost to staff sickness in each year since 2007 and an estimate of the cost of sickness absence in each year.

Table 2 provides information for the Home Office headquarters the working days lost due to sick absence are shown as short and long-term absence durations since 2007 as per Cabinet Office Standards and Definitions.

Long-term absences are periods of sickness which continue for more than 21 working days or 29 calendar days.

Table 1: Working days lost due to sick absence and cost of sick absence
Working days lost (FTE) Cost of sickness (£) Staff employed in period (FTE)

2007-08

20,685

n/a

(1)2,920

2008-09

15,024

2,192,087.21

(2)3,092

2009-10

16,368

2,476,208.91

(2)3,315

n/a = Not available
Note:
Extract date: 31 March each year.
Sources:
(1) Staff employed in period (FTE): Annual Civil Service Employment Survey 2008 (ACSES).
(2) Staff employed in period (FTE): Permanent Secretaries Management Group (PSMG).
WDLFTE: Permanent Secretaries Management Group (PSMG) taken from DataView.
Cost of Sickness: DataView

Table 2: Working da ys lost (FTE) by short and long- term absences
Working days lost (FTE)
Short-term absence Long-term absence Staff employed in period (FTE)

2007-08

9,172

11,513

(1)2,920

2008-09

7,812

7,212

(2)3,092

2009-10

8,814

7,554

(2)3,315

Note:
Extract date: 31 March each year.
Sources:
(1) Staff employed in period (FTE): Annual Civil Service Employment Survey 2008 (ACSES).
(2) Staff employed in period (FTE): Pernament Secretaries Management Group (PSMG).
WDLFTE Permanent Secretaries Management Group (PSMG) taken from DataView.
Cost of Sickness: DataView

Human Trafficking

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations her Department has received from other EU member states on human trafficking. [17623]

Damian Green: There have been no recent representations from other EU member states on human trafficking. We have, however, been engaged in ongoing negotiations with EU member states and the European Commission on the EU directive on human trafficking.

The Government decided not to opt in to the directive at the outset, but to review the position once the directive has been agreed. We still have the option of applying to
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opt in at a later stage and engaging in ongoing negotiations will enable us to influence the final text of the directive, to ensure it is in our best interest.

Passport Office: Staff

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many staff were employed in (a) each regional and (b) other major passport office in the latest period for which figures are available; [21109]

(2) what the resource cost was of each regional passport office in each of the last five years; and how much income each office generated in each such year; [21110]

(3) what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of redundancy payments and other costs to her Department arising from the closure of Newport Regional Passport Office; [21129]

(4) what estimate she has made of the potential saving to the public purse arising from the closure of Newport Regional Passport Office. [21130]

Damian Green: To assess the affordability of the proposal we have modelled a possible cost for redundancy. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) estimates this cost to be in the region of £3.4 million. This amount is only indicative at this time as the precise number of staff who will receive redundancy compensation cannot be estimated with complete certainty at this stage and compensation arrangements are subject to further discussion and parliamentary approval.

We will seek to redeploy staff where possible, while meeting our need to reduce costs.

The closure of the Newport Passport Processing Centre and establishment of a new Customer Service Centre in Newport are still subject to consultation and the final cost of doing so is still subject to review.

IPS estimates that ceasing postal processing in the Newport Passport office in early 2012 will provide a net saving of £24 million by 2015. This is part of the wider £50 million of savings IPS intends to make over this period.


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