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2 Nov 2010 : Column 700W—continued

Police Custody: Illegal Immigrants

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she issues to police forces on the procedures to be followed on the release from police custody of suspected illegal immigrants who have been taken into custody following arrest for (a) immigration and (b) other offences. [19482]

Damian Green: Standard operating procedures are in place between the UK Border Agency and the police.

The UK Border Agency will respond as a priority to requests for assistance from police officers who have arrested an individual they suspect to be an illegal immigrant (regardless of the offence for which they have been arrested), including where the individual in question is about to be released from their custody.

Where necessary, UK Border Agency officers will attend police stations with a view to establishing the identity and circumstances of the individual and serving them with the appropriate paperwork, such as a form notifying them that they have entered the UK unlawfully.


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Subsequent actions vary depending on the nature of the case, but can include the individual being transported to and detained in an Immigration Removal Centre pending their removal, or being transported to the Asylum Screening Unit if they advise that they wish to make an asylum application (this also may result in their detention as part of the asylum determination process).

As an example, between April and September 2010, the UK Border Agency's London and Southeast region received 286 such requests from the police forces within their area of responsibility; of these, 253 were attended by UK Border Agency officers and 232 individuals were arrested by them as a result.

Please note, this information is taken from management information tools; it has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional.

Police: Equipment

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment her Department has made of the merits of body-worn video and camera kit by police officers when gathering evidence; and if she will make a statement. [18211]

Nick Herbert: The most recent formal assessment of the merits of body worn video was conducted in 2007 following a pilot of this technology by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. During the pilot the following key points were identified:

The pilot also revealed further positive results. These included, making police officers more aware of how they interact with members of the public and negating a number of complaints against the police.

Police: Finance

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the implications for police forces covering rural areas of changes to her Department's policing budget; and if she will make a statement. [19136]

Nick Herbert: The Spending Review reported on 20 October. Decisions on allocations, including to rural forces, will follow in early December when provisional policing settlements will be placed before the House.

Police: Operating Costs

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the operating costs of each police authority in England and Wales was in the latest period for which figures are available. [15359]

Nick Herbert: The Government do not keep central records on the operating costs of police authorities. However, the Association of Police Authorities have set
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a benchmark of authorities' running costs of less than 0.75% of their budget, which amounts to £75 million (excluding the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London) in England and Wales.

Transport

Bus Services: Finance

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on bus services in non-metropolitan urban communities of his proposed reductions in subsidy to bus operators; [20507]

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effect on disabled passengers of his proposed reduction in Bus Service Operators Grant; [20508]

(3) what assessment he has made of the likely effects of reductions in Bus Service Operators Grant on socially excluded groups; and whether his Department has carried out an equalities impact assessment in this respect; [20509]

(4) what assessment he has made of the effect on bus fares of the reduction in Bus Service Operators Grant; [20581]

(5) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the proposed reduction in Bus Service Operator Grant on the number of bus services operated in (a) rural communities, (b) non-metropolitan urban communities and (c) metropolitan areas with an integrated transport authority. [20582]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has carried out an equalities impact assessment in respect of the 20% reduction in Bus Service Operators Grant which will come into effect in 2012-13. Our assessment is that this level of reduction will have a low impact, overall, on socially excluded groups, including disabled passengers.

We estimate that the potential average reductions in bus service mileage and increases in fares, as a direct result of the 20% reduction in Bus Service Operators Grant, in England outside London, could be:

However, I spoke to the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, who represent the bus industry, following the Chancellor's announcement on 20 October. They were hopeful that, in general, this level of reduction could be absorbed without fares having to rise. In practice, the impact will depend on the commercial decisions of bus operators and, where relevant, local authorities and TfL.

Crossrail

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under what budget headings the savings on the Crossrail project under the proposals in the Comprehensive Spending Review will be made. [19792]


2 Nov 2010 : Column 703W

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 26 October 2010]: Crossrail is funded under sponsors agreement, partly by the Department for Transport and partly by Transport for London. The spending review announcement confirms Government's joint commitment with the Mayor of London to delivering Crossrail in its entirety.

Working with Crossrail Ltd and the Mayor, the Government have identified substantial savings of more than £1 billion to the Crossrail funding package, which includes the lengthening of the delivery programme for the central tunnel works by around a year.

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in which year he expects the Crossrail line to open. [21185]

Mrs Villiers: Under the revised programme for the construction of the central tunnels, we expect that phased introduction of Crossrail services will commence from 2018.

Cycling

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of progress in his Department's Traffic Signs Review in relation to cycling; and when he expects the review to be completed. [20188]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is making good progress with the Traffic Signs Policy Review and the delivery of its action plan, including the requirement to consider the needs of cyclists which is an important aspect of the review. The review will be completed early next year.

Departmental Visits Abroad

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on overseas visits for senior officials in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [18403]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport does not record travel costs for senior officials separately. The information relating exclusively to senior officials could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Quarterly details of expenses and hospitality, including travel costs, for directors general and above are published on the Department's website:

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what savings to the public purse he expects to result from the ending of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee. [20511]

Norman Baker: The motivation behind the decision to end the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee is not a financial one. In respect of the financial consequences, I cannot determine possible savings until successor arrangements have been finalised. We have committed to consult on successor arrangements.


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Inland Waterways: Finance

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding he plans to provide to support inland water-borne transport infrastructure in urban areas in the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. [20856]

Mike Penning: Support for inland waterborne transport infrastructure, such as wharves and jetties, has previously been funded through the Department's Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme. The budget for this capital scheme and the Department's other capital programmes are currently under review following the settlement agreed in the Comprehensive Spending Review. It is therefore not possible at this stage to provide detailed information on future levels of funding. Further details will be made public shortly.

Insurance

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to lay before Parliament regulations providing for continuous insurance enforcement; and if he will make a statement. [21251]

Mike Penning: The regulatory proposals are being considered by the coalition Government's Reducing Regulation Cabinet Subcommittee and we aim to lay regulations in November.

Local Government Finance

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with local authority representatives on the future of funding of major local authority schemes. [20357]

Norman Baker: On 10 June 2010 the Department for Transport issued a statement suspending the previous guidance for local authority major schemes and associated processes until the conclusion of the spending review. In the statement we strongly discouraged local authorities from progressing work on schemes until the funding position was clear. Therefore meetings with local authority representatives has been limited.

Having now published plans for the investment and prioritisation of major schemes on 26 October 2010, Official Report, columns 177-179, the Department will now work closely with local authorities as part of this process and Ministers will be happy to consider requests for meetings as appropriate.

Motor Vehicles: Excise Duty

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles first registered before January 1973 were exempt from vehicle excise duty in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [20774]

Mike Penning: As at 22 August 2010 there were 302,308 licensed vehicles that were registered before January 1973 which were exempt from vehicle excise duty.


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Pilots' National Pension Fund

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received recent representations on the Pilots' National Pension Fund. [21393]

Mike Penning: I am aware of the deficit faced by the Pilots' National Pension Fund and the recent High Court judgment which clarified the trustees' powers to seek payments to address the deficit from Competent Harbour Authorities. I have received a number of written representations from the port associations and from individual ports.

I understand that the Association of Participating Bodies for the (PNPF) will be seeking early discussions with the trustees in order to try to work out an industry-based solution without Government involvement.

Public Expenditure

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mechanisms are in place to ensure that his Department's decisions on regional funding allocations are based on the most recent available population data. [20697]

Norman Baker: The regional funding allocation (RFA) process has been abolished along with the regional layer of planning. The Secretary of State for Transport announced on 26 October 2010, Official Report column 177-79 his decisions on the inherited programme of RFA schemes.

Railways: Cycling

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the implementation of his Department's proposals for cycle hubs at railway stations. [20647]

Mrs Villiers: A new cycle hub facility officially opened at Leeds station on 27 September. This 'CyclePoint' is based on a Dutch design and incorporates cycle storage, hire, retail and repair facilities under one roof.

The Government recognise the importance of cycle and rail integration and is committed to promoting cycling and walking and encouraging greener travel. We propose to grant longer rail franchises in order to give train operators the incentive to invest in the improvements passengers want, including better cycle facilities at stations. We acknowledge the importance of investing in station improvements and are committed to facilitating this investment through reforms to the way the railways are run.

Railways: Fares

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria his Department uses to determine which rail fares are regulated; when those criteria were last reviewed; and whether he plans to review them again before the award of new rail franchises. [21086]

Mrs Villiers: Rail fare increases are regulated through provisions in Franchise Agreements.


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There are two sorts of fares regulation: Commuter Fares Regulation covers commuter fares around London and other big cities and Protected Fares Regulation covers weekly season tickets and long-distance Off-Peak Return tickets (formerly known as Saver Return tickets) outside these areas.

The current fares regulation system was introduced in 2003 and we will be reviewing ticketing arrangements more generally next year although the level of regulated fares (moving to RPI+3% from 2012 for three years) was announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Redundancy

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used to determine which civil servants or groups of civil servants should be granted voluntary exit from his Department in 2010; who took the decisions based on those criteria; and whether he approved those decisions. [20354]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has used three criteria in selecting staff for voluntary exit:

A validation panel was established to consider to whom offers of a voluntary exit should be made, based on evidence from the application forms which were signed by senior members of the Department.

The Secretary of State approved the making of offers within the criteria of the scheme and the financial business case submitted at the scheme's launch.

Roads: Accidents

Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect on the number of road accidents of the introduction of daylight saving time throughout the year. [19191]

Mike Penning: An update of the 1998 TRL research, published 21 April 2009, suggests that an estimated net 80 deaths and 200 serious casualties per year would be avoided if single/double summer time was adopted (based on 2003-07 casualty levels). This takes into account the possible increase in casualties in darker winter mornings as well as the greater reductions expected in the lighter evenings, when more casualties occur. More recent estimates suggest the savings may currently be slightly lower-around 70 deaths and 190 serious casualties. This is due to the recent reductions in overall casualties.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funds he has allocated to highway improvements at Canford Bottom roundabout in Dorset; and if he will make a statement. [21222]

Mike Penning: Funding for the design work has been allocated to the scheme this year (2010-11) and funds are expected to be made available to construct this small scheme in 2011-12.


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Roads: Snow and Ice

Jake Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has plans for central control of the supply of road grit to local authorities. [20658]

Norman Baker: It is for each local highway authority to set its winter service strategy, and to put arrangements in place to deliver that strategy. This includes the procurement of grit.

Should severe weather lead to a potential shortage in salt supplies, the Salt Cell(1) would be initiated to provide guidance to suppliers. It would also co-ordinate the allocation and distribution of salt from the 250,000 tonnes of salt which is being held as a strategic reserve, as recommended by independent review of the resilience of England's transport systems (the Quarmby review). Such allocations will be based on information which the Department (again in response to the Quarmby review) has begun to collate from highway authorities on their own salt stock levels, both before and during the winter season, and anticipated usage. This information, together with intelligence on the ability of domestic salt suppliers to meet national demand and detailed weather forecasts, will allow the need for an advisory prioritisation process through the Salt Cell to be constantly monitored.

Women and Equalities

Institute for Fiscal Studies

Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how much the Government Equalities Office has spent on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in the last 24 months. [20468]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office has spent £1,660 on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies over the past 24 months.

International Development

City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Programme

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has for the funding of the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption programme after 2011. [20476]

Mr O'Brien: The work of the City of London Police Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit is of interest to several Government Departments. Departments have collectively committed to ensure that funding will continue after 2011, as part of work to ensure effective implementation of the Bribery Act 2010. Details of how the unit will be funded are being agreed between departments as a result of the settlements in the Spending Review.


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Health Portfolio Review

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when he plans to publish his Department's 2009 health portfolio review. [19698]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development's (DFID's) health portfolio review will be available by the end of November 2010 at:

Gaza: International Assistance

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [20676]

Mr Duncan: The humanitarian situation in Gaza has stabilised but remains fragile. The volume and range of goods entering Gaza has increased since Israel eased access restrictions in June 2010, although United Nations agencies are reporting difficulties obtaining approval for reconstruction projects and the necessary materials. Approximately 75% of Gazans are dependent on food aid and cannot obtain materials needed to rebuild their homes. The water and sewage system is dilapidated, with 90% of mains water unfit for drinking. Many people continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress and other psychological disorders.

Sierra Leone

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has in Sierra Leone. [20588]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development's (DFID's) bilateral aid programme in Sierra Leone focuses on improving access to health, water and other basic services, maintaining stability, and improving the effectiveness and accountability of the Government of Sierra Leone, moving the country away, over time, from aid dependency towards self-funded development. The DFID Bilateral Aid Review will ensure that we have a greater focus on results and ensure value for money, maximising the impact of every pound we spend.

The Department's projects in health, water and sanitation is projected to deliver health care to up to half a million pregnant and nursing women and up to one million children in the coming year and provide access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation to two million people over the next three years. In addition the Department's projects in governance and security are designed to deliver an increase in public revenues over four years; ensure that Sierra Leoneans are treated quickly and fairly when they seek recourse to the law; and enable Sierra Leone to hold credible elections in 2012 and beyond.

The full list of projects in Sierra Leone funded by the Department can be found on the departmental website at:


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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma: Nuclear Fuels

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of (a) uranium production in and (b) uranium exports from Burma. [20838]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government have not received any reports on uranium production or exportation from Burma. We are aware however of media reports earlier this year alleging that Burma is developing a covert military nuclear programme. We take such allegations seriously and have expressed our concerns to the Burmese regime. Burma must act in accordance with its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and we urge Burma to amend its small quantities protocol as soon as possible. We will continue to monitor developments.

China: Fuels

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of China on fossil fuel subsidy reform. [20411]

Mr Bellingham: The issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform was discussed with the Government of China during the Group of Twenty summit in Toronto in June.

Colombia: Trade Unions

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Colombia on its treatment of trade unionists and other members of civil society; and if he will make a statement. [20975]

Mr Jeremy Browne: I represented the UK at the inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos in August. I took the opportunity of a private meeting with the President and several of his Ministers on 9 August to urge more progress on human rights. I was encouraged by the President's commitment to make human rights a "non-issue" in Colombia. We welcome this renewed commitment and we will work with his administration towards this common end.

We will continue to raise our concerns regularly with senior Colombian Ministers, and to work with unions and employer organisations to strengthen labour relations in Colombia. We are working with the UN on a research initiative to help improve trade union human rights protection and the development of positive labour relations. With the EU and other partners, we will continue to encourage a stronger relationship between the Colombian Government and civil society.

European Parliament

John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions there have been at Head of Government level on a single seat European Parliament. [20775]


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Mr Lidington: There have been no formal discussions between Heads of Government at European Council on a single seat for the European Parliament. However I have raised this in bilateral discussions with ministerial counterparts in other EU member states, with the European Commission and the European Parliament and will continue to press for the European Parliament to have only one seat, in Brussels.

Hamas: Human Rights

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his UN counterparts on allegations of human rights abuses by members of Hamas in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [21142]

Alistair Burt: Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have regular dialogue with the UN regarding a number of human rights issues: this includes abuses carried out by members of Hamas.

We continue to call on Hamas to make immediate and concrete steps towards the quartet principles-unconditionally to release Gilad Shalit, who has been held in captivity for over four years.

Kosovo: Serbia

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on progress in the Kosovo-Serbia talks. [20479]

Mr Lidington: In his public statement on 10 September, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary welcomed the consensus of the United Nations General Assembly in agreeing a resolution(1) responding to the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion (in which the court concluded that Kosovo's Declaration of Independence did not violate international law). In its resolution, the General Assembly welcomed the readiness of the European Union to facilitate a process of dialogue between the parties to "promote co-operation, achieve progress on the path to the European Union and improve the lives of the people". The Government strongly welcome the commitment of Belgrade and Pristina to constructive engagement in such a dialogue, which will be an important factor for peace, security and stability in the Western Balkans. We hope the dialogue will begin soon. We have made clear our support to Baroness Ashton and her team as they prepare for it. We will stay in close touch with Baroness Ashton and EU partners as the preparations progress.

(1) UNGA resolution 64/298 of 9 September 2010

Russia: Fuels

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of the Russian Federation on fossil fuel subsidy reform. [20723]

Mr Bellingham: The issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform was discussed with the government of the Russian Federation during the G20 Summit in Toronto in June.


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Somalia: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the (a) strength of the African Union peace-keeping force in Somalia and (b) the number of countries contributing to that force; and if he will make a statement. [20562]

Mr Bellingham: The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) currently consists of approximately 7,200 troops from Uganda and Burundi. Its existing mandated strength is 8,000.

AMISOM troops are working in extremely difficult conditions in Mogadishu and we greatly respect the professionalism, bravery and sacrifice of the Ugandan and Burundian forces. We will continue to contribute to the logistical costs of AMISOM through assessed contributions to the UN in addition to providing ad hoc support in terms of both equipment and training.

Uganda: Politics and Government

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2010, Official Report, columns 25-6W, on Uganda: politics and government, how many British nationals and dependents are living in Uganda; what contingency plans are in place to evacuate them in the event of outbreak of violence before or after the election; and if he will make a statement. [20898]

Mr Bellingham: We have 250 British nationals registered with the British High Commission in Uganda, but estimate that between 3,000 and 4,000 British nationals reside in or are visiting Uganda at any one time. We maintain close contact with the British community through a network of Consular Wardens and via direct messaging with all British nationals registered with the High Commission.

Our High Commission in Kampala holds a civil contingency plan, which is reviewed and tested at least annually. This plan includes our response to scenarios where there is a serious threat to the safety of British nationals, where in the worst cases we would urge British nationals to leave the country.

West Papua: Overseas Investment

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on financial support by UK companies for the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estates project in West Papua. [21359]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have not received and are not aware of any reports that suggest the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estates (MIFEE) project has received financial support from UK companies. Nevertheless we understand the potential impact of the MIFEE project on sustainable land use efforts and local communities in West Papua, and our ambassador has raised the project with the Government of Indonesia on a number of occasions.


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Deputy Prime Minister

Constituencies

Martin Vickers: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his latest estimate is of the likely cost of completing the work to be undertaken by the Boundary Commission on constituency boundaries under the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting and Constituencies Bill; and if he will make a statement. [21175]

Mr Harper: We estimate that the total cost of the next boundary review in each part of the UK will be £11.2 million. This includes the costs of staffing, accommodation, IT, printing, production of maps, advertising and publishing the final reports. Under the terms of the legislation presently in force, (Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986), and on the basis of the duration of the fifth general review in each part of the UK, we estimate that a general boundary review would commence within the next three years in England and Scotland and the next five in Wales and Northern Ireland. The total cost of the fifth review in each part of the UK was £13.6 million.

Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill

Dr Francis: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the views of (a) hon. Members elected for constituencies in Wales, (b) the Welsh Assembly Government and (c) civil society organisations in Wales on the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Bill; and if he will make a statement. [20057]

Mr Harper: I discussed the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill with hon. Members serving Welsh constituencies at a special meeting arranged by the Secretary of State for Wales in September. The Secretary of State for Wales has discussed the effects of the Bill in Wales with the First Minister for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government Cabinet. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales has discussed the proposals with representatives from a number of interested bodies in Wales, including the Boundary Commission for Wales, CBI Wales, the Wales TUC and the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Cabinet Office

Employment: Bexleyheath

Mr Evennett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of working age people in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency are employed in the (a) private and (b) public sector. [19967]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:


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Employment: Oxfordshire

Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of the working population of Oxford West and Abingdon constituency is employed in the (a) public and (b) private sector. [21057]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:

Foreign Nationals: Yemen

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many Yemeni nationals were resident in the UK in each of the last five years. [20016]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:

Table 1: Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, who have Yemeni nationality 2007 to 2009
Thousand
Yemeni nationality

Estimate CI+/-

2007

5

3

2008

10

4

2009

14

5

CI = Confidence Interval.
Source:
Annual Population Survey (APS)/Labour Force Survey (LFS), ONS

Institute for Fiscal Studies: Expenditure

Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much his Department has spent on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in the last 24 months. [20474]

Mr Maude: In the last two financial years for which audited accounts are available, the Cabinet Office has spent £8,792 with the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Teenage Pregnancy

Mr Amess: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many girls aged under 16 years were recorded as becoming pregnant in each month between December 1984 and October 1985; and if he will make a statement. [20252]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:

Mr Amess: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many girls aged each year up to 16 years who (a) are recorded as becoming pregnant, (b) had an abortion, (c) gave birth and gave the child up for adoption and (d) gave birth and kept the child in each region between December 1984 and October 1985; and if he will make a statement. [20253]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.


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Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated October 2010:

Conceptions( 1) to women aged under 16 years( 2) by standard regions of England and Wales( 3) ,1985
Number Rates per 1,000 women aged 13-15 years
Area of women ' s usual residence Conceptions Abortions

England and Wales

9,406

4.8

England

8,829

4.8

Wales

577

4.3

Standard Regions

Northern

683

4.7

Yorkshire and Humberside

1,046

4.9

East Midlands

848

5.1

East Anglia

348

5.3

South East

2,665

4.5

South West

702

4.9

West Midlands

1,184

6.0

North West

1,353

4.5

(1) Figures on conceptions are based on the number of live births, stillbirths and legal abortions. They do not include miscarriages and illegal abortions.
(2) Age at estimated date of conception.
(3) Women usually resident in England and Wales.

Treasury

Capital Projects: Finance

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to encourage the use of municipal bonds to fund capital projects in local government; and if he will make a statement. [21254]

Danny Alexander: Local authorities are already free to use municipal bonds to finance capital investment. It is for local authorities to determine the most appropriate means of financing local capital projects.


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Child Benefit

Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the mother of a child will continue to be the primary recipient of child benefit. [21394]

Mr Gauke: In general the law does not specify which parent should claim and receive child benefit; it is a matter for the parents to decide.

Child Benefit: Dunbartonshire

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the number of households in West Dunbartonshire local authority area which will be affected by the proposed withdrawal of child benefit from families with a higher rate tax payer. [21338]

Mr Gauke: Information on household income for child benefit claimants is not available at parliamentary constituency level.

Corporation Tax

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual change in revenue to the Exchequer from UK banks as a result of recent reductions in the rate of corporation tax. [20513]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Andrew George) on 26 July 2010, Official Report, column 722W.

Corporation Tax: Third Sector

Paul Maynard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much he expects to accrue to the Exchequer from corporation tax paid by (a) social enterprises and (b) community interest companies in 2010-11. [20458]

Mr Gauke: Information on the amount expected to accrue to the Exchequer from corporation tax paid by (a) social enterprises and (b) community interest companies in 2010-11 is not available.

New Businesses: South-East

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account he took of the variations in levels of need in the South-East when developing his proposals for national insurance exemptions for new businesses. [19263]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 25 October 2010]: The employer National Insurance holiday for new businesses is intended to promote the formation of new businesses employing staff in those countries and regions most reliant on public sector employment.

Within the regions excluded from the scheme there will be areas with high levels of public sector employment. However, targeting smaller areas such as local authority areas would not reflect that in practice labour markets span larger areas and a more granular scheme would be costly and complex to administer.


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Public Expenditure

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the suggestions for savings made through his Department's Spending Challenge website he (a) has implemented and (b) plans to implement. [21291]

Danny Alexander: The responsibility for implementing ideas arising through the Spending Challenge rests with the relevant Government Department. A number of ideas that are now being implemented by Departments were announced alongside the spending review. These ideas are set out in full on the Spending Challenge webpage on the Treasury website at:

As set out in the spending review document a number of the proposals Government received fed into larger reforms announced over the summer and alongside the spending review.

Ideas received through the Spending Challenge will continue to play an important role in delivering more for less over the spending review period. Departments will continue to review ideas to identify and implement those that could help deliver further efficiencies.

Revenue and Customs

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effects on HM Revenue and Customs of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review. [20891]

Mr Gauke: Analysis of HM Revenue and Customs' outcomes informed the Spending Review, including the decision to re-invest £900 million over the period to tackle tax avoidance, evasion, fraud and debt. This is expected to deliver an additional £7 billion in tax revenues by 2014-15.

Tax Avoidance

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he plans to introduce to address tax avoidance. [20726]

Mr Gauke: This Government are committed to tackling avoidance and intends to build in sustainable defences against avoidance opportunities when undertaking policy reform and to review areas of the tax system in which repeated changes have been necessary to close loopholes. We are also considering whether there is a case for developing a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) for the UK.

Alongside this we will continue to use intelligence obtained from the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes regime and other sources to detect avoidance schemes early and we will challenge avoidance robustly where we find it.

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce the level of tax avoidance in respect of (a) inheritance tax, (b) capital gains tax, (c) income tax, (d) stamp duty and (e) value added tax; and if he will make a statement. [20889]


2 Nov 2010 : Column 718W

Mr Gauke: This Government are committed to tackling avoidance and intends to build in sustainable defences against avoidance opportunities when undertaking policy reform and to review areas of the tax system in which repeated changes have been necessary to close loopholes. We are also considering whether there is a case for developing a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) for the UK.

Alongside this we will continue to use intelligence obtained from the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes regime and other sources to detect avoidance schemes early and we will challenge avoidance robustly where we find it.

Taxation

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to amend the law on independent taxation. [21343]

Mr Gauke: The Government keep all areas of the tax system under review, and will announce any changes to the personal tax system as appropriate.

VAT: Churches

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has discussed in the Council of Ministers any proposed reduction in the rate of value added tax applicable to church repairs in the UK; [20987]

(2) what representations he has received on reducing the rate of value added tax on church repairs; [20988]

(3) whether approval at EU level is required for any proposal to reduce the rate of value added tax applicable to church repairs in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [20989]

Mr Gauke: The introduction of any new reduced VAT rates would require the agreement of our EU partners.

There have been no discussions in the EU Council of Ministers on reduced rates of VAT since 2009.

Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations about many issues from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of such representations.

Welfare Tax Credits: Payments

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit recipients (a) had their payments revised between July 2009 and June 2010 owing to a change of circumstance, (b) were consequently awarded a backdated payment for a period previously paid for and (c) were subsequently required to repay the duplicated payment. [20497]

Mr Gauke: The specific information is available only at disproportionate cost.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 719W

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions: Technology

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the funds allocated for development of low-carbon technologies in the comprehensive spending review he plans to allocate to offshore wind and manufacturing at port sites. [21195]

Charles Hendry: Up to £60 million will be made available to support offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites, to meet the needs of offshore wind manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in assisted areas in England. Announcements on support for other low-carbon technology programmes will be made in due course.

Departmental Redundancy

Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much funding to
2 Nov 2010 : Column 720W
meet staff redundancy costs was identified in his Department's settlement letter in respect of the comprehensive spending review. [21526]

Gregory Barker: No specific redundancy costs are identified in the Department's spending review settlement letter. DECC's settlement letter stated, that it will meet any redundancy costs required from within its settlement.

Energy: Imports

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) UK and (b) EU energy imports which come from (a) the Russian Federation, (b) Central Asia and (c) the South Caucasus. [20685]

Charles Hendry: The proportion of UK and EU energy imports from the Russian Federation, Central Asia and South Caucasus in 2009 are shown in the following tables.

UK import
Percentage

Oil Coal Gas Total energy

Russia

9

49

0

13

Central Asia

0

0

0

0

South Caucasus

0

0

0

0


EU import
Percentage

Oil Coal Gas Total energy

Russia

25

26

28

26

Central Asia

3

0

0

2

South Caucasus

3

0

0

2

Notes:
In producing the above statistics:
1. Central Asia comprises of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
2. South Caucasus comprises of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
3. The EU percentage is based on OECD data which includes data from the largest EU member states and covers over 97% of EU GDP.
4. Some gas (far too low to quantify) from Russia might have reached the UK across the continental Europe via the Balgzand-Bacton (Netherland) and Bacton- Zeebrugge(Belgium) pipelines.

Energy: Prices

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department monitors the number of energy tariffs that change in a time shorter that the standard period in which a customer may complete a supplier switch. [20434]

Charles Hendry: DECC does not hold the information requested. In order to meet its principal duty, to protect the interests of consumers, Ofgem collects relevant information but I understand it does not have the specific data requested.

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with Ofgem on its steps to improve reporting and monitoring in respect of the wholesale retail link to domestic prices. [20682]

Charles Hendry: DECC officials meet with Ofgem on a regular basis to discuss market issues. Since 2008 Ofgem have also produced a quarterly report on the link between wholesale and retail energy prices, which would consider to be an adequate regularity.

Fossil Fuels: Subsidies

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 479W, on fossil fuels: subsidies, what definition of fossil fuel subsidies his Department uses. [20505]

Charles Hendry: There is no commonly accepted definition of fossil fuel subsidies and it may be appropriate to use different definitions depending on the context. In preparing the UK's response to the G20 Fossil Fuel subsidies initiative, we used the following definition:

A number of other G20 states also used this definition of fossil fuel subsidy.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 721W

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence between Ministers and hon. Members on the diversity of liquid petroleum gas supplies. [21000]

Charles Hendry: In my earlier reply about what representations I had received on the diversity of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) supplies for domestic consumers of LPG on communal contracts, I answered that the Department had received four representations from hon. Members since August. In fact we had received four representations since July; I apologise for this error. Copies of the four letters, together with a follow up to one of them, will be placed in the House Libraries with personal details redacted.

Natural Gas: Storage

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent progress has been made on his Department's proposals for the gas storage capacity under the Irish Sea. [20686]

Charles Hendry: The two public proposals for gas storage facilities under the Eastern Irish sea-Gateway and Bains-are commercial projects, being taken forward by their respective backers. The forthcoming Energy Security and Green Economy Bill will include a provision to strengthen the market incentive mechanism for ensuring sufficient gas is available. This will help to underpin commercial demand for gas supply infrastructure, including gas storage facilities.

Nuclear Development Forum

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who participated in the meeting of the Nuclear Development Forum on 28 October 2010; what the agenda was of that meeting; and what the cost to his Department was of hosting that meeting. [20590]

Charles Hendry: The Nuclear Development Forum held on 28 October 2010 was chaired by Charles Hendry. A copy of the attendee list and the agenda for the Nuclear Development Forum held on 28 October 2010 is available on the forum's website:

All other papers submitted for information or discussion will be made available on the website very shortly.

The estimated cost of hosting the Nuclear Development Forum on 28 October 2010 was £1,416.

Nuclear Power

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to paragraph 4.E.2 of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, what unnecessary obstacles to investment in nuclear power he has identified. [20729]

Charles Hendry: The Government are committed to removing any unnecessary obstacles to investment in new nuclear and are undertaking a series of facilitative actions. These actions include:


2 Nov 2010 : Column 722W

The Government are also undertaking reform of the nuclear regulator to ensure it is fit for purpose going forwards, and working to ensure that there is a supply chain and skills base in place to enable new nuclear to happen and ensure that the UK benefits from this activity.

Nuclear Power: Carbon Emissions

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the statement of 27 July 2010, Official Report, columns 867-881, on the Annual Energy Statement, what assumptions his Department has made in respect of the quantities of carbon emissions arising from the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium mining, milling, enrichment and fuel fabrication, in the model used in its calculator of potential energy pathways by 2050. [20749]

Charles Hendry: The 2050 pathways calculator presents a high-level framework through which to consider some of the choices and trade-offs which the UK will have to make in the over the next forty years. It shows that it is possible for us to meet the 80% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the UK in a range of ways.

The 2050 pathways calculator takes as its starting point the actual UK emissions at 2007. Emissions originating from the overseas manufacture of products which the UK imports, such as uranium, are not included in the UK's 80% emissions reduction target for 2050 as defined in the Climate Change Act and consistent with international carbon reporting practice. These 'embedded emissions' are therefore also not included within the 2050 pathways analysis.

The 2050 pathways calculator models a wide range of future scenarios from 2007 to 2050. Given the need to ensure that the functioning and content of the model is manageable, it has been necessary to keep it as simple as possible. The UK-based emissions from energy infrastructure, materials and processes (such as enrichment and fuel fabrication) are intended to be captured within the 'Industry' sector of the 2050 pathways calculator, and no explicit assumptions were made about emissions from the specific processes mentioned in the question.

Renewable Energy

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the UK's electricity production he expects to be generated from renewable energy sources following achievement of the 15% renewables target. [21265]

Charles Hendry: It is estimated that around 30% of electricity will need to come from renewable sources in 2020 as part of the effort to achieve the UK's 15% renewable energy target.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 723W

Renewable Energy: Heating

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons he decided against introducing a levy to pay for the renewable heat incentive. [21288]

Charles Hendry: The original proposal for the renewable heat incentive to be funded by a levy on suppliers of fossil fuel heat presented a number of practical problems and, as a result, was potentially costly to consumers, business and Government.

We have reviewed the options available and, in making a decision, we have considered whether the funding mechanism is equitable, transparent and efficient, taking into account a cross section of views. We believe funding the renewable heat incentive through Government spending better fulfils those criteria than the levy proposed by the previous Government.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department made of the revenue likely to accrue from the levy proposed by the previous administration to pay for the renewable heat incentive. [21289]

Charles Hendry: Our powers according to the Energy Act are limited to funding the RHI expenditure so any levy would have had to be designed to meet these funding requirements.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the funding allocated for the renewable heat incentive will be disbursed in instalments of decreasing monetary value; and if he will make a statement. [21290]

Charles Hendry: The spending review announced £860 million of investment for the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme over the four year spending review period. Following this decision, we are currently finalising details of the RHI, including how the tariffs will be paid out, and we expect to be in a position to confirm these details shortly.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what measures will contribute to the proposed 20% saving on the estimated cost of the previous administration's plans for the renewable heat incentive to 2014-15. [21294]

Charles Hendry: As part of the spending review process we have looked again at the renewable heat incentive to target the scheme more effectively and efficiently. We expect to be in a position to announce the details of the scheme, including RHI tariffs, technologies supported, and details of how these 20% savings will be delivered, shortly.

Renewables Obligation: Parliamentary Scrutiny

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to establish a mechanism for parliamentary scrutiny of the administration of the renewables obligation. [21095]


2 Nov 2010 : Column 724W

Gregory Barker: The Electricity Act 1989 as amended by the Energy Act 2008 places a duty on Ofgem to administer the renewables obligation, requiring it to ensure compliance of, and make payments from the buyout fund to, those licensed suppliers upon whom the obligation falls.

The accounting officer for the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority is accountable to Parliament for the actions of Ofgem. Parliament votes Ofgem's estimate, which includes appropriating in aid the renewables obligation administration costs. Through the estimates process and select committees, Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise all of Ofgem's running costs, including the administration of the renewables obligation. Ofgem also publishes annual reports setting out details of its administration of the renewables obligation, these are publicly available and made available to Parliament.

UN Adaptation Fund

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent financial contribution his Department has made to the UN Adaptation Fund; and if he will make a statement. [21190]

Gregory Barker: We welcome progress that the Adaptation Fund has made recently in approving its first projects and accrediting implementing entities. The UK has been supporting the design of the Adaptation Fund as an alternate board member, and we provided £500,000 in start-up funding in 2008.

The UK has provided considerable support for adaptation this year through existing bilateral and multilateral channels including an allocation to the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which pilots and demonstrates ways in which climate risk and resilience may be integrated into core development planning and implementation.

The spending review provides a total of £2.9 billion of international climate finance-called the International Climate Fund (ICF)-over the spending review period. We will be considering future allocations to multilateral funds consistent with Government priorities. This will include consideration of whether to make a contribution to the Adaptation Fund.

Warm Front Scheme

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of homes provided with energy efficiency measures under the Warm Front scheme since its inception which were (a) privately rented, (b) owned by a local authority or housing association, (c) owned by a charity and (d) owner-occupied. [20432]

Gregory Barker: The number of households Warm Front has assisted with energy efficiency measures since its inception divided by housing tenure is as follows:


2 Nov 2010 : Column 725W
Tenure Number

Owner occupied

1,829,299

Private rented

240,305

Rented from housing association or local authority

(1)168,166

Other

1,720

Total

(2)2,239,490

(1) Since 2002 properties rented from housing association or local authority are not covered by the Warm Front scheme. (2) All data are presented as at 30 September 2010.

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households with children aged (a) 0 to four and (b) five to 16 years received assistance through Warm Front in each year
2 Nov 2010 : Column 726W
since the scheme's inception; whether he has estimated the number of such households which were in receipt of housing benefit in each such year; and what estimate he has made of the number of households in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011 who will be assisted by Warm Front. [20433]

Gregory Barker: The information is as follows:

(a) The number of households with children aged (a) 0 to four and (b) five to 16 years that have received assistance through Warm Front in each year since the scheme's inception is as follows:

Number
Child age at application 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Child aged 0 to 4 years

6,059

22,063

21,339

16,255

12,725

17,963

Child aged 5 to 16 years

9,218

27,301

26,411

20,581

16,507

26,469

Total

15,277

49,364

47,750

36,836

29,232

44,432


Number
Child age at application 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11( 1) Total

Child aged 0 to 4 years

20,678

23,693

23,524

26,848

8,673

199,820

Child aged 5 to 16 years

33,936

33,419

32,878

33,820

11,605

272,145

Total

54,614

57,112

56,402

60,668

20,278

471,965

(1) Up to 30 September 2010.

(b) The number of households with children in receipt of housing benefit in each year is as follows:

Number
Child age at application 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Total( 1)

Child aged 0 to 4 years

411

644

903

915

1,349

626

4,848

Child aged 5 to 16 years

315

625

604

584

728

333

3,189

Total

726

1,269

1,507

1,499

2,077

959

8,037

(1) This information is only available post 2005.

(c) Eaga, as the Warm Front scheme manager, estimates that c.150,000 households will be assisted in 2010-11. Estimated data for 2011-12 are not currently available.

West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will require all members of the West Cumbria Managing Radioactive Waste Safely Partnership to (a) submit to a publicly accessible register details of all (i) past and (ii) current interests that they have had with the nuclear industry and (b) update the registered details on each occasion they change. [20728]

Charles Hendry: The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) White Paper set out that once a community had expressed an interest in the geological disposal facility siting process, local Government should take the lead role in initiating further discussions with local partners and organising community engagement. As such, local authorities that have expressed an interest in west Cumbria have set up the West Cumbria MRWS Partnership as an advisory body to 'make recommendations to Allerdale borough council, Copeland borough council and Cumbria county council on whether they should participate in the geological disposal facility siting process, without commitment to eventually host a facility'. It will then be for those local authorities to take a decision on whether or not to participate further in the process.

Government do not require a register of interests from the West Cumbria MRWS Partnership. It is for the local authorities who established this Partnership to satisfy themselves that it is appropriately constituted and that they are satisfied with the advice it ultimately provides them. Detailed information on the way the Partnership works including information on membership is available on their website at:

Government will want in turn to be satisfied that any Decision to Participate is credible and would expect any decision to be accompanied by a report setting out the approach taken to engagement, the outcomes of that engagement and making clear the basis of the decision.

Wind Power

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what legal advice he received on compliance with state aid rules of his Department's port upgrade competition; and if he will make a statement. [21287]


2 Nov 2010 : Column 727W

Charles Hendry: Last week the Department made available up to £60 million to support offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites, to meet the needs of offshore wind manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in assisted areas in England.

The Department regularly seeks legal advice on a variety of issues relating to developing and implementing policy and is entitled, as is any other person, to treat such advice as subject to legal professional privilege and hence confidential. It is not practice to reveal the nature of that advice, in order to prevent possible prejudice which may arise if privilege is waived or unnecessary challenges are prompted.

Wind Power: Noise

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of noise generated by the operation of (i) wind turbines and (ii) turbine blades. [21261]

Charles Hendry: DECC has recently commissioned a research project to analyse how noise impacts are considered in the determination of wind farm planning applications in England. The project, which is being carried out by Hayes McKenzie partnership, is due to be published in early 2011.

A number of previous studies on noise from wind turbines have been commissioned by Government in recent years. In 2006 the then Department of Trade and Industry published a report carried out by Hayes McKenzie partnership into low frequency noise from wind turbines. Following on from this report, the then Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform commissioned Salford University to carry out further work in into phenomenon known as Aerodynamic Modulation (AM). AM, often described as blade swish, refers to aerodynamic noise from wind turbines, but with a greater than normal degree of regular fluctuation at blade passing frequency. This report was published in 2007.

Education

Academies: Thurrock

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which schools in Thurrock local education authority area have applied to become academies; and if he will make a statement. [17874]

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education has been working with one school in the Thurrock local authority area which is judged to be outstanding by Ofsted and which has applied to convert to academy status-Ockendon School in Thurrock.

British Educational Communications and Technology Agency

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent representations he has received on the future of the National Virtual School developed by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency after the Agency is closed. [17914]

Mr Gibb: No representation to the Secretary of State has been made on the future of the National Virtual School to date.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 728W

Education and Employers Taskforce

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Education and Employers Taskforce since its inception. [17191]

Mr Gibb: The Education and Employers Taskforce was launched in October 2009. Its funding is granted on the basis of meeting rigorous and annually agreed objectives. No formal evaluation of the taskforce's effectiveness has been carried out. Some of the taskforce's activities include organising 'Visit Our Schools and Colleges' week, 18-22 October 2010, which will see senior figures from industry visiting schools and colleges to talk to head teachers and principals about their priorities; strengthening the evidence base about the impact of employer involvement with education and producing new guidance for teachers and employers. It has received employer contributions which auditors have valued at over £600,000.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he has made an estimate of the number of (a) girls and (b) boys who received education maintenance allowance in (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. [17136]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 13 October 2010]: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener the YPLA's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

Education: Assessments

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what progress his Department has made in the process of equivalence testing of examination courses and qualifications. [17234]

Mr Gibb: We are committed to reforming school performance tables to increase their rigour and ensure a focus on improving educational outcomes. As part of that reform, we are reviewing the use of equivalences in the performance tables and will be making more detailed announcements in the coming months.

Environment Protection: Curriculum

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what aspects of environmental understanding children will be expected to acquire by the age of (a) 11, (b) 14 and (c) 16 years under his plans for the future of the school curriculum. [17289]

Mr Gibb: We are committed to restoring the national curriculum to its original purpose-a core entitlement based on subject knowledge. A slimmed down national curriculum will allow schools more freedom and time to build on that core entitlement to provide a rich educational experience for all their pupils and to continue to use their professional judgment to organise teaching as they see fit.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 729W

We plan to consult a wide range of academics, teachers and other interested parties to ensure that our core curriculum can compare with those of the highest performing countries in the world. More details about our plans to review the curriculum will be announced later in the year.

Free School Meals: Wales

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children in each constituency in North Wales received free school meals in each of the last five years. [17002]

Mr Gibb: The Department does not hold the requested information for Wales. Information relating to Wales is available from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Free Schools

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the name is of each group or organisation which has applied to set up a free school. [16117]

Mr Gibb: The names of the first 16 free school proposals that have been approved to progress to the business case and plan stage can be found on the Department's website at

As other proposals are approved to progress to the business case and plan stage their details will be published on the Department's website.

Higher Education

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what support his Department plans to make available to schools seeking to become (a) university technology colleges and (b) technical academies. [17375]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 18 October 2010]: Technical academies are the same as the university technical colleges model which we have been developing with Lord Baker and the Baker Dearing Trust.

My officials are working with the Baker Dearing Trust and sponsors helping to develop their proposals. Once proposals have been approved my officials will discuss with each sponsor the level of support required.

Higher Education: Sports

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools his Department initially
2 Nov 2010 : Column 730W
designated as specialist sports colleges as a result of the most recent round of applications. [17376]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 18 October 2010]: 17 schools were initially designated as specialist sports colleges, and a further two schools were designated with a sports specialism in combination with another specialism, in the most recent round of applications.

Home Education

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on home education; and if he will make a statement. [17939]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 18 October 2010]: The Government respect the right of parents to educate their children at home. We recognise that most home educating parents do a very good job, some of them picking up the pieces where their children have had problems at school.

Our policy on home education is being considered and we will announce further details in due course. We will consider whether changes need to be made to the existing arrangements, given the strong views expressed by both home educators and local authorities.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when his Department plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of 26 July and 26 August 2010 on Building Schools for the Future funding for the Billericay School and Mayflower School. [16139]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 11 October 2010]: My noble Friend, Lord Hill of Oareford, replied on 29 September 2010.

Pupil Exclusions

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of pupils subject to fixed-term exclusions in secondary schools with (a) fewer than 800 pupils, (b) 800 to 1,000 pupils and (c) more than 1,000 pupils in each year since 2000. [17892]

Mr Gibb: The requested information for 2005/06 and 2008/09 is shown in the table.

Data on fixed period exclusions was collected for the first time in 2003/04 via the Termly Exclusions Survey, and via the School Census from 2005/06. For consistency, data on fixed period exclusions has been provided for the earliest and the most recent year available using School Census data. To provide data for further years would incur disproportionate cost.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 731W

2 Nov 2010 : Column 732W
State-funded secondary schools( 1,2) : number and proportion of pupil enrolments( 3) with fixed period-exclusions by size of school( 4)
In 2005/06 and 2008/09 in England
Schools with fewer than 800 pupils( 4) Schools with 800 to 1,000 pupils( 4) Schools with over 1,000 pupils( 4)

Number of enrolments with one or more fixed period exclusions % of school population with one or more fixed period exclusions( 5) Number of enrolments with one or more fixed period exclusions % of school population with one or more fixed period exclusions( 5) Number of enrolments with one or more fixed period exclusions % of school population with one or more fixed period exclusions( 5)

2005/06

42,070

6.64

41,530

6.31

108,330

5.28

2008/09

40,060

6.08

37,590

5.76

90,250

4.61

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes city technology colleges and academies.
(3) Pupil enrolments may be counted more than once if they moved schools during the year, or were registered at more than one school.
(4) Headcount of solely registered pupils taken from the January census. Schools which were not open at the January School Census have been excluded from the analysis.
(5) The number of pupil enrolments expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of pupils (excluding dually registered pupils as at the January School Census).
Note:
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
School Census

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of pupils in (a) stand alone secondary schools and (b) secondary departments of all-through schools have been subject to a (i) permanent and (ii) fixed-term exclusion in each year since 2000. [17898]

Mr Gibb: The requested information for 2005/06 and 2008/09 is shown in the tables.

Data on fixed period exclusions was collected for the first time in 2003/04 via the Termly Exclusions Survey, and both fixed period and permanent exclusions were collected via the School Census for the first time in 2005/06. For consistency, data has been provided for the earliest and the most recent year available using School Census data. To provide data for further years would incur disproportionate cost.

State-funded secondary schools( 1, 2) : Number and proportion of pupil enrolments( 3) with fixed period or permanent exclusions by type of school( 4) . In 2005/06 and 2008/09. In England
All state-funded secondary schools

Number of schools Number of enrolments with permanent exclusions( 7) Number of enrolments with fixed period exclusions Percentage of school population with permanent exclusions( 8) Percentage of school population with fixed period exclusions( 8)

2005/06

3,405

7,690

191,930

0.23

5.74

2008/09

3,361

5,440

167,890

0.17

5.13


'All through' state-funded secondary schools( 5)

Number of schools Number of enrolments with permanent exclusions( 7) Number of enrolments with fixed period exclusions Percentage of school population with permanent exclusions( 8) Percentage of school population with fixed period exclusions( 8)

2005/06

5

30

230

0.45

4.03

2008/09

14

30

910

0.20

5.76


Other state-funded secondary schools( 6)

Number of schools Number of enrolments with permanent exclusions( 7) Number of enrolments with fixed period exclusions Percentage of school population with permanent exclusions( 8) Percentage of school population with fixed period exclusions( 8)

2005/06

3,400

7,660

191,700

0.23

5.74

2008/09

3,347

5,410

166,980

0.17

5.13

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes city technology colleges and academies.
(3) Pupil enrolments may be counted more than once if they moved schools during the year, or were registered at more than one school.
(4) Headcount of solely registered pupils taken from the January census. Schools which were not open at the January census have been excluded from the analysis.
(5 )'All through' schools have been defined as those state-funded secondary schools with one or more pupil aged 3, 4 or 5, and one or more pupil aged 15, 16, 17 or 18 as at the January census. Schools which were not open at the January School Census have been excluded from the analysis.
(6) State-funded secondary schools which are not defined as 'all through'.
(7) Data is as returned by schools.
(8) The number of pupil enrolments expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of pupils (excluding dually registered pupils) as at the January School Census.
Note:
Pupil enrolment numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
School Census

Pupils: Absenteeism

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of pupils recorded as having days of unauthorised absence in secondary schools with (a) fewer than 800 pupils, (b) 800 to 1,000 pupils and (c) more than 1,000 pupils in each year since 2000. [17891]

Mr Gibb: The requested information for 2005/06 and 2008/09 is shown in the table.

Pupil absence has been collected at school level in secondary schools since 2005/06. Information relating to the number of pupils with unauthorised absence is not available prior to this date.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 733W

To provide data for further years would incur disproportionate cost.


2 Nov 2010 : Column 734W
State-funded secondary schools( 1, 2) : Number and proportion of enrolments( 3) with unauthorised absence by size of school( 4) . In 2005/06 and 2008/09. In England
Schools with fewer than 800 pupils( 4) Schools with 800 to 1,000 pupils( 4) Schools with over 1 , 000 pupils( 4)

Number of enrolments with unauthorised absence Number of enrolments Percentage of enrolments with unauthorised absence Number of enrolments with unauthorised absence Number of enrolments Percentage of enrolments with unauthorised absence Number of enrolments with unauthorised absence Number of enrolments Percentage of enrolments with unauthorised absence

2005/06

196,310

626,330

31.34

198,450

618,020

32.11

589,500

1,811,590

32.54

2008/09

222,340

646,730

34.38

219,890

610,080

36.04

578,270

1,697,520

34.07

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes city technology colleges and academies.
(3) Number of pupil enrolments in schools. Includes pupils on the school roll for at least one session who are aged between 5 and 15, excluding boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once (if they moved schools during the school year or are registered in more than one school).
(4) Headcount of solely registered pupils taken from the January census. Schools which were not open at the January census have been excluded from the analysis.
Note:
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
School Census

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