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Dr Pugh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on the extent to which each Department has achieved the annual real reduction in administration expenditure agreed with his Department in the 2007 comprehensive spending review. 
Danny Alexander: Administration budget outturn from 2004-05 to 2008-09, estimated 2009-10 outturn and 2010-11 plans are published in Table 1.5 in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) 2010, available on the Treasury website.
PESA shows overall annual real reductions in administration budgets of 5% in 2007-08, 3% in 2008-09, 0% in 2009-10 and 6% in 2010-11. Excluding reductions of £356 million in administration budgets made as part of the £6.2 billion in year cuts, plans indicated administration budget real reductions in 2010-11 of 4%.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what assumption regarding gross domestic product his forecast of deficit as a proportion of GDP contained in the comprehensive spending review is based. 
The forecast of gross domestic product and the forecast of the deficit (including as a proportion of GDP) contained within the spending review document are the same forecasts as the independent OBR produced for the Government for the Budget 2010 in June.
Justine Greening: The Government's estimates of fraud and error levels in benefits and tax credits are based on survey evidence. Full details of the methodologies are published on the DWP and HMRC websites, alongside the most recent figures.
Amber Rudd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many households with two working individuals in (a) the South East and (b) Hastings and Rye constituency have a combined income of over (i) £50,000, (ii) £60,000 and (iii) £70,000. 
In 2008-09 the number of households in (a) the south-east containing two working adults with a total household income of over (i) £50,000 per annum was 0.7 million (ii) £60,000 per annum was 0.5 million and (iii) £70,000 per annum was 0.3 million.
1. The Family Resources Survey is a nationally representative sample of approximately 26,000 households.
2. Data for 2008-09 were collected between April 2008 and March 2009.
3. The figures are based on a sample of households which have been adjusted for non-response using multi-purpose grossing factors which align the Family Resources Survey to Government office region population by age and sex. Estimates are subject to sampling error and remaining non-response error.
4. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100,000 households.
5. Work status is based on self-reporting by the respondent to the survey.
The Family Resources Survey 2008-09.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the maximum monetary value of each element of the working tax credit will be if the proposals contained in both the June 2010 Budget and the 2010 Spending Review (a) are and (b) are not implemented in 2014-15. 
|WTC elements||2014-15-after 2010 June Budget and 2010 spending review changes implemented||2014-15-if 2010 June Budget and 2010 spending review changes not implemented|
To ensure support is better targeted at low-income families with children, the Government have recycled some welfare savings into the child tax credit. The child element of the child tax credit will increase by £180 above indexation in 2011-12 and £110 above indexation in 2012-13. These steps have been taken to ensure that there is no measurable impact on child poverty from all modelled Budget and spending review changes to 2012-13.
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he has had discussions with the BBC Trust on the likely effects on his Department's contribution to the 2014 Commonwealth Games of the BBC's decision to withdraw as host broadcaster of that event. 
Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport 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. 
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the monetary value of overseas earnings attributable to the film industry in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009; and what proportion of GDP this represented in each year. 
Mr Vaizey: Information on the monetary value of overseas earnings attributable to the UK film industry is not collated centrally. However, the UK Film Council Statistical Yearbook indicates that UK film grossed $3.3 billion in 2007, $4.2 billion in 2008 and $2 billion in 2009 in global box office receipts.
In 2009, the UK had the third-largest filmed entertainment market in the world, after the USA and Japan at $5.59 billion. This includes box office, DVD home rentals and online downloads, though not TV revenue.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when he expects to conclude his consideration of the responses to his consultation on the Regulatory Future of Remote Gambling in Great Britain. 
John Penrose: Since the consultation closed I have met a number of key stakeholders including the Gambling Commission, the Remote Gambling Association, representatives from Alderney and the Isle of Man, as well as representatives from faith and community groups.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many and what proportion of category B2 fixed odds betting terminals were located in (a) bookmakers and (b) casinos on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Horseracing Levy Board and (b) the bookmaking betting industry on the collection base in future levy schemes. 
John Penrose: I have met representatives of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, including the racing and bookmaking industries, to discuss the Levy and seek suggestions about how it might be improved or, if possible, suitably replaced.
The Government recently announced their intention to remove the Secretary of State's role of determining the Levy scheme when the parties are unable to reach agreement. This will require changes to primary legislation and will not have effect until Parliament has approved such changes. We will be discussing the options with the Levy Board and the racing and betting industries with a view to ensuring the funding for racing is fair, and collected from as broad a base as possible.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the economic and cultural effects of a reduction in the fiftieth Horserace Betting Levy. 
John Penrose: It is disappointing that the Secretary of State will be required to determine the 50th Horserace Betting Levy Scheme after the parties failed to reach agreement by the deadline of 31 October. The Secretary of State will make his determination in due course on the basis of advice from the Minister for Sport and the Olympics. This will include consideration of all relevant issues.
John Penrose: The Department is currently considering how best to deliver the coalition agreement to cut red tape and encourage the performance of more live music, while ensuring that appropriate protection for local communities continues. We have had discussions with representatives from the music industry, the Local Government Association and the police among others and will continue to do so in our quest for consensus on this issue.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had on the future of local commercial radio stations after digital radio switchover. 
In addition, the Digital Radio Action Plan, published earlier this year, sets out a number of mechanisms to enable all parts of the radio sector to engage with and contribute to the development of the Digital Radio Switchover policy.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the contribution of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of 20 October 2010, Official Report, columns 319-22WH, if he will take steps to ensure that S4C is structured (a) to ensure a diversity of programming from independent creative production companies across Wales and (b) to stimulate the Welsh economy. 
Mr Vaizey: The details of S4C's partnership with the BBC are currently being developed. As I made clear in the Westminster Hall debate on S4C funding on 20 October 2010, Official Report, columns 319-22WH, all of S4C's content budget will be spent on independent production, as it is now.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 20 October 2010, Official Report, columns 319-22WH, if he will introduce a mechanism to secure at least the present level of funding allocated to S4C after 2016. 
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer to Question 15057, if he will direct the accounting officer of his Department to examine the appropriateness of the UK Film Council's contract with Portland.  [Official Report, 17 November 2010, Vol. 518, c. 7-8MC.]
Portland has advised that it did not carry out any public affairs work for the UKFC, but did assist with media support, and for the purpose of transparency, listed the UKFC on its Advocate Policy and Public Affairs Consulting (APPC) client list.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary General of the United Nations on the worldwide incidence of anti-Semitism; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Mr Jeremy Browne: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed the worldwide incidence of anti-Semitism with the Secretary-General of the United Nations recently. But combating all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, is an important part of the Government's human rights agenda. Internationally, Ministers and officials support work to tackle anti-Semitism within the EU, the UN, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other multilateral fora.
The Government support the All Party Parliamentary Group Against anti-Semitism and its work to promote efforts by governments and parliamentarians to combat anti-Semitism through implementing the London Declaration, adopted at the London Conference in February 2009.
The cross-Government working group to tackle anti-Semitism, made up of officials from across Whitehall and the chief executives of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, is engaged in taking forward the provisions of the London Declaration. We look forward to the second Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism in Ottawa in November as an opportunity for all participants to assess the progress that they have made around the world. Sir Andrew Burns, the UK Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, will be representing the Government at the conference.
Mr Jeremy Browne: Journalist and community leader Rodolfo Maya Aricape was murdered on 14 October 2010 in Caloto, Cauca Province. Mr Maya was secretary of the local indigenous council and worked on the Payumat radio station where he reported on conditions in his community. On 21 October the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the killing and called on the Colombian authorities to investigate the case and punish the perpetrators. Vice-president Angelino Garzón condemned the murder of Mr Maya and made a statement that the Colombian Government would not tolerate such violent acts and denounced the activities of illegal armed groups. He called on the authorities to promote democracy and fight organised crime. We will continue to monitor this case.
Jim McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the killing of three children near Tame in Arauca province, Colombia on 14 October 2010. 
Our embassy in Bogota reports that on 14 October three children aged six, nine and 14 were allegedly tortured and murdered in Tame, Arauca Province. The children's bodies were found buried in two separate graves located 100 metres from a local military camp. The Colombian army issued a public statement to make clear that it does not tolerate such violent acts and asked the Attorney-General's office and the Public Ministry to investigate. The initial investigation found traces of blood on the rucksacks of 60 soldiers. On 2 November, seven military personnel, including two colonels, a major and a lieutenant were dismissed for failure to control troops in their command. The dismissed officers will now face charges relating to these murders in a civilian court. Our embassy in Bogota will continue to monitor the investigation and raise it with the Colombian Government should it prove necessary.
Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of alleged collaboration between members of the Colombian Army and paramilitary organisations in the area of San Jose de Apartado in north west Colombia. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We are aware of the vulnerability of the San Jose de Apartado community. An official from our embassy in Bogota visited San Jose de Apartado on 13 and 14 October and met 50 members of the community. They raised the alleged collaboration between the army and paramilitary groups. Officials at our embassy have subsequently raised these concerns in meetings with the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman and a general in the local brigade of the Colombian army.
Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will consider the merits of revising his Department's travel advice to advise against travel to the provinces of Arauca and Narino. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice is based on objective assessments of the risks to British Nationals. Our travel advice on Colombia is kept under constant review and updated regularly. We base our advice on information received from our embassy in Bogota, members of the public and our local knowledge of the area. The safety of British travellers remains the FCO's main concern.
We advise against all but essential travel to the area of Arauca because of guerrilla activity and the presence there of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Most recently, on 28 October, two policemen were killed by FARC guerrillas.
We advise against all but essential travel to Narino department. The eastern and western areas of Narino are identified in the crime section of our Travel Advice as areas of potentially high levels of coca cultivation. Narino department has been affected by various FARC attacks in the last three months, most recently on 18 October
in Roncadora where seven members of the military were killed. In addition, we strongly advise any travellers to the department of Narino to bear in mind the eruption of the Galeras Volcano on 25 August and recommend that they pay careful attention to all warnings issued by and to follow the advice of the local authorities.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his overseas counterparts on steps to prevent human trafficking across international borders. 
There have been no recent bilateral discussions with overseas counterparts on human trafficking. However, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I met with the UNHCR high commissioner, Antonio Guterres, to discuss the issue.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will revoke the Order in Council of 2004, which overturned the High Court judgment of 3 November 2000, in respect of the settlement of Chagossians to the Chagos Islands. 
The decision of the House of Lords in R (Bancoult) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs  UKHL 61 upheld the validity of these Orders. This means that no person has the right of abode in the British Indian Ocean Territory or the right to enter the Territory unless authorised.
The Government realise that the decision not to change the fundamental policy on resettlement, compensation and on the Marine Protected Area will be a disappointing one for the Chagossians and their supporters. However, we want to keep channels of communication open with the Chagossian community. I made this clear to Mr Olivier Bancoult of the Chagos Refugees Group when we met on 21 October.
Alistair Burt: Hamas is physically, militarily and economically in control of Gaza and is increasingly using its rule to impose a reactionary social agenda. Their only significant challenge comes from even more extreme groups.
We believe that the best way to lessen Hamas' control is through promoting the economic revitalisation of Gaza and pressing for significant progress in a negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
We are also pressing the Israelis to ease restrictions on Gaza, enable the private sector to flourish, including through exports and the movement of people, and to press for a roll-over of the settlement moratorium which would allow direct talks to continue.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that the EU Partnership and Co-operation Agreement with Turkmenistan is not ratified until greater protection for human rights and legal protections for religious minorities in that country are secured. 
Mr Lidington: Turkmenistan's progress on human rights will form an important component of any UK decision to ratify the EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Co-operation Agreement. Our priority is to support Turkmenistan in becoming a stable and prosperous partner for the UK and EU, and we stand ready to support their plans for democratic and wider reform.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his assessment is of the effects of electoral violence in Uganda on the (a) humanitarian situation in Uganda and the Great Lakes Region, (b) African Union peacekeeping in Somalia, (c) war against the Lords Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic and (d) prospects for a peaceful referendum in Southern Sudan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Bellingham: We assess that Uganda is playing a positive role in the region through its peacekeeping deployment to Somalia, progress on economic regional integration within the East Africa Community and co-operation with other countries affected by the Lord's Resistance Army.
We judge that peaceful elections in Uganda in February 2011 would support further constructive Ugandan engagement with its neighbours and regional partners. In addition, it would support the further development of the country and the further improvement of the humanitarian situation in the north. Of course, any violence around the electoral process could undermine these objectives. Therefore the UK is working with support key institutions in Uganda, including the Electoral Commission, Government and opposition parties and police force, to support elections that are as credible and peaceful as possible.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2010, Official Report, column 257-8W, on
UN Women, whom the UK (a) nominated and (b) supported for the post of Head of UN Women. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: During the negotiations to establish UN Women, the EU agreed that the first person to fill the Under Secretary-General post should be from a developing country, and that we should encourage developing countries to put forward their own candidates. Because of this, the UK did not nominate a candidate.
The appointment of the Under Secretary-General, like other Under Secretary-General positions within the UN Secretariat, is at the discretion of the Secretary-General. He did not approach member states for their views.
The UK fully supports the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the Under Secretary-General to head UN Women. We look forward to working closely with her as she shapes UN Women's vision and workplan in the coming months.
Mr Jeremy Browne: We enjoy a productive working relationship with the Venezuelan Government and work closely in areas of mutual interest, including counter narcotics and commercial interests. The UK and Venezuela share goals in poverty reduction, fairer societies and the importance of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Home Office Minister for crime prevention the Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire) met the Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister Temir Porras on 1 October during his visit to Venezuela. He took the opportunity of this meeting to reiterate our shared responsibility with Venezuela on matters of immigration and the fight against drugs trafficking.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) treaties and (b) co-operation agreements exist between the UK and Venezuela; when each such agreement was signed; who the signatories were; when each such agreement will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The information is not immediately available in the form requested. I shall write to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West with the details he seeks shortly and will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
For example, we were concerned by the disturbing images in recently released video footage depicting serious abuse by the Indonesian security forces. We have raised our concerns with the Indonesian authorities and welcome their prompt announcement that there will be a full investigation and that those military officers found to be responsible will be held to account. We will keep in close contact with the Indonesian Government on this issue.
Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding to meet staff redundancy costs was identified in his Department's settlement letter in respect of the comprehensive spending review. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: All pressures on the Department for International Development's (DFID's) budget were taken into account as part of the spending review and the settlement allocated accordingly. The full costs of redundancies will be met from within DFID's spending review resource DEL settlement.
Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what estimate he has made of the number of redundancies arising from the spending reductions proposed in the comprehensive spending review in respect of (a) his Department, (b) its non-departmental public bodies and (c) other public bodies which are dependent on his Department for funding; 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: Determining optimal work force reforms in order to live within the Department for International Development's (DFID's) spending review resource DEL settlement will be an ongoing process. Detailed decisions regarding the number of redundancies that may be required have yet to be finalised.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff of his Department have been offered enhanced early retirement packages in each of the last three years. 
Mr Duncan: The number of staff in the Department for International Development (DFID) who were offered early retirement packages under the provisions of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme in each of the last three financial years is as follows.
|Financial year||Number of staff|
There are no staff from the Department for International Development (DFID) on secondment to UN Women. UN Women will become operational by January 2011 and is currently considering its staffing requirements. DFID is in close touch with the management team on any help they might need, but no decision has yet been taken on any secondments.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answers of 26 October 2010, Official Report, columns 292-93W, on developing countries: politics and government, how much and what proportion of the increase in official development assistance targeted at conflict affected and fragile states announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review will be drawn from the budget for (a) his Department, (b) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (c) the Ministry of Defence and (d) the Conflict Pool settlement. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: The proportion of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) used to support fragile and conflict affected states and tackle the drivers of instability will rise from 22% in 2010/11 to 30% in 2014-15. This is expected to amount to £3.7 billion in 2014-15. The vast majority of this is expected to be funded from the Department for International Development's (DFID's) budget. The remainder will come from the Conflict Pool settlement, which is jointly managed by DFID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as well as from ODA managed by a range of Government Departments, including the FCO and MOD. My Department is in communication with other Government Departments to determine precise contributions from each and will continue to work with colleagues across Whitehall to ensure the target is achieved.
Mr Gibb: Existing schools with a religious designation that convert to become academies will be able to retain their admission arrangements, including where those schools give priority to applicants on the basis of their faith. Any school converting, whether or not it has a faith designation, will be able to retain admission arrangements that select on the basis of ability or aptitude.
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what criteria were used to determine which schools rebuilding programmes in Bolton would not go ahead under the Building Schools for the Future scheme. 
Mr Gibb: On 5 July the Secretary of State announced a stop on expenditure on the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme until a more efficient use of resources has been determined. The criteria for determining which school projects within the programme are to continue were national. There were no criteria specific to Bolton.
those in a local authority area's initial BSF scheme where Financial Close has been reached;
the first projects due to be taken forward in a local authority area where Financial Close has not been reached but where very significant work has been undertaken, to the point of appointing a preferred bidder at close of dialogue; and
some schools with planned projects subsequent to their authority's initial scheme-projects with outline business cases approved before 1 January 2010.
The following Bolton schools have had their BSF funding stopped as they do not fit into the three aforementioned categories: Bolton Muslim Girls School, Ladybridge High School, Little Lever Specialist Language College, Rumworth Special School, Sharples School, Smithills and Westhoughton High. Kearsley Academy's capital allocation will be determined after the comprehensive spending review as announced by the Secretary of State on the 6 August.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) prefix and (b) title is of each file on Clauses 11 to 14 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill of Session 2009-10 held by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gibb: PSHE embraces a large number of topics including sex education, drugs and alcohol, financial capability, health and safety and work-related learning. The Department has files on all of these as well as on general PSHE policy and parliamentary business.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the URL is of each website managed by (a) his Department and (b) each non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible. 
Michael Gove: The Department for Education is currently responsible for managing 11 websites. The URLs for these are shown at list A. A number of these were subsumed within the revised Department for Education website when it was launched last month.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the nature was of the grant awarded under the terms of the contract between his Department and (a) the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and (b) the Youth Sport Trust; and whether the letting of these contracts was subject to the provisions of the Public Procurement Regulations 2006. 
Mr Gibb: The grant awarded by the Department to SSAT for 2010-11 is £14,368,018 and is mainly to support the Specialist Schools and the Academies programmes. The grant awarded to YST for 2010-11 is £15,212,000 and is to support a range of PE and sports programmes. Grants are not subject to the 2006 Public Procurement Regulations.
Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what account will be taken of the evidence gathered as part of the previous Government's consultation on education funding in (a) the consultation on the pupil premium and (b) future decisions on the wider funding formula. 
Mr Gibb: We published our proposals for school funding in 2011-12, including the introduction of the pupil premium, on 26 July 2010. Those proposals took into account the evidence gathered as part of the previous Government's review of school funding. We plan minimal changes to the underlying system for 2011-12 in order to ensure the transparent introduction of the premium. We also made clear our longer term intention to bring in a simpler and more transparent funding system to help reduce the funding differences between similar schools in different areas. We will work with key partners to consider how best to bring this about and will take into account relevant evidence including that from the previous Government's review.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what assessment he made of the merits of allocating responsibility for the provision of advice to groups wishing to establish free schools to officials in his Department prior to taking the decision to allocate this responsibility to the New Schools Network; 
Mr Gibb: The Department is finalising a grant agreement (rather than a contract) with New Schools Network (NSN) to provide advice to groups wishing to establish free schools. Having taken advice from officials, we have agreed that NSN was ideally placed to undertake such activities.
Mr Gibb [holding answer 19 October 2010]: The Government believe that learning a language is important to the social and economic future of the country and to help children understand the world in which they live. We will be announcing more details about a review of the National Curriculum later this year. This review will consider the status of languages at both primary and secondary level. 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.
On 6 September, in a speech at Westminster Academy, the Secretary of State announced an English Baccalaureate, to include a modern or ancient language as one of the core academic subjects that children should learn at GCSE level, along with English, maths, science and a humanity subject.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the recommendations relating to his Department of the report by the Government Office for Science, Foresight on Mental Capital and Wellbeing; if he will ensure that his Department's policy development process takes account of psychological research into subjective well-being; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather [holding answer 21 October 2010]: The Foresight Report "Mental Capital and Wellbeing: Making the Most of ourselves in the 21st century", published on 22 October 2008, contained many key messages around the needs of children which are important for this Department, including its conclusions and broad recommendations relating to child development and learning, children with learning difficulties, and those with mental health needs.
There is a breadth of work taking place across the Department for Education which will drive these priorities forward, including the SEN and Disability Green Paper. The Department is also working closely with the Home Office on the development of a new drug strategy, and the Department of Health on NHS reforms, a Public Health White Paper and a new mental health strategy. The Government will also be keen to reflect on the findings of some key, related work being carried out through the independent review of early intervention by the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Mr Allen) and Dame Claire Tickell's independent review of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department provides funds to primary schools in (a) deprived communities and (b) other areas to promote engagement with universities. 
Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what progress has been made in establishing an advisory group on the effect of the Academies Act 2010 on funding provision for children with low-incidence special educational needs; and what the names are of the members of the group. 
Mr Gibb: DFE is reviewing how academies are funded from 2011-12 onwards to identify the scope for simplifying the funding process and as part of this, we will consider funding for SEN pupils. This includes consideration of the funding academies receive for functions previously undertaken by local authorities, and of the way in which funding is deducted from local authorities to take account of this. The School Funding Implementation Group, including both local authority and academy representation, is providing advice into this review.
The Department has established an advisory group to consider the process by which special schools may become academies, to identify any practical issues in this process, and to advise the Department as to how these may be resolved. The members of the group are as follows:
Heather Rockhold (Lauriston School)
Royston Halford (Hawkley Hall High School)
David Gregory (Fosse Way School)
Sue Bourne (The Avenue School)
Kay Bedford (Swiss Cottage School)
Malcolm Reeve (Columbus School)
Steve Roberts (St Vincent's School for Blind and Partially Sighted Children)
Toby Salt (Littlegreen and St. Anthony's special schools federation)
Sir Bob Balchin
Bob Freeman (ADCS nomination, Luton Borough Council)
Harriet Martin (LGA nomination, Luton Borough Council)
Claire Dorer (National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools)
Jolanta Lasota (TreeHouse).
Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what (a) monitoring and (b) assessment his Department has undertaken of the effect of (i) existing and (ii) new academies on education services for children with low-incidence special educational needs. 
Mr Gibb: DfE is reviewing how academies are funded from 2011-12 onwards to identify the scope for simplifying the funding process and, as part of this, we will consider funding for SEN pupils. This includes consideration of the funding academies receive for functions previously undertaken by local authorities, and of the way in which funding is deducted from local authorities to take account of this. The School Funding Implementation Group, including both local authority and academy representation, is providing advice into this review.
The YPLA is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the terms of Academy Funding Agreements-which contain obligations in relation to the provision of services
for academy pupils with SEN. The Model Funding Agreement has recently been strengthened to give the Secretary of State the power to intervene specifically in relation to the delivery of SEN obligations and the YPLA will, therefore, advise the Secretary of State of circumstances where that power should be used.
On 10 September the Minister of State for Children and Families invited views from everyone with an interest in services for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities in England. All views and perspectives received will be considered as part of developing proposals for a Green Paper on SEN and disability to be published this autumn.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to raise the standard of science and mathematics teaching; and if he will allocate funds for the purpose of raising the standard of such teaching in North Swindon constituency. 
Mr Gibb: We have announced our intention to review the national curriculum to restore it to its original purpose-a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines. We will consider the content of the mathematics and science curriculum as part of this process and will announce more details about this review later in the year. We will also set out our proposals for improving standards in mathematics and science in the White Paper later this year, and as part of the follow up to the comprehensive spending review. The Government are committed to recruiting more high quality graduates into teaching, and the forthcoming White Paper will also outline the Government's plans for ensuring the right supply of specialist teachers in physics, chemistry and mathematics, as well as improving the skills of those already in the classroom. In July this year, we announced an additional £4 million to expand the Teach First programme, which will support Teach First to increase the number and quality of applicants to the programme, including those from a mathematics and science background.
Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward proposals to create a new form of National Insurance credit to assist stay-at-home parents who would have otherwise qualified for national insurance credits whilst receiving child benefit. 
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely effects of an increase in non-dependent deductions on the number of new households formed; and if he will make a statement. 
Households are formed and stay together for a number of factors, including non-financial reasons, and the Department has not been able to estimate the impact that higher rates of non-dependant deductions would have on non-dependant mobility or household formation.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what impact assessment his Department prepared prior to the decision to transfer direct control of council tax benefit to local authorities. 
Steve Webb: The Chancellor set out the overall impact on individuals of the benefit and tax credit changes announced in spending review 2010. The precise impacts of the localisation of council tax benefit will depend on the flexibilities given to local authorities and the choices made by them. The Government are working to develop the new arrangements and will publish the detailed impact assessment when legislation is introduced.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he had with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities prior to his decision to transfer direct control of council tax benefit to local authorities. 
Steve Webb: The need to reform housing benefit and council tax benefit was discussed with the associations (including COSLA) that represent local authorities as part of the consultation process on Supporting People into work: the next stage of Housing Benefit reform. The proposal announced in the spending review was not formally discussed with the associations but COSLA and the other associations will be given the opportunity to contribute their views as the new arrangements are developed.
Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people resident in (a) Bethnal Green and Bow and (b) Tower Hamlets were in receipt of council tax benefit on the latest date for which figures are available. 
1. From February 2007, DWP has been collecting more detailed HB/CTB data electronically from local authorities. Over time this will improve the accuracy, timeliness and level of detail available in the published statistics, as the information supplied is quality assured.
2. Council tax benefit caseload and average weekly amounts are available at local authority area level and these are published on the Department's website at:
3. At present geographic breakdowns are only available for local authorities and regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data: this will include parliamentary constituencies.
1. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Council tax benefit figures exclude any single adult rebate cases.
4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and July 2010 is the latest available.
Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE).
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on those who live in residential care homes of his proposals to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from such people; what representations he has received on his proposals; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: People who live in state funded residential care homes will cease to be paid the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) after 28 days. While these residents will not be paid DLA, they will retain an underlying entitlement to the benefit and it will be reinstated if they leave the care home providing they continue to satisfy the conditions of entitlement. The planned implementation date is October 2012. The change will not apply to residents who meet the full costs of the care home themselves; they will continue to be paid any care or mobility components of disability living allowance they are entitled to. The change will affect around 60,000 people.
Local authority contracts with care homes cover services to meet all a resident's assessed needs, including any assessed mobility needs, so an individual's care support and mobility needs should be met by residential care providers from social care funding. This measure will remove an overlap of public funds while ensuring that resources continue to be targeted at disabled people with the greatest needs.
We have received representations in the form of parliamentary questions and correspondence since the measure was announced. The measure will be introduced as part of the forthcoming Welfare Reform Bill. In line with the Department's commitment to transparency, an equality impact assessment for Welfare Reform Bill measures such as this, will be published on DWP's website alongside the Bill in due course.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has paid in bonus or incentive payments to each company in delivering medical assessments for disability living allowance in the most recent 12 months for which records are available. 
Maria Miller: Atos Healthcare are contracted to provide the Department with medical services including assessments in connection with disability living allowance. No bonus or incentive payments have been made in respect of the medical services provided by Atos Healthcare.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many assessments for disability living allowance ATOS Healthcare carried out in the last 12 months; how many such assessments were appealed against; and how many such appeals were successful. 
We are unable to say how many assessments were appealed against or how many such appeals were successful. DLA appeals can be made against all decisions and the management information system of the Pension, Disability and Carers Service does not go to the level of detail that would identify those appeals specifically related to such assessments.
Department for Work and Pensions Management Information Statistics.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on Government policy on the use of pre-employment health questionnaires. 
Chris Grayling: It was a collective decision by the coalition Government to implement section 60 of the Equality Act 2010 from 1 October 2010, but there have been no recent discussions with ministerial colleagues on Government policy on the use of pre-employment questionnaires. Section 60 of the Equality Act 2010 places restrictions on when a person recruiting for work may make inquiries about an applicant's health or disability prior to the point of a job offer being made, or the applicant being placed in a pool of successful applicants to be offered a job when a vacancy arises.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people will be affected by the removal of the one-bed rate for 25 to 35-year-olds in each (a) region, (b) local authority area, (c) constituency and (d) broad rental market area; 
The Department published a document on 'Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12' on 23 July. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library. Based on this document, around 30% of housing benefit recipients subject to the shared room rate will lose their local housing allowance excess as their rents are below the local housing allowance rate.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effects on the local economy of reductions in entitlement to housing benefit in each of the next four years; and if he will make a statement. 
Steve Webb: On 23 July the Department published a document on 'Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12', which includes analysis at the local authority level, and a separate Equality Impact Assessment. A copy of the documents has been placed in the Library.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely level of availability of (a) two, (b) three and (c) four bedroom properties to local housing allowance claimants in each local authority after the implementation of the proposed benefits cap and restriction of local housing allowance to the 30th percentile. 
Steve Webb: The local housing allowance rates will be set at the 30th percentile of rents in each broad rental market area, ensuring that 30% of properties, for each property size, would be affordable under the local housing allowance arrangements.
The Department published a document on 'Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12' on 23 July, which includes a section on the impact of the housing benefit cap on the availability of accommodation for each broad rental market area. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department's impact assessment of changes to local housing allowance included in its analysis properties used by local authorities as temporary accommodation. 
Steve Webb: The impact document published on 23 July 2010 did not include properties used by local authorities as temporary accommodation. Housing benefit subsidy for people in temporary accommodation is considered separately to mainstream local housing allowance rates and reviewed annually.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of private rentals in each broad market rental area which are in receipt of local housing allowance. 
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of claimants of local housing allowance whose monthly allowance does not cover the cost of rental payments. 
Steve Webb: In August 2009, 48% of those receiving housing benefit under the local housing allowance arrangements had a shortfall in their rent caused by the customer's contractual rent being higher than the appropriate local housing allowance rate.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will exempt those recipients of housing benefit who are in employment from the proposed change in entitlement from the 50th percentile to the 30th percentile. 
Steve Webb: We have no plans to introduce exemptions for specific groups when we change the basis on which local housing allowance rates are set. We have provided a substantial increase in the discretionary housing payments budget which will allow local authorities to give additional support where it is most needed.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of housing benefit recipients who have also been receiving jobseeker's allowance for over (a) six and (b) 12 months. 
From February 2007, DWP has been collecting more detailed housing benefit and council tax benefit data electronically from local authorities. Over time this will improve the accuracy, timeliness and level of detail available in the published statistics, as the information supplied is quality assured.
At present, the management information needed to estimate durations on housing benefit has not been sufficiently quality assured; and, while information is collected on the number of claimants in receipt of a passported benefit, which includes income-based jobseeker's allowance, the total number of jobseeker's allowance claimants receiving housing benefit is not available.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in each ward in Oxford West and Abingdon constituency were in receipt of housing benefit of more than £400 per week in the last period for which figures are available. 
Steve Webb: The information is not available at the constituency level. At July 2010, our records show that in Cherwell, Oxford and the Vale of White Horse local authorities combined there were fewer than five households receiving housing benefit over £400 per week.
Single Housing Benefit Extract from July 2010. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 recipients.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in the private rented sector were in receipt of housing benefit or local housing allowance in each local authority area in England and Wales in each year since 2000-01. 
Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons claimants of Support for Mortgage Interest were given fewer than six days notice before the implementation of the reduction in the level of payments under that scheme. 
Steve Webb: The recent change in the standard interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest was announced in the emergency Budget on 22 June. The information was placed on the Treasury and the DirectGov websites. DWP officials also took steps to disseminate the information, including an article for InTouch (an electronic newsletter for key external stakeholders and claimant representative organisations), and a letter in July explaining the change to all DWP stakeholder groups which was followed up with a further letter on 31 August to let them know what the new standard interest rate would be.
We would not have been able to provide claimants with the actual details of the new rate until the rate was published by the Bank of England on 31 August, which only allowed a small window of time to inform claimants of the actual rate and its effect on their benefit entitlement. When the standard interest rate moved up and down, before being frozen at 6.08% in November 2008, exactly the same limited notification period would have arisen.
As cases are reassessed by the Department's computer systems, letters are usually sent out automatically to claimants advising them of the change. The system letters started going out around mid-September, in advance of the change on 1 October 2010. Mortgage direct interest payments are made four-weekly in arrears, so most claimants would have been informed around a month before their new interest payments was made.
Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent progress his Department has made in negotiations with mortgage lenders on averaging out mortgage rates under the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme. 
Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what rate he intends to increase the thresholds for the guaranteed credit and savings credit elements of pension credit after April 2011; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of such increases on the level of pension credit relative to the basic state pension in the next four years. 
Steve Webb: An uprating statement for 2011 benefit rates will be made in the House later this year and will include pension credit. The Government have committed to the "triple guarantee" for the uprating of basic state pension and in 2011 we will ensure the majority of those on pension credit will benefit from at least the cash increase in the basic state pension. There is a statutory requirement to increase the standard minimum guarantee at least in line with earnings each year.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made a recent estimate of the proportion of spending on (a) the basic state pension, (b) the savings credit and (c) guarantee credit which is received by each decile of the population. 
(a) Information on the proportion of benefit spending on basic state pension by income deciles is not available exactly as requested. Information set out in the following table shows the proportion of the expenditure on overall state pension (basic state pension and additional pension) by equivalised household income deciles on an after housing cost basis. Estimates are derived from the Family Resources Survey and are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain deciles and statistical variation across the years.
|The proportion of spending on state pension by pensioner income decile basic state pension and additional pension for pensioners on an after housing cost basis in Great Britain, equivalised, 2006-07 to 2008-09|
(b) and (c) Information on the proportion of spending on guarantee credit and savings credit by income deciles is not available as requested. Information set out in the following table shows the proportion of the expenditure on pension credit (guarantee credit and savings credit) by equivalised household income deciles on an after housing cost basis. Estimates are derived from the Family Resources Survey and are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain deciles and statistical variation across the years.
|The proportion of spending on pension credit by pensioner income deciles guarantee credit plus savings credit for pensioners on an after housing cost basis in Great Britain, equivalised, 2006-07 to 2008-09|
1. Estimates are derived from the Family Resources Survey and are based on a three year average to help take account of small sample sizes in certain deciles and statistical variation across the years.
2. Estimates are rounded to the nearest percentage point, so the deciles may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
3. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication 'Households Below Average Income' series.
4. The income of single pensioners are divided by 0.58 to take account of their costs relative to a pensioner couple household who have shared costs-this is known as equivalisation. The quintiles and deciles are derived using OECD equivalisation factors.
5. The Family Resources Survey is known to undercount receipt of certain benefits. This methodology assumes that this undercount is spread proportionally across deciles.
Take up of the guarantee credit pension credit was between 71% and 81% of those estimated to be entitled in 2008-09. The majority of pensioners in the lowest decile appear from the data collected in the Family Resources Survey to have an entitlement to pension credit but have not made a claim so pension credit expenditure on pensioners in the lowest decile is relatively low.
Pension credit recipients within the top four deciles generally have severe disabilities, which entitle them to disability benefits and premiums which increase their income to reflect the additional costs of disability. The breakdown of income takes no account of the extra costs of disability. In addition pensioner's income is
assessed independently of the wider household to establish entitlement to pension credit. No account is taken of the income of the wider household, whose income raises the household equivalised income to the higher deciles.
Mrs Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many married women eligible to claim a state pension on the basis of their husband's contributions did so in each year prior to March 2008 for which figures are available; how many such claims were successful; and what estimate he has made of the number of eligible married women who failed to claim. 
Steve Webb: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the following table. This includes married women who are entitled to some basic state pension based on their own national insurance contributions, which has been increased up to the level of the Category B pension using their husband's national insurance contribution record.
|Married women receiving a basic state pension based on their husband's national insurance contribution record (a Category B pension)-Time series: March 1995 to February 2008( 1)|
|Category B pension|
|(1) Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100% data is the preferred source when producing analysis. When WPLS 100% data are not available then sample data are used instead. WPLS state pension data are available from May 2002-prior to that sample data are used. (2) March 1995 to March 2002. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Numbers are based on a 5% sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation. Figures are rated in line with the WPLS total caseload. (3) February 2003 to February 2008 Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest ten. Source: March 1995 to March 2002: DWP Information Directorate 5% sample data.|
February 2003 to February 2008: DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100% data.
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with (a) management and (b) employees of Remploy; what plans he has for the future of Remploy; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: The Minister for Disabled People and departmental officials recently met with trade union representatives to listen to their views on the future of Remploy. We will continue to work with and listen to the views of the trade unions, Remploy employees and all those who have a close interest in Remploy.
The review of Remploy Ltd was in connection with its status as a non-departmental public body. The status of Remploy as a non-departmental public body also remains unchanged. In the light of the spending review settlement I can also confirm that the budget for Remploy Ltd remains unchanged.
Remploy continues to be part of the Government's programme of support to help severely disabled people into work. I do, however, want to look at how we ensure continued improvements in the service provided by Remploy to disabled people. I will continue to work closely with Remploy and other key stakeholders in order to achieve this.
We have received no recent representations specifically concerning the safety instructions on sky lanterns. However, BIS and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are aware of the broader safety concerns with these products. In August, BIS wrote to local authority trading standards services, asking them to make importers aware that some sky lanterns lacked full instructions, and encouraging them to get manufacturers to address this problem.
Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many calls the National Benefit Fraud Hotline received in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those calls were referred to (a) the Fraud Investigation Service and (b) Customer Compliance each year. 
Chris Grayling: Every call to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline is examined by the Department. Where there is enough evidence to indicate potential benefit fraud the case is passed to either the Fraud Investigation Service for further investigation or to our Customer Compliance teams in Jobcentre Plus who will scrutinise the relevant benefit claim and make adjustments to entitlements as necessary.
|National Benefit Fraud Hotline|
Information on the proportion of calls referred to the Fraud Investigation Service and Customer Compliance each year is not readily available. I will write to the hon. Member when the information is available and a copy of this letter will be placed in the Library.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of appeals proceedings against medical assessment decisions relating to disability living allowance in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Maria Miller: We are unable to provide the cost to the public purse of appeal proceedings against medical assessment decisions relating to disability living allowance (DLA). DLA appeals can be made against all decisions and the management information systems of the Pension, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS) and the Tribunal Service do not go to the level of detail that would identify those appeals specifically related to medical assessments.
| Note: Figures rounded to the nearest thousand. Source: Department for Work and Pensions-RDA60209, 60205 and 80123 reports Management Information Statistics.|
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department sought legal advice on its decision not to reappoint Ms Jenny Watson to the board of the Audit Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 2 November 2010]: Decisions about reappointments to the Board of the Audit Commission were taken in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' code of practice, which does not involve the seeking of legal advice about appointment decisions.
The Secretary of State decided to recruit by open competition new Commissioners to the Commission's Board to bring new private sector expertise and skills to help with the upcoming transition of the audit practice into the private sector. He has now appointed three new Commissioners with such experience to the board.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assumptions his Department has made on the rates of construction of new council dwellings in developing its proposed new framework for council house finance. 
Andrew Stunell: A self-financing settlement will provide all local authorities with sufficient resources to maintain their existing stock in a decent condition. It will also provide some capacity for local authorities to build new council homes, but that is very much a local decision for the authorities concerned.
Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 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. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government is a contributor to the regional development agency single pot. Population data were used as a factor shaping funding allocations to RDAs following spending review 2007 and before. Allocations to RDAs following conclusion of spending review 2010 will be determined shortly but are likely to be based on the levels of legal commitment and anticipated closure costs.
Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) officials of his Department on the future arrangements for handling of funds from the European Regional Development Fund by Government Departments. 
Robert Neill: We are currently considering the future arrangements for running European Regional Development Fund programmes in the regions, after the abolition of the regional development agencies. This has included discussions at ministerial and official level. We will make an announcement when the decision has been reached.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the preparedness of local fire authorities and the readiness of contingency plans in the event of industrial action. 
Robert Neill: It is vitally important that fire and rescue authorities have robust business continuity plans in place to deal with serious disruptive events. This is not only their statutory duty, but what their communities will expect. The current strike action in London highlights the need to have comprehensive plans in place.
The Government have taken a more proactive stance in assessing the effectiveness of business continuity arrangements in Fire and Rescue Authorities. A recent Audit Commission report concluded that these were
satisfactory. We will be working with the sector to reassess the position and I have asked the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser to monitor and report in the new year.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had meetings with public affairs companies working on behalf of West Midlands Fire Authority since his appointment. 
Robert Neill: Neither Ministers nor officials in the Department of Communities and Local Government have had any meetings with public affairs companies working on behalf of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authorities. Ministers and officials meet with MPs, councillors and Fire Authority officials on a range of matters from time to time. As the Secretary of State made clear in his press notice of 5 August, local authorities should not feel the need to waste taxpayers' money on professional public affairs companies to make representations to Government.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance he has issued concerning the status as unintentionally homeless of local housing allowance claimants who have (a) left their home, (b) accrued rent arrears arising from a shortfall between rents charged and allowance payable and (c) applied as homeless to local authorities. 
Grant Shapps: Chapter 11 of the "Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities", issued under section 182 of the Housing Act 1996, provides guidance on intentional homelessness. Chapter 11 includes the following:
"For homelessness to be intentional, the act or omission that led to homelessness must have been deliberate, and applicants must always be given the opportunity to explain such behaviour. An act or omission should not generally be treated as deliberate, even where deliberately carried out, if it is forced upon the applicant through no fault of their own."
"Generally, an act or omission should not be considered deliberate where: i) the act or omission was non-payment of rent which was the result of housing benefit delays or financial difficulties which were beyond the applicant's control;"
"An applicant's actions would not amount to intentional homelessness where he or she has lost his or her home, or was obliged to sell it, because of rent or mortgage arrears resulting from significant financial difficulties, and the applicant was genuinely unable to keep up the rent or mortgage payments even after claiming benefits, and no further financial help was available."
"An applicant cannot be treated as intentionally homeless unless it would have been reasonable for him or her to have continued to occupy the accommodation."
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