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15 Nov 2010 : Column 621Wcontinued
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to the use of prebiotics for the prevention of clostridium difficile in hospitals. 
Anne Milton: There is currently insufficient evidence to show that prebiotics offer benefits in a hospital setting to be able to make a general recommendation. We will keep this issue under review. A balanced diet is important to the well-being of all patients.
Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will ensure that death certificates reflect contributing factors in the death of people with (a) diabetes and (b) other long-term conditions. 
Paul Burstow: Information included by attending practitioners on Medical Certificates of Cause of Death (MCCDs) is an important source of data about the mortality associated with different diseases for clinicians, those responsible for planning and managing health services, and for the general population-both relatives of those who may have died and those who may be at risk of specific diseases. The Chief Medical Officer wrote to all medical staff working in the national health service in October 2007 to remind them that death certification is a significant responsibility for doctors and should reflect a careful consideration of all the events that led up to, and may have caused or contributed to, the person's death.
The Government's proposed reform of the death certification process will improve the quality and accuracy of MCCDs. Medical examiners, when appointed, will confirm cause of death in all cases not investigated by a coroner, regardless of form of disposal. Doctors completing MCCDs will be able to discuss cause(s) of death with an independent medical examiner, thereby improving the quality and accuracy of certification. Implementation of the reforms is due to commence in April 2012.
Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether dentists are to be represented on (a) the National Commissioning Board and (b) the Public Health Board. 
Mr Simon Burns: We intend to introduce legislation to establish the NHS Commissioning Board later this year. The Health Bill will set out further details about the membership of the Board and the process for making appointments. As set out in the White Paper 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS', the Government's intention is that the NHS Commissioning Board will commission dental services and it will therefore need to have access to appropriate clinical dental advice. The Government's proposals for establishing a new Public Health Service will be set out in a forthcoming Public Health White Paper.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the standard of nutrition provided to diabetics in hospitals; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Neither the Food Standards Agency nor Diabetes UK (formerly the British Diabetic Association) recommends special diabetic products for people with diabetes.
Since April 2010, it has been a requirement of a hospital's continuing registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), that service users are protected from the risks of inadequate nutrition and dehydration. The CQC will assess trusts against this requirement and have tough enforcement powers in cases where the proper standards are not being met.
Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of people with diabetes are participating in (a) dose adjustment for normal eating, (b) diabetes education and self-management for newly-diagnosed and (c) other structured educational programmes in (i) Crawley constituency and (ii) nationally. 
Paul Burstow: There are a number of national and locally developed patient education programmes available and a range of tools and guidance to help local services choose the best programmes to meet the needs of their local population.
In the Crawley area, there are two Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND) courses running per month, which means a provision for 20 patients per month to attend a DESMOND newly diagnosed course. Although not all courses are run with maximum capacity. Between April and October 2010, 86 patients attended in Crawley.
The Department does not collate information on the numbers of people participating in structured education programmes for diabetes.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when Ministers in his Department next plan to visit Jersey to discuss the implementation of the EU Food Supplements Directive and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the governments of (a) Jersey and (b) Guernsey on the implementation of the EU Food Supplements Directive and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations in their states; whether he has received an implementation timetable from (i) Jersey and (ii) Guernsey; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Policy responsibility for the Crown Dependencies lies with the Ministry of Justice. I understand that my noble Friend the Minister of State for Justice (Lord McNally) raised the implementation of the Food Supplements Directive and the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation with the Guernsey authorities, during his visit to the Island on 24 September 2010 and expects to raise the issue with the Jersey authorities in the course of his forthcoming visit there, as indicated in the answer given on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 508W.
Health Ministers have not had discussions with the authorities in Jersey and Guernsey and do not have any plans to visit Jersey at this time.
Departmental officials have had discussions with a range of groups to help progress this issue, including the food supplements industry in the United Kingdom, the Ministry of Justice, HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs and the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey.
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the per patient fee from his Department will be for GP commissioners following the abolition of primary care trusts. 
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" proposed that the commissioning budgets allotted to general practitioner consortia would include a maximum allowance for the administrative costs associated with commissioning. Consortia will be free to decide how to use this allowance to carry out commissioning activities. With the exception of this allowance, the consortium's commissioning budget will have to be used exclusively for the commissioning of patient care. The Department will announce later this year what the level of allowance will be.
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the debt held by primary care trusts (PCTs) will be passed on to GPs' practices once PCTs are abolished. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department is working with the strategic health authorities to address circumstances where primary care trusts (PCTs) owe money, with the expectation that any debt will be fully resolved by the end of 2012-13. The issue of PCT debt will be covered in further detail in the NHS Operating Framework for 2011-12.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the government of Jersey on the timescale for implementation of proposals that all manufactured herbal medicines in Jersey should be registered with the UK's traditional herbal medicine registration scheme. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State has had no recent discussions with the Government of Jersey on the herbal medicine registration scheme.
Following a meeting last year between Jersey and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency officials on the implementation of European medicines legislation, there have been ongoing discussions.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will review levels of meat consumption in hospitals for the purpose of improving public health; 
(2) whether he is taking steps to reduce levels of meat consumption for the purpose of improving public health. 
Anne Milton: Evidence on the relationship between red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk and the impact of a recommendation to reduce meat consumption has been considered by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) as part of a review on iron and health. It is anticipated that the SACN report on iron and health will be published towards the end of the year.
The Department will review its advice on meat consumption after considering the recommendations from the SACN report on iron and health.
Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many people received IVF treatment on the NHS in each year since 2000; 
(2) what the success rate of births using IVF has been in each year since 2005. 
Anne Milton: Information on the number of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment cycles funded by the national health service is not collected centrally by either the Government or the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
The following table shows the percentage of live births per treatment cycle started for each year from 2005 to 2008. This is based on data contained in the HFEA's register at 9 November 2010.
|Percentage of live births per cycle started|
Outcome data up to 31 December 2008 have been subject to the HFEA's verification procedure. Data returns for 2009 are not currently complete and are scheduled for verification by the end of October 2011 in accordance with the HFEA's normal procedures.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effects on quality of patient treatment of discontinuation of Novo Mixtard 30 insulin. 
Paul Burstow: Decisions about discontinuations of medicines are commercial decisions for the company concerned and the Department has in place well established guidelines to ensure that the effect of discontinuations on patient care is minimised.
The Department has been working together with Novo Nordisk to ensure that people affected by this change have access to the support they need.
The Department has not undertaken an assessment of the effects on the quality of patient treatment, following the discontinuation of Novo Mixtard 30 insulin.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the staff grades will be of nurses assigned to the proposed 111 NHS system; and what assessment he has made of the efficacy of using staff at such grades. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The most appropriate staff mix for NHS 111 call handling must be evidence based and reflect the needs of commissioners, which is why we are piloting the service. We will collect and publish evaluation
data from the pilots, which will be made available to commissioners. There will not be a centrally mandated approach to staffing NHS 111, and commissioners will be free to determine what is best for their patients.
In the NHS 111 County Durham and Darlington pilot, calls that are referred to a clinician are handled by a Band 5 nurse or paramedic. The service also requires a level of clinical supervision at all times, which is provided by Band 6 nurses.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS bodies his Department requires to produce (a) annual reports and (b) other publications; if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of such publications in each of the last three years; and if he will take steps to reduce the number of such publications. 
Mr Simon Burns: All national health service bodies are required by primary legislation to produce annual reports and accounts in the interests of public and parliamentary accountability. Details of costs are not collected by the Department.
The Health Act 2009 created a further duty on providers of NHS healthcare-whether they are NHS bodies or not-to publish an annual Quality Account. In the first year, 2009-10, some 200 such bodies published Quality Accounts, at an estimated cost of some £14,000 per organisation.
Also, the NHS Operating Framework currently requires primary care trusts, as part of their local accountability, to publish their performance against the vital signs indicator set and for 2010 -11 to publish with their partners how they are implementing the National Dementia Strategy.
The Department imposes as few reporting requirements on NHS bodies as possible while ensuring proper accountability by them and ensuring that they operate effectively, efficiently and economically. For example, Quality Accounts were designed and tested with NHS bodies, with a view to minimising the burden.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation he has undertaken on the future of the accident and emergency unit at North Manchester General Hospital. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State has undertaken no such consultation. Responsibility for local health services lies with the national health service locally. It is for local commissioners to lead and consult on any proposals for local service change.
This Government are committed to devolving power to local communities-to the people, patients, general practitioners (GPs) and councils, who are best placed to determine the nature of their national health services locally. The Government have pledged that, in future, all service changes must be led by clinicians and patients, not be driven from the top down. To this end, we have outlined new, strengthened criteria that decisions on NHS service changes must meet.
They must focus on improving patient outcomes; consider patient choice; have support from GP commissioners; and be based on sound clinical evidence.
NHS North West approved the assessment that the Healthy Futures reconfiguration met this criteria on 3 November 2010. The National Clinical Advisory Team report on Healthy Futures, provided as evidence for the Healthy Futures review, supported the clinical case for change and made recommendations to assess the options to centralise some services, including emergency care, on one site in the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. It is for local commissioners to consider the application of these recommendations locally.
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions his Department has had with representatives of opticians and optometrists on the introduction in England of a scheme equivalent to the Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme in Wales; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on (a) clinical outcomes, (b) value for money and (c) levels of patient satisfaction of introducing in England a scheme equivalent to the Primary Eyecare Acute Referral Scheme in Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: Departmental officials have regular meetings with representatives of the optical sector, as well as organisations representing service users and other professionals.
Health is a devolved matter. In England, our view is that local health communities are best placed to decide how to develop eye care services and improve visual health in ways that reflect local needs and circumstances. Currently primary care trusts perform this role. Under our proposed reforms, it will be for local commissioning consortia. The proposed NHS Commissioning Board will provide advice to consortia.
We will keep developments in other parts of the United Kingdom under review and will assess evidence that emerges about the clinical and cost effectiveness of the service models developed there.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many clostridium difficile infections were reported by Pennine Acute Hospitals (a) in total, (b) in those aged over 65 years and (c) that are trust apportioned in each of the last five years; and how many such infections have been reported in each such case in 2010 to date. 
Anne Milton: The information requested is shown in the following table.
|Clostridium difficile infections reported by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust|
|(a) Total cases (all patients aged two years and over)||(b) Total cases (patients aged 65 years and over)||(c) Total trust-apportioned cases (all patients aged two years and over)|
|(1) Not collected.|
(2) These data were not collected until April 2007; totals for this year (2007) are for April to December 2007 only.
(3) These data are for January to March 2010 only. The rest of the 2010 data will be published in July 2011 as part of the HPA publication plan.
(4) These data are published on a monthly basis and the 2010 data covers January to September 2010.
Health Protection Agency (HPA).
Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 8 November 2010, Official Report, column 159W, on smallpox: vaccination, what estimate he has made of the number of those personnel who were vaccinated against smallpox in 2005 who continue to work in a relevant frontline health position; and what plans he has to maintain the strength of the cohort of vaccinated personnel. 
Anne Milton: The strength of the cohort of vaccinated front line health workers to deal with any initial suspected or confirmed case of smallpox, if one were to occur, is based in part on the threat level outlined in the National Risk Assessment (NRA). The NRA is a classified annual assessment of the risks (accidents, natural events and malicious attacks) facing the United Kingdom over a five year period. Based on the current risk, there is no proposal to change the number of people currently in the cohort.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to improve the standard of Redcar and Cleveland Council's adult social care services; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Burstow: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has inspected this council and has identified the improvements that are needed.
CQC is working with the local authority to draft an improvement action plan, which will be supported by the Department's Deputy Regional Director (DRD) of Adult Social Care and Partnerships in the North East.
Recognising that safeguarding adults is a critical part of local authority service delivery, the North East Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, working with the DRD, has recently commissioned a report into safeguarding in the region.
Recommendations include agreeing a consistent criteria for establishing thresholds in relation to safeguarding adults. The DRD is supporting this further work with all 12 councils in the North East, including Redcar and Cleveland.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department makes available to British citizens intending to travel to Azerbaijan. 
Mr Lidington: Information for British citizens wishing to travel to Azerbaijan is made available through the travel advice pages of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website:
Travel advice for Azerbaijan is updated regularly. The advice currently states that we advise against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the militarily occupied area surrounding it. The travel advice was last updated on 21 October 2010 following a change in the Azerbaijani visa regime. Expert advice and practical support for UK business representatives wishing to do business in Azerbaijan is available from UK Trade and Investment.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what mechanisms are in place to ensure that the employment rights of domestic staff of diplomatic staff in the UK are upheld. 
Alistair Burt: Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 states that, without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of all diplomats 'to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State'. This includes employment laws. In August 2010, Protocol Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a Note to all diplomatic missions reminding them of their responsibilities with regard to the employment of domestic servants. Government Departments work together and with non-governmental organisations to monitor the employment rights of domestic workers in foreign diplomatic households in the UK.
Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the Government has objected to a proposed first reading agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in the last 10 years; in respect of which Directives the objections were made; and what the outcome of the objection was in each case. 
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold this information and to obtain it would incur disproportionate cost.
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support the enforcement of UN Resolution 1701 in respect of disarming Hezbollah. 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed UN Security Council Resolution 1701 with Prime Minister Hariri during his recent visit to the UK, underlining the need for Hezbollah to disarm to ensure the stability of Lebanon.
During my visit to Damascus in July, I made clear and firm representations to Foreign Minister Muallem in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. We are strongly committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701: this is the best means of achieving stability in Lebanon. I also raised the issue of weapons smuggling in Lebanon and underlined concerns about reports of Syrian facilitation of arms to Hezbollah. My officials continue to raise these issues at the highest level during our regular dialogue with Syrian counterparts.
The UN Security Council, under UK presidency, will be debating UN Security Council Resolution 1701 on 18 November, and will include discussions on the issue of Hezbollah arms.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the potential contribution of his Department's diplomatic networks to international efforts to assist street children. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK is committed to improving the situation of street children internationally. We work bilaterally, in multilateral forums and through programme work to promote and protect the rights of all children as set out in the UN convention on the rights of the child.
Globally our embassies are responsible for monitoring and raising human rights issues-including the situation of street children-in their host countries.
For example, in South Africa, our high commission in Pretoria is working to address the problems faced by street children by supporting the work of 'Umthombo', a South African charity for street children run by former street children, and in India we continue to encourage India to ratify and implement International Labour Organisation Conventions 138 and 182 relating to child labour. In Geneva and New York, our UN Missions work to promote and protect the rights of children globally.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the remit is of the desk officer for Women and Children's Human Rights in his Department; and what role that officer has had in his Department's recent work on child rights and street children. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Desk Officer for Women and Children's Human Rights in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for developing and driving forward our policy framework on women's and children's rights internationally.
This involves working closely with colleagues in London and in Posts to enable them to develop and deliver policies and initiatives on the rights of women and children overseas. This includes lobbying states to ensure full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the (a) charges against and (b) condition in detention of Ms Rozita Vseghi in Mashhad, Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We have raised a wide range of human rights issues with the Iranian Government, including the persecution of members of the Baha'i community. We have asked our embassy in Tehran to express concern about Rozita Vseghi, who is reported as being detained on a charge of spreading Baha'i teachings.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will have discussions with his Iraqi counterpart on protection for Christians in Iraq by Iraqi security forces (a) in their places of worship and (b) generally. 
Alistair Burt: In the wake of the attack on the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad on 31 October, the Iraqi Prime Minister called on the armed forces and the security forces to remain on maximum alert, and to exert maximum efforts to secure mosques, churches and all places of worship.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday 10 November and raised the issue of Christians in Iraq. Foreign Minister Zebari confirmed that the protection of minorities was the responsibility of the Iraqi Government.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assistance his Department has provided to British citizens deported from Morocco to facilitate their return to that country. 
Alistair Burt: We are unable to interfere in the sovereignty of another country's immigration law in order to request that British nationals be permitted to return to Morocco. However our ambassador in Rabat and officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London have raised concerns with the Moroccan authorities about a lack of due process, which Morocco has committed to provide under its international obligations. We have received assurances from them that any further cases will be dealt with in a manner consistent with international consular obligations.
I will also use the opportunity of a visit to Morocco later this year to raise this issue with the Moroccan authorities.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens were deported from Morocco in the last 18 months; how many of those contacted his Department for assistance; and how many of those who contacted his Department have since returned to Morocco. 
Alistair Burt: We are aware of 16 British nationals who have been deported from Morocco in the last 18 months, all of whom have been provided with the appropriate consular assistance. There may be other British nationals who have been deported that we are not aware of. We would not be aware of the numbers who have since returned to Morocco as the entry to Morocco is a matter for the Moroccan authorities. However, it is not unusual for countries to refuse re-entry if an individual has been deported.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assistance his Department has provided to British citizens deported from Morocco. 
Alistair Burt: On 6 July I met a group of the British nationals expelled from Morocco to discuss their concerns, and I will raise the matter with my counterparts when I visit Morocco later this year. Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London have also met a number of those expelled. Our ambassador in Rabat and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in London have made representations to the Moroccan authorities. Consular officials from our embassy in Rabat have provided assistance to the group, including providing them with the contact details of English-speaking lawyers and helping them gain access to possessions they were forced to leave behind. We continue to monitor developments in this case closely.
Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding to meet staff redundancy costs was identified in his Department's settlement letter in respect of the comprehensive spending review. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently working on a revised Strategic Workforce Plan to determine the level of staffing it will need to deliver departmental priorities, while remaining within resources allocated in the spending review settlement. At present it is not possible to predict the outcome of this review. We hope to achieve any necessary reductions by means of natural wastage and voluntary early retirement. If any redundancies do become necessary, the full costs will be met from within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's spending review settlement.
Mr Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking at EU level to seek to secure progress on Turkey's application for membership of the EU. 
Mr Lidington: Turkey's accession to the EU is a key goal for the British Government, subject to the rigorous application of the accession criteria. We believe that Turkish accession would be to the wider benefit of the UK and EU, contributing to our security and prosperity. We work closely with our EU member state counterparts and with the European Commission in order to encourage and support progress in Turkey's accession process.
We work closely with Turkey, both bilaterally and at the EU level, to support progress in their domestic reform programme to meet the all requirements of the EU acquis. We also encourage Turkey's efforts to support the Cyprus settlement process, and call for Turkey to implement the Additional Ankara Protocol.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take in the UN Security Council to seek to ensure that human rights in Western Sahara are upheld; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The UK fully supports the idea of including human rights monitoring mechanisms in the territory and encourages the parties to take this forward.
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to take steps in the UN Security Council to seek to ensure that international media and observers are allowed access to El Aauin, Western Sahara to monitor the human rights situation in that area. 
Alistair Burt: The UK believes that transparency in the field of human rights is vital to building confidence between the parties. We will continue to work with other members of the Security Council and all parties to the dispute to promote this.
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether representatives from his Department plan to visit El Aauin, Western Sahara to assess the current political situation. 
Alistair Burt: Members of our embassy in Rabat regularly visit Western Sahara; although they have no plans to visit at this time.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had in the UN Security Council on the implementation of a referendum on the right to self-determination in Western Sahara. 
Mr Lidington: The mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was discussed and renewed for a further year in April 2010. The UK fully supports the UN process to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the recent violence in Western Sahara for the future of negotiations to resolve the conflict. 
Mr Lidington: We are encouraged that the scheduled talks between the parties have been able to continue. We call on all parties to continue to engage in this important process and to work together on confidence-building measures including family visits by air and road.
Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had in the UN Security Council on measures to prevent further deaths and violence in El Aauin, Western Sahara. 
Mr Lidington: We remain in close touch with members of the Security Council about developments in Western Sahara, a number of whom, such as the UK, have expressed concern at the violence.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of deaths resulting from violence in Western Sahara. 
Mr Lidington: The UK is concerned by reports of violence at the camps and in the town of Layounne and we are particularly saddened by reports of deaths. The exact circumstances are unclear but officials in Rabat and London are following the situation closely and remain in contact with the Moroccan authorities.
Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of trends in the political situation in Zimbabwe (a) since 2007 and (b) since the appointment of Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister. 
Mr Bellingham: The period from 2007 to 2008 saw a resurgence of hope in the run-up to the elections of March 2008, followed by a descent into uncontrolled violence before the second round of the parliamentary elections. After Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to withdraw in order to spare Zimbabweans further suffering, Southern African Development Community-sponsored negotiations between the political parties resulted in the formation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009.
Since then there has been significant economic progress. Inflation has reduced to single figures, goods are available, key services are restored and tax revenue is increasing. This year Zimbabwe's economy is expected to grow for the first time since 1997, with a forecast (IMF) of around 8%.
Progress on political reform has been slower although there have been some achievements. Earlier this year we were encouraged by the appointment of the Media, Electoral and Human Rights Commissions. Progress by the Commissions has been slow in the face of intransigence from hardliners. However we welcome the issuing of newspaper licences by the Media Commission, an essential element in preparing the conditions for credible elections.
There has been a considerable reduction in the severity and frequency of human rights abuses since the formation of the Inclusive Government. But we remain concerned about ongoing abuses, particularly around the rule of law and the hardliners' continued exploitation of their control of the security apparatus and judiciary for political ends. The recent constitutional reform process has shown that State actors still have a capacity for violence and intimidation.
Persistent intransigence from hardliners, including the recent unilateral appointments made by President Mugabe, led Prime Minister Tsvangirai to declare a 'constitutional crisis' last month. We share Prime Minister Tsvangirai's frustration and support him in his determination to remain in the Government. In the absence of a roadmap to credible and properly monitored elections, the Inclusive Government continues to offer the only credible means of transforming Zimbabwe and of delivering basic services to its people. But to succeed, it needs a clear commitment from all parties to work together to implement the reforms set out in the Global Political Agreement.
We will continue to engage with our international partners, including South Africa, in considering how best to work with reformers in Zimbabwe and the region, to improve prospects of reform and to prepare for credible and properly monitored elections.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate has he made of the average cost to the public purse of a day worked by a civil servant. 
Mr Hurd: The average paybill cost (including employer pension and national insurance contributions) per full-time equivalent per working day is estimated to be approximately £150 as at end of June 2010. The Cabinet Office does not hold information on other costs of employing a member of staff such as accommodation, heating and electricity costs.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) whether his Department has undertaken a recent value for money assessment of its participation in the Civil Service Live event; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with (a) Ministerial colleagues, (b) senior civil servants and (c) others, on the future of the Civil Service Live event; 
(3) what role Civil Service Live plays in his Department's most recent business plan; 
(4) what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the proposed Civil Service Live event in July 2011; 
(5) what recent assessment he has made of the benefits to the public of the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; 
(6) what plans he has for the future of his Department's support for the Civil Service Live event; and what budget he plans to allocate to it in each of the next three years; 
(7) what estimate he has made of the travel and accommodation expenses paid from the public purse in respect of the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; 
(8) what speakers there have been at each Civil Service Live event since its inception; and how much was paid in fees and expenses to such speakers in respect of each such event; 
(9) how many external consultancies or contractors his Department has engaged in connection with the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; and what the (a) average and (b) highest daily rate of pay in this period was in each such year; 
(10) how much income his Department has received from (a) private advertising and (b) other non-Government sources in respect of the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; and how much it expects to receive from such sources in respect of the 2011 event; 
(11) how many civil servants in his Department worked (a) full-time and (b) part-time in producing the Civil Service Live event in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(12) how much his Department spent on marketing and communications in respect of the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; 
(13) what the cost to the public purse of the Civil Service Live event has been in each year since its inception; 
(14) how much his Department has paid (a) Dods and (b) other third parties to organise and host the Civil Service Live event in each year since its inception; 
(15) what information his Department holds on the number of people who have attended each Civil Service Live event since its inception. 
Mr Hurd: Civil Service Live events are owned and managed by Dods (the publisher of Civil Service World). I have not had any recent discussions with ministerial colleagues or senior civil servants on the future of these events. The Cabinet Office has no plans to allocate any budget to Civil Service Live in each of the next three years and Civil Service Live does not feature in our business plan. The Cabinet Office has never paid Dods, or any other third party, to organise or host the events since their inception and neither has it received any income from private advertising or other non-Government sources in respect of these events. A small number of staff from the Cabinet Office supported particular elements of the events, such as workforce diversity and digital engagement, which were used to share experiences and highlight good practice.
With regard to costs, attendee numbers and benefits of Civil Service Live events, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 21 July 2010, Official Report, column 375W.
Mr Byrne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many civil servants his Department has employed on short-term contracts of each duration since May 2010; 
(2) what rules and procedures have been in place in respect to the awarding of short-term contracts to civil servants employed in his Department since May 2010; 
(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the advice he has received on the awarding of short-term contracts for staff employed in his Department since his appointment; 
(4) whether the Cabinet Secretary has approved the awarding of each short-term contract in respect of staff employed by his Department since May 2010. 
Mr Hurd: I refer the right hon. Member to the letter from Sir Gus O'Donnell to the hon. Member for Barnsley East (Michael Dugher) dated 10 November 2010. A copy of the letter is available in the House of Commons Library.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent progress he has made in extending the apprenticeship scheme. 
Mr Hayes: We are firmly committed to boosting the supply of apprenticeships, in particular at Level 3 and above, which is why one of this Government's first actions was to announce an additional 50,000 adult places for the 2010-11 financial year. This will take the total starts for apprentices of all ages to well over 300,000 this year. For future years we are increasing annual funding for adult apprenticeships by up to £250 million before the end of the spending review period. Therefore by 2014-15, this Government will have in place sufficient funding for 75,000 more adult apprenticeships places than were provided under the previous Government.
In this current public expenditure climate we must realise that expanding and improving the apprenticeship programme depends in no small measure on our ability to persuade a larger and more diverse range of businesses to employ apprentices. We are therefore reducing bureaucracy and making the system simpler for employers and are considering how we might better support employers through improved funding arrangements. Just this month, we joined forces with business leaders and the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS) to launch a new campaign to urge more employers to take on apprenticeships. Our future plans for apprenticeships will be set out in more detail in our skills strategy which we will publish shortly.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what mechanism his Department uses for the distribution of funding for adult apprenticeships between the regions. 
Mr Hayes: The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) operates a national system to fund post-19 further education and training, there are no regional allocations. Funding allocations to colleges and providers reflect the pattern of employer demand and funding is moved in year to reflect local need.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his most recent estimate is of the number of women enrolled on apprenticeships of each (a) type and (b) salary band in (i) the UK, (ii) the west midlands and (iii) Walsall South constituency. 
Mr Hayes: The following table shows the number of female apprenticeship starts by level for Walsall South constituency, west midlands region and England for 2008/09, the latest year for which full year data are available.
|Female apprenticeship starts by level and geography, 2008/09|
|Apprenticeship (level 2)||Advanced apprenticeship (level 3)||Total|
1. Figures for west midlands region and England are rounded to the nearest hundred. Figures for Walsall South parliamentary constituency are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures for advanced apprenticeships include a small number of higher level apprenticeships.
3. Figures are based upon the home postcode of the learner and on constituency boundaries which came in to effect in May 2010.
4. The figure for England contains a small number of apprenticeship starts where the postcode of the learner is outside England or where the postcode is not known.
Individualised Learner Record
Information on the pay of apprentices during their apprenticeship is available in a 2007 survey of apprentices' pay:
The average pay for a female apprentice was £147. Information is not available at sub-national level and is for England only.
Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the average additional lifetime earnings of those who complete an apprenticeship; when this figure was most recently calculated; and how many apprenticeships were available at that time. 
Mr Hayes: The most recent evidence suggests that, taking into account the cost of getting the qualification, people completing an apprenticeship at level 3 will, on average, earn around an additional £105,000 over their lifetime, compared to those with a level 2 qualification. Individuals completing an apprenticeship at level 2 will earn around an additional £73,000 over their lifetime, compared to those in possession of level 1 or level 2 qualifications.
This figure was most recently calculated in 2007, based on data up until 2005, and the full report-"A Cost Benefit Analysis of Apprenticeships and Other Vocational Qualifications"-can be accessed at:
In the academic year 2006/07 there were 184,000 apprenticeship starts.
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will discuss with Allpay the provision of wireless link broadband to remote rural areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey: £530 million of funding to support broadband roll-out up to 2015 is available. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) expects that a mixture of technological solutions including fixed, wireless and satellite will be required to meet broadband goals. BDUK would be happy to meet Allpay to discuss broadband provision. If the company gets in touch officials will arrange a meeting.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to roll out broadband availability to rural areas following the pilots in the three trial areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK is at present focused on delivering the superfast broadband pilots. It is, however, also progressing with the design of a process for the wider deployment of broadband across the UK, once the pilots have commenced.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to attract and retain global businesses within the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: Business's decisions to invest and remain in the UK are complex. The Government are committed to promoting growth by tackling the deficit, rebalancing the economy and creating the right conditions to support a private sector-led recovery. This includes:
Clear direction and certainty on deficit reduction.
Creating a tax regime that is the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20.
Creating the Office of Tax Simplification to provide the Government with independent advice on simplifying the UK tax system and improving our international competitiveness.
Getting the regulatory framework right and from 1 September, the groundbreaking new One-in, One-out system began.
Maintaining business investment by ensuring that our legal and institutional frameworks are fair, efficient and transparent and provide the necessary certainty for firms to conduct their business with confidence.
A reduction in the small business profits rate and the waiver for national insurance contributions for new businesses in most areas of the country.
Tackling real and perceived barriers faced by people wanting to start and grow a business including improving access to finance.
A key deliverer of the Government's drive to encourage foreign investment is UK Trade and Investment, the UK's national trade and investment promotion agency. UKTI leads on attracting high-quality, high-value investment to the UK.
Further details can be found in "A Strategy for Sustainable Growth" published in July 2010,
Other recent action to support these goals includes:
Creating high-quality transport infrastructure-over £10 billion over the spending review to provide new road schemes and to maintain existing roads; fully funding Crossrail and supporting improvements to the London Underground network; and £14 billion for rail improvements.
Investment in areas where public capital can generate returns-rolling out superfast broadband access across the country; a regional growth fund of £1.4 billion to support investment in infrastructure to promote growth; and investing £1 billion with additional significant proceeds from the sale of Government-owned assets to provide incentives for investment in the low-carbon economy through the Green Investment Bank; and
Delivering outcomes which support growth, skills and research-including £250 million extra funding compared to the previous Government for new adult apprenticeships; and maintaining the science budget in cash terms over the spending review.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish all correspondence between his Department and the (a) Copyright Tribunal and (b) Tribunals Service since his appointment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey [holding answer 4 November 2010]: There is no correspondence that we can trace between BIS, as a Department of State, and the Copyright Tribunal as an entity in its own right. Over the period in question there has been no correspondence between BIS and the chairman or the members of the tribunal. There is however correspondence between the tribunal secretary, who is an employee of the IPO-an executive agency of BIS-and the chairman and members. Most of this relates to individual cases, but I am putting the remaining correspondence in the Libraries of the House.
Correspondence between the Department and the Tribunal Service is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many members of staff were employed in the ministerial correspondence unit of his Department in the last two years. 
Mr Davey: There are currently 36 people employed in the ministerial correspondence unit at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of (a) the average annual number of working days lost each year because of depression and (b) consequent cost to the economy. 
Chris Grayling: I have been asked to reply.
While not having the specific figures for depression the Department for Work and Pensions estimates that around 60 million working days may be lost each year as a result of mental health conditions in general. The cost of this to the economy we estimate to be in the range of £2 billion to £4 billion.
We also support managers to help employees maintain mental health and well-being at work, for example the Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards and the Health Work and Well-being Co-ordinator network. There is also support available to managers who have employees who are in work and struggling or off sick-for example employment support in psychological therapy services and an occupational health advice line for small businesses. DWP also provide advice and funds for workplace adaptations for disabled people through the Access to Work programme.
For people with mental health conditions on benefits, there is support available from all DWP's employment programmes through both mainstream and specialist services. Jobcentre Plus advisers also have access to Disability Employment Advisers and Work Psychologists, and each Jobcentre Plus district has a mental health co-ordinator function, which develops practical links between mental health and employment services and provides intelligence to advisers.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department provides guidance to businesses on establishing employee share ownership schemes. 
Mr Davey: A range of guidance on employee share ownership schemes is available on:
the Government's free online business advice and support service.
In addition, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides a range of training services for businesses, including assistance in understanding and developing appropriate pay and reward systems such as employee share ownership schemes.
Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has for his Department's support for the Financial Inclusion Fund after 31 March 2011. 
Mr Davey: The Financial Inclusion Fund is funded by HM Treasury. This Department's interest is in relation to the administration and management of the Face to Face debt advice project, funded from the Financial Inclusion Fund.
The Government are actively considering, with industry, the most effective strategy for providing debt advice. At a time of significant fiscal pressure it is obviously important to ensure that future support is properly targeted and achieves value for taxpayers' money. Decisions on the future funding of debt advice will be taken as the implications of the spending review are worked through.
Mr Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if he will bring forward legislative proposals to increase the maximum penalty which may be imposed on those who misuse fireworks; 
(2) if he will bring forward proposals to introduce minimum pricing for fireworks; 
(3) if he will bring forward proposals to prohibit the sale of fireworks to the public; 
(4) if he will bring forward proposals to increase the maximum penalty which may be imposed for offences related to the sale of fireworks to minors. 
Mr Davey: There are no plans to revise the legislation relevant to the sale and use of fireworks.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the future of (a) reserves and (b) capital projects in higher education institutions funded from the public purse following his proposed changes to funding arrangements for higher education. 
Mr Hayes: Higher education institutions are autonomous institutions and it is for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to monitor their financial health and sustainability to protect the public investment in higher education. Since the changes to student finance in 2006, HEIs have benefitted from additional income of £1.3 billion and the financial health of higher education institutions has improved, including levels of liquidity. The public capital investment fund we will have available will be sufficient to meet existing contractual and legal liabilities. We will announce the precise level of funding including teaching grant and capital funding for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in its annual grant letter in December.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of school leavers in Wimbledon constituency in (a) 2005, (b) 2007 and (c) 2010 who did not subsequently enter higher education. 
Mr Hayes: Figures relating to the proportion of young people resident in Wimbledon parliamentary constituency who did not subsequently enter higher education (HE) are not available. As an alternative, the available information on the number of 15-years-olds from maintained schools in Merton local authority who did not progress to HE by age 19 is shown in the table. The figures will include some young persons who enter higher education at a later age.
|Estimates of the number of 15 -year- olds in 2001/02, 2002/03 and 2003/04 from maintained schools in Merton local authority area who did not progress to HE( 1) by age 19 in 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08|
|Academic year||Number not progressing to HE by age 19|
|(1) Includes those who progress to higher education courses at English further education colleges.|
Figures are rounded to the nearest five pupils.
The estimated number of 15 years in maintained schools in Merton local authority area was 1585 in 2001-02,
1585 in 2002-03 and 1600 in 2003-4
Matched data from the National Pupil Database, the Higher Education Statistics Agency Student Record and the Individualised Learner Record.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what locations (a) have been identified and (b) are being considered as locations for his proposed innovation centres; 
(2) what plans he has to consult (a) universities and (b) businesses on the location of his proposed new innovation centres. 
Mr Hayes: The network of technology and innovation centres will be established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board and will comprise existing regional development agency-funded centres which are excellent and a limited number of new centres. The choice of location for the new centres will pay due consideration to the location of critical mass of research expertise, and business capability without which we inhibit the exchange of know-how and tacit knowledge, as well as the development of active collaborations, which are facilitated by co-location.
The Technology Strategy Board will now work with industry, universities, stakeholders, and wider government to identify the priority areas, the scale of investment required and governance structure for the elite network of technology and innovation centres by April 2011.
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assistance is available to employees of companies that have ceased trading but have not registered as insolvent for the purpose of recouping unpaid wages and redundancy moneys. 
Mr Davey: Under the insolvency provisions contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Redundancy Payments Service of the Insolvency Service (an Executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) can make payment of unpaid wages from the National Insurance Fund (within statutory limits) to employees but only if the employer is legally insolvent as defined under the 1996 Act. Essentially, if the employer is a company, that means the company is in liquidation, administration or has entered into a company voluntary arrangement. If the company is not legally insolvent, employees can seek to recover the wages they are owed through the courts and they can ultimately petition the court to have the company wound up (liquidated), which would enable them to make a claim on the National Insurance Fund.
There are separate provisions under the 1996 Act in respect of statutory redundancy payments which enable the Redundancy Payments Service to make payment of redundancy payments to employees if either the employer is legally insolvent or the employee has obtained an award of a redundancy payment from an employment tribunal and the employer has failed to make that payment to the employee. Once a payment is made from the National Insurance Fund, the Redundancy Payments Service will seek to recover that payment from the employer, whenever possible.
There are no plans to extend the statutory scheme of payments beyond its present limits as this would encourage solvent employers to avoid their responsibilities in respect
of wages. The Redundancy Payments Service would also not be in a position to seek to recoup payments by means of a claim against the employer's assets, as it can in insolvency proceedings, and such a change could add significantly to public expenditure.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department and its predecessors spent on services provided by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr Davey: The Department, and its predecessors, have made the following payments to the Institute for Fiscal Studies:
Information for the 2004/5 financial year and earlier can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what remuneration members of the Local Enterprise Partnerships Advisory Panel will receive. 
Mr Prisk: I think that your question refers to the advisory panel set up for the regional growth fund, as there is no such panel for Local Enterprise Partnerships.
I can confirm that none of the panel members will receive any remuneration.
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will ensure that the awarding body Edexcel places the qualifications for the BTEC First Diploma and BTEC National Award in Vehicle Technology (Motorsport) on to the Qualifications and Curriculum Framework. 
Mr Hayes: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 11 November 2010, Official Report, column 483W. The two BTEC qualifications in Vehicle Technology for the Motorsports industry from Edexcel are due to be available on the Qualifications and Credit Framework by the end of this year.
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the introduction of a new international accounting standard on country-by-country reporting of profits made and taxes paid by multinational companies. 
Mr Davey: I have not had any recent discussions with my international counterparts on the introduction of a new international accounting standard on country-by-country reporting of profits made and taxes paid by multinational companies.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to increase trade between the UK and the United States. 
Mr Prisk: The US is the UK's largest single export market for goods and services, worth nearly £67 billion to UK exporters in 2009, or more than 17% of the UK's total exports to the world.
Through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), we employ 124 staff, in eight major cities across the US, covering the whole of the country.
Since April this year, our teams have helped over 1,420 British companies in the United States, with support including market research, introductions, promotional events and advice and help with market access. Our teams in-country, and around the UK have also held over 80 US focused events for UK firms-primarily small and medium sized companies. During the rest of this financial year we will support another 16 trade missions to the US, in important industry sectors including information and communications technology (ICT) and life sciences.
Additionally, this Department manages the "US Marketing Scholarships Programme", jointly sponsored by the Ellis Goodman Foundation, British Airways and UKTI. This offers British companies the opportunity to attend a one-week marketing course at a Chicago Business School followed by a placement with a US company. To date, this programme has helped over 300 UK companies to develop and refine their marketing strategy for the US market.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions there have been between Ministers and officials in his Department and governors, trade associations and industry representatives of constituent states in the United States; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my noble Friend Lord Brittan have both recently met senior representatives from the US Chamber of Commerce-including the CEO and Senior Vice-President.
My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities and Science (Mr Willetts) took part in a video link to the UK-US Higher Education Policy Dialogue meeting, which included representatives from the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and the American Council on Education.
The chief executive of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and other senior UKTI officials have recently met representatives from the organisation British American Business, including the CEO, to discuss ways in which his organisation and UKTI can work together to support
UK/US bilateral trade. Officials from UKTI have also recently met the Director of Invest in America, and the Governor of Virginia.
The Mayor of Atlanta will be visiting the UK later this month. His programme includes discussions with UK companies and UKTI officials.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has established processes to monitor any effects of proposed reductions in its expenditure. 
Mr Davey: BIS has well established processes for analysing, monitoring and evaluating the impact of its programme. These will continue to be utilised and we will work closely with delivery partners to monitor the effects of the reductions in spending and implementation of policy reforms.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with Royal Mail on plans to review supplier payment terms. 
Mr Davey: Royal Mail's procurement activities are a matter for the company. The decision to review its current contracts with suppliers was taken by the company as part of its drive to reduce its costs in the face of falling volumes of letters which have impacted on the company's revenues.
This Department receives regular updates from Royal Mail on its cost reduction activities.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the sale of assets. 
Mr Davey: Generally, decisions on the sale of assets are for Royal Mail provided that they do not impact on the security that backs the debt facilities Government have made available to the company. However, there are also restrictions in the Articles of Association that prevent the sale of significant assets without the Government's consent as Special Shareholder.
This Department receives regular updates on the proposed sale of assets made by Royal Mail.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with Royal Mail on the sale and leaseback of its property portfolio. 
Mr Davey: The management of Royal Mail's property portfolio is a matter for the company. This Department, however, receives updates about Royal Mail's activities in this area on a regular basis.
There are limits on what the company can do with its property because the majority of it acts as security for the debt facilities that Government have made available to Royal Mail.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support the space industry. 
Mr Hayes: This Department funds a range of European Space Agency programmes in space science and exploration, Earth science, telecommunications, navigation and technology. In addition, we support industry in export bids. This work is co-ordinated by the UK Space Agency which will be established as a full Executive agency of BIS from April 2011. The Department is also working closely with the space industry on the implementation of the Innovation Growth Team Strategy.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the number of places available on speech therapy courses at each college in (a) London, (b) Essex and (c) Hertfordshire. 
Mr Hayes: The following table shows the number of further education enrolments on speech therapy courses in London, Essex and Hertfordshire in 2008/09, the latest year for which full year data are available.
|Further education enrolments on speech therapy courses by geography in 2008/09|
|London region||Essex local authority||Hertfordshire local authority|
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. '-' Indicates a base value of less than five.
3. Government office region and local authority are based upon the home postcode of the learner.
Individualised Learner Record
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department provides to businesses who wish to form regional advocacy bodies for the tourist industry. 
John Penrose: I have been asked to reply.
The Government will place a strong emphasis on leadership by local tourism interests, in particular, local tourism businesses. This was set out in the White Paper "Local Growth: realising every place's potential" which was presented to Parliament on 28 October 2010.
Further details of the Government's position will be made available in a forthcoming tourism strategy paper, which we hope to launch in the new year.
Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many young people were recorded as not in education, employment or training in (a) the UK, (b) the north-east and (c) Redcar constituency in each of the last five years. 
Mr Hayes: Due to differences in the way separate UK countries define and measure the number of people not in education, employment and training we are unable to produce an estimate for the UK as a whole.
The number of young people not in education, employment or training in England is published by Department for Education (DfE) every quarter. The latest information can be found here and provides estimates for people aged(1)( )16-24, 18-24 and 19-24 years old.
The supplementary tables providing a regional breakdown of young people who are NEET is available at:
The following table provides estimates of the number and proportion of people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in the Redcar and Cleveland local authority in each year from 2004 to 2009.
(1) Age refers to academic age, which is defined as the age of the respondent at the preceding 31 August. Therefore those aged 16 and above will have completed compulsory full-time education.
|People aged 16-24 years-old not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Redcar and Cleveland local authority|
|Number NEET||Percentage NEET of all 16-24 year olds in Redcar and Cleveland||95% Confidence i nterval|
This information is from the Annual Population Survey, which covers the period January to December of each year, with 2009 being the most recent estimate available. The Annual Population Survey is the only available source of data with a sample large enough to provide local authority estimates of the number of young people up to the age of 24 who are NEET. However, the sample is not large enough to provide estimates for smaller geographies, such as parliamentary constituencies, or to provide local authority estimates for age ranges narrower than 16 to 24.
It is important to note that these estimates are subject to large sampling variability and should therefore be treated with caution and viewed in conjunction with their Confidence Intervals, which indicate how accurate an estimate is. For example, a Confidence Interval of +/-1,000 means that the true value is between 1,000 above the estimate and 1,000 below the estimate.
Jake Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many young people were recorded as not in education, employment or training (a) nationally, (b) in the north-west and (c) in Rossendale and Darwen constituency in each of the last 13 years. 
The number of young people not in education, employment or training in England is published by Department for Education (DfE) every quarter. The
latest information can be found at the following link and provides estimates for people aged(1) 16 to 24, 18 to 24 and 19 to 24-years-old:
The supplementary tables providing a regional breakdown of young people NEET are available at:
The following table provides estimates of the number and proportion of people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Blackburn with Darwen local authority in each year from 2000 to 2009.
(1) Age refers to academic age, which is defined as the age of the respondent at the preceding 31 August. Therefore those aged 16 and above will have completed compulsory full-time education.
|People aged 16 to 24-years-old not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Blackburn with Darwen local authority|
|Number NEET||Percentage of all 16 to 24-year-olds NEET in Blackburn and Darwen||95% confidence interval|
This information is from the Annual Population Survey, which covers the period January to December of each year, with 2009 being the most recent estimate available. The Annual Population Survey is the only available source of data with a sample large enough to provide local authority estimates of the number of young people up to the age of 24 who are NEET. However, the sample is not large enough to provide estimates for smaller geographies, such as parliamentary constituencies, or to provide local authority estimates for age ranges narrower than 16 to 24.
It is important to note that these estimates are subject to large sampling variability and should therefore be treated with caution and viewed in conjunction with their confidence intervals, which indicate how accurate an estimate is. For example, a confidence interval of +/- 1,000 means that the true value is between 1,000 above the estimate and 1,000 below the estimate.
Due to incomplete data, estimates for people not in education, employment and training are not available prior to 2000.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding his Department has provided to the Amateur Swimming Association in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Hugh Robertson: As the national governing body for swimming, the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) received the following funding from Sport England between 2008 and 2010.
This Department also gave the ASA £0.17 million in 2008-09, £5.8 million in 2009-10 and £2.7 million in 2010/11 for the recruitment of a network of county swimming co-ordinators and to provide free swimming lessons as part of the Free Swimming Programme that ran between April 2009 and July 2010.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether his Department plans to carry out a comprehensive mapping of Scotland's fibre infrastructure. 
Mr Vaizey: I have been asked to reply in my capacity as a Minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
This Department has made no such assessment. The Digital Economy Act 2010, which came into force in June of this year, gives Ofcom a new duty to report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) every three years on the UK's communications infrastructure. Ofcom has consulted on the scope of the first report which is due for publication in 2011. In addition, BIS is currently consulting on changes to the EU framework directive (Directive 2002/21/EC), specifically article 12(4) which allows for national authorities, including national regulatory authorities, to request information from companies to provide a detailed picture of the infrastructure in a member state.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what support his Department intends to provide to Milton Keynes council to address gaps in broadband provision in Milton Keynes; 
(2) what progress he has made on developing a broadband strategy for Milton Keynes. 
£530 million has been allocated in the spending review to support broadband roll-out throughout the UK up till 2015. No specific plans have been made for Milton Keynes or any other constituency although the Government have also announced the locations of
four super-fast broadband pilot projects. A national broadband strategy will be published before the end of the year.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had on public funding for the restoration of Crosby Hall since 11 May 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
John Penrose: No discussions with the Secretary of State, Ministers or officials from this Department have been held on public funding for the restoration of Crosby Hall since 11 May.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what consideration he has given to reviewing the composition of the (a) board of trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and (b) regional and national grant assessment teams; and whether he has any plans to appoint new trustees and new members of the teams. 
John Penrose: There are three forthcoming appointments to the Board of the National Heritage Memorial and Heritage Lottery Fund. Two of these will be advertised imminently and represent an opportunity to broaden knowledge of the heritage of the regions of England, further enhance expertise in the historic environment, and build on the board's understanding of how diverse communities can be engaged with heritage and culture. In addition, there will be a need for a new Trustee for Scotland when the incumbent stands down in March.
Members of the Heritage Lottery Fund's regional and country committees are appointed by the chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Applications have recently closed for chairs of the committees in the north-east, north-west and Yorkshire and Humber. Further opportunities across the regions of England, and in Northern Ireland and Scotland, will arise in the next 18 months, and will be publicised during 2011.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 22 October 2010, Official Report, column 886W, on newspaper press, what constitutes a formal meeting; and whether his Department holds records of other meetings. 
John Penrose: This Department holds no record of other meetings with Rebekah Brooks, James Murdoch or representatives of News International. Any meeting on official departmental business would normally be considered formal.
Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many public houses have closed in (a) Bury North constituency and (b) the north-west since July 2007. 
James Brokenshire I have been asked to reply.
Data on the number of licenses surrendered, lapsed, revoked, forfeited, suspended or withdrawn in the north-west region over the last four years are set out in tables which will be placed in the House Libraries. The data are not available broken down to constituency level.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the participation in commercial training activities of national sports governing bodies funded by his Department. 
Hugh Robertson: The Department has not received any recent representations about national sports governing bodies participating in commercial training activities.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) how many employees of UK Sport will be responsible for the promotion of (a) elite and (b) grassroots sport following its merger with Sport England; 
(2) what functions of UK Sport and Sport England are to be merged; 
(3) what mechanisms UK Sport will have in place to promote the interests of elite athletes in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland following its merger with Sport England; 
(4) whether UK Sport will have separate budgets for the promotion of (a) elite and (b) grassroots sport following its merger with Sport England; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) what the organisational structure of UK Sport will be following its merger with Sport England; and what elements of the structure will have responsibility for (a) elite and (b) grassroots sport; 
(6) what plans he has for the composition of the boards of (a) UK Sport and (b) Sport England following their merger; 
(7) whether he expects any redundancies to result from the merger between UK Sport and Sport England; 
(8) what arrangements UK Sport plans to make following its merger with Sport England to promote the interests of elite athletes in the Isle of Man who compete as UK athletes in international events. 
Hugh Robertson: The Government intend to merge UK Sport and Sport England into a single non-departmental body. We expect the merger to take effect in April 2013. The new body will incorporate the current functions of both UK Sport and Sport England, although we intend for there to be separate divisions for UK elite sport and English community sport, with distinct funding streams.
The new body will create a more unified, coherent and cost-effective structure for sport in the UK, bringing the bodies together in one location, maximising administrative efficiencies, and working in partnership with the Home Country Sports Councils. Sport England and UK Sport are already working closely together to plan for the merger and to identify administrative efficiencies in the light of the spending review settlement.
The new body will represent the interests of elite athletes across the UK. Athletes from the Isle of Man who compete as UK athletes will continue to be able to access world class performance funding, providing that they meet the required performance criteria.
We are currently finalising the governance arrangements for the merger project with UK Sport and Sport England, before we take final decisions on detailed issues such as the composition of the board or the precise organisational structure of the new body and potential implications for current employees. We are also working closely with our counterparts in the devolved Administrations.
We are intending to hold a Sports Cabinet, involving all of these parties, early in the new year.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many interns his Office has employed on a (a) unpaid, (b) expenses only and (c) minimum wage or above basis since May 2010. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: There have been no interns employed in the Deputy Prime Minister's Office since May 2010.
Priti Patel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer by the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office on 2 November 2010, Official Report, column 772 on prisoners' right to vote, when he expects to announce the steps he plans to take to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. 
Mr Harper: Ministers are considering how to implement the Hirst (No.2) judgment and will inform the House once a decision has been made. As I indicated to the House, the Government accept, as did the previous Government, that as a result of the judgment of the Strasbourg Court in the Hirst case, there is a need to change the law. This is not a choice; it is a legal obligation.