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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 18 November 2010

Culture, Media and Sport

Copyright

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will assess the merits of extending to 75 years the copyright protection period for recorded works which currently receive copyright protection for 50 years. [24669]

Mr Davey: I have been asked to reply.

Copyright terms are harmonised within the EU. The Government are not aware of current plans to extend
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the term for recorded works to 75 years and have made no such evaluation of the type suggested by my hon. Friend. The previous Government published an impact assessment on the proposal to extend performers' rights in sound recordings to a term of initially 95, but later to 70 years. This proposal is still on the table in Brussels.

Departmental Grants

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what grants have been awarded by his Department in 2010-11 to date; what grants he plans to award in each of the next two years; what the monetary value is of each such grant; and to which organisations such grants are made. [25040]

John Penrose: The first table shows grants (both capital and resource) that have been awarded by the Department in 2010-11, and those announced for 2011-12 and 2012-13. The second table includes those organisations where an allocation has been confirmed for 2010-11 but where further announcements have yet to be made.

£000
Grant Organisation 2010-11( 1) 2011-12 2012-13

National Coal Mining Museum of England

National Coal Mining Museum of England

2,794

2,707

2,657

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

2,847

1,918

1,893

Design Museum

Design Museum

424

328

257

National Football Museum

National Football Museum

105

0

0

People's History Museum

People's History Museum

173

168

164

Former Royal Naval College Greenwich

Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College

1,455

1,388

1,342

Chatham Historic Dockyard

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham

291

278

268

Restoration of the Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark Trust

0

3,000

0

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme

Groups occupying eligible Places of Worship

14,469

(2)12,100

(2)12,300

National Film and Television School

National Film and Television School

3,038

2,904

2,857

Strategic Commissioning Grants for Museum Education(3)

National Museums, Galleries and the British Library

1,885

0

0

British Chess Federation

British Chess Federation

45

0

0

Free Swimming-Grants for Under 16s and over 60s

Local Authorities in England

11,318

0

0

Free Swimming-regional co-ordinators and swimming lessons(3)

Amateur Swimming Association

2,684

0

0



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Grant Organisation 2010-11( 1) (£000)

DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund(3)

Museums and Galleries with eligible collections

5,682

Connections through Culture

British Council-China

100

Memorials Grant Scheme

Registered Charities and Faith Groups

500

Own Art-running costs of the art purchase scheme(3)

Art Co (trading arm of Arts Council England)

375

Take it Away-running costs of musical instrument purchase scheme(3)

Art Co (trading arm of Arts Council England)

625

Youth Mentoring-Music

Youth Music

322

Poetry Archive

Poetry Archive Ltd

120

Poetry Society

Poetry Society

11

Change4life(3)

Youth Sport Trust

750

Dancelinks

Arts Council England

50

UK School Games

Legacy Trust UK

725

Tourism for All

Tourism for All

15

International Inspirations(3)

II Foundation

1,600

Youth mentoring-Media

Media Trust

323

Tsunami Memorial

Tsunami Support UK (TSUK)

400

(1) Total value of the grants in 2010-11, planned or forecast.
(2) This sum is gross of administration costs for the scheme.
(3) These grants are fully or part funded by other organisations or Government Departments.

Digital Broadcasting: Television

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that all areas of the country have television reception of an adequate strength to participate in digital switchover. [25103]

Mr Vaizey: Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) coverage is planned to reach 98.5% of households-the same as pre-switchover analogue terrestrial coverage reception. The power of the digital transmitter network has to be restricted to low levels until switchover takes place, in order to avoid interfering with the analogue network. At switchover in a region, coverage and reception reliability will increase significantly when the power level is increased.

Scotland

Research Councils UK

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives from Research Councils UK; and what topics were discussed at that meeting. [24823]

Michael Moore: I have not yet had an opportunity to meet with Research Councils UK but have discussed research funding with Universities Scotland.

Wales

Broadband

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions Ministers and officials in her Department have had with Members of the National Assembly for Wales other than Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government on a proposed pilot in Wales for high speed broadband services. [24845]

Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State and I have had regular discussions with Ministerial colleagues, Welsh Assembly Government Ministers and with Members of the National Assembly for Wales on a range of issues affecting Wales including broadband.

My officials will continue to work with colleagues in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Welsh Assembly Government on ways in which we can together help deliver 21st century broadband infrastructure for Wales.

Education

Education: Children

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the uptake was of early education places for three and four-year-olds in each local authority by children of households in each (a) family income and (b) employment category in the latest period for which figures are available. [21426]

Sarah Teather [holding answer 4 November 2010]: Data on the take up of early education by three and four years by local authority area and by family income and employment category are not available.

The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents collects information on the take-up of the entitlement to free early years provision by three and four years by family income and by family type and work status and allows for national level estimates to be made.

Table 1 shows the percentage of three and four-year-olds receiving the entitlement to free early years provision by family income in England in 2009.

Table 1: Receipt of the entitlement to free early years provision, by family income-Base: All eligible three and four-year-olds
Percentage
Family annual income (£) Received free hours (or attended school)

Under 10,000

79

10,000-19,999

80

20,000-29,999

87

30,000-44,999

91

45,000+

95

Total

87


Table 2 shows the percentage of three and four-year-olds receiving the entitlement to free early years provision by family type and work status in England in 2009.

Table 2: Receipt of the entitlement to free early years provision, by family type and work status-Base: All eligible three and four-year-olds
Percentage
Family type and work status Received free hours (or attended school)

Couple families

Both working

91

One working

89

Neither working

76

Lone parents

Working

87

Not working

78

Total

87


Data on the take-up of free early education places by three and four-year-olds by local authority area are available in Table 5 of the Statistical First Release 'Provision for Children Under Five Years of Age in England-January 2010' at:

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department takes to ensure that the provisions of article 12 of the UN convention on the rights of the child are applied to all policies which affect young people. [13444]


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Sarah Teather: The Government believe that involving children and young people in discussion about services that affect their lives is likely to improve services and help in developing confident and responsible citizens.

The Department has engaged with children and young people through a range of channels including its Children and Youth Board; the Office of the Children's Commissioner; and key stakeholders from the children's sector.

Treasury

Aggregates Levy: Northern Ireland

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he plans to have with the European Commission on the reintroduction of the Northern Ireland aggregates levy credit scheme; and if he will make a statement. [23129]

Justine Greening [ holding answer 10 November 2010]: State aid approval for the aggregates levy credit scheme was due to expire in April 2011 and discussions had begun to continue the scheme until at least 2021.

However, as a result of the European General Court ruling of 9 September, that approval was annulled and continuing the scheme would have constituted illegal state aid. The Government have therefore announced that the scheme will be suspended from 1 December 2010.

The Government support the re-introduction of the scheme at the earliest opportunity. Officials are working closely with the authorities in Northern Ireland and representatives of the quarrying industry to provide the Commission with evidence to enable them to approve the scheme both retrospectively and for the future.

Bank Levy

Mr Umunna: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received from (a) the British Bankers Association and ( b) individual banks on the rate at which the proposed bank levy should be charged; [24836]

(2) what representations he has received from the International Monetary Fund on the rate at which the proposed bank levy should be charged; [24837]

(3) what representations he has received from non-governmental organisations on the rate at which the proposed bank levy should be charged. [24839]

Mr Hoban: The Government published 'Bank Levy: A Consultation' on 13 July 2010, and invited the views of business, as well as the views of representative bodies and tax advisers on the design and implementation of the levy. The Government received a total of 48 responses, including from the British Bankers Association and a number of banks, on a wide range of issues. Details of the responses received, and a full list of respondents, were set out in 'Bank Levy: Consultation Response', published on 21 October, available at:

The Government have not received any representations on the bank levy from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF Article IV report on the UK economy published on 9 November 2010 stated that the bank levy "is in line with the design of the financial
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stability contribution (FSC) set out in the IMF's paper prepared for the G-20-"A Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector".

Neither the IMF's Article IV report nor its report to the G20 made any specific recommendations about the appropriate yield from the levy or other taxes.

Bank Services

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to separate commercial and investment banking. [25067]

Mr Hoban: The Government believe it is important to debate the issues relating to banking reform in a way that allows everyone to make their case. To this end, the Independent Commission on Banking was established in June 2010 to look at the structure of banking in the UK and consider how to promote financial stability and competition in the industry. This will include examining the complex issue of separating retail and investment banking functions. The commission is due to deliver its report to the Cabinet Committee on Banking Reform by the end of September 2011.

Bank Services: Standards

Jo Swinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidelines his Department requires banks to follow in their treatment of customers who spend significant periods of time, or live, abroad. [24840]

Mr Hoban: Banks and building societies are subject to the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) banking and payments services conduct regime, which provides rules and guidance on firm's conduct of banking business. Banks are not required to follow specific rules for non-resident customers or those spending time abroad.

Banks: Loans

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the banking sector on personal guarantees for loans; and whether he has made an assessment of trends in the setting of criteria for personal guarantees in the last 10 years. [22960]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers receive representations from a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

Child Benefit

Ian Lavery: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Streatham of 3 November 2010, Official Report, column 826W, on child benefit, for what reason estimates of the number of households affected by his proposed changes to child benefit are not available at constituency or local authority level; and if he will make a statement. [24308]


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Mr Gauke: The estimates in the answer referred to were produced using the inter-governmental tax and benefit model (IGoTM). This is based on data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). Figures are not available at constituency or local authority level, because the sample size and survey design of the FRS mean that it is not suitable for producing such estimates.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many households in (a) Newcastle Upon Tyne North constituency, (b) the north-east and (c) England he expects to be affected by the proposed changes to child benefit. [24469]

Mr Gauke: The number of households affected by the withdrawal of child benefit from families with a higher rate taxpayer in 2013:

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

Child Benefit: Tax

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what legal advice he has sought on the extent to which implementation of the proposal to withdraw child benefit from households where a parent earns over £44,000 per year is compliant with independent tax regulations. [21342]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 2 November 2010]: It is not the Government's practice to provide details of their legal advice. The withdrawal of child benefit from families containing a higher rate taxpayer will not affect the principle of independent taxation.


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Departmental ICT

Mr Wallace: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information technology projects in his Department are (a) under way and (b) planned to commence in the next three years. [24508]

Justine Greening: The Treasury's IT infrastructure renewal programme is part way through delivery and is expected to be complete in March 2011. The Department is also in the process of replacing its COINS system, which collects and collates departmental spending information.

HMT currently has no other planned IT projects.

Departmental Regulation

Mr Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what regulations sponsored by his Department have been revoked in the last six months. [24373]

Justine Greening: In the last six months my Department has revoked two statutory instruments:

Mr Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what new regulations sponsored by his Department have been introduced through (a) primary legislation and (b) statutory instrument in the last six months. [24488]

Justine Greening: In the last six months, my Department has not introduced any regulation through primary legislation. We have made nine statutory instruments.

Statutory instrument

No. 2010/2479

The Premium Savings Bonds (Amendment etc) Regulations 2010

No. 2010/2480 (c.120)

The Financial Services Act 2010 (Commencement No.1 and Transitional Provision) Order 2010

No. 2010/2220

The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Contribution to Costs of Special Resolution Regime) Regulations 2010

No. 2010/1880

The International Monetary Fund (Limit on Lending) Order 2010

No. 2010/2628

The Capital Requirements (Amendment) Regulations 2010

No. 2010/2613

The Iran (European Community Financial Sanctions) (Amendment) Regulations 2010

No. 2010/2578 (S.5)

The Bank Administration (Scotland) (Amendment) Rules 2010

No. 2010/2586 (S.7)

The Bank Insolvency (Scotland) (Amendment) Rules 2010

No. 2010/2854(S.6)

The Building Society Insolvency (Scotland) Rules 2010


Economic Governance Task Force

Mr Cash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received legal advice on the European Parliament's proposals in respect of new EU taxation. [24821]

Mr Hoban: The Chancellor of the Exchequer receives legal advice on a wide range of EU-related issues on a regular basis.

Equitable Life Assurance Society: Compensation

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the timetable is for Equitable Life compensation payments; and if he will make a statement. [22433]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 8 November 2010]: As set out in my statement to the House on 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 576-78, it is the Government's ambition to commence payments to policyholders in the middle of 2011.

Food: Prices

Mrs Moon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effects on food prices of speculation by banks and hedge funds on those prices; [24154]

(2) if he will assess the merits of placing limits on the speculation by banks and hedge funds on food prices. [24155]


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Mr Hoban: A number of organisations have argued that financial market speculation was an important cause of the 2007-08 agricultural price spikes. However, analysis by bodies such as the IMF and the OECD suggests that such speculation was not a significant factor.

Individual Savings Accounts

Mr Nuttall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to allow shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market to be included as eligible investments within an individual savings account. [23955]

Mr Hoban: ISAs are the Government's main non-pensions savings incentive, and are held by 20 million adults. The Government believe that ISAs are a trusted brand, and that it is important that this is maintained. The Government also believe that ISAs should be mainstream savings products, and therefore do not intend to allow shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM)-which can be riskier and less liquid-to be qualifying investments for ISAs. It is already the case that companies listed on AIM may benefit from other incentive schemes, such as investments made through the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trusts.

National Insurance

Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost of administering the national insurance system; what estimate he has made of the proportion of national insurance contributions made by (a) employees and (b) employers in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [24358]

Mr Gauke: The estimate of the annual administration costs of the national insurance system for the 2010-11 tax year is £1.54 billion. The most recent estimates for total national insurance contributions receipts published on the ONS website is £96.9 billion for the 2009-10 tax year, of which 43% relate to employee contributions and 57% employer contributions.

Private Sector: Employment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many private sector jobs he expects there to be in each region in each of the next five years. [24230]

Danny Alexander: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) released the official forecast for whole economy employment to 2015-16 on 22 June 2010. The OBR will update its forecast on 29 November 2010.

Further information on the employment forecast, including projections for general government employment, was released on 30 June 2010 in their document "OBR forecast: Employment", which can be found on the following webpage:

As I mentioned recently, taken together, the OBR forecasts for whole economy employment and general government employment imply 1.6 million additional private sector jobs over the next four years.


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The OBR has not published forecasts on a sub-national level.

Public Sector: West Lothian

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely effects of implementation of the proposals in the comprehensive spending review on the number of public sector jobs in the West Lothian local authority area. [24995]

Danny Alexander: No assessment has been made of the likely effects of implementation of the proposals in the comprehensive spending review on the number of public sector jobs in the West Lothian local authority area. In devolved areas of spending it is for the Scottish Government to make its own decisions on the allocation of its budget, and as such any associated implications for jobs.

Revenue and Customs: Finance

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review on HM Revenue and Customs' tax inquiry services for the public. [24521]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Arfon (Hywel Williams), on 16 November 2010, Official Report, column 774W.

Taxation: Interest Payments

Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the annual cost to the public purse of making interest on ordinary bank and building society accounts free from taxation; and if he will make a statement. [24361]

Mr Hoban: The annual liabilities generated by the taxation of income from savings, including an estimate for the current year, are published at:

The current estimate for the revenue generated in 2010-11 is £1.85 billion. The cost of abolishing the taxation of savings income is dependent on market interest rates.

Economic Policy: EU Action

Mr Carswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the legal basis under which the UK would be exempt from those EU legislative initiatives in the field of national budgets and macro-economic surveillance proposed in the Task Force report to the European Council of 21 October 2010. [23089]

Justine Greening: The UK's Protocol to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union contains certain provisions that preclude the application to the UK of sanctions under Article 126(11) of the Treaty. This exemption from sanctions is explicitly recognised in paragraph 18.ii of the final report of the President of the European Council's Taskforce (a copy of this document has been deposited in the Library of the House).


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The European Commission has now published legislative proposals which would create additional sanctions to encourage compliance by member states with both the EU's Stability and Growth Pact and its Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. However, these relate only to euro area member states and thus would not apply to the UK.

The "EU Semester" would require member states to submit their draft budgetary plans to the EU each spring. The Chancellor secured an exemption from this in the EU Stability and Growth Pact Code of Conduct, which explicitly states that the UK will send its final Budget to the EU after it has been presented to Parliament.

The EU has conducted fiscal and macroeconomic surveillance of its member states for many years under the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. Many of the Commission and Taskforce proposals formalise this monitoring and are based on existing provisions of the Treaty under Articles 121 and 126.3-126.8. These articles apply to all member states and any proposals made under these Articles, if adopted, would apply to the UK.

The Commission's proposals will be considered by the Council and by the European Parliament in due course. They have been submitted to both Houses of Parliament for scrutiny in the usual way.

Once legislation has been adopted it is open to any one of the EU institutions or to a member state to bring the matter before the European Court of Justice in accordance with Article 263 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.


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Defence

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much money his Department allocated to (a) the Stabilisation Aid Fund, (b) the Conflict Prevention Pool, (c) the Discretionary Peacekeeping Fund, (d) the BBC World Service, excluding the BBC World Service Trust, (e) the BBC World Service Trust, (f) the Special Reserve, (g) the British Council and (h) the security and intelligence fund in each year since 2005. [15972]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 11 October 2010]: The Conflict Pool was formed by the merger of the Stabilisation Aid Fund and Conflict Prevention Pool on 1 April 2009, and is part of a separate HM Treasury settlement on conflict resources which is managed jointly by the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The MOD made a contribution from its Treasury settlement of £6.5 million in 2009-10 to supplement funding available from the conflict pool for security and stabilisation work in Afghanistan.

The following table shows the sums transferred from funds voted by Parliament to the MOD to the Conflict Prevention Pool/conflict pool, the Stabilisation Aid Fund and the Security and Intelligence Account from 2005-06 to 2009-10. It also shows payments made to the British Council for specific services.

£ million

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

Stabilisation Aid Fund

-

-

-

13

-

Conflict Prevention Pool/Conflict Pool

49

51

29

47

67

British Council

0

2

2

2

2

Security and Intelligence Account

0

1

1

2

0


The MOD has not contributed to a Discretionary Peacekeeping Fund or allocated funds to the BBC World Service, the BBC World Service Trust or the British Council.

The MOD does not contribute funds to the Reserve, which is the responsibility of HM Treasury. The MOD is a net recipient of the Reserve which is used for paying the net additional costs of military operations such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is no security and intelligence fund. There is however a Single Intelligence Account to fund the business of the intelligence and security agencies. The MOD is reimbursed for some of the services it provides.

Falkland Islands: Deployment

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made a recent assessment of the capacity of the armed forces to undertake an offensive military operation in the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement. [24300]

Nick Harvey: The Government remain unequivocally committed to the defence of the Falkland Islands. I refer the hon. Member to the Secretary of State for Defence's comments during the strategic defence and security review debate on 4 November 2010, Official Report, columns 1071-72W.

Military Aircraft

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) training and (b) other provision his Department plans to make to ensure the availability of a fully operational carrier strike capability as soon as the joint strike fighter fleet is available; and if he will make a statement. [24296]

Nick Harvey: As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House on 19 October 2010, we plan to deliver the carrier strike capability from around 2020. We are currently revising our plans and will ensure everything necessary to deliver this capability is put in place.

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made an assessment of the feasibility of launching a like-for-like equivalent of the Storm Shadow missile by a means other than a Tornado jet; and if he will make a statement. [24299]


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Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence has assessed that it would in principle be technically feasible to launch the Storm Shadow missile, which is the UK's only air launched cruise-missile, from a number of in-service and future fixed-wing platforms other than the Tornado fast jet. These include the Harrier GR9, Hercules C-130J, A400M, Typhoon and joint strike fighter.

Nuclear Submarines: Accidents

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what systems there are aboard Astute-class submarines for the avoidance of (a) stationary objects and (b) groundings; [20124]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of sonar equipment on Royal Navy submarines. [20127]

Nick Harvey: Investigations into the grounding incident involving HMS Astute on 22 October 2010 are ongoing, and it is too early to say what the outcome of those investigations will be.

HMS Astute is fitted with a comprehensive suite of navigation aids including a regularly updated outfit of charts, the ability to fix her position using a Global Position System, visual bearings and radar ranges, and a Ship's Inertial Navigation system.

The submarine is also fitted with Echo Sounders, which are a derivative of those fitted to in-service submarines. These have been rigorously trialled and tested prior to this incident.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will have discussions with the Defence Manufacturers Association for the purposes of ensuring that future unmanned aerial vehicles are procured from UK manufacturers. [21701]

Nick Harvey: Our primary objective is to provide our armed forces with the equipment and support they need, at the right time, and at a cost that represents value for taxpayers' money. We continue to believe the best approach to delivering value for money is through purchasing goods and services from the global market, in which UK companies compete, including off-the-shelf where appropriate. The Ministry of Defence has a number of future unmanned aerial vehicle requirements at different stages of development. MOD regularly has discussions about its future requirements with interested companies, trade bodies and the National Defence Industries Council.

Welfare Pathway Pilots

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of progress in welfare pathway pilots for former service personnel in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales; and when he expects to publish his conclusions. [23819]

Mr Robathan: Since November 2009 six councils have either joined, or are in the process of joining, the Armed Forces Community Welfare Pathway scheme across all three countries.


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The trial period will end in October 2011. It is too early to draw definitive conclusions. A decision about the future of the scheme, based on the experience of the pilots, will be taken after October 2011.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Aung San Suu Kyi

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Burmese Government on the continued house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi. [24413]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Aung San Suu Kyi was released on 13 November. Her detention had always been unjust and her release was long overdue. The Government repeatedly lobbied for her release. As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary (Mr Hague) said in his statement this weekend, Aung San Suu Kyi must now be allowed to assume the role of her choosing in the political life of her country without further hindrance or restriction.

BBC

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent meetings Ministers in his Department had with the director-general of the BBC; and whether the matter of pensions was discussed at those meetings. [24716]

Mr Jeremy Browne: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met the director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation on 20 October. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the transfer of the funding of the British Broadcasting Corporation World Service to the licence fee in 2014-15.

A full list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is published quarterly on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website at

Colombia: Police

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received reports on the treatment of a group of indigenous people by members of the Colombian police in Putumayo province on 17 October 2010; and if he will make a statement. [24790]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have received reports that on 17 October the Escuadrón Móvil Antimotines (riot police) allegedly beat and illegally detained six leaders of the Nasa indigenous community in Putumayo province.

Our embassy in Bogota has made representations to the Presidential Programme on Human Rights about the allegations and continues to monitor the situation.


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Departmental Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what allowances and payments in addition to salary were available to officials in his Department and its non-departmental public bodies in each year since 1997; and what the monetary value was of payments and allowances of each type in each such year. [18768]

Alistair Burt: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff may be eligible for certain allowances depending upon where they are posted to work; in the United Kingdom or in a mission overseas. The following figures represent the total amount paid in financial year 2009-10. To obtain figures prior to 2009-10 would incur disproportionate cost.

Overseas

Diplomatic service staff have a global mobility obligation, and will typically spend over half of their careers outside of the UK, moving country every two to three years. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office pays overseas allowances to compensate for the extra costs incurred through moving frequently and living overseas, the diplomatic service compensation allowance (DSCA). DSCA breaks down into:

United Kingdom

The FCO uses pay allowances as a cost-effective way to recruit and retain staff to posts that require specialist skills or to compensate for long or unsocial hours. Allowances are non-consolidated monthly payments which are paid in lieu of a consolidated increase to basic salary and cease when staff move from qualifying posts. These allowances are subject to statutory deductions for income tax and national insurance contributions:

All of our allowances are employment law compliant.

It is not possible to break down the groups of allowances above without incurring disproportionate cost. Nor is it possible to provide information prior to 2009-10 without incurring disproportionate cost.

The information for non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Postal Services

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to identify those of its services that could be provided through the post office network. [24927]


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Alistair Burt: Neither the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) nor FCO Services currently have any plans to provide services through the post office network.

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what services provided by his Department were the subject of a contract with Post Office Ltd in 1997-98 and have subsequently become the subject of a contract with another supplier; and what the monetary value was of each such contract in (a) 1997-98 and (b) the latest period for which figures are available in each case. [24929]

Alistair Burt: There are no records of services provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that were the subject of a contract with Post Office Ltd in 1997-98. There are currently no contracts held between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), FCO Services and Royal Mail.

Departmental Regulation

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what regulations sponsored by his Department have been revoked in the last six months. [24387]

Alistair Burt: In the last six months, my Department has not revoked any regulatory measures.

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new regulations sponsored by his Department have been introduced through (a) primary legislation and (b) statutory instrument in the last six months. [24501]

Alistair Burt: In the last six months, my Department has not introduced any regulatory measures. Regulations are not in general sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Energy: International Co-operation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether agreements were made on energy subsidy reform at the G20 Seoul summit. [24665]

Mr Bellingham: At the Seoul summit, the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders reaffirmed their commitment to

G20 Finance and Energy Ministers were directed to report back on the progress made in implementing country-specific strategies at the 2011 summit in France.

EU Action

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review the use by the Council of Ministers of first reading agreements with the European Parliament under the co-decision procedure with a view to ensuring adequate scrutiny of proposed directives. [23055]


18 Nov 2010 : Column 906W

Mr Lidington: The procedure for agreeing EU legislation with the European Parliament through the ordinary legislative procedure is laid down by the EU treaties. There are no plans to seek a review. To reach a first reading agreement the Council must approve the European Parliament's first reading position. The UK is fully engaged in the consideration of proposals in the Council of Ministers before agreement is given to the European Parliament's position.

The UK Parliament is given the opportunity to scrutinise documents throughout the co-decision process, through formal explanatory memoranda issued to the scrutiny Committees in both Houses.

Iran: Terrorism

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the extent of Iranian involvement with terrorist groups in (a) southern Lebanon and (b) Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [24877]

Alistair Burt: Iranian support to militia groups in southern Lebanon and Gaza is unacceptable. It further undermines international confidence in Iran and the Iranian Government's claim that it supports peace and stability in the middle east.

Israel: Borders

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the use of electronic terminals at checkpoints into Israel from the west bank; and if he will make a statement. [21937]

Alistair Burt: We are concerned at a number of Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories, including restrictions on movement and access for all Palestinians.

While we welcome Israel's easing of some restrictions on movement and access in the west bank we remain concerned about the increase in temporary checkpoints and increasing restrictions on movement of Palestinians between east Jerusalem and the rest of the west bank.

Israel: Overseas Trade

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the state of British-Israeli trade relations; and what assessment he has made of their contribution to the UK economy. [24573]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

Israel is an important trading partner for the UK. Exports of goods to Israel in 2009 were worth over £1 billion and exports of services, a further £500 million.

Bilateral trade in 2009 was worth £3.07 billion, surpassing the £3 billion target set in 2008. UK exports continue to increase in 2010-up 24% on the same period in 2009 (January to August).

Inward investment from Israel remains strong. Israeli firms are significant investors in the UK. Over 300 Israeli companies now have a physical presence in the UK, providing thousands of jobs. Over 50 Israeli companies are listed on the AIM and main London stock exchange.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 907W

Middle East: Politics and Government

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of the recent visit of the Iranian President to Lebanon on the political situation in Lebanon; and if he will make a statement. [24882]

Alistair Burt: The political situation in Lebanon remains tense. The visit of President Ahmednijad has not changed that. We expect all countries to respect the sovereignty of Lebanon and to work for its stability. I regret very much the inflammatory statements made by President Ahmednijad during his visit to Lebanon. Such remarks do not contribute to the stability of Lebanon or the region.

Work and Pensions

Protect Employees in the Workplace

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for the future of legislative provision to protect employees in the workplace. [23573]

Chris Grayling: The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) provides the appropriate proportionate legislative framework to ensure the health, safety and welfare of those at work.

The Government's Forward Regulatory Programme, which is under review, will include details of any future legislative measures in this area.

21st Century Welfare

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of each response to his Department's consultation document 21st Century Welfare. [25096]

Chris Grayling: I will arrange for a copy of each response to be placed in the Library.

Council Tax Benefits

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the funding he plans to provide to local authorities for the distribution of council tax rebate will be ring-fenced. [23458]

Steve Webb: The Government are working to develop the new arrangements including the detailed administrative and funding implications for local authorities.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 908W

Departmental Sick Leave

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the rate of (a) sickness and (b) absence was in offices in each region operated by his Department and its agencies in the latest period for which figures are available. [23408]

Chris Grayling: The information requested for the rate of sickness absence in each region for October 2010, the latest period for which figures are available, is in the table.

Region Average rate of sickness

East Midlands

9.1

East of England

8.7

London

7.8

North East

7.9

North West

8.6

Scotland

7.7

South East

8.9

South West

8.5

Wales

9.2

West Midlands

8.7

Yorkshire and the Humber

7.6

Source:
Department for Work and Pensions Personnel Computer, October 2010.

The information requested for other types of absence is not available in the required format and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department has cut average sickness absence by 25%, from 11.1 days per employee per year in 2007 to 8.3 days per employee per year currently. The latter figure is below the rate of 9.6 days per employee per year reported by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development for the public sector in 2010. The Department is committed to reducing sickness absence further.

Departmental Travel

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of its expenditure on travel undertaken by (a) him and (b) each other Minister in his Department in (i) September and (ii) October 2010. [21856]

Chris Grayling: The following table gives details of expenditure on travel undertaken for each of this Department's Ministers during September and October 2010. The Department is currently reviewing travel expenditure across the board with a view to driving out inefficiencies.

DWP Ministers-expenditure on travel

September 2009 (£) September 2010 (£) Reduction (%) October 2009 (£) October 2010 (£) Reduction (%)

Total

47,818.70

14,726.12

69

52,177.30

13,549.94

74


Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who will stop receiving contributory employment and support allowance after 12 months in each year to 2015. [19870]


18 Nov 2010 : Column 909W

Chris Grayling: The requested information will be available on 29 November 2010 alongside the autumn statement and will be deposited in the Library.

Claimants in the work-related activity group who stop receiving contributory employment and support allowance after 12 months will be able to claim income-related employment and support allowance if eligible. We estimate that 60% will be able to claim some income-related employment and support allowance. There will always be a safety net to support those who have no means of supporting themselves.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of individuals in households in which at least one member works for at least 16 hours per week who will (a) have their income reduced and (b) fall below the equivalised poverty threshold of 60% of median household income as a result of the removal of contributory employment and support allowance after one year; and what the average amount is by which the income of affected households will be reduced as a result of that measure. [21915]

Maria Miller: The requested information will be available on 29 November 2010 alongside the autumn statement and will be deposited in the Library.

Claimants in the work related activity group who stop receiving contributory employment and support allowance after 12 months will be able to claim income-related employment and support allowance if eligible. We estimate that 60% will be able to claim some income-related employment and support allowance once their contributory entitlement has ended. There will always be a safety net to support those who have no means of supporting themselves.

The Department will publish full impact assessments for the proposed measures, in the normal way, when it lays the relevant legislation.

Employment and Support Allowance: Scotland

Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of households in (a) Aberdeen South constituency, (b) Aberdeen local authority and (c) Scotland which will be affected by the implementation of his proposal to limit to one year the payment of contributory employment and support allowance for those in the work-related activity group. [19407]

Chris Grayling: The requested information will be available on 29 November 2010 alongside the autumn statement and will be deposited in the Library.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 910W

However, to give a general indication of scale, at the end of February 2010, there were 43,070 people receiving contributory employment and support allowance in the work related activity group in Great Britain. The equivalent figure for (a) the Aberdeen South constituency was 60, (b) the Aberdeen city local authority was 190 and (c) Scotland was 3,850.

Claimants in the work related activity group who stop receiving contributory employment and support allowance after 12 months will be able to claim income-related employment and support allowance if eligible. We estimate that 60% will be able to claim some income-related ESA once their entitlement to contributory employment and support allowance has ended. There will always be a safety net to support those who have no means of supporting themselves.

Housing Benefit

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral statement of 9 November 2010, Official Report, columns 168-69, on housing benefit, what the (a) composition, (b) sources and (c) timescale are of the £140 million funding for discretionary housing payments. [25095]

Steve Webb: The information requested about the £140 million discretionary funding for housing costs is in the following table:

Source Purpose Amount (£ million)

2010-11

Department for Communities and Local Government

Homelessness prevention funding

10

2011-12

Department for Work and Pensions

Discretionary Housing Payments

10

2012-13

Department for Work and Pensions

Discretionary Housing Payments

40

2013-14

Department for Work and Pensions

Discretionary Housing Payments

40

2014-15

Department for Work and Pensions

Discretionary Housing Payments

40

Total

140


18 Nov 2010 : Column 911W

This funding is in addition to the £20 million yearly contribution which the Department already makes towards local authorities' discretionary housing payment budgets.

Housing Benefit: Finance

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely growth rate for (a) local housing allowance and (b) the consumer price index from 2013-14 to 2014-15 on the basis of the policy costings in the June 2010 Budget. [25090]

Steve Webb: Our current estimate for the likely growth rate from 2013-14 to 2014-15 for the local housing allowance is 4% and for the consumer price index 2%.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level is of the uprating index referred to in the June 2010 Budget policy costings that was calculated on the basis of growth in housing benefit eligible rent and council tax benefit from 2001-02. [25091]

Steve Webb: The policy costing for the change to the non-dependant deduction rates announced at the June 2010 Budget was based on our understanding of the growth of housing benefit eligible rent and council tax benefit eligible council tax between 2001-02 and 2014-15, and incorporates historical data and internal forecast assumptions.

The non-dependant deduction rates that will apply from 2011-12 have not yet been announced. The increased rates will be included in the statement on uprating to be given to Parliament shortly and confirmed by way of legislation in the annual benefit Uprating Order. Implementation will be part of the Department's and local authorities' annual uprating exercises.

Jobseeker's Allowance: Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of jobseeker's allowance in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency have received hardship payments in the last 12 months. [25100]

Chris Grayling: The Department does not hold reliable data on the number of jobseeker's allowance claimants in the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency who have received hardship payments in the last 12 months. Therefore, the information is not available.

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many claimants of jobseeker's allowance in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency have contested benefit sanctions in the last 12 months; [25101]

(2) how many claimants of jobseeker's allowance in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency have received benefit sanctions in the last 12 months. [25102]


18 Nov 2010 : Column 912W

Chris Grayling: There have been 1,070 labour market decisions resulting in a sanction or disentitlement for JSA claimants in the Cumbernauld Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East constituency between August 2009 and July 2010, of which 190 decisions were reconsidered by a Jobcentre Plus decision-maker and 30 went to appeal.

Mental Health Services

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2010, Official Report, column 775W, on mental health services, if he will make it his policy that officials in his Department engaged in delivering the Work programme should receive specific training in recognising, and dealing with, the needs of people diagnosed with depression. [23817]

Chris Grayling: The Work programme will be delivered by contractors drawn from the private, public and voluntary sectors, as well as social enterprises. It will help people with a wide variety of needs, and providers will be given the freedom to design support based on an individual's needs. Specialist organisations will continue to have a role to play, and there will be lots of opportunities for them to work with larger delivery partners as subcontractors.

We will offer flexible support through Jobcentre Plus to customers before they are referred to the Work programme. The support that Jobcentre Plus delivers to customers across all working age benefits will allow more flexibility to Jobcentre Plus managers and advisers to judge which interventions will help individual customers most cost-effectively and meet local need.

Each Jobcentre Plus district has a mental health co-ordinator who supports advisers to provide tailored, personalised support to people who have mental health conditions and over the last year all Jobcentre Plus new claim advisers have had the opportunity to attend mental health training.

Jobcentre Plus learning products currently available for frontline staff include awareness of a range of customer groups including an overview of disability and health conditions, with signposts to sources of specialist help, including the disability employment adviser (DEA) role. DEAs, who focus on customers needing more extensive support, receive further levels of skills training appropriate to their customers, including skills practice in interviewing customers with depression. Furthermore, this learning will be reviewed as appropriate in accordance with the needs of the Work programme.

In addition, advisers, including DEAs, can seek help from their work psychologist colleagues to assist them in supporting customers where appropriate. All Jobcentres
18 Nov 2010 : Column 913W
have access to DEA services, either by DEAs located within the Jobcentre or, for example, in more rural areas access to peripatetic DEAs who provide services across a number of locations.

Communities and Local Government

Members: Correspondence

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) of 28 October 2010 on Jenny Watson. [24208]

Robert Neill: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has replied directly to the right hon. Member.

Tenant Services Authority

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 13 October 2010, Official Report, column 313W, on housing: regulation, when he plans to announce the outcomes of the review of the Tenant Services Authority. [24417]

Grant Shapps: I announced the outcomes of the review of the Tenant Services Authority on 18 October. A copy of the resulting report can be found on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Church Commissioners

Art Works: Auckland Castle

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, on what dates the Church Commissioners took decisions relating to the sale of the Zurbaran paintings and Auckland castle in 2010; and whether these decisions were amended on any subsequent date. [24978]

Tony Baldry: No decision on the future of Auckland castle has been made at this time and matters relating to the Zurbaran paintings housed within the castle have been discussed at each of the Church Commissioners Board of Governors meetings in 2010.

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, on what dates the Church Commissioners sought advice from (a) lawyers, (b) public relations consultants, (c) auctioneers, (d) estate agents and (e) other professionals in relation to the Zurbaran paintings and Auckland castle in 2010. [24979]

Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners, in common with other land and property owners, take professional advice in connection with their interests and assets on a regular basis and cover a wide range of issues.

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what costs the Church Commissioners have incurred for professional services in relation to the Zurbaran paintings and Auckland castle from (a) Mischon de Reya, (b) Chelgate, (c) Sotheby's and Christie's, (d) Smiths Gore and (e) other professionals in the last five years. [24981]


18 Nov 2010 : Column 914W

Tony Baldry: For reasons of commercial sensitivity the Church Commissioners are unable to disclose the details of any professional costs incurred.

Church Commissioners

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, which Commissioners attended each meeting of the Church Commissioners in 2010. [24977]

Tony Baldry: The Board of Governors' of the Church Commissioners has met four times this year. The majority of the board were present at each meeting.

Legal Advice

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, for what purposes the Church Commissioners have sought advice from (a) lawyers and (b) public relations consultants in the last five years. [24980]

Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners regularly take specialist legal and other advice where we are duty bound to do so. In addition, the Church Commissioners would seek to use professional advisers to supplement and support our existing advisers and expertise.

International Development

Departmental Regulation

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what regulations sponsored by his Department have been revoked in the last six months. [24375]

Mr Duncan: In the last six months, the Department for International Development (DFID) has not revoked any regulatory measures.

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what new regulations sponsored by his Department have been introduced through (a) primary legislation and (b) statutory instrument in the last six months. [24490]

Mr Duncan: In the last six months, the Department for International Development (DFID) has not introduced any regulatory measures.

Developing Countries: Debts

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much and what proportion of his Department's aid budget he plans to allocate to debt relief in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. [24453]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: In the SR10 settlement we have made provision for the UK's contribution towards the main international debt relief initiatives; the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). We have also made provision for the additional debt relief that the UK provides to poor countries, including under the UK Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 915W

18 Nov 2010 : Column 916W
SR10 debt relief allocations

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Debt relief allocation(1) (£ million)

120

100

100

110

As a percentage of DFID DEL (not including conflict pool)(2)

2

1

1

1

(1 )Figures rounded to nearest £10 million.( 2 )Rounded to 0 decimal places.

Debt relief is also provided by other parts of the UK Government. The Government anticipate some debt relief for Sudan, Zimbabwe and others during the comprehensive spending review period, providing certain conditions are met.

MOPAN

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many donor countries participate in the multilateral aid assessment body MOPAN; what his policy is on the transfer of the management of MOPAN to the OECD's Development Assistance Committee; and if he will make a statement. [24353]

Mr Duncan: There are 16 donor country Governments in the Multilateral Organisations Performance Assessment Network, MOPAN; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. MOPAN is an informal intergovernmental network with responsibilities shared out on a voluntary basis. The network is currently examining options as to how it could be managed in the future. One of these is to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD's) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), however, other options are also being investigated. We, along with other MOPAN member Governments, will look at the options carefully before deciding which is the most suitable for MOPAN.

Overseas Aid

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of children, mothers and babies whose lives were saved in 2009-10 as a consequence of his Department's programmes. [24451]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Using the methodology agreed by the G8 this year at the Muskoka summit, which was developed with the support of the World Bank, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, the Government's indicative estimate of the number of lives saved as a consequence of DFID programmes in 2009-10 is 150,000 children, 7,000 women and 35,000 newborns.

An important part of the new Business Plan for Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health will be a rigorous approach to achieving and monitoring results. The public consultation on the plan has just closed; we have received an unprecedented level of public and professional support.

Thailand-Burma Border

Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation on the Thailand-Burma border, and if he will make a statement. [24634]

Mr Duncan: The situation on the Thailand-Burma border remains unstable following the recent outbreaks of fighting in eastern Burma. Most of the people who fled to Thailand this month have now returned to Burma. We are keeping the situation under review, in close touch with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, non-governmental organisations and the Thai authorities.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing £7.5 million between 2009 and 2012 for people affected by conflict in eastern Burma. This assistance is being delivered through a number of non-governmental organisations. It includes the provision of food, shelter and improved access to legal assistance for Burmese refugees in Thailand, as well as aid for health care, water, sanitation and food security for displaced people in eastern Burma. DFID has not been asked for additional funding in response to the most recent fighting.

Transport

Bikeability Scheme: Children

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of children who have participated in the Bikeability scheme in each year since 2007. [23376]

Norman Baker: The Government have been funding National Standard and Bikeability cycle training in schools since 2006-07 with detailed monitoring of delivery in place since 2007-08. Details of the training delivered are set out in the following table for the period 2006-07 to 2009-10.

Number

2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Total

Local authorities

9,000

27,000

74,000

102,000

212,000

School sports partnerships

4,000

8,000

21,000

66,000

99,000

Total

13,000

35,000

95,000

168,000

311,000

Note: 1. Figures are rounded up to the nearest 1,000.

18 Nov 2010 : Column 917W

The figures are based on returns from local authorities and school sports partnerships.

Although we do not have an accurate figure for training places funded and delivered by local authorities in England in addition to those funded by the Government, we estimate local authorities outside of London deliver between 20,000 and 30,000 additional Level 2 National Standard or Bikeability places each year.

On 14 October 2010, the Government announced that Bikeability training for children will be supported for the remainder of this Parliament.

Driving: EU Action

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to increase the level of information-sharing between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and its counterpart organisations in Europe to reduce the number of vehicle offences committed by EU drivers without UK licences. [24835]

Mike Penning: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) shares information with EU member states when registering imported vehicles and exchanging driving licences. This helps prevent stolen vehicles from being registered in other member states and allows the validity of driving licences to be confirmed prior to exchange.

From January 2013, member states will be required to exchange information on driving licences they have issued, exchanged, replaced, renewed or revoked.

Driving: Insurance

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the number of uninsured drivers in (a) England and Wales, (b) England, (c) Cambridgeshire Constabulary and (d) North East Cambridgeshire constituency.[24831]

Mike Penning: About 1.4 million vehicles (4% of the total) in Great Britain are estimated to be driven by uninsured drivers based on a comparison of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) database of registered vehicles and the Motor Insurance Database (MID). No information is held on a regional or constituency basis.

In addition to existing measures to tackle uninsured driving, a Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme is planned. The scheme will identify uninsured vehicles by comparing information held on the same databases on a regular basis. Enforcement action will be taken against keepers of uninsured vehicles.

Ports

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has made an assessment of the merits of delegating responsibility for vessel reporting and clearance at UK ports to chartered shipbrokers; and if he will make a statement. [25099]

Mike Penning: No assessment has been made with respect to delegating responsibility for vessel reporting and clearance at UK ports to chartered shipbrokers.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 918W

Vessel arrival, departure, details of dangerous and polluting goods, and position reporting is the responsibility of the ship's master, agent, or operator.

Those reports are fed, via the UK's ports and harbours (who have the legal status of local competent authorities), to the consolidated European reporting system (CERS) operated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Those data are relayed, in turn, to the European Maritime Safety Agency's SafeSeaNet system. This process is entirely consistent with the requirements of the relevant European directives relating to vessel traffic monitoring and to port state control, and with the UK law.

The matter of clearance, whether it is for excise or for immigration purposes, is a matter for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the UK Borders Agency respectively.

Transport: Local Government Finance

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the proposed block funding to local authorities for small transport improvement schemes will be ring-fenced; [19810]

(2) whether the proposed block funding to local authorities for highways maintenance will be ring-fenced. [19809]

Norman Baker [holding answer 28 October 2010]: No. Block funding provided to local authorities from 2011-12 for small transport schemes and highway maintenance will not be ring-fenced. This will give local authorities flexibility to spend the funding as they see fit to meet local priorities.

I recently announced the establishment of a £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund to enable local government to deliver sustainable transport measures that support local economies while reducing carbon. The fund will be allocated though a light touch bidding and assessment process which will maximise the discretion available to local authorities on how they use the funding. Further details about how the fund will operate will be published shortly.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Pay

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has for the future oversight of earnings and hours worked by agricultural and horticultural workers in England and Wales. [20816]

Mr Paice: We intend to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board and agricultural minimum wage regime, and to bring agricultural and horticultural workers in England and Wales within the framework of the national minimum wage legislation and working time regulations, in line with workers in all other sectors of the economy. This will require specific amendments to the relevant legislation, which will happen simultaneously with the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board.


18 Nov 2010 : Column 919W

The Low Pay Commission will be asked to include agricultural workers in its evidence gathering for recommendations on the national minimum wage rate.

Enforcement of the national minimum wage is carried out by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, and HMRC will take on responsibility for enforcing the legislation in respect of agricultural and horticultural workers.

Animal Welfare

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated on levels of pain caused to cattle slaughtered by the halal method. [24198]

Mr Paice [holding answer 16 November 2010]: DEFRA and the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry commissioned and joint-funded research to investigate the effects of slaughter by ventral neck incision on the electroencephalogram (EEG) in calves (Project Number MH0129). This work commenced in January 2005 and the final report was published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal in April 2009. It can be viewed at:

The work indicates that the neck cut associated with religious slaughter evokes a pain response in anesthetised calves.

Food: Labelling

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with which food industry (a) representatives and (b) organisations she has had recent discussions on the labelling of halal meat. [23926]

Mr Paice: I discussed the labelling of halal meat with chief executives of the major grocery retailers on 21 October. The issue was also discussed at a meeting with Shechita UK and Members of this House on 3 November. This topic was also covered in a meeting with the Business Services Association on 9 November.

I also intend to raise this issue when I meet representatives from the food manufacturing, retail and food service sectors later this month.

Food: Standards

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much (a) Government and (b) public sector funding was allocated to food meeting British Farm Assured standards in the most recent year for which figures are available; what estimate she has made of the monetary value to British farmers of this expenditure; and if she will estimate the level of revenue which would accrue to British farmers if all public sector food procurement met British Farm Assured standards. [23130]

Mr Paice: We estimate that the public sector as a whole spends just over £2 billion on food and food services each year and that about £922 million per year
18 Nov 2010 : Column 920W
of this is spent on food and food ingredients. Of this, £322 million is spent by central Government and the remaining £600 million by the wider public sector. The most recent data on central Government food procurement are included in the third report on the proportion of domestically produced food in the public sector, published at:

This relates to central Government, those parts of the NHS supplied by the NHS Supply Chain and the MOD; it also includes data on "the percentage of farm assured food of all food supplied" on a Department by Department basis. The range varies from 0 to 100%. No estimates of the monetary value of this expenditure have been possible as we do not have detailed data on the proportion of specific commodities procured meeting farm assurance standards. We do not have any data on the proportion of food meeting farm assurance or equivalent standards procured by the wider public sector.

Forestry Commission

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what land is owned by the Forestry Commission in each constituency. [24527]

Mr Paice [holding answer 16 November 2010]: The public forest estate is owned or leased by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and placed at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners under section 39(1) of the Forestry Act 1967. It comprises 18% of total forest area in England; 13% is owned by other public bodies and 69% is in private hands.

The Forestry Commission's estimate of the area of land which is owned or leased in each constituency in England as at 31 March 2010 is set out in the following table:


18 Nov 2010 : Column 921W

18 Nov 2010 : Column 922W

18 Nov 2010 : Column 923W

Area (hectares)

Hexham Co Const

49,299

New Forest East Co Const

17,974

South West Norfolk Co Const

11,715

Penrith and the Border Co Const

11,624

Forest of Dean Co Const

10,427

Thirsk and Malton Co Const

10,047

New Forest West Co Const

9,639

Berwick-upon-Tweed Co Const

8,673

West Suffolk Co Const

7,386

Scarborough and Whitby Co Const

6,824

Copeland Co Const

5,473

Westmorland and Lonsdale Co Const

4,870

Torridge and West Devon Co Const

4,563

Gainsborough Co Const

3,176

Ludlow Co Const

3,158

North Herefordshire Co Const

3,123

Suffolk Coastal Co Const

3,109

Sherwood Co Const

3,034

Bishop Auckland Co Const

2,801

Devizes Co Const

2,441

Chichester Co Const

2,349

Central Devon Co Const

2,285

Workington Co Const

2,264

North Cornwall Co Const

2,087

Bridgwater and West Somerset Co Const

2,083

Corby Co Const

2,064

Winchester Co Const

2,018

High Peak Co Const

1,906

North East Hampshire Co Const

1,893

North Dorset Co Const

1,606

Cannock Chase Co Const

1,558

Mid Dorset and North Poole Co Const

1,542

Bexhill and Battle Co Const

1,533

Grantham and Stamford Co Const

1,527

Ribble Valley Co Const

1,443

South Dorset Co Const

1,439

Bassetlaw Co Const

1,416

Richmond (Yorks) Co Const

1,398

Christchurch Co Const

1,394

Hereford Co Const

1,346

York Outer Co Const

1,345

Stone Co Const

1,305

Ashford Co Const

1,238

East Hampshire Co Const

1,152

Isle of Wight Co Const

1,151

Taunton Co Const

1,137

Stafford Co Const

969

Northampton South Boro Const

919

Ashfield Co Const

893

Eddisbury Co Const

879

South West Surrey Co Const

878

South East Cornwall Co Const

857

Mid Norfolk Co Const

799

Daventry Co Const

790

Blaydon Boro Const

732

North Norfolk Co Const

711

Salisbury Co Const

707

Mole Valley Co Const

685

North Devon Co Const

683

Arundel and South Downs Co Const

676

West Dorset Co Const

668

Lichfield Co Const

657

Canterbury Co Const

640

Lewes Co Const

633

Horsham Co Const

624

Newark Co Const

612

East Devon Co Const

586

Buckingham Co Const

578

Eastbourne Boro Const

570

Romsey and Southampton North Co Const

553

Derbyshire Dales Co Const

548

Selby and Ainsty Co Const

537

South West Devon Co Const

531

Rutland and Melton Co Const

498

Shrewsbury and Atcham Co Const

488

Wells Co Const

484

Folkestone and Hythe Co Const

480

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Co Const

478

Henley Co Const

473

Chesham and Amersham Co Const

469

North West Cambridgeshire Co Const

407

Wealden Co Const

403

Tiverton and Honiton Co Const

390

North Wiltshire Co Const

381

Louth and Horncastle Co Const

377

Tunbridge Wells Co Const

376

Aylesbury Co Const

373

Mid Bedfordshire Co Const

359

Penistone and Stocksbridge Co Const

359

North East Bedfordshire Co Const

343

Sleaford and North Hykeham Co Const

333

Maidstone and the Weald Co Const

312

Bolsover Co Const

303

South Derbyshire Co Const

297

Saffron Walden Co Const

296

Barnsley East and Mexborough Co Const

294

North Somerset Co Const

265

Wellingborough Co Const

263

Mid Sussex Co Const

257

Bracknell Co Const

240

Upminster Boro Const

234

North West Hampshire Co Const

219

Skipton and Ripon Co Const

215

Wyre Forest Co Const

215

North West Leicestershire Co Const

210

Weaver Vale Co Const

209

Stockton South Boro Const

199

Stratford-on-Avon Co Const

192

Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough Co Const

188

Braintree Co Const

187

Worsley and Eccles South Co Const

180

Wantage Co Const

168

South Suffolk Co Const

160

Warwick and Leamington Co Const

154

St. Helens South and Whiston Boro Const

151

East Yorkshire Co Const

148

Gravesham Co Const

147

Wycombe Co Const

145

Mansfield Co Const

131

South East Cambridgeshire Co Const

130

Knowsley North and Sefton East Co Const

123

Truro and St. Austell Co Const

114

North West Norfolk Co Const

108

Lancaster and Fleetwood Co Const

105

Don Valley Co Const

104

North Shropshire Co Const

104

Harwich and North Essex Co Const

102

North East Derbyshire Co Const

100

Reading West Co Const

98

West Worcestershire Co Const

96

Makerfield Co Const

96

Maidenhead Co Const

95

Doncaster North Co Const

95

Tonbridge and Mailing Co Const

94

Rother Valley Co Const

93

Eastleigh Boro Const

90

Kingswood Boro Const

89

Milton Keynes North Co Const

83

Sedgefield Co Const

81

Salford and Eccles Boro Const

80

Basingstoke Co Const

79

Morecambe and Lunesdale Co Const

77

Warrington South Boro Const

73

Hemel Hempstead Co Const

70

Kenilworth and Southam Co Const

68

Broxtowe Co Const

62

Kettering Co Const

61

Thurrock Boro Const

60

South West Hertfordshire Co Const

60

Beaconsfield Co Const

59

Staffordshire Moorlands Co Const

59

Leigh Co Const

57

Hornchurch and Upminster Boro Const

55

Guildford Co Const

54

South Swindon Co Const

54

South West Bedfordshire Co Const

51

Bury South Boro Const

50

Barnsley Central Boro Const

50

North West Durham Co Const

44

Exeter Boro Const

44

Birkenhead Boro Const

42

North Warwickshire Co Const

42

Havant Boro Const

42

Tatton Co Const

41

Bolton North East Boro Const

36

Crawley Boro Const

34

Rochdale Co Const

27

South port Boro Const

25

Wallasey Boro Const

19

Blackley and Broughton Boro Const

18

South Staffordshire Co Const

18


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