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Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to launch the public consultation on the sale of Forestry Commission land. 
Mr Paice: We currently anticipate that the consultation on options for different models of ownership and management arrangements for the public forest estate will begin early next year.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made towards the 2013 deadline for implementation of EU regulations on the importation of illegally-sourced timber; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: We are implementing the Illegal Timber (Due Diligence) Regulation to meet our goal of eliminating illegal timber from the EU market; this will prohibit the import of illegally-harvested timber. When these additional implementing regulations have been finalised, a robust and proportionate domestic enforcement regime, including criminal penalties, will be put in place.
Mr Winnick: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, when the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) plans to provide a substantive answer to question 25196 on the responsibilities and salaries of members of the IPSA's senior management team. 
Mr Charles Walker: A substantive answer to the hon. Member's question was provided on 3 December 2010, Official Report, column 1076W.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent representations he has received on the work of the Church of England in rural parishes; and if he will make a statement. 
The Commissioners have received no direct representations, however, the Church of England has a presence in almost every rural settlement and village in England and plays an important and intricate role in rural community life. The Church of England manages 9,639 buildings in rural areas which are often the only space left open for the use of the community. Clergy undertaking rural ministry are receive support from the Diocese Rural Officer and specific training for
rural ministry is available through our partners at the Arthur Rank Centre and the Churches Rural Resources Centre in Warwickshire.
In rural areas parishes are often grouped together into multi-parish benefices or team ministries which can range in number from two to five parishes to 17 to 24 in which usually an ordained minister is assisted by voluntary workers to ensure that within each parish worship and pastoral care is provided appropriately. The committed ministry of volunteers, particularly from within local congregations is essential to sustaining and extending the work of the church in rural parishes. Recently we have focused on developing the skills and gifts of rural congregation members which has allowed rural churches to explore new ways of ensuring regular worship and a high standard of pastoral care and outreach in rural communities. Stress in clergy particularly those with charge of several parishes is of great concern to the church. Clergy are encouraged to take appropriate time off and to use the services of spiritual directors. Continued training is provided throughout ministry to enable new challenges to be addressed, and specialised training is available for those in working in multi-church situations.
The Church of England is undertaking to make its buildings available for wider extended community use, examples of projects which are currently, including as post offices, shops, libraries, internet cafes, benefit advice centres and citizens advice centres. Wherever possible, we want to see churches as living buildings where as much community activity as possible takes place, and the Church Commissioners will always support such activity. At the recent 'Faith in the Future of the Countryside' conference members of the Church of England discussed the Government's latest plans for the 'Big Society', development and housing in the countryside and the future of the government forests with several of our ecumenical partners. The conference urged the Church to engage with sustainable communities in its work on the 'Big Society' ensuring the safeguarding of ecological, cultural, economic and spiritual benefits which are already evident in the work of the Church in local communities.
Mr Amess: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what material relating to the passage of the (a) Abortion Bill [ Lords] 1965-66 Session, (b) Abortion Bill [ Lords] 1966-67 Session, (c) Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill 1966-67 Session and (d) Abortion (No. 2) Bill 1966-67 Session is stored in the Parliamentary Archives; and if he will make a statement. 
John Thurso: Details of records held by the Parliamentary Archives can be found by searching its online catalogue, Portcullis at:
A list of records relating to the above Bills will be deposited in the Library of the House. The records themselves can be ordered to, and consulted in, the Archives' public search room on the second floor of the House of Lords.
Robert Halfon: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how much the House of Commons service spent on press cuttings services in each year since 1997. 
John Thurso: Payments by the House of Commons service for press cuttings services have been as follows.
Media and Communications Service:
For coverage of the work of select committees and the House in general.
Some committees purchase a service with a wider remit to inform them of developments in their subject areas.
Detailed financial records from which this information can be derived are not kept for earlier periods.
A reduction in this expenditure of £35,000 a year has been proposed by the Management Board as a contribution to the savings target set by the commission.
Mr Amess: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what material offered to the Parliamentary Archives was rejected in each of the last 11 years; what the reason for rejection was in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
John Thurso: The acquisition of records-both internal and external-by the Parliamentary Archives is governed by its "Collection & Acquisition Policy", available from its public searchroom and on the parliamentary website at:
The disposal of the internal records of the administrations of both Houses is governed by its records management procedures, specifically the "Authorised Records Disposal Practice" (ARDP), available on the parliamentary intranet at:
Destruction of records no longer of business or historical value takes place within individual offices as a matter of routine, based on the instructions in the above schedules. Records immediately identifiable as of historic
value are automatically transferred to the Archives in accordance with the ARDP. Where it is not clear whether a business record has historic value or not, that record is "appraised" by the Archives, a procedure which has been used since 2004 when the ARDP was introduced.
The numbers of files selected or rejected by the Parliamentary Archives following appraisal is in the following table:
|Files selected||Files not selected|
Appraisal decisions are based on a number of factors, including the record's provenance and content; authenticity and reliability; order and completeness; condition and costs to preserve it; and its intrinsic value (where appropriate). Reasons for rejection include: information already published; duplicate information held elsewhere; is of a routine administrative nature that does not add value or understanding to other related records; or does not fit with the collecting themes in the "Collection & Acquisition Policy". It would incur disproportionate cost to collate and publish all information related to these appraisal decisions. However, the relevant files containing these decisions can be made available for consultation in the Archives' searchroom on request.
A record is not kept of speculative offers received from external sources but not pursued, which are few in number. Details are only kept of the acquisition of an external record or collection once a decision to acquire has been made; a decision based on the criteria set out in the "Collection & Acquisition Policy".
Joan Walley: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent risk assessment has been undertaken in respect of the tiled floors in bathroom and shower wet room facilities in Portcullis House; and if he will make a statement. 
John Thurso: There is no record of a formal risk assessment having been undertaken in respect of the bathrooms and shower room facilities in Portcullis House. However, it is understood that staff reviewed the operation of these spaces shortly after the building opened and noted that there was a risk of users with wet, bare feet slipping on the floor. Bath mats are therefore provided.
Joan Walley: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent risk assessment has been undertaken of fire safety procedures in Portcullis House in respect of signposting to stairways; and if he will make a statement. 
John Thurso: Following the introduction of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 a fire risk assessment of Portcullis House was carried out in 2006. This assessment deals, among other things, with signposting. A periodic review of the fire risk assessment has been carried out each year since 2006. A further periodic review is due to be carried out during December 2010.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the ballot papers for the (a) proposed referendum on the alternative vote and (b) elections to the Scottish Parliament in 2010 have been tested for acceptability to voters by the Electoral Commission. 
Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission has informed me that the designs for the ballot papers for the proposed referendum on the voting system for UK parliamentary elections and the Scottish Parliament elections are prescribed in legislation introduced by the UK Government.
The Commission has not undertaken user-testing of the design of the ballot paper for the proposed referendum, although it undertook extensive user-testing research on the wording of the question that will appear on the ballot paper as part of its assessment of the question to be asked at the referendum.
The Commission has further informed me that it has not undertaken user-testing on the design of ballot papers for the Scottish Parliament elections, although it has made recommendations to the Scotland Office that it should undertake user-testing of the proposed designs in line with the Commission's "Making your mark" guidance.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the compliance with its guidelines of the ballot papers for the (a) referendum on the alternative vote and (b) elections to the Scottish Parliament in 2010 in respect of those with visual impairments. 
Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission has informed me that it published design guidance ('Making your mark') for policy-makers aimed at improving the usability and accessibility of voter materials, including ballot papers, in October 2009. The "Making your mark" guidance is aimed at addressing a wide range of voters' needs, including the needs of voters with visual impairments, and was developed with input from accessibility and disability awareness groups including the RNIB.
The Commission highlighted in its briefing for parliamentarians at second reading of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill its concern that the prescribed forms for voters, including the ballot paper for the proposed referendum on changing the voting system for UK parliamentary elections, had not been designed in accordance with the "Making your mark" guidance. The Bill has since been amended to
allow the Chief Counting Officer to specify changes to certain forms to improve the accessibility of the voting process, but this would not extend to the design of the ballot paper.
The Commission has further informed me that it recommended, in response to the UK Government's consultation on the draft Scottish Parliament (Elections etc.) Order 2010, that the design of the ballot paper should be revised in line with its "Making your mark" guidance and user-tested to ensure it could be easily understood by the electorate.
Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in African states on the commitment to spend 10 per cent. of GDP on agriculture made at Maputo in 2003. 
Mr O'Brien: The Secretary of State and I routinely discuss factors affecting economic growth and food security whenever we meet our African counterparts. UK Government officials also participate in twice yearly meetings of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme. We use these meetings, and our country level work, to review the programme with the African Union and member states, and urge progress towards the Maputo productivity and expenditure targets.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions his Department has had on replenishment of funding for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. 
Mr O'Brien: The UK is a founding member and among the top four donors of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). In 2009-10 the Department for International Development (DFID) contributed about 8% of the total CGIAR budget and has been leading a change process that is bringing about far reaching reform of the organisation.
DFID has held discussions with a range of external stakeholders, including UK-resident CGIAR Centre Board Chairs and Members, bilateral donors, the European Commission (EC), the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD), National Research and Extension Systems (NARES), the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), the World Bank (WB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on how best to harmonise funding for greater research focus on priority issues of climate change, poverty, food security and nutrition.
The reformed CGIAR has established a global trust fund governed by a Fund Council, on which DFID has a seat. The Council will make funding allocations to priority research programmes proposed by the Consortium of CGIAR Centres. From this financial year onwards DFID's contribution will go directly to the CGIAR Fund rather than to specific Centres and programmes as has been the case in the past.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to support (a) agricultural research and (b) extension needs in respect of the very poorest and most marginalised smallholder farmers in the developing world. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) focuses its agricultural research on priority issues related to agriculture and natural resource management for poor people and smallholders.
The current agriculture research portfolio is built around four main components; providing core support to international research to deliver high quality and effective international public goods to tackle poverty reduction and achieve sustainable growth; getting the outcomes of research into widespread use, through national research and extension systems (NARES), NGOs, the private sector and other partnerships; investing in regional research programmes based in Africa and South Asia; and working in partnerships to take forward advanced research in order to address major research objectives of relevance to poor people, such as climate change, new pests and diseases. This involves targeting and harnessing scientific excellence, and linking this to global partners.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions his Department has had on the role of UK institutions and non-governmental organisations in meeting the need for research tailored to the needs of the most marginal smallholder farmers. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has recently discussed and agreed a new programme of research with the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). This programme aims to develop crop varieties which are drought and disease resistant, as well as new production methods relevant to smallholders in Sub-Saharan African and South Asia.
DFID has also engaged in promoting the potential role of non-government organisations (NGOs) in scaling up vitamin enriched crops in Africa. This process has included discussions on the role of NGOs in working with smallholders to select new crop varieties relevant to their needs, and the widespread dissemination of a new vaccine for East Coast Fever in East Africa.
At the 2010 Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), officials also discussed the research and extension priorities of smallholders and marginalised farmers in developing countries with a wide range of stakeholders. A roadmap was developed that lays out priority actions to improve the participation of marginal smallholder farmers in research and extension work.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken since his appointment to reduce expenditure on conferences from budgets within his responsibility. 
Mr Duncan: In accordance with the cross-government freeze on marketing and advertising spend, all conferences paid for by the Department for International Development (DFID) are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This process assesses the business case for the conference, the value for money and potential cost saving opportunities for each conference we fund.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department plans to take to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises and third sector organisations to compete for departmental contracts, in line with value-for-money policy, UK regulations and EU procurement directives. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) currently advertises all contracts over the value of £101,000, a threshold set by the EU, on the European Journal website as well as on the DFID website. Suppliers are chosen on the basis of a competitive bidding process. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Third Sector organisations can access these opportunities by expressing their interest in these adverts.
In order to improve access to DFID contracts for all suppliers, DFID is in the process of launching a supplier portal. The portal will allow suppliers to register their company information (including whether they are an SME or Third Sector organisation), view opportunities that DFID is currently tendering and receive automated alerts of competitions in their markets of interest. We plan to launch this new facility, which will be available
free of charge, in early 2011. Further information and updates can be found on the procurement pages of DFID's website:
Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many of his Department's staff at each grade (a) in the UK and (b) at each overseas office are working on agriculture programmes; 
(2) how many staff at each grade based (a) in the UK and (b) at each overseas office have agricultural training; 
(3) how many of his Department's staff at each grade based (a) in the UK and (b) at each overseas office have agricultural experience. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development supports numerous and diverse programmes addressing food security or agricultural development, involving many staff from a range of professional backgrounds. To determine the extent of agricultural related training and experience among all these staff would incur disproportionate cost.
However, I can confirm DFID has two Senior Civil Service positions and a group of professional livelihoods advisers (currently 57) who are required to have specific expertise and experience in agricultural or rural development, food security, agricultural adaptation to climate change and related livelihoods issues. They must have a minimum of five years relevant experience and a higher degree in a relevant subject. The number of livelihoods staff employed at each civil service grade and their location are provided in the following table.
|Number of livelihoods advisers||DFID grade (Traditional Civil Service grade)||Location|
Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many agricultural staff his Department plans to recruit at each grade in the next 12 months; and in which country each will be based. 
Mr O'Brien: The UK Government have committed to spend £1.1 billion on food security and agricultural development between 2009-10 and December 2012, through a combination of support for agricultural research, bilateral programmes and multilateral contributions. The number and deployment of staff resources required to deliver this commitment, including any recruitment needs, will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing reviews of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) bilateral, multilateral, policy and research programmes. Recruitment is also subject to the current freeze and guidelines on external recruitment to the civil service.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each year since 1997. 
Mr Duncan: The requested information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. For details of expenditure in the last 12 months for which figures are available, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 227W.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to encourage multilateral development banks to provide further support for investment and lending for the purposes of adaptation to climate change. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) is working closely with all the multilateral development banks (MDBs) to ensure a clear results framework for all their activities, including climate adaptation, and to help the MDBs to build their understanding of, and capacity to deliver, good adaptation projects and outcomes. Recent replenishment negotiations between DFID and the MDBs will help to provide resources to further climate-related investment and lending to the poorest countries, including for adaptation. Further details of funding committed to the MDBs will be available on the conclusion of the Multilateral Aid Review.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to answer of 25 November 2010, Official Report, columns 389-90W, on developing countries: health services, by what means his Department plans to support the World Health Organisation to help countries implement the recommendations of the World Health Report. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to provide technical assistance to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) in implementing the World Health Report. The technical assistance will be in the form of a senior health economist seconded by DFID for two years. DFID is also evaluating proposals to provide additional financial resources.
These resources will be used to provide direct assistance to developing countries wishing to implement pro-poor health financing reforms. WHO is anticipating a large increase in demand for this type of assistance following the recent publication of the World Health Report, and has approached DFID for this support due to our well-proven and valued track record of providing assistance in this area.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) financial, (b) advisory and (c) training assistance his Department provides to foreign countries to support the provision of health care free at the point of use through each (i) project and (ii) funding stream; what plans he has to evaluate the outputs and outcomes of that work; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for International Development (DFID) is currently providing considerable support to a number of developing countries to enable them to provide some health services free at the point of delivery. These countries currently include Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Nepal. The type of support depends on the circumstances of the country concerned and may include budget support (Ghana, Uganda and Malawi), contributions to pooled
funds (Liberia), project funding (Sierra Leone and Burundi) and technical assistance (all of these countries).
DFID is monitoring the impact of these reforms by tracking levels of key service outputs, such as outpatient attendances and the number of babies delivered in health centres. We are also assessing the extent to which changes in these outputs are contributing to improved health outcomes for poor and vulnerable people.
DFID is currently reviewing all its aid programmes, including our support to the health sector, to ensure UK aid is effective, accelerates progress towards the millennium development goals and represents value for money. Details of DFID's future support to the health sector in our partner countries will be available on the conclusion of the Bilateral and Multilateral Aid Reviews early next year.
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what consideration he has given to the merits of using a proportion of development aid to improve institutional governance of (a) tax authorities and (b) other authorities in developing countries. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises the importance of better governance for poverty reduction and long-term development. We are strongly committed to building effective public authorities, particularly in conflict affected and fragile countries where capacity is often weak. This includes supporting citizens to demand more transparent and accountable government and improved service delivery.
Effective tax systems are at the heart of DFID's priorities to promote wealth creation, to build public accountability, and to enable the eventual "exit strategy from aid". Work in this area has delivered real and measurable results, generating significant additional resources for frontline basic services such as schools and primary healthcare. For example, DFID assistance to the Tanzania Revenue Authority helped increase the tax take from 12% of GDP in 2006 to 14.5% by 2007-08. In Uganda our support also contributed to additional revenue of £80 million over the period 2005-09.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which 10 non-governmental organisations received the highest levels of funding from his Department in the latest period for which figures are available; what restrictions were placed on the use of such funds in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr O'Brien: The 10 non-governmental organisations (NGO) that received the highest levels of funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) in financial year 2009-10 are as follows.
These NGOs have received this support through a variety of different DFID funding mechanisms. Details of the conditions attached to all funding to this group cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. However, further details of all DFID projects, including those delivered by NGOs, can be found on the project database on DFID's website.
Each of DFID's funding channels for NGOs has different criteria and a specific application process. However once funding has been agreed there are a number of conditions that DFID applies to all NGOs. For example, they are required to provide quarterly financial reports, a copy of their annual audited accounts and annual reports detailing progress made against agreed objectives. Funds can only be used to support activities and objectives agreed with DFID. All NGOs are also required to produce a project evaluation and project completion reports.
The UK Government are introducing a new Aid Transparency Guarantee, which commits us to making our aid fully transparent to citizens in both the UK and developing countries, increasing accessibility and feedback, and pushing our international partners to follow our lead. Under this guarantee, DFID will publish full and detailed information on all funded projects and programmes
on the DFID website-in a standardised, accessible format so that this information can be freely used by third parties.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which non-governmental organisations based in the UK receive financial support from his Department for activities in the Philippines; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Duncan: Through our centrally-funded civil society programme, the Department for International Development (DFID) currently supports Anti-Slavery International's work in the Philippines to prevent child labour and to protect, release and rehabilitate child workers and children at risk.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid his Department allocated to the Philippines in each category in each year since 2000; and how much aid in each category it plans to allocate in 2011. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has no plans to allocate bilateral aid to the Philippines in 2011. In recent years the Philippines has received aid from DFID in response to humanitarian emergencies; from centrally funded projects by UK civil society organisations; to finalise projects dating from the 1990s under the Aid and Trade Provision; and through the Heads of Mission Small Projects Scheme.
Details of DFID's bilateral aid spending in the Philippines can be found in the annual publication Statistics on International Development, which is available on the DFID website and in the Library of the House. Figures for 2000-01 to 2009-10 are reproduced in the following table.
|Funding type||2000 - 01||2001 - 02||2002 - 03||2003 - 04||2004 - 05||2005 - 06||2006- 10||2007 - 08||2008 - 09||2009 - 10|
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Afghanistan on the implementation of provisions on the recognition of equal treatment of men and women in the Afghan Constitution. 
Alistair Burt: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said to the House on 27 October,
"It is right to draw attention to the role of women in Afghan society and the importance of continuing to build it up in the future."
Our embassy officials in Kabul continue to press the Afghan Government to implement its national and international human rights commitments, including on the equal treatment of women and men.
We continue to provide support to the Afghan Government's Human Rights Support Unit, which opened on 29 September 2010, and to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. These two institutions play a key role in ensuring that the human rights of all Afghans are promoted and protected.
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the imprisonment of Min Ko Naing in Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience in Burma remains one of the international community's long-standing demands. The UK was instrumental in ensuring that Min Ko Naing and other high profile political prisoners were specifically mentioned in the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Burma in March this year and the UN General Assembly 3rd Committee resolution on the human rights situation in Burma in November.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) discussed the issue of over 2,200 people still imprisoned for their political beliefs in Burma most recently with the Thai Foreign Minister on 29 November. My hon. Friend the Minister for Europe, the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington) also raised our concern with EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 22 November.
The Government will continue to press for the release of Min Ko Naing and all other prisoners of conscience in Burma.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the number of questions to his Department tabled in the (a) House of Commons and (b) House of Lords that remained unanswered after 10 working days as a result of observation of guidance on the timing of answers to similar questions tabled to more than one Department in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: In the House of Commons, 28 questions out of a total of 789 tabled for ordinary written answer in this session up to 12 November 2010 took longer than 10 sitting days to answer and were also tabled to more than one Department. The reasons for the delay in answering will have varied for each question.
In the House of Lords, no questions tabled for written answer in this session up to 12 November 2010 took longer than 10 sitting days to answer and were also tabled to more than one Department.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review his decision not to publish the entries in the Government wine cellar database to take into account the determination of the Information Commissioner on the application of commercial confidentiality criteria to a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, reference FS50277632. 
Alistair Burt: I can confirm that in light of the determination of the Information Commissioner, I will be reviewing the decision not to publish some details of the Government wine cellar's database.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which wine (a) merchants and (b) producers his Department has purchased wine since his appointment. 
Mr Bellingham [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Between 14 May and 23 November 2010, Government Hospitality purchased wines by the following merchants: Lea & Sandeman; John Armit Wines Ltd; Waitrose; Lay & Wheeler; Haynes Hanson & Clark; Jereboams; Berry Bros & Rudd; O. W. Loeb & Co. Ltd and Averys. It was sourced by the merchants from producers in the following countries: France, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many requests his Department has received since his appointment to publish a copy of the entries in the Government wine cellar database. 
Mr Bellingham [holding answer 29 November 2010]: One, which was from the hon. Member.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the government of Pakistan and (b) the government of India on the future of Kashmir. 
Alistair Burt: Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss India-Pakistan relations, including Kashmir, with the Governments of Pakistan and India. However the long standing position of the UK is that it is for Pakistan and India to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this in the Foreign Affairs debate on 27 May and during his visit to Pakistan in June.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the political situation in Kashmir and (b) prospects for the future of Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Officials in our high commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad closely monitor the situation in Indian and Pakistan administered Kashmir. They regularly discuss the situation with the Governments of India and Pakistan and make clear our hope that they can make progress on the issue. We welcome the efforts that both sides are making towards constructive dialogue. However the long standing position of the UK is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this in the Foreign Affairs debate on 27 May and during his visit to Pakistan in June.
We continue to call for an improvement in the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control and for an end to external support for violence in Kashmir. UK funding supports human rights, conflict prevention and peace building efforts on both sides of the Line of Control.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the acquisition of anti-aircraft missiles by Hamas; what discussions he has had with the Government of Israel on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The UK regularly discusses the issue of arms smuggling with the Israeli Government. The details of these discussions are confidential. However, the UK continues to call for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860, including halting the smuggling of weapons to armed groups in Gaza and the need to ease the restrictions on Gaza's crossing points.
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates each Minister in his Department has (a) visited Morocco and (b) had a meeting to discuss issues related to Morocco since 1997. 
Alistair Burt: I visited Morocco between 30 November and 2 December 2010.
Previous visits by Foreign and Commonwealth Ministers since 1997 include:
the hon. Member for Bury South (Mr Lewis), November 2009
Dr Kim Howells (former Member for Pontypridd) April 2008, June 2006 and July 2005
The right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw), February 2006
The right hon. Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, January 2005, May 2004 and September 2003
The right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr MacShane), December 2004
Mike O'Brien, (former Member for North Warwickshire) February 2004
As Minister with responsibility for our relations with Morocco, I have regular meetings to discuss the country. I am sure this was the case with previous Governments.
Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects on international peace and stability of the recent actions of the government of North Korea. 
Mr Jeremy Browne:
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary strongly condemned North Korea for its unprovoked attack on Yeonpyeong Island on 23 November,
which has raised tensions and threatened security on the Korean Peninsula. Recent reports that North Korea has been developing a uranium enrichment facility are also deeply concerning. This is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to the region.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with the Government of the Philippines on the killings at Maguindanao in the Southern Philippines on 23 November 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Both our ambassador in Manila and the EU presidency made statements strongly condemning the killings in Maguindanao on 23 November 2009, and conveying condolences to the families of the victims. We also called for urgent action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Our ambassador to the Philippines met the chair of the Philippines Commission for Human Rights to discuss the situation and make our position clear.
Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations he made at UN level on the decision of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly to delete the reference to sexual orientation from its resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; 
(2) what discussions he has had with his UN counterparts on the decision of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly to delete the reference to sexual orientation from the resolution condemning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government were very disappointed that the reference to sexual orientation was removed from the UN General Assembly resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Prior to the vote on this amendment, we made a statement objecting to the deletion of this reference:
"To accept this amendment would be to accept that this particularly vulnerable group of people do not deserve specific mention, perhaps even to suggest that they do not warrant the same protection from killings. To us this suggestion is an affront to equality and respect for human dignity."
We voted against the amendment.
We are currently discussing the outcome of the resolution with like-minded countries. While we remain disappointed that the explicit mention of sexual orientation has been removed from language on "killings committed for any discriminatory reason", we interpret the broad language which replaced it to include these types of killings, and will support the text as a whole in the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on that basis.
The Government continue to oppose violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in all circumstances. We will continue to
work bilaterally and through international organisations, including the UN, to promote and protect the rights of LGBT people.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had at the United Nations on the deployment of human rights monitors to Western Sahara. 
Alistair Burt: The Government support the idea of greater transparency and independent verification of the human rights situation in Western Sahara. Discussions regarding human rights monitoring in Western Sahara need to explore all options and identify which organisation is best placed to deliver that function.
We remain in close touch with a range of partners on the question of human rights in Western Sahara, including at the United Nations.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the safety of journalists in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Despite the substantial reduction in violence since the formation of the Inclusive Government, we continue to be concerned about politically-inspired human rights abuses perpetrated against journalists, as well as political and civil society activists. All forms of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable. We advise British journalists intending to carry out any reporting or official photography in Zimbabwe to ensure that they have applied for the proper accreditation.
We remain concerned that the Zimbabwean parliament has not yet repealed repressive legislation and there has been little progress on judicial reform or establishing the rule of law. We continue to monitor the situation on the ground and urge all sides of government to observe the spirit as well as the letter of the Global Political Agreement full. We call regularly, both bilaterally and with EU member states, for an end to all such abuses and the restoration of internationally accepted human rights standards in Zimbabwe.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many classroom assistants he expects to be employed in schools in each of the next five years. 
Mr Gibb: The numbers of teachers and classroom assistants that schools employ in future years will, as now, be a matter for them to decide, according to local needs and subject to statutory requirements that infant class sizes will not exceed 30 pupils.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department has guidelines on ensuring that food used for his Department's official functions is of domestic origin. 
Tim Loughton: The Department for Education has no formal guidelines on ensuring that food for official department functions is of domestic origin. This does not preclude the Department specifying to the supplier that, where practicable and within departmental spend guidelines, they should use food that is locally produced and sourced.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans his Department has to provide financial support to young people to encourage them to continue their education past the age of 16. 
Mr Gibb: As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne) announced on 20 October 2010, Official Report, columns 949-65, we are replacing the education maintenance allowance (EMA) scheme, from September 2011, with an enhanced discretionary learner support fund. We have taken this decision because the evidence suggests that around 90% of the young people who receive EMA would still have participated in education if the scheme were not available.
Replacing EMA with an enhanced discretionary fund will mean that decisions about support will be made on the basis of a local assessment of the personal circumstances of individual students, enabling closer targeting of resource to individual young people who face a real financial barrier to participation.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what rights of appeal will be given to (a) students and (b) their parents whose applications for financial help under the Government's plans to replace the education maintenance allowance are refused. 
Mr Gibb: We will replace the education maintenance allowance with an enhanced discretionary learner support fund, so that schools, colleges and training organisations can more effectively target support to those individual students that they assess as in most need.
We will consult with schools and colleges before finalising arrangements for the new scheme, including any routes of appeal. Under current arrangements for discretionary learner support funding it is for the school, college or training organisation to set out their procedures for students to appeal.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what meetings he has had with head teachers to discuss his plans to replace the education maintenance allowance; and who was present at each such meeting. 
The Government took the decision to end the education maintenance allowance (EMA) on the basis of evaluation and other research evidence which indicates that the scheme does not effectively target
those young people who need financial support to enable them to participate in education and training. In finalising the enhanced discretionary learner support scheme that will replace EMA the Department will consult with schools, colleges and training organisations.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he intends to produce guidance for head teachers and college principals on the criteria which should be used to allocate the money they receive under the Government's plans to replace the education maintenance allowance. 
Mr Gibb: The enhanced fund will build on the current discretionary learner support funds, which many schools, colleges and training organisations already use very effectively. They are better placed than Government to target support to individual students who have most need of it to continue in education.
The Department intends to consult with schools, colleges and training providers about the arrangements for the enhanced discretionary learner support fund, including any guidance that may be provided.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effects of removing education maintenance allowance on disadvantaged young people in Birmingham. 
Mr Gibb: We are committed to making sure that every young person remains in education or training until they are 18. Where young people need extra support to realise their potential we will ensure that services are in place to support the most vulnerable.
In reaching the decision to end Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) we have looked closely at evaluation evidence and other research, which indicates that the scheme does not effectively target those young people who need financial support to enable them to participate in education. The evidence suggests that around 90% of the young people who receive EMA would still have participated in education if the scheme were not available.
From 2011/12, EMA will be replaced by an enhanced learner support fund that will be administered by schools and colleges themselves, targeting those young people who face a real financial barrier to participation.
Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many students in Erith and Thamesmead constituency claimed education maintenance allowance in each of the last five years. 
Mr Gibb: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener the YPLA's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in Hansard and the House Libraries.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what estimate he made of the number of pupils in each constituency who were eligible to receive free school meals in year 11 who went on to (a) sixth form college, (b) a further education college, (c) employment-based training, (d) full-time employment, (e) part-time employment, (f) part-time education or training and ( g) economic inactivity in each of the last five years; 
(2) what estimate he made of the number of pupils in each constituency who were eligible to receive free school meals in year 11 who (a) went on to study A-levels, (b) undertook an apprenticeship and (c) participated in other forms of education or training in each of the last five years. 
Mr Gibb: The information requested, providing estimates of the activities of young people who had been in receipt of free school meals (FSM) in year 11, by local authority, for each year between 2004/05 and 2008/09 has been placed in the House Libraries. The information is based on what they were doing at academic age 16, normally the first year after completing compulsory education. The source of these estimates is the Young People's Matched Administrative Dataset (YPMAD). The YPMAD cannot be used to produce robust estimates of participation at constituency level, so local authority figures are provided. This source cannot provide information on either employment or economic status.
Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many pupils eligible for free school meals were entered for GCSEs in (a) physics, (b) chemistry, (c) biology and (d) three separate sciences in each local authority in 2009; 
(2) how many pupils eligible for free school meals were entered for a modern language GCSE in each local authority in 2009. 
Mr Gibb: The information requested has been placed in the House Libraries.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what responsibilities he has assigned to (a) the free schools group in his Department and (b) the New Schools Network in respect of free schools. 
Mr Gibb: The Free Schools Group (FRG), situated within the Infrastructure and Funding Directorate of the Department, is responsible for all aspects of free schools policy and implementation. The FRG is, for example, working with groups wishing to join the first wave of free schools. Informed by its work with these early groups, supporting them through the process, the FRG is developing policy for future free schools. The FRG is also working with those groups that have started the business case and plan stage and will support them through the process, up to and including the opening of the new school.
The New Schools Network is an independent charitable organisation that is funded by the Department to offer support to individuals and groups interested in setting up a new school.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what advice he received from officials in his Department on the New Schools Network prior to awarding it a grant to administer advice on free schools. 
Mr Gibb: My right hon. Friend received a range of advice from officials in respect of the awarding of a grant to New Schools Network, including finance, procurement and legal advice.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information local authorities are required to provide to his Department on the number of children resident in their areas who do not have school places. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 25 November 2010]: The Department does not collect information on the number of children in a local authority that have not been allocated a school place. It is the responsibility of each local authority to manage the supply and demand for primary and secondary school places in its area and to secure a place for every child of statutory school age who wants one.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many complaints he has received on the consultation process relating to the schools reviews being undertaken by North Yorkshire county council. 
Mr Gibb: Decisions on school reorganisations are taken under the statutory local decision-making process. Consultation forms the first part of this process, and any responses or complaints about the consultation being carried out should be directed to the LA which is running the consultation and which will decide whether to move to the publication of proposals, and not the Secretary of State. I can however confirm that to date seven pieces of correspondence have been received by the Department about the consultation which North Yorkshire county council has conducted.
Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to allow further education lecturers to teach in maintained schools. 
Mr Gibb: Schools may already employ suitably skilled and experienced staff with a further education background as instructors, provided that no suitable qualified or trainee teacher is available to the school to fill the post.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many teachers he expects to be employed by schools in each of the next five years. 
Mr Gibb: The numbers of teachers and classroom assistants that schools employ in future years will, as now, be a matter for them to decide, according to local needs and subject to statutory requirements that infant class sizes will not exceed 30 pupils.
Iain Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the freeze on public sector salaries applies to progress on pay spines for teachers. 
Mr Gibb: There are no changes planned to the pay progression provisions within the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document as a result of the Government's announcement in the emergency Budget of a two-year freeze to public sector pay.
Teachers have benefitted from a three-year pay deal which has seen increases of 2.45%, 2.3% and 2.3% with the last increase being paid from September 2010. The pay freeze will take effect from September 2011 for teachers but will not alter provisions for progression through the pay scales.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what types of gift products the Audit Commission purchased from (a) the Purple Company (UK) and (b) Giftpoint in each of the last three financial years; and at what cost to the public purse. 
Robert Neill: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to my hon. Friend direct.
Letter from Eugene Sullivan, dated 6 December 2010:
Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.
The Audit Commission has purchased a small number of products from the Purple Company in the last three financial years:
|(1) Reimbursed by staff.|
Our office premises in Bristol houses a gym for use by staff. This is a member-supported club where an annual fee is charged for use of the gym and for any equipment purchased, including sports wear. The T-shirts purchased were paid for by members (staff) out of their annual membership fees. There is a nil cost to the Audit Commission.
Additionally there were 1000 Post-It notes and 50 T-shirts purchased as support material supplied at our National Managers' Conference in November 2008. It was used on the Human Resources and Audit stands.
The Audit Commission has purchased three gift products from Giftpoint in the last three financial years:
Cotton shopper bags (2 invoices totalling £580) were purchased for distribution at our events for Governors and Directors/Senior Management of Foundation Trusts and Mental Health Trusts. The ball pens were a promotional item at these and other events at which we exhibit.
David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to announce his proposals for the future of the Audit Commission's pension scheme. 
Robert Neill: My Department is working with the Audit Commission and other partners to consider a range of options for the future of local audit following the disbandment of the Commission. This includes discussing options for the Commission's pension scheme with its Chair of Trustees and Commission colleagues, and we intend to make an announcement as soon as practicable.
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he is taking steps to ensure that residential homes give adequate consideration to granting requests from residents to take their pets into homes. 
Paul Burstow: I have been asked to reply.
The Government appreciate that pets and companion animals can be a source of great comfort to their owners. We would certainly encourage residential care providers to give careful consideration to granting requests from residents to take their pets into care homes.
However, there are no plans to issue directions to residential care providers. This is a complex matter; there are many, sometimes competing issues to consider. For example, care home premises may not necessarily be suitable for the keeping of pets, or certain kinds of pet. The wishes of all residents must be taken into account; some may not wish to share their environment with animals. Residents who are frail or in poor health may not be able to care for their pets properly, however much they might wish to.
The Government consider that the only practically workable approach is to allow care providers the freedom to decide, in the light of individual local circumstances, whether or not to permit residents to keep pets.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the monetary value was of contracts between his Department and its predecessors and (a) Post Office Ltd and (b) Royal Mail in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) each year since 2004-05. 
Robert Neill: The Department no longer hold details of the monetary value of contracts that may have been held with Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail in 1997-98.
Since 2004-05 the following amounts have been paid to Royal Mail in relation to
No payments have been made to Post Office Ltd.
It has been the Department's practice to ask its facilities management provider to sub-contract all postal services. Expenditure with Royal Mail is largely for transactional postal cost in outlying DCLG stations that do not have access to the facilities management arrangements. However in 2004-05 and 2006-07 the following amounts were paid to Royal Mail to support large projects:
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department issues internal guidance on the communication of decisions regarding appointments or reappointments of board members to public bodies. 
Robert Neill: Decisions about ministerial appointments and reappointments to the boards of public bodies are taken in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice, which sets out requirements for communicating those decisions. There is no separate internal guidance issued on the communication of decisions regarding appointments or reappointments of board members to public bodies.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of his Department's compliance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in respect of ministerial appointments to public bodies in relation to the decision not to reappoint Ms Jenny Watson to the Audit Commission. 
Robert Neill: Decisions about reappointments to the Board of the Audit Commission were taken in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will cease all funding to the English Regions Network; and how much the Network received from his Department and its predecessors in each year since its inception. 
Robert Neill: The Department no longer provides funds to the English regions network. The following table sets the grants provided to the English regions network since it was established. The English regions network was the umbrella organisation for the regional assemblies.
Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to align the proposed Regional Growth Fund with the North East England 2007-2013 European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme. 
Robert Neill: I can confirm that we intend to align the regional growth fund with the European regional development fund, as stated in the Local Growth White Paper "Local Growth: realising every place's potential", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
My officials are currently holding discussions with colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with a view to facilitating this. Organisations
in the north-east can apply for support from both funds, where the aims of their bids are eligible for support from both funds.
Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what risk assessment his Department has undertaken of the potential effects of the abolition of One North East on the delivery of the North East England 2007-2013 European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme; and what steps he has taken to mitigate any risks identified. 
Robert Neill: We are currently considering the future arrangements for running European regional development fund programmes in England, after the abolition of the regional development agencies. As part of this consideration, we have carried out a detailed assessment of the implications of the change to new delivery arrangements and the mitigating measures needed to ensure that the programmes continue to be run in compliance with the EC regulations. We will make an announcement when the decision has been reached.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the likely effect on fire services of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review. 
Robert Neill: An equality impact assessment will be published in due course. I also refer the hon. Member to my letter to fire authorities on the spending review, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 50W, on fire services: Greater London, for what reasons he has had no discussions with the Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority on the deployment of the 27 engines used to provide emergency fire cover during the recent strike. 
Robert Neill: No discussions on this matter were requested and none were sought. All operational decisions on the deployment of assets, including fire engines, are the responsibility of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, and not central Government.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of firefighters who will be affected by the public sector pay freeze. 
Robert Neill: Decisions about firefighter pay are for fire and rescue authorities. However, we would expect all local authorities to exercise pay restraint in keeping with the central Government public sector pay freeze announced in the emergency Budget.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people have been recorded as homeless in (a) Cumbria, (b) the North West and (c) each parliamentary constituency in Cumbria since 1979. 
Grant Shapps: Summary tables giving the number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty, the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by each local authority and rough sleeper counts and estimates as far back as each series is available have been placed in the Library of the House.
Information about local authorities' discharge of their duties under homelessness legislation is collected on quarterly PIE returns. Summary information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected at local authority level, and published by the Department in the quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, available both in the Library of the House and via the DCLG website:
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available and this information is also collected. Information on acceptances and number of households in temporary accommodation at local authority level is available from 1997-98 onwards.
Information is also collected on rough sleeping. Since 1998, only councils in areas with a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to conduct an official rough sleeper count-which meant that only 70 councils submitted information to central Government. Figures published in July 2010 showed that under this previous method, on any given night there were 440 rough sleepers in England. However, when the remaining 256 councils provided estimates of the scale of the problem in their areas, this added a further estimated 807 rough sleepers-taking the national total to 1,247 rough sleepers on any given night.
Under new guidance all councils across England will now provide information on rough sleeping. This move follows consultation with homelessness charities and councils and is aimed at getting a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in each area so more targeted support can be provided to some of the most vulnerable in society.
Rough sleeping figures are published by the Department on the DCLG website:
The Department does not collect data on homelessness at parliamentary constituency level.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress he has made on the creation of local enterprise partnerships. 
Robert Neill: On 28 October, the Government published their Local Growth White Paper, which set out their approach to achieving local economic growth by shifting power to local levels and helping to create the right conditions for growth and recovery. This included announcing the first 24 local enterprise partnerships which would proceed. These partnerships are now in the process of establishing their boards and local governance structures in line with local requirements.
Government will work with the relevant local authority and business partners in other parts of the country where no local enterprise partnership has been announced, in order to ensure future proposals allow all areas to progress, where civic leaders and business community wish to do this. I have asked my officials to engage directly with these local partners. Government will welcome revised proposals from these places and make further announcements as they become ready.
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he has sought the advice of the District Auditor on the appropriateness of the use by local authorities of cash reserves; 
(2) if he will ensure that in circumstances in which local authorities reduce the level of funds held in reserve for contingencies his Department provides funding to match any shortfall arising from the realisation of the financial risks against which reserves had previously been earmarked. 
Robert Neill: The use of a local authority's reserves is for each council to determine.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles) said in a press notice on 30 November that it is sensible, as part of wider financial planning, for council treasurers to consider drawing on their reserves to address short term costs and pressures, such as necessary restructuring, and to invest now in order to realise savings in the longer term.
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will ensure that Liverpool city council receives a smaller percentage reduction in its grant income than more affluent local authorities. 
Robert Neill: We will announce our proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2011-12 in the usual manner in due course.
Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was collected by each local authority in England in national non-domestic rates in each of the last three years for which figures are available; how much was received by each local authority in Revenue Support Grant in each of those years; and what the net income was for each local authority from these transactions. 
Robert Neill: I have today placed in the Library of the House tables for 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 that give details of (a) how much was received by each local authority in England in redistributed national non-domestic rates, Revenue Support Grant and other grants including Police Grant and (b) how much was contributed to the national non-domestic rates pool by each local authority in England.
Details of the net income for each local authority from these transactions has not been included as it is not a meaningful figure. National non-domestic rates are collected by 326 authorities and paid into a central pool before being redistributed to 421 authorities.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of dwellings in each local authority area were registered as second homes for council tax purposes in each year since 1997. 
Robert Neill: I have today placed in the Library of the House, a table containing details of the number and proportion of dwellings in each local authority area in England that were registered as second homes for council tax purposes since 2004. Information for previous years is not available.
The data are from a snapshot taken each year and are as recorded by each local authority in the council tax base returns submitted annually to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Reliable estimates before 2004 are not available because there was no particular incentive for local authorities to distinguish between second homes and long-term empty homes on their council tax base forms. However, from April 2004, local authorities have had the discretion to set the council tax discount on properties considered to be second homes at between 50% and 10%.
Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether there is any variation in the mechanism by which the level of the Supporting People grant is calculated by local authorities in different regions of England, including data in respect of additional needs. 
Andrew Stunell: The Supporting People Programme grant has previously been allocated to top tier local authorities using the Supporting People Distribution Formula which takes account of population, level of deprivations, people at risk and other relevant needs data.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effects on the functions carried out by his Department's (a) Air Accident Investigation Branch, (b) Rail Accident Investigation Branch and (c) Marine Accident Investigation Branch of reductions to his Department's central administration budget; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The accident investigation branches (AIBs) do not form part of the Department's central administration budget as they are categorised as Programme expenditure.
We have however, carried out an assessment of potential productivity improvements in the AIBs which could be made without impacting their statutory functions. Our assessment shows that cost reductions can be made by focusing their activities more closely on their core safety role and through rationalising support functions and other efficiency improvements. This will include sharing facilities and equipment across the three AIB's wherever this is practical.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for the introduction of his proposed new regulatory system for passenger security checks at airports. 
Mr Philip Hammond: There is no finalised timetable for the introduction of a new regulatory system for passenger security checks at airports. The issuing of timing will be addressed in the forthcoming consultation.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with whom his Department plans to consult on his proposals for a new regulatory system for passenger security at airports; and if he will place in the Library (a) a copy of the consultation document and (b) a list of all consultees. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The Department for Transport plans to consult widely with all stakeholders in accordance with the Government Code of Practice on Consultation. A copy of the consultation document including a list of all consultees will be placed in the Library when the consultation paper is published.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the management consultancy for which his Department paid Interfleet (i) £106,817.12 on 13 May 2010 and (ii) £108,379.16 on 20 July 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: Interfleet is contracted by the Department for Transport to provide specialist technical advice for the procurement of new trains required for the Thameslink Programme.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the legal advice for which his Department paid Freshfields £148,773.21 on 9 September 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: Freshfields is contracted by the Department for Transport to provide specialist legal advice for the procurement of new trains required for the Thameslink Programme.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the legal advice for which his Department paid CMS Cameron (a) £269,116.77 on 31 August 2010, (b) £98,150.98 on 27 September 2010 and (c) £166,610.73 on 28 September 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The legal fees paid to CMS Cameron McKenna were in relation to advice provided by them on: the restructuring of the UK, French and Belgian interests in Eurostar into a standalone company on 1 September 2010; and on the sale of HS1 and associated properties and lease arrangements that was announced on 5 November 2010.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the management consultancy for which his Department paid the Nichols Group £145,593.02 on 18 May 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The majority of the payment to Nichols Group dated 18 May 2010 was for specialist consultancy services in respect of programme management, and commercial and franchise negotiations required as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). The IEP Programme was started by the previous Administration, and sought to replace Britain's fleet of high speed trains, originally deployed by British Rail in the 1970s and 1980s.
In addition, £22,980.80 of the payment was made in respect of management consultancy on the Strategic Roads Investment Programme and £18,485.69 on the Pendolino Lengthening Programme.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the management consultancy for which his Department paid Jacobs Engineering (a) £149,911.38 on 21 June 2010, (b) £135,940.96 on 15 July 2010, (c) £112,538.46 on 2 August 2010 and (d) £114,159.35 on 3 September 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: Jacobs Engineering UK Ltd is engaged jointly by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) to carry out a 'project representative' function for the Crossrail project, in which the Government are directly investing £4.7 billion. Half of the costs paid by DfT are subsequently recovered from TfL.
The project representative provides technical advice and assurance on all aspects of the delivery of the Crossrail project to both DfT and TfL. It is made up of a small team of specialists with expertise in many areas of large construction programmes including design, construction, procurement, commercial, risk management
and value engineering as well as specific competencies related to the scheme, including civil engineering, tunnelling, rolling stock, signalling, railway systems, and railway operations.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the management consultancy for which his Department paid Mott MacDonald (a) £142,963.63 on 26 May 2010 and (b) £187,567.16 on 27 May 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The payments to Mott MacDonald on the above dates were for specialist advice and consultancy services in respect of the commercial and franchise negotiations required as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) during the last two financial periods of the 2009-10 financial year.
The IEP programme was started by the previous Administration and sought to replace Britain's fleet of high speed trains, originally deployed by British Rail in the 1970's and 1980's.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the management consultancy for which his Department paid PricewaterhouseCoopers (a) £162,040.95 on 20 May 2010 and (b) £102,590.87 on 16 June 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: PricewaterhouseCoopers is contracted by the Department for Transport to provide specialist financial advice for the procurement of new trains required for the Thameslink Programme.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what grants have been awarded by his Department in 2010-11 to date; what grants he plans to award in each of then next two years; what the monetary value is of each such grant; and to which organisations such grants are made; 
(2) how much funding his Department has allocated in grants for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11; and how much such funding he plans to allocate for 2011-12. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 30 November 2010]: The Department for Transport allocated £9.1 billion to grants in 2009-10, and estimates that it will allocate £8.4 billion to grants in 2010-11.
Year to date grant payments for 2010-11 are included in the data available on the Department for Transport's website, which details monthly spend as part of the Government's transparency agenda. This can be found at:
Grant expenditure can be identified from the 'expense type' category.
Detailed information relating to grant allocations for 2011-12 and 2012-13 is not currently available, but announcements have been made about high level grant budgets for the spending review period. These can be found in the Department for Transport's press notice of 20 October 2010, at:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible
spent on press cuttings services in each of the last 12 months. 
Norman Baker: The cost of press cuttings services to the Department for the 12 months from October 2009 to September 2010 is provided in the following table.
|(a) Cost of press cuttings services to the Department for Transport|
|DFT Central||Driving Standards Agency||Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency||Highways Agency|
The remaining executive agencies-the Government Car and Despatch Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency, and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency-have not procured press cuttings services in the 12 months from October 2009 to September 2010.
(b) Cost of press cuttings services to the Department for Transport's non-departmental public bodies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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