Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has had recent discussions with the Scottish Executive on the likely effects on universities in Scotland of the proposed changes to higher education funding in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Michael Moore: Policy and funding responsibility for higher education in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Government, and I am aware that Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have had discussions with Scottish Ministers on a variety of subjects. Although I have not had recent discussions with the Scottish Government on this specific issue, I am in regular contact with a range of stakeholders on matters concerning higher education in Scotland.
Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the Government have determined what proportion of the £350 million funding for broadband announced in the comprehensive spending review will be spent in Wales. 
Mr David Jones: The Government's Broadband Strategy announced yesterday that every community in the UK, including Wales, will have access to superfast broadband as we move towards our aim to have Europe's best broadband network. We have not allocated shares from the £530 million we have made available to help deliver on this commitment by 2015, but expect that projects in Wales will receive an appropriate share of this funding.
The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) hosted a meeting today with the Broadband Minister and the Deputy First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government to discuss the co-ordination of work that is being undertaken by both Governments to ensure that the needs of the people of Wales are at the heart of this new drive.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the skills available in the construction workforce to meet his Department's target in respect of zero-carbon new homes by 2016. 
A report published on 2 November by the Zero Carbon Hub, the National House Building Council and ConstructionSkills on "Home Building Skills 2020" investigated likely changes affecting the new homes industry, including zero carbon homes and how professional, trade and technical roles should prepare in terms of training and qualifications. The report concluded that most of today's core skills for home building will be very similar in future. What will be different is the context in which those skills are applied and the importance of understanding how the work of each part of the industry impacts on others to ensure the integrity of the 'system' as a whole; and
A report by the Government's Innovation and Growth Team, chaired by Paul Morrell, the Government's Chief Construction Adviser, published on 29 November emphasised the importance of sharing learning to date and in future which will help industry develop its response to the challenge of the low carbon-agenda.
In 2008-09 DECC spent £41,217.67 on press cuttings
In 2009-10 DECC spent £114,587.29 on press cuttings
From April to November 2010 DECC has spent £56,740.12 on press cuttings
Sir Paul Beresford:
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of questions tabled to the Secretary of State for ordinary written answer (a) in Session 2009-10 and (b) since May 2010 were answered within (i) seven days and (ii) 14 days of tabling; how many such questions tabled between May 2010 and
12 November 2010 remained unanswered by 18 November 2010; and what estimate he has made of the average cost to his Department of answering a question for ordinary written answer within seven days of tabling in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Gregory Barker: The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions for the 2009-10 session. This information will be submitted to the Procedure Committee shortly.
The Department does not hold this information in the format requested. In the period 25 May to 12 November 2010, the Department received 683 ordinary written questions of which 518 (76%) were answered within five sitting days. All 683 questions have now received a substantive answer.
The Department does not hold centrally estimates of the cost relating to the answering of parliamentary questions. For information on the annual indexation exercise of the costs conducted by HM Treasury, I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement made by the then Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Sarah McCarthy-Fry) on 20 January 2010, Official Report, column 15WS.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 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. 
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent consideration he has given to the merits of referring the matter of the operation of the energy retail market to the Competition Commission. 
Reference of the market to the Competition Commission is in the first place a matter for the independent sector regulator, Ofgem. The Secretary of State may only make a reference if Ofgem has decided not to do so or, after bringing to the attention of Ofgem information he considers relevant to the making of a reference, where he is not satisfied that
Ofgem will make such a reference in a reasonable period. The Secretary of State must have reasonable grounds for suspecting that competition is not working effectively before making a referral.
Following the recent announcement of price increases by some energy suppliers, Ofgem has launched a review of the effectiveness of the retail energy market to see if further action is needed to protect customers. Ofgem plans to complete the review by March 2011 alongside its next quarterly report on retail and wholesale energy prices.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the likely number of networks affected by proposals to ensure third party access to licence exempt electricity and gas networks; and what assessment he has made of Ofgem's capacity to process each tariff agreement generated under these proposals. 
Charles Hendry: Most if not all of the networks likely to be affected by these proposals operate under exemptions from the requirement for an electricity or gas licence. These exemptions are deregulatory in that, in most cases, networks are not obliged to apply for an exemption. It is therefore difficult to estimate the number of networks affected, but there are likely to be significant numbers. As part of the recent consultation the Government published an impact assessment which estimated that of 93TWh of non-domestic, non-industrial electricity consumption (DUKES 2010) half is supplied through private networks.
Ofgem will only need to approve tariff agreements in cases where third party access has been requested and the licence exempt network owner decides to make a charge for use of that network. Ofgem will also publish a generic charging methodology that companies can opt for and that this should aid Ofgem's ability to process tariffs agreements.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the likely financial effect of the European Court of Justice's Citiworks ruling on (a) ports, (b) rail stations, (c) London underground stations, (d) industrial estates, (e) marinas, (f) airports and (g) caravan parks of the provision and enforcement of third party access to license exempt electricity and gas networks. 
Charles Hendry: Where meters are required or upgrading is necessary to facilitate third party access, the costs associated with such work will ultimately be met by the customer or, on occasion, the prospective third party supplier. The energy regulator, Ofgem, has confirmed that private network owners, including commercial landlords, will not be obliged to upgrade their networks or become licensed distributors in order to allow third party access.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate of the (a) cost of and (b) liabilities in respect of network upgrades for commercial landlords his Department made in preparing the Regulatory Impact Assessment on the implications of the European Court of Justice's Citiworks ruling on the provision of third party access to license exempt electricity and gas networks. 
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effects of rising energy prices on small and medium-sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement. 
These contacts have highlighted particular concerns around the prices being charged for deemed rates. Suppliers must ensure that deemed rates are not 'unduly onerous' and Ofgem is currently investigating whether prices are higher than they should be.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral answer of 1 December 2010, Official Report, column 820, which fast-developing countries he has identified as ones which ought to begin to make financial contributions to the Global Climate Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The Green Climate Fund is currently under discussion as part of UNFCCC negotiations in Cancun-the fund has not yet been agreed nor designed. Therefore, it would be premature to speculate about which individual countries would make financial contributions. Our hope is that the fund will be agreed in Cancun and that, once operational, will provide a suitable vehicle for distributing future climate finance effectively.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration he has given to the merits of including energy from deep geothermal heat in (a) the Renewable Heat Incentive and (b) the Feed-in Tariff. 
Charles Hendry: The policy details of the Renewable Heat Incentive are currently being finalised and will be published as soon as possible. As part of the policy-making process my officials have held a number of meetings with representatives of the renewables industry as well as the deep geothermal industry specifically.
Deep geothermal electricity is eligible for 2 ROCs under the Renewables Obligation, as are other innovative renewable power technologies. The Feed-in Tariffs do not currently cover this technology. As more innovative technologies, such as deep geothermal, become deployable at scale, the FITs scheme has the potential to develop the market for these technologies and we will consider new technologies and their eligibility for FITs at scheme reviews.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had on the availability of feed-in tariffs to community groups which are interested in setting up renewable energy projects. 
Charles Hendry: Feed-in tariffs are available to any community group developing local electricity generation schemes under 5 MW. The Department are in discussions with a range of community groups and networks to ensure that awareness of the financial incentive is wide ranging. To this end we launched Community Energy Online last week and have also announced a series of localised events to promote not just the feed-in tariff but the wider community energy programme to local authorities and community groups across England.
Charles Hendry: The coalition agreement commits to supporting and encouraging community ownership of renewable energy schemes. In the six months since then, we have secured the feed-in tariff which is available to any community and are working through the final details of the world's first renewable heat incentive.
Alongside these financial incentives, we have launched community energy online, a portal providing guidance and support for communities and local authorities. This tool is being developed in partnership with community networks, the Local Government Group and with Co-operatives UK. It will provide case studies and best practice, how to guides and advice on feasibility, community engagement and financing among other key issues.
Together with the Environment Agency, Welsh Assembly Government and Energy Saving Trust, my Department has launched an online booklet "Hydropower: a guide for you and your community" to offer communities and individuals a clear route map on how to develop hydropower schemes.
All this work has been developed on the back of research such as The Big Energy shift, Green Streets, Low Carbon Building Programme and Low carbon Community Challenge. These small scale programmes have highlighted barriers which the Government are now working to overcome.
Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent on IT equipment for the Billy Wright Inquiry; and how such equipment was disposed of at the end of the inquiry. 
Mr Paterson: I am advised that the Billy Wright Inquiry spent £303,326 on IT equipment between 2005 and 2010. This figure reflects departmental capital accounting policy which is to capitalise all IT equipment if the useful life of the equipment is greater than one year and the cost, including VAT, is greater than £1,000. Figures relating to expenditure by the Billy Wright Inquiry are available on the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) website:
Upon the closure of the inquiry, IT equipment which retained its functionality and value was transferred to other areas of the Department for use elsewhere. Other equipment which had reached the end of its useful economic life was disposed of securely.
Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from the Commission for Victims and Survivors on measures to deal with the past in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Paterson: I have received one substantive written representation from the Commission for Victims and Survivors on measures to deal with the past (which the Commissioners made public themselves) and have also met with the Commissioners. I intend to meet with them again as the Minister of State and I continue to engage with a broad range of groups and individuals on the subject of handling the past.
Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he plans to hold meetings with the political parties in Northern Ireland on the recommendations made in the report of the Consultative Group on the Past. 
Mr Paterson: As part of the listening exercise on the past which the Minister of State and I are conducting, I have already met most of the political parties to discuss their views on legacy issues in Northern Ireland. These meetings have included discussions on the recommendations made to the previous Government by the Consultative Group on the Past.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of his Department's expenditure on printing (a) Command Papers, (b) papers laid before Parliament by Act, (c) consultation documents and (d) other papers in each of the last 10 years. 
Since 12 April, the Department has spent £5,410 on printing papers presented to Parliament by Act. The Department has incurred no expenditure printing command papers, consultation documents, or other papers. These figures do not include expenditure by arm's length bodies.
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport follows the guidelines on prompt payment of suppliers issued by the UK Department of Business Innovation and skills (BIS). Where clarification on prompt payment guidelines is required we deal directly with BIS.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his (a) original and (b) current estimate is of the cost of the (i) establishment and (ii) operation of the flexible benefit project over a three year period. 
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) initial cost estimate was and (b) cost estimate is of (i) establishing and (ii) operating the flexible benefits project over a three year period; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The original net estimate for the cost of a three year project for the establishment and operation of the Department's 'Your Reward' programme, one element of which is flexible benefits, was £874,000 in February 2009. This is also the current estimate of the total cost of the project. The equivalent per capita cost is just over £16 per annum based on 18,186 employees (FTEs) in the central Department and its seven executive agencies.
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials of his Department have used the flexible benefits project to carry out cost comparison of products and services; and what assessment he has made of the value for money of the service. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport's 'Your Reward' portal enables staff to view and purchase a range of products offered with retailer discounts. Since the scheme came into operation in November 2009, 88,151 viewings have been recorded to date. There is no information about whether the purpose was to carry out cost comparisons or to view and purchase products.
The estimated net cost of a three-year project for the establishment and operation of the Department's 'Your Reward' programme is £874,000. The equivalent per capita cost is just over £16 per annum based on 18,186 employees (FTEs).
'Your Reward' responds to key work force challenges and is aligned to civil service reward principles in terms of adopting a total reward approach. The range of benefits offered complements the Department's aim to reduce employee absence, improve employee well-being and support the green transport agenda.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) purpose and (b) nature was of the hospitality for which his Department paid Amey Business (a) £21,933.26 on 4 June 2010, (b) £15,463.85 on 22 June 2010 and (c) £13,804.61 on 16 June 2010. 
"Do not organise any refreshments for internal meetings. Hospitality is appropriate only where there are external attendees. Avoid arranging meetings of longer than one hour between 12pm and 2pm so that working lunches are not required.
You should have written approval from the Head of Division before ordering anything more expensive than teas and coffees."
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what mileage was travelled by Ministers in cars provided by the Government Car Service in each month between May and October in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010. 
Mike Penning: Information on journeys under a mile made by Ministers in Government Cars since May 2010 is not available as the Government Car and Despatch Agency does not keep a record of such information.
Prior to September 2010 all Ministers were provided with an allocated car and driver on an as directed basis. As a result there was no requirement to keep a record of journeys made. A number of Ministers have continued to be driven under this arrangement since September 2010.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. 
The central Department, Driving Standards Agency, Highways Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Vehicle Certification Agency and Vehicle Operator Services Agency have not had a contract with (a) Post Office Ltd and (b) Royal Mail in each year since 2004-05.
The value of contracts between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail since 2004-05 is set out in the following table. DVLA's financial system only goes back to 2002-03, therefore earlier figures are not available. The amounts are exclusive of VAT.
|Financial year||Total Post Office Ltd||Total Royal Mail|
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what services provided by his Department and its predecessors 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. 
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which services of his Department and its predecessors have been the subject of a contract awarded in a tender process in which Post Office Ltd submitted a bid since 1997-98. 
The Post Office Ltd has not bid for any contract tendered by the central Department, the Driving Standards Agency, Government Car and Despatch Agency, Highways Agency, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Vehicle Operator Services Agency and Vehicle Certification Agency.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency negotiated a contract with Post Office Ltd for vehicle relicensing and other services. Other services include driving licence application, displaying forms across the Post Office network, a returned or unpaid cheques service and network support for these services.
Mike Penning: No central list of revoked regulations is available. In the last six months, my Department has not revoked any regulatory measures other than those revoked by measures that replaced them.
We are continuing to scrutinise our stock of regulation and pipeline measures inherited from the previous administration with a view to finding OUTs, for the One-in, One-out regulatory management system.
In the last six months, no regulations have been made through primary legislation and 15 through statutory instruments. These are listed in the following table. 13 of the measures required no impact assessment because no impact on business or civil society organisations was expected, while the remaining two imposed no net cost on such bodies. The total does not include 762 Temporary Local Highways Orders and 45 Temporary Local Flying Orders.
|Legislation laid in Parliament by the Department for Transport since 1 May 2010|
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much (a) his Department and (b) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (i) received and (ii) saved through the use of non-geographical telephone numbers in (A) 2008-09 and (B) 2009-10; and how much he expects to be received or saved in 2010-11 
The above figures are a combined total of all DVLA 0870 and 0906 numbers and are based on financial years (April to March). No estimate has been made on how much has been saved by using non-geographical telephone numbers.
Mrs Villiers: Eurostar International Ltd advises that in 2009, Eurostar carried 9.2 million international passengers. The corresponding figure for the first half of 2010 was 4.6 million. The company does not release information for individual stations.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 25 October 2010 in regard to Mrs S Fairclough. 
Mike Penning: It is the Department for Transport's policy to resurface motorways and trunk roads with material with noise reducing properties when the existing surface needs replacing as part of its normal maintenance cycle.
The surface of the M54 in Staffordshire has not yet reached the stage where a full resurfacing scheme is justified and there have been no recent works other than minor routine patching schemes. A major surfacing renewal scheme was carried out on the M6 between junctions 12 and 13 in 2007. This means that combined with previous schemes, the length of motorway between junctions 10 and 13 has a low noise surface and no further schemes are proposed in the foreseeable future. Environmental barriers are being replaced on the M6 between junctions 8 and 10A as part of the current managed motorway scheme, which will open the hard shoulder as a running lane. Although the barriers provide some relief from noise, they are not specifically intended for noise reduction.
Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Association of Train Operating Companies on travel facilities provision for train drivers. 
Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department conducted an equality impact assessment of his policy to allow rail fares to increase by three per cent. above the retail price index. 
Mrs Villiers: Appropriate consideration was given to the equalities impact of the comprehensive spending review decision on rail fares, in accordance with statutory obligations and taking on board the relevant policy criteria. In the light of this assessment, a full equalities impact assessment was not considered to be necessary.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has held with (a) Passenger Focus and (b) Network Rail in respect of raising the present cap on rail fares; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 6 December 2010]: Ministers meet Passenger Focus regularly to discuss matters of concern. No specific discussions have taken place between Ministers and Passenger Focus on the decision to raise the cap on rail fares for three years from 2012 onwards. However, research and other work by Passenger Focus was considered before the decision was taken on raising the cap. Ministers would not expect to discuss the cap with Network Rail.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he had held with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the socio-economic effects on commuters in (i) the West Midlands and (ii) England of proposed increases in rail fares; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 6 December 2010]: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) discusses matters of policy in general terms with his Cabinet colleagues on a regular basis. A distributional analysis of the impact of rail fare increases was conducted during the spending review and this fed into Treasury analyses of overall spending review outcomes.
Despite the economic downturn, passenger numbers are, in general, still increasing and we expect this trend to continue. The fares increase announced recently means that the Government can deliver much needed improvements on the rail network including improving conditions and relieving overcrowding on busy routes.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much and what proportion of the £90 million allocated to improving rail platforms in the 2010 Spending Review will be spent in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Redditch. 
Full details of spending on rail platform improvements planned across the network can be obtained from Network Rail, as the company responsible for delivering the high-level outputs specified by Government.
|Rail carriages ordered|
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration his Department gave to the provisions in the European procurement directive in its tendering for the Intercity Expressway programme. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 2 December 2010]: The tendering exercise for the Intercity Express Programme has been conducted in full accordance with both UK and European Union requirements for the procurement of services and products by public authorities.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the compliance of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's criteria for sourcing sustainable timber. 
Compliance is measured at the most appropriate point of the procurement process, dependent on the procurement route taken. Where procurement is through central Government or Buying Solutions contracts, the Department ensures compliance at the point of delivery. Where third parties procure on behalf of the Department, its agencies or NDPBs, the contract with the third party will include a clause(s) requiring that all timber and timber derived products meet the Government's timber procurement policy.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work is being carried out by her Department to ensure the Rural Payments Agency can resume payments of fruit and vegetable aid in the short term. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA and Rural Payment Agency (RPA) officials are working closely together to give fruit and vegetable producer organisations urgent consideration. Producer organisations are aware that the issues raised by EU auditors are serious for both the industry and UK taxpayers.
In addition, DEFRA recently formed a working group with the RPA and representatives of producer organisations to clarify guidance for the sector. This will help producer organisations continue to meet the EU regulatory requirements covering the Fruit and Vegetables Aid scheme.
Richard Benyon: I expressed my intention to hold an angling summit at a meeting I held with the Angling Trust in September 2010. The summit will cover a variety of issues related to angling, including levels of participation. The summit will take place early in the new year and I will ensure that the Angling Trust, along with other representative organisations, is invited to attend.
Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to enable the Environment Agency to send out reminders for the renewal of rod licences. 
Richard Benyon: While the Environment Agency has a statutory duty to implement a system of rod and line licences in England and Wales, and reminders for the renewal of rod licences enable the agency to provide sufficient advice and guidance to their customers, as of May 2010 all Government expenditure on marketing and publicity is subject to the scrutiny of departmental approvals panels, following guidance from the Cabinet Office. DEFRA officials are currently working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that value for money is taken into account when reminders for the renewal of rod licences are sent out to the angling community.
Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency sells licences for fishing with rod and line in England, Wales, and on the Border Esk in Scotland. The licence year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Published sales of rod licences (taken from Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Statistics reports) are as follows:
|Rod licence sales|
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the evidence against self-regulation in monitoring the condition of wild animals used in circuses. 
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has made any assessment of the merits of the use of poison gas for the culling of badgers. 
Mr Paice: Our consultation document makes clear that we have ruled out gassing for the time being on the basis that we do not currently have evidence that it is a sufficiently humane and effective method of culling.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department plans to take to increase reporting of carbon emissions by UK-listed companies. 
Mr Paice: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) will announce how we intend to proceed in promoting more widespread and consistent reporting of greenhouse gas emissions in early 2011.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the expenditure of her Department and its predecessors on printing (a) Command Papers, (b) papers laid before Parliament by Act, (c) consultation documents and (d) other papers in each of the last 10 years. 
Richard Benyon: Information in the Department's financial records, including its Executive Agencies, for expenditure related to each of these items could be determined only at disproportionate cost as transaction records do not separately cover these specific types of expenditure.
Richard Benyon: I will lead the UK Fisheries Delegation at the Council on 13 and 14 December, and will be accompanied by the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment (Richard Lochhead) and the Minister for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland (Michelle Gildernew). The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice), will be attending for Monday 13 December only. All will be accompanied by officials.
Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to announce the level of funding for Rural Development Programme for England scheme-funded local action groups after April 2011. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA will be providing regional development agencies (RDAs) with further clarity on the indicative budgets available for the socio-economic elements of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for the next financial year, once the implications of the spending review are confirmed. RDAs will review indicative budget allocations to local action groups to ensure that full spend of the RDPE budget allocation made available through the Leader approach is achieved.
Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the extent of duplication of effort between independent trade support bodies and projects funded from the public purse through the Rural Development Programme for England scheme. 
Mr Paice: All applications for funding under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) are subject to an appraisal process that meets the requirements of the guidance for appraisal, delivery and evaluation produced jointly by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, English Partnerships (now part of the Homes and Communities Agency), regional development agencies and the Office of Project and Programme Advice and Training. That appraisal process includes, among other issues, an assessment of the need for Government funding and any local displacement of existing business. The mid-term evaluation of the RDPE currently being undertaken is considering the additional funding provided through the programme and any displacement impacts.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what has been the average amount of compensation paid to farmers for the slaughter of each animal type for the purpose of tuberculosis control in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
|Average cattle compensation paid per animal (£)|
Statutory compensation paid to owners of deer slaughtered for TB control purposes is £600 or 50% of market value, whichever is less. The following table shows the total amount of compensation paid in each of the last five years.
|Deer compensation paid (£000)|
No statutory compensation is payable for any other animals. However, since June 2007 DEFRA has operated a non-statutory ex gratia scheme paying farmers £750 for each positive TB test camelid slaughtered for disease control purposes. Before June 2007 ex gratia payments were made, based on individual valuations of the animals. However, we cannot disclose details of these payments as that would enable third parties to attribute the payments to a specific claimant. Information that would enable compensation to be attributed to specific claimants cannot be disclosed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
A comprehensive multi-agency Flood Rescue Concept of Operations (FRCO) has been published which provides national standards for flood rescue assets, training and equipment, and clarity on command and co-ordination in a wide scale flooding event.
A national, multi-agency register of flood rescue assets and the operational arrangements that will govern how they are used is being finalised, and will be co-ordinated by the Fire and Rescue Services' National Co-ordination Centre. To complement this, DEFRA has recently launched a grant scheme for flood rescue operators, including Fire and Rescue Authorities, to apply for funding to help improve national capability and meet the standards for flood rescue assets as defined in the FRCO. £650,000 has been allocated to date and a further round of the grant scheme has been opened which will conclude in January 2011.
DEFRA has also committed funding to raising the standard of existing teams to the required level, as articulated in the FRCO. This is important, as the consideration should be not only numbers of assets, but the standards of assets allowing them to be successfully utilised in flooding emergencies. DEFRA has committed such funding to Fire and Rescue Authorities as well as voluntary flood rescue organisations.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and (b) the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser on (i) the implementation of recommendation 39 of the Pitt review and (ii) Exercise Watermark. 
Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) speaks frequently with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles) on a range of issues. She recently wrote to him about his Department's participation in Exercise Watermark. DEFRA officials have frequent discussions with the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, and his team, on the Government's response to the Pitt Review and Exercise Watermark.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have had with commercial companies on the future of Forestry Commission land. 
Mr Paice: I regularly meet representatives from companies operating in the forestry sector in my role as Minister of State. Discussions have covered a broad range of issues of interest to the sector, including the Government's proposals to consult on the future of the public forest estate in England.
Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take to ensure that land sold from the Forestry Commission portfolio will be managed to UK Forestry standards and guidelines. 
Mr Paice: The Forestry Commission is responsible for developing the standards for sustainable forestry management in the UK. The UK Forestry Standard sets the minimum standards and is accompanied by a series of guidelines providing advice on its implementation.
Already, landowners who wish to enter into the English Woodland Grant Scheme, which supports the management of existing woods and the creation of woodland, must meet the sustainable forestry criteria set out in the UK Forestry Standard. Woodland owners who apply for a felling licence, which is normally required to fell growing trees, are expected to manage their woodland to the UK Forestry Standard. In addition, the demand from purchasers of wood and wood products carrying independent confirmation of sustainable management gives woodland owners an incentive to meet the standards set out in UK Forestry Standard and UK Woodland Assurance Scheme.
The Government will consult early in the new year on the future management and ownership of the public forest estate in England, including options for sustaining the public benefits it currently provides and the use of forestry standards.
Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which (a) private and (b) civil society partners she has consulted in relation to proposed new ownership options for public forests; 
Mr Paice: I have met a range of representatives from industry and non-governmental organisations in the course of normal business where ideas relating to the public forest estate have been discussed. DEFRA and the Forestry Commission will be consulting early next year on proposals regarding the public forest estate in England. We will invite views from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership and management options, while protecting public benefits. We also plan to hold stakeholder workshops as part of the public consultation.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether she has discussed with the Scottish Executive (a) the future of the Forestry Commission Regional Advisory Committee for Scotland and (b) the role of the Forestry Commissioners in Scotland; 
(2) whether she has received any request from the Scottish Executive to devolve to it the legislative power to (a) enable abolition of the Forestry Commission in Scotland and (b) delegate the powers of the Forestry Commissioners in Scotland. 
Forestry Ministers in England, Wales and Scotland have discussed via correspondence the UK Government's proposals to consult on the future of the public forest estate in England, to abolish the regional advisory committees and to seek the legislative powers in the Public Bodies Bill. Officials will continue to hold discussions on matters relating to Forestry Commission GB. The Bill, as introduced to Parliament, does not give
Scottish Ministers or the Scottish Executive the powers to abolish the Forestry Commissioners. The Scottish Government have powers by virtue of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act, to delegate, by order, the powers of the Forestry Commissioners in Scotland.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on the provision contained in amendment 205 to the European Parliament proposal to require label information on the kosher slaughter method; what response she received; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA Ministers have held no discussions with EU colleagues on this issue. We do not consider the European Parliament's amendment 205 to the Food Information Regulation to be the correct way to address this, as we would like to see method of slaughter labelling considered in an animal welfare context.
However, we believe people should know what they are buying in shops and when they are eating out and we are discussing with food and catering industries whether labelling and point of sale information can play a greater role in giving consumers an informed choice about the food they buy. All involved agree this is a complex, difficult and sensitive issue.
Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the level of income which would accrue to companies based in the UK if US military food supplies were imported via warehouses in the UK rather than in Germany. 
Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely effects on the competitiveness of the egg industry of the implementation of proposed EU legislation on (a) egg grading and (b) hen caging. 
Mr Paice: The Department is in close contact with industry and in October I met with the British Egg Industry Council where I stressed my commitment to the 2012 deadline for the conventional cage ban to come into force and to supporting industry throughout the transition.
The UK has suggested the introduction of a Code '4' for eggs produced by hens housed in enriched systems with the Commission, to ensure they can be distinguished from those housed in conventional cages after the ban is introduced. However, the Commission has made it clear that it views the introduction of an additional Code as confusing to consumers. It is not an option it is willing to consider.
On 19 November I met with Commissioner Dalli and others from the Commission to discuss a range of issues which included the 2012 laying hen conventional cage ban. I raised my concerns over the probability of EU wide non-compliance and have strongly urged the Commission to put sufficient enforcement measures in place to protect compliant producers if other countries do not meet the 2012 deadline.
We will continue to work with the European Commission and industry to ensure that everything is done to protect UK producers who have already made significant investment to comply with the legislation.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much local authorities in (a) England and (b) Milton Keynes spent on the maintenance of sewers in the latest period in which figures are available. 
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the compliance of (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's criteria for sourcing sustainable timber. 
Mr Paice: We have not assessed if the timber and wood derived products procured by DEFRA, its agencies and NDPBs comply with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's criteria for sourcing sustainable timber.
A requirement in our Sustainable Procurement Policy Statement for buyers and suppliers to take account of the Government's timber procurement policy;
Inclusion in our standard terms and conditions of contract of requirements for suppliers to comply with the timber procurement policy and meet Government Buying Standards, which cover commodities such as furniture and paper and require compliance with the policy;
Use of PQQs, ITT questions and specifications dealing with the policy where relevant to the subject matter of the contract;
Promotion of Government approved model ITT, model contract condition for timber and wood-derived products and model specification text on DEFRA's suppliers' website;
Promotion on the suppliers' website of workshops for procurers run by the Central Point of Expertise for Timber (CPET);
Master classes and other training to raise buyers' awareness of the Government's timber procurement policy and Government Buying Standards.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what treatments her Department has recommended that farmers carry out on animals suspected of carrying tuberculosis; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what procedures her Department follows in respect of the blood testing of animals suspected of having tuberculosis; which officer of her Department or its agencies takes the decision to proceed with a blood test; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 3 December 2010]: DEFRA does not recommend any treatment for animals suspected of carrying tuberculosis (TB). Treatment of cattle for TB is explicitly forbidden in both the domestic and EU tuberculosis control legislation. There are several sound scientific and public health reasons for this, including the fact that treatment can mask the reactions to the TB tests in infected animals, thus causing false negative results. In addition, there are no veterinary drugs licensed in the UK for the treatment of TB in cattle or other mammals.
The interferon-gamma test is the only ancillary blood test approved for the detection of TB infected cattle in the European Union. It is down to member states to define the specific circumstances in which this test is to be deployed in their territory, always in conjunction with the primary tuberculin skin test. The field procedures for blood testing of cattle herds are laid down in the Operations Manual of Animal Health. The laboratory methods are set out in the Veterinary Laboratories Agency standard operating laboratory procedures. In certain prescribed circumstances, the application of the interferon-gamma test in cattle herds is mandatory, whereas in other scenarios its use is subject to a degree of discretion, professional judgement and risk assessment by Animal Health veterinary officers.
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent of links between al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and terrorist and paramilitary organisations in (a) North Africa, (b) the Middle East and (c) Yemen. [R] 
Alistair Burt: Al-Qaeda's allies and affiliates look to exploit ungoverned space and instability where they can, whether in the Sahel or Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq or Afghanistan. These affiliates share al-Qaeda's name, broad objectives and methods. These groups broaden al-Qaeda's reach across the Muslim world and enhance its ability to plan terrorist attacks. We are aware of links between al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and paramilitary organisations in North and West Africa and we continue to monitor these.
Alistair Burt: For the period January to June 2010, information about UK arms exports is available on the Strategic Export Controls: Reports and Statistics pages on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Website:
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the condition of the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau; what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will contribute to the fund responsible for the upkeep of Auschwitz-Birkenau; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government are currently considering their position on contributions to the Perpetuity Fund for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. We are also contributing to EU discussions on whether to offer funds to the Foundation and this may influence the way the Government approach this issue.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on funding of Auschwitz-Birkenau Perpetual Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
The Managing Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation visited the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently to discuss funding. This Department and other Government Departments have received letters from Members of Parliament.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the operation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Perpetual Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on section 35 of the NATO Lisbon Summit declaration offering unequivocal support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: The UK supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit declaration made at Lisbon. We believe that territorial integrity is one of the principles that should form the basis to any solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, along with respect for the self-determination of people and the non-use of force. The UK continues to support the work of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group and their efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The UK calls for both Armenia and Azerbaijan to focus with renewed energy on achieving a sustainable peace agreement for the stability and security of the region.
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals living outside the UK are registered with the LOCATE service in each (a) country and (b) territory in which the LOCATE service in offered. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: As of 1 December 2010, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overseas online registration and crisis database, LOCATE, currently holds a total of 49,666 active registrants. This figure breaks down as: 49,623 registrants spread across various countries and 43 registrants in the UK's overseas territories.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals are detained in foreign countries in relation to offences of child sexual abuse. 
Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations in public to the government of China to release Liu Xiaobo and all prisoners of conscience on the occasion of Human Rights Day on 10 December 2010. 
Mr Jeremy Browne:
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has clearly stated that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo shines a spotlight on the situation of human rights defenders worldwide. This Government are committed to promoting human rights in foreign policy and support the work of human rights defenders around the world. British Ministers have regularly raised the case of Liu Xiaobo in their
engagement with China. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the case during his visit to China in July this year. We will continue to urge the Chinese Government to release Mr Liu.
The work of human rights defenders is the theme for this year's International Human Rights Day. To mark the occasion we will be issuing a statement to highlight the important work these individuals do, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances, and the work the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is doing to support human rights defenders around the world.
Mr Hague [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Conflict prevention activity is funded primarily through a tri-departmental fund called the Conflict Pool. This is managed jointly by the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Ministry of Defence. The Conflict Pool has existed in various forms since 2005 (as the Global Conflict Prevention Pool, Africa Conflict Prevention Pool and Conflict Prevention Pool). Funding for the Conflict Pool is provided through the spending round, separately from departmental expenditure limits. The FCO does not normally contribute additional funds from its own budget. However, in financial year 2009-10 the FCO contributed an additional £2 million from its departmental budget towards a £20 million uplift to the Afghanistan programme.
This financial year, the Conflict Pool is £178.5 million and funds five programmes; four regional: Africa, the middle east, wider Europe and South Asia, and one thematic: Strategic Support to International Organisations. FCO spend through the Conflict Pool is listed in the departmental resource accounts available on the FCO website and in the Library of the House.
In addition to programme activity funded through the Conflict Pool, a large part of the FCO's core bilateral work supports the Government's conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping goals. As this is part of wider bilateral relationships, it is not possible to provide a separate figure for this.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements are in place in his Department to enable staff of his Department to propose innovations in working practices to improve service provision. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office encourages all its staff to offer suggestions on how working practices can be done more innovatively and efficiently. Suggestion schemes regularly receive ideas from staff which are investigated as to their practicality and desirability and are implemented where appropriate.
We ran a specific 'Innovate and Save' scheme earlier this year which generated more than 400 ideas for ways to work differently and increase efficiency. This scheme closed in the summer and we now take proposals from staff as part of our change and efficiency agendas.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recognises the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises and is aware of the Government's programme to support them in the UK. While much of the FCO's operations are overseas, which is reflected in its procurement activities, it has been and continues to be supportive of this programme for its UK procurement, and the work the Cabinet Office's Efficiency and Reform Group is undertaking to improve small and medium-sized enterprises' access to forthcoming Government contracts and improve opportunities to win business.
Due to the majority of FCO procurement being undertaken overseas, the FCO does not have significant opportunities for UK third sector organisations. However, it is engaging with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and other leading Departments on this agenda and works, where appropriate, to increase opportunities for such organisations to access and compete for FCO contracts focused on the UK.
Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) legislation and (b) other measures presented to the Council of Ministers the Government has agreed to adopt since May 2010; which such measures the Government did not support prior to their adoption; and what (i) legislation and (ii) other measures have been adopted in the Council of Ministers on the basis of qualified majority voting on occasions where the UK voted against since May 2010. 
1. Regulation (EU) No 539/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2010 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards simplification of certain requirements and as regards certain provisions relating to financial management PE-CONS 9/3/10 REV 3.
2. Directive 2010/41/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity and repealing Council Directive 86/613/EEC PE-CONS 18/2/10 REV 2.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what priorities he has set for his Department's most recent strategic framework; and if he will make a statement; 
Alistair Burt: In July, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agreed a new set of foreign policy priorities for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They are:
"Britain will pursue an active and activist foreign policy, working with other countries and strengthening the rules-based international system in support of our values to:
Safeguard Britain's national security by countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict.
Build Britain's prosperity by increasing exports and investment, opening markets, ensuring access to resources, and promoting sustainable global growth.
Support British nationals around the world through modern and efficient consular services."
These priorities are at the heart of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Departmental Business Plan, which sets out in detail the foreign policy priorities under the Coalition Agreement and which is published on the Downing Street and Foreign and Commonwealth Office websites. They are consistent with the role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as set out in the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the International Violence Against Women Champion will exercise ministerial responsibilities in his Department. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and Government Equalities Office all work on tackling violence against women overseas. Ministerial responsibility for taking forward the UK's work overseas will continue to rest with departmental Ministers.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to his Iraqi counterpart on the protection of religious minorities in Iraq. 
On 10 November I met the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hoshyar Zebari and raised the issue of Iraqi Christians with him. Mr Zebari acknowledged that the protection of Christians was the Iraqi Government's responsibility.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also raised this in a telephone conversation to Prime Minister al-Maliki on 15 November. Prime Minister al-Maliki again expressed concern at recent developments, and welcomed UK support, particularly on persuading the Christian minority groups to remain in Iraq. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear the Iraqis had the UK's full support.
During his visit to Iraq from 22-25 November my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, raised the need to improve the protection of Christians and other minorities with all his interlocutors.
The Government will continue to press the Iraqi Government to ensure that Iraqi constitutional commitments to guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens is respected and protected. We will also continue to urge the Iraqi Government to protect all communities, especially vulnerable minority groups and to deal appropriately with those who are found responsible for any acts of violence and intimidation because of political, ethnic or religious affiliation.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the progress of Kazakhstan on pledges on (a) human rights and (b) other matters made in Madrid in 2007 during its chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 
Mr Lidington: Kazakhstan has taken some limited steps forward in the fields of human rights and political reform, but further improvements are needed. The UK consistently makes clear the importance it attaches to the human dimension of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), including the obligations to which Kazakhstan has committed itself. I discussed these issues with the Kazakh Government during my visit to Almaty for an informal meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in July. During the OSCE summit in Astana on 1 and 2 December 2010, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister raised these issues with the Government of Kazakhstan and my right hon. Friend and I discussed Kazakhstan's reform agenda and human rights record with local non-governmental organisations and representatives of Kazakhstan's opposition parties. We and international partners will continue to encourage the Kazakh authorities, both within and outside the framework of the OSCE, to press ahead with reforms, many of which they themselves have identified as necessary.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of incidents of cargo ships carrying arms to (a) Hamas, (b) Hezbollah and (c) Iraqi insurgents being seized by state authorities since 1 January 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
We have received no recent reports of cargo ships carrying arms to Hamas, Hizballah or Iraqi insurgents. However, we remain concerned at reports of
arms transfers to Hamas and Hizballah more generally and continue to call on all parties in the region to respect UN Security Council Resolutions 1860 and 1701. Together with our international partners we will take action wherever possible to halt the smuggling of illegal arms.
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Consular Department only has estimates of the number of British visitors to Morocco for the financial years 1999-2007. These are shown in the following table. These data were drawn from a variety of sources and, because of the lack of consistently reliable sources, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ceased to collect this information after 2006-07.
|Year financial||Estimated number of British visitors|
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what formal channels for communication and co-operation exist between civilian security forces in the UK and Morocco. 
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has set objectives for the UK's presidency of the UN Security Council in respect of (a) the question of autonomy in the Western Sahara, (b) human rights in the Western Sahara and (c) the welfare of Mustapha Salman Ould Sidi Mouland. [R] 
Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary announced in a statement on 2 November that, under the UK presidency, the UN Security Council would hear updates on progress towards a settlement in Western Sahara. On 16 November we arranged for the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Western Sahara, Ambassador Christopher Ross, to brief the council on the latest round of negotiations between the parties to agree a mutually acceptable and long-lasting political solution to the dispute.
The UK continues to support the idea of 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 instrument is best placed to deliver that function.
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government has had (a) at the UN Security Council and (b) with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the welfare of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouland. [R] 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of the case of Mr Mustafa Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud, and our embassies in Rabat and Algiers are following events closely. We are concerned that, despite an announcement of his release by the Polisario on 6 October, Mr Salma's whereabouts are still unknown. Our embassy officials have met Mr Salma's family and raised his case with Polisario representatives.
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the legality of the detention of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouland in Algeria; on what dates he has made representations to (a) the government of Algeria and (b) Polisario on the detention of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouland; and on what dates his Department has discussed the future of (A) Western Sahara and (B) Ceuta and Melilla with the Spanish government since 2005. [R] 
Alistair Burt: We understand that Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud was detained by the Polisario, who exercise de facto administration over the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. Media in the region has reported that he was released to the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) in Mauritania on 1 December. The Government are aware of this case and our embassies in Rabat and Algiers are following events closely. We will continue to monitor developments and call on all parties to adhere to the obligations set out in international conventions in relation to respect for human rights and the protection of refugees.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not made any representations to the Government of Algeria regarding this case. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials met with the Polisario representative in London on 28 October 2010 and reiterated the UK position that Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud must have access to a free and fair trial to defend any charges levied against him.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on deaths of journalists in Russia in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: According to the non-governmental organisation the Glasnost Defence Foundation, 46 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 2005. This includes the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. We are deeply concerned about attacks on journalists in Russia and the low success rate in investigating and prosecuting crimes against journalists in recent years. The perception of a climate of impunity further undermines freedom of expression and human rights in Russia.
The UK supported EU High Representative Catherine Ashton's statement of 17 November 2010 about attacks on journalists in Russia. We will continue to raise this issue both bilaterally and with our EU partners.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department has provided to the Sudanese authorities in advance of the forthcoming referendum. 
Alistair Burt: The UK is providing logistical, technical, and political support to the implementation of the Referendum on self-determination for Southern Sudan. Our assistance is provided through a £10 million contribution to the UN Development Programme Basket Fund. We are also providing support to the political talks between the Sudanese parties on border demarcation and security arrangements.
Alistair Burt: There are five Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials stationed in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In addition, there are two positions in the Governor's Office in Grand Turk filled by officials seconded from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Defence.
Mr Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what criteria the Child Support Agency uses to determine the (a) individuals and (b) organisations it consults as stakeholders; 
Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria the Child Support Agency uses to determine the (a) individuals and (b) organisations it consults as stakeholders. ; and
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances the Child Support Agency (a) is required to and (b) chooses to consult stakeholders. ; and
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what methods the Child Support Agency uses to consult stakeholders. ; and
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how often representatives of the Child Support Agency met external stakeholders in the latest period for which figures are available. ; and
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with what frequency the Child Support Agency consults (a) external organisations and (b) members of the public on its activities. ; and
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions the Child Support Agency has had on its activities with (a) stakeholders and (b) other interested parties. 
The Commission undertakes high level stakeholder engagement in relation to the child maintenance system in Great Britain. In broad terms, the Commission actively seeks to engage with stakeholders including:
Stakeholders who represent separated parents with a child maintenance arrangement or who would benefit from such an arrangement;
Stakeholders who provide information, advice, support, advocacy or training to separating or separated parents;
Stakeholders who represent professionals whose clients regularly include separating and separated parents and who are in a position to provide information and support on child, maintenance to these parents;
Stakeholders who have an interest in the role that child maintenance plays in the wider policy on families and children and;
Stakeholders who can assist the Commission in the exercise of its statutory functions.
The Commission is also happy to answer questions and have discussions with stakeholders that approach the Commission. It is not uncommon for the Commission to be approached in this way.
The Commission has undertaken to engage with stakeholders on the development of services and changes in policy. A range of methods are used to engage with stakeholders and the methods used are selected in each circumstance on the basis of good practice, practicality and the other needs of all involved. Methods include forums, bilateral meetings, correspondence, telephone conversations, attendance at conferences and formal public consultations.
Due to the frequent and both formal and informal nature of the Commission's engagement with its stakeholders, no figures are collected on the frequency of meetings with stakeholders.
Stakeholders and members of the public are also involved in the development of child maintenance policy through formal public consultations. These are conducted as appropriate and in line with the Government's Code of Conduct on Consultation. In the last year, there has been one consultation, which concluded in June 2010, on miscellaneous child maintenance regulations.
Recently the Commission has been having discussions with stakeholders on developing and enhancing the current Child Maintenance Options service, training professionals to support parents on child maintenance issues and security processes for telephone conversations with Child Support Agency clients and their representatives. The Commission has, together with the Department for Work and Pensions, also been discussing with stakeholders ways in which families can be better supported through the child maintenance system.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
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