John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many agency staff his Department and its non-departmental public bodies employ at each pay grade. 
Robert Neill: The following table shows the breakdown of admin and clerical staff by grade working in the Department of Communities and Local Government as of 4 November 2010. The Department engages in total 10 admin and clerical staff. At EO, SEO and G7 there are fewer than five individuals engaged. We cannot disclose the exact number owing to reasons of confidentiality. The five agency staff are funded by the Ministry of Justice to cover the costs of a short term service provided by DCLG.
|Grade||Number of agency staff|
DCLG does not hold central staff records for its non-departmental public bodies and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether social landlords letting properties in local authority areas where social rents are in excess of 80 per cent. of market rent will be required to reduce rents when the affordable rent model is introduced. 
Grant Shapps: Social landlords will not be obliged to charge a different rent on social rented properties due to the introduction of affordable rent. None of the new affordable rent proposals have any impact on existing social tenancies.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether a social rented home under his proposed affordable rent model would be classified as affordable if the rent were in excess of the housing benefit cap. 
Grant Shapps: Affordable rent levels can be up to maximum of 80% of local open market rents. Our expectation is that providers will want to take into account housing benefit caps when setting rents.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for the work of the Local Government Boundary Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: The work programme of the independent Local Government Boundary Commission is a matter for it and this House to which it is accountable for its budget through the Speaker's Committee. Under the statute my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State may request the Commission to undertake reviews of administrative boundaries, but currently has no plans to do so.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what reserves were held by each (a) local authority and (b) category of local authority in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. 
Robert Neill: I have today placed in the Library of the House a table that gives, by each local authority in England, and for each class of local authority in England, the non-school reserve level figures for the start and end of the financial years, revenue expenditure data for each financial year and non-school reserves at 31 March as a percentage of revenue expenditure for (i) 2009-10 (outturn) and (ii) 2010-11 (budget).
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations he has received on payments made to chief operating officers and chief financial officers as a result of the refinancing of Newcastle airport; and what his policy is on the making of payments outside normal salary arrangements to senior officials as a result of financing agreements made by local authorities and their trading partners. 
Robert Neill: Neither the Department for Communities and Local Government, nor the Department for Transport, have received any representations on payments made to chief operating officers and chief financial officers at Newcastle airport. All payments made to senior officers by their local authority employers and their trading partners must be lawful and locally justifiable. The forthcoming Localism Bill will contain provisions to increase accountability and transparency over the setting of senior officers' pay packages.
13. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the electrification of the great western main line. 
Mrs Gillan: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my oral response to the hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd) earlier today.
14. Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on the likely effects on RAF Valley of the outcomes of the strategic defence and security review; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr David Jones: The Government are addressing the full range of issues affecting the defence estates following the strategic defence and security review.
Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when she last met the First Minister for Wales to discuss the implications for Wales of the Government's proposals for constitutional change. 
Mrs Gillan: I regularly meet with the First Minister, to discuss a wide range of issues including constitutional reform. The most recent meeting was on 6 December.
Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the timetable for electrification of the Great Western main line. 
Mrs Gillan: I have had, and continue to have, discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport about this matter. We have already announced £7 billion of rail infrastructure improvements that will reduce journey times to Cardiff by 15 minutes and we will now work with the Welsh Assembly Government on the business case for further electrification.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many older people were eligible to receive a free bus pass in each local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available; and what methodology he uses to determine the number of older people that are eligible to receive such passes. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport does not maintain figures concerning the number of older people eligible to receive a free bus pass.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes details on the number of people aged over 60 and living in England. At the mid-point of 2009 there were 11.5 million people aged 60 and over living in England. This figure can be broken down to local authority level and this breakdown has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Until 6 April 2010, the eligible age for concessionary travel was 60 and therefore all 11.5 million people included within the ONS figures were eligible to receive a free bus pass.
Since 6 April 2010, the eligible age for concessionary travel for both men and women has been linked to the state pension age for women.
As the pensionable age for women increases from 60 to 65 so too will the age of eligibility for concessionary travel. The age of eligibility will increase in line with any future changes to the state pension age for women. It will therefore not be possible to derive straightforward estimates of the number of older people eligible for concessionary travel from future ONS figures.
Concessionary travel is a devolved policy area so the arrangements in England differ from those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland-the number of people of eligible age in those areas is a matter for the relevant authorities.
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 AECOM Ltd. (i) £100,000 on 2 July 2010 and (ii) £150,000 on 22 July 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The payments to AECOM Ltd relate to the joint Department for Transport-Regional transport study considering access to/around the Tyne and Wear city region for freight and passengers, and the joint Department for Transport-Northern Way transport study considering movements between (and beyond) Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield for freight and passengers.
Further details of the purpose of the studies can be found on the Department's website at:
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 MVA Consultancy £107,819.18 on 9 July 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The payment to MVA Consultancy is in relation to a Department for Transport led study considering challenges on Strategic National Corridor (SNC) 10 between London and Yorkshire (taking account of movements to and from the North East and Scotland) for freight and passenger movement.
Further details of the purpose of the study can be found on the Department's website at:
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the expenditure of his 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. 
Norman Baker: Publications are produced through various channels depending on value for money and official publishing requirements. Separating out the costs for each publication from the wider communication costs would require manual analysis of the Department's electronic financial system, which would require extensive resources and could be done only at disproportionate cost. The position is further complicated, in that over this 10-year period, some publications were managed and procured by the departmental publishing team and others were managed and procured by TSO (The Stationery Office) directly.
Mark Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason Directive 2009/113/EC has not been implemented in the UK in respect of driving licence rules for eyesight, epilepsy and diabetes; and what deadline the European Commission has set for implementation of the Directive in member states. 
Mike Penning: The UK has considered carefully, with the Secretary of State for Transport's expert medical panels, proposals to make changes to the standards. We are awaiting final cross-Government clearances before public consultation.
Member states can have stricter health standards for driver licensing than those included in the directive. However, the deadline for implementing the directive for member states not meeting the minimum health standards was 25 August 2010.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department plans to provide for the Freight Facilities Grant in each of the next three years. 
Mike Penning: No formal announcement on the future of the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme has yet been made by the Department for Transport. Following the spending review settlement, we are currently considering what budgets will be available across a number of the Department's smaller programmes (including FFG).
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 434W, on parking: fees and charges, whether any companies have been removed from the list of parking enforcement companies eligible to receive Driver and Licensing Agency vehicle keeper data since November 2009. 
Norman Baker: Since November 2009, six companies have had their access to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency vehicle keeper data terminated.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2010, Official Report, column 815W, on parking: fines, which
six local authorities have written to his Department on increases in charges for parking penalties. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 7 December 2010]: The approaches received by the Department for Transport to review parking penalty charges were from the following:
Hartlepool Borough Council
Lincolnshire County Council
Somerset County Council
St Albans City and District Council
Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire District Council jointly
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the likely effects of raising the existing cap on rail fares on (a) the number of journeys (i) by train and (ii) by car, (b) levels of carbon dioxide emissions and (c) road congestion between Brighton and Hove and London; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport expects that rail passenger journeys will continue to increase during the period from 2012 to 2014.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which proposals in the Network Rail Control Period 4 delivery plan in each (a) nation and (b) region of England (a) are being carried out as scheduled, (b) are being carried out with a delayed completion date, (c) are suspended or pending and (d) have been cancelled; for what reason each proposal not carried out as scheduled has been (i) delayed, (ii) suspended and (iii) cancelled; and what the cost of each proposal is, expressed in 2009 prices. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 23 November 2010]: The scope and costs of the Network Rail Control Period 4 delivery plan are determined by Network Rail and, when approved by the independent Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), are published by Network Rail. Changes to this plan are subject to rail industry consultation and to approval by the ORR, which publishes all such approvals. Despite a tough spending review, the great majority of Government investment in rail infrastructure in England and Wales has been confirmed. The Government expects to announce its position on the remaining projects shortly. The specification and funding of infrastructure outputs in Scotland is a devolved matter.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects of speed humps on vehicle suspension systems. 
In 2004 the Department commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), to evaluate the impact of road humps on vehicle suspension systems. TRL found no evidence of any damage, provided the humps were constructed to the requirements of the
Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999 and were driven over at an appropriate speed. The research report is available from the TRL website at:
under the title 'TRL Report 614: Impact of road humps on vehicles and their occupants'.
The Department's Local Transport Note 1/07: 'Traffic Calming' also summarises this and other research into traffic calming. It is available from the Department's website at:
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects of speed humps on ambulance services. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not carried out any research specifically into the impact of road humps on ambulance services.
Local highway authorities must consult the local emergency services on the practicality of any proposed road hump measures in relation to their response times and vehicle types. 'Traffic Advisory Leaflet 1/07: Emergency services traffic calming schemes: A code of practice', published in 2007, sets out good practice arrangements for consultation.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for introducing a road lane rental mechanism for utility firms which wish to excavate on the public highway; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 6 December 2010]: The Department for Transport's business plan includes a commitment, by December 2011, to consult on and finalise regulations enabling new lane rental schemes in England. Once the necessary legislation is in place, it would then be for local highway authorities to submit proposals for approval.
Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review his Department's circular on Planning the Strategic Road Network to allow local decisions on infrastructure changes. 
Mike Penning: There are no plans to update the circular, but we will consider whether revision is necessary following wider reforms to the planning system, which are intended to lift the burden of bureaucracy and empower communities to do things their way.
Circular 2/07 on "Planning and The Strategic Road Network" exists to ensure that the impacts of new development on the network can be properly mitigated and does not worsen transport conditions for local residents. It explains the Government's policy in relation to development near the strategic road network and how the Department will use its powers to prevent the network becoming overloaded.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) financial and (b) physical resources are available to the Highways Agency to deal with adverse winter weather; what plans he has for the future level of such resources; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: The Highways Agency is responsible for maintaining the strategic motorway and trunk road network in England. The maintenance works, including the provision of a robust winter service, are delivered by Highways Agency contractors who are paid through fixed price contracts covering a range of routine maintenance activities. The cost for winter maintenance activity is included within the Highways Agency's annual budget, with a typical cost of £20 million. In addition to the preparations it has made for the winter ahead and following the recommendations in the Independent Winter Resilience Review led by David Quarmby, the Highways Agency is also facilitating the import of 250,000 tonnes of salt as a strategic reserve to support local highway authorities. The costs for this salt acquisition, storage and management will be reimbursed by authorities who receive salt from the strategic stocks.
With respect to physical resources, the Highways Agency fleet of 437 new winter service vehicles (gritters), all with snow ploughs ready to be mounted during snow conditions, together with an additional 23 snow blowers, are ready for deployment. Prior to the current period of severe winter weather, the Highways Agency contractors held over 250,000 tonnes in their depots ready for use.
Following the comprehensive spending review, Departments are assessing and confirming detailed allocations to their individual business areas. The Highways Agency is undertaking a review of all of its maintenance activities including winter service to maximise value for money and to ensure that priority areas receive the level of future funding required to maintain the appropriate level of service.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects credit card payment facilities to be made permanently available for users of the Severn Crossing. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 25 November 2010]: The Highways Agency anticipates that a permanent card payment system will be fully operational early next year.
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2010, Official Report, column 303W, on transport: Aberdeenshire, what information his Department holds on major transport infrastructure projects which have been completed in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire local authority areas between 1980 and 1999. 
Norman Baker: None. As I indicated in my previous reply, this is devolved to the Scottish Government and is therefore a matter for Scottish Ministers.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what special grant funding he plans to allocate to each integrated transport authority to carry out its statutory duty to fund the national concessionary travel scheme in each of the next three years. 
Norman Baker: Special grant funding provided by the Department for Transport to integrated transport authorities (ITAs) was only intended to cover the period from 2008-09 through to 2010-11. From April 2011 this funding will be subsumed into formula grant alongside the rest of the funding for concessionary travel which gives local authorities the freedom and flexibility they want in their use of funding. ITAs will therefore need to obtain the entirety of their funding to carry out their statutory duties in relation to concessionary travel through the levying process with metropolitan district councils.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many homes in (a) the west midlands, (b) London and the south-east, (c) England and (d) the UK received electricity supply from renewable sources in the last year; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The majority of renewable electricity generated is supplied to the National Grid, who then transmit it across the country, so all grid connected UK homes will receive some electricity originating from renewable sources. DECC holds data on the total amount of electricity supplied by renewable sources, as well as total domestic electricity consumption. DECC does not collect data on the number of homes supplied solely by renewables-these would be homes directly connected to a renewable electricity generation facility and not taking any supply from the National Grid.
In 2009, 6.7% of electricity generated in the UK was from renewable sources.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many EU directives are pending transposition into domestic legislation by his Department; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each such transposition. 
Gregory Barker: The following EU directives are pending transposition by my Department. Total estimated economic, social and environmental costs and benefits are presented in present value terms from published impact assessments where available:
1. 2009/72/EC-Electricity directive. EU Third Package-concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity. Costs yet to be confirmed.
2. 2009/73/EC-Gas directive. EU Third Package-concerning common rules for the internal market in gas. Costs yet to be confirmed.
3. 2009/71/Euratom-Safety of nuclear installations. Costs yet to be confirmed.
4. 2009/28/EC-Promoting the use of energy from renewable sources. Cost £19.85 billion; Benefit £11billion.
5. 2009/31/EC-Storage of CO2. Costs yet to be confirmed.
6. 2009/119/EC-Oil stocking. Imposing an obligation to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products. Costs yet to be confirmed.
7. 2009/29/EC-Directive amending 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the
greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community. Costs yet to be confirmed.
In addition, we have consulted on the inclusion of nitrous oxide in the EU ETS (2003/87/EC). Cost £32.3 million; Benefit £508.3 million.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reason the UK Renewable Energy Strategy anticipates no contribution from deep geothermal energy; for what reason his Department has reduced the level of grant funding to the deep geothermal industry; what his policy is on deep geothermal heat and power; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The UK Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) was published by DECC in July 2009. It recognised the potential of deep geothermal energy, noting (page 43) that:
"although...geothermal [power] projects are not included in the lead scenario, they could contribute going forward".
Reflecting this positive view of the technology, the RES also noted (page 145) that:
"as it matures [deep geothermal power] could become a significant player in the UK's energy landscape".
The RES also announced a commitment of financial support to the deep geothermal sector, through an initiative which became the Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund.
The decision to reduce the level of grant funding for deep geothermal projects this year from £2 million to £1 million was taken in July as part of DECC's £85 million contribution to the overall Government effort to deliver £6 billion of savings in this financial year.
The Government recognise the potential of deep geothermal energy as a low carbon, renewable and non-intermittent energy form that can produce both power and heat, and have encouraged it through the Deep Geothermal Challenge Fund.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the UK's capacity to meet the EU renewable energy target for 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The EU 2020 renewable energy target requires the UK to obtain 15% of its energy (electricity, heat and transport) from renewable sources by 2020. We also inherited from the previous Government a non-legally binding target for 10% of UK electricity to be from renewable sources by the end of 2010.
As a result of the failure to make sufficient progress in past years, the UK will miss the 2010 renewable electricity target this year. However, analysis of the pipeline indicates that the rate of deployment is increasing and we estimate reaching 10% in 2012.
For 2020, the latest statistics show that 3% of our energy came from renewable sources at the end of 2009(1). Analysis carried out in 2009 shows that meeting our 2020 target is challenging but achievable. We will publish a Renewables Delivery Plan in the spring which will drive faster deployment through the decade.
Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2010
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities when she plans to announce her decision on the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 provisions relating to gender pay information. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) announced publication of the Government's equality strategy in a written ministerial statement on 2 December 2010, Official Report, column 87WS. The strategy includes a commitment to develop a voluntary approach on gender pay reporting in the private and voluntary sector. While we work with business and others to ensure this approach is successful, we will not commence, amend or repeal provisions in the Equality Act 2010 relating to gender pay information.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities when she plans to bring forward proposals to provide additional support for people with disabilities who wish to become (a) hon. Members, (b) councillors and (c) other elected officials. 
Lynne Featherstone [holding answer 6 December 2010]: We have made a commitment as part of our coalition document to introduce extra support for disabled people who want to become MPs, councillors or other elected officials. We hope to consult on proposals later this month with a wide range of organisations including disability organisations, political parties and other partner organisations. In devising the proposals, we have drawn on evidence collated by the cross-party Speakers' Conference, which reported in January 2010, with recommendations on increasing diversity in parliamentary representation.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what National Audit Office resource was made available to support the work of the Public Accounts Committee in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Tyrie: In the 2009-10 financial year, the full cost of the National Audit Office supporting the work of the Public Accounts Committee, and in particular its consideration of the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General, was £2.082 million.
Mr Chope: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what estimate has been made of the likely cost of the House of Commons tour guide training programme in 2010-11; what the duration of the course for each trainee is; what arrangements are in place for payment of trainees; and what the cost is of employing tour guides to substitute for those under training. 
John Thurso: Following a detailed review of all aspects of visitor management at Parliament, an enhanced training and accreditation programme for in-house guides has been introduced as part of a package of measures designed to regularise and professionalise all aspects of guiding at Parliament.
The cost of the training programme will depend on the final number of participants, but were all of the 80 guides currently registered on the in-house guide list to undertake the training, it would cost a maximum of £34,186 gross. The costs are shared between the Commons and the Lords on a 70:30 basis, so the cost to the House of Commons would be £23,930.
The programme includes information about Parliament and the Palace, updates on developments in both Houses, and training in the mechanics of guiding and managing groups. Guides attend seven 90 minute training sessions, one longer communications seminar, and some practical tour sessions. In line with standard practice for House staff attending training, guides are not expected to undertake this training in their own time without recompense. Therefore, guides who also work at Parliament in another capacity either undertake training in work time with their line manager's agreement, or they undertake training outside of their other working hours, in which case they are paid for every 90 minutes of training at the rate of one tour (£34.29). It is not possible to give total costs as the training is still under way. The training sessions are being run more than once, to allow flexibility. Tours continue to run while the training programme is under way. Guides who are leading tours are taken from the existing pool while others are being trained.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. 
Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions is fully engaged with Government initiatives to promote the use of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and third sector organisations (TSO) and increase the level of business they get from Government. This business can be either direct, by winning departmental contracts, or indirect working as partners with or sub-contractors to the Department's prime contractors.
The Department is achieving the new Government commitment that 25% of contracts will be let to SMEs and in 2009-10 achieved 29%. The Department is also fully committed to using the new cross-Government pre-qualification questionnaire which is designed to simplify the tendering process for small and medium enterprises and will be launched in December 2010.
The Department's plans to encourage and support SMEs and TSOs form part of a wider approach set out in the DWP commercial strategy. This has objectives to make it easier for suppliers to compete for contracts and encourage a diverse supply base.
SMEs and TSOs are encouraged to contract with the Department, either as first tier suppliers, where capable, or as sub-contractors for more complex contracts. Part of the approach is to use the DWP supplier charter, signed by the department's top suppliers, which refers to extending its principles to SMEs as sub-contractors. Under the charter, larger suppliers are expected to use SMEs and voluntary organisations as sub-contractors, where it is appropriate, and brings definite added value for money.
A significant proportion of the Department's business with SME and TSOs is in welfare to work provision, where their specialist and local expertise can add great value. In preparing the market for the Work programme the Department has engaged with these organisations to gain their views and encourage them to become involved. It has taken steps to encourage potential prime contractors to come together with a range of partners and sub-contractors, particularly to use SMEs and TSOs where they could add value to bids. The Department will run local events to help prime contractors understand the needs and issues within each locality so they can put together appropriate supply chains for that area. The assessment of Work programme bidders will include a requirement to name all of their key sub-contractors and partners in their tenders and provide a letter of intent from each, this will allow assessment of SME and TSO involvement and the nature of their arrangements with the prime contractor. The department will expect its prime providers to gain accreditation of the Merlin Standard, to ensure provider supply chains are effective, high performing and that smaller organisations are treated appropriately and fairly. The Department recently won the Compact award for National Partnership Working, for development of the Merlin Standard, which demonstrates its commitment to stewardship of the welfare to work market, and equally the involvement and health of TSOs in prime provider led supply chains.
Each year the Department measures the number of SMEs and TSOs it has business with and the value of this business. In 2009-10 the Department had business with 5,039 SMEs, spending a total of £509 million with them, an increase of 18% over 2008-09. In 2009-10 the Department had business with 1,421 TSOs, spending a total of £305 million with them, an increase of 15% over 2008-09. Currently, some 30% of welfare to work provider sub-contracts are with voluntary sector
organisations. The Department therefore has a strong record of encouraging, supporting and using SME and TSOs to support its business, either as direct contractors or as sub-contractors in supply chains. Current plans are expected to improve on this record.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the merits of allowing incapacity benefit claimants to access elements of the Work Programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: The Work Programme will support a wide range of customers-from jobseeker's allowance recipients who have been out of work for some time, to customers who may previously have been receiving incapacity benefits for many years. We intend to give all customers in receipt of employment support allowance the opportunity to access the Work Programme, on either a voluntary or a mandatory basis-depending on their circumstances.
However, we do not believe it would be appropriate to refer customers in receipt of incapacity benefit to the Work Programme until we have carried out a work capability assessment to properly establish their support needs.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to issue guidance to local councils on assistance for veterans to enter employment. 
Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has no plans to issue guidance to local councils on assistance for veterans to enter employment.
Jobcentre Plus has armed forces champions in every Jobcentre Plus district who liaise with local authority forces champions and other local stakeholders on employment related issues.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average eligible rent for claimants of housing benefit (a) in receipt of passport benefit, (b) not in receipt of passport benefit, (c) of working age, (d) of pension age, (e) in a regulated private tenancy and (f) in a deregulated private sector tenancy and (i) claiming and (ii) not claiming local housing allowance was in (A) April 2007 and (B) November 2008. 
Steve Webb: Information is not available on amounts of weekly eligible rents for November 2008.
The Department does collect information on weekly eligible rents from the housing benefit/council tax benefit data Source (SHBE) but to assess the completeness of recording and quality assure the figures to answer this PQ would incur a disproportionate cost.
Housing benefit caseload and average weekly amounts are available at local authority area level and these are published on the Department's website at:
The information we have as at May 2007 is shown in the following table.
|Average weekly amounts of eligible rents, Great Britain, May 2007|
Average weekly eligible rent for private deregulated tenants
Average weekly eligible rent for local housing allowance tenants
Average weekly eligible rent for claimants receiving a passported benefit
Average weekly eligible rent for claimants not receiving a passported benefit
Housing benefit and council tax benefit management information system quarterly 100% data taken in February, May, August and November.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average marginal deduction rate for each decile of the population (a) in 2010-11 and (b) following the implementation of the proposed universal credit under the assumptions contained in the White Paper on welfare reform. 
Chris Grayling: Presenting average marginal deduction rates by income decile is potentially misleading as it groups together many different family types, with differing circumstances and treatment under the tax and benefit system, into specific groups.
As such, this Government have followed the same approach as the previous Administration in setting out the number of families that face high marginal deduction rates by marginal deduction rate bands, and would view this as providing a clearer picture of the impacts of the tax and benefit system on families than presenting averages by decile. Details of estimates in 2010-11 and 2011-12 can be found in Table A3 in Annex A of the June Budget. Additionally, in the White Paper 'Universal Credit: Welfare That Works', estimates have been provided under the universal credit system. Refer to Table 1 and Table 2 on pages 54 and 55 for further details.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of individuals who will have marginal deduction rates of (a) 61 to 70 per cent., (b) 71 to 80 per cent., (c) 81 to 90 per cent. and (d) 91 to 100 per cent. in each of the next five years. 
Chris Grayling: The Government's recent White Paper, 'Universal Credit: Welfare That Works', shows marginal deduction rates for people in receipt of income-related benefits, tax credits or universal credit, separating earners above and below the tax and national insurance threshold.
|Earning below the tax threshold|
|Marginal deduction rate for non-taxpaying earners in receipt of IRBs/TCs or universal credit||Current system||Universal credit||Difference|
|Earning above the tax threshold|
|Marginal deduction rate for taxpaying earners in receipt or IRBs/TCs or universal credit||Current system||Universal credit||Difference|
|(1) Denotes fewer than 50,000 people; figures may not sum due to rounding.|
If we consider all working-age individuals, rather than just those on income-related benefits and tax credits or the universal credit, then we estimate that one million households will face a marginal deduction rate of 61% to 70% and two million will face a marginal deduction rate of 71% to 80% under universal credit.
It is important to note, as set out in the spending review, that presenting analysis far into the future may not be representative of the impact of future Government policy, and would not, for example, take into account the aim to increase the personal allowance to £10,000-a reform which will tend to reduce marginal deduction rates for lower earners.
After the introduction of the universal credit there will be a number of years of transition as existing cases migrate to the new system and as such it is not possible to produce estimates of the marginal deduction rates during this transition period.
Estimating marginal deduction rates within the current tax and benefit system is the responsibility of HM Treasury and it would incur a disproportionate cost to provide marginal deduction rates for all individuals for the intervening years between now and the introduction of the universal credit in 2013. However, Table A3 in Annex A of the June Budget set out the Government's estimates of marginal deduction rates in 2010-11 and 2011-12 following the implementation of June Budget measures. This is for working heads of families who are in receipt of income-related benefits or tax credits, where at least one person works 16 hours or more a week, and the head of the family is not receiving pensioner or disability premiums.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Health and Safety Executive is taking to reduce the health risk to the public from nano-silver in consumer hygiene products. 
Chris Grayling: Presently HSE has no specific activities on nano-silver in consumer hygiene products. Such disinfectants are not subject to the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, and do not have to be authorised under national legislation implementing the Biocidal Products Directive (98/8/EC) pending completion of an EU review of the active substances in such products. Sweden is rapporteur for the nano-silver reviews, and is due to report its findings to the Commission and other member states on 31 March 2011.
Presently such disinfectants are subject to the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which is administered by BIS and enforced by trading standards officers. Such products may also be subject the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009 and to EC Regulation 1272/2008 on classification labelling and packaging which, for consumer products, are also enforced by trading standards officers.
There is no general ban on nano-silver products under the Biocidal Products Directive. However, EU legislation on biocides required industry to indicate which active substances they wished to support through the review. Where active substances have not been supported for specific uses, products containing these active substances should have been removed from the market. Removal in these circumstances is most likely to reflect commercial decisions and not health and safety concerns. Where HSE has been made aware that specific products may be unlawfully on the market it has taken action, usually by alerting trading standards officers.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to combine the replacement SERPs scheme with the graduated pension payment scheme to create a single pension scheme; what assessment he has made of the effects of implementation of his proposals on pension reform on women who do not have a full record of national insurance contributions at the point of their retirement; what plans he has for the future of means-testing on pension entitlements; and if he will make a statement. 
Steve Webb: The Government are currently considering a number of options for simplifying the state pension system but final decisions have not yet been made.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to simplify the processes involved in applying for benefits; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: Universal credit will replace working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and income-related employment and support allowance. By using the best data technology available, we will streamline the system to improve efficiency, reduce administration costs and minimise the opportunities for fraud and errors at the same time. This will make it easier for people to see they will be consistently and transparently better off for each hour they work.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of his Department's budget is allocated to programmes for veterans. 
Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.
While the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any bespoke programmes in place for veterans, a number of flexibilities that specifically favour veterans are available. For example, where appropriate, ex-armed forces and spouses of serving armed forces personnel are given early access to employment programmes.
Jobcentre Plus has also appointed a named armed forces champion in every Jobcentre Plus district. These champions liaise with local regular and reservist units, providing employment and training advice and guidance for both forces.
It is not possible to say what proportion of the department's budget is spent on veterans, as this information is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has accrued to the Exchequer in recouped benefit payments after convictions for benefit fraud in each of the last five years. 
Chris Grayling: We are not able to provide data on how much money has been recovered from people that have been convicted of benefit fraud as they are not classified as a distinct category in our debt recovery systems.
The Department published a new fraud and error strategy on 18 October 2010. The strategy sets out the Department's plans for improving the effectiveness of the current recoveries system which include increasing by around 25% the rate at which we recover fraud debts by deduction from benefit, introduction of powers to deduct money directly from an employee's earnings and in the most serious cases seeking court orders to seize a person's assets or force them to sell their houses to repay their fraud debt.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria he plans to use to determine whether benefit claimants have deliberately not informed the relevant agency of a change in circumstances. 
Chris Grayling: Where a customer deliberately does not inform the Department of a reportable change in circumstance this would constitute benefit fraud. The Fraud Investigation Service investigate cases thoroughly, and an admission of fraud or proof beyond reasonable doubt are the criteria used to determine whether fraud has been committed.
In cases where there is no fraudulent intent on behalf of the customer and a change in circumstance went unreported as a genuine mistake, the case would be referred to customer compliance.
The Department takes fraud very seriously and has recently published a new joint strategy with HMRC for tackling welfare fraud and error. This sets out a strong sanctions regime to punish those who are caught of committing benefit fraud and includes a new civil penalty for genuine mistakes.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of his Department's expenditure on welfare payments to illegal immigrants in the last 12 months. 
Chris Grayling: No such estimate has been made.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to increase efficiency within the administration of the benefits system; whether he has considered the merits of gathering customer feedback to inform decision-making on efficiency measures; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: We are creating a new universal credit which will replace working tax credit, child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and income-related employment and support allowance. The new benefit will transform service standards in welfare systems leading to a significant reduction in administration costs and better value for money for the taxpayer.
We intend to seek the views of current benefit and tax credit recipients at various stages in the development of the new service.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanism he plans to put in place to measure work incentives under the new work capability assessment programme. 
Chris Grayling: The work capability assessment is an objective medical assessment of someone's functional capability for work and is used to determine entitlement to employment and support allowance. It assesses an individual's capability for work by looking at their ability to carry out a range of physical and mental, cognitive and intellectual functions, and looks at how these are affected by a health condition or disability.
By accurately assessing someone's capability for work, we can better identify the right support to help them return to suitable work or prepare for a return to work, where possible. However, the WCA in isolation is not designed to incentivise work.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the data used to determine that the aircraft carrier contract was more expensive to cancel than it was to complete. 
Dr Fox [holding answer 3 December 2010]: The Government's decision on the carrier programme was based on an assessment of a number of options and their financial, capability and industrial implications. This covered, among other things, our financial liabilities under relevant contracts and industrial agreements, including the so-called "Yellow Book". The Government have already published advice received from BAE Systems and will shortly be releasing redacted copies of the contract for the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier Project and the BAE Systems Surface Ships Terms of Business Agreement for consideration by the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to publish the report of the Armed Forces Covenant Task Force. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 3 December 2010]: The independent Armed Forces Covenant Taskforce report, produced by Professor Hew Strachan, has been published today.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether soldiers in the Army have their urine samples tested for mephedrone. 
Mr Robathan: The Army drug testing programme does not currently include a specific bulk test for mephedrone. However, the programme of tests does detect a number of substances, some of which may include variants of mephedrone or its component parts. In addition to the Army drug testing programme, the Army has taken proactive measures to ensure that the dangers of mephedrone are addressed through a programme of education.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding his Department plans to allocate to (a) long-term care and (b) mental health care for veterans in addition to funding announced prior to the comprehensive spending review in each year of the spending review period. 
Mr Robathan: The NHS is responsible for funding health care for veterans.
The Ministry of Defence is working closely with the Department of Health to implement the recommendations of the report into mental health care for serving personnel and veterans by the hon. Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison).
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the potential effects of changing the inflation measure used to up-rate pensions from the retail price index to the consumer price index on the pension of a private aged 20 years who has suffered
injuries and has received compensation at the top level of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme in each of the next five years. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 6 December 2010]: No assessment can be made as the retail price index and consumer price index rates are not known.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on cadet force activities in each year from 2001-02 to 2009-10. 
Mr Robathan: Figures relating to expenditure on cadet force activities are held centrally only for the years 2007-08 and 2009-10. This amounts to £141 million and £146 million respectively. Information relating to the other years could be obtained only by conducting a manual search of records on multiple sites thus incurring a disproportionate cost.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has estimated how much it plans to spend with UK suppliers in each year to 2014-15. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has estimated that we will spend around £50 billion on equipment and support over the next four years.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent estimate in of the annual cost to the public purse of insurance for the fine art and antiques held on his Department's estates. 
Mr Robathan: In common with other Defence fixed assets, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) art collection is not insured. The risk of damage or loss is accepted by the Government. Neither are further insurance policies covering fine art or antiques owned by MOD arranged centrally. Other non-departmental art collections may be held on Defence estates by messes, regiments or other groups; these are not owned by the MOD and insurance arrangements are the responsibility of the owners.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on (a) recruitment materials (b) schools visits and (c) other outreach programmes for people under the age of 18 years in each financial year from 2001-02 and 2009-10. 
We do not account separately in our recruitment effort for those under the age of 18 years. However, we have been able to identify some costs incurred by the Army for the year 2006 onwards. Data in respect of the other two services are not held in the
form requested and could be obtained only through a search of records and invoices that would incur a disproportionate cost.
The following table lists expenditure relating to recruitment materials, school visits and other outreach programmes conducted by the Army since 1 April 2006:
|Recruitment materials||School visits||Other outreach programmes|
|n/a = Not available|
All figures rounded to the nearest £000.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. 
Mr Robathan: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs. The main sponsorship activities that are covered by the Ministry of Defence are sports and educational outreach.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason his Department has not compensated nuclear test veterans for the adverse effects on their health arising from their participation in nuclear tests. 
Mr Robathan: Well-documented formal procedures were in place to ensure the health and safety of those participating in the tests. The majority of nuclear test veterans (NTVs) received little or no additional radiation exposure as a result of participation. We believe there is no evidence of excess illness or mortality among NTVs which can be linked to their participation in the tests or their exposure to radiation as a result of that participation, with the exception of certain leukaemias.
Compensation in the form of a war pension is available to all former members of HM armed forces who suffer disablement which is attributable to service prior to 6 April 2005 including nuclear test veterans. The scheme also makes provision for the widows and widowers of service and ex-service personnel whose death is attributable to service in the form of a war widows/widowers pension. Individuals can and do appeal to an independent appeals tribunal if they are unhappy with a particular decision.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to comply with the direction of the War Pensions Tribunal to disclose all documents relating to nuclear test veterans' exposure to ionising radiation by 30 November 2010; and what progress it has made in complying with the direction of the Tribunal to (a) search for and (b) disclose all documents relevant to nuclear test veteran compensation claims by that date. 
Mr Robathan: There have been an unusually high number of complex requests for classified information and documents in the current group of war pensions appeals cases. The Ministry of Defence continues to work closely with the War Pensions Tribunal to find proportionate and cost-effective ways of ensuring that all relevant documents are disclosed and to meet the timescales set out in the judge's latest set of directions. Special security arrangements have been agreed with the tribunal to ensure appropriate handling of any highly classified documents.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will review his Department's policy on causal links between exposure to radiation during nuclear testing it carried out in the 1950s and the onset of cancer and other illnesses in test veterans against policies on similar circumstances adopted by his international counterparts. 
Mr Robathan: There are no plans to review the policy on causal links. The Ministry of Defence policy on causal links between exposure to radiation during the UK atmospheric nuclear tests and the onset of cancer and other illnesses is in line with generally accepted contemporary scientific and medical understanding based on the published peer-reviewed international literature. The policy requires ongoing routine scrutiny of the literature to detect and as appropriate reflect new and emerging evidence.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what benchmarking assessment his Department has made of the provisions for nuclear test veteran compensation under the US Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.  [Official Report, 18 January 2011, Vol. 521, c. 7MC.]
Mr Robathan: No benchmarking has taken place.
In the United Kingdom evidence was provided in the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) reports of the three follow-up studies on the health of over 20,000 nuclear test participants and a matched group of military controls. For the United States atomic veterans no comparable large scale epidemiological US study was carried out.
The Ministry of Defence also provides pensions automatically to nuclear test veterans who have one of a list of 22 cancers presumed to be causally linked to service. For other cancers, claims may be accepted on the basis of calculated radiation exposure assessment. In the US, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) will pay a one time lump sum of 75,000 US dollars for cancers on their own list.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many medical records of nuclear test veterans his Department have identified for further post mortem research. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has not identified any medical records of nuclear test veterans for further post mortem research.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his action at the War Pensions Tribunal in respect of nuclear test veterans; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: To date the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been notified of bills totalling some £150,000 (including VAT) for work associated with defending the civil action.
This figure does not include the cost of any associated MOD staff effort.
It is difficult to estimate future costs at this stage for the current group of war pensions appeals as these are dependent on the case put forward by the appellants and the judge's future directions.
We remain keen to work with the tribunal and appellants with a view to ensuring that costs relating to all war pensions appeals are proportionate and kept to a minimum.
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has had recent discussions with the US administration on its operations in the Korean peninsula. 
Dr Fox: The Secretary of State for Defence has not had direct contact with the US Administration on this issue, but Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials maintain strong contacts with our US and Republic of Korea (ROK) allies and regularly discuss regional issues, including the recent exchange of artillery fire between North Korea and ROK.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) BAe 146 and (b) BAe 125 aircraft were sold by his Department in each year since 2003; and how much revenue was raised from each sale. 
Mr Robathan: No BAe 146 aircraft have been sold by the Ministry of Defence since 2003. Five BAe 125 aircraft were sold in 2007 for a total of just under £30,000.
Dr Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what occasions UK and Moroccan defence agencies have participated in joint exercises (a) bilaterally and (b) as members of collective security organisations since 1997. 
Mr Robathan: The UK undertakes modest, but important annual bilateral defence activity with Morocco. Our bi-lateral joint exercises since 1997 to date have been as follows:
Ex Jebel Saharah: a very successful bilateral ground and airmobile annual exercise which is run in the Marrakech region has now been run 10 times since its inception in 2000.
Ex Jebel Tarik: Morocco has contributed service personnel to this annual bilateral deployment of two companies (up to 180 personnel) of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RG) to the UK, on seven occasions since 2003.
Ex Desert Vortex: a one-off bilateral helicopter exercise which was run between 16 May and 30 June 2009. This was a UK training exercise with objectives set by Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) and run concurrently with Moroccan Air Force annual helicopter crew training.
The UK and Moroccan Defence agencies have not participated in any joint exercises as members of collective security organisations since 1997.
HMS Northumberland was due to take part in the NATO Standing Naval Maritime Group 1 (SNMG l) staging in Casablanca in September 2010. Unfortunately, UK participation did not materialize as HMS Northumberland had to be re-tasked and did not visit Morocco.
Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution the UK made to the US and Estonian Joint NATO exercise in October 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gerald Howarth: There were no US and Estonian joint NATO exercises in this period. I assume the hon. Member refers to the non-NATO exercise Sabre Strike which took place in Latvia from 18 to 31 October 2010. Members of the armed forces from the US, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania took part. The UK made no contribution.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account he took of the increased capacity of the Nimrod MRA4 in determining the future size of the Nimrod fleet; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Luff: The strategic defence and security review took account of the Nimrod MRA4's range of capabilities. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 28 October 2010, Official Report, columns 450-51W, to the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Mr McCann), the right hon. Member for Coventry North East (Mr Ainsworth) and the hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones).
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Trident value for money review. 
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the Trident replacement value for money review. 
Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what date he expects to present to Parliament the full results of the Trident value for money report; 
(2) if he will ensure that Parliament is given the opportunity to review the Trident value for money report and the strategic defence and security review before any contracts for the Future Submarine programme are placed. 
Dr Fox [holding answer 3 November 2010]: The value for money review's outcomes were published as part of the strategic defence and security review.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the amount of funding from the public purse received by the farming industry from (a) UK and (b) EU sources in each year since 1997-98. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 6 December 2010]: The following table shows the funds provided to farmers less levies in £ million. While the majority of funding is from the EU, the precise EU/UK split is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The fact the UK contributes to the EU budget further blurs the line between EU and UK funding sources.
Agriculture in the United Kingdom
Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of progress in the (a) protection and (b) improvement of coarse and non-migratory trout fisheries. 
Richard Benyon: Course and non-migratory trout fisheries are protected under various legislative measures. Under the Environment Act 1995, the Environment Agency (EA) has a statutory duty to "maintain, improve and develop fisheries for salmon, trout, eels, lampreys, smelt and freshwater fish". In addition there are UK obligations under the European habitats directive that covers several freshwater species and habitats. Continued and effective management of fisheries is essential to defining and achieving "good ecological status" as required in the water framework directive.
In general the status of non-migratory freshwater fish stocks is encouraging. Coarse fish numbers are increasing and are a big improvement on two decades ago, when many rivers were heavily polluted, with fish communities restricted in distribution and numbers. Many non-migratory trout are caught in put-and-take fisheries on still waters, and improvements to these depend largely upon local stocking policies. Wild non-migratory brown trout are the same species as migratory brown trout and the juveniles cannot be distinguished, and so it is not possible to assess their status independently.
Regular monitoring is undertaken to help identify where improvements to fish populations are required and where additional protection is needed to prevent them from deteriorating.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many welfare inspections by Animal Health were carried out on rabbit farms in 2009; and what level of compliance with animal welfare legislation and the welfare code was recorded as a result of such inspections. 
Mr Paice: Animal Health does not conduct routine welfare inspections of rabbit farms as there is no specific requirement to register rabbit farms with Animal Health or the Rural Payments Agency. However, Animal Health will conduct a welfare inspection if they receive a complaint or allegation about poor welfare and when a targeted, or follow up visit is required. In 2009 Animal Health recorded three incidences where the level of compliance with animal welfare legislation resulted in a failure.
Gordon Birtwistle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what tests her Department carries out to ensure that badgers culled to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis carry the virus. 
Mr Paice: We are currently consulting on a proposal for badger control to tackle bovine TB. The consultation period ends on 8 December. No decisions have yet been taken.
In theory, the ideal culling strategy would be selective, i.e. only infected badgers would be culled. However, no diagnostic test is both sufficiently sensitive and suitable for use in the field, so a policy of selective culling is not currently being pursued.
Given the extent of evidence already available on the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in the badger population, we do not propose in the current consultation to post mortem culled badgers to check whether individual badgers were infected with Mycobacterium bovis.
Gordon Birtwistle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take to reduce the number of badger culls. 
Mr Paice: We are currently consulting on a proposal for badger control to tackle bovine TB. The consultation period ends on 8 December. No decisions have yet been taken.
As stated in the consultation document, we would not want to see culling for longer than is necessary and would intend to review how the policy is working after four years.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the scope for devolution of powers under the review of the common fisheries policy. 
Richard Benyon: We will continue to call for genuine, radical reform of the common fisheries policy, to overcome its current serious structural failings. This means replacing ineffective, centralised micro-management with simplified and de-centralised decision making, enabling those closest to fisheries to plan for the long term, and allowing fishermen to take responsibility for prosperous and sustainable fishing operations.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress has been made on the review of the common fisheries policy. 
Richard Benyon: The EU Commission's 2009 Green Paper provides a compelling case for fundamental reform of the current common fisheries policy; changes that simplify and decentralise fisheries management, enabling those closest to fisheries to plan for the long-term, and giving fishermen greater incentive to fish sustainably. We expect the Commission to publish draft proposals next spring.
We are working with other member states, and interested parties, to build support for genuine, radical reform ahead of negotiations next year.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken since her appointment to reduce expenditure on conferences from budgets within her responsibility. 
Richard Benyon: In response to the arrangements for advertising and marketing put in place by the Government, my Department has established an internal panel to consider all proposals for expenditure arising from communication activity.
As a result of the panel's work, planned expenditure on all elements of communication has been substantially reduced.
Approval has been given to expenditure on seven conferences. Five were approved following reduction in costs requested by the panel. Two were accepted by the panel without change. The total cost of the seven conferences was £34,285.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many agency workers her Department and its agencies employ at each pay grade. 
Richard Benyon: In line with Government policy, this Department and its executive agencies have and will continue to reduce the number of temporary agency staff used. Central records on numbers in the core Department and executive agencies will vary daily as reductions are implemented.
Manual processes have been introduced in the core Department to record the number of non-permanent staff deployed at the end of each month and at the end of October 2010, there were 145. These processes will be moving to quarterly from December 2010. This number
includes temporary staff, contractors, interims and some specialist consultants. The pay grade is not yet recorded in all records. Introduction of similar processes in executive agencies is being reviewed.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on future provision for fishermen in any revisions to rules governing jobseeker's allowance. 
Richard Benyon: No discussions have been had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith) on future provision for fishermen in any revisions to rules governing jobseeker's allowance.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 24 November 2010, Official Report, columns 39-40WS, on the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy (England), what discussions her Department is having with local government representatives to discuss the funding of new burdens placed on councils under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010; 
(2) what steps the Government is taking to ensure that new burdens placed on councils under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 are fully funded; 
(3) what progress has been made by the DEFRA/LGA Joint Legislative Implementation Panel on identifying and resolving the concerns of local authorities in relation to funding for the requirements placed on them under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010; 
(4) what requirements have been placed on local authorities under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that such requirements are cost neutral for local councils. 
Richard Benyon: We remain committed to fully funding new local authority burdens under the Flood and Water Management Act, and to ensuring a fair outcome for both local authorities and the taxpayer. £36 million a year will be provided directly to lead local flood authorities (£21 million in 2011-12 due to phasing-in) through area based grant. The Government have set up a joint implementation review panel with the Local Government Association. This independently chaired panel meets regularly and recently commissioned a survey of local authority preparations for implementation of the Act.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has assessed the merits of making grants to ensure that privately-owned forests and natures reserves are managed appropriately to maintain their benefits to the public. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 6 December 2010]: The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) runs from 2007-13 and is designed to support agri-environment and other land management schemes. We are currently undertaking a Mid Term Evaluation that includes an assessment of the effectiveness of the funding which is made available to forestry owners and other land managers to encourage management practices that deliver public benefits. We will publish the Mid Term Evaluation of the RDPE in the new year.
Payments are currently made to private owners of national nature reserves in two main ways: through statutory agreements on the land between Natural England and the landowner; and/or through an Environmental Stewardship agreement.
Landowners receiving funding support under either of these approaches must agree to undertake specific actions that will deliver the agreed public benefits such as: community engagement, access, education, and research as well as nature conservation. These benefits go over and beyond statutory requirements or cross-compliance with wider schemes such as the Single Farm Payment. The required actions are set out in a management plan or agreement for the land. The provision of payments is subject to compliance with this plan or agreement.
Quantification of these widespread merits is difficult. However, we have commissioned a study, which we expect to report in the new year, to estimate the benefits to society of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (which include national nature reserves); quantifying them where possible.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had on the promotion of hemp crop trials. 
Mr Paice: I have not been involved in any discussions on the promotion of hemp crop trials. Nevertheless, I do wish to see hemp cultivation expand in the UK, capturing the environmental and sustainability benefits the crop can provide and keeping the UK at the forefront of the development of new, high-value end uses for the crop.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the contribution which will have been made to global warming by hydrofluorocarbons previously used as refrigerants by 2050. 
Richard Benyon [holding answer 6 December 2010]: A study undertaken by AEA Technology on behalf of DEFRA and the Department for Energy and Climate Change considers the use and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons in the UK in all sectors where emissions occur. This study revalidates and updates historic consumption, and provides an estimate of emissions through to 2050. The report is available from the DEFRA website at:
Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has for incineration as part of her waste management policy. 
Richard Benyon: The Government's approach to waste management is underpinned by the waste hierarchy, which ranks waste management methods in order of environmental preference. For waste that cannot be prevented, re-used or recycled, recovery of energy is a preferable alternative, and recovering energy from waste is almost always preferable to landfill (unless analysis of the overall environmental impact for specific types of waste shows otherwise).
The waste hierarchy will shortly become law through the revised Waste Framework Directive, which seeks to promote waste prevention, increase recycling, and ensure better use of resources, while protecting human health and the environment. Recovery of energy from waste, including but not limited to incineration, has a role to play in managing waste according to the hierarchy.
A full review of waste policy is currently being carried out, with initial findings due in spring 2011. The role of recovering energy from waste, including incineration, will be considered as part of the review.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Scottish Executive on issues relating to the ownership and burdens of roads 12, 18 and 19 in the Almondbank complex consequent on the proposed closure of Marine Scotland: Science in March 2011. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA and Scottish Government officials met on 26 November 2010 to discuss the legal title of the roadways serving Scottish Executive's retained land. Discussions are ongoing and Scottish Executive colleagues are continuing to consult their legal advisers on the legal title.
Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential health risks arising from the consumption of food products that do not conform to EU regulations on US military bases in the UK. 
Anne Milton: I have been asked to reply.
In terms of food safety and food hygiene the United States conforms to high standards, and US requirements are broadly comparable with European Union food regulations. Food imported from the US for consumption at US military bases is subject to EU border controls, and the perceived risk to human health, from consumption at military bases or in the wider community, is judged to be negligible. For that reason an assessment of the health risks has not been conducted.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the risks to public health from the provision of US
military food supplies via warehouses (a) in the UK and (b) in Germany. 
Anne Milton: I have been asked to reply.
Where consignments originating from the United States are destined for NATO or US bases different procedures apply depending on the location of the warehouse of destination.
If the warehouse of destination is not on the NATO or US base but on European Union/European Economic Area territory (which is the case for all bases in the United Kingdom), the consignment is treated the same as any other import to the EU. It must undergo veterinary checks at a border inspection post (BIP) to ensure that it meets all of the required animal and public health import conditions before it is released to its destination.
If the warehouse is located inside a NATO or US base in the EU (as may be the case in Germany), the consignment should be treated as a consignment in transit and must fulfil animal health requirements, including checks that it is accompanied by the appropriate animal health certification. The BIP will carry out a documentary and identity check, and transmit the relevant information to the competent authority responsible for the warehouse (the designated exit point from the EU). Subsequently the competent authority will confirm arrival of the consignment, which is not permitted to enter free circulation within the EU.
In addition, the US authorities publicise information on the rules for personal imports, of products of animal origin and plant and plant products, which may be posted to US personnel.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost to the public purse of Ofwat has been in each year since its inception. 
Richard Benyon: Ofwat's expenditure requirements are covered by licence fees recovered from the companies it regulates. There is no cost to the public purse.
Ofwat's resource accounts are published at:
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to encourage businesses to recycle their waste. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA has recently published interim results from a survey of commercial and industrial waste in England, which indicate that the current rate of re-use and recycling of business waste is 58%, compared to 43% in the equivalent 2002 survey. These data sets are interim estimates and are subject to change. The final survey results are planned to be published on Thursday 16 December.
The Government are carrying out a review of waste policies in England, due to be completed in spring 2011, and that review is looking at ways of encouraging
further improvements in waste prevention and recycling by businesses, including SMEs, for example by exploring voluntary responsibility deals with particular business sectors.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Attorney-General whether (a) the Crown Prosecution Service, (b) Cambridgeshire constabulary and (c) any other Government Department notified the German authorities of an intention to serve a European arrest warrant in respect of Dr Daniel Ubani prior to 12 March 2010. 
The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General is only responsible for the actions of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There was no communication by the CPS with the German authorities, in advance of 12 March 2009, regarding an intention to submit a European arrest warrant. The CPS have no record of any contacts made in this matter by other public bodies.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2010, Official Report, column 64W, on European arrest warrant: Dr Daniel Ubani, whether the European arrest warrant received by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on 9 March 2009 was (a) sent to or (b) drawn to the attention of the German authorities by (i) the Crown Prosecution Service, (ii) SOCA, (iii) another Government Department and (iv) any other organisation or individual. 
The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General is only responsible for the actions of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). There was no communication by the CPS with the German authorities regarding the European arrest warrant (EAW) dated 9 March 2009. The CPS have no record of any communication made with the German authorities in this matter by other public bodies, organisations or individuals.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 498W, on Daniel Ubani, if he will place in the Library a copy of the German prosecutor's document which suggests that legal proceedings were initiated against Dr Ubani on 12 March 2009. 
The Solicitor-General: The document referred to by the hon. Member is an official document from the German prosecutor to the German court. Given this, the German prosecutor's office would need to be consulted about the placing of the document in the Library. The CPS will contact the German prosecutor on this point.
Mr Bain: To ask the Attorney-General what assessment he has made of the compliance of (a) the Law Officers' Departments and (b) their agency with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's criteria for sourcing sustainable timber. 
The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers Departments are committed to contracting suppliers through the Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions Framework and endeavour to ensure that wherever possible products are procured from sustainable sources in line with the UK Government's Timber Policy.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which proposals in the Civil Litigation Funding Green Paper require primary legislation to be implemented. 
Mr Djanogly: As stated in the consultation paper 'Proposals for Reform of Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations', published on 15 November 2010, a number of the leading recommendations, particularly for reform of the conditional fee agreement regime and wider availability of damages-based agreements, would require primary legislation to be implemented. The primary legislation required will depend on the outcome of the consultation, and the Government will set out the legislation required in due course.
Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to increase the discharge grant by the rate of inflation each year. 
Mr Blunt: There are currently no proposals to increase the discharge grant issued to prisoners on release from prison.
The provision of a lump sum discharge grant is not a very satisfactory way of meeting prisoners' immediate financial needs on release. The National Offender Management Service is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to identify the best way to address the prisoner finance gap.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people of each sex were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for domestic abuse offences in (i) Lincolnshire and (ii) England and Wales in (A) 2008-09 and (B) 2009-10. 
Mr Blunt: Information collated centrally by the Ministry of Justice holds details on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. It does not include the circumstances of each case or hold specific information on offences beyond descriptions provided by the statutes under which proceedings are brought. It is not possible to separately identify domestic violence offences from other offences of assault and violence against the person.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service has provided data relating to the number of persons proceeded against and found guilty in Lincolnshire and England and Wales for the prescribed periods. This information is as follows.
|Crown Prosecution Service-defendants prosecuted for domestic violence crimes|
|(i) Table 1: CPS Lincolnshire|
|Number||Percentage||Number||Percentage||Total prosecutions||Number||Percentage||Number||Percentage||Total prosecutions|
|(ii) Table 2: England and Wales|
|Number||Percentage||Number||Percentage||Total prosecutions||Number||Percentage||Number||Percentage||Total prosecutions|
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