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Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many non-EU students progressed from studying at general further education colleges to higher education institutes in the UK in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10. 
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the higher fees for undergraduates on the take-up of postgraduate studies. 
Mr Willetts: Lord Browne did not recommend any changes to the funding of postgraduate education but did recommend that participation in postgraduate study should be monitored to identify whether changes to the undergraduate funding and finance system have any effect on entry to postgraduate courses. We have committed to do so.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what arrangements he intends to put in place to monitor the effects of higher undergraduate fees on the take-up of postgraduate studies. 
Mr Willetts: The Government will monitor participation in postgraduate study to identify whether changes to the undergraduate funding and finance system have any effect on entry to postgraduate courses.
The Government are committed to Britain being a world leading place to do research. The science and research budget will be maintained in cash terms over the spending review period with resource spending of £4.6 billion a year by 2014-15. We will ring-fence that budget to ensure continuity of investment in science and research.
Mr Willetts: We will publish the "Higher Education Funding Council for England's (HEFCE)" grant letter for 2011-12 shortly. It is for the council to determine how that resource should be allocated. The new system of higher education funding whereby funding will flow through the choices made by students rather than direct grants will be phased in from 2012-13. We will set our priorities for residual grant, including for taught postgraduate provision and our response to the postgraduate review in the forthcoming higher education white paper. Research postgraduate provision is not directly affected by our proposed reforms.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many times the independent group chaired by Lord Heseltine to consider bids for funding from the regional growth fund has met. 
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether funding for the Regional Growth Fund will be drawn from the budget allocated for regional development agencies. 
Mr Prisk: Funding for the Regional Growth Fund has come from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Transport and the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. No funding has come from the RDAs.
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the funding from the Regional Growth Fund he expects to be available for each region in each year of the spending review period. 
Mr Prisk: The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will not be distributed by region. The RGF is a challenge fund that is open to bids from all parts of England, the amount an area receives will depend on the strength of its bids in addressing the Fund's core objectives:
To encourage private sector enterprise by providing support for projects with significant potential for economic growth and create additional sustainable private sector employment; and
To support in particular those areas and communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to sustainable private sector led growth and prosperity.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when Royal Mail plans to restore its guarantee to deliver special delivery items by 1.00 pm the next day (a) nationwide and (b) in parts of the UK which are presently free of snow; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey [ holding answer 14 December 2010]: The operation of Royal Mail's special delivery service is matter for its senior management team and Government do not play a role in decisions regarding the service.
I understand from Royal Mail that the restoration of the guarantee is under daily review and that it will restore the guarantee as soon as it can be sure that it can
honour the service promise in full. The company recognises that this product carries a guarantee, which it takes seriously, but currently it cannot guarantee the service promise for all items in every part of the UK. However, it continues to accept, prioritise and in most cases, deliver special delivery items to specification.
(2) what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Student Loans Company (SLC) on the effect on the financing requirements of the SLC of raising the cap on tuition fees; 
Mr Willetts: The costs to Government of student loans are borne by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), rather than the Student Loans Company (SLC), and so the borrowing capacity of SLC is not significant.
Raising the cap on graduate contributions will increase the value of loans that Government makes to students and thereby increase Government's initial cash outlay. In the spending review period the full-time student tuition fee loan outlay is estimated to be £3.5 billion in 2012-13, £5 billion in 2013-14 and £6 billion in 2014-15.
The cash outlay does not represent a cost to Government as it is provided to students in the form of loans which will be repaid, therefore the long term costs of student loans are shared between high-earning graduates who can afford to repay them and the Exchequer.
Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the likely effects of the implementation of his proposals on tuition fees on colleges of music and conservatoires. 
[holding answer 13 December 2010]: Our proposals for a fairer and more progressive higher education funding system will mean that the most successful and popular institutions should be able to flourish in the new environment. Colleges of music and conservatoires
offer courses which are very popular with students and so we expect them to be in a strong position to be able to attract the fee income to offset any reductions in grants from the Funding Council. Many of these institutions receive additional funding from the Funding Council to account for their small size or specialist nature, which are not recognised through the mainstream funding formula. While it is for the Funding Council to make decisions on grant allocations the Government will set out their priorities for continuing grant in the forthcoming grant letter to HEFCE and the higher education White Paper. It will be our priority that in putting the new funding system in place we do not weaken those institutions with a world class reputation for the arts and music.
Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many young people in each London borough received the full means-tested university maintenance grant in each of the last four years. 
|Full grant for maintenance-London boroughs( 1)|
|Academic year( 2)|
|(1) Approved applicants awarded a full maintenance grant or a special support grant in each London borough. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.|
(2) Figures for academic years 2006/07 to 2008/09 are as at 15 November 2009. Figures for academic year 2009/10 are as at 14 November 2010.
Student Loans Company
Mr Willetts: The proportion of eligible applicants for a higher education maintenance grant who were awarded a full or partial maintenance grant in the last three years is shown in the following table.
|Distribution of maintenance grants( 1) to applicants domiciled in England|
|Percentage of applicants in each academic year|
|n/a = not applicable|
(1) Includes special support grant, excludes those who received an NHS bursary.
(2) Not awarded a grant because their household residual income is greater than the threshold to receive a grant, or they have not supplied income information. Eligible applicants may receive other forms of support.
Student Loans Company
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average time taken by the Student Loans Company to process loan applications was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company took an average of 9.9 weeks in academic year 2010/11 to process student finance applications that it manages for new and continuing students who started their course in or after September 2010. This is an improvement of 2.2 weeks on academic year 2009/10. The processing time includes time when the application is with the applicant and, therefore, cannot be progressed by the company, for example, when the company is awaiting missing evidence or when it is awaiting from the student a declaration form accepting the terms of the loan. Student finance applications include request for both loans and grants.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what effects he expects the new funding arrangements to have on initial school teacher training provision currently funded by the Training and Development Agency for Schools; and what effects he expects these arrangements to have on the initial teacher training for further education teachers currently funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. 
Mr Willetts: The schools White Paper, "The Importance of Teaching", makes clear the Government's commitment to continuing improvement in the quality of teachers in schools, including attracting more high quality graduates into teaching. Arrangements for funding schools initial teacher training (ITT) will further this ambition. The Department for Education will publish detail of funding for ITT for the 2012/13 academic year early in 2011. With regard to ITT for further education, discussions are currently taking place with the Association of Colleges and other stakeholders. The Government's plans for initial teaching training for FE teachers and lecturers currently funded through the Higher Education Funding Council, will be set out in the forthcoming higher education White Paper.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what responsibilities his Department has for the development of technical standards for industry; and in which fora of technical standards development his Department participates. 
Mr Willetts [holding answer 13 December 2010]: The Department appoints and sponsors, BSI British Standards as the UK's National Standards Body. Through BSI, the Department funds the development of standards in new and emerging technological areas including nanotechnology, regenerative medicine and biometrics. BSI also play an important role as the UK member of the International Standards Organisation and of the European standardisation bodies working to agree standards which significantly contribute to enhancing the UK's economic performance.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by what means the Technology Strategy Board plans to liaise with local enterprise partnerships to facilitate innovation support. 
Mr Willetts: Local enterprise partnerships will not have a formal role in providing direct incentives to enable technology innovation by business. This will simplify the way in which companies seek and receive support for technology based innovation, as they will deal directly with the Technology Strategy Board.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the extension of eligibility for jobseeker benefits to graduates on unpaid work placements. 
Mr Willetts: I met the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), on 23 September when we discussed a range of cross-cutting issues, including graduate unemployment.
As part of the coalition Government's Get Britain Working programme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is amending jobseeker's allowance (JSA) regulations to allow claimants to participate in work experience for up to eight weeks. This will be available to 18 to 21-year-olds from January 2011 and in April DWP will consider initial take up of this option with a view to extending to all JSA customers from June 2011.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what duties there are on the Government to carry out impact assessments of legislation on British Overseas Territories; and if he will make a statement. 
Where the Government are legislating for one or more Overseas Territory by UK primary legislation or by Order in Council, the same rules relating to impact assessments apply as apply when the Government are legislating for the United Kingdom. However, as legislation applicable in the Overseas Territories rarely, if ever, has any effect on the UK public, private or voluntary sector, an impact assessment is not usually required to be prepared for such legislation. Where an Overseas Territory legislature passes legislation for that territory, there is no requirement for the Government to carry out an impact assessment.
Richard Fuller: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will bring forward proposals to repeal the requirement for charities to provide a public notice for street collections as required by the Police, Factories etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 as amended by section 251 and section 29 of the Local Government Act 1972. 
Mr Hurd: There will be a review of charity legislation next year, which will include looking at the way charity collections are regulated with a view to making it easier for charities whilst protecting public confidence and deterring bogus collections and nuisance. This review will look at the red tape which we're keen to remove in order to enable charities to get on with their vital work without bureaucratic, time-consuming and unnecessary interference.
Mr Hurd: The transition fund is a short-term fund intended to provide charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises with the breathing space they need to adjust to the new spending environment. It is a chance to review the ways they are working and prepare for a future where there will be more opportunities to engage with public service. The transition fund application window is from 30 November 2010 to 21 January 2011 and grants must be spent by 31 March 2012. We have no plans to extend the duration of the fund.
Mr Offord: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether his Department plans to provide guidance to local authorities on the potential of working with (a) charities, (b) voluntary groups and (c) social enterprises to reduce the adverse effects of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review on the provision of local authority services. 
Spending decisions are, and will continue to be, a matter for local authorities, and we do not intend to place restrictions on any decisions they, or their representative organisations, might make on funding, including grants to the voluntary sector. We and local authorities recognise the rich diversity of voluntary and community groups and their potential for delivering what people want. We do not expect authorities to respond to reductions in their budgets by passing on disproportionate cuts to other service providers, especially the voluntary sector.
The Cabinet Office works to support charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises engage with government at all levels, and to help them participate in building the Big Society. To this end, Cabinet Office has published 'Better Together', a series of case studies in conjunction
with NAVCA, accompanied by analysis of the exposure of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to reductions in local expenditure.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has taken external legal advice in respect of the cases which Cala Homes have brought against him. 
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent to date on (a) legal advice, (b) court costs and (c) other related costs regarding the judicial review sought by Cala Homes. 
Robert Neill: The spending review announced that the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative would end in March 2011. Given the overriding need to reduce the deficit we could not extend the fund. We are providing local authorities with new powers, tools and incentives to drive forward regeneration and local growth as outlined in the Government's Local Growth White Paper.
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to allocate funding to local authorities for the purpose of a council tax freeze; and how much of the equivalent of a 2.5 per cent. increase in council tax he plans to allocate to local authorities for that purpose in each year of the spending review period. 
The Government announced in the spending review that it is making an extra £650 million available to deliver on its promise to help local authorities, including police and fire authorities, deliver a council tax freeze in England in 2011-12. The spending review also commits to providing authorities with additional funding in future years to 'lock in' the benefits of the freeze. Full details of the scheme were set out in a
written ministerial statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 21 October, Official Report, column 58-59WS.
According to departmental records in the month of November £430,804 was spent on external legal services giving a total for the period between 12 May and 30 November 2010 of £1,485,166. As I indicated in the previous answer, this compares to a comparable spend of £4.8 million in 2009-10, and the new Government inherited significant ongoing legal issues from the last administration.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding from the public purse his Department and its agencies provided to the East London Mosque and its associated bodies in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09 and (c) 2009-10; and for what purpose the funding was provided in each case. 
Andrew Stunell: Development support to the value of £3,600 was given to the East London Mosque Trust Ltd in 2009-10 from the Department for Communities and Local Government's Communitybuilders Programme. This was used to review the financial management, business model, organisational development and social return of their multi-purpose community hub. This programme is administered by the national partner, the Adventure Capital Fund.
DCLG also provided the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre with £47,000 through the Faith Communities Capacity building Fund between January 2006 and March 2007. This funding helped the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre improve its internal processes, enabling it to become more efficient, transparent and accountable.
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to (a) encourage installation of residual current devices in domestic properties and (b) promote the contribution to safety of such devices. 
Andrew Stunell: The Department recognises the benefits that residual current devices can provide in preventing electrocutions and electrical fires. Whenever electrical installation work is carried out in new and existing dwellings, Part P of the Building Regulations (Electrical safety in dwellings) already calls for residual current devices to be fitted in accordance with the rules in British Standard BS 7671, 'Requirements for electrical installations', or an equivalent standard. All electricians registered with Building Regulations Competent Person Schemes must comply with BS 7671.
The Department has started a review of the Building Regulations which began by identifying the changes that will ensure the regulations, including Part P, are proportionate and remain fit-for-purpose. We will be making a statement shortly on plans to consult fully on a set of detailed proposals for implementation in 2013.
The Department's Fire Kills campaign works in partnership with the Electrical Safety Council to promote key electrical fire safety messages. As part of this year's media and awareness activity, the Fire Kills campaign will be arranging and co-ordinating the inaugural Electrical Fire Safety Week, which will run from 24 to 30 January. A key element of the week will be to promote the potential life safety benefits of residual current devices to householders.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many empty or unfit properties were demolished with funding from his Department in each year between 1997-98 and 2009-10; 
Andrew Stunell: According to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, on average, 16,750 mortgages were advanced to first time buyers each month between January and October 2010. Figures for November and December 2010 are not currently available. The total number of mortgages taken out in 2010 by first time buyers (FTBs) is expected to be close to the 2009 total of 199,000.
Robert Neill: Following the Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 13 December, the Secretary of State is now consulting the Mayor of London on a determination figure for the General GLA Grant of £54.969 million in 2011-12. This figure includes £9.5 million revenue funding for the London Waste and Recycling Board from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which will be incorporated in the grant.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many housing developments were permitted on green belt land in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09 and (d) 2009-10; and how many hectares of green belt land were affected by such developments in each such year. 
Robert Neill: Information is not held centrally on the number of housing developments permitted on the green belt. The regional spatial strategies published by the last Government also put the Green Belt at risk in over 30 towns and areas across England.
|Permanent dwellings completed within designated green belt, England|
|New dwellings built within the green belt (percentage)||Land changing to residential use within green belt (hectares)|
Land Use Change Statistics
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) short-term and (b) long-term effects on levels of homelessness in Rochdale of his Department's spending reductions; 
We have protected Homelessness Grant funding, with £400 million over the spending review period. This will be made available to local authorities and the voluntary sector to support their work to tackle homelessness. We have made an additional £190 million available for discretionary housing payments and other forms of practical support alongside the Government's package of welfare reform measures. We have also minimised reductions to the Supporting People programme with £6.5 billion investment secured over the next four years.
Detailed allocations for local authorities were published on 13 December as part of the provisional local government settlement. It will be for local authorities to determine their spending priorities taking account of local circumstances. The Department for Communities and Local Government has not produced any estimates of the potential impacts of these decisions in Rochdale.
I am committed to looking again at how we can make it easier for both landlords and tenants to tackle antisocial behaviour more effectively and ensure that we get the correct balance between the rights of someone faced with losing their home and victims of unacceptable behaviour.
Grant Shapps: We are currently consulting on our proposals to implement the New Homes Bonus. Under the proposals district authorities in two tier areas will receive 80% of the bonus, with 20% going to the county. The intention is to provide a powerful fiscal incentive that will ensure that those areas which go for housing growth receive the economic benefits of growth.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate his Department has made of the number of proposed (a) housing developments and (b) domestic dwellings with planning permission which have been cancelled since 6 May 2010. 
Robert Neill: The Department has not made any estimates of the number of proposed housing developments or domestic dwellings with planning permission which have been cancelled since 6 May 2010. Once granted, planning permission is a given unless the time limits for its implementation expire; it is possible for permission to be revoked in certain circumstances, but this is exceptionally rare, and is not something that the Department maintains statistics on.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many private dwellings received Government grants towards improving their (a) condition and (b) thermal properties between 1997-98 and 2009-10. 
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 90W, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness in raising standards of housing of legislation passed in the period between 1997 and 2010; and what steps he has taken to improve housing standards and protect the rights of tenants. 
Andrew Stunell: This Government are satisfied that the current legislation achieves the right balance between the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. The previous Administration had extensive plans for the further regulation of private sector landlords, including a proposal to introduce a national register for landlords. The Government have no plans to implement those proposals as imposing new regulatory requirements on private landlords would be likely to lead to a reduction in the numbers of properties to rent, which would not help tenants or landlords. Of course, local authorities already have access to a comprehensive package of powers to deal with houses in multiple occupation and tackle the minority of rogue landlords that provide a poor service to tenants.
The new Government have also made it easier for landlords letting larger properties by removing the blanket requirement introduced by the previous Administration for planning permission to change use from a family house to a small house in multiple occupation. Such changes of use can now take place freely without the need for planning applications unless there are local concerns about such development. In such cases, local planning authorities can use existing powers to remove this freedom of movement and require planning applications for such changes of use should they consider this appropriate for their areas.
The Government do, however, believe that more can be done to raise the energy efficiency of the existing stock and recently announced measures through the Green Deal which will help raise housing standards in this respect. Further information with regard to this announcement can be viewed on the Department for Climate Change website.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from which local authorities he has received expressions of concern regarding the distribution and composition of local enterprise partnerships; and if he will make a statement. 
We received sixty two proposals for local enterprise partnerships. We have asked twenty seven local enterprise partnerships to proceed towards the establishment of their board. Together, these partnerships cover about 67% of England's population. Separately, the department is also in communication with those partnerships that were not asked to proceed with their proposal. We will continue to work with them as they seek to further develop their proposals and will
endeavour to address any issues of concern which are raised. We will welcome revised proposals from such places as they become ready.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the likely change in numbers of (a) personal injuries and (b) personal injury claims attributable to reductions in local authority budgets for (i) road and pavement maintenance and (ii) building repairs over the spending review period. 
Robert Neill: Local authorities are independent bodies who are directly accountable to their electorates. It is for them to decide how to spend their budgets, taking account of their responsibilities and duties. This Government have given them more freedom to do so, by ending ring-fencing of all revenue grants from 2011-12, except simplified school grants, and a new Public Health Grant from 2013. We have also significantly streamlined grant funding, by rolling around £4 billion of grants in 2010-11 into the unhypothecated formula grant and reducing grants for local government from over 90 to fewer than 10.
No assessment has been made about the effect on road accidents that may result from changes to funding related to local transport including for road maintenance The Government continues to provide substantial funding for local transport, including for road safety.
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to relax the requirements for councils to report separately on trading standards, licensing and environmental health issues in respect of councils operating shared services. 
Robert Neill: The Government have removed the top down local performance framework, and we are working with local government to develop a single comprehensive list of all data returns required by central Government Departments, arms length bodies and national regulators. The list will highlight areas where there may be possibilities for further rationalisation of reporting requirements.
The Department of Communities and Local Government is working with other Government Departments and the Local Better Regulation Organisation to review, reduce and rationalise the data requests from central Government and national regulators to local government. The requirement to report on environmental health issues and trading standards licensing will be included in these reviews.
The Government are also working with the Local Government Group on its Place Based Productivity programme. This programme is exploring, amongst other things, a wide range of potential shared service models, identifying the conditions for success as well as the barriers to the expansion of shared services. Further details can be found on the Local Government Group website:
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the number of press officers employed by local authorities in areas where two tiers of local government operate. 
Robert Neill: It is for each council to decide the composition of its workforce, and we have no plans to make such estimates. However, as outlined in my Department's press notice of 4 June 2010, we want to see greater transparency on job descriptions and job vacancies in local government.
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the cost in respect of each constituency of holding a mayoral referendum on a day other than an election day; 
Robert Neill: My Department estimates that the cost to each local authority of holding a mayoral referendum on a day other than an election day would be around £1.50 per local government elector in the authority's area. As outlined in the Department's business plan, we intend to hold mayoral referendums in England's 12 largest cities in May 2012.
Greg Clark [holding answer 14 December 2010]: Ministers and officials regularly meet members and officers of the Royal Town Planning Institute, which Planning Aid is a part of, and will be having further meetings shortly.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) when he expects to announce the funding arrangements to support implementation of his proposals on neighbourhood planning; 
(2) if he will provide funding to local authority planning departments to ensure they have sufficient staff with the appropriate range of skills to manage implementation and administration of the Government's proposals on neighbourhood planning. 
Funding for local authorities on Neighbourhood Planning is subject to the final outcome of the spending review process. I expect to make further announcements in due course. We have however announced
details of funding for neighbourhood planning vanguards, and I am placing the associated departmental web page in the Library of the House.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether local authorities will be entitled to assist with (a) consultations and (b) other preparations for the formulation of neighbourhood plans. 
Greg Clark: The Localism Bill provides for decisions to be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect and will deliver a radical transfer of power to local communities and their councils. Our proposals for neighbourhood planning will enable local communities to permit developments without the need for planning applications subject to a limited number of conditions and exceptions. These are set out respectively in Schedules 4B and 9 of the Localism Bill. The effect of these is that neighbourhood planning will not be able to permit certain developments, including wind farms with a generating capacity more than 50 megawatts, nationally significant highways within the meaning of the Planning Act 2008 and incinerators.
Greg Clark: The detail of the process for undertaking a referendum for the purposes of neighbourhood planning will be set out in regulations, following the passage of the Localism Bill. We will consider the issues of postal and proxy voting in drawing up those regulations.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what powers he plans to grant communities to determine permission for the construction or extension of a place of worship in a neighbourhood. 
The neighbourhood planning system being introduced by the Localism Bill will give communities the ability to produce neighbourhood development plans
and neighbourhood development orders. Plans will set out policies for the development and use of land in a specified neighbourhood area and orders will grant planning permission for certain types or classes of development in that neighbourhood area.
The basic conditions that draft plans and orders must meet will be that they are appropriate having regard to national policy, are in general conformity with the local authority's strategic policies in the development plan (excluding neighbourhood plans), and are compatible with EU obligations and human rights requirements.
Andrew Stunell: The Government support the Right to Buy scheme, which has helped nearly two million council tenants to realise their aspiration to own their homes, and are committed to helping social tenants and other first time buyers to own or part-own their home.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of under-occupied properties of each type in the social rented sector; and how many families under-occupying properties in that sector are resident in properties on the fifth floor or above of tower blocks. 
Andrew Stunell: There were an estimated 400,000 under-occupied houses and 20,000 under-occupied flats in the social rented sector in 2008, as measured by the bedroom standard. These estimates are based on data from the 2008 English Housing Survey.
The number of families under-occupying properties on the fifth floor or above of tower blocks is not available due to the very small number of such cases in the survey samples. It is estimated that less than 1% of the total number of under-occupying social rented sector households live in such accommodation.
The spending review has secured £6.5 billion of funding for Supporting People over the next four years, as part of our commitment to protect services for vulnerable people. As part of the spending review an equality impact assessment on supporting people has now been published. However, all decisions and the impact of them on services to be provided with the funding available is a matter for the local authority.
In making changes local authorities must ensure they comply with any legal requirements including carrying out equality impact assessments.
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on their likely level of funding for (a) the voluntary sector and (b) implementation of the Big Society policy in 2011-12. 
Greg Clark: I refer the hon. Member to my speech to the SOLACE conference of 14 October 2010. I have placed a copy of the associated departmental press notice in the Library of the House. Ministers have had, and will have, a series of discussions with local councils on the Local Government Funding Settlement.
Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many of his Department's staff based in (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland were in the civil service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; 
(3) how many of his Department's staff based in (a) the UK and (b) Northern Ireland who were in the civil service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available had been in that pool for more than six months. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) manages its surplus staff by using the redeployment pool (RDP). This service enables those who are or who will become surplus to be given priority consideration for vacancies. Staff in the RDP usually continue working in their last directorate or are redeployed to cover short-term tasks. On average, staff spend six months in the RDP before finding a post or leaving the Department. The RDP is also used by staff returning from overseas postings, including civilians supporting the armed forces in operational theatres. The MOD is currently subject to a freeze on external recruitment and the RDP helps us to fill vacancies from within existing staff resources.
|Government office region||October 2010 headcount|
|Government office region||October 2010 headcount|
The following table shows the number of staff who left the RDP in the month prior to October 2010 broken down into Northern Ireland and remaining areas of the UK and whether they exited the RDP to another post within the MOD, or left the MOD as a whole.
|Government office region||October 2010 headcount|
|(1 )Less than 5.|
1. Totals exclude 10 personnel based in overseas posts or whose location is unknown.
2. Totals have been individually rounded to the nearest 5, and may not sum precisely to overall totals.
3. Data are based on redeployment pool strengths as taken from the MOD human resources management system (HRMS) on the first working day of the month.
DASA (Quad: Service)
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what means he plans to meet the proposed £4.3 billion target for non-frontline savings announced in the strategic defence and security review; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr Fox: The strategic defence and security review identified new non-front line savings of at least £4.3 billion over the spending review period, to remedy the financial position inherited from the previous Government. The key areas are:
reductions in the civilian work force and non-front line service personnel
rationalisation of the Defence Estate including the sale of surplus land and buildings and associated running cost reductions and running cost savings across the estate of up to £350 million per year including a revised approach to the way in which we manage and deliver infrastructure services across the estate
sales of assets such as the Defence Support Group and the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre and the Defence stake in the telecommunications spectrum should generate in excess of £500 million over the spending review period
efficiencies and improvements in military training including the increased use of simulators for air-crew and Army live firing
saving significant amounts from contract re-negotiations with Defence industry
cutting over £300 million per year by 2014-15 of service and civilian personnel allowances
reductions in our spend on commodities including substantial savings on food, energy and professional services
reductions in spend on media and communications.
Overall, this represents a 25% reduction in non-frontline organisations such as headquarters, support roles, and organisations such as Defence Equipment and Support saving at least £2 billion per year by 2014-15.
Final options and savings figures will depend on detailed implementation, which will generally be subject to full consultation with all relevant parties, including the trade unions and the devolved Administrations, as well as the results of mandatory assessments on the impact that the measures will have on sustainability, equality and diversity and health and safety. The Ministry of Defence is therefore not prepared to release more detailed information at this time.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. 
Mr Gerald Howarth: The Ministry of Defence has one EU directive pending transposition into domestic legislation, namely the Defence and Security Directive (2009/81/EC) which sets out new procurement rules for contracting authorities/entities which purchase military equipment, sensitive equipment, and related goods, works or services. It also provides rules where contracting authorities/entities purchase works and services for specifically military purposes or works or services for security purposes which involve, require or contain classified information. The purpose of the rules is to meet the concerns of member states about the sensitive nature of procurements in the defence and security sectors. Currently, all public sector procurements (civil and defence), unless they are exempt, are governed by the rules set out in the Public Procurement Directive (2004/18/EC) or the Utilities Directive (2004/17/EC). The standard rules in the 2004 directives do not always permit the acquisition of military or security capability as effectively as they could, or deal explicitly with key requirements for acquisition such as security of information.
The protocol agreed between Government and the Iraq inquiry regarding documents and other written and electronic information provides for certain
categories of sensitive information to be protected if release would cause harm or damage to the UK public interest. The protocol can be viewed on the Cabinet Office website at the following address:
Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 November 2010]: Details of service personnel employed in each region of the UK are shown in the DASA publication TSP 10, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.
Dr Fox [holding answer 13 December 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 8 December 2010, Official Report, column 283W, to the hon. Members for Harwich and North Essex (Mr Jenkin), Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) and Wells (Tessa Munt).
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he received representations on (a) asylum in or immigration to the UK and (b) UK residents from Kazakhstan from (i) politicians and (ii) officials on his recent visit to Kazakhstan; and if he will make a statement. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: During my visit for the Astana OSCE summit on 1-2 December, no representations were made to me by Kazakhstani politicians or officials on either asylum in or immigration to the UK or UK residents from Kazakhstan.
Mr Harper: We are continuing to give careful consideration to the timing, composition, scope and remit of the Commission. Its work will need to take account of our proposals to reform the House of Lords to create a wholly or mainly elected second chamber, the changes being made to the way this House does business and amendments to the devolution regimes, for example in the Scotland Bill presently before the House. We will make an announcement in the new year.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will meet representatives of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists to discuss communication disorder in children; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah Teather: The Secretary of State has already met representatives of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists along with other organisations concerned with speech, language and communication needs. The Government's forthcoming Green Paper on special educational needs and disabilities will look at how support for children and young people, including those with speech, language and communication needs and their families, can be improved.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent estimate he has made of the number of children of each (a) age group and (b) sex in each local education authority area who have been diagnosed with a communication disorder; and if he will make a statement. 
A table showing the number of pupils with statements of special educational needs, or at School Action Plus whose primary need has been identified as speech, language and communication needs has been placed in the House Libraries.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department plans to take steps to encourage the recycling of (a) used cooking oil and (b) other waste streams into biodiesel. 
Used cooking oil (UCO) is already eligible to receive certificates under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, which sets annual targets for biofuel use in the UK. In addition the supply of UCO is currently encouraged by a 20p lower rate on fuel duty.
We are currently working to amend the RTFO to fulfil the requirements of the RED and will be consulting on measures to implement the RED shortly. The RED provides support for biofuels made from waste, including UCO, by double counting the contribution they make towards national targets.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance her Department provides for the promotion of sustainable dairy farms; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA is spending £3.7 billion over a seven year period through the Rural Development Programme for England. This supports farmers and foresters to deliver environmentally beneficial land management practices, to modernise, and to adapt to changing circumstances.
DEFRA has worked closely with The High Level Group for Dairy which was launched in October 2009 following significant market difficulties in Europe. The European Commission made legislative proposals which aim to prepare the sector for a more market oriented and sustainable future on 9 December 2010 following the High Level Group's recommendations.
I chair the Dairy Supply Chain Forum which brings together major industry figures to discuss and resolve common challenges. The Forum has led to the Milk Roadmap, the first stage of a comprehensive action plan to help the sector address its environmental impacts.
Mr Paice: There are no current plans to ban the use of electronic training aids for animals. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 already makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal or to treat an animal in a way that fails to meet its welfare needs. It also provides additional powers to prohibit the use of any such equipment through secondary legislation if considered necessary.
However, we recognise the need for further research into this issue. DEFRA is currently carrying out a study into whether electronic training collars cause unnecessary suffering, and this will be completed next year.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what (a) departmental circulars and (b) other documents her Department has published consequent on the provisions of legislation regulating slaughterhouses in each of the last 10 years; what assessment she has made of the adequacy of enforcement of such legislation; how many persons of each (i) age, (ii) sex and (iii) police force area have been (A) prosecuted and (B) convicted of an offence under the provisions of such legislation in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Enforcement of welfare in slaughterhouses is the responsibility of the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA conducted a survey of all approved slaughterhouses in May 2010 to establish whether food business operators are taking active steps to comply with legal requirements and achieve the necessary animal welfare standards. The survey also looked at whether Official Veterinarians and frontline teams are carrying out their roles effectively, with appropriate monitoring and relevant enforcement being taken in the event of food business operator non-compliance. This survey indicated standards of animal welfare met or exceeded legislative requirements in 94% of premises surveyed.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the merits of introducing equivalent security arrangements for airline pilots at airports to those in place for hon. Members on the parliamentary estate. 
Mrs Villiers: Aviation security search measures apply equally to all (passengers, airport staff and aircrew including pilots) regardless of gender, race, age and occupation, with only a very limited number of exemptions, for example in respect of Heads of State. The more people we exempt from search, the greater the risk this creates.
We would be wary of creating a two tier screening system that may increase the likelihood of people becoming targets for coercion. Even professional pilots with the highest levels of integrity and honesty can find themselves the subject of coercion or blackmail from those who might seek to force them to carry prohibited items into a critical part of an airport.
All screening measures are kept under review. The Department for Transport has regular dialogue with industry partners, including representatives of airline pilots, to ensure that security measures are commensurate with the existing threat.
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport is currently considering responses to a public consultation on the 'Code of Practice for the Acceptable Use of Security Scanners' in the UK. A decision on the future use of security scanners will be made in due course.
Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had on the introduction of a pilot scheme to increase the speed of the security clearance process at airports for UK airline pilots. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport specifies the standards that must be met, and the methods that may be used by industry in respect of the screening of passengers and staff, including pilots. But the efficiency and speed at which people are processed through security screening is a matter for airport operators.
Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on revisions of EU security rules on the searching of religious headwear at airports; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: My officials are in close contact with the Commission about this sensitive issue and are making progress towards a solution. They wrote to the Commission on 3 December 2010 requesting agreement to an 18 month trial at all UK airports for the screening, on entry to a Security Restricted Area, of the headwear of passengers and all other persons who are not readily able to remove it for religious, cultural or practical reasons, and for whom the touching of the headgear by hand is considered unacceptable.
Norman Baker: The Department introduced strict controls on consultancy and contractors in May 2010, including an approvals process for any proposed new or renewed contracts. These must be approved by the directors of HR and finance and estates. Final approval for contracts over £20,000 is required from the Secretary of State. The latest available figures for October 2010 show that the central Department has reduced year to date expenditure on consultants in 2010-11 by some £18 million or 46% when compared with the same period in the previous year.
(2) what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) representatives of the European Commission, (b) European trade associations and (c) UK companies on cruise liner port facilities in Liverpool. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has not recently had any discussions with representatives of the European Commission or any European trade associations about cruise liner facilities in Liverpool.
However, I am considering a proposal recently received from Liverpool city c council requesting that the grant condition which allows only port of call use at the Liverpool Cruise terminal should be relaxed so that the facility is able to operate turnaround cruise.
I have also had correspondence on this topic from the right hon. Members for Blackburn (Mr Straw), Southampton Itchen (Mr Denham) and Eastleigh (Chris Huhne); from the hon. Members for Wirral West (Esther McVey) and St Helens North (Mr Watts); and from Jacqueline Foster MEP and Brian Simpson MEP. Questions have also been answered to the hon. Member for Liverpool Riverside (Mrs Ellman) on 3 November 2010, Official Report, column 801W, as well as questions from hon. Members for Liverpool Walton (Steve Rotheram) and Wirral South on 28 October 2010, Official Report, columns 455-56.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ring-fence a proportion of the additional income attributable to increased tolls on the Dartford Crossing for future capital expenditure on the crossing. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Income from road user charges at the Dartford Crossing are already ring-fenced for investment in transport, including improvements to the crossing. We have no intention to further ring-fence such income.
We have made clear that investment at Dartford is an absolute priority, and increasing the charges as proposed, allows for future investment at the crossing, including the implementation of free-flow charging technology, and to help fund proposals for a new, additional crossing.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport plans to comply fully with the range of measures being put in place across Government to make procurement easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This includes the introduction of a simpler standardised pre-qualification questionnaire and use of Contracts Finder to advertise opportunities from March 2011.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion of 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 21W, on departmental equality, (1) on what date he plans to publish the equality impact assessments referred to; 
Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 29 November 2010]: The spending review has set out the policies the Department intends to take forward. Equality impact assessments are being used where appropriate to inform the development of detailed measures and will be published when these detailed measures have been agreed.
Norman Baker: The central Department and its agencies identified the following number of staff employed by the Department in each month between May 2010 and 30 November 2010. The totals include both permanent and non-permanent employees and the figures represent full-time equivalents (FTEs).
|2010||Total number of staff|
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the change in the number of staff in his Department was between (a) 1 May 2010 and (b) the latest date for which figures are available. 
Norman Baker: The central Department and its agencies identified the following change in the number of staff between 1 May 2010 and 30 November 2010. This includes both permanent and non-permanent staff.
These figures use residential population as the denominator for the calculation of expenditure per head. This means that they will not reflect the level of net non-resident in-commuters using the transport network, which in the 2001 census were estimated as 1.1 million people for London, and 0.2 million for the North West.
|£ per head|
These figures exclude grant to local authorities, as this information is collated separately the Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Children, Schools and Families, Department for Work and Pensions and devolved Administrations.
The expenditure per head has been calculated using the latest ONS residential population estimates for the relevant year and region. The PESA analysis on the HM Treasury website was produced using an earlier set of population estimates and so the figures presented here will be slightly different.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of questions tabled to the Secretary of State for written answer on a named day were answered substantively before or on the day named for answer (a) in Session 2009-10 and (b) since May 2010; how many such questions tabled between May 2010 and 12 November 2010 had not received a substantive answer by 18 November 2010; and what estimate he has made of the average cost to his Department of answering a question for written answer on a named day on the day named for answer in the latest period for which figures are available. 
(a) The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time take to respond to written parliamentary questions for the 2009-10 Session. This information will be submitted to the Procedure Committee shortly.
(b) The Department for Transport received 317 questions for written answer on a named day between May 2010 and 15 November 2010 (this includes questions tabled up to the 12 November), of which 180 (56%) were answered on time. Of the remainder, nine had not received a substantive answer by 18 November 2010.
Written questions: £154
Oral questions: £425
Sir Paul Beresford:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. 
(a) The Government has committed to providing the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time take to respond to written parliamentary questions for the 2009-10 Session. This information will be submitted to the Procedure Committee shortly.
(b) Between May 2010 and 15 November 2010 the Department for Transport received 1,035 ordinary written PQs (this includes questions tabled up to the 12 November), of which 479 (46%) were answered within five sitting days. Of the remainder, 90 PQs remained unanswered by 18 November 2010. The Department does not routinely record whether PQs are answered within either seven or 14 days and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Written questions: £154
Oral questions: £425
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total cost of employment of staff in his Department was in 2009-10; and what estimate has been made of such costs in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15. 
Following the spending review settlement for the Department for Transport, detailed work force plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates for costs in each year from 2010-11 to 2014-15 would be based, are being developed and finalised. We are therefore currently unable to provide estimates of these costs.
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