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Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress her Department has made on reducing the regulatory burden on farmers. 
Mr Paice: One of the first actions was to appoint Richard MacDonald to lead a taskforce to identify ways of reducing regulatory burdens on farmers. It recently completed a public consultation and will make recommendations to Government by April 2011. I hope it will bring about a change in culture in implementing regulations while maintaining standards.
Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has had recent discussions on the number of farmers living below the poverty line; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The most recent data on the Incomes and Compositions of Farm Households in England was published by DEFRA on 15 July 2010 and can be found at:
Farm household income figures are derived from the Farm Business Survey (FBS) and are measured on a gross basis, before tax while assessments of households' living standards are usually made on the basis of income net of tax, based on the Family Resources Survey. Given the significant differences between the two measures of household income and the difficulty of making appropriate adjustments to place them on a comparable basis, direct comparisons are no longer made between the two surveys.
Based on the most recent report an analysis of the incomes and assets of farm household population by quartile, according to the level of household income of the principal farmer, is shown as follows. Farm business income refers only to income deriving from the farm business and, unlike household income, excludes income from other sources. It should be noted that 46% of businesses in the bottom quartile were classified as part-time, with insufficient agricultural enterprises to keep one person occupied on a full-time basis. This compares with 28% overall.
|Farm household income, business income, net worth, total assets and drawings by principal farmer household income quartiles, England average 2006-07 to 2008-09|
|Quartile||Farm household income range||Median household income||Median farm business income||Median drawings||Median business net worth||Median business total assets|
Farm Business Survey (England)
One of DEFRA's priorities is to help to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the whole food chain, including farms, and we therefore want to see a farming sector that is competitive and profitable. That is why we are calling for ambitious reform of the common agricultural policy in order to improve the industry's ability to respond to consumer demand, introducing the grocery code adjudicator to ensure that everyone in the food supply chain gets a fair deal, and have established a task force to conduct an industry-led review of existing farm regulations. Additionally we are providing funding to increase industry competiveness through the Rural Development Programme for England, funding scientific research into increasing food production sustainably, and working with industry to improve skills across the food chain.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) land acquisition cost and (b) total cost is of the project to flood Steart Peninsula; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The total indicative scheme costs for the Steart Peninsula flood management projects are estimated to be between £17-20 million. Land acquisition accounts for £5-7 million of the costs. Options for efficiencies will be considered as the proposal develops.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Environment Agency has undertaken its development of Steart Peninsula; what progress has been made on the project to date; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency's assessment of its proposed programme of flood and erosion risk management in the Severn Estuary to protect people and property indicates that it will lead to a loss of habitat within the Severn Estuary Special Protection Area. Where areas protected by the European Habitats Directive are lost due to flood management projects, the Government are required to secure compensatory measures to ensure the overall coherence of the network of protected sites.
The Steart Peninsular has been identified by the Environment Agency as the most cost effective place in the Severn Estuary for this work. The agency is planning to start constructing the main works in the summer of 2012, subject to funding.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to increase the proportion of food consumed which has been produced domestically. 
Mr Paice: As set out in the DEFRA Business Plan, our priority is to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production. We will work to enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the food chain, including farms and the fish industry, to help ensure a secure, environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food. Currently the UK produces the equivalent of 72% of indigenous foods and 59% of our food overall.
The Fruit and Vegetables Task Force identified barriers to increasing domestic production and consumption of fruit and vegetables in England. It published a report of its proposals and produced an Action Plan outlining how to implement many of these proposals.
We will also work to create an environment where consumers are able to make informed choice, including working with industry for better information on nutrition, food safety, provenance and quality e.g. encouraging the whole food supply chain to work together to provide clearer origin information and working with specialist producers to help them apply for registration under the protected food name schemes.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will hold discussions with her Chinese counterpart on the effects on the primate population in the Democratic Republic of Congo of deforestation on Chinese-owned land used for the development of palm oil plantations. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA and the Department for International Development are working in partnership with China on a project on the international palm oil industry. This involves outlining the business case for sustainable sourcing, including on investments abroad. The project will conclude in March 2011 with a report and policy options, which we will then discuss with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
With regard to our consumption in the UK, the Secretary of State and I announced on 13 July that DEFRA has commissioned a project to map UK palm oil supply chains (including those specific to government procurement), to determine how much we use (including future trends) and in what products. It will identify existing company commitments to sourcing sustainable palm oil and the implications for the sustainability of palm oil consumed in the UK, as well as considering options for encouraging increased sustainable sourcing. The project has involved participation from international businesses, NGOs and other Governments, and will report in February 2011.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of hill farmers farming in each county of England in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 9 December 2010]: There is no formal definition of a hill farm, but the numbers of farm holdings by county in England from 2000-09, within both the less favoured area (LFA) classification and the severely disadvantaged areas (SDA) classification, are shown in a spreadsheet which has been placed in the House Library.
The data are sourced from the June Survey of Agriculture farm register. A holding is designated as being in the LFA or SDA if the central grid reference for the holding falls within the boundaries of that classification, even if the whole farm is not within the LFA or SDA classification.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on the number of otters in the UK in each of the last five years. 
Richard Benyon: National surveys of otters for England and Wales have been carried out at approximately seven year intervals since the late 1970s but the results do not represent individual otter numbers.
The Environment Agency recently published results from the Fifth Otter Survey of England, commissioned in 2009-10. The results show an increase in sites showing signs of otter from 36.3% in 2000-02 to 58.8% in 2009-10.
Distribution patterns suggest population densities in the south-west, parts of northern England and along the Welsh borders have reached levels comparable to before the pesticide-related decline of the 1960s-1970s. Similar recovery across the whole country is expected to take another 10-20 years.
The Fifth Otter Survey of England is available to view on the Environment Agency website.
The Fifth Otter Survey in Wales was carried out in 2010 and the data are still being analysed by the Environment Agency.
This is a devolved matter and information is not held for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Sarah Newton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the reasons are for the time taken to consider the applications for the marine consents for the Port of Falmouth Development Plan; and when she expects to have completed the assessment of those applications. 
Richard Benyon: Authority to make licensing decisions for such marine construction work has been delegated to the Marine Management Organisation. I understand a decision is expected shortly.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance her Department has provided to businesses required to register under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation since the passage of the Regulation. 
Mr Paice: The REACH Regulation makes no provision for the Government to provide direct financial assistance to businesses required to register chemicals. European state aid and competition rules also preclude provision of direct financial assistance. However, DEFRA and the UK REACH Competent Authority Helpdesk provide free information and advice about REACH implementation to UK businesses by e-mail, telephone, and on the internet. DEFRA and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills have also arranged periodic publication in HM Revenue and Custom's Employers' Bulletin of articles reminding businesses of registration duties and providing advice about best practice in preparations for registration.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on the cost to businesses of applying for registration under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation. 
Mr Paice: Since May, DEFRA has received six written or electronic representations about the costs to business of REACH registration, all from small-medium enterprises (SMEs). These ranged from concerns about the direct financial costs to concerns about potential costs caused by interruption of supplies arising from failure by suppliers to register chemicals used, or by their not having included downstream uses in chemical registrations.
REACH places responsibility for preparations for registration, including cost sharing, firmly on industry, with no formal role given to the regulatory authorities. While this has meant that authorities have not been able to intervene directly in addressing industry concerns about REACH registration, DEFRA and the UK REACH Competent Authority (provided by the Health and Safety Executive) have provided guidance and advice on best practice. In the case of downstream users' concerns about continuity of supply, my right hon. Friends, the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and for Business, Innovation and Skills, wrote jointly in October to the relevant European Commissioners to draw attention to the issues and propose a course of action to address the concerns.
REACH itself provides a number of measures to assist SMEs with the costs of registration, including a reduced scale of fees, with further discounts for participation in data sharing. While the Government are constrained by EU competition and state aid rules from providing direct financial assistance to companies for registration costs, the European Investment Bank is offering a loan facility to SMEs that can be used to cover REACH-related costs. Where appropriate, we have drawn attention to this facility in responses to representations from businesses.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effect on pure metal importers of the implementation of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation. 
Mr Paice: We have made no specific assessment of the effect of REACH implementation on pure metal importers, or any other sector of UK industry, although some sectors were studied in the Impact Assessment carried out while REACH was being negotiated. We are currently considering how best we can practically assess the impact of REACH on UK industry, in a way which disaggregates REACH impacts from those of other legislative regimes and wider economic developments.
Mr Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress her Department has made on the transfer of private drains and sewers to water companies; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: Between 26 August and 18 November 2010 DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government undertook a joint public consultation exercise, which included workshops, on draft regulations and proposals for schemes for the transfer of private sewers. A summary of the consultation can be viewed on DEFRA's website at:
The draft regulations are currently being finalised, after which they will be presented to Parliament for approval.
Mr Charles Walker:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what legal requirements are placed on abattoirs and slaughterhouses
with regard to the stunning of animals prior to bleeding out; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice [holding answer 7 December 2010]: Slaughterhouse operators are responsible for the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter. The rules governing animal welfare at slaughter and killing are set out in the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, as amended (WASK). Under this regulation it is an offence to cause or permit an animal avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. There are also specific requirements that must be followed on handling, stunning, slaughter or killing of animals. In particular:
anyone carrying out any of these tasks must have the knowledge and skill to do their job humanely and efficiently;
all slaughtermen must be competent and hold a registered licence;
in every slaughterhouse a competent person must be given authority to take action to safeguard welfare; and
only permitted methods may be used to stun or kill animals.
Schedule 12 of WASK sets out the detailed requirements that apply where animals are slaughtered by a religious method to meet Jewish and Muslim religious beliefs. These requirements ensure all slaughter by a religious method is undertaken in licensed slaughterhouses (approved premises), and Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency Operations Group monitor and enforce the rules set out in the Regulations daily.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received from (a) hon. Members, (b) Members of the House of Lords and (c) members of the public on the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses; what response was given in each case; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: Since 1 May 2010, DEFRA Ministers have received 141 letters from hon. Members, one from a Member of the House of Lords and 319 letters from members of the public on the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses.
The Food Standards Agency 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 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much coppiced sweet chestnut was used by the building trade in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. 
Mr Paice: We are not able to provide this information. This is because the Forestry Commission does not collect comprehensive information on the end use of home grown timber.
Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the performance against targets for (a) reuse, (b) recycling and (c) recovery of vehicles under the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulation 2005 she expects to be attributable to auto shredder residue recovered as energy from waste after 2015. 
Richard Benyon [holding answer 13 December 2010]: The end-of-life vehicles (ELV) directive sets an overall 95% reuse and recovery target from 2015. Under the structure of the target, reuse and recycling activities must contribute at least 85%.
Energy from waste does not constitute reuse or recycling. The combustion of waste can constitute a recovery operation, and so contribute to the ELV recovery target, where its principal objective is that the waste can fulfil a useful function as a means of generating energy, replacing the use of a source of primary energy.
Technologies to treat vehicles to the required target standards continue to be developed, with scope to build on existing ELV energy recovery, such as the use of tyres removed from ELVs as a replacement fuel in cement kilns.
Mr Offord: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what effect the outcome of the comprehensive spending review had on the level of funding for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises wishing to become local service providers. 
Mr Hurd: The coalition Government has created new opportunities for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and has put forward measures to support the sector. For example the recently announced £100 million Transition Fund that will give the sector the breathing space it needs to enable it to manage the transition to a tighter funding environment and to take advantage of future opportunities presented by the Big Society.
It is currently too early to evaluate the impact of the comprehensive spending review on voluntary and community groups; however the Cabinet Office is working closely with partners in the sector, across Government and the Third Sector Research Centre to examine the exposure of the sector to public spending reductions and mitigate potential impacts.
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps his Department plans to take to encourage and support small and medium-sized enterprises and third sector organisations to compete for departmental contracts in line with value-for-money policy, UK regulations and EU procurement directives. 
Mr Maude: In the Coalition Agreement the Government made a commitment to promote small business procurement in the public sector, with an aspiration that 25% of Government contracts should be awarded to SMEs.
On 1 November 2010 we announced a package of measures intended to make Government procurement easier for SMEs and voluntary sector organisations by simplifying the procurement process and making opportunities more accessible. These measures include the introduction of a simpler standardised pre-qualification questionnaire which is mandated across central Government from 1 December 2010; a LEAN study investigating red tape and causes of delay in the procurement process; and from March 2011 the 'Contracts Finder' system-a free facility for small businesses to find public sector procurement, and sub contracting, opportunities in a single place online and free of charge.
We are consulting further on facilitating voluntary sector access to public procurement. Moreover the Government have today launched a forum on the No. 10 website for SMEs to give their views on public procurement from which we will be able to take further action.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the electorate was of each constituency in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010. 
Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking what the electorate of each constituency was in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010 (31414).
Figures showing the number of registered electors in each parliamentary constituency as at 1 December 2010 are not currently available. These are due to be published on 23 February 2011.
Figures showing the number of registered electors in each parliamentary constituency as at 1 December 2009 are available on the ONS website at:
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps his Department takes to ensure that
Government suppliers have (a) appropriate resilience arrangements and (b) business continuity and disaster recovery arrangements which are fit for purpose or compliant with BS 25999. 
Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office provides model contractual documentation which is recommended for use by central Government Departments in ICT enabled services contracts. This includes a set of obligations which describe a Department's requirements for ensuring continuity of the business processes and operations in circumstances of service disruption or failure and, for restoring the services through business continuity and as necessary disaster recovery procedures.
It also includes the requirement on the contractor to develop and maintain a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan which is designed to ensure that the arrangements are compliant with the relevant provisions of ISO/IEC17799:2000, BS15000 (or equivalent) and other relevant industry standards that apply.
In all procurements subject to the Gateway review process Departments are required to ensure that they and their suppliers have adequate plans in place to deal with risks.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of immigrants to the UK in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012, (d) 2013, (e) 2014 and (f) 2015. 
Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated December 2010:
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of immigrants to the UK in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012, (d) 2013, (e) 2014 and (f) 2015. (29874)
The most recent population projections of the UK are based on the mid-year population estimates for 2008. Assumptions of future migration are made to produce population projections. The assumed net migration, given in the table below, is used in the production of the projections. The assumptions for in-migration and out-migration are by-products of this process and do not feed directly into producing projections. Long-term international migration data produced by the ONS applies the UN definition of someone who moves from their country of previous residence for a period of at least a year, irrespective of citizenship.
Note the data presented are mid-year to mid-year and are not available by calendar year.
|2008-based National Population Projections-assumed annual migration, UK|
|(1) The projections assume constant levels of annual net migration beyond 2014-15.|
Office for National Statistics
National population projections are available from the Office for National Statistics website at:
The national population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact that future government policies, changing economic circumstances or other factors (whether in the UK or overseas) might have on demographic behaviour. They simply provide the population levels and age structure that would result if the underlying assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration were to be realised.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the extent of the readiness of the Afghan National Security Forces to take control of the country's security in 2015. 
Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 2 December 2010, Official Report, column 986W, to the hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Mr Murphy).
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on redevelopment work at each Royal Air Force base in Scotland in each of the last 10 years; and what estimate he has made of his Department's likely expenditure on such work in each of the next five years.  [Official Report, 18 January 2011, Vol. 521, c. 8MC.]
Nick Harvey: The expenditure on redevelopment (defined as capital expenditure and minor new works) for the major RAF stations in the UK since financial year 2006-07 is shown in the following table:
|Expenditure by station|
Information prior to the financial year 2005-06 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Some of the expenditure has been split between individual financial years on an estimated basis.
The Ministry of Defence is in the process of completing its annual planning round which will allocate future programme budgets. This is expected to conclude in early 2011.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to renew the Military Covenant. 
Mr Robathan: The independent taskforce report led by Professor Hew Strachan was published on 8 December 2010. A copy can be found in the Library of the House and we intend to take forward two recommendations immediately in advance of the Government's full response, relating to an Armed Forces Community Covenant, and a Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation scheme.
The first reading of the Armed Forces Bill took place on 8 December 2010. Once this achieves Royal Assent my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will be required to prepare an Armed Forces Covenant Report annually and lay it before Parliament.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to increase the standard of service accommodation; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Luff: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans, my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr Robathan), on 13 December 2010, Official Report, column 656, to the hon. Member for Wansbeck (Ian Lavery).
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what investigation his Department conducted into the incident on (1) 30 September 2009 in Helmand province, in which a platoon from B Company, 4th Battalion The Rifles, called in an air strike; when the investigation was conducted; which part of his Department conducted the investigation; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the investigation; 
(2) 28 May 2009 in Helmand province, in which a patrol from A Company, 2nd Battalion The Rifles, reportedly shot at a car; when the investigation was conducted; which part of his Department conducted the investigation; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the investigation; 
(3) 19 May 2009 in Helmand province, in which Gurkhas mentoring a police unit reportedly called in a Harrier air strike after an ambush; when the investigation was conducted; which part of his Department conducted the investigation; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the investigation; 
(4) 22 October 2008 in Helmand province, in which a soldier in a British squad mentoring the Afghan army reportedly killed a motorcyclist; when the investigation was conducted; which part of his Department conducted the investigation; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the investigation. 
Dr Fox [holding answer 27 October 2010]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 November 2010, Official Report, columns 847-50W. A copy of my letter to him will be published in the Official Report.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice is provided to armed forces personnel on paying the full stamp rate for their national insurance contributions. 
Mr Robathan: Members of the armed forces are subject to UK income tax and national insurance contributions on their government salaries wherever they are serving. Briefings relating to national insurance contributions mainly occur during recruit training where trainees are given a full explanation of their pay and what type of compulsory deductions are made. We do not advise explicitly on the impact of not paying contributions throughout a working life, as in the majority of cases this will occur beyond their employment in the armed forces. However, information is available during the resettlement process for those considering self-employment and the financial considerations required.
Service personnel about to embark on unpaid leave and/or maternity leave are advised to contact their local Department for Work and Pensions office to determine how national insurance contributions can continue.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with (a) charities and (b) representatives of armed forces' families on the likely effects on them of changes to pensions and benefits proposed in the comprehensive spending review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: I have had meetings with several organisations and have discussed this along with other pension related issues. We also remain in regular written contact with the Forces Pension Society and I have invited them to meet me.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what means he plans to make efficiencies in military training, under his proposals in the Strategic Defence and Security Review. 
Nick Harvey: We will enhance the training environment and use the most effective method of preparing our armed forces for the tasks we ask them to do. This will mean that some outdated training methods will be replaced by greater use of simulated training and modern training techniques.
One specific area of work that we will be focussing on is the Defence Technical Training Change Programme (DTTCP) which, following the termination of the Defence Training Rationalisation (DTR) PFI Procurement on 19 October 2010, is a new programme that has been established to build upon the work already started under DTR. DTTCP aims to deliver efficiencies through estate rationalisation and improvements in the delivery of technical training across all three services.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the role of the Army's Hybrid Foundation Training. 
Peter Luff: Hybrid Foundation Training (HFT) provides the essential steps for a unit's progression onto Mission Specific Training (MST), which trains Force Elements for a named operation or specific contingency. HFT focuses individuals and units on core soldiering skills (fire and manoeuvre, all arms integration, leadership and team building), which they can build on and adapt to suit the requirements of MST. The skills obtained during HFT are vital to allow units and individuals to gain the maximum benefit from MST training and ensure that they are delivered to the start of MST with the agility and flexibility required for the current operating environment.
HFT is constantly updated using the relevant lessons learned from operations and training.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the International Violence Against Women Champion will exercise ministerial responsibilities in his Department. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the right hon. and learned Member to the answer the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) gave her on 7 December 2010, Official Report, column 155W.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with representatives of the UK defence industry for the purpose of informing his Department's forthcoming Green Paper. 
Peter Luff: Following the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, I held a conference on 2 November 2010 to start the process of engaging with industry on the planned Green Paper on Equipment, Support and Technology for UK Defence and Security. I chaired a meeting of the National Defence Industries Council on 22 November 2010 where the Green Paper was discussed and attended the Defence Acquisition Workshop 2010 at Shrivenham on 24 to 25 November 2010, which included discussion of a number of Green Paper themes. I have also addressed a number of other industry audiences and held a number of meetings with individual suppliers, in London and elsewhere, including small and medium sized companies.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many invoices his Department processed in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Peter Luff: The total number of invoices paid by the Ministry of Defence in the 12 months December 2009 to November 2010 was 4,697,676.
The figures provided represent invoices processed by the MOD Financial Management Shared Service Centre and the four MOD trading funds:
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Defence Support Group (DSG)
UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO).
Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. 
In the defence and security sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises are often an important source of research and innovation, as well as offering adaptability and flexibility. The forthcoming Green Paper on Equipment, Support and Technology for UK Defence
and Security will consider on how the Government can best encourage and enable SMEs to participate more fully in these sectors.
Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on the production of (a) films of speeches for use at events and (b) other films since May 2010. 
Peter Luff: Photographers are employed by the Department for a range of purposes, including capturing and editing videos. The costs associated with producing video records of speeches are not identified separately across the Department.
Videos are made by the Ministry of Defence for internal training and information purposes. Additionally the armed forces commission films for recruiting campaigns for use across a range of external media channels, including TV, cinema and online.
Since May 2010 the Department has spent around £850,000 producing such films, the majority of which are for recruiting and training purposes. The costs broken down by services are shown in the following table:
Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on its website since May 2010. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence website is an important channel for communicating with the wider defence community, the general public and the worldwide internet audience. It provides a platform for MOD to respond rapidly to current issues as well as providing an authoritative source of enduring information about defence and the armed forces.
From 1 May to 30 November 2010 the MOD spent £206,803.24 on the www.mod.uk website; where applicable, these figures include VAT. Spending falls under the following categories defined by the Cabinet Office:
Strategy and planning
Design and build
Hosting and infrastructure
Testing and evaluation.
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff were employed by his Department in each month since April 2010. 
Mr Robathan: The following table shows the total strength of the Ministry of Defence(1) by month from April 2010 to November 2010.
(1) Totals listed are headcount and have been rounded to the nearest 10.
DASA (Quad Service)
There has been a freeze on external recruitment since May 2010, other than for business critical posts, such as those in direct support of operations, apprenticeships, fast stream and specialist graduates and posts paid for in full by other parties (for example United States Visiting Forces and NATO Support Facilities).
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the change in staff numbers in his Department has been since 1 May 2010. 
Peter Luff: Between May and November 2010, there was a reduction of 1,830 in the staff headcount in the Ministry of Defence.
Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on photography since 1 May 2010. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence's expenditure on photography is incurred in a number of ways, including:
Manpower costs, including travel and subsistence, for photographers employed by the MOD and the armed forces.
Photographic equipment and software costs, including purchase and maintenance.
Costs incurred by individual military units and establishments.
Forensic and technical photography costs.
Training for photographers and photo editors.
Costs relating to the deployment of military and civilian photographers on Operations.
Costs are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of his Department's expenditure on printing (a) Command Papers, (b) papers laid before Parliament by Act, (c) consultation documents and (d) other papers in each of the last 10 years. 
Peter Luff: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in respect of which leukaemias nuclear test veterans are eligible for war pensions. 
Peter Luff: Awards under the war pension scheme can be made for any leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) and primary polycythaemia rubra vera with clinical onset within 25 years of visiting the sites, based on presence only at the tests (i.e. exposure to service-related ionising radiation does not need to be shown).
Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the use of fixed wing aircraft on operations in Afghanistan for up to five years was deemed to be the overriding factor determining the future of fixed-wing naval capability for at least the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Luff: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 November 2010, Official Report, columns 317-19W, to the hon. Members for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) and Portsmouth North (Penny Mordaunt).
Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Typhoon is (a) currently or (b) scheduled in future to be capable of ground attack operations in Afghanistan; which aircraft will be used for ground attack operations in any theatre after the withdrawal of the Tornados from 2021; and if he will make a statement. 
Nick Harvey: The majority of Typhoons and all Tornado GR4s have a precision guided ground attack capability. Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will have this capability as it enters service. Therefore post 2021 both JSF and Typhoon will be capable of ground attack operations. Ground attack support in Afghanistan is currently provided by the Tornado GR4 which will continue to provide support for the foreseeable future.
Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) Fleet Air Arm and (b) Royal Air Force Harrier pilots will be required to leave the armed forces as a result of the withdrawal of the Harriers; how many Harrier pilots there were in each of the two services prior to the withdrawal of the Harriers; and what arrangements will be made for pensions for those made redundant as a consequence of that withdrawal; 
(2) how soon after the withdrawal of the Harriers redundant Harrier pilots will be required to leave their services; whether they will be entitled to full retraining packages before leaving; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: There are currently 135 Royal Air Force and 53 Royal Navy pilots who are qualified to fly Harrier aircraft, which are due to be withdrawn from service at the end of December 2010. The number of RAF Harrier pilots who will be required to leave the Service as a result of the withdrawal of that aircraft is the focus of detailed analysis regarding the wider issue of implementing the strategic defence and security review's outcomes including manning and supporting the front-line. The number of Fleet Air Arm Harrier pilots that will be required to leave the Royal Navy is subject to ongoing work between the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to determine how best to meet the requirement to re-generate a Carrier Strike capability in 2020.
Royal Navy Harrier pilots would not be required to leave the Naval Service before July 2012 unless they apply to leave earlier. Any pilot made redundant will receive the same standard retraining package offered to any service personnel made redundant and will qualify for graduated resettlement training. In addition, any service personnel made redundant will receive compensation in the form of a lump sum in addition to normal entitlements to pensions and retirement benefits.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has engaged independent advisers in respect of its base review. 
Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence is now addressing the full range of issues affecting the defence estate following the Strategic Defence and Security Review. This work is being carried out by MOD civilian and service personnel across the Department under their normal responsibilities as part of the MOD's annual planning round. There are no independent advisers. We are listening to representations made by interested parties as well as consulting with other Government Departments, the devolved Administrations and local communities as appropriate.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many staff of his Department in each post at each grade are working on its base review; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's base review. 
Nick Harvey: The work to address the range of issues affecting the Defence Estate following the Strategic Defence and Security Review is being carried out by Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian and service personnel across the Department. It is being undertaken under their normal responsibilities as part of the MOD's annual planning round. This means it is not possible to give a breakdown of the individual posts involved in the work, and that there are no additional costs to the public purse.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are used to determine whether to close a military base. 
Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate under continual review to ensure that it is of the right size and in the right locations to support current and future defence capability. Military sites are declared surplus when no continuing defence use can be ascertained for them.
However a site belonging to one service may close and then be re-used for another defence purpose, as happened, for instance, when RAF Innsworth near Gloucester became Imjin Barracks.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the decommissioning and clean up costs consequent on the closure of the RAF bases currently under consideration for closure. 
Nick Harvey: None. We are examining the potential future defence uses for those sites which, as a result of decisions taken during the Strategic Defence and Security Review, are no longer required by the RAF. As no decisions have been taken which will necessarily result in the closure of an RAF base, the costs of remediation in preparation for disposal are not being examined at this stage.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times search and rescue helicopters based at RAF Lossiemouth have been involved in operations involving fishing vessels in each of the last five years. 
Nick Harvey: The information requested is shown in the following table.
|RAF Lossiemouth call-outs to fishing vessels|
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2010, Official Report, column 968W, on arts: finance (1) whether he raised with ministerial colleagues the likely effects on arts and culture funding of the abolition of regional development agencies before the announcement of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review; 
(2) whether he raised with ministerial colleagues the effects on arts and culture funding of reductions to local authority grants prior to the announcement of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss cross-departmental issues.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding he plans to provide for his matched funding arrangements to stimulate philanthropic funding of arts organisations. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: Of the £80 million already designated for the philanthropy match funding programme, £30 million will come from this Department, and £50 million from Arts Council England's national lottery funds.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much of the funding to be provided for the match-funding arrangements to stimulate philanthropy he expects (a) his Department and (b) National Lottery funds to contribute. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: Of the £80 million already designated for the philanthropy match funding programme, £30 million will come from my Department, and £50 million from Arts Council England's national lottery funds.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which Department has lead responsibility for the review of Government support for philanthropy announced on 8 December 2010. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: The Cabinet Office has lead responsibility for philanthropy across Government. The review will be supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Her Majesty's Treasury and other Departments as appropriate.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many invoices his Department processed in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
John Penrose: The total number of invoices processed by the Department in the 12 months to November 2010 was 5,669.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on what dates his regular meetings with the Secretary of State for Education, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to discuss cross-departmental issues have taken place since May 2010. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: I met the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on 14 July and on 17 November 2010; the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 15 July and 11 November 2010; and the Secretary of State for Education on 8 June, 14 July, 22 September and 25 November 2010, to discuss cross-departmental issues.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many (a) temporary and (b) agency staff his Department has employed since 24 May 2010; and at what (i) grade and (ii) total cost to his Department. 
John Penrose: The table sets out the number of temporary and agency staff the Department has employed since 24 May 2010 and their total costs at each grade up to end October 2010.
|DCMS grade||Civil service equivalent grade||Number of temporary and agency staff||Cost to the Department inclusive of VAT (£)|
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the proportion of the reduction in his Department's budget that will be achieved through efficiency savings over the period of the comprehensive spending review. 
John Penrose: No direct estimate of the proportion attributable to efficiency savings has been made; however, the majority of the reduction to the Department's budget will be delivered through a combination of efficiency savings and ending lower priority work.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will undertake an economic impact assessment in respect of proposed reductions in funding to the Hat Factory arts venue in Luton; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey: There are no plans for the Department to conduct economic impact assessments into funding decisions for individual arts venues made by other organisations. In most cases, public funding for these venues comes through local authorities and through Arts Council England, operating at arm's length from government.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will assess the merits of relaxing restrictions on replacing single glazing in listed buildings with slim double or triple-glazed panes. 
John Penrose: English Heritage is responsible for assessing and advising the Department on this matter.
Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of English Heritage to write direct to the hon. Member.
Copies of the reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding he plans to make available to the (a) museum development work, (b) library development work and (c) statutory property functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council from 2012-13 to 2014-15. 
Mr Vaizey: The total funding that will be made available to Arts Council England for museum development work, library development work and statutory cultural property functions will be £46.56 million in 2012-13; £45.99 million in 2013-14 and £45.96 million in 2014-15. It will be up to Arts Council England to determine how to allocate this funding, though cuts to the Renaissance in the Regions programme will be limited to 15%.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he plans to take to meet the responsibilities of archives
after the ending of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council; and whether such responsibilities are to be transferred to another body. 
Mr Vaizey: The future of archives work currently undertaken by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council is still being considered. We expect to be able to make an announcement shortly.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what funding (a) was allocated to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2010-11 and (b) will be so allocated in 2011-12; and whether such funding will be allocated to Arts Council England should the MLA's functions be transferred to that body prior to March 2012. 
Mr Vaizey: The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) received £60.71 million in 2010-11, including core, Renaissance and strategic commissioning funding. The MLA has received an indicative allocation of £51.97 million in 2011-12 for core and Renaissance funding. It is expected that funding will be transferred to Arts Council England at the appropriate time during 2011-12 once a transition timetable has been agreed.
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether museums which do not have national status and are unable to secure sponsorship other than from central Government will continue to receive funding from the public purse. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: As with every other arm's length body, the non-national museums have been allocated funding until 2014-15, which will be transferred with them to any new sponsors. If no new sponsorship arrangements can be found for the non-national museums, this Department will consider the needs of these museums along with its other sponsored bodies in the next spending review period.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many museums closed in (a) England and (b) Sussex in each year since 2005. 
Mr Vaizey: Since the start of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Renaissance programme in 2002, none of the Regional Hub Museum Services has closed. Information on closures of independent, local authority or charitably funded museums is not held centrally.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what his most recent estimate is of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on the budget of the Olympic Delivery Authority. 
The increase in value added tax of 2.5% from 4 January 2011 has a forecast impact of £45.6 million over the life of the programme. This cost
has been provided for in the 2010 spending review settlement. Savings elsewhere in the Olympic budget mean that the overall cost remains within the £9.3 billion public sector funding package.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how he plans to meet his statutory duty to oversee and promote the public library service after the end of (a) the Advisory Council on Libraries and (b) the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. 
Mr Vaizey: Officials will work with relevant bodies to ensure appropriate intelligence about the library sector is captured, and that mechanisms are in place to communicate it to this Department. Officials can then advise the Secretary of State on the use of his statutory powers in the absence of the Advisory Council on Libraries and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to increase adult participation in sport in Birmingham before the London 2012 Olympics. 
Hugh Robertson: Sport England is the arm's length body with responsibility for community sport. Their aim is to increase and sustain levels of participation in sport and develop talent to drive standards of elite performance throughout the country.
National governing bodies of sport (NGBs) are responsible for the strategy, delivering through their networks of community clubs, coaches and volunteers. Sport England is investing £480 million through 46 governing bodies over the next four years and has agreed 'grow', 'sustain' and ''excel' targets with each one. Each sport has developed a whole sport plan to achieve these targets. Since 2006, Sport England has invested a total of £3,780,824 into the Birmingham Ladywood constituency.
Additionally, the £135 million Mass Participation Olympic Legacy-Places People Play-was launched in November and is available to residents of Birmingham. This programme will be funded by lottery money and has been developed in partnership with Sport England, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when his Department last published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993; and at which web addresses such schemes can be accessed in (a) Welsh and (b) English. 
John Penrose: The Department published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act in June 2007.
The scheme can be accessed in Welsh and English at:
Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2010, Official Report, column 971W, on youth sports: finance, whether he raised with ministerial colleagues the issue of funding for school sports partnerships before the announcement of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: I regularly meet ministerial colleagues to discuss cross-departmental issues.
Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) his Department and (b) its agencies contract services from Addison Lee private hire taxi company. 
Mr Gauke: HM Treasury, the Debt Management Office and the Asset Protection Agency have a contract with Addison Lee for the provision of taxi and courier services.
The Royal Mint Advisory Committee does not contract services from Addison Lee.
Mr Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on regional airports of increases in air passenger duty; 
(2) what proportion of air passenger duty revenues was raised from flights originating in Northern Ireland in each year since the introduction of the duty; 
(3) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on air passenger duty and its effects on Northern Ireland. 
Mr Gauke: The existing rates of air passenger duty (APD) were set and legislated for by the previous Government. An impact assessment was published at
Data are not available on APD paid by origin of passengers or flights. HMRC only collects data on APD-chargeable passengers, split into the four destination bands.
The June Budget announced that the Government will explore changes to the aviation tax system. Major changes will be subject to consultation.
Mr Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse of printing banknotes was in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr Hoban: This information is publicly available in the Bank of England's Annual Report and Accounts:
Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the regulation of currency exchange services. 
Mr Hoban: Retail currency exchange is subject to the Price Indications (Bureaux de Change) (No 2) Regulations 1992, and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
The Government keeps the extent of the regulation of currency exchange under review.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the use of cheques issued by UK banks as a method of payment; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr Wollaston: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what arrangements he plans to put in place to mitigate the adverse effects on small businesses and individuals arising from the phasing out of cheques; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with the UK Payments Council on alternative methods of payment to replace cheques. 
Mr Hoban: I have written to every Member of the House to set out the Government's position on cheques.
Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.
Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of households which will be affected by the removal of child benefit from higher-rate tax payers in Belfast East constituency; and how many of those households are single parent households. 
Mr Gauke: Information on household income and composition for child benefit claimants is not available at parliamentary constituency level.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the average weekly change in entitlement to (a) families with one
child and (b) families with two or more children as a result of the announced changes to the child care element of working tax credits. 
Mr Gauke: The change in support from the child care element to cover 70% of costs is estimated to reduce the entitlement of families with one child by £8.50 a week, and for families with two or more children by £10.50 a week.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what grants have been awarded by his Department in 2010-11 to date; what grants he plans to award in each of the next two years; what the monetary value is of each such grant; and to which organisations such grants are to be made; 
(2) what the monetary value was of grants awarded by his Department in 2009-10; and how much he plans to award in such grants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. 
Justine Greening [holding answer 25 November 2010]: The Treasury did not award any grants in 2009-10 and has no plans to do so in 2010-11. On the Department's current plans, a single grant of £1,750,000 is to be awarded in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons his Department has revised its estimate of the savings arising from the removal of the mobility component of disability living allowance for claimants in residential care from £135 million to £160 million in 2014-15. 
Maria Miller: I have been asked to reply.
The savings arising from this measure have been updated in line with additional information on the status of care home residents who entered residential care before 1998. Prior to this date there was no procedural requirement to record entry or exit dates into residential care. Additional estimates have been produced to ensure increased accuracy.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the net financial cost to the public purse was of the UK's membership of the EU in each of the last five years. 
Mr Gauke: The UK's net contributions to the EU Budget over the period 2005-06 to 2009-10 were:
Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what benefits he expects to accrue to (a) small payments institutions and (b) their customers as a result of registration of such institutions within the Financial Services Authority. 
Mr Hoban: The registration of small payments institutions is a requirement of the payment services directive. Registration is a proportionate way to identify and monitor all persons providing remittance services without imposing undue costs on small businesses.
The benefits to customers of registration are that firms will have to provide them with information in advance, before they commit to using their services, for example on costs and charges, cancellation rights and other essential information.
Jim Shannon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of Gift Aid repayments made to charities in each region in each of the last five years. 
Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not separately identify Gift Aid claims by regions of the UK.
Amounts of tax repaid to charities in the UK on donations under Gift Aid are published in Table 10.1 on the HMRC website at:
In 2009-10 a total of £1,007 million(1) was repaid to UK charities under Gift Aid.
Nicky Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had on the threshold at which inheritance tax is charged. 
Mr Gauke: The Budget in June 2010 confirmed that the inheritance tax threshold will be frozen at £325,000 until 2014-15. As set out in the coalition agreement, the Government have decided that making changes to the personal allowances for income tax should take priority over other tax cuts including cuts to inheritance tax. Any changes to the inheritance tax regime will then have to be considered with due regard to the Government's priorities of reducing the fiscal deficit and ensuring economic recovery. Any decision would be made through the usual Budget process.
Mr Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his latest estimate is of the cost to the Exchequer of reducing the starting rate of income tax on savings income to 0 per cent. in the first 12 months following implementation; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what his latest estimate is of the cost to the Exchequer of increasing the starting rate limit for savings income to £5,000 in the 12 months following implementation. 
Mr Gauke: It is estimated that income tax liabilities due in 2011-12 would fall by £120 million if the starting rate of tax for savings income were reduced to 0% and by £100 million if the starting rate limit for savings income were increased to £5,000.
These estimates are, however, illustrative and do not take into account behavioural effects. Actual Exchequer impacts are likely to be smaller due to the deduction at source of tax on savings income at the basic rate of tax, and would depend on how taxpayers with savings income in the starting rate band respond to the changes.
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he last met representatives of (a) Ofgem and (b) energy suppliers to discuss consumer energy prices. 
Chris Huhne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for York Central (Hugh Bayley) and the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) earlier today.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the security of gas supplies in winter months. 
Chris Huhne: National Grid's Winter Outlook forecasts demand for winter 2010-11 will be 0.5% higher than weather corrected actual demands in 2009-10. Gas supplies are forecasted to be higher than last year's forecast, and there is further potential for even higher levels of supply from Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and imports over the interconnector.
Government place highest emphasis on security by supporting a highly liquid and open market where gas is obtained from a diverse range of sources.
David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research on the reduction of the level of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions comparing the costs and benefits of different means of generation and conservation of energy his Department has taken into account in reaching policy decisions on such matters. 
Gregory Barker: Cost effectiveness is one of a number of important criteria Government must take into account when considering policy options-both in the short-term and long-term-and across the economy.
An economic appraisal of the costs and benefits of an intervention is a mandatory part of impact assessments for all policies, and allows consideration of the relative merits of different policy options. This must be carried out in line with HM Treasury's Green Book and the supplementary guidance on the valuation of energy use
and greenhouse gas emissions for appraisal and evaluation where policies have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Considerations of the long-term pathway to the UK's target to reduce emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050 is also part of the evidence base to inform decision making-and analysis from economy wide long-term pathway least-cost optimisation models has been commissioned in the past (ie for the Low Carbon Transition Plan, Climate Change Act impact assessment, and Energy White Papers) and will be drawn on in future, to gain insight into the key long-term considerations.
Across the package of policies and measures put in place to deliver the savings required to meet the UK's carbon budgets there is a wide range of cost-effectiveness: Conservation and energy efficiency measures typically represent more cost-effective options in the near term, while decarbonising the power generation sector is key to place the UK on track with its long-term target-and to do so at least-cost, avoiding locking in to costlier alternatives.
Evidence on the net costs and cost effectiveness of the economy wide package of policies and measures to deliver the first three carbon budgets was published in the Analytical Annex to the Low Carbon Transition Plan (DECC, July 2009). Since then various individual impact assessments have been produced, for example to support the Energy Bill, and an impact assessment on the Electricity Market Reform will be published alongside the consultation document. The Government will produce its report on delivering the Fourth Carbon Budget by October 2011.
Valuation of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for appraisal and evaluation
http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/anafysts group/analysts group.aspx
Low Carbon Transition Plan 2009
Energy White Paper 2007
Individual impact assessments available on the BRE online library
Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he has taken since his appointment to reduce expenditure on conferences from budgets within his responsibility. 
Gregory Barker: The nature of the Department's work means that there is some need for Ministers and staff to attend conferences. However, a new travel and subsistence policy has been introduced with effect from October 2010 under which:
Staff should only travel if it is absolutely necessary
Subsistence claims will be based on actual costs
All travel bookings must be made though the official suppliers
Standard or economy class must be used unless there is a clear business need for a higher class to be approved
All claims will need to be approved regardless of grade.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish his projections for electricity to be fed from each source into the grid in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012, (d) 2013 and (e) 2014. 
Charles Hendry: The Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme for Great Britain was launched in April 2010. The scheme covers sub-5 MW wind, hydro, solar PV, anaerobic digestion and domestic scale micro-CHP installations. DECC published an impact assessment in February 2010 setting out projections for TWh generation levels, for further details, see:
Internal analysis by DECC, consistent with the 'chosen option' in the Impact assessment, shows that over the period 2010 to 2014, over 80% of projected electricity generation under the FITs scheme is expected to be exported back to the grid. The following table sets out these estimates in greater detail.
|Projected electricity generation under FITs (inclusive of business-as-usual)( 1)|
|(1 )Where business-as-usual represents sub-5 MW generation that would have occurred in the absence of FITs under the renewables obligation.|
In addition, there will be other electricity generation connected to the distribution networks that is not supported under the Feed-in Tariff.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will hold discussions with representatives of household consumer gas and oil companies on the recent rise in prices of such fuels to domestic customers; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: The Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission are responsible for enforcement of competition and consumer law which applies to the sale of heating oil and liquid petroleum gas.
If consumers have reason to believe that the price for heating oil or LPG indicates anti-competitive behaviour by suppliers, evidence about this behaviour, should be sent to the OFT.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to ensure that fuel expenditure in vulnerable households using the Pay As You Save scheme will be reduced sufficiently to raise each household out of fuel poverty. 
Gregory Barker: The Green Deal will provide the opportunity for householders to take action to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and protect themselves against price rises through greater energy saving.
A new Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which will take over from the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target and Community Energy Saving Programme when they come to an end, will run in parallel with the Green Deal when introduced in 2012.
Through the ECO, we expect energy companies to play a greater role than under previous obligations in helping ensure that more of the poorest and most vulnerable can afford to heat their homes adequately. Alongside insulation measures, we expect them to be able to offer basic heating systems for those who most need them.
In addition, from April next year, energy suppliers will be required to provide greater help with the financial costs of energy bills to more of the most vulnerable fuel poor households through the Warm Home Discount.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to ensure that the energy use in households using the Pay As You Save scheme will generate sufficient savings to repay the loan from his Department. 
Gregory Barker: Green Deal arrangements will be financed by private companies, and not by the Department. A key principle is that payments collected through the Green Deal should not exceed the expected savings, but it is not possible to guarantee this, as both energy price and energy usage can fluctuate over time.
We are reviewing how best to design the assessment at the beginning of the Green Deal to enable the savings estimates to be as accurate as possible, and we are considering what behavioural advice can be given to consumers to ensure they understand how to realise the maximum potential savings.
We are also designing the new Energy Company Obligation to ensure that further support is available for those in need of additional help, including low income vulnerable households and those in hard to treat properties.
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has assessed the merits of bringing forward proposals to require energy companies to maintain tariffs offered to consumers for a minimum of six months from the date of contract acceptance. 
Charles Hendry: DECC has not carried out detailed analysis of these proposals. However, as part of its upcoming retail market review, Ofgem will be looking into issues concerning tariff complexity and consumer engagement.
Under existing rules Ofgem already require suppliers to take all reasonable steps to bring the principal terms of a contract to the attention of a customer, before it is agreed, including whether a tariff is variable, fixed or an introductory offer. Consumers are able to take advantage of a range of fixed rate deals offered by suppliers, if they want to ensure that a tariff is maintained for a period of time.
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will ensure that the proposed Energy Security and Green Economy Bill includes provisions requiring minimum standards for energy tariffs including the removal of tracker tariffs from the market until a standard benchmark for tracking is agreed and the removal of tariffs marketed as having no standing charges but with an increase in the unit rate equivalent to the value of the standing charge; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: The Energy Bill does not contain the measures the hon. Member asks about. However, following the publication of their latest quarterly prices report, Ofgem announced a review of the retail energy market to decide if further changes are needed to ensure the market works in the interests of consumers and to increase transparency. Ofgem will report on this review in March of next year. This announcement is available online at:
In addition, following their 2008 probe into retail energy markets Ofgem introduced standards of conduct that it expects suppliers to take all reasonable steps to adhere to. Included in these standards is an expectation that suppliers should not sell products that are inappropriate to a customer's needs or offer products that are unnecessarily complex or confusing.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of those in fuel poverty who are eligible for assistance in the priority group for (a) Phase Two of the Energy Efficiency Commitment scheme and (b) the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme. 
Gregory Barker: We estimate that in 2006 58% of fuel poor households were eligible for assistance in the priority group as defined in phase two of the Energy Efficiency Commitment. In 2008, the most recent Fuel Poverty statistics available, approximately 77% of fuel poor households were eligible for assistance in the priority group as defined in the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of recipients of assistance in the priority group for (a) Phase Two of the Energy Efficiency Commitment scheme and (b) the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme who are fuel poor. 
Gregory Barker: The priority group target ensures that households more likely to experience fuel poverty do receive support. However, we do not have data detailing whether households that received measures under priority group rules during either supplier obligation phase were fuel poor at the point of installation. This summer we introduced a super priority group obligation under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target to ensure that more of the low income households vulnerable to fuel poverty receive energy efficiency measures.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department takes to assess whether a household in England is in fuel poverty; and how many such households there are in (a) England, (b) London and (c) the London borough of Brent. 
Gregory Barker: In England, a household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth (usually defined as 21 degrees for the main living area, and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms).
In order to determine the required spend on fuel, the annual energy consumption of each household is modelled based on characteristics of the dwelling and the households members. The source of data for this is the English Housing Survey (EHS), an annual survey commissioned by CLG. In addition, the EHS also contains information on the structure of the property, energy efficiency measures, the type of walls and the fuels used.
This modelled consumption is then combined with energy price information in order to calculate the required spend. The information on domestic gas and electricity prices is collected and published by DECC on a quarterly basis via a survey of all major energy suppliers. Information on prices of other fuels come from external sources, including from the Office for National Statistics and the Sutherland tables.
Income information is collected as part of the EHS, via a set of detailed questions. This information includes income from the earnings, benefits and savings for the whole household.
Full details of the methodology employed for calculating fuel poverty statistics can be found in the Fuel Poverty Methodology Handbook at:
The following table shows the number of households in fuel poverty (and the year to which the statistics relate) in England, London and Brent.
|Area||Number of households in fuel poverty|
|(1 )(T)he latest year for which sub-national fuel poverty statistics are available is 2006.|
Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent reports he has received on progress on the proposed Nabucco pipeline project; and if he will make a statement. 
Charles Hendry: In its Second Strategic Energy Review of November 2008, the European Commission set out its support for the development of a southern gas corridor. The proposed Nabucco pipeline was specifically designated as a project of strategic importance in the Trans-European Networks-Energy programme.
A number of recent developments have been well-received by the Nabucco consortium. In March 2010, it welcomed the news that the intergovernmental agreement of 13 July 2009, which provides a stable legal framework for gas transit, had been ratified by all signatory countries. In addition, in June 2010, the consortium welcomed the agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan which defined the terms of gas transit to Turkey and Europe.
We understand that the proposed Nabucco pipeline is currently under consideration by the consortium that owns the Shah Deniz II gas field in Azerbaijan, with a final investment decision expected in 2011.
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