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2008-09

Country

Right hon. David Miliband

Afghanistan

Secretary of State

Belgium

Bosnia

China

Czech Republic

Egypt

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

India

Iraq

Ireland

Israel

Japan

Kosovo

Kuwait

Lebanon

Luxembourg

Norway

Occupied Palestinian Territories

Pakistan

Romania

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Sudan

Sweden

Syria

Turkey

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

USA

Right hon. Dr Kim Howells MP

Algeria

Minister of State

Bolivia

Brazil

Germany

Morocco

Peru

Qatar

South Africa

Yemen

Right hon. Jim Murphy MP

Azerbaijan

Minister of State

Belgium

Czech Republic

France

Georgia

Germany

Gibraltar

Hungary

Italy

Luxembourg

Poland

Spain

USA

Right hon. Caroline Flint MP

Belgium

Minister of State

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

France

Germany

Greece

Ireland

Macedonia

Spain

Turkey

Ukraine

Right hon. Lord Malloch Brown

Argentina

Minister of State

Bangladesh

Brazil

China

Democratic Republic of Congo

Egypt

Ethiopia

France

Ghana

India

Japan

Kenya

Maldives

Myanmar

Nepal

Netherlands

Nigeria

Norway

Russia

Rwanda

Saudi Arabia

Sierra Leone

Singapore

South Africa

Sri Lanka

Switzerland

Thailand

USA

Zambia

Bill Rammell MP

China

Minister of State

Indonesia

Israel

Japan

Libya

Occupied Palestinian Territories

South Korea

Syria

Tunisia

Gillian Merron MP

Brazil

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Jamaica

Pakistan

Trinidad

Meg Munn MP

Australia

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Barbados

Belize

Cambodia

Costa Rica

Guatemala

Malaysia

Mexico

New Zealand

Niue (Pacific)

Philippines

Singapore

Spain



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2009- 10

Country

Right hon. David Miliband

Afghanistan

Secretary of State

Belgium

Bermuda

Bosnia

Canada

China

Czech Republic

Denmark

France

Germany

Gibraltar

Greece

Ireland

Italy

Jordan

Luxembourg

Pakistan

Poland

Portugal

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sweden

Switzerland

the Netherlands

Trinidad and Tobago

Turkey

USA

Bill Rammell MP

Bahrain

Minister of State

Cambodia

Egypt

USA

Vietnam

Right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown MP

Angola

Minister of State

Libya

Mozambique

South Africa

Switzerland

USA

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Belgium

Minister of State

Bosnia

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ethiopia

France

Georgia

Jamaica

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Luxembourg

Nigeria

South Africa

Sudan

Sweden

Switzerland

Trinidad and Tobago

Uganda

USA

Ivan Lewis MP

China

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Dubai

Egypt

Iraq

Israel

Lebanon

Mali

Morocco

Palestine

Syria

Tibet

USA

Yemen

Gillian Merron MP

British Virgin Islands

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Colombia

USA

Chris Bryant MP

Australia

Belgium

Chile

Colombia

Cyprus

Germany

Greece

Laos

Luxembourg

Mexico

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Russia

Spain

Thailand

Turkey

Venezuela


Departmental Written Questions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, columns 325-26W, on the diplomatic service, what constitutes the calculation of disproportionate cost; and on how many other occasions has this answer been provided by his Department since May 2010. [33826]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides written answers in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance which can be found at:

Guidance on the disproportionate cost threshold is issued by Her Majesty's Treasury in the form of a written ministerial statement. This was last issued in January 2010 (20 January 2010, Official Report, column 15WS).

No record is kept of the number of answers the FCO gives using disproportionate cost. These will be available in the Official Report.

European Union

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which powers he is seeking to repatriate from the EU. [33124]


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Mr Lidington: The Government's priority is the EU Bill. This will increase democratic and parliamentary control, scrutiny and accountability in EU decision making. We have also begun initial work to review the EU's existing competences, to see if they strike the right balance between what should be done at EU level and national level. We will look at individual dossiers, such as the application of the working time directive in the UK, as well as the bigger picture. But, in accordance with the coalition agreement, we have been clear that there will be no transfer of power or competence from the UK to the EU during the lifespan of this Parliament.

Germany: Anti-Semitism

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of anti-Semitism in Brandenburg, Germany and the surrounding area; what recent representations he has made to the Government of Germany on anti-Semitism in that country; and if he will make a statement. [33895]

Mr Lidington: The state Government of Brandenburg have said that in 2009 there were 109 instances of anti-Semitic crime in Brandenburg, four of them violent. I have made no representations to the Federal Government of Germany on this matter.

The German Government take the rights of their citizens seriously. The German constitution, the basic law, enshrines legal rights, including in matters of religion or race. Article 1 provides for 'The Protection of Human Dignity', Article 3 provides for 'Equality before the Law' and Article 4 provides for 'Freedom of Faith, of Conscience and of Creed.'

Section 130 of Germany's Penal Code also criminalises 'incitement to hatred' against any segment of the population. This carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Gulf States: Politics and Government

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work his Department is undertaking with the government of Kuwait to encourage democratic reform amongst Gulf Cooperation Council countries. [33278]

Alistair Burt: We work closely with the Government of Kuwait to support their democratic process through ministerial, ambassadorial and working level discussions.

We also work closely with other Gulf partners on such issues.

Mechanisms such as the annual European Union/Gulf Cooperation Council Joint Ministerial Council, at which Kuwait is represented, also allow for wider discussions with all Gulf Cooperation Council partners.

Ivory Coast: Elections

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he has offered in resolving the dispute in establishing a legitimate government in the Ivory Coast. [34135]


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Mr Bellingham: The British Government fully support the position taken by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States that Mr Alassane Ouattara was the winner of the presidential elections in Cote d'Ivoire. We support the efforts of these bodies to resolve the political crisis. We will continue to support measures that maintain pressure on Mr Laurent Gbagbo to cede power including sanctions against those impeding the will of the democratic majority.

Kuwait: Counter-terrorism

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department provides to the government of Kuwait to combat terrorist organisations in the Middle East. [33273]

Alistair Burt: The UK and Kuwait maintain close co-operation on counter-terrorism policy. On 9 August 2010 the UK and Kuwait signed a Memorandum of Understanding for security cooperation to facilitate the sharing of expertise and cooperate in the field of security in order to tackle any threats facing the two countries including fighting terrorism, organised crime and money laundering.

The recent visit to Kuwait made by my noble Friend Baroness Neville-Jones to speak at the Fourth Anti Money-Laundering Conference highlighted the valuable work undertaken by the UK and Kuwait to combat illicit financing across the globe.

Middle East: Peace Negotiations

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what the objectives of Government policy on the Middle East Peace Process are for 2011; [33759]

(2) what his most recent assessment is of progress on the Middle East Peace Process. [33760]

Alistair Burt: The window for peace in the middle east is closing as the facts on the ground change: there is an urgent need for progress to secure a two state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees. This is important for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community, including the UK. We understand the depth of Israeli security concerns. But the strength of our friendship means that we can and must say frankly that we were disappointed that Israel did not renew the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold. We will continue to work with the United States, the parties to the conflict and with our EU and UN partners to return to direct negotiations to achieve a two state solution.

Palestinians: International Assistance

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made by the UN inquiry panel chaired by Geoffrey Palmer investigating the interception on 31 May 2010 of the Free Gaza movement flotilla. [33294]


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Alistair Burt: The UN inquiry panel, headed by Geoffrey Palmer, last delivered a progress report to the UN Secretary-General on 15 September 2010. The report was largely procedural in nature, explaining the panel's understanding of the tasks at hand and working methods. We understand the panel is due to deliver its final report in March 2011 at the earliest.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary welcomed the UN Secretary-General's establishment of a panel of inquiry, and both Israel and Turkey's commitment to participate. The panel has an important role to play in investigating and resolving the dispute over the Gaza flotilla incident and preventing future recurrence. It is also vital that the existing national investigations proceed swiftly, transparently and rigorously to ensure full accountability.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2010, Official Report, column 515W, on Palestinians: international assistance, what recent progress he has made together with his EU counterparts on further EU action for peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis. [33371]

Alistair Burt: The middle east peace process remains among the government's highest foreign policy priorities. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Territories on 3-4 November 2010, during which he spoke with both Palestinian and Israeli Ministers to urge them to make progress.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary also continues to work closely with his EU counterparts and the right hon. Baroness Ashton to explore the scope for further EU action.

The UK supported the December 2010 EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions which reaffirmed the EU's stance supporting a negotiated two state solution. It remains the UK view that this is the only sustainable solution with a viable Palestinian state existing alongside a secure Israel recognised by her neighbours. These conclusions also expressed the EU's concern over the prevailing situation in Gaza. The EU reiterated its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answers of 14 June 2010, Official Report, column 301W, and 12 July 2010, Official Report, column 515W, on Palestinians: international assistance, what recent progress has been made on lifting the Gaza blockade; and if he will make a statement. [33372]

Alistair Burt: Israel's recent announcement on exports was an encouraging step. The key will be implementation. We discuss these issues regularly with the Government of Israel and will continue to do so. Following the recent announcement the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development had positive discussions with the Government of Israel about the type and levels of exports they plan to achieve in 2011. We want to see a return to pre-2007 levels of exports in 2011 and have made clear that we stand ready, with EU partners, to work with Israel to achieve this.


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Singapore: Press Freedom

Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the Government of Singapore on behalf of Mr Alan Shadrake; and if he will make a statement. [33829]

Mr Jeremy Browne: In my statement of 16 November 2010, I expressed dismay that Mr Shadrake had been convicted and sentenced to six weeks in jail in Singapore for expressing his personal views on the Singaporean legal system.

In January 2011, our high commissioner, Paul Madden, raised Mr Shadrake's case during his farewell call on Singapore's Foreign Minister, George Yeo, highlighting the UK position on freedom of expression. We will continue to call on all countries, including Singapore, to recognise the right to freedom of expression as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our high commission in Singapore will continue to provide consular assistance to Mr Shadrake, as they have done since his arrest in July 2010. Mr Shadrake is currently appealing against his conviction.

Tanzania

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the deaths of protesters in Arusha, Tanzania. [33495]

Mr Bellingham: I was saddened to hear of the deaths in Arusha of protesters who were demonstrating against the outcome of the mayoral election held in December 2010. Our high commission in Tanzania is monitoring the situation closely. Our high commissioner is in contact at the highest level with the Government of Tanzania and Opposition leaders to clarify the circumstances of these tragic deaths, and to urge for a resolution through political dialogue.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with his Tanzanian counterpart; and if he will make a statement. [33496]

Mr Bellingham: The Under-Secretary of State for International Development, the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr O'Brien) and I have had numerous discussions with senior members of the Tanzanian Government concerning all aspects of our bilateral relationship. These discussions have included the future of our trade and development relationships, and our joint work to advance peace and security in East Africa, in particular on the growing problem of piracy in the Indian ocean.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact the British High Commission in Tanzania has had with opposition leaders in that country since their arrest in January 2010. [33497]

Mr Bellingham: Our high commission staff have been in touch with senior representatives of the opposition party since news broke of their arrest on 5 January. Our
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high commissioner spoke to Dr Slaa, Secretary-General of the Chama cha Maendeleo na Demokrasia (Party for Democracy and Development) (CHADEMA), on 12 January 2011, following the funerals of those killed during the demonstrations, to stress the need for a peaceful resolution of differences through dialogue.

Turkey: Religious Freedom

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet his Turkish counterpart to discuss the religious (a) rights and (b) properties of the Greek Christian minority in Turkey. [33402]

Mr Lidington: Our embassy in Ankara raises the issue of respect for all religious minorities in its wider discussions on human rights with its Turkish counterparts. Respect for religious minority groups was also raised in the 2010 Progress Report on Turkey's EU Accession process.

West Africa: EU Immigration

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Development on financial assistance for North African countries to deal with humanitarian issues relating to West African migrants coming to the EU. [33722]

Alistair Burt: Through the EU, the UK provides support to some north African countries to help implement their agreed country action plans. These funds support work across a number of areas, including migration and strengthening the rule of law. The Department for International Development does not provide direct support because it prioritises assistance to less developed countries.

Treasury

Banks: Northern Ireland

Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the (a) Northern Ireland Executive, (b) Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and (c) Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the effects on Northern Ireland of banking regulation. [33741]

Mr Hoban: 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.

Capital Gains Tax

Bill Esterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek a refund of the capital gains tax levied by the Spanish Government on British citizens which the European Court of Justice has declared to be discriminatory. [33672]


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Mr Gauke: These cases concern tax paid by individuals to a foreign state. It follows that the UK Government has no direct involvement and it is for the individuals themselves to take forward any action if they believe they have paid too much tax following a decision by the ECJ.

Commodity Markets: Regulation

Mr Umunna: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the regulation of commodity derivative markets; [33421]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure transparency in commodity derivative markets for (a) regulators, (b) market participants and (c) the public. [33424]

Mr Hoban: A number of European initiatives seek to increase transparency in derivatives markets, including commodity derivative markets. These include:

The UK supports the G20 commitment to improve transparency in financial and commodity markets and is closely engaged in these processes.

Departmental Bonuses

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on which occasions he has discussed with the chief executives of (a) Royal Bank of Scotland Group, (b) Lloyds Banking Group and (c) Barclays (i) the bonuses paid to their staff and (ii) their personal bonus since 1 December 2010. [34024]

Mr Hoban: The Chancellor of the Exchequer meets chief executives of UK banks on a range of issues. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions.

Departmental Buildings

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many windows of his Department's premises in Whitehall were broken in (a) November and (b) December 2010; and on what dates such breakages occurred. [33407]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply as the windows that were broken were in HM Revenue and Customs' office at 100 Parliament street.

Four window panels were broken on 24 November 2010 and 41 window panels were broken on 9 December 2010.

Departmental Labour Turnover

Jesse Norman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the staff turnover rate in his Department was in each of the 15 years up to 2005. [33409]


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Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to him on 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 271W.

Information on the annual turnover for each of the 15 years up to 2005 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Robert Halfon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each year since 1997. [28141]

Justine Greening: Spending on press cuttings since 2002-03 is shown in the following table. Because of a change in accounting system in 2002-03, information in relation to earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£

2002-03

279,717

2003-04

319,692

2004-05

268,198

2005-06

300,825

2006-07

229,632

2007-08

201,509

2008-09

395,651

2009-10

322,729


EU: Budget

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) gross and (b) net UK contribution to the EU budget was in each of the last 10 years. [34010]

Justine Greening: Figures for the UK's gross and net contributions are available in the annual White Paper on the "EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement". The latest publication is available in the House Library as well as online at:

For convenience, the UK's gross and net contributions for the last 10 financial years are shown in the following table.

UK contributions to EU budget( 1)
£ billion

Gross contribution( 2) Net receipts( 3)

2001-02

4.8

-1.5

2002-03

6.5

-3.1

2003-04

7.5

-3.3

2004-05

8.5

-3.9

2005-06

8.1

-4.4

2006-07

8.7

-3.5

2007-08

9.8

-4.2

2008-09

7.6

-3.0

2009-10

9.5

-4.7

2010-11

12.6

-7.9

(1 )Source-Various editions of the EU budget White Paper, 2010-11 projection from the OBR Autumn Forecast (Public Finances Supplementary Data, Table 1.6):
http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/econ-fiscal-outlook.html
(2) After UK abatement.
(3) Net of public sector receipts.

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Excise Duties: Fuels

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate revenue to accrue to the Exchequer in a financial year from fuel duty levied at the present rate on unleaded petrol and diesel on the basis of (a) the volume of fuel purchased in the most recent financial year for which figures are available and (b) an average price of £1.30 for diesel and £1.26 for petrol. [34011]

Justine Greening: Table C11 on page 100 of the June Budget (HC61) forecasts receipts from fuel duty in 2010-11 and through to 2015-16. An update will be provided in Budget 2011 on 23 March. Information on fuel supply volumes is available at:

Financial Services: Post Offices

Mr Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the merits of delivering independent financial advice through the Post Office network. [33516]

Mr Hoban: The Government have asked the Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB) to deliver a free and impartial national financial advice service that will be available to everyone in the UK online, over the phone and face-to-face, by spring 2011. This will increase levels of financial literacy and empower people to take charge of their finances.

CFEB invited bids to deliver the service last year. Post Office Ltd decided not to compete for the contract as they did not have the capacity to provide the advice required.

Fuels: Prices

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of introducing a fuel price stabiliser for the price of petrol. [33405]

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department is considering the introduction of a fuel duty stabiliser. [33611]

Mr Offord: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce a fuel price stabiliser. [33613]

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration his Department has given to the introduction of a fuel price stabiliser for petrol prices. [34121]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Members for Hartlepool (Mr Wright), York Outer (Julian Sturdy), Hendon (Mr Offord) and the right hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) to the answer given on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 665W, to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith).

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has made an assessment of petrol prices in (a) rural and (b) island petrol forecourts; and if his
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Department will undertake a study of the effects of such prices on rural economies; [34074]

(2) what the timetable is for discussions with the European Commission on his plans for a rural fuel duty rebate; and if he will make a statement. [34075]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Mr MacNeil) on 21 December 2010, Official Report, column 1143W.

A range of evidence is being considered as part of the work prior to submitting a formal proposal to the European Commission for a pilot scheme that will deliver a maximum of five pence per litre duty discount on petrol and diesel in remote rural areas.

Income Tax

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people will be taken out of income tax as a result of the £1,000 increase in the personal allowance in each (a) region, (b) local authority and (c) parliamentary constituency. [33367]

Mr Gauke: June 2010 Budget estimates of the number of persons taken out of income tax as a result of the £1,000 increase in the personal allowance in 2011-12 by Government office region are provided in the following table.

Government office region Number taken out of tax (thousand)

North East

38

North West and Merseyside

107

Yorkshire and the Humber

79

East Midlands

64

West Midlands

77

East of England

83

London

110

South East

108

South West

76

Wales

41

Scotland

71

Northern Ireland

25

All

880


These estimates are calculated using the HMRC Personal Tax Model, based on 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes data projected to 2011-12 in line with the June 2010 Budget assumptions.

It not possible to produce reliable estimates for local authorities and parliamentary constituencies due to small sample sizes at these levels of geography.

Information on the distribution of taxpayer numbers by LA and PC in 2007-08 is available on the HMRC website:

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many basic rate taxpayers will pay less tax as a result of the £1,000 increase in the personal allowance in each financial year from 2011-12 to 2014-15. [33368]


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Mr Gauke: In the June 2010 Budget it was estimated that 23 million basic rate taxpayers will gain an average of £170 in 2011-12.

This estimate is calculated using HMRC Personal Tax Model, based on 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes data projected to 2011-12 in line with June 2010 Budget assumptions.

Numbers of basic rate taxpayers who will benefit in later years will be broadly comparable, increasing gradually over time assuming indexation of the basic rate limit.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the likely effects of changes to the claimant count forecast in the November Economic and Fiscal Outlook on projections for expenditure on (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) housing benefit. [33369]

Mr Gauke: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and I have asked the OBR to reply.

Letter from Robert Chote, dated 13 January 2011:

Lloyds TSB: Compensation

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department plans to take steps to address Lloyds TSB shareholders' compensation claims arising from the HBOS/Lloyds TSB merger. [32128]

Mr Hoban: Treasury has received a letter written on behalf of certain shareholders in Lloyds, alleging that the circular sent out by Lloyds to its shareholders in advance of the HBOS acquisition was misleading, and that Treasury is responsible for that. Treasury has replied, strongly refuting the allegation.

Maternity Payments: Gateshead

Ian Mearns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Sure Start maternity grants were made to mothers for a second or subsequent child by the Jobcentre Plus social fund budget area that covers Gateshead constituency in 2009-10. [19131]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply.

The Jobcentre Plus social fund budget area that covers the constituency of Gateshead is Northumbria. A total of 4,800 Sure Start maternity grants were awarded for
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Northumbria in 2009-10. The exact number of awards for a second or subsequent maternity for Northumbria in 2009-10 is not available, but is estimated to be 52% of all awards, namely 2,500.

Oil and Food: Prices

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect on (a) inflation and (b) economic growth of likely increases in (i) oil and (ii) food prices in 2011. [33354]

Justine Greening: The Government consider a range of factors when making their assessment of the UK economy. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out its forecast for the economy in its November 2010 "Economic and Fiscal Outlook". The OBR's inflation forecast is broadly consistent with the Bank of England and HM Treasury's latest average of independent forecasts.

Pensions and Benefits: Uprating

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to consult the UK Statistics Authority on his proposed changes to the index-linking arrangements for pensions and benefits; and if he will make a statement. [32020]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply, and I apologise for the delay in replying.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Glasgow North East (Mr Bain) on 8 November 2010, Official Report, column 100W.

Renewables Obligation

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 209W, on the renewables obligation, if he will estimate the contribution of the renewables obligation to the total tax burden; and if he will estimate the sum attributed from the renewables obligation to public expenditure. [33365]

Justine Greening: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has published a forecast of the Renewables Obligation (RO) in its "Economic and fiscal outlook" on 29 November 2010. This forecast is consistent with
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the ONS's current methodology for evaluating tax and spend through the RO, though the ONS are currently reviewing this.

RO outturn and forecast data can be found in table 1.3 at:

The OBR also produce forecasts for the total tax burden, known as National Accounts taxes in table 4.6 (p91) of the Economic and Fiscal Outlook. This is available at:

Revenue and Customs: Liverpool

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which individuals and organisations he plans to consult on the future of HM Revenue and Customs staff and buildings in Liverpool following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review; and when he expects such consultation processes to commence; [33219]

(2) whom he plans to consult on the future of the HM Revenue and Customs estate in Liverpool; and when he expects the consultation to take place. [34120]

Mr Gauke: The purpose of the review of the Liverpool estate is to establish business requirements for the future and how this will shape estate requirements. As part of this, HMRC will consult with the Government Property Unit about the estate requirements of other Government Departments in the Liverpool area and internally with business managers and, via the trade unions, with members of staff. Consultation has already started and will be taken forward jointly by HMRC's Workforce Management Programme and the Estate Consolidation Programme.

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the results of the latest review of the HM Revenue and Customs estate in Liverpool; and what options he is considering for the future of that estate. [33220]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has not yet completed the latest review of its estate in Liverpool. Options under consideration include the vacation of its building at Queens Dock but no decisions have yet been taken. This was communicated to staff at the four offices in Liverpool in December. Discussions with internal business units and the Government Property Unit in relation to wider civil estate needs have already started and HMRC expects to be able to publish the outcome of the review of the Liverpool estate in spring 2011.

Tax Collection: Debts

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many and what proportion of
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people had tax debts of under £10,000 in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many and what proportion of these cases he estimates will be referred to private sector debt collection agencies; [33481]

(2) whether his Department plans to allow private sector debt collection agencies to undertake door-to-door visits to taxpayers to recover debts. [33482]

Mr Gauke: Centrally collated information on the number and proportion of people who have tax debts of under £10,000 is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

HMRC will be referring a range of types, sizes and ages of debts to private sector debt collection agencies in 2010-11 including debts relating to both individual and business debtors. This will accelerate the collection of lower value debts and is expected to generate an additional £140 million from debts that might otherwise be written off.

HMRC do not currently refer cases to private sector debt collection agencies for door-to-door visits and this work is currently undertaken in-house by HMRC. There are no current plans to change this approach.

Taxation

Mr Byrne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value was of tax receipts for (a) business services, (b) education, health and social work, (c) financial intermediation, (d) manufacturing and (e) other wholesale and retail trade from (i) personal tax, (ii) direct business tax, (iii) consumption tax, (iv) property tax and (v) environmental tax in (A) 1998-99, (B) 1999-2000, (C) 2000-01, (D) 2001-02 and (E) 2002-03. [33788]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 13 January 2011, Official Report, columns 463-64W.

The full breakdown of tax receipts outlined in the question is not available.

HMRC produce a breakdown by broad industrial sector for corporation tax, PAYE income tax and class 1 national insurance contributions (NICs) and value added tax (VAT), No breakdown by industrial sector for self-assessment taxation or property and environmental taxes is available.

As for the previous answer, historical figures for corporation tax receipts paid by several broadly-defined business sectors for the years requested are published in Table 11.1 on the HMRC National Statistics website:

For personal taxes a breakdown by sector can be produced for PAYE income tax and class 1 NICs received by HMRC in respect of employee and employer liabilities. Figures for the requested sectors are as follows:


17 Jan 2011 : Column 579W

17 Jan 2011 : Column 580W
£ million

1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03

Business services

22,830

26,582

28,050

27,948

Education

11,441

12,442

13,206

14,105

Health and social work

8,648

9,035

9,659

10,845

Financial intermediation

11,866

15,525

15,115

15,536

Manufacturing

24,185

24,752

23,925

23,731

Wholesale and retail trade

14,944

15,824

15,978

17,025


Figures are not available for years prior to 1999-2000. The sectors are defined by the Office for National Statistics' Standard Industrial Classification 2003.

Declared VAT is published by trade group in the VAT factsheet, table 2.3:

Archived factsheets provide figures for earlier years:

Figures for 2001, 2002 and 2003 not contained in the archived factsheets are in the following table. These data relate to calendar years and are not available in financial year format. Figures for earlier years are not available.

Total net tax
£ million

2001 2002 2003

Business services

14,792

16,618

18,315

Education

118

53

50

Health and social work

167

205

215

Financial intermediation

500

725

969

Manufacturing

9,733

12,267

12,924

Wholesale and retail trade

18,886

19,350

20,759


These sectors are defined by the Office for National Statistics' Standard Industrial Classification 2003.

Taxation: Holiday Accommodation

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to his Department's document, Furnished Holiday Lettings: a summary of responses, (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the metrics (a) used in the impact assessment to calculate the anticipated differential impact on businesses in remote and rural areas of changes to related eligibility criteria and (b) which underpinned the conclusion that evidence suggested that the projected asymmetry was not of sufficient scale to outweigh the considerations which led to the Government's proposals; [33846]

(2) if he will place in the Library the numerical basis used to inform the impact assessment; [33847]

(3) what field research was undertaken in Scotland and Northern Ireland; and in what ways the findings of such research influenced the position set out in the key findings and the Government's response; [33848]

(4) how many (a) supportive and (b) negative responses were received to question five in his Department's consultation on furnished holiday lettings from respondents in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region in England. [33802]

Mr Gauke: The impact assessment includes relevant information to assess the costs, benefits and risks of proposed legislation and forms the basis on which decisions are made.

There is no intention to prepare additional material for publication other than has already been published.

The key findings and Government response set out in the document were informed by representations received and meetings held with interested parties.

Responses to question 5 in the consultation were not categorised as supportive or negative as this was a factual question seeking evidence on regional variations.

Taxation: International Co-operation

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax information exchange agreements the Government have established with other countries; and whether he has any plans to review such agreements. [33384]

Mr Gauke: Tax information exchange agreements are in force with Bermuda, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and the Bahamas. Similar agreements have been signed with Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Grenada, Belize, San Marino, the former Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and Liberia but these have yet to enter into force. The United Kingdom can also exchange information with over 100 other jurisdictions through our network of agreements for the avoidance of double taxation and under bilateral agreements regarding the taxation of income from savings. All international tax agreements are kept under review.

Information on all the UK's international tax agreements is available on the HMRC website.

VAT: Charities

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the cost to charities in 2011 of raising the value added tax rate to 20%; and if he will make a statement. [33809]

Mr Gauke: Charities benefit from a range of tax reliefs which for 2009-10 the Government estimate are worth approximately £3 billion per annum. These include reliefs from VAT; for example: VAT zero-rating on the sale of donated goods, medical and scientific equipment and, for qualifying charities, goods for use by disabled people. All zero rates are derogations from the normal EU VAT rules, and represent benefits not enjoyed by charities elsewhere in Europe.

Charities carrying out non-taxable activities may incur irrecoverable VAT on their purchases, but information is not available to assess accurately the amount or the effect of the increase in the standard rate of VAT.


17 Jan 2011 : Column 581W

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of changing the value added tax (VAT) rules to ensure that charities are not adversely affected by the recent rise in VAT; and if he will make a statement. [33810]

Mr Gauke: The Government inherited an exceptional fiscal challenge. The most urgent priority is to tackle the record budget deficit to restore confidence in our economy and support the recovery. We recognise that the increase in the rate of VAT is unwelcome, but it is necessary to sustain public finances and ensure long-term fiscal stability.

The Government support charities. Charity tax reliefs are currently worth around £3 billion a year, of which Gift Aid makes up over £1 billion, and the Government are committed to retaining the existing VAT zero rates for charities, which provide them with a benefit of around £200 million. We will continue to look at options within the VAT system where these are available to us and affordable within agreed funding arrangements.

VAT: Pensioners

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the average annual cost to a pensioner of the increase in the rate of value added tax. [34028]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Clwyd South (Susan Elan Jones) on 19 July 2010, Official Report, column 170W.

VAT: Third Sector

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the amount of additional value added tax to be paid by charities, voluntary organisations, and the third sector in each financial year to 2015-16 attributable to the increase in the basic rate of this tax on 4 January 2011. [33345]

Mr Gauke: Charities benefit from a range of tax reliefs which for 2009-10 the Government estimate are worth approximately £3 billion per annum. These include reliefs from VAT; for example: VAT zero-rating on the sale of donated goods, medical and scientific equipment and, for qualifying charities, goods for use by disabled people. All zero rates are derogations from the normal EU VAT rules, and represent benefits not enjoyed by charities elsewhere in Europe.

Charities carrying out non-taxable activities may incur irrecoverable VAT on their purchases but information is not available to assess accurately the amount or the effect of the increase in the standard rate of VAT.

VAT: Tourism

Mr Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations his Department has received from (a) Visit Britain and (b) other interested bodies on the effect on businesses in the (i) restaurant and (ii) hotel sectors of the level of value added tax. [33524]


17 Jan 2011 : Column 582W

Mr Gauke: The Department has received no representations from Visit Britain on these points. The hospitality sector has long argued that it should be subject to a reduced rate of VAT.

Ways and Means: Financial Statement

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his contribution of 22 June 2010, Official Report, column 178, on ways and means: financial statement, what progress has been made towards the introduction of a fuel stabiliser; if he will introduce a fuel rebate for residents of remote rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [34228]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 665W and to the hon. Member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Mr MacNeil) on 21 December 2010, Official Report, column 1143W.

Defence

15 Brigade Headquarters

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the annual amount of carbon dioxide emissions arising from travel of personnel between 15 Brigade headquarters and the units under its command at (a) its current location in York and (b) a new location at Catterick. [33513]

Mr Gerald Howarth: It is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the carbon dioxide emissions arising from the travel of between 15 (North East) Brigade headquarters and the units under its command at this time.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many disabled service and ex-service personnel work at (a) 15 Brigade headquarters and (b) other locations at Imphal Barracks, York. [33514]

Mr Gerald Howarth: There are no disabled service personnel currently working at Imphal Barracks, York, but 13 civilians working at the barracks have declared themselves as disabled. We are unable to say how many of those civilians are ex-service personnel, as civilian personnel are not required to declare whether they are ex-service.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission an equality and diversity report to assess the suitability of (a) the 15 Brigade headquarters premises at York and (b) Bourlon Barracks at Catterick for employment of disabled service and ex-service personnel. [33515]

Mr Gerald Howarth: We regularly review our obligations under equality and diversity policies at all our bases and a review was conducted at 15 Brigade Headquarters in December 2010.

There are no firm plans at present to locate further units at Bourlon Barracks in Catterick. However, should a decision be made to develop Bourlon Barracks, we would comply with the legal requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, to ensure that the needs of all disabled personnel are taken into account.


17 Jan 2011 : Column 583W

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the capital cost of bringing Bourlon Barracks at Catterick up to the standard required for use as a brigade or garrison headquarters; if he will estimate the staff redundancy and recruitment costs which would arise from moving 15 Brigade headquarters from York to Catterick; and if he will carry out a full investment appraisal before deciding where to locate the 15 Brigade headquarters. [33518]

Mr Gerald Howarth: Bourlon Barracks is being retained as a site for future development within the Catterick Long Term Development Plan, which could see additional units being moved to Catterick. No estimate of costs involved has been made since there are no firm plans at present.

A project team has been set up to review the headquarters structure of the Regional Divisions and Brigades within the UK and it is currently looking at the functional responsibilities and span of control of each of the Brigades. This work is expected to be completed later this year.

Afghanistan

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the recently planned official visit to Afghanistan of James Blunt and Katherine Jenkins did not take place; and if he will make a statement. [33758]

Nick Harvey: Katherine Jenkins and James Blunt were due to fly to Afghanistan on a civilian chartered aircraft on 20 December 2010. Due to a technical issue a spare part was required. Unfortunately, by the time it took to arrive and once a time to enter European airspace was reallocated (which was beyond our control), the crew had exceeded their duty time, necessitating the cancellation of the flight. With the general disruption to the airbridge and to civilian flights into and out of the UK as a result of snow, they were understandably unable to rearrange their schedules. Therefore regrettably, the visit did not take place.

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much rest and recuperation a soldier serving in Afghanistan has received on average in each of the last three years. [33366]

Mr Gerald Howarth: The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only through a manual search of records. However, on 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 29-30WS, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced that all service personnel serving tours in Afghanistan and Iraq of six months or longer will continue to receive two weeks mid-tour leave, but now with a guarantee that any days lost owing to delays in transit or for any other operational reason, will be made up at the end of their tour.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers serving in Afghanistan assigned to home leave for Christmas 2010 did not return to the UK by 25 December 2010. [33436]


17 Jan 2011 : Column 584W

Mr Gerald Howarth: None. Despite adverse weather conditions and technical issues, all members of the armed forces serving in Afghanistan who were due to be back in the UK for rest and recuperation over the Christmas period arrived before 25 December 2010.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the level of poverty among armed forces veterans who retired before 1975 and do not receive a full armed forces pension; and what welfare provision his Department offers to people who retired from the armed forces before 1975. [33079]

Mr Gerald Howarth: No such estimate has been made. The Government provide a comprehensive programme of support for all ex-service personnel. All former service personnel facing difficulties in their civilian lives, regardless of when they retired from service, have access to the free Veterans Helpline and the Veterans Welfare Service which provides tailored advice and support to those in need.

We are committed to rebuilding the Military Covenant and officials are in regular discussion with the Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department of Work and Pensions, the devolved Administrations and others to ensure that former servicemen and women receive the services they deserve.

Former service personnel injured as a result of service before 6 April 2005 can apply for compensation in the form of a war pension, and this includes those who served before 1975 and who are not in receipt of a full armed forces occupational pension. For those whose disablement affects their ability to work, additional provision may be made in the form of supplementary allowances, paid in addition to the war pension. All pensions and allowances are tax-free and can be worth up to £520 per week.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the criteria for entitlement to a full armed forces pension for people who retired from the armed forces before 1975 were last reviewed; and if he will make a statement. [33209]

Mr Robathan: No such review has been conducted as the criteria for entitlement to a full armed forces pension is the same for those who retired both before and after 1975.

Prior to 1975 officers who left service at age 55 with 34 years reckonable service and other ranks who left at age 55 with 37 years reckonable service were entitled to a full career pension. This qualifying period remained the same when the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 was introduced.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess the merits of extending eligibility for an armed forces pension to those who retired from the armed forces before 1975. [33210]

Mr Robathan: No. It is a principle of public service pensions policy, and one that has been upheld by successive Governments, that any changes to pension schemes are
17 Jan 2011 : Column 585W
not made retrospective. It is a legal principle that individuals receive the benefits in accordance with the scheme rules in place at the time of their retirement.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of extending eligibility for a full armed forces pension to those who retired from the armed forces before 1975; and what proportion of his Department's budget this would represent in 2011-12. [33211]

Mr Robathan: No specific estimate has been made of the cost of backdating armed forces' preserved pensions prior to 1975 but as the number of those affected is large, the costs would be considerable and likely to run into billions of pounds.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces veterans who retired before 1975 and do not receive a full armed forces pension live in (a) Wigan constituency, (b) the North West and (c) the UK. [33212]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held.

Greece: World War II

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to ensure that the Red Arrows and the Royal Navy participate in the Kalamata Memorial Service for the Greek Campaign in May 2011. [34127]

Mr Gerald Howarth: The Government fully endorse the importance of commemorating past conflicts in which UK forces were involved, showing respect for those who gave their lives in many parts of the world for their country.

I can confirm that a request has been made for Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (Red Arrows) support at the Kalamata Memorial Service for the Greek Campaign in 2011 and this is currently under consideration.

Met Office

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the Met Office published estimates in October 2010 which showed a 60 to 80 per cent chance of warmer-than-average temperatures in the winter of 2010; and what the scientific basis of such estimates was. [33130]

Mr Robathan: This was one piece of raw computer model output, published in the science area of the Met Office website for international collaboration with other scientists and not issued as a long range forecast to the public. Met Office forecasts are produced by weighing up all available evidence. In late October 2010, based on all available evidence, the Met Office advised that there was an increased risk for a cold and wintry start to the winter season.

Military Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flight hours there are on each airframe in the (a) VC-10, (b) TriStar and (c) Nimrod R 1 fleets. [33449]


17 Jan 2011 : Column 586W

Nick Harvey: The following table gives the total flying hours undertaken by each airframe of the VC10, TriStar and Nimrod R1 fleets. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred hours.

Tail number Total flying hours

VC10

XV101

43,000

XV102

41,400

XV104

38,700

XV105

38,000

XV106

41,500

XV107

38,800

XV108

38,400

XR808

43,200

ZA147

48,800

ZA148

47,400

ZA149

41,700

ZA150

39,200

ZD241

52,100

TriStar

ZD948

33,400

ZD949

29,700

ZD950

31,300

ZD951

29,900

ZD952

35,700

ZD953

29,900

ZE704

50,100

ZE705

51,800

ZE706

38,400

Nimrod R1

XW664

21,100

XW249

18,200


The total flying hours of an aircraft do not on their own determine the operational utility, condition or remaining service life. All aircraft have appropriate scheduled and preventative maintenance programmes. Aircraft can also be extended in service through specific programmes to extend fatigue-life and additional or upgraded capabilities can be fitted to older aircraft.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what factors his Department's decision of 28 February 2002 to discontinue the Sea Harrier FA2 was based. [33742]

Nick Harvey: This decision to discontinue the Sea Harrier was made by the previous Government. I refer the hon. Member to the answer provided by the then Minister for the Armed Forces on 28 February 2002, Official Report, column 1453W.

Military Bases: Okehampton

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the room booking schedule for accommodation at Okehampton Training Camp for August 2011; and if he will make a statement; [33617]

(2) how many beds there are at Okehampton Training Camp; on what basis such beds are allocated; and if he will make a statement. [33618]


17 Jan 2011 : Column 587W

Mr Gerald Howarth: A copy of the August 2011 electronic room schedule for Okehampton Training Camp is being placed in the Library of the House.

Of the 776 beds at Okehampton Training Camp, only 517 are covered by the contractual agreement between Defence Estates and Landmarc Support Services. The use of any beds above that number is charged at a higher rate. The current assessment is that all 517 beds are required in August 2011 for military training purposes (and on the basis of previous years it is likely that all 776 beds may be required in August for military personnel).

Beds are allocated in accordance with the military booking priorities set out in Joint Service Publication 907. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

RAF Kinloss

Mr Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of returning the RAF Kinloss site to its original owners in its (a) current state and (b) original condition as agricultural land. [33011]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has not yet made an assessment.

When an airfield is declared surplus to Defence requirements it is normal for MOD to investigate the Crichel Down (Former Owner) position. Whatever the outcome of any eventual investigation, there is no obligation to return it to its original condition.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review concluded that the RAF would not need Kinloss and two other bases; no final decisions have been made about alternative military use.

War Pensions

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will estimate the change in unemployability allowance payable to a member of each of the armed forces at each rank living until (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years as a result of the use of the consumer price index rather than the retail price index to calculate such allowances; [34123]

(2) if he will estimate the change in disablement gratuity for each specified minor injury to a member of each of the armed forces at each rank living until (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years as a result of the use of the consumer price index rather than the retail price index to calculate such sums; [34124]

(3) if he will estimate the change in disability pension payable to a member of each of the armed forces at each rank living until (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years as a result of the use of the consumer price index rather than the retail price index to calculate such pensions; [34125]

(4) what estimate he has made of the savings which will accrue to his Department from the change in pension indexation from the retail price index to the consumer price index in each financial year to 2019-20. [34182]


17 Jan 2011 : Column 588W

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much less exceptionally severe disablement allowance a member of the armed forces in each of the three forces retiring at each rank would receive as a result of the change to link pensions to the consumer prices index from the retail prices index if they lived until (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years; [34176]

(2) how much less mobility allowance a member of the armed forces in each of the three forces retiring at each rank would receive as a result of the change to link pensions to the consumer prices index from the retail prices index if they lived to the age of (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years; [34177]

(3) how much less invalidity allowance a member of the armed forces in each of the three forces retiring at each rank would receive as a result of the change to link pensions to the consumer prices index from the retail prices index if they lived to the age of (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years; [34178]

(4) how much less constant attendance allowance a member of the armed forces in each of the three forces retiring at each rank would receive as a result of the change to link pensions to the consumer prices index from the retail prices index if they lived to the age of (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years; [34179]

(5) how much less comforts allowance a member of the armed forces in each of the three forces retiring at each rank would receive as a result of the change to link pensions to the consumer prices index from the retail prices index if they lived to the age of (a) 60, (b) 65, (c) 70, (d) 75, (e) 80, (f) 85, (g) 90, (h) 95 and (i) 100 years. [34180]

Mr Gerald Howarth: No assessment of the kind requested can be made as future movements of the retail price index and consumer price index rates are not known.

Such is the scale of the country's economic problems that we inherited, no part of society-not even the armed forces-can be fully exempt from the need to find ways to reduce the budget deficit, and some tough policy decisions have therefore had to be made. Armed forces pensions and compensation benefits cannot be treated in isolation from other public sector schemes and benefits.

The emergency Budget announced that from April 2011 the indexation of benefits, tax credits and the state second pension will be based on the consumer prices index (CPI) instead of the retail price index (RPI). This change will also apply to public service pensions through the statutory link to the indexation of the additional pensions in long-term benefits. This link has been in place since 1979.

Legislation which governs the uprating of pensions requires consideration to be given to increases in the general level of prices estimated in such manner as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions thinks fit-and therefore contemplates that different methods of doing so may be used from time to time. The Government consider that CPI, already used to set the inflation target for the Bank of England, is the appropriate index
17 Jan 2011 : Column 589W
to use going forward, and will provide protection against inflation. Unlike the RPI, the way the index is constructed is designed to take account of the fact that consumers will tend to 'shop around', switching to cheaper alternatives when relative prices for similar goods change.

The change in indexation is forward looking, so future increases in the value of deferred pensions, or pensions in payment will be based on the CPI. For this reason the Government believe that this is not a reduction of accrued rights-public service pensions will continue to be index linked and continue to protect individual pensions against increases in the cost of living.

Education

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 607W, on Building Schools for the Future programme, how many pieces of correspondence his Department received in support of the ending of the Building Schools for the Future programme. [24810]

Mr Gibb: As noted in my reply to the hon. Member given on 1 November 2010, Official Report, column 607W, the Department for Education is able to provide information on the number of items of correspondence received on a specific subject but is unable to provide information on specific correspondence content.

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the future of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. [31751]

Tim Loughton: The future of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is being considered as part of the Family Justice Review, which is currently under way.


17 Jan 2011 : Column 590W

The review panel will be issuing an interim report in spring 2011 and a final report in September 2011. Future decisions about CAFCASS and the wider family justice system will be made in light of the panel's conclusions.

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average time taken for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service to allocate cases in each region was in the latest period for which figures are available. [31753]

Tim Loughton: This question relates to an operational matter for which CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) is responsible. I have asked CAFCASS's chief executive, Anthony Douglas, to write to the hon. Gentleman with the requested information. A copy of the letter will be laid in the House Library in due course.

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many people the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service employed in (a) its head office and (b) England in the latest period for which figures are available. [31755]

Tim Loughton: The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) England employs a total of 2,037 staff. Of this number, 154 staff are employed in its national office and the remaining 1,883 are based across England. This information was correct at 15 December 2010.

Children in Care

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children (a) in total, (b) of asylum seekers and (c) who had been trafficked entered local authority care in each of the last five years. [32389]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 10 January 2011]: The number of children who have entered care including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the last five years is included in the following table. We do not centrally collect the number of looked-after children who may have been trafficked into the country.

Children who started to be looked-after during the years ending 31 March( 1, 2, 3, 4, ) years ending 31 March 2006 to 2010, coverage: England
Number
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

All children who started to be looked-after

24,600

24,000

23,300

25,700

27,800

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who started to be looked-after

2,300

2,200

2,200

2,600

1,600

(1) Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100. (2) Only the first occasion on which a child started to be looked-after in the year has been counted. (3) Historical data may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials. (4) Figures exclude children looked-after under an agreed series of short-term placements. Source: SSDA903.

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children (a) in total, (b) of asylum seekers and (c) who had been trafficked went missing from local authority care in each of the last five years. [32390]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 10 January 2011]: The number of children in care who went missing from care in the last five years, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, is included in the following table. We do not centrally collect the number of looked-after children who may have been trafficked into the country and who have gone missing from care.


17 Jan 2011 : Column 591W

17 Jan 2011 : Column 592W
Children looked-after who went missing from care during the year ending 31 March( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ) years ending 31 March 2006 to 2010, coverage: England
Number
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

All children looked-after who went missing from care

890

970

980

930

810

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children looked-after who went missing from care

110

90

110

90

90

(1) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. (2 )Figures exclude children looked-after under an agreed series of short-term placements. (3) Historical data may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials. (4) Children who went missing on more than one occasion during the year have been counted once. (5) Includes looked-after children who were missing from care for a period of more than 24 hours. Source: SSDA903.

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