Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on his proposal not to pay the mobility component of disability living allowance to young people in residential care; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: We have received a number of representations on the withdrawal of the mobility component of disability allowance for people in residential care, in the form of parliamentary questions and correspondence. There was also an adjournment debate on the subject on 30 November 2010
We have encouraged disabled people and their representatives to put forward their views on this proposal as part of the wider DLA reform consultation document, which was published on 6 December 2010 and will finish on 14 February 2011.
Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2010, Official Report, column 1079W, on housing benefit: Worcestershire, how many people in Bromsgrove were in receipt of housing benefit of more than £400 per week in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of multi-occupancy lets of each type of tenure in North Ayrshire and Arran constituency. 
|Age||Median( 1)||Mean( 1)|
|(1) Excludes those with zero pension wealth.|
1. We interpreted the question's mention of pension pots as a reference to DC pension wealth and therefore provided figures in that context. The estimates quoted reflect DC pension wealth held by employees who are currently contributing to DC occupational pension schemes. These estimates may include DC pension wealth held in more than one pot. They exclude those individuals with zero pension wealth.
2. We provide figures for both mean and median DC occupational pension wealth. The median may provide a better measure compared to the mean since the distribution of private pension wealth can be skewed by a small number of very large amounts of wealth at the top of the distribution.
3. The Wealth and Assets survey (WAS) is a large scale nationally representative longitudinal survey of over 30,000 private households in Great Britain that provides comprehensive information on people's assets and net wealth.
4. The first wave was conducted from July 2006 to June 2008. It collected detailed information on financial and non-financial assets, wealth components such as savings, pensions, property, mortgages and debt as well as people's attitudes and savings behaviour over time.
5. A copy of the "Wealth in Great Britain 2006/08" using the Wealth and Assets data is available at the following web link:
Wealth and Assets Survey 2006/08
Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) fire and (b) public health risks of sky lanterns; and if he will make a statement. 
This Department and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have had several meetings to discuss the safety issues of sky lanterns. Reports on behalf of Norfolk Trading Standards by the Health and Safety Laboratory and a report by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority both assessed that high quality lanterns when used according to instructions were generally safe in relation to fire safety. BIS and DEFRA continue to work with Trading Standards and other interested parties to gather evidence and monitor the situation.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the potential effects on employment levels of the planned increase in the tax credit taper rate. 
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was formed in May 2010 to make an independent assessment of the public finances and the economy. On 29 November 2010, the OBR released the official forecast for total employment and general Government employment. The forecast includes the impacts of quantifiable tax and expenditure measures that were announced at the time of the June Budget.
The change to the tax credits taper rate should be considered alongside changes in the personal allowance. The personal allowance for under 65s will be increased by £1,000 to £7,475 in 2011-12. This will remove 880,000 low income tax payers from tax altogether and 23 million taxpayers will benefit by up to £170 each per year.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will defer implementation of the Employment and Support Allowance (Limited Capability for Work and Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity) Amendment Regulations 2011 until he has received recommendations from (a) Mind, (b) Mencap and (c) the National Autistic Society on the mental, intellectual and cognitive descriptors for the work capability assessment. 
Chris Grayling: We believe that the principles of the work capability assessment (WCA) are right, but that the system which we inherited contained some flaws that risked undermining its effectiveness. We have therefore moved swiftly to put those right.
We welcome the first independent review of the WCA, led by Professor Malcolm Harrington. We are committed to taking forward the review's recommendations so that we can make the system fairer and more effective. The Government response to Professor Harrington's review sets out how and when we will implement the recommendations of the review, the majority of which will be in place in time for the national roll-out of the incapacity benefits reassessment programme.
We are grateful to Professor Harrington who has agreed to take forward the next annual review of the WCA. He will start work immediately on the programme of work he has identified, to look in detail at the descriptors for mental health and other fluctuating conditions. We look forward to receiving the results of this work. We are committed to a process of ongoing review and improvement of the WCA and believe that it would be inappropriate to delay implementation of other pertinent recommendations while we await additional recommendations.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of implementation of the Employment and Support Allowance (Limited Capability for Work and Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity) Amendment Regulations 2011. 
Mr Offord: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Church Commission will take steps to assess the affordability of the admission charge to visit Westminster Abbey in comparison to other attractions in London. 
Tony Baldry: As a Royal Peculiar Westminster Abbey does not come under jurisdiction of the Church Commissioners. The hon. Member may therefore wish to direct his query about the affordability of admission charges to the Receiver General of Westminster Abbey.
My hon. Friend will have heard Mr Speaker's statement yesterday on this matter. I welcome this initiative and understand that the Liaison Group will meet soon.
The Government will move the online petition system to the DirectGov portal soon, certainly before the summer.
Officials are currently working on an effective verification system to ensure that petitions becomes a useful tool for engaging with Government, rather than the gimmicky system of the previous Government's petition site.
Sir George Young: I welcome the decision by the Committee to retain the pre-recess adjournment debate, and the innovative format which allowed 45 hon. Members to contribute, almost twice as many as the previous year's debate.
Mr Bone: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make provision for sitting days for the consideration of Private Members' Bills in the 2010-11 session beyond the number set out in Standing Orders commensurate with the expected length of the session. 
Sir George Young: I will bring forward proposals for consideration by the House in due course. Extra provision should be made for the consideration of Private Members Bills in light of the length of the session.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Attorney-General what recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the Crown Prosecution Service's performance in the prosecution of cases involving allegations of domestic violence. 
The Attorney-General: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 18 January 2010, Official Report, columns 693-94, to the oral questions from the hon. Members for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger) and Luton South (Gavin Shuker).
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what information she holds on the number of sub-contracted staff servicing the Government Equalities Office who were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions her Department has provided embargoed media briefings prior to an oral statement to the House since 26 May 2010; in respect of how many such briefings her Department was informed that the embargo had been breached; what steps were taken as a result of each such breach; and on how many occasions her Department has provided media briefings without an embargo prior to an oral statement to the House since 26 May 2010. 
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has allocated to agricultural research and development in the last five years; and how much such funding he plans to allocate in each of the next four financial years. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has provided the following centrally funded expenditure for agricultural research and bilateral expenditure for agricultural development in the last five financial years.
|Agricultural research||Agricultural development|
Decisions have not been finalised on future funding to agricultural research. Parliament will be notified once this has been agreed. Support for agricultural development from our bilateral programme will be decided upon the conclusion of the ongoing bilateral and multilateral aid reviews.
Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with non-governmental organisations working on the Thai-Burmese border on (a) numbers and (b) treatment of Burmese refugees; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Duncan: UK Government officials in Bangkok are in close contact with the Thailand Burma Border Consortium and other NGOs working on the Thai-Burma border. We are concerned by reports that thousands of new refugees have crossed the Thai-Burma border since November to escape the fighting in east Burma, and reports that some of these have been encouraged to return to Burma by the Thai authorities. The British ambassador to Thailand and Department for International Development (DFID) officials visited the Thai side of the border on 17 January 2011. They raised these concerns with the local military and civilian authorities, and pressed them to treat all those who have crossed into Thailand seeking refuge in accordance with international law and international standards.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is on (a) the space provided per employee, (b) home working and (c) hot desking; how many employees it has on average per desk; and how much space on average there is per employee. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have a formal policy on the space provided per employee. DFID provides a working environment which values and nurtures a diverse work force and allows staff to work a range of alternative working patterns. According to the latest benchmarking report produced by the Government Property Unit, in 2009-10 DFID's UK estate was occupied at 15.2 square metres per person and there were 0.9 workstations per person.
In order to use our UK estate more efficiently, we are currently planning the reorganisation of our London headquarters. Staff will work at 'hot desks' provided at a ratio of 7 desks per 10 staff. This reorganisation should result in an occupancy level in this building of around 11.4 square metres per person.
Mr Duncan: Global food production will need to increase in order to feed an extra two billion people by 2050. This will be hugely challenging for the global food system. The Department for International Development (DFID) is helping address that challenge in a range of ways, such as funding research into improved agriculture technologies; working with other G20 countries to reduce the vulnerability of poor people to food price volatility; and supporting the governments of food insecure countries such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia to improve the nutritional status of women and girls.
Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received of humanitarian issues arising from large-scale population movements following the recent referendum in Sudan. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: According to reporting by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the total number of returnees from the north to the south of Sudan over the last 11 weeks has been 182,446. A further 21,186 are awaiting transportation south from Khartoum, with a current average rate of return of 1,500 to 2,000 people per week. There have been instances of harassment of convoys, but the two parties agreed a framework to provide greater security along key routes on 17 January 2011. The UN will monitor compliance.
People returning home are often households headed by women, with several children, as male breadwinners remain in Khartoum for the time being. Some transit camps have been congested by delays in onward transportation, but this situation is easing. Needs in these camps include clean water, food, shelter, and addressing issues such as the separation of families, especially children from parents.
On return, southerners are entitled to assistance packages of food, seeds, tools and other essential items for three months. The UK is working with the Government of Southern Sudan, the UN and other partners to start to address the longer term integration and livelihoods needs of the returnees.
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues. The UK Government recognise that concerns have been expressed about the current system of devolution funding whereby changes to the block grant are calculated by the Barnett formula, but the UK Government's priority is to reduce the deficit and they do not have any plans to change arrangements before the stabilisation of the public finances.
Mike Penning: Accidents are recorded using Stats 19 (Police) Data and includes all collisions where injuries are reported. Using validated Stats 19 Data, the recorded collisions for the A282 (which includes the Dartford Crossing) for the last eight years is:
The Highways Agency is working closely with the Olympic Delivery Authority on the delivery of that strategy. The plans for spectator transport include the provision of park and ride sites either side of the crossing (that at Bluewater providing a shuttle to the nearby Javelin rail shuttle from Ebbsfleet station).
The crossing forms part of the 'alternative' section of the Olympic Route Network-that is routes which will used by vehicles transporting athletes, officials, media etc. in the event that the main core and venue routes (e.g. the A13) are not available for any reason. HA and ODA will be considering proposals to assist these movements through the crossing over the coming months.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has had recent discussions with the Scottish Executive on the abolition of the Freight Facilities Grants scheme from March 2011. 
Mike Penning: No recent discussions have taken place with the Scottish Executive on its abolition of the Freight Facilities Grant in Scotland from March 2011. In Scotland this is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 27 October 2010, Official Report, column 348W, on large goods vehicles: excise duties, what progress has been made on the introduction of HGV road user charging; and by what date he expects a scheme to be operational. 
Mike Penning: As set out in the Department for Transport business plan 2011-15, we intend to introduce primary legislation for HGV road user charging in May 2012, with the proposed scheme coming into operation in April 2014. Officials are currently developing the details of an effective charging scheme which represents value for money and are preparing draft legislation. We expect to consult formally later this year.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to bring forward proposals to register commercial vehicle trailers for the purposes of reducing the incidence of theft or misuse of such trailers. 
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds about the benefits the board members and senior management of Network Rail receive in addition to basic salary or fees. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 17 January 2011]: Network Rail is a private sector company. Information about the remuneration of its board members and senior management is set out in Network Rail's annual reports and accounts, which are available on the company's website:
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will bring forward proposals to bring the setting of (a) the salary of the acting chief executive of Network Rail and (b) the fees of the current Chairman of Network Rail within his responsibility; 
(3) if he will bring forward proposals to place the benefits received by the (a) executive board members, (b) non-executive board members, (c) senior management, (d) acting chief executive and (e) chairman of Network Rail within his responsibility. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 17 January 2011]: Network Rail is a private sector company. Decisions on the remuneration of its staff are matters for the company, in which the Government have no powers to intervene.
Under a condition of its network licence Network Rail is required to maintain a management incentive plan, which is used to determine the remuneration of the company's senior executives. This must be submitted to the independent Office of Rail Regulation for approval or amendment.
The Government welcomed the announcement that Network Rail has suspended its management incentive plan pending a joint review with the Office of Rail Regulation. This review must be fundamental and far-reaching. Any future incentive system should be more transparent and based on the principle that bonuses are not an automatic right, but should focus on rewarding exceptional long-term performance.
Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 18 January 2011]: I have previously made clear that the forthcoming consultation will cover both the Government's overall strategy for high speed rail and the line of route for the initial phase, between London and the west midlands. The consultation questions will be published at the launch of the consultation.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to make an assessment of economic and environmental benefits to the UK of the extension of the high speed rail network into Scotland. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The Government support a truly national high speed rail network, but recognise that this will need to be delivered in phases. While the development of high speed rail lines in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government we are happy to work with it on its ambitions. In its report of December 2009, HS2 Ltd assessed several options for networks incorporating links to Scotland. Its conclusions are set out in chapter 6 of this report.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the (a) adequacy of and (b) consistency in support available to disabled rail passengers across the rail network. 
Norman Baker: Assessment of the adequacy and consistency of services provided to rail passengers is primarily a matter for Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation. However, we expect all rail service providers to meet their duties under the Equality Act 2010, and the commitments in their Disabled People's Protection Policy, and to make all reasonable endeavours to meet the needs of their passengers.
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not carried out an assessment of the support available to disabled rail passengers who choose to travel at short notice. However, we expect all rail operators to meet the commitments in their Disabled People's Protection Policy, as well as their duties under the Equality Act 2010, and to make all reasonable endeavours to meet the needs of their disabled passengers.
We recognise that rail operators are better able to plan their resources to meet passengers needs if assistance is booked in advance using the Assisted Passenger Reservation System. The Department for Transport has agreed to provide funding to the Association of Train Operators to improve the arrangements in place for assistance bookings. We expect trials of the new system to start during 2011.
Norman Baker: We note the findings of the report with interest. Overall, it reflects well on the efforts of front line rail staff, with overall customer satisfaction having increased from 69% 71% since the last survey in 2008. However it also shows that the assistance booked matched the assistance actually provided in just 47% of cases and therefore demonstrates that the current Assisted Passenger Reservation System needs to improve.
That is why the Department for Transport has agreed to provide funding to the Association of Train Operating Companies to put in place a new system for assistance bookings. We expect trials of the new system to start during 2011.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effect on support for disabled rail passengers of the ending of the Disabled Persons Advisory Committee. 
The Department for Transport's proposals have been through a preliminary impact assessment process, including an equalities impact
assessment. Full impact assessment documents will be published as part of the consultation process in the coming months.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will undertake an equality impact assessment of the effects on (a) disabled rail passengers and (b) other disabled users of transport services of the abolition of the Disabled Persons Advisory Committee. 
Norman Baker: The training of rail staff is a matter for train operators: not the Department for Transport. However, the Department does require that all staff receive relevant disability awareness training as part of an operator's Disabled People's Protection Policy, which is a condition of their operating licence.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to revise his Department's guidance to local authorities on transport infrastructure in the light of the recent severe weather conditions; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The Secretary of State for Transport, with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote on 12 November 2010 to the leaders of all English local authorities. This letter advised on the measures the Government have taken to implement the recommendations following David Quarmby's independent review on winter resilience, published in October 2010, and drew attention to the recommendations in the review panel's report which were addressed to local authorities to take forward.
I wrote to leaders of all local highway authorities in England on 15 December 2010 and emphasised the importance of working together to keep our transport network moving given the early onset of severe weather this winter.
I reminded them of the guidance produced by the Department with the UK Roads Liaison Group (UKRLG) on the range of actions that can be taken with regards to winter service and measures to ensure that salt stocks last longer.
On 24 December, officials from the Department for Transport wrote to the chief executives of all local highway authorities highlighting the conclusions and recommendations of David Quarmby's further independent audit published on 21 December 2010. This audit looked at how well the transport system coped following the extreme weather which occurred between 24 November and 9 December last year.
This letter also attached further technical guidance in relation to spread rates for salt, as recommended by David Quarmby. It also stressed the importance of local authorities implementing the recommendations
from David Quarmby's October report and December audit, including reviewing their own winter service plans and operations accordingly against best practice.
My Department will continue to work throughout the year with the local government sector to ensure that we continue to further improve resilience for future winters. This may include updating and providing further guidance if required.
Mike Penning: Coastguard record keeping continues to be affected by industrial action short of a strike. This means that incident records may not be completely accurate and it is not possible to give a figure for the number of incidents that were handled in 2008-09.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 16 December 2010, Official Report, columns 133-4WS, on coastguard services (modernisation), what the latest technologies referred to are; and how the proposed new system will operate. 
Mike Penning [holding answer 18 January 2011]: The technologies referred to in the proposals for the modernisation of HM Coastguard are the latest version of existing technology currently installed in the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres. The proposals seek to fully exploit functionality, such as geographic information systems and mapping, that is currently not used by HM Coastguard but is already used elsewhere by other emergency services.
Mike Penning: The proposals for the selection of stations to remain open has been undertaken to identify the most suitable locations to provide the best service to the seafarer, coastal communities and provide value for money. This is outlined on pages 22 and 23 in the consultation document "Protecting our Seas and Shores in the 21(st) Century".
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has undertaken on the cost-effectiveness of concrete central reservation barriers compared with metal barriers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: A whole life cost study was carried out by the Highways Agency in 2004. The report, entitled "Whole Life Cost Analysis for Median Safety Barriers", led to the decision by the Highways Agency to introduce the policy for concrete barriers in the central reserve on motorways. The policy was implemented by an Interim Advice Note IAN 60/05 in January 2005. This policy was taken forward as a full standard in TD 19/06, the Requirements for Road Restraint Systems, in April 2007 and included in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. I am placing copies of these documents in the Libraries of the House.
Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will allocate additional funding to (a) local authorities and (b) the Welsh Assembly Government for repair of pot holes attributable to recent severe snowfalls. 
Norman Baker: The Government have already committed to providing over £3 billion of capital to local authorities in England for road maintenance over the next four years, reflecting the economic and social importance of local roads.
The funding of road maintenance in Wales is a devolved matter and therefore the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government. The Welsh Assembly Government receive funding through a block grant from HM Treasury and are able to determine the allocation of public expenditure between the services under their control.
Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport has not given any consideration to the use of Heavy Rescue Partnership vehicles as the Highways Agency have their own National Vehicle Recovery Manager contract in place for the motorway network.
The Highways Agency's National Vehicle Recovery Manager Contract reflects the geographical Strategic Road Network (SRN) coverage of the Traffic Officer Service (TOS). All other parts of the SRN are covered by recovery contracts managed by the Police. On these roads, the Police use their own statutory powers and contracts to manage the recovery of vehicles.
Mr Jeremy Hunt: This week I published a Local Media Action Plan, inviting expressions of interest from organisations interested in bidding for a new network channel that will host local TV services. The plan also invites views from industry and the public that will help shape the commercial, technical and content model for local TV.
16. Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he plans to take to support the development of the tourism industry in the North East; and if he will make a statement. 
John Penrose: The Government will invest almost £130 million from 2011-12 to 2014-15 in promoting tourism across the country through VisitBritain and VisitEngland. The North East remains an important part of our tourism offer and its destinations will benefit from this effort.
Hugh Robertson: In line with the commitment in the Government's coalition agreement, I am in discussion with the football authorities on what more they can do to bring about further governance reform and a greater involvement for supporters in their local clubs. I hope to be able to set out the way forward in these areas by May.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect on national sporting performance at elite level of levels of participation in sport among young people. 
Hugh Robertson: National sporting performance at elite level is dependent upon the talent pathways that the national governing bodies of sport put in place. The Government are committed to working with governing bodies to improve talent pathways, particularly through the Whole Sport Plans introduced by Sport England.
Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review on his Department's levels of financial support for sport. 
Hugh Robertson: In common with other Departments, this was a tough comprehensive spending review for the Department. However, as a result of the Government's changes to the national lottery, UK Sport had its funding confirmed for the remainder of the London 2012 cycle and a similar level of funding available for the start of the Rio cycle. Sport England, after a small fall in 2011-12, sees its funding rise by 14% over the spending review period.
(3) what meetings he has had with (a) employees, (b) directors and (c) executives of (i) BSkyB and (ii) News Corporation since his appointment; and what the (A) dates and (B) locations of such meetings were. 
Simon Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with representatives of BSkyB and News Corporation on the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation; 
(2) whether (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have scheduled meetings with representatives of BSkyB and News Corporation on the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: On 31 December 2010 I received Ofcom's report on the public interest issues relating to the News Corporation's proposed acquisition of BSkyB. In taking my decision about whether to refer this proposed acquisition to the Competition Commission, I will take as much time as necessary to carefully consider all the relevant information so that I am able to come to a fully considered decision. In view of the commercial sensitivity of the process and the need to preserve legitimate confidentiality, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every stage of the process. I will publish Ofcom's report with commercially sensitive information redacted. I have not taken a final decision about when to publish, but I have a duty to publish the report before or at the time of the announcement of my decision. I am committed to reaching my decision in a fair and even-handed way, and am satisfied that the decision-making process will ensure all concerns are properly considered.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many organisations and individuals responded to the Ofcom consultation on News Corporation and BSkyB; how many such responses were opposed to the News Corporation acquisition of BSkyB shares; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each response to the consultation. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: I will publish Ofcom's report, with commercially sensitive and confidential information redacted, before or at the time of the announcement of my decision on whether to refer this proposed acquisition to the Competition Commission. Ofcom's published report will include a summary of the non-confidential representations.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the number of households without access to the internet in rural communities in England over each of the next five years. 
Mr Vaizey: The internet is accessible via dial-up, but Broadband Delivery UK estimate that 13% or 0.57 million households in England where the population is no greater than 10,000 people have a broadband connection capable of less than 0.5Mbps.
Mr Jeremy Hunt: In view of the commercial sensitivity of the process and the need to preserve legitimate confidentiality, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every stage of the process. However, when I have made my decision I will publish full information about the process, including details of which organisations I met at which stages.
Hugh Robertson: Wales and the whole of the UK are already benefiting from the economic, sporting and cultural opportunities generated by the 2012 Games, with 490 schools and colleges in Wales already registered as part of the London 2012 education programme 'Get Set'.
In addition, 10 businesses registered in Wales have won work directly supplying the Olympic Delivery Authority and many other businesses based in Wales have secured contracts to supply goods or services
within the London 2012 supply chain including two companies based in Newport, Rowecord Holdings and Premier Forest Products Ltd. I am sure that you would join me in congratulating these companies on securing London 2012 contracts.
Mr Vaizey: The Government are committed champions of public libraries and their value, not just in encouraging reading, but as the hub of local communities. They are places which can be used by anyone in order to learn, read, access information or get online.
The Government continue to drive the improvement and development of public library services through the Future Libraries Programme. The programme was announced in July and is led by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Local Government Association. They will support over 30 authorities participating in the programme to explore options that will help them to deliver the front line services communities want and need more efficiently. Learning from the 10 pilot projects will be shared widely to support non-participating authorities to deliver their services more efficiently too.
We continue to monitor proposals about changes to library services being made by local authorities across England and we take our duty to superintend the delivery of services, including any reduction in programmes, very seriously.
Since May 2010, 34 pieces of art have been returned to the Government Art Collection and 24 pieces have been installed. A list of the items installed were published on my Department's website on 14 September 2010.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what provision was made for the cost of redundancies in his Department's Comprehensive Spending Review 2010 settlement letter. 
All pressures on Departments' budgets were taken into account as part of the spending review and settlements were allocated accordingly. The full
costs of redundancies will be met from within DCLG's spending review resource departmental expenditure limit settlement.
Robert Neill: Since May 2010 no staff in the Department for Communities and Local Government have been made compulsory redundant. There were no voluntary redundancies throughout this period although 12 staff took flexible early severance under a voluntary scheme.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which senior Civil Service staff have left his Department since May 2010; and what (a) contractual and (b) non-contractual payments were made by his Department in each case. 
Robert Neill: The number of senior civil service (SCS) staff who have left the Department from 1 May to 31 December 2010 is 13. Five contractual payments totalling £477,764 were made to leavers who left under DCLG's flexible early severance and approved early retirement schemes. No non-contractual payments were made. Actual amounts have not been included in this response as this constitutes personal information. The Government have recently reformed the Civil Service Compensation Scheme to set a cap on payments to high earners.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's policy is on (a) the space provided per employee, (b) home working and (c) hot desking; how many employees it has on average per desk; and how much space on average there is per employee. 
Robert Neill: In 2009 the Department introduced flexible desking in Eland house to maximise space utilisation and facilitate the closure of Ashdown house (Victoria). The introduction of flexible desking, alongside other space efficiency measures, has meant that the average space per full time equivalent, based on the net internal area, is 9.6m(2).
Having achieved the Government Property Unit's 10m(2) space target for existing civil estate occupations, the Department's strategy moving forward is to achieve 8m(2) per full time equivalent in its HQ building.
The Department is committed to improving work/life balance. It values diversity and tries to accommodate different work patterns including the use of home working where operational/business constraints permit.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what contribution his Department is making to the Prime Minister's initiative to create a Tech City in East London. 
Robert Neill: My officials have facilitated the coming together of UK trade and industry with the Greater London Authority, Olympic Park Legacy Company, east London boroughs, private and academic partners now taking Tech City forward; and remain available to assist where required.
(3) what reports he has received on recent incidences involving the proposed merger of two housing associations where the chief executive of one of the housing associations concerned has retired and received a redundancy settlement; and if he will investigate such incidences. 
Andrew Stunell: As independent organisations, it is for individual housing associations to make decisions on mergers, subject to the requirements and consent of the regulator of social housing (the Tenant Services Authority), who will have regard to all matters of due diligence and good governance.
Grant Shapps: The New Homes Bonus will match fund the additional council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use, for the following six years with an enhancement for affordable homes.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to ensure that the new homes bonus reflects the strategic priority for brownfield development before greenfield in Planning Policy Statement 3, Housing; and what consideration he has given to providing an additional incentive for supporting brownfield redevelopment. [R] 
Grant Shapps: The new homes bonus will match fund the additional council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use, for the following six years with an enhancement for affordable homes.
Grant Shapps: The new homes bonus will match fund the additional council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use, for the following six years with an enhancement for affordable homes.
A consultation on the mechanics of the scheme closed on 24 December 2010. The responses, including one from the English National Park Authorities Association, are currently being considered and details of the final scheme will be published in due course.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he made of the effect on local housing market of housing market renewal programme before taking the decision to cancel the programme. 
Grant Shapps [holding answer 13 January 2011]: Housing market renewal pathfinders provided case studies to the Homes and Communities Agency and DCLG about their local housing areas during 2010, and these studies were used to inform the CSR assessment process.
The reality of the fiscal deficit means that the spending review has had to take tough decisions about where savings can be made and consequently housing market renewal funding in the form of a separate programme will end in March 2011. We will make further announcements on promoting regeneration in due course. We have already announced plans to get empty homes back into productive use via the new homes bonus.
Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of (a) local and (b) county council executives receive salaries greater than that of the Prime Minister. 
Robert Neill: Information on local authority senior pay is not held centrally. However, the new Government's transparency reforms will ensure that this information is published online to ensure greater public scrutiny and accountability.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on redevelopment at each RAF base in the UK in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of likely expenditure on work classified as redevelopment in each of the next five years. 
|Expenditure by station|
Information for the financial year 2005-06 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Data for RAF stations in Scotland are not currently available and I will write to the right hon. and learned Member with the information requested.
In my answer of 7 December 2010, Official Report, column 221W, I undertook to write to you with data on the expenditure
on redevelopment (defined as capital expenditure and minor new works) for RAF stations in Scotland since financial year 2006-07. This data 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.
Nick Harvey: As a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK's armed forces will be restructured to meet current and emerging threats. In doing so, the services will undergo some changes that will include a reduction in capabilities and the associated manpower requirements. The Defence Reform Unit is looking at a range of cross-cutting issues, including whether the current senior rank structures across the services are appropriate. Details will be promulgated by the services when they have been identified.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Royal Navy officers holding the rank of (a) Commodore, (b) Rear Admiral, (c) Vice Admiral and (d) Admiral are currently posted in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland; 
|UK regular forces stationed location as at 1 October 2010|
There are no Royal Marine officers in the ranks requested who are stationed in these locations.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Royal Navy officers holding the rank of (a) Commodore, (b) Rear Admiral, (c) Vice Admiral and (d) Admiral are serving in the armed forces; 
|UK regular forces strength by NATO rank at 1 October 2010|
|Rank||Total||Royal Navy||Royal Marines||Army||RAF|
|(1) These figures have been rounded.|
Note s :
1. Due to rounding methods used, figures may not always equal the sum of the parts. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in five have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
2. Figures less than 100 have been left unrounded so as not to obscure the data.
Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is on (a) the space provided per employee, (b) home working and (c) hot desking; how many employees it has on average per desk; and how much space on average there is per employee. 
Mr Robathan: Since April 2008 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in common with all other central Government Departments has participated in the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Property Benchmarking Service, which captures office space utilisation of occupied offices having a net internal area over 500 m(2). For 2009-10 (the latest date for which figures are available) the position is:
The MOD provides a range of flexible working patterns, including home working which are promoted as part of its overall work/life balance package. Managers are required carefully to consider any requests from staff for home working, but it is not always possible to support a request due to business reasons.
Nick Harvey [holding answer 8 December 2010]: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), has not discussed cyber attacks with the Governments of China or Russia.
Nick Harvey: The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), wrote to the German Defence Minister on 20 October 2010, informing him of our aim to return half our personnel from Germany by 2015 and the remainder by 2020. In addition, my ministerial colleagues and officials maintain regular dialogue with their counterparts in support of our close security and defence partnership. I will be visiting Germany shortly and will discuss the issue with political and civil representatives.
I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Questions on 21 December 2010, (Official Report, column 1203), about transport aircraft being leased by the MOD.
The Ministry of Defence does not currently lease transport aircraft. We did lease four C-17 aircraft from Boeing between 2001 to 2008 at a fixed price. Costs of operating those aircraft during the period of the lease broken down by flying hour could only be provided at a disproportionate cost. The four leased C-17 aircraft were bought-out on cessation of the seven year lease period in autumn 2008 and are now owned by the Government. We have subsequently purchased three further C-17 aircraft from Boeing.
As I explained in the answer I gave on 12 January 2011 (Official Report, column 235W), we do, however, currently charter aircraft (i.e. contract through an airline broker with private companies to fly Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel and equipment). Such charters are largely to transport personnel and equipment in direct or indirect support to operations.
The number of aircraft chartered by MOD will vary significantly at any point in time. For example the deployment of new equipments or for unit change-overs may necessitate the charter of additional aircraft. Information is held covering the period from November 2007 until the end of February 2011 (including pre-allotted tasks). The information is held for one-way tasks (or journeys). The number of individual 'aircraft chartered', would be lower owing to the significant number of round-trips undertaken. The tasks have been undertaken by a variety of aircraft types depending on both the load size and whether passengers or freight was transported.
From November 2007 to end February 2011, the Department has chartered approximately 8250 journeys. For the month of January 2011, the Department has chartered 132 aircraft to support 206 tasks (or journeys).
Details of the cost of chartering aircraft broken down by aircraft type and by flying hour over a six year period could only be provided at disproportionate cost, but I am able to advise that total cost of chartering transport aircraft by financial year (excluding military aviation fuel, but including civilian aviation fuel costs) is as follows:
|Financial year||£ million|
The steady increase in spend reflects the increasing size of the deployed force in Afghanistan and the increasing tempo of operations. This was partly offset in 2008-09 to 2009-10 by the withdrawal from Iraq but each tonne of cargo flown to Afghanistan travels considerably more distance than a tonne flown to Iraq, particularly given the requirement for flight routes to avoid Iran. It must also be borne in mind that the landlocked nature of Afghanistan coupled with security constraints demand that we fly much more cargo as a proportion of the total than we did into Iraq.
We would not expect the Op HERRICK charter costs to rise in Financial Year 2011-12 as on current assumptions we do not see our force structure or the sustainment requirement increasing. Costs may however rise as a result of fuel price increases.
Claire Perry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of work on tank crossings as part of the project to provide safe access for military vehicles across the Salisbury Plain Training Area. 
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion of 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 503W, on nuclear weapons, which US establishments were visited by personnel from the Atomic Weapons Establishment in each of the last three years; and how many staff visited each such establishment. 
In my answer to your Parliamentary Question on 13 December 2010, Official Report, column 458W, I undertook to write to you and provide details on the US establishments visited by personnel from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
This information has now been collated: the attached annex details the US establishments visited by AWE personnel in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009. This table covers those visits made under the terms of the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement, which was the basis for the Answer to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) on 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 503W.
|Breakdown of US establishments visited by AWE personnel in each of the last three years|
|Number of visits by AWE staff to each establishment|
|US Establishments visited by AWE personnel under the terms of the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement||2007||2008||2009|
The total numbers differ from those in the June 2010 answer as some staff visited more than one facility.
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