Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many visits were undertaken overseas by (a) officials and (b) Ministers in the Government Equalities Office in each year since its inception; what the cost of each such visit was; how many officials attended; which hotels were used; and which class and mode of travel was used. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was established on 12 October 2007. The total expenditure on all travel and subsistence by officials and Ministers in each year for which figures are available is as follows.
|Travel and subsistence|
|Total expenditure (£)|
|(1) From 12 October 2010|
(2) As at 31 October 2010
The vast majority of this relates to visits in the UK. All travel is subject to approval by senior managers but the GEO's accounting systems do not record any distinction between international and domestic travel and isolating precise figures for the number of visits overseas and their cost before 2009-10, when returns to the Cabinet Office on ministerial travel overseas became necessary, could be done only at disproportionate cost. However, the GEO estimate that a quarter of the travel and subsistence expenditure incurred since GEO was established, some £68,000, was spent on visits overseas by officials and Ministers.
Ministers representing GEO would have travelled in First or Business class and would normally be accompanied by a member of their Private Office staff. We do not have information relating to the accommodation used.
Once the GEO have moved on to Home Office accounting systems, precise distinctions between the costs of international and domestic travel will be possible, along with more detail about the costs incurred by individuals.
|Period||Number of seizures||Number of items seized|
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effects of implementation of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review on the UK Border Agency's ability to enforce anti-smuggling controls at UK ports of entry on the importation of products of animal origin. 
Damian Green: The operating model at the border uses risk models and intelligence to determine how officers are deployed. Deployment decisions are based on an assessment of the risk and officers are supported in products of animal origin (POAO) activity by detector dogs.
Following the spending review, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) along with other Government Departments, is looking critically at ways in which to modernise the workforce to deliver best value for money. This is increasingly important in the current financial climate. This programme of workforce modernisation will include the development of a smaller, more flexible core workforce. By combining this with smarter ways of working UKBA will continue to contribute to the important anti-smuggling agenda.
We work closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) (who are responsible for developing and implementing the UK Government's animal health strategy) to ensure our POAO border targeting activities continue to be responsive to new or changing animal disease spread risks to maximise their efficiency and to ensure they focus on the most high risk routings and goods.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the Azure card system; what estimate she has made of the level of unspent credit on such cards; and what plans she has to review the system. 
From November 2009 to December 2010 there have been over 1 million successful transactions which represents 85% of the total. Only 0.25% (3,600) of the unsuccessful transactions were due to technical faults, with 14% due to users not having sufficient funds in their account and the remaining 0.75% due to service users attempting to use their card in non-affiliated stores.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2011, Official Report, column 676W, on deportation: human rights (1) for what reason the UK Border Agency does not record centrally the information on removals which did not proceed as a result of the application of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights; and if she will make a statement; 
Data relating to removals is recorded on the Case Information Database (CID), which is the main information technology system used by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). For the purposes of reporting, CID records removals cancellations under standardised categories such as Judicial Review, Injunction, Medical Representations, and Further Representations received. Cases considered under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Article 3 and Article 8 would fall under the further representations category.
The only way to identify these specific ECHR cases would be to undertake a search of the individual case notes or the electronic files for all cases with removals cancelled due to further representations, in the time period requested.
Based on previous case by case searches we have estimated it would take it would take on average 10 minutes to review each individual case. The appropriate grade to carry out this type of work would be an executive officer, whose salary is £144.87 per day .
Damian Green: This Government are committed to exploring ways of removing these individuals earlier. This will include working with the prisons, courts and the police to build on our capacity to gather intelligence information on nationality at an earlier stage.
A court recommendation;
For non-EEA nationals-a custodial sentence of 12 months or more either in one sentence, or as an aggregate of two or three sentences over a period of five years or a custodial sentence of any length for a drug offence (an offence other than possession only);
For EEA nationals-a custodial sentence of 12 months or more for an offence involving drugs, violent or sexual crimes or a custodial sentence of 24 months or more for other offences.
The UK Border Agency makes every effort to ensure that a person's removal by deportation coincides, as far as possible, with his/her release from prison on completion of sentence. Where sentence length allows, the UK Border Agency will consider deportation up to 18 months prior to the earliest point of removal. Foreign nationals who are served with a deportation notice have the right of appeal against the decision before the courts.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether international students enrolled at UK institutions will be eligible to remain in the UK under tier 1 post-study work arrangements for two years after completion of their studies. 
Damian Green: On 7 December, we published a public consultation-The Student Immigration System: A Consultation'. One of the proposals on which we are inviting views is what changes we should make to the tier 1 post study work route, as well as the timing of any changes and any transitional arrangements which may be necessary. We will announce our final decisions on the future shape of tier 4 in due course, following the closure of the consultation on 31 January. Those students in tier 4 of the points based system will, as now, be able to work in the UK after graduation by switching into tier 2, provided they meet the applicable requirements.
Damian Green: The consultation on the student immigration system will close on 31 January. The consultation is seeking the views of all respondents on the effect of the proposals on their organisation or sector.
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to launch a successor to Operation Pentameter II for the purposes of reducing the incidence of human trafficking. 
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effect of operations Pentameter I and II in reducing the incidence of human trafficking. 
Damian Green: During the operational phase of the Pentameter 1 and 2 investigations, 638 people were arrested for human trafficking related and other offences and 257 potential victims, including five for trafficking for forced labour, were recovered.
A key objective of these operations was to build knowledge of human trafficking amongst law enforcement agencies in order that anti-trafficking work could be continued at force level as part of core police business. Forces now have the knowledge and capability to run anti-human trafficking operations, and where necessary can be supported by the operational co-ordination and tactical advice capacity of the UK Human Trafficking Centre.
Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an assessment of the extent to which the UK complies with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention against human trafficking. 
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of persons detained under Immigration Act powers have (a) convictions for offences in the UK, (b) served prison sentences in the UK, (c) convictions in other countries and (d) served prison sentences in other countries. 
Damian Green: While the UK Border Agency records information on the convictions of those who meet the criteria for deportation, we do not record information electronically on the convictions of those who do not meet the criteria nor do we record information on convictions in other countries. To obtain this information would exceed the cost threshold.
However we can advise that in 2010, for an average month, approximately 635 foreign national prisoners were detained in prison and 1,135 in immigration removal centres, beyond the end of their custodial sentence while deportation was considered. These average figures are based on internal management information and are subject to change.
We recognise the risk posed when foreign nationals with a history of offending overseas enter the UK. The proactive transfer of information across borders that would alert border or law enforcement agencies when such individuals travel is a complex and challenging area, particularly within the EU where freedom of movement is an established right for all citizens.
However, we are currently seeking to reduce this risk by working with our European partners and law enforcement organisations such as Europol and Interpol to encourage improved police co-operation. We are also investigating how member states within Europe approach offender management and particularly whether comparable systems to our Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) exist. Through this work we will assess whether we can seek to extend these MAPPA principles across borders to reduce the risk posed by travelling offenders.
|Length of detention in days||Number of detainees|
Figures exclude persons detained in police cells, Prison Service establishments and those detained under both criminal and immigration powers. They relate to most recent period of sole detention. The period of detention starts when a person first enters the UK Border Agency estate. If the person is then moved from a removal centre to a police cell or Prison Service establishment, this period of stay will be included if the detention is solely under Immigration Act powers. These figures are based on management information and are not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics. They are provisional and may be subject to change.
The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
Damian Green: The UK Border Agency was notified on 17 January 2011 that the application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal has been refused by the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Upper Tribunal. The UK Border Agency will now exercise its right to make an application for permission to appeal direct to the Court of Appeal.
Damian Green: We have already announced that we will be introducing a new permanent limit on non-EU economic migrants, with a reduction in visas in the next financial year from 28,000 to 21,700. These changes to the economic routes will be introduced in April. We are currently consulting on changes to tighten the student route and will consult on family and settlement later this year.
Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department has commissioned any research on a potential link between closing passport offices and the incidence of identity theft. 
Passport security is of extreme importance. The UK passport is a secure and highly respected document both nationally and internationally because of the integrity derived from the processes of dealing with applications and issuing passports. The proposed closure of a passport application processing centre and local interview offices are in response to excess capacity within the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). The closure programme will not impact on the operational practices within IPS to ensure that the passport remains secure. Research is not planned in this
area. Instead, IPS will continue to look at ways in which to improve and enhance the security of the passport and minimise the potential for fraudulent use of identity.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will estimate the average percentage real terms change in funding allocated to police forces between 2010-11 and 2012-13 using the gross domestic product deflator set out in the forecasts made by the Office of Budget Responsibility in November 2010, and excluding funding allocated (a) under the counter-terrorism grant and (b) to fund a freeze in the level of council tax. 
Nick Herbert [holding answer 20 December 2010]: Total Government funding to the police will reduce by 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2012-13, using the GDP deflators produced by the Office of Budget Responsibility in November 2010.
Nick Herbert [holding answer 24 January 2011]: This is a matter for individual chief constables and their police authorities. It is a priority of this Government to ensure that the police retains and enhances its ability to protect and serve the public.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many times each (a) VC10, (b) C-17 and (c) TriStar that has operated in the Afghan theatre landed at the Camp Bastion Aerial Port of Debarkation in each month since January 2010; 
Nick Harvey: No VC10, C-17 and TriStar aircraft are based in Afghanistan. The number of flights in support of Operation Herrick could only be broken down to individual airframe level at disproportionate cost, but is recorded centrally for each fleet.
A small detachment of VC10 and occasionally TriStar aircraft are based in the wider Op Herrick area on a rotational basis to support Air-to-Air refuelling operations over Afghanistan. They do not land in Afghanistan during these missions. The number of Op Herrick Air-to-Air Refuelling sorties undertaken by VC10 or TriStar aircraft for each month since January 2010 are shown in the following table:
|Number of VC10 Herrick AAR sorties||Number of TriStar Herrick AAR sorties|
TriStar and C-17 aircraft operate into airfields in Afghanistan as part of the Op Herrick passenger and freight Airbridge. TriStar aircraft land at Kandahar, C-17 aircraft land at both Kandahar and Camp Bastion. The number of TriStar and C-17 flights arriving at Camp Bastion and Kandahar in each month is shown in the following table:
|Number of C-17 arriving Camp Bastion||Number of TriStar arriving Kandahar||Number of C-17 arriving Kandahar|
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what repair or reconstruction work has taken place on the Camp Bastion Aerial Port of Debarkation runway since January 2010; and what the cost to his Department of such work has been. 
Nick Harvey: Maintenance costs for the runway at Camp Bastion since January 2010 have been approximately £700,000. This covers a variety of tasks such as runway repair, airfield ground lighting repair, drainage maintenance and dust suppression maintenance.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 December 2010, Official Report, column 221W on Air Force: military bases, when he expects the data for RAF stations in Scotland to be available. 
Nick Harvey: On operational duty, a Carrier Variant-configured Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier is currently planned to be manned by a crew of around 760, who would be responsible for the running of the ship and its systems. The number of additional air wing personnel would vary according to the nature of the operational deployment and the aircraft on board at the time.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the (a) average, (b) highest and (c) lowest annual compensation payment made to service personnel who served in world war two was in the latest period for which figures are available; 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 21 January 2011]: Annual compensation payments to world war two veterans are made under the War Pension Scheme. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 19 January 2011, Official Report, columns 823-24W.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel who served in world war two were in receipt of both an armed forces pension and a compensation scheme payment in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 20 January 2011]: Details of the number of service personnel who served during world war two in receipt of a pension under the Armed Forces Pension scheme are not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Service personnel who have an injury or illness attributable to, or aggravated by, their service can receive compensation by way of a war disablement pension under the War Pension scheme. Although data is not held specifically for world war two veterans, as at 30 September 2010, 33,630 war disablement pensions were in payment to veterans aged 85 or over.
|Location||31 May 2010||31 December 2010|
Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to offer armoured fighting vehicles deemed surplus to the requirements of the army for sale to foreign governments. 
Peter Luff: Any decisions on the disposal of armoured vehicles will be in line with the Ministry of Defence's policy for handling surplus equipment. A government to government sale is usually the first option that is explored. This has the benefit of strengthening international relationships and generating income that can be re-invested in defence. It also allows other governments to contribute to international security and can also provide UK industry with opportunities to undertake some of the regeneration work.
Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by each of his Department's non-departmental public bodies in (a) April 2010 and (b) each subsequent month; 
(2) what the staff cost was of each of his Department's non-departmental public bodies in May 2010; and what estimate he has made of the likely cost in (a) financial years (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and, (iii) 2013-14 and (b) each year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
Peter Luff: The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr Robathan), will write to the hon. Members soon after the Christmas recess, to enable officials to collect the required data.
My hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Questions on 20 December 2010 (Official Report, column 987W) about fixed-term appointments in the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) non-departmental public bodies. I am now replying.
The following table shows the number of fixed-term appointments that have been made in each of the MOD non-departmental public bodies (NDPB) since May 2010:
|Number of fixed-term appointments made since May 2010|
The museums have their own legal identity and employ their own staff. They are supported by the MOD by grant-in-aid which includes a provision for salaries.
The total cost to the NDPBs and the average salary of staff on fixed-term contracts in each of the MOD non-departmental public bodies in (a) April 2010 and (b) each subsequent month is shown in the following table:
The fixed term contracts are for a range of staff which includes seasonal guides for HMS Victory at the NMRN, Senior Executive Officer (Civil Service equivalent grades) and below at the NAM, and apprentices at the RAF Museum.
The number of full-time equivalent staff employed in each of the MOD non-departmental public bodies in (a) April 2010 and (b) each subsequent month is shown in the following table:
|Number of full time equivalent staff|
The figures for full time equivalent staff cover staff employed at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Central, the main NAM site at Chelsea and a small number of staff at Sandhurst and 2 RAF museums at Hendon and Cosford and a small number or curatorial staff at RAF Stafford where items not on display are lodged.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many planned flying training missions have been cancelled as a result of the recent grounding of the TriStar fleet in its role as an air-to-air refueller. 
Nick Harvey: No training sorties were cancelled while Tristar flying was temporarily suspended. However, the duration of some fast jet training flights undertaken between 17 and 31 December 2010 were curtailed. This had only minimal impact on the quality of the training provided.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of flights of (a) military aircraft and (b) aircraft chartered by his Department to and from Afghanistan have been delayed by more than six hours in each month since December 2009. 
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has he made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) efficiency of the Ministry of Defence Police against the key outputs identified by its Statement of Requirement; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence Police Committee's Annual Report for 2009-10 dated 21 July 2010 provided me and my ministerial colleagues with an assurance that the MOD Police (MDP) was pursuing the strategic direction as intended in the Statement of Requirement. This is achieved through the MDP's provision of high value and high calibre capabilities which continue to reflect defence interests and are not available from other forces. I met personally with the independent chair of the Committee to discuss this report on 21 October 2010.
The Committee also provides an independent scrutiny and assurance to Ministers that the MDP is exercising its powers and authority lawfully, impartially and meeting the standards required of a police force. The MOD Police and Guarding Agency Owner's Advisory Board has regular oversight of the MDP's performance.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to which countries Ministry of Defence police officers are currently deployed; what the role of the personnel deployed to each country is; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) deploy a relatively small number of experienced officers overseas in support of HM Government objectives, and have done so for 10 years. They are currently deployed in Afghanistan, acting as mentors and trainers; Kosovo, acting as mentors and advisors; Georgia, in a monitoring capacity and Occupied Palestinian Territories in an advisory role.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the international policing activities of the Ministry of Defence Police; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) are an important part of the UK police response overseas on behalf of HM Government (supporting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, and other Whitehall Departments). This reflects their considerable experience and expertise in international policing over the last 10 years. They also train and equip UK police officers deploying overseas. They have made valued contributions to the creation of a police force in Kosovo, free and fair elections in Sierra Leone, and training programmes in Afghanistan, including community policing.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of (a) the criminal investigation capability of the Ministry of Defence Police and (b) the Ministry of Defence Police fraud squad; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The independently chaired Ministry of Defence (MOD) Police Committee, which reports to MOD Ministers, routinely receives a summary of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and fraud cases investigated by the Ministry of Defence Police at its quarterly meetings and has given advice to MDP and MOD about performance targets for CID. The Committee will continue to keep under review the capability and performance of MDP CID having regard to the MOD's defined requirements.
The MOD has established a Defence Crime Board, chaired by the Director General Finance, to provide strategic direction to the defence-wide effort to reduce the harm done to the defence budget, safety, security and military operational capability by crime and fraud.
Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support his Department plans to provide to the Hebrides Range Task Force diversification programme for civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) future co-utilisation of range assets and capabilities; and what plans he has to co-ordinate that support with the UAS civil and military market development initiatives under consideration by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has no objection to civil diversification plans or the Hebrides range including commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as long as this does not interfere with MOD operations at the range. Officials are involved in the work of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with industry to develop and maintain capability in the future UAS market and the potential ways to improve business awareness of the civil market opportunities that exist at ranges such as the Hebrides. However, it would not be appropriate for the MOD to provide direct support to a commercial activity.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the (a) average, (b) highest and (c) lowest annual pension payment to (i) widows and (ii) widowers in receipt of a war widows pension from the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 17 January 2011]: As at 5 April 2010, the highest, average and lowest annual pensions in payment to widows and widowers under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme were as set out in the following table:
War widow(ers) pensions are paid under the War Pension Scheme (WPS). This scheme provides no fault compensation to former service personnel and their dependants for injuries and death as a result of service before 6 April 2005. As at 30 September 2010, the average weekly WPS dependants' pension (of which widow(er) pensions are the majority), including allowances, was £218.31. Separate figures for widows and widowers and average, highest and lowest pension could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Annual compensation to widows and widowers from 6 April 2005 is payable under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS), and payments are known as Survivors' Guaranteed Income Payments (SGIPs). As at 20 January 2011, the highest, average and lowest SGIPs in payment were as set out in the following table:
Data for widows and widowers under the AFPS and the AFCS also include benefits in payment to eligible partners.
I announced on 16 December 2010, Official Report, columns 116-17WS, that I would amend future pensions payments to recognise acting rank. This change came into effect on 3 January 2011. For those who died prior to this date (but after 6 April 2005) a lump sum payment will be made to dependants through the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, which will bring their total settlement into line with the changes to the pension scheme.
Ms Bagshawe: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people employed in the arts sector in each local authority area in the east midlands; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr Vaizey: The Department does not hold this information. However, Arts Council England has provided figures relating to the number of arts sector staff, in each employment category, in their regularly funded organisations (RFOs). The 2009-10 figures for the east midlands are set out in the following table:
|Local authority||Permanent full-time||Permanent part-time||Contractual|
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the number of people employed in the arts sector in each local authority area in the east of England; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey: The Department does not hold this information. However, Arts Council England has provided figures relating to the number of arts sector staff, in each employment category, in their regularly funded organisations (RFOs). The 2009-10 figures for the East of England are set out in the following table:
|Local authority||Permanent full-time||Permanent part-time||Contractual|
guides to using plain English on the departmental intranet;
instructions on the use of plain English when drafting ministerial correspondence and submissions; and
training for staff on creating briefings and submissions.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information his Department holds on the number of sub-contracted staff servicing his Department who were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Name of subcontractor||Number of staff who are paid less than the London living wage|
|(1) This information is not held for staff employed under the Atos contract.|
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what single tender contracts his Department has awarded since his appointment; and what the monetary value is of each contract above the EU public procurement threshold. 
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what public appointments he has made since his appointment; and to what payments each person so appointed is entitled. 
Mark Reckless: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will take steps to alleviate the difficulties of households in certain areas of Rochester and Strood constituency with digital television signal reception following analogue switch off in 2012. 
Mr Vaizey: In common with other areas of the UK yet to undergo digital switchover, it is the case that reliable coverage of digital terrestrial television (Freeview) signals is currently unlikely to be available in some parts of Rochester and Strood. The primary reason for this is that until digital switchover takes place, the power of the digital transmitters is necessarily restricted to relatively low levels in order to prevent interference being caused to the existing analogue signals. However, when switchover takes place, the power of the digital transmitters will be raised to, on average, 10 times their current levels which will significantly extend their coverage. By the time that the nationwide switchover process is complete, digital TV signals will reach the same number of households as the analogue signals they replace (approximately 98.5% of the UK population).
Viewers in Rochester and Strood can potentially receive signals from a number of TV regions. Viewers that receive Meridian and London ITV services will switch fully to digital in 2012; while any that receive Anglia ITV services will switch later this year.
Mark Reckless: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will take steps to assist (a) the elderly and (b) people on lower incomes in Rochester and Strood constituency with the transition to digital television in 2012. 
Mr Vaizey: The Government and the BBC have set up the Digital Switchover Help scheme (DSHS) to offer those 75 or over, disabled and visually impaired people and care home residents practical help to make the switch to digital television on one of their sets.
The Help scheme is rolled out in each TV region in the run up to switchover. Therefore, the DSHS will contact all eligible people in Rochester and Strood constituency directly by post to ask if they want help, in plenty of time before the Bluebell Hill transmitter group area switches to digital in 2012.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will undertake an assessment of the safety benefits of the Kombi seating system for football stadia. 
Hugh Robertson: The Football Licensing Authority (FLA) assessed the 'Kombi' seat system in 2001 and concluded that, while it had many advantages, technical and cost issues would make it difficult to install in existing grounds in England and Wales. This assessment can be found on their website at:
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on arrangements for policing the European Football Championship in 2012. 
Since Euro 2000, the Home Office has led a comprehensive multi-agency football safety and security strategy for policing major football tournaments involving UK teams. The measures implemented worked well in Portugal in Euro 2004 and at previous World Cups in Germany 2006 and South Africa last year.
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) if he will request that the Gambling Commission publish in its British Gambling Prevalence Survey of February 2011 its assessment of (a) the incidence of problem gambling relating to each of the eight types of gaming machine and (b) the premises in which the type of gaming machine is located; 
(2) if he will request that the Gambling Commission publish in its British Gambling Prevalence Survey of February 2011 the incidence of problem gambling relating to poker games in (a) casinos and (b) online. 
John Penrose: The content and publication of the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010 is a matter for the independent gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission. It is also an 'official statistic' which, therefore, rightly frees it from political influence.
The analysis of the prevalence of problem gambling between different gambling types will be included because of its importance to the users of the survey and to provide comparability with the British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007. For statistical and cost benefit reasons the report will not include a breakdown for poker games in casinos and online poker.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when he plans to respond to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 9 December 2010 in regard to Ms J Vickers. 
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the likely economic benefits to (a) Staffordshire and (b) Tamworth of (i) events at and (ii) training facilities for the London 2012 Olympics. 
Hugh Robertson: Although Staffordshire and Tamworth are not hosts to a London 2012 venue they stand to gain from the wide range of opportunities created by the 2012 games, through businesses winning games-related work, increased tourism and cultural celebrations.
Across the UK 988 cultural and sporting programmes have now been awarded inspire marks, including 79 in the West Midlands. Over 16,000 schools/colleges across the UK have registered for LOCOG's education programme Get Set, including 1,429 schools/colleges in the West Midlands-52.9% of the total number in the region.
Across the UK over 127,000 Companies have registered on Competefor (the website where London 2012 contract opportunities are advertised) and over 1,600 contracts have been directly awarded to Competefor suppliers, with many more winning contracts through the supply chain. Information on businesses in Staffordshire and Tamworth that have directly supplied the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is available in the business section of the London 2012 website under the heading ODA Suppliers, where you will be able to find suppliers listed by venue and sector:
These include Bakers Coaches from Staffordshire who provided the transport for the 'Open Weekend' public tours of the Olympic park and GTech Surveys from Kenilworth who carried out site surveys and investigations in and around the Olympic park.
Pre-games training camps will provide an opportunity to create further economic benefits, including inward investment, through the international attention that will follow. In the West Midlands 32 facilities, that met the criteria to be world-class training venues for Olympic and Paralympic sport, are included in the official London 2012 Pre-Games Training Camp Guide. The guide has been produced in an online form and is accessible at:
The West Midlands has secured £2.2 million from the Legacy Trust towards a programme that will bring people together for community activities of all kinds from across generations, cultures, religious backgrounds, races, social groups and geographical locations with the aim of creating exchange between people.
One of the Inspire marked projects in the West Midlands is 'Away Pitch', which explores the connections and contrasts between the worlds of sport and art through photography and poetry. The project, an exhibition of artwork, poems and photographs has toured across Staffordshire.
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what his most recent assessment is of the progress of the £100 million tourism-marketing fund launched in August 2010 in reaching its financial target. 
John Penrose: Last summer, we challenged British businesses to come together with the Government to create the best ever overseas tourism marketing campaign for Britain, and take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and other major events such as the royal wedding and Her Majesty's diamond jubilee.
Subsequently, on 5 January the Prime Minister held a reception for tourism industry leaders at Downing street to thank some of those already involved. Companies including British Airways, DFDS, lastminute.com, P&O and Radisson Edwardian have already pledged their support to help match the £50 million of public money we have committed through VisitBritain and we are well advanced towards meeting the £100 million target.
Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport announced on 26 October 2010, Official Report, columns 177-79, the Department for Transport plans for funding road improvement schemes for the spending review period, to the end of 2014-15.
The Department for Transport will also take forward work on a number of schemes already under consideration for the next spending review period. At present, the Department is not developing proposals for future schemes on the A2.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the level of compliance during the adverse weather conditions experienced in November and December 2010 by (a) airlines and (b) tour operators with their obligations under the Air Passengers Rights Directive (261/2004) and the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Directive (90/314); and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions he has had with the Air Transport Users Council regarding the level of compliance by airlines and tour operators during the adverse weather conditions experience in November and December 2010 with obligations under the Air Passengers Rights Directive (261/2004) and the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Directive (90/314) and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: The Government expect air carriers and tour operators to honour their obligations to passengers under EU Regulation 261/2004 on denied boarding, cancellation and delay, and under the package travel directive 90/314, and to look after their passengers during times of adverse weather conditions.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has responsibility for enforcing regulation 261 in the UK. It reminded major airlines and airport operators of their responsibilities to their passengers during this period.
The CAA closely monitored the activities of airlines in this period and undertook remedial action where deficiencies were identified. The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) advises passengers on their entitlements under the regulation and is the UK's complaints handler.
While the obligations of EC Regulation 261/2004 and of the package travel directive do not apply to airports, the Secretary of State has made clear that the Government and the regulator will be working with airlines and airport operators to see what might be done to address issues identified by the recent adverse weather conditions.
Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport at what stage of the consultation period (a) Stornoway and (b) Shetland coastguard stations were included in his Department's coastguard modernisation consultation. 
Mike Penning: The consultation on proposals to modernise the coastguard service was launched on 16 December 2010 and will run until 24 March 2011. Both the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres at Shetland and Stornoway were included within the proposals from the outset.
Copies of the consultation document outlining these proposals, "Protecting our Seas and Shores in the 21st Century", have been placed in the Libraries of the House and are available on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's website:
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with representatives of (i) the Dover Harbour Board and (ii) stakeholders of the Dover Harbour Board since May 2010. 
Mike Penning: I held a meeting with Roger Mountford, the Chair of Dover Harbour Board, on 21 June 2010. On 8 December 2010, I visited the port of Dover and met members of the Harbour Board, as well as key stakeholders.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of each communication on the Dover Harbour Board received from stakeholders, as defined in his Department's document on Modernising Trust Ports in the last 12 months. 
Mike Penning: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost given the number of communications received and the time required to redact personal details. The people who made representations had no expectation their details would be made public.
In November 2010 the Department published two online summaries of the representations received on the application from Dover Harbour Board to allow it to sell the port of Dover, one covering the responses received until 22 July and the other those representations received by 8 October. I have placed a copy of both summaries in the Library of the House.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects of the Government's aviation policy on the competitiveness of Heathrow airport as a hub for international air travel over the next decade. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport plans to issue a scoping document in the spring to take forward the Government's review of strategy for aviation. The key goals of that strategy include supporting economic growth and protecting Heathrow's status as a global hub airport, while at the same time addressing the environmental impacts of aviation. The impact of different policy choices on Heathrow will be taken into account as part of our work in further developing our policy on aviation via the process initiated with the scoping document.
Mrs Villiers: In line with the announcements made in the June 2011 Budget and the spending review, the Government are considering whether to sell shares in NATS and, if so, what proportion of their holding they should dispose of and by what sale method. They have had various discussions with other shareholders on this issue. We expect to have taken a decision on whether and how to proceed by the time of Budget 2011.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what response he made to the representations by the Airline Group on proposals for the sale of the remaining state-owned shares in National Air Traffic Services. 
Mrs Villiers: Following the Budget announcement (June 2010) the Government are continuing to work with other shareholders, including the Airline Group, to explore the options for a potential sale of shares in NATS. As laid out in the spending review document (October 2010), we expect to take decisions on whether and how to proceed by Budget 2011. No decisions have yet been taken as to whether the Government will sell any part of their shareholding.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received from stakeholders of the Dover Harbour Board on the Board's management of the Port of Dover; and if he will make a statement. 
In November 2010 the Department for Transport published two online summaries of the representations received on the application from Dover Harbour Board to allow it to sell the port of Dover, one covering the responses received until 22 July and the other those representations received by 8 October. A copy of both summaries is available in the Libraries of the House.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to undertake a consultation on the proposal to end the provision of emergency towing vessels by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. 
Mike Penning: We have no plans for a formal consultation exercise. However, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will be inviting all interested parties to discuss how incident management will be undertaken after the current contract for emergency towing vessels expires in September 2011. The first meeting has been arranged for Edinburgh on 4 March.
Mr MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the operating cost of each coastguard station operated by the Marine and Coastguard Agency (a) was for (i) 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10 and (b) is for 2010-11. 
|2008-09 costs||2009-10 costs||2010-11 forecast|
Direct costs of Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs), including operating costs comprising: payroll, running costs and accommodation charges;
Some running and accommodation costs include those relating to other Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) co-located offices and non separable district office costs.
Running and maintenance of National Information Communication Technology infrastructure, such as radio communications networks, mast and towers, as costs are not held on a site by site basis;
Capital project costs such as IT and equipment refresh are not held on a site by site basis; and
Sector Managers' (those responsible for managing the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers) pay and the cost of Coastguard Rescue Officers.
Mike Penning: Prior to taking the decision to discontinue the provision of publicly funded emergency towing vessels (ETV), the Department for Transport undertook an assessment of the changes that have taken place in the maritime environment, together with a consideration of the frequency with which ETVs have been tasked to assist vessels, including oil tankers, that have got into difficulty.
The Government believe this is properly a matter for commercial operators. Accordingly the Government have judged that the risk in not renewing the ETV contract from September 2011 is acceptable in the light of the need to reduce the fiscal deficit.
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the introduction of regulations limiting the number of hours taxi drivers are able to work (a) in a single shift and (b) in a week. 
Norman Baker: Where taxi drivers are employed, they are subject to certain provisions of the main European Working Time Directive which applies generally across the economy to those in employment; this includes a requirement to take "adequate rest", and regular health checks for night workers.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government has (a) offered and (b) provided to the Australian Government to help with the flooding in that country. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 12 January 2011 and offered UK assistance should it be required. My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary met their Australian counterparts in Sydney on 18 January 2011, and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited one site of the flooding in Brisbane with his Australian counterpart on 19 January 2011. It was agreed that the Government will provide experts in flood recovery management and in advanced flood forecasting methods.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent progress has been made on strengthening the UK's relations with Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Relations between the UK and Bangladesh are strong, and we co-operate closely in a number of key areas, including climate change, poverty reduction, human rights and counter-terrorism. We engage regularly with the Bangladesh Government on these core areas, including through our substantial development programme. The forthcoming visit to UK of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, will provide an opportunity to further strengthen relations.
Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of efforts made by the UN to secure negotiations between the Government of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of her party and representatives of ethnic groups in Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The efforts of the UN Secretary General and his Good Offices Mission to facilitate national reconciliation and dialogue in Burma have been consistently hampered by the unwillingness of the Burmese regime to co-operate with him, and engage seriously on issues of international concern. This lack of co-operation has included a reluctance to grant visas for visits by the UN Secretary General's special adviser on Burma, and rigid control of the special adviser's programme, restricting his ability to meet key political actors in Burma, including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. We nonetheless applaud and strongly support the leadership shown by the UN Secretary General on this issue, and urge him to continue his efforts despite the difficulties. We also call on the Burmese authorities to work more constructively with the UN in the months ahead.
Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent visits HM Ambassador to Burma has made to (a) Chiang Mai and (b) Mae Sot to meet refugees and exiled political activists from Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Officials at our embassies in Rangoon and Bangkok are in frequent contact with Burmese exile groups and political activists in Thailand, and make regular visits to refugee camps for this purpose.
Our Charge d'Affairs in Bangkok visited Mae Sot on 17 to 18 January 2011 where he met with a wide range of exile and refugee groups and discussed their concerns, including the recent fighting on the Thai-Burma border. On his return to Bangkok on 19 January, he raised a number of these issues with the Thai Foreign Minister.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's employees were subject to decompression schemes in each year from 2005 to 2010. 
Alistair Burt: There are 290 Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in Afghanistan and Iraq, where decompression schemes operate. This total includes UK-based and locally engaged staff; only UK-based staff are subject to decompression schemes. For operational and security reasons we cannot break the figures down further. We do not hold figures for previous years in this format.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's employees who had served in Afghanistan were subject to decompression schemes in each year from 2005 to 2010. 
Alistair Burt: There are currently 210 Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in Afghanistan. This total includes UK-based and locally engaged staff; only UK-based staff are subject to decompression schemes. For operational and security reasons we cannot break the figures down further. We do not hold figures for previous years in this format.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's policy is on decompression of employees who have served in Afghanistan; and what variation in policy there is according to rank or pay grade. 
Alistair Burt: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) policy on decompression breaks in Afghanistan is that staff work a rotation of six weeks at post/two weeks decompression break. Decompression breaks are linked to the overall security situation, which can change over a posting. This policy applies to all FCO staff, regardless of grade.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|