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26 Jan 2011 : Column 290Wcontinued
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on negotiations on the draft Common Agricultural Policy regulation for 2011. 
Mr Paice: It is unclear exactly what the question is referring to. There are many regulations relating to the common agricultural policy (CAP) being modified in 2011 to bring them into line with revised comitology arrangements introduced by the Lisbon treaty. The UK will continue to work with the European Commission to ensure these technical changes are adopted in the most sensible manner.
If, however, the question is concerning the future of the CAP for the period 2014- 20, we anticipate the Commission will release legislative proposals in the summer. The UK wants to see a competitive, thriving and sustainable EU agriculture and food sector that is able to rise to the challenges and opportunities of the future. We therefore need ambitious reform of the CAP to deliver good value for farmers, taxpayers, consumers and the environment.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the position of imported soy during forthcoming negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Mr Paice: The Government are committed to ensuring that we have a thriving and sustainable livestock sector in the UK and welcome views on the forthcoming common agricultural policy negotiations, particularly as discussions progress in the run up to the Commission producing draft regulations in the summer.
The importation of soy is just one of a number of policy issues associated with the sustainability of the UK livestock sector that the Government will consider during negotiations, and DEFRA is currently investing in research and development to deliver the information we need for science-based alternatives to its use as a feedstuff. Importantly, the issues go much further than feeding livestock alone, as two-thirds of manufactured food products contain ingredients or derivatives made from soy.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what her policy is on the development of an agreed UK negotiating position on Common Agricultural Policy reform which takes into account the opinions of the devolved administrations; 
(2) what recent discussions she has had with the devolved administrations on Common Agricultural Policy reform. 
Mr Paice: I am committed to working closely with the devolved Administrations (DAs) and both the Secretary of State and I have met with them several times to discuss the emerging UK position on reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). Our forthcoming response to the Commission's CAP Communication, about which the Secretary of State wrote to her ministerial counterparts earlier in January, will reflect many of the DAs' concerns. It is important that the UK position on CAP highlights the need for the sort of ambitious reform that will enable farmers to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what her policy is on amending emission limits on domestic biomass burners under 20MW to 30g/GJ for particulates and 150g/GJ for NOx; 
(2) what steps she is taking to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen from domestic biomass boilers through (a) the use of abatement equipment and (b) other means. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA is in discussion with the Department for Energy and Climate Change over the establishment of emission limits for particulates and nitrogen oxides where biomass combustion is incentivised.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much will be distributed to local authorities for flood prevention and protection through the local government formula grant in each of the next four financial years. 
Formula grant is an "unhypothecated block grant". This means that authorities are free to spend it on any service. For this reason, and due to the method of calculating formula grant, particularly floor damping, it is not possible to say how much grant has been provided for any particular service, including flood
prevention and protection. Floor damping is the process of guaranteeing that no authority will receive more than a maximum percentage decrease in grant year-on-year on a like-for-like basis; in order to pay for this changes above the floor are scaled back for other authorities.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what review her Department has undertaken to identify those areas of the UK that are at risk of flooding. 
Richard Benyon: The floods directive, as transposed by the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 in England and Wales, requires member states to identify areas that are at potentially significant risk of flooding. Flood hazard and flood risk maps and management plans must then be prepared for these areas.
Given that the Environment Agency already holds equivalent maps and plans for main rivers and coastal flood risk, our work focused on local sources of flooding, for which responsibility lies with lead local flood authorities. To assist local authorities in determining flood risk areas, DEFRA has identified indicative areas which local authorities must then review.
The method for identifying indicative risk areas was developed in consultation with the Environment Agency , Welsh Assembly Government, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association, drawing on both the Environment Agency's flood maps for surface water and a database of assets at risk. This established areas where 200 people, two or more critical services or 20 or more businesses are at risk of flooding. Clusters of these areas were identified and the results were then ranked to determine the highest risk areas. A threshold of 30,000 people at risk was applied to ensure that the subsequent mapping and planning phases are achievable and not too onerous.
The result was ten indicative flood risk areas within England, which account for 33% of the national surface water risk. Eight such areas have been identified in Wales.
A similar approach has been applied in Northern Ireland, and Scotland is in the process of identifying an appropriate methodology.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on consumption in the UK of (a) intensively produced meat and (b) imported soy feeds. 
Mr Paice: The Government believes there is a place for sustainable intensification in food production. The world needs more food, at less cost to the environment. Global food security requires the UK, and other Governments in the developed world, to help farmers adopt methods of sustainable intensification. This can help to build the farming practices that will provide the abundant food we need for the future.
The importation of soy is just one of a number of policy issues associated with the sustainability of the UK livestock sector that the Government are considering, and DEFRA is currently investing in research and
development to deliver the information we need for science-based alternatives to its use as a feedstuff. Importantly, the issues go much further than feeding livestock alone, as two-thirds of manufactured food products contain ingredients or derivatives made from soy.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many representations her Department has received on the proposed disposal of the public forest estate to date; what categories her Department uses to classify such representations; and whether representations which are based on a common pro forma letter submitted by individual members of the public to her Department are recorded as individual representations. 
Mr Paice: Since the beginning of October last year we have received just over 800 representations on the sale of the public forest estate.
The categories of correspondence are: letters and emails received directly from members of the public; letters and emails to Ministers from MPs, often on behalf of their constituents; and letters and emails to Ministers from interested organisations. These representations have all been recorded individually.
In addition, we have received around 2,700 campaign emails from Forest.org. These have also been recorded individually.
Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans her Department has to enhance the powers of local councils to take action against noisy neighbours. 
Richard Benyon: I believe the legislative duties and powers available, including those under the statutory nuisance provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1990, are broadly sufficient to enable local councils to take action against noisy neighbours. However, as part of the implementation of the Noise Policy Statement for England, published in 2010, DEFRA officials are working with those at the Home Office on the review of the tools and powers available to address antisocial behaviour.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on farming practices at Midland Pig Producers, Foston, Derbyshire. 
Mr Paice: We have received no recent representations on farming practices at Midlands Pig Producers.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has (a) received an application for and (b) granted funding under (i) the Rural Development Programme for England and (ii) any other of her Department's programmes in respect of the proposed large-scale intensive pig farm in Foston, Derbyshire. 
Mr Paice: Neither DEFRA, nor any of the regional development agencies, has received an application or granted funding under either the RDPE, or any of the Department's other support arrangements, for a large-scale intensive pig farm at Foston.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment her Department has made of the effect on animal welfare of keeping pigs in (a) very large herds and (b) herds kept largely under a roof; 
(2) what her policy is on intensive pig farming; 
(3) what recent assessment she has made of health and welfare standards applicable to large-scale pig farms in which pigs are housed indoors all year round; 
(4) what assessment she has made of the implications for animal welfare of proposed large-scale intensive pig farms; 
(5) what her policy is on proposals to establish large-scale intensive pig farms. 
Mr Paice: Operational pig farms must comply with all the relevant legislation, including comprehensive environmental and animal welfare legislation, which will apply equally to all livestock farms whatever the size of unit or system of production. Planning proposals for intensive pig farming units are for the relevant planning authorities to examine.
It is important to recognise that poor welfare may occur in both intensive and extensive systems. Increasing the size of herds does not mean reducing animal welfare. More important factors are the design and construction of the units and the level of stockmanship. This is echoed in the current scientific advice from the Farm Animal Welfare Council, that the most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which it is reared.
DEFRA has not made any further assessment of the implications for animal welfare of proposed large-scale intensive pig farms.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect of intensive pig farms on (i) traditional pig farmers, (ii) local rural economies and (iii) rural management. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA has not commissioned or evaluated any specific research into these aspects of intensive indoor pig production. There is, however, ongoing research into other aspects, including animal welfare. The UK pig industry has some of the highest standards of animal welfare within the European Union.
In line with the progressive reform of the common agricultural policy, it is important for the UK pig sector to compete globally. We therefore welcome innovative and entrepreneurial efforts by farmers to improve their competitiveness while protecting the environment and
meeting animal welfare standards. Pig farms must comply with all the relevant legislation, including comprehensive environmental and animal welfare legislation, whatever the size of unit or system of production.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will take steps to ensure that future proposals for intensive pig farming (a) are examined by her Department, (b) take account of the views of local residents and (c) do not adversely affect the natural environment. 
Mr Paice: Planning proposals for intensive pig farming units are for the relevant planning authorities to examine. In the assessment of planning applications for agriculture development proposals, it is a matter for the relevant planning authority to take account of the views of local residents and the natural environment.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the value for money of the Thames Water proposal for the construction of a second Thames tunnel; 
(2) what assessment her Department has made of the environmental effects of the Thames Water proposal for the construction of a second Thames tunnel; 
(3) what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of a second Thames tunnel; 
(4) what recent assessment she has made of the merits of a second Thames tunnel to reduce the number of sewer overflows into the River Thames. 
Richard Benyon: I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 7 September 2010, Official Report, columns 9-10WS regarding sewer overflows in the River Thames. Since that statement in support of a tunnel-based solution to the problem of excessive sewer overflows into the Thames, we have been working with Ofwat to scrutinise and review the costs of the project to ensure that it continues to represent value for money. I intend to publish an updated impact assessment which will review the costs and benefits of the project in the summer.
This Department also published a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Waste Water in November 2010, which sets out the Government's policy for the provision of major waste water infrastructure, including the Thames Tunnel. The NPS is accompanied by an Appraisal of Sustainability and a Habitats Regulation Assessment, both of which consider the potential environmental impacts of the Thames Tunnel. The public consultation closes on 22 February and the documents can be found on DEFRA's website at:
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) Thames Water, (b) the Environment Agency and (c) Ofwat on the (i) design, (ii) regulatory process and (iii) planning process for the construction of a second Thames tunnel. 
Richard Benyon: Ministers have regular discussions with water companies (including Thames Water), the Environment Agency and Ofwat on a range of issues, including the Thames tunnel. Officials have been working closely with all three organisations to take forward the commitment in my written statement to the House of 7 September 2010, Official Report, columns 9-10WS, that I would want to be assured before construction starts that any final proposal delivers proper value for money
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the UK's capacity to meet its obligations in Greater London under the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. 
Richard Benyon: The five year 'Thames Tideway Strategic Study' reported to Government in 2005 and included an assessment of potential solutions both to meet water quality objectives for the Thames Tideway area, and to ensure the requirements of the urban waste water treatment directive continue to be met. It concluded that the frequency and volume of discharges of untreated waste water from combined sewer overflows into the River Thames should be reduced.
I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 7 September 2010, Official Report, columns 9-10WS, regarding sewer overflows in the River Thames, which confirmed the Government's support for a tunnel-based solution to the problems in the Thames.
Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake any studies on the effects of the Asset Management Period cycle on levels of employment within the water industry and its supply chain; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: Ofwat, as the independent economic regulator for the water sector, is responsible for setting water price limits every five years. Within this framework, water and sewerage companies are responsible for decisions on how they manage their investment programme.
The water industry has provided evidence on the effect of Ofwat's price controls to the current review of Ofwat, led by David Gray. This review will report to Ministers in March.
Ofwat itself is currently reviewing the process of price setting as part of the Future Price Limits project. This project will look at the effects of the regulatory cycles on all stakeholders, including those in the supply chain.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to implement the provisions of the EU Illegal Timber (Due Diligence) Regulation. 
Mr Paice: In accordance with the provisions of Regulation, we will implement the EU Illegal Timber (Due Diligence) Regulation by 3 March 2013. Over the next 18 months, detailed implementing regulations must be agreed between the European Commission and member states. This timeline was agreed to allow both governments and the timber industry across member states sufficient time to prepare for the entry into force of the Regulation.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change 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. 
Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has let the following contracts using the Single Tender Procedure with only the last one listed being in excess of the EU public procurement threshold. As a Research and Development project it is exempt from the full EU Procurement Rules; the monetary value of the project is £210,000.
1. Aggregating, presenting and valuing the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
2. National Energy Efficiency Database (NEED) data loading services
3. Provision of database containing information on retail filling stations
4. Stakeholder Engagement Policy/Project Team Support Package
5. DECC Emergency Response Exercise Programme
6. Contribution to three IEA Annexes on Heat Pumps
7. International Climate Change Consultant
8. Electronic Radar Tool to Support Permitted Development for Micro/Small Wind
9. Technical advisory, assessment and verification services-ETF Offshore Wind Grants scheme
10. National Energy Efficiency Database (NEED) Valuation Office Agency Property Data Analysis
11. DECC contribution to 2nd year of EST Heat Pump Field Trials
12. Update of renewable heat model
13. UK Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Improvement Programme.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what information his Department holds on the number of households that have been prevented from changing from paying their electricity costs by pre-payment meter to an alternative means of payment as a result of deposit charges; 
(2) what information his Department holds on the number of families that have paid deposit charges in order to change the payment of their electricity costs from a pre-payment meter to an alternative means of payment. 
Charles Hendry: DECC does not hold the information requested. To meet its principal duty to protect the interests of consumers, Ofgem collects relevant information on prepayment meter customers but I understand it does not have the specific data requested.
Under their supply licence, energy suppliers must not require a customer to pay a security deposit if it is unreasonable in all the circumstances of the case. The licence also requires that a security deposit must not exceed a reasonable amount. Customers opting to pay by prepayment meter must not be required to pay a deposit.
Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what contribution energy from wind power generation made to the electricity supply during December 2010. 
Charles Hendry: DECC publishes data on electricity generation from all sources, including wind power, on a quarterly basis. Figures for the last quarter of 2010, which will show the proportion of electrical energy supplied by all UK wind generation, will be published in March. DECC's latest quarterly figures show that in Q3 2010 all UK wind farms contributed 3.5% of UK electricity generation.
Just under half of all UK wind capacity is operationally metered by national grid to assist in balancing the system. From this data, in December 2010, operationally metered wind generation contributed 1.1% of electrical energy supplied through the national grid. Given that less than half of total UK wind capacity is operationally metered, this percentage will significantly under-state DECC's final figure for wind's share of all generation in Q4 2010, due to be published on 31 March 2011.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to increase the energy efficiency of (a) social rented, (b) housing association and (c) private rented homes; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: The Green Deal has the potential to increase the energy efficiency of homes across all housing sectors. It will enable a range of innovative energy efficiency finance packages for landlords and tenants alike.
The social housing sector, including housing associations, has made the biggest gains in energy efficiency in recent years. Further to this, the sector will be able to benefit from the Green Deal and associated obligation on energy companies.
The private rented sector will also be able to take advantage of the Green Deal and future obligation on energy companies. In addition, we are seeking powers in the forthcoming Energy Bill that, from 2015, could require landlords to make reasonable energy efficiency improvements to their properties. These powers will only be used if we do not see voluntary improvements under the forthcoming Green Deal.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has received from Ofgem on the extent of their powers to regulate tariffs and prices in the domestic energy supply sector. 
Charles Hendry: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not received any such representations. Ofgem's principal duty is to protect the interests of consumers and it has wide discretion to propose modifications to the licences of energy companies to achieve this.
Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effects of recent changes in the price of heating oil on elderly and vulnerable families in rural areas. 
Gregory Barker: Government acknowledge that heating oil prices have risen and will lead to higher energy bills for households that use it. Heating oil is a seasonal product, and its prices vary over the course of the year.
The Government are committed to helping those households that are in fuel poverty. We recognise the need to help more of the most vulnerable to keep their homes warm at an affordable cost.
From April 2011, the Warm Home Discount policy will require energy suppliers to provide financial support with energy bills to more of the most vulnerable and fuel poor households. The total level of support under the scheme will be up to £250 million in 2011-12 rising to up to £310 million in 2014-15. We launched a consultation on the Warm Home Discount on 2 December which focuses on the detailed structure of the support scheme, including who should be eligible for assistance and how they will be targeted.
From 2013, support for heating and insulation for the most vulnerable will be delivered through the Green Deal for energy efficiency and a new supplier obligation on energy companies. The Green Deal is a key element of our policy to improve household energy efficiency. It will help protect people against price rises through greater energy saving, with special support for the most vulnerable.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many new ground source heat exchange pumps were commissioned in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008 and (e) 2009. 
Gregory Barker: The Department does not hold information on the overall number of ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) fitted in the UK. These works are carried out by private contractors who have no obligation to inform the Government.
Under the previous Government grant programme, (Low Carbon Buildings Programme), the following numbers of ground-source heat pumps grants were awarded for properties between 2005-09.
|Number of grants||Value of grants (£)|
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has made a recent assessment of the (a) legislative, (b) regulatory and (c) guidance framework for the safe exploration of (i) coalbed methane and (ii) shale gas as an energy source. 
Chris Grayling: I have been asked to reply.
HSE has regulatory responsibility for the safety of these activities and so as Minister responsible for Health and Safety I am providing a response to this question. For all UK oil and gas exploration and development activities, including coal bed methane and shale gas, there is a comprehensive regulatory framework to ensure that operations are properly licensed and controlled. This includes regulations administered by the Health and Safety Executive, who deal with the process safety aspects of this work. These include the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996 (DCR), which are concerned with the integrity of the well for its full lifecycle. The Health and Safety Executive also gives advice to industry on how to comply with these safety regulations. Legislation, regulatory inspection programmes and guidance are kept under review and adapted where necessary to take account of new technologies and industry practices, and new knowledge on hazards and risks.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the contribution by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (PUSS) to House of Lords Grand Committee, Official Report, column GC176, on the draft National Policy Statement for Nuclear Generation, when the review of nuclear policy referred to was commissioned; if he will publish the report of the review; which body is assisting the PUSS in his conduct of the review; whether the review was put out for tender; whether any upper limit was placed on the cost of conducting the review; and when he expects to receive the report of the review. 
Charles Hendry: Security arrangements are kept under constant review as part of a continuous process to ensure existing arrangements are robust and effective.
I hope the hon. Member will understand that the need to ensure national security means that there are inevitably restrictions on what the Government can say publicly about certain matters relating to various aspects of the national security framework.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment his Department has made of the performance of Eaga plc in managing the Warm Front scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Gregory Barker: The Department has Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in place to monitor Eaga's performance in managing Warm Front delivery. Regular meetings are held at which performance against KPIs is reviewed. These reviews have shown that over the past three years Eaga have largely met their KPIs. In addition, the Department has engaged WYG, independent consultants and quality assessors, to audit Eaga's performance. Findings from these reviews are published on the DECC website:
Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what role he expects civic societies to play as potential capacity builders in support of the Big Society initiative. 
Andrew Stunell: The Government's Big Society agenda envisages a significantly enhanced role for civil society, including the voluntary, community .and social enterprise sectors, in helping local people and organisations to take more power and responsibility over their lives and neighbourhoods. As part of this, civic societies can play an essential voluntary role in helping individuals to take action to improve the quality of their life through the place where they live.
They will have an important role to play in helping communities develop skills, in designing and delivering services, and encouraging communities to take advantage of far-reaching new rights contained in the Localism Bill, such as the Right to Buy community assets and the Right to Challenge the way public services are run.
In recognition of this role, my Department has provided a transitional grant to Civic Voice, the national umbrella organisation for civic societies. This transitional grant will support Civic Voice to help bridge the gap to self-funding to enable the movement build the momentum of support required to put it onto a self-reliant and sustainable footing and support the Government's goal of building a Big Society.
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he has taken to reduce jargon and promote plain English in departmental communications. 
The use of clear language is essential if people are to understand and influence Government policy. My Department aims to use straightforward language as a matter of course. In recent months, the
Department has published plain English guides to the Local Government Finance Settlement and to the Localism Bill. It has begun a review of over 1,000 pages of cumbersome planning policy statements and guidance with the aim of producing a single, concise document setting out the Government's priorities for the planning system in England.
We are also seeking to minimise the use of TLAs (three letter abbreviations) in our communications.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many meals at venues outside his Department have been provided from the public purse for (a) each Minister in his Department and (b) guests of his Department since 6 May 2010. 
Robert Neill: No taxpayers' money has been spent on such items since 6 May.
In comparison, £2,400 was spent on meals at venues outside the Department at events involving DCLG Ministers in the final two years of the previous Administration.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on film production including the filming of speeches since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: All film production has been carried out internally by staff in the Department's Communications Directorate and no spend has been made with any external production company.
The zero spend with external production companies since May 2010 compares with spend of £42,742 in 2008-09 and £144,660.50 in 2009-10.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on wine since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: Since May 2010 the Department has spent £796.55 on wine through its facilities management supplier.
Wine was supplied in connection with official functions and the expenditure has been incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
To assist the hon. Member to place this in context records are only available from December 2008 but for the periods December 2008 to March 2009 the Department spent £1,584.85 and from April 2009 until March 2010 spent £3,932.80 on wine at official functions.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on newspapers and magazines since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: Departmental records show that the Department has spent £67,435 on newspapers and magazines with its preferred suppliers since May 2010.
Since May 2010, the Department has consolidated the seven separate sets of national newspapers previously received by the ministerial and special adviser offices to a single shared set of papers, delivering over £15,000 of ongoing revenue savings.
In addition, the Department's Communications Directorate has undertaken a review that has led to a reduction in the number of magazines and journals it subscribes to and a move to a single supplier, realising further annual savings of approximately £6,000.
For the last two financial years the Department spent the following:
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which new (a) units and (b) teams have been established in his Department since May 2010; and what the (i) name, (ii) purpose, (iii) staffing level and (iv) annual running cost of each is. 
Robert Neill: Two new teams have been established since 1 May 2010.
The Digital Delivery and Transparency team delivers the corporate transparency action plan via the Public Data and Transparency programme board, and develops policy on local government transparency, local spending reports and digital delivery agenda. There were 8.2 (full time equivalent) staff in post in this team at the end of December. The annual running costs over the full 12 months is next year forecast to be £554,000. Online transparency has the potential to deliver real and tangible saving to the public purse.
The London Team has ownership of London reforms generally including elements within the Localism Bill and management of London-inspired Private Bills. It is the central point of co-ordination for relationships with the GLA, London councils and other agencies where necessary, and it also holds responsibility for DCLG's locally focussed business in London. There were 6.4 (full time equivalent) staff in post in this team at the end of December. The annual running costs over the full 12 months is next year forecast to be £382,000. Its creation should be taken in the context of the abolition of the Government Office for London, which will decentralise power and save taxpayers' money.
DCLG is currently undergoing a major restructuring exercise to focus on meeting the needs of the new government. This restructuring as well the creation of the new teams described above has not involved the recruitment of any new staff to the civil service and therefore no overall addition to public cost.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the most recent previous employment was of senior staff employed on fixed-term contracts in his Department since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: Since May 2010, no new fixed-term appointments of any staff, including senior civil servants, have been made.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) total salary cost and (b) average salary is of staff employed on fixed-term contracts in his Department. 
Robert Neill: The total salary and average salary costs of staff employed on fixed-term contracts, as at 31 December 2010, in the Department for Communities and Local Government are as follows:
Total salary costs: £1,138,313
Number of staff: 40
Average (mean) salary: £28,458.
Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff are employed on fixed-term contracts in his Department; and what their job titles are. 
Robert Neill: As at 31 December 2010 the Department for Communities and Local Government employed 40 staff (38.8 FTE) on fixed-term contracts. A breakdown of their job titles is detailed as follows:
24 Administrative Officers
One Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser
Three Departmental Advisers (0.8 FTE)
Five Executive and Higher Executive Officers
Seven Legal and Statistical Officers
As I outlined in my answer to the hon. Member in relation to PQ 34300, these appointments and contracts were made during the last administration.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's consultancy contract with Faithwise Ltd. 
Robert Neill: A copy of the original contract, and of its extension to 1 January 2010, has been placed in the Library of the House. The contract was further extended by agreement until 31 March 2010.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire stations have closed in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: Numbers of fire station closures are not held centrally. However total numbers of fire stations are collected for each fire and rescue authority annually. The latest available figures show that the total number of fire stations in England on 31 March 2010 was 1,433, unchanged from 2009.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review the proposed timetable for savings to be made by local fire services; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: We have back-loaded the largest savings in formula grant to the latter years in order to give fire and rescue authorities time to make the necessary changes without affecting the quality and breadth of services they provide to their communities. Overall, single purpose fire and rescue authorities will see a reduction in their revenue spending power, taking into account grants from central Government and council tax of 2.2% in 2011-12 and 0.5% in 2012-13.
The setting of budgets and the delivery of fire services are a local matter, determined by individual fire and rescue authorities.
Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the effectiveness of the planned reconfiguration of fire services on Canvey Island. 
Robert Neill: Operational decisions are taken by individual fire and rescue authorities as part of the integrated risk management planning process.
The Government are committed to enabling local authorities and local communities to make appropriate decisions at the local level. Fire and rescue authorities are required by the fire and rescue service national framework to have in place and maintain an integrated risk management plan which reflects local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. Each fire and rescue authority's plan enables that individual authority to decide how best to provide fire and rescue services, including prevention and protection as well as response, with resources being allocated on the basis of their evaluation of risk and where the risks are greatest. It is a requirement that the plan is subject to a full consultation with the local community before it is agreed and published, and if it is substantially revised.
Local requirements are thus determined by local people according to local circumstances.
For those reasons, it would be inappropriate for central Government to make an assessment of any changes to fire and rescue services on Canvey Island.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of calls attended by fire services arose from false alarms from (a) automatic fire alarms and (b) other alarms in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Robert Neill: The latest statistics for (a) automatic fire alarms (due to apparatus) and (b) other false alarms in England for 2009-10(1) are shown in the table.
|Fires, non-fire incidents and false fire alarms attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England, 2009-10( 1)|
|Number of incidents||Percentage of grand total|
(2) Due to Apparatus-call was initiated by fire alarm and/or firefighting equipment operating (including accidental initiation of alarm apparatus by a person).
(3) Good Intent-call was made in good faith in the belief that the fire and rescue service was needed to attend a fire.
(4) Malicious-a report of an incident is received by a control centre which is believed to have been made with malicious intent or with intent to cause a nuisance and where it is considered that no legitimate incident exists.
Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics Databases, DCLG
Rebecca Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the likely effects of an increase of (a) two minutes, (b) five minutes and (c) 10 minutes in the response time of the first fire appliance in the event of a fire at a top tier control of major hazards regulated site. 
Robert Neill: Emergency response is a matter for individual fire and rescue authorities under integrated risk management planning, according to local requirements and circumstances. That will include a local assessment of the optimum response to fires at top tier control of major accidents hazards (COMAH) sites.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the ability of West Midlands Fire Service to maintain its standard of service to vulnerable communities after the outcome of the local government finance settlement; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: As the setting of budgets and the delivery of fire services are a local matter, determined by individual fire and rescue authorities, it would not be appropriate for central Government to assess west midlands service delivery.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for enabling a (a) community right to bid, (b) community right to know and (c) community right to buy in connection with assets owned by central Government; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: The community right to challenge (sometimes referred to as the community right to bid) and the community right to buy (as "assets of community value") are included in the Localism Bill. The community right to challenge enables voluntary and community bodies, parish councils and local authority employees to express an interest in running a local authority service, which may trigger a procurement exercise. We will consider what other services the right may be extended to in due course.
Many of the details of the community right to buy scheme will be set out in regulations, on which we will shortly be consulting. It will give communities new powers to help them save local facilities threatened with closure by allowing local community groups, parish councils and others to nominate sites that are of particular value to the community. We will be consulting on what constitutes an asset of community value but it will include property owned by central Government, because the Bill provides that the scheme applies to the Crown. When a listed site comes up for sale, community groups will have a window of opportunity before a sale can take place, which they can use to prepare to bid for the site (eg by preparing a business case and raising funding). We envisage that the regulations will enable a local community group to enter a binding contract during the window of opportunity, giving an advantage over other potential purchasers.
We want communities to be able to use these new rights effectively, and will shortly be consulting on what support may be needed to ensure this is the case.
We are working towards making information on the central Government estate available to local people and communities, which will provide communities with information on public land so that they can hold land owners to account. The reform will enable communities to have greater influence in shaping the future of their areas.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the number of people who are homeless in (a) England, (b) Hertfordshire and (c) St Albans constituency. 
Grant Shapps: Tables have been placed in the Library of the House providing the number of households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty during the July to September quarter 2010, the number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of September 2010 and rough sleeping figures for 2010, by local authority and county in England.
The data are not collected at constituency level. St Albans constituency is made up of electoral wards in St Albans and Three Rivers.
Information about local authorities' discharge of their duties under homelessness legislation is collected on quarterly PIE returns. Summary information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected at local authority level, and published by the Department in the quarterly Statistical Release on Statutory Homelessness, available both in the Library of the House and via the DCLG website:
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to ensure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available and this information is also collected.
Information is also collected on rough sleeping. Since 1998, only councils in areas with a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to conduct an official rough sleeper count-which meant that only 70 councils submitted information to central Government. Figures published in July 2010 showed that under this previous method, on any given night there were 440 rough sleepers in England. However, the coalition Government wanted a more complete measure of rough sleeping and when the remaining 256 councils provided estimates of the scale of the problem in their areas, this added a further estimated 807 rough sleepers-taking the national total to 1,247 rough sleepers on any given night.
Rough sleeping figures are published by the Department on the DCLG website and are given by local authority in the table at the following link:
Under new guidance all councils across England will now provide information on rough sleeping. This move follows consultation with homelessness charities and councils and is aimed at getting a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in each area so more targeted support can be provided to some of the most vulnerable in society.
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many units were built as part of each publicly-funded affordable housing scheme in Reading West constituency in each of the last 13 years; and how many such units in each scheme are reserved for key workers. 
Andrew Stunell: The following table shows the number of new build affordable homes delivered through the Homes and Communities Agency's National Affordable Housing Programme in the Reading local authority area for each of the last 13 years and of these those which were specifically targeted at key workers. This information is not collected by parliamentary constituency.
|National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP)( 1)||NAHP of which: key worker initiative|
|(1) Includes homes built for social rented and affordable home ownership.|
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 homes.
Homes and Communities Agency
The National Affordable Housing Programme provided funding for affordable home ownership schemes targeted at first time buyers who met the eligibility criteria, i.e. household income up to £60,000 and unable to buy on the open market. Between 2004-05 and 2008-09 there were specific schemes targeted towards assisting key workers into home ownership. From 2008-09 this specific ring fence was removed with all schemes being open to all first time buyers who met the eligibility criteria.
Not all affordable housing is provided through new build completions as supply can also come from the acquisition and refurbishment of private sector homes. In 2009-10, for example, a total of 150 affordable homes were provided in Reading through new build, acquisition and refurbishment.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households were placed in private rented accommodation under the prevention and relief of homelessness provisions (a) in England and Wales and (b) in each English local authority area in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) the first two quarters of 2010-11. 
Grant Shapps: In 2009-10, 50,720 households in England were placed in private rented accommodation by local authorities and partner organisations through their prevention and relief activities outside of the statutory homelessness framework. This includes activities involving landlord incentive schemes or activities without, such as where a local authority has built a relationship with a landlord or letting agent which enables the authority to refer households on benefit direct or on a specific accreditation scheme.
A table has been placed in the Library of the House providing the information for all local authorities.
Figures relating to the first two quarters of 2010-11 will not be available until the 'Homelessness Prevention and Relief: England 2010-11' release is published later in the year.
DCLG only holds figures for England. Figures for Wales are the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government.
Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department has issued to communities that wish to take over services operated by local authorities. 
Andrew Stunell: No such guidance has been issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Subject to parliamentary approval of the Localism Bill, communities will be given a right to challenge a local authority by expressing an interest in running any service for which it is responsible. The Department for Communities and Local Government will be working closely with local authorities and the voluntary and community sector to determine what guidance may be necessary to support the Community Right to Challenge.
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has made an estimate of the number of local council employees who will be made redundant as a result of the reductions in funding for local authorities in the first year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
Robert Neill: It is for individual councils to make local decisions about how their workforces are organised and managed to ensure it can deliver for local taxpayers, within the resources they have available. Decisions about managing workforce reductions in local government are rightfully for individual councils to make as employers.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he plans to take to enable local authorities to retain a local standards committee if they wish to do so. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 20 January 2011]: The Localism Bill currently before Parliament includes provision that local authorities must maintain high standards of conduct by local authority members and co-opted members.
It is for local authorities to determine for themselves how best to maintain high standards of conduct and local authorities will be free, if they so wish, to establish standards committees.
Members will be required to continue to register and declare personal interests and will not be allowed to use their position improperly for personal gain. The Government intend that wilful failure to comply with these requirements will constitute a criminal offence.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if he will commission an independent review of the effectiveness of elected mayors; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will commission an independent review of the effectiveness of the Leader and Cabinet model of local authorities; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if he will commission an independent review of the effectiveness of the committee system for running local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: We have no plans to commission such independent reviews.
A number of research papers and reviews on council governance models have already been published, and regard can be had to these when decisions on a council's future governance arrangements are taken.
Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate his Department has made of less expenditure by local authorities on meeting the mobility needs of under-65s living in residential care in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Andrew Stunell: The information requested is not held centrally.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 89W, on multiple occupation: licensing, if he will assess the cost of collecting information from local authorities on how many landlords have been prosecuted under legislative provisions governing the operation of houses in multiple occupation. 
Andrew Stunell: As stated in my answer of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 89W, information about how many landlords have been prosecuted under the legislative provisions governing the operation of houses in multiple occupation is not held centrally. The Department has no plans to begin collecting this information or to assess the cost of collection.
The Government remain committed to the goal of reducing the burdens of data reporting requirements on local government.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding his Department provides to local authorities for the purposes of maintaining playgrounds; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: Formula grant is an unhypothecated block grant i.e. authorities are free to spend it on any service. For this reason, and due to the method of calculating formula grant, particularly floor damping, it is not possible to say how much grant has been provided for any particular service, including maintaining playgrounds.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to provide protection for urban green spaces. 
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister for Decentralisation, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg
Clark) to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Andrew Jones) on 17 January 2011, Official Report, column 534.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost of holding a referendum related to neighbourhood planning; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: We will be publishing an impact assessment on our neighbourhood plan proposals in due course which will outline how the changes will increase sustainable development and deliver monetised benefits to local authorities and developers.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change changes to planning guidance for the purposes of preventing building that would have the effect of blocking light from reaching photovoltaic cell arrays fitted to existing properties; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: National planning policy on climate change already encourages planning authorities to consider the impact of new building on existing properties so as to avoid prejudicing their renewable energy supply. We are working with the Department for Energy and Climate Change and other Departments on the new national planning policy framework. This will cover all forms of development and set out the Government's national economic, environmental and social priorities, including climate change.
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with Barnsley metropolitan borough council on (a) local authority funding for the voluntary sector in Barnsley East constituency and (b) implementation of the Government's Big Society initiative. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government has had no direct discussions with Barnsley metropolitan council on funding for the voluntary sector.
We are supporting Barnsley to develop a small area budget and Local Integrated Services approach in Thurnscoe, which will give residents more influence and control over their local public services. This is part of the Government's work to develop Community Budgets.
In December 2010 the Kendray Initiative, based in Barnsley, was awarded the Prime Minister's Big Society Award in recognition of their work to transform the local community.
An officer from Barnsley took part in a roundtable discussion on the development and implementation of decentralisation in Leeds on 20 December 2010. This was an event for councils across Yorkshire and Humberside.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many (a) women and (b) men he has appointed to public duties since May 2010; 
(2) what public appointments he has made since his appointment; and to what payments each person so appointed is entitled. 
The Deputy Prime Minister: I have made 14 unpaid public appointments (including one joint appointment with the Prime Minister) since May 2010. Details of these appointments can be found on
Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what single tender contracts the Government Equalities Office has awarded since her appointment; and what the monetary value is of each contract above the EU public procurement threshold. 
Lynne Featherstone: The following single tender contracts have been awarded by the Government Equalities Office since 12 May 2010:
|Supplier||Nature of contract awarded|
(1) Production of guides, distribution and associated training to support the implementation of the Equality Act 2010
|(1) Indicates a brace.|
The monetary value of the contracts was below the EU public procurement threshold.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many (a) women and (b) men have been appointed to public duties by the Government Equalities Office since May 2010. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office has made no public appointments since May 2010.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether his Department publishes a register of interests for the Civil Service. 
Mr Maude: The "Civil Service Management Code" requires civil servants to declare to their department any relevant interests which they would be able to further as a result of their official duties.
Relevant interests for civil servants who are members of departmental management boards are available as part of a Department's annual report and accounts.
Mike Freer: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office 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 Maude: The Cabinet Office is working towards achieving a space allocation per employee (full-time equivalent) of 10 sq m. The Cabinet Office supports measures to improve work/life balance, including flexible working. Flexible working incorporates a wide variety of working patterns. Home working policies and the provision of access to communications while staff are working at home support this commitment. Hot desking is not currently adopted formally across the Department although as part of an ongoing estate rationalisation programme this is expected to be rolled out more widely. Information on the number of employees on average per desk is not held but information on office space utilisation in the Cabinet Office (including on space per full-time equivalent) is available in the annual State of the Estate Reports
Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of families with children were headed by a single parent in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency in each year for which figures are available. 
Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2011:
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your request to ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of families with children were headed by a single parent in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency in each year for which figures are available. (35797)
The number and type of families in areas of the UK can be estimated using the Annual Population Survey (APS). Data are available for 2004 to 2009. As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty which increases as the size of the geography presented becomes smaller. As a result year on year fluctuations do not necessarily represent a significant change in the true estimate.
Lone parent families with at least one dependent child as a percentage of all families with at least one dependent child are shown in the attached tables. A lone parent family is a lone parent living with his or her never-married children, providing that these children have no partners or children of their own living with them. Dependent children are children living with their parent(s) aged under 16, or aged 16 to 18 in full-time education.
Copies of Tables 1-3 have been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Table 1 shows the data by local authority for 2004 to 2009; Table 2 shows the data for 2004 to 2008 based on 2005 parliamentary constituency boundaries; and Table 3 shows the data for 2009 based on 2010 parliamentary constituency boundaries. Tables 2 and 3 are not directly comparable due to boundary changes.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the budget is of each non-departmental public body in the current financial year. 
Mr Maude: Information on the size, spend and Government funding of the non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) sector is published in the annual Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies". The latest published data show that as at 31 March 2009 there were 766 NDPBs. These spent over £46 billion, of which over £38 billion was directly funded by the Government. Data for 2010 will be published shortly. More detailed information is published in Departments' reports on the NDPBs which they sponsor and in individual bodies' annual reports and accounts.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether as part of its review of non-departmental public bodies, he plans to publish details on how the Cabinet Office's tests have been applied to all public bodies that are still under review. 
Mr Maude: I plan to release an update to my written ministerial statement of 14 October 2010, Official Report, column 26WS, in due course.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what criteria apply in connection with his Department's review of public bodies. 
Mr Maude: The coalition Government are committed to increasing the accountability of public bodies, and this involves reducing their number and their cost to the taxpayer.
To take this work forward, Cabinet Office and HM Treasury worked closely with Departments to look at all public bodies to make decisions about whether the functions they carry out should continue. Where it was decided that a function should continue, we applied three tests in order to assess whether it should continue to be carried out by a pubic body:
does that body perform a technical function?
does it need to be politically impartial?
does it act independently to establish facts?
Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the proportion of those made redundant in the public sector during the comprehensive spending review period who will be aged 50 or over at the time of being made redundant; and if he will make a statement. 
Danny Alexander: I have been asked to reply.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published, as part of the "Economic and Fiscal Outlook" on 29 November 2010, projections for general government employment to 2015-16, which can be found at:
The OBR has not published forecasts for individual age groups. It will be for individual employers to determine the exact work force implications of their settlements.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to assist employers to take on apprentices in North Swindon constituency. 
Mr Hayes: We are committed to expanding the apprenticeship programme nationally and we are determined to make it easier for employers of all sizes and in all regions to take on apprentices. In England, we have increased funding for apprenticeships to over £1.4 billion in the 2011-12 financial year to train over 300,000 apprentices (at all ages).
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) are supporting the Plan 500* initiative, which seeks to improve employer engagement across Swindon. As part of this initiative they are supporting the Swindon business show to encourage employers to take on apprentices, and making some 150 apprenticeship vacancies available to young people in the area who are not in education, employment or training. NAS are also working with Business Link to promote a 'Meet the Apprentice' event and working with the local Apprenticeship Training Association (South West Apprenticeship Company (SWAC) to assist local employers to take on apprentices in the Swindon area.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many professional and career development loans were made to students resident in each local authority area to facilitate study for national vocational qualifications or other qualifications to obtain registration on the Approved Driving Instructor Register in each of the last five years. 
Mr Willetts [holding answer 24 January 2011]: The Department does not hold specific information in relation to the breakdown of Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL) per local authority area, or the type of qualification undertaken with a PCDL to achieve an approved driving instructor qualification. Current available data over the last five years, including take-up in Scotland, illustrate that around 900 loans were accessed in pursuit of driving instructor courses. This is broken down by calendar years as:
2009: 37; and
There are no specific national vocational qualifications or other qualifications which lead to registration on the Approved Driving Instructor Register. To register, applicants must pass the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) exams.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department is taking steps to tackle fraudulent spam emails claiming to be from the Student Loans Company. 
Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company (SLC) is very concerned about its customers receiving fraudulent emails. The SLC is proactive in alerting all its customers to be vigilant when receiving emails requesting personal information which claim to be from the SLC. This activity is known as phishing.
As well as alerting customers to phishing activity on their website, the SLC has issued press releases in an attempt to heighten awareness and encourage vigilance.
SLC encourage customers to forward all phishing emails to them so that they can arrange the closure of the sites. This is typically achieved within 24 hours. Since July 2010, the SLC has taken action that led to 62 phishing sites being closed down.
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will introduce incentives to encourage employers to hire and retain employees who also work (a) as retained duty system firefighters, (b) as special constables and (c) in other roles in support of emergency services. 
Mr Davey: We do not provide specific incentives to encourage the employment of retained duty firefighters, special constables and others in similar roles. The Government values greatly the contribution of firefighters employed on the retained duty system. An employers' information toolkit and an employers' recognition scheme have been provided (in 2009 and 2010 respectively) to support the Fire and Rescue Service in building links with the local business community and encouraging the release of staff for the retained duty system.
The Government also values greatly the work of special constables and is looking at a range of ways in which to encourage more people to volunteer as special constables. We encourage employers to take on people who are also involved in supporting and protecting their local community, as part of this Government's big society agenda.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the main areas of (a) strength and (b) weakness of the fashion industry. 
Mr Vaizey: I have been asked to reply.
I have not made any specific assessment of the main areas of strength and weakness of the fashion industry. However, the British Fashion Council has recently published the Value of Fashion report which shows that fashion makes a significant contribution to the UK economy and confirms British fashion's status as one of our most important creative industries.
Potential opportunities and barriers to growth in this sector will be considered as part of the digital and creative industries growth review.
Amber Rudd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful applicants to university from (i) Hastings and Rye constituency, (ii) Hastings borough council area, (iii) East Sussex, (iv) the south east and (v) England were from each socio-economic background in each of the last five years. 
Mr Willetts: Data by socio-economic background are not available for each of the years requested. Therefore, applicants are split by participation of local areas (POLAR) quintiles.
Applicants who were not accepted for entry can include:
individuals who did not receive any offer;
individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to university;
individuals who received a conditional offer and failed to meet the specific conditions (e.g. they did not achieve certain grades); and
individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.
|Accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses in UK institutions via UCAS by area background( 1) , 2006/07 to 2010/11|
|Geographical area||Area background||POLAR2 quintile||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Unplaced applicants to full-time undergraduate courses in UK institutions via UCAS by area background( 1) 2006/07 to 2010/11|
|Geographical area||Area background||POLAR2 quintile||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|(1) For the purposes of their funding allocations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) treat entrants from the most disadvantaged 40% of neighbourhoods as 'disadvantaged'|
HEFCE uses two different groupings of areas to define disadvantage which are based on the historic levels of participation or qualification in higher education by the local population: one based on the participation rates of young (19 and under) people in HE (which is used by HEFCE when looking at young full-time entrants); and one based on the proportion of adults in the area who hold HE qualifications (which is used by HEFCE when looking at part-time and mature full-time entrants). Because these tables include applicants and accepted applicants of all ages disadvantage is defined by the HE qualified adults measure.
Numbers for successful and unsuccessful applicants are too small to be split into five quintiles for constituency and local authority level. Therefore the data are split into those from areas classified as 'disadvantaged' or 'other.'
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