Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the government of Bangladesh on its plans to reduce poverty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Duncan: Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, is visiting London this week and has had discussions with our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and ministerial colleagues. I met her and the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, Dr Dipu Moni, yesterday. We had a good discussion about the future scale and scope of UK aid to Bangladesh. UK aid will be directed at helping Bangladesh achieve its poverty reduction goals, including better services in education and health for the poorest, especially women. We agreed on the importance of transparency and a strong focus on results.
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development's (DFID) decompression policies and procedures support our employees who live and work in conflict zones. This allows them to have regular time away from the conflict zone and the opportunity to access support services.
DFID's policy on decompression of employees in Afghanistan is that employees spend six weeks in country and two weeks out of country. They also have the option of three weeks in country and one week out of country, provided that the total cost and time away do not exceed the costs for the six weeks/two weeks policy.
We encourage staff to talk to a counsellor on a routine basis every six months to ensure they continue to cope in the environment and when they leave Afghanistan, we have routine debriefing procedures to ensure they have the support they need to cope with returning from a difficult environment.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development 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. 
Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not issued any single tender contracts for a value above the EU public procurement threshold since the Secretary of State's appointment.
DFID has delegated procurement below the EU public procurement threshold to its global offices. Details of any single tenders issued are not centrally recorded and cannot be provided without disproportionate cost.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's budget for overseas projects was spent on projects aiming to assist women and girls in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr O'Brien: Achieving results for women and girls is one of the Department for International Development's (DFID's) six strategic priorities. DFID aims to assist women and girls throughout its project portfolio and also supports projects targeting specific issues related to women and girls and gender equality. Due to the cross cutting nature of gender policy is not possible to disaggregate a precise figure for total expenditure on projects aiming to assist women and girls.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of his Department's budget for overseas projects was spent on microfinance projects for (a) both men and women and (b) women only in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr O'Brien: The requested information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. The Department for International Development (DFID) does not hold consolidated data on expenditure on microfinance programmes as a proportion of the total overseas aid budget. Nor does DFID hold consolidated data on expenditure on microfinance projects by gender.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of microfinance projects
in contributing to progress towards Millennium Development Goal Three: to promote gender equality and empower women. 
Mr O'Brien: Financial inclusion programmes supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) demonstrate the positive impact that microfinance can have on women's empowerment. For example, DFID supports the Kashf Foundation in Pakistan, which provides financial services to women from low income communities. An assessment of the programme found that: 60% of clients took out loans to start new businesses; 34% of long-term clients experienced improvement in their economic situation; two-thirds increased their savings; and women's increased ability to contribute to the family income improved their status within the household.
We cannot assume, however, that women's empowerment is an automatic outcome of microfinance programmes. DFID is producing a toolkit to strengthen the design, implementation and measurement of programmes to empower women through improved financial inclusion. The toolkit will be launched in spring 2011.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he plans to take to support women and girls and reduce gender inequality after the expiry of his Department's Gender Equality Action Plan in March 2011. 
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development's (DFID's) business plan sets out how we will lead international action to improve the lives of girls and women in the period 2011-15 including by:
improving maternal health and access to family planning;
increasing the number of girls completing primary and secondary education;
promoting their economic empowerment through jobs and access to financial services; and
tackling violence against women and girls.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many projects funded through UK official development aid were halted due to misuse of such funds by the recipients in each year since 2007-08. 
Mr Andrew Mitchell: Since April 2007, the Department for International Development (DFID) has stopped or withdrawn funds from a total of seven projects or programmes due to fraud or other abuse: one in 2008-09, two in 2009-10, and four to date during 2010-11. The total value withheld or withdrawn was £23 million.
DFID has rigorous systems and procedures to ensure effective oversight of its funding and to ensure that UK aid achieves maximum value for money-reaching and delivering results for its intended recipients. As I have previously stated, this Government have a zero tolerance approach to fraud, corruption and other misuse. DFID takes the strongest action where any such abuse of taxpayers' funds is proven, including disciplinary, civil or criminal action as appropriate against those responsible.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the aid classified as official development assistance (ODA) provided by UK non-governmental organisations funded through Gift Aid contributions in each year since 2007-08; and what method he used to estimate the proportion of UK ODA attributable to gift aided contributions. 
Mr Duncan: The level of official development assistance provided by UK non-governmental organisations funded through Gift Aid is published in the Department for International Development's (DFID) annual publication "Statistics on International Development" which is available on the DFID website and in the Library of the House. The relevant figures for 2007-08 to 2009-10 are shown in the following table. These figures are estimated using returns provided by relevant organisations to DFID's Voluntary Agency Survey, conducted annually.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Attorney-General what single tender contracts the Law Officers' Departments have awarded since his appointment; and what the monetary value is of each contract above the EU public procurement threshold. 
A contract for the services of a Management Receiver was awarded to a firm in December 2010. At the time of the award specific details of the case were confidential, and an open tender may have jeopardised an ongoing criminal investigation. The firm was selected from a short-list of companies who were successfully appointed to a framework contract for Management Receivers in 2010. The firm chosen to complete the work was selected based on their experience of similar work. The value of the contract is dependant on the final value of the assets confiscated.
A contract for legal advisory services was awarded in September 2010. The timeframe and complex nature of the work meant that it was appropriate to award a single tender contract. The value of the contract is estimated at £24,000.
The Treasury Solicitor's Department (Tsol) internal threshold for applying a competitive process to the purchase of goods and services is £3,000. Purchases with a value below this figure are subject to a single quotation/tender and value for money check, however it is not possible to identify most of the individual contracts which fall into this category without incurring a disproportionate cost.
The majority, by value, of purchases made by Tsol are for legal services. Tsol uses the Attorney-General's Panel Counsel (barristers) and the Litigation Catalogue (solicitor agents and litigation support services) to call-off services-both of these have been subject to competition and are managed by the Department.
Where legal services could not be commissioned from these two panels the work may have been awarded subject to comparable quotations. However, where the legal timetable or specific nature of the matter made it unrealistic, or significantly more costly, to seek more than one quotation the services will have been secured under a single tender arrangement. Legal services are classified as Part B services under the EU Procurement Rules which largely exempts them from the competition obligations under the EU Public Service Contracts Regulations.
Tsol awarded a contract for the supply of additional office furniture under a single tender process in December 2010 to Herman Miller for office furniture with a value of up to £30,000 over the next three years, this fell under the EU public procurement threshold. No other single awards have been made.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. 
Mr Paterson: A single tender contract was awarded in October 2010 by the Independent Commission for the Location of Victims Remains as part of the successful search for the remains of Peter Wilson, one of the disappeared. My Department considered this to be appropriate due to the specialised demands of the work and the security risks associated with an open tender process. The contract was below the EU public procurement threshold.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet his Canadian counterpart to discuss animal cruelty in the operation of rodeos; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Ministers currently have no plans to raise this issue with their Canadian counterparts. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have made their Canadian counterparts aware of public concern in the UK about the practice of calf-roping at rodeos.
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) aims to be as clear as possible in all its communication. Ministers and the FCO Board launched a diplomatic excellence initiative in November 2010 which will ensure there is a sharper focus on the use of precise, accurate English and avoiding jargon.
Alistair Burt: Foreign and Commonwealth Office expenditure on all car services provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency covering use by officials and Ministers during the period 1 May 2010 to date is £121,000.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what public appointments he has made since his appointment; and to what payments each person so appointed is entitled. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign Secretary has appointed four new Commissioners to the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC). The MACC is a non-departmental public body of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. These positions are all unpaid.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what 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) budget for the first 12 months of operation is in each case. 
Alistair Burt: As required, we readjust the size, staffing and structure of teams within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to meet our operational needs. We do not keep central records of each adjustment, and the information sought could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Bellingham: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Mr Watson) on 29 November 2010, Official Report, column 552W. Since then, Government Hospitality has spent £15,039 on replenishing stocks of English and French white wines.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to increase the proportion of British ambassadorial posts recruited through open competition. 
Alistair Burt: It is the normal practice for senior ambassadorial appointments to be made through competition open to members of all Government Departments. A recruitment process is currently under way for the position of consul general New York which is also open to applicants from outside the civil service. While there is a recruitment freeze for the civil service, jobs may only be opened to external recruitment in exceptional cases.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) name and (b) salary is of each senior civil servant who has (i) moved posts within and (ii) left his Department since May 2010. 
Alistair Burt: Under the Data Protection Principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), it is not possible to disclose the names or positions of each individual staff member. It would breach the fair processing principle: that the individual to whom the personal data relates has a reasonable expectation that the Department will hold that information in confidence.
Providing data on the salaries of the senior civil servants who have moved posts within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since May 2010 would be possible only at disproportionate cost. 28 senior civil servants have left the Department since May 2010.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the access afforded by the Sri Lankan authorities to the BBC to report on the proceedings of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in that country. 
Alistair Burt: Our high commission in Colombo regularly raises issues of concern relating to freedom of expression with the Sri Lankan Government, including on the issue of media access to the conflict-affected areas. Our high commission in Colombo is in regular contact with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) correspondent in Sri Lanka. However, we have not received any representation from the BBC asking for our assistance on this issue.
However, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) will shortly begin a campaign to recruit a new Commissioner to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The remuneration for this post will be £500 per day for 20 to 30 days per year.
Government have set themselves the aspiration that by the end of the Parliament at least 50% of all appointees being made to the boards of public bodies will be women. Appointments will continue to be made on merit and Government will step up their efforts to attract qualified women to public positions and ensure that working practices and conditions are family-friendly. GEO and Cabinet Office are developing an action plan to support Departments to achieve more diverse appointments which will be published shortly.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities whether she has made an assessment of the effects on small businesses of a requirement to publish the salaries of male and female employees. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government are working with a range of key partners to develop a voluntary approach to equality reporting, including pay. Its purpose is to help employers recognise how to make the most of the talent available and to help individuals make the most of their skills and experience. The Government Equalities Office has no plans to require small businesses to publish the salaries of their employees and therefore has not made such an assessment.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities who will assume the responsibilities formerly carried out by the Women's National Commission representative at the forthcoming meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in February 2011. 
Lynne Featherstone: We remain committed to continuing the strong, productive and fully engaged relationship with UK non-governmental organisations (NGOs) attending the 55th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
The upcoming CSW session provides a timely opportunity to set in motion our plans for a more direct mechanism for engaging with women across the UK under a new model, including revitalising communication on international matters. A pre-CSW briefing meeting with Government officials and NGO representatives attending the CSW took place on 19 January. Building on that, the Government Equalities Office will continue
to keep NGOs updated on UN developments and NGO co-ordination arrangements in the following weeks.
Moving forward, we will be consulting on the new model shortly and look forward to welcoming the views from the women's sector on how we might effectively engage with them on international priorities more widely.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information his Department holds on the number of (a) people, (b) people of pensionable age and (c) disabled people in the area served by each court proposed for closure who live further than one hour's travel by public transport from the proposed receiving court. 
Mr Djanogly: The consultation response documents detail the percentage of the population in each area estimated to be within a 60 minute public transport commute of receiving courts. Due to the size and complexity of the data it would be necessary to analyse in order to estimate the number of people within each area who are of pensionable age or who are disabled and who live further than one hour's travel from a receiving court, such estimates have not been made.
The Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) that accompany each of the 16 HMCS area consultation responses papers identify the potential impacts of the court estate reform programme on different communities and groups of people.
Mr Blunt: The Government propose making changes to the provision of interpretation and translation services across the justice sector, including the courts. We are currently engaging with the market to explore how interpretation and translation can be delivered more efficiently without compromising quality. The exercise is a "competitive dialogue" process which allows us to explore with potential providers the best way for them to meet our requirements. The written ministerial statement I issued on 15 September 2010, Official Report, column 46WS, provides more details.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been subject to drug testing treatment orders since their inception; and how many people were subject to such an order in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Blunt: The drug treatment and testing order (DTTO) was rolled-out to courts across England and Wales from October 2000. From April 2005, the drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) gradually replaced the DTTO as the primary means for adult offenders to address their drug misuse as part of a community order or suspended sentence order.
|Drug treatment and testing orders (DTTOs)/drug rehabilitation requirements (DRRs) commencements|
|(1) Six months only (October 2000-March 2001).|
These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
Mr Djanogly: The Government have given a commitment to provide more protection against aggressive bailiffs. We are preparing a consultation paper focusing on powers of entry, better regulation and costs of enforcement-related services.
Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of (a) 17 November and (b) 14 December 2010 regarding a constituent, Mr Allison. 
It is not clear what is meant by the term 'doctor's notes'. If the question refers to sickness certificates then this information is not collected centrally. Also, the general practitioner would not necessarily know that their patient was an offender on community service.
Mr Blunt: Prisons have always been required to examine specific security risks in their establishments and to set out a local strategy for dealing with those risks. Intelligence-led, targeted searches of specific prisoners or prison areas is one important and productive aspect of this strategy that has always been encouraged in prisons.
Since May 2010 the National Offender Management Service has removed the requirement for prisons outside of the High Security Estate to conduct routine searches in certain areas of the prison. By doing this, in appropriate circumstances, prisons are able to set more effective local searching strategies by moving away from routine searching, which can be predictable and unproductive, and instead concentrate resources on more targeted searches driven by intelligence or other local need. Prisons are required to carry out a local risk assessment to determine if a programme of routine cell searching is required and if so the extent of this. Local searching strategies are documented by each prison and agreed with the regional manager.
Data on targeted searches are not available centrally and to provide this information would require every establishment in England and Wales to collate this information which could be done only at disproportionate cost.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the (a) total cost and (b) average cost per set to the prison service of providing television sets in prison cells in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Blunt: The cost of providing television sets in prison cells is met from the revenue generated by the weekly charge paid by prisoners for the rental of television sets from the prison service. There is therefore no cost to the prison service.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners there were in each prison in each of the last three years; and how many visitors there were to each prison in that period. 
The number of visitors to each prison establishment is not recorded or centrally collated. Information is held at individual prisons in varying formats and the total number could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
|Prison population, England and Wales, as at 30 June, by establishment and year|
|n/a = Not applicable.|
(1) HMP Albany is now part of the organisational amalgamation of the former HMPs Camp Hill and Parkhurst. They now form HMP The Isle of Wight from 1 April 2009.
(2) HMP Bure opened in November 2009.
(3) HMP Elmley forms part of The Sheppey Cluster, an amalgamation of HMP Standford Hill and HMP Swaleside.
(4) HMP Hewell was created by an amalgamation of the three former prisons, Brockhill and Hewell Grange on 25 June 2008.
Mr Blunt: The best measure of drug misuse in prisons is the random mandatory drug testing (rMDT) programme, which detects drug misuse among prisoners. The following table gives the class A and B results from the rMDT programme in 2009-10, broken down by prison region and type of drug identified.
|Random mandatory drug testing: 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010|
|Number of tests positive by class A and B drug groups|
|Region||Number of tests conducted||Cannabis||Opiates( 1)||Cocaine||Methadone||Amphetamines||Barbiturates||LSD|
|(1) Includes some positives for dihydrocodiene and codeine which, for these purposes, are exempt from the Misuse of Drugs Act.|
Prisons also record the number of seizures of drugs. The following table gives the number and type of class A and B seizures in 2009-10, broken down by region. Many seizures are similar in appearance and where not attributable are not categorically identified by scientific analysis. These data differ slightly to those recently provided for a similar question answered on 24 January 2011, Official Report, column 44W. The difference is attributable to the live nature of the data systems interrogated to obtain the data, and the complexity of that interrogation.
|Class A and B drug finds in prisons in England and Wales: 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010|
|Finds by drug group|
|Region||Total number of finds||Amphetamines||Barbiturates||Cannabis||Cocaine||Heroin||LSD|
All figures in this answer have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. The data are not subject to audit.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many visitors to prisons in England and Wales were found to be in possession of mobile telephones in areas where visitors are not permitted to carry such telephones in 2009-10. 
Mr Blunt: In order to provide the information requested, we would need to contact all Prison Service establishments, ask them to check their local records and to submit this information to headquarters. This would incur disproportionate cost.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2011, Official Report, column 822W, on tribunals: Colchester, how many tribunals were held in Colchester under the chairmanship of Mrs M.A. Hampshire in the last 12 months; and how many appeals were (a) upheld and (b) dismissed under her chairmanship. 
Mr Gibb: The Department for Education will cease to fund work force development activity through the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC), and will bring its ongoing core activities into the Department. The transfer of work is expected to be completed within the next 18 months, when CWDC's status as a non-departmental public body will cease. CWDC as a company and employer-led body will be free to seek alternative funding.
Tim Loughton [holding answer 21 January 2011]: As the Department is still in the process of working through the details on the level of work force needed to deliver the coalition Government's education agenda in future years, the likely costs attached to the early release of staff has yet to be finalised.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make an assessment of the likely effects on young people in Poplar and Limehouse constituency of his proposed replacement scheme for education maintenance allowance. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 20 December 2010]: We are committed to making sure that young people from low income households can continue in education and training post-16. We are considering the replacement for the education maintenance allowance and want to ensure that the funds we have are targeted on those young people who most need support to enable them to continue in education.
Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent estimate his Department has made of the effects on the level of (a) attendance and (b) attainment of students of receiving education maintenance allowance. 
Mr Gibb: We have looked at the extensive evaluation evidence relating to the education maintenance allowance (EMA) pilots, which indicated that the scheme would increase participation of 16-year-olds by 3.8 percentage points and of 17-year-olds by 4.1 percentage points nationally. The pilot evaluation also indicated an increase in overall attainment at level 2 and level 3 by around 2.5 percentage points for females and 2 percentage points for males.
While these outcomes are very welcome, other research commissioned by the previous Administration suggest that around 90% of the young people who receive EMA would still have participated in education if the scheme was not available.
We are committed to making sure that young people from low income households can continue in education and training post-16. We are considering the replacement for the education maintenance allowance and want to
ensure that the funds we have are targeted on those young people who most need support to enable them to continue in education.
Mr Gibb: The rules pertaining to the naming of qualifications are a matter for Ofqual, the independent exams regulator. Dennis Opposs, Director of Standards at Ofqual, has written to my hon. Friend and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.
Further to your Parliamentary Question seeking the removal of the distinction between the IGCSE and the Level 1/2 Certificate I am writing to clarify the position of Ofqual on this issue. Our position is essentially based on clarity and expectations.
Under the 'Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act (2009)' Ofqual will accredit qualifications that meet the relevant published criteria. There are currently no criteria for qualifications titled 'IGCSE'. Use of this title could create unfounded expectations amongst users (learners, employers, schools and colleges) of the consistency with GCSE requirements. For example, users might expect that a qualification in French would include ail four of the skill areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. This inclusion is a requirement at GCSE but not a feature of all IGCSE qualifications. Such differences may be confusing to users. On this basis, Ofqual and the regulators for Wales and Northern Ireland have decided that the title 'IGCSE' will not be accepted for accreditation purposes at this time.
I can confirm that the awarding organisation Cambridge International Examinations has a number of qualifications accredited by the regulators as Level 1/2 Certificates and markets them under the title 'IGCSE'. Some of these qualifications are approved for use in maintained schools and colleges in England through inclusion in the Section 96 list maintained by the Department for Education. Likewise the awarding organisation Edexcel has submitted to us for accreditation some Level 1/2 Certificates derived from their unregulated 'IGCSE' qualifications offered in other countries.
Level 1/2 Certificates may not cover the requirements of the Programmes of Study in subjects where they exist but in carrying out the accreditation review of these qualifications we focus on the need for equivalence in demand of the teaching, learning and assessment requirements in comparison to the national GCSE qualification suite.
I trust that this clarifies the current situation and the stance taken by Ofqual to ensure clarity for users and consistency of demand across qualifications. Should you require any further information about this or the workings of Ofqual, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether compliance with the recommendations on financial education as part of Personal, Social and Health Education for Key Stages 1 to 4 is mandatory for schools. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 17 January 2011]: We want all schools to provide high-quality financial management education as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. The key processes on financial capability as set out in the PSHE economic well-being and financial capability programmes of study at key stages 3 and 4 are non-statutory.
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the extension of family leave on school attainment figures; and whether his Department takes into account family leave absences when assessing school performance; 
Mr Gibb: Good discipline and regular attendance at school is essential to ensure that all pupils can benefit from the opportunities provided by education. It is this Government's intention to restore the authority of teachers and head teachers so they can establish a culture of excellence in their school. School should be a place where there is good behaviour in the classroom, where pupils feel safe, give respect and are respected in turn, and want to come to school to learn.
There has been no change to the regulations that govern the amount of family leave that can be granted. The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 state that a pupil may be granted leave of absence from school to enable them to go away on holiday but that, save for exceptional circumstances, they should not be granted more than 10 school days leave of absence in any school year.
Head teachers and local councils already have powers to issue penalty notices (fines of £50 to £100) to parents who fail to ensure their children's regular school attendance, which includes taking them on holiday during term time without the school's permission. Alternatively, local councils can prosecute parents under section 444 of the Education Act 1996. If parents are found guilty of the offence the Act provides for heavier sanctions where the parent condoned their children's absence from school, as in the case of taking them out of school on an extended family holiday without permission. The court can fine parents up to £2,500 and or give a prison sentence of up to three months. The parent will also get a criminal record. Prosecutions should be used as a last resort by local councils as in most cases a penalty notice will be a sufficient sanction to deter parents.
The Department publishes absence and attainment data for schools as part of the annual Schools Performance Tables. The recently published Primary School (Key Stage 2) Performance Tables included schools overall absence, persistent absence and unauthorised absence data. The Secondary Schools (Key Stage 4) Performance Tables are due for publication in January 2011.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many school sports hall facilities were (a) built and (b) refurbished in (i) England, (ii) the West Midlands and (iii) Dudley borough in each of the last 10 years. 
Richard Benyon: As a Department that deals with technical and scientific issues, some use of acronyms and abbreviations is inevitable. Nevertheless, DEFRA is committed to the use of clear English in all its external and internal communications. There are pages dedicated to the use of clear English on the DEFRA intranet which all staff are encouraged to read.
Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the tonnage of fish discarded in respect of each of the five most common fish species discarded by trawlers operating in the North Sea registered (a) in the UK and (b) in other EU member states; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) of the European Commission compiles data on landings and discards of the main commercial species by fishing gear type. The following estimates of landings and discards by trawlers are based on the STECF data. The estimates cover the three most recent years for which data have been published. Estimates for the two main types of trawl gear (demersal trawls and beam trawls) are given separately.
|Beam trawl||Demersal trawl|
|UK||Other member state s||UK||Other member state s|
|Beam trawl||Demersal trawl|
|UK||Other member state s||UK||Other member state s|
|Beam trawl||Demersal trawl|
|UK||Other member state s||UK||Other member state s|
|Beam trawl||Demersal trawl|
|UK||Other member state s||UK||Other member state s|
|Beam trawl||Demersal trawl|
|UK||Other member state s||UK||Other member state s|
Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps she is taking to reduce the number of non-target fish species discarded in the North Sea by trawlers registered in the UK and other EU member states; and if she will make a statement; 
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