Previous Section Index Home Page

27 Jan 2011 : Column 416W—continued

Richard Benyon: Discards are a clear waste of natural resources. To minimise discards by all types of vessels
27 Jan 2011 : Column 417W
throughout UK seas we are working at a European level to radically reform the common fisheries policy (CFP). However the UK is not awaiting the results of this reform to take action. There have been a number of initiatives aimed at reducing discards, including trialling an alternative "catch quota" management system which is based on managing and monitoring what is caught-not just what is landed. This trial had positive results; reducing discards, increasing selectivity and allowing fishermen to land more and will provide useful evidence for the reform of the CFP.

While landing by-catch that would otherwise be discarded would reduce the problem of discards it would not avoid by-catch in the first instance. Our preference has always been to make fishing more selective, thus tackling the root of this wasteful practice and reducing mortality of non-target fish. Project 50%, a collaborative project between fishermen in the south-west and Government, has led to improved selectivity of fishing gear and less by-catch.

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the (a) economic and (b) environmental effects on (i) the fishing fleet in the North East and (ii) the North Sea of the practice of discarding fish in the North Sea; and if she will make a statement. [36258]

Richard Benyon: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The total discard estimate in 2009 (the latest period for which figures are available for those fisheries sampled in UK) is 51,179 tonnes. There are many reasons explaining these discards; however, the current system for recording catch and discard data does not allow us to differentiate (year on year) why each fish is discarded. Despite this, CEFAS analysis, conducted in 2010 on the 2008 English and Welsh discard data, estimated that:

High grading is another type of discarding where fishermen try to optimise the value of their catches by keeping the good value fish and discarding the poorer value ones. This creates a financial profit for fishermen but is still a waste of fish. A European high grading ban is in place in waters around the UK to prevent this behaviour. Other types of discarding, such as unmarketable species, over quota and under MLS may represent a loss of value to the fishermen and from the fishery.

Estimates of the financial impacts of discards for the British fleet in specific areas are unreliable. To simply use the average market value of all fish species as a multiplier would give an inaccurate estimate of the financial impact of discards. We do, however, have a more robust study under way looking at the economic impact of discarding fish.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 418W

(b) The environmental impacts on the ecosystem of discarding fish include the direct effects of discard mortality on fish stocks and the effects of population growth in species that utilise these discards.

The direct ecological effects of fish mortality through being caught and discarded are inextricably linked to overall fishing mortality. In the North sea, excessive fishing mortality has been shown to:

A wide range of scavengers, including seabirds and fishes, are known to feed on discards. In the North sea, discarding is estimated to account for up to 10% of the overall annual food consumption of scavengers. This level of contribution is probably sufficient to allow larger populations of these scavenging species to exist than would otherwise be possible. For instance, seabirds are estimated to consume 50% of discarded material; enough potentially to support over six million birds.

Several seabed dwelling species also utilise discards but evidence for expansion of these populations, as a response to discards, is weak. In general, the full impacts of discarding on marine communities are not well understood, and neither are the consequences of reducing the amount of discarded material. However, it is recognised that removing non-marketable marine organisms from the ecosystem will reduce its health, and is therefore not consistent with good ecosystem management.

Fishing Catches: South East

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of fish caught off the (a) Sussex and (b) South East coast was discarded under the provisions of the EU Common Fisheries Policy in the latest period for which figures are available. [36072]

Richard Benyon: During 2010, CEFAS scientists joined 12 commercial fishing trips sailing from ports on the south-east coast between Lymington and Ramsgate in order to estimate the quantities of fish discarded during these trips. Eight of these trips were aboard vessels based in the Sussex ports of Rye and Shoreham. Overall, 67% by number of the fish caught were discarded, with the corresponding figure from the Sussex trips being 63%. During these trips, 62 different species of fish were caught.

Many of these were discarded because there is no market for the species. Only four of the 62 species caught (cod, plaice, Dover sole and whiting) were subject to legal minimum landing sizes and quota restrictions. Discards of these species involved individuals both below and above the minimum landing sizes.

Forests: Crown Lands and Estates

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what land in each constituency the Crown Estate has transferred to the Forestry Commission in each of the last 30 years. [36377]


27 Jan 2011 : Column 419W

Mr Paice: In the last 30 years no land in England has been transferred to the Forestry Commission from the Crown Estates.

Natural Gas: Drinking Water

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the extent of risk to drinking water supplies posed by shale gas drilling. [36476]

Richard Benyon: The drinking water regulations were changed at the end of 2007 to require water companies to risk assess every drinking water supply and monitor each raw water source on a continual basis. Companies have a duty to take steps to mitigate any potential risks to human health and must notify the Drinking Water Inspectorate of such circumstances. The Chief Inspector of Drinking Water can by notice require further mitigation steps to be taken, or, exceptionally, require that a supply is shut down.

No risk to human health has been identified by the water company responsible for the one drinking water supply, out of a total of 857 in England and Wales, where shale gas drilling is a feature of the water catchment. Water companies are kept informed by the Environment Agency of changes in activities within drinking water catchments, including shale gas drilling.

Rats

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made an assessment of the relationship between the size and growth of the rat population in an area and the frequency of rubbish collections; and if she will make a statement. [36417]

Richard Benyon: There is no evidence of additional vermin problems associated with well designed alternate weekly collection services.

Recycling

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the relative merits of (a) deposit refund schemes and (b) doorstep recycling schemes in increasing recycling rates of beverage containers. [36241]

Richard Benyon: The relative merits of both methods are being considered as part of the review of waste policy, in the context of increasing the recycling rates of ail packaging, not just beverage containers.

Retail Trade: Packaging

Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with businesses on the reduction of the amount of packaging used to distribute and retail goods. [35846]

Richard Benyon: As part of the review of waste policy, DEFRA has met with a number of retailers and manufacturers recently to discuss a broad range of waste issues, including the issue of excess packaging.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 420W

Rodents: North East

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the size of the rat population in (a) Hartlepool and (b) the North East of England; and what assessment she has made of recent rat population trends. [36416]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA does not hold data on the size of the UK rat population or on the rat population in UK regions and towns.

Data on rodent presence in domestic dwellings are obtained from the English House Condition Survey (EHCS). The EHCS data only provide estimates of the proportions of dwellings with rats present inside or outside. It does not provide definitive data on numbers of rats.

In May 2010, DEFRA published an interim analysis of rodent presence in domestic properties from the EHCS data for 2005, 2006 and 2007. This reported that the occurrences of rats inside and outside in these years were not significantly different from those observed in 2003.

Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission: Correspondence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many items of correspondence were referred to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission by each hon. Member in 2009-10, listed in descending order of magnitude. [35212]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Child Support Agency

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what timetable he has set for the publication of the client fund accounts of the Child Support Agency. [36406]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 421W

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Disability Living Allowance: Mental Illness

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) in Leeds and (b) nationally applied for disability living allowance citing schizophrenia or a psychosis as their disability in each of the last five years; and how many such applications were refused in each such year. [34506]

Maria Miller: We are unable to say how many people (a) in Leeds and (b) nationally applied for disability living allowance citing schizophrenia or a psychosis as their disability in each of the last five years; and how many such applications were refused in each such year. This because our management information systems do not provide us with our customer's main disabling condition when they apply for disability living allowance or when they have their application refused.

Housing Benefit

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made on updating the regulations in respect of exempt accommodation for housing benefit; and what timescale he has set for the completion of this work. [36438]

Steve Webb: We are undertaking an extensive review of this policy which has involved commissioning independent research and discussions with stakeholders. We set up a working group which included local authorities, housing providers, welfare groups, the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government to inform the review. The research was published in December(1), and we hope to publish a consultation document on the principles of our proposed way forward in February.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 422W

This is an important but complicated area, and we are aware that the current arrangements can be improved to better reflect the financial needs of customers, local authorities and housing providers. We are aiming to make change from April 2012, and we will seek a solution which balances the needs of all these groups.

Housing Benefit: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount of housing benefit paid by tenure in East Lothian constituency was in the latest period for which figures are available; what the average amount of local housing allowance paid by tenure in East Lothian constituency was in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance recipients in (i) local authority, (ii) housing association and (iii) private sector housing in East Lothian constituency were also in receipt of (A) jobseeker's allowance and (B) employment and support allowance in the latest period for which figures are available. [35865]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

Mortgage Interest Scheme

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent progress his Department has made in negotiations with mortgage lenders on averaging out mortgage rates under the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme. [35838]

Steve Webb: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Torbay (Mr Sanders) on 17 January 2011, O fficial Report, column 519W.

Personal Income: East Lothian

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the medium household income was of a family in (a) social rented sector, (b) private rented sector and (c) owner-occupied accommodation in East Lothian constituency (i) before and (ii) after housing costs in the latest period for which figures are available. [35866]

Steve Webb: We use Households Below Average Income data to provide estimates of median incomes. However, the sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates for low-level geographies such as those requested.

The following table shows the median equivalised disposable household income by tenure for Scotland, before and after housing costs.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 423W

27 Jan 2011 : Column 424W
Table 1: Median equivalised disposable household income, for families, by tenure for Scotland, three year average 2006-07 to 2008-09, before and after housing costs
Median equivalised weekly disposable household income for families
Tenure type Before housing costs After housing costs

Owners

467

424

Social Renters

291

235

Private Renters

346

253

Notes
1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.
2. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.
3. The reference period for HBAI figures is single financial years. For countries and regions within the UK, three survey years have been combined as single year estimates are subject to volatility.
4. Weekly incomes are presented in 2008-09 prices and have been rounded to the nearest pound sterling.
5. Families are defined as a single adult or couple living as married and any dependent children, including same sex couples (civil partnerships and cohabitees) from January 2006. A household is made up of one of more families and is defined as a single person or group of people living at the same address as their only or main residence, who either share one meal a day together or share the living accommodation (i.e. a living room). In line with the wording of the question, analysis has been carried out at the family level.
Source:
Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2006-07 to 2008-09

Pregnant Women: Grants

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Sure Start maternity grants were made to mothers for their second or subsequent child in West Lancashire constituency in 2009-10. [5632]

Steve Webb: I apologise for the delay in replying which is due to an administrative error.

A total of 274,000 Sure Start maternity grants were awarded in Great Britain in 2009-10. The exact number of awards for a second or subsequent maternity is not available, but is estimated to be 52% of all awards, around 143,000.

The number of awards made in 2009-10 is available by Government office region or Jobcentre Plus social fund budget area only, not by constituency.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 November 2010, Official Report, columns 936-37W, how many of the calls received by the National Benefit Fraud Hotline in each of the last five years were examined by the Department and passed to (a) the Fraud Investigation Service or (b) the customer compliance teams in Jobcentre Plus (i) within 0 to 4 weeks, (ii) within one to two months, (iii) within two to four months, (iv) within four to six months, (v) within six to eight months, (vi) within eight to 10 months, (vii) within 10 to 12 months, (viii) after more than a year, (ix) after more than 15 months and (x) after more than two years. [36630]

Chris Grayling: Every call to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline is examined by the Department. The information received is entered immediately on to the IT system and then automatically submitted to either the Fraud Investigation Service or Customer Compliance.

Referrals initially sent for investigation by the Fraud Investigation Service might subsequently be referred to Customer Compliance for continued action at any time if it is clear that a criminal sanction would not be appropriate.

Social Security Benefits: Teenage Pregnancy

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid in benefits to pregnant teenagers in the latest period for which figures are available. [36206]

Maria Miller: In 2009-10, the Department paid £26 million in benefits to pregnant teenagers on income support. This is an estimate based on a sample of the Department's administrative records, and relates to Great Britain.

Similar expenditure statistics for other benefits are not available.

State Retirement Pensions: Uprating

Gordon Birtwistle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will commission research into a system for linking increases in pensions for those aged over 80 years to the rate of inflation; [36159]

(2) if he will assess the merits of changing the level of increase to pensions for those aged over 80 years to create an even rate of pension increase from retirement. [36160]

Steve Webb: We have no plans to commission such research. However, the 25p weekly age addition payable with the state pension for those who have reached 80 needs to be considered alongside the range of other measures and benefits that are available to pensioners.

These include the free television licence scheme for those over 75. The age-related personal income tax allowance for the over 75s is higher than the standard rate. For the tax year starting on 6 April 2011, pensioners aged 75 or over will not pay tax on incomes under £10,000. The standard winter fuel payment for households with someone aged 80 or over is £300 and £200 for households with someone aged 60 to 79.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 425W

We have met our commitment to restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011 by introducing the necessary legislation. We have also given a "triple guarantee" that the basic state pension is increased by the highest of the average growth in earnings, price increases or 2.5%.

Universal Credit

Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how housing costs will be assessed when determining eligibility for universal credit. [36656]

Steve Webb: While we are still developing our plans, our aim is to simplify the provision of housing support in universal credit as much as possible.

As announced in the Budget last year, we will set the amount we pay to support private-rented sector tenants at a level that will generally make the lowest third of market rents affordable. For social-rented sector tenants, we will build on the support provided by the current housing benefit system. We are currently considering whether changes are needed to the existing approach in calculating help with mortgage costs.

Communities and Local Government

Departmental Pay

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds on the number of sub-contracted staff servicing his Department who were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. [34824]

Robert Neill: The Department does not hold this information.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many employees of his Department who have been appointed since 10 May 2010 have annual salaries greater than (a) £100,000, (b) £134,565 and (c) £142,500. [34884]

Robert Neill: The Department has appointed one employee since 10 May 2010 with an annual salary greater than £100,000, that is, the Permanent Secretary, whose salary is greater than £142,500.

Since May we have also published salary details for all existing staff at director level and above.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on the Government Car Service since May 2010. [34525]

Robert Neill: Departmental records show that £307,080 has been spent with the Government Car and Dispatch Agency since May 2010.

This amount includes expenditure for some services provided before the election.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 426W

In the previous two financial years the Department spent the following:

£

2009-10

673,636

2008-09

737,821


Departmental Recruitment

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on recruitment advertising in each national newspaper in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [33274]

Robert Neill: Departmental records show £7,567 (inc. VAT) as having been spent on recruitment advertising in national newspapers in January 2010 which was related to recruitment for lay members of the Residential Property Tribunal Service.

Expenditure on recruitment advertising in national newspaper by third parties (eg recruitment agencies) could be identified only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Redundancy Pay

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on redundancy costs since May 2010. [34922]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government have made no redundancies since May 2010.

Housing: Standards

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the merits of encouraging local authorities to carry out housing condition surveys to protect tenants from irresponsible landlords; and if he will make a statement. [36381]

Andrew Stunell: Local authorities have powers, under the Housing Act 2004, to assess the risks and hazards in residential properties using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. If a property is found to contain serious (category 1) hazards, the local authority has a duty to take the most appropriate action. This could range from trying to deal with the problems informally at first to prohibiting the use of the whole or part of the dwelling. This system provides an important safety net, ensuring that homes are safe and decent. This Government are satisfied that the current legislation achieves the right balance between the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants and have no plans to introduce further regulation in this area.

It is in a local authority's interest to collect information across all housing tenures through housing condition surveys. The Government do not stipulate the precise detail of local housing condition surveys. It is for local authorities to decide the best approach for their area.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 427W

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the level of transparency of local authorities in respect of enforcing standards in the private rented housing market; and if he will make a statement. [36382]

Andrew Stunell: As part of the Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix return local authorities report to my Department the number of private sector (non-registered provider) dwellings with category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System made free from those hazards as a direct result of local authority action. This information is readily available from the Department for Communities and Local Government website at section B via the following link:

Transparency is an important Government policy, supporting the decentralisation and localism agendas. Information should be made easily accessible to the public.

Landlord and Tenant

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the number of households which rent their home from a private landlord; and if he will make a statement. [36379]

Andrew Stunell: The most recent estimate, based on data from the English Housing Survey, is that there were 3.1 million households in England renting from private landlords in 2008-09.

Tenure estimates for 2009-10 are due to be published in the English Housing Survey headline report 2009-10 in late February 2011.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support his Department provides to low-income tenants in disputes with irresponsible landlords; and if he will make a statement. [36380]

Andrew Stunell: The existing legislative framework for private renting provides safeguards to ensure both landlords and tenants take their responsibilities seriously. Where a private tenant has legitimate concerns, they can obtain help and advice from local authorities who also have extensive powers to tackle poor quality stock or poor management standards in the private rented sector. Tenants can also seek advice from a range of free independent advice organisations-most notably the citizen's advice bureaux, many of which receive funding from local authorities. My Department supports these sources of help through the funding it provides to local authorities.

Social Rented Housing: Waiting Lists

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) people on (i) council housing and (ii) housing association waiting
27 Jan 2011 : Column 428W
lists and (b) new homes to be built in the next four years. [36515]

Andrew Stunell: Information on social housing waiting lists is collected in terms of the number of households (rather than people). The number of households registered on social housing waiting lists in England as at 1 April 2010 was 1.75 million having risen from 1.02 million in 1997. Where local authorities and housing associations operate a common housing register, households registered with the housing association will be included in this figure. However, housing associations are independent bodies and can keep their own waiting lists. No further information on housing association waiting lists is collected centrally.

The Department for Communities and Local Government does not make estimates of the number of new homes that will be built in future years.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to improve the welfare standards of animals used in tests for household cleaning products and their ingredients. [35854]

Lynne Featherstone: The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 requires high standards of welfare for all animals used in regulated procedures for all of the purposes listed in Section 5(3) of the Act, including the testing of any product or ingredient to prevent disease, ill-health or abnormalities in man, animals or plants.

Unless a specific exemption is granted, the animals must be housed and cared for in accordance with the standards which are laid down in the published Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and two Codes of Practice for the housing and care of animals used in scientific procedures.

As regards, the testing of household products on animals, the coalition government has pledged to end such testing and we are currently finalising the practical arrangements for its implementation. I expect to announce these arrangements shortly.

Asylum: Children

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children were detained in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009 prior to a final determination on a family asylum claim. [36396]

Damian Green: The information requested is not centrally recorded and could be obtained by examination of individual case records only at a disproportionate cost.

Asylum: Housing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 13 January 2011, Official Report, columns 398-9W, on asylum: housing, what the (a) minimum and (b) maximum number of people seeking asylum was that each local
27 Jan 2011 : Column 429W
authority or local authority consortium has been required to house under contracts with the UK Border Agency in each of the last five years. [36276]

Damian Green: The contractual minimum and maximum volumes for each local authority/consortia are shown in the following table. The figures have not changed for the duration of the contracts awarded in 2006.

Minimum Maximum

Glasgow CC

2,000

2,200

NECCASS

1,250

2,882

Y&H Consortium

3,345

3,885

NW Consortium

500

2,245

Liverpool City Council

185

725

West Midlands Consortium

1,300

1,800

Cardiff City Council

400

1320

Swansea City Council

200

275


Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 13 January 2011, Official Report, columns 398-99W, on asylum: housing, what estimate she has made of the (a) minimum and (b) maximum number of people seeking asylum that each local authority or local authority consortium will be required to house under contracts with the UK Border Agency in each of the next five years. [36277]

Damian Green: New contracts for the provision of accommodation for eligible asylum seekers are due to be awarded in 2012. Invitations to tender for these contracts will be released in spring this year and we are currently formulating a strategy to deliver best value for the tax-payer. It will be open to local authority consortia to submit tenders under this procurement exercise. We cannot provide estimates of projected minimum and maximum numbers of asylum seekers to be housed by local authority under contract as we cannot pre-empt the outcome of the procurement.

Border Agency: Manpower

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the likely effects on UK Border Agency services of the proposed reduction in its staff numbers by 2015. [36244]

Damian Green: The priority of the agency remains to secure the border and to control migration while we play our part in reducing the public deficit. We are committed to programmes such as e-Borders and the Immigration Case Working system that will help to reduce the threat of terrorism, crime and immigration abuse and replace costly and outmoded paper work, respectively. These programmes will help improve our productivity and efficiency and will mean that we can target our resources on those people likely to cause most harm to the UK. As a result the UK Border Agency will be able to deliver its objectives while reducing the budget by up to 20% in real terms over the next four years.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 430W

Border Security Agents: Paris

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many border security agents were stationed in Paris on the most recent date for which figures are available. [36243]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency currently employs 53 officers at Gare du Nord train station in Paris. This information was locally collated in December 2010.

Criminal Records: Vetting

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken to complete a Criminal Record Bureau check was in the latest period for which figures are available. [36458]

Lynne Featherstone: In December 2010, the last period for which figures are available, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) took an average of 24.4 days to complete an enhanced check.

Departmental Redundancy

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in her Department have been made redundant since May 2010. [36639]

Damian Green: The Home Office has not made any staff redundant since May 2010.

DNA: Databases

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what software the Forensic Science Service uses to analyse DNA raw data samples. [36625]

James Brokenshire: The Forensic Science Service (FSS) uses a combination of internally developed software and software provided by Applied Biosystems.

Entry Clearances: Carers

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discretion is available to the UK Border Agency to allow adults with special needs to remain in the UK while an application is made for residence, where the main carer of the applicant is a UK citizen with right of residence. [36378]

Damian Green: All applicants who submit a valid application to the UK Border Agency for permission to remain in the UK before their previous permission expires are permitted to remain in the UK pending the outcome of that application. Where appropriate, a right of appeal will be given if the application is refused. When an application is made after the expiry of an individual's permission to remain in the UK, the application is made out of time and the applicant is an over-stayer. The UK Border Agency will also consider applications from those whose stay here has lapsed but in the event that the application is refused, there will not be a right of appeal and the person will be considered for removal if they fail to leave voluntarily.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 431W

Football: Poland and Ukraine

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the threat from far-right activists to British fans attending the European Football Championships in 2012. [35724]

James Brokenshire: Home Office is in close liaison with the authorities in Poland and Ukraine assessing the full range of risks to British fans. No specific assessment has been made of the threat from far-right activists. The safety and security preparations will include a range of assessment to minimise the risk to British fans and police, including any risk from far-right activists.

Forensic Science Service: Criminal Investigation

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has she made of the likely effects of the closure of the Forensic Science Service on police forces' ability to conclude cold case reviews. [36477]

James Brokenshire: As part of the managed wind-down we will ensure steps are taken to safeguard Forensic Science Service (FSS) records so that they can continue to be accessed by police investigating re-opened cases (or 'cold cases'), and to prevent a break in continuity when the company ceases trading.

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cold case reviews the Forensic Science Service has ongoing. [36478]

James Brokenshire: The Forensic Science Service (FSS) advises that currently there are approximately 600 cold case reviews in the system. This takes into account new cases for review of forensic potential; those being progressed via new techniques in the laboratory, and those coming to court.

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the
27 Jan 2011 : Column 432W
number of cold case reviews the Forensic Science Services is likely to have on-going at the point at which it is wound down. [36479]

James Brokenshire: It is not possible to provide an accurate projection of how many cold case reviews the Forensic Science Service (FSS) is likely to have on-going at the point at which it is wound down. However, as part of the managed wind-down, the Home Office is working with partners across the Criminal Justice System (CJS) to agree a suitable process for the handling and retention of FSS records so that historical data remains available to the CJS.

Human Trafficking

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what contribution she has made to the review of Government strategy on human trafficking. [36581]

Damian Green: I am leading the development of the Government's strategy on human trafficking, in close collaboration with my ministerial colleagues, including my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary in her capacity as the Minister for Women and Equalities.

Illegal Immigrants

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants (a) were removed from and (b) voluntarily departed the UK between July and September 2010. [36459]

Damian Green: The table shows the number of removals and voluntary departures between July and September 2010.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons removed or departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Removals and voluntary departures( 1,2) , from the United Kingdom, by type, July to September 2010
Number of departures( 3)
Enforced removals and voluntary departures

Enforced removals and notified voluntary departures( 4) Assisted voluntary returns( 5) Other voluntary departures( 6) Total Non-asylum cases refused entry at port and subsequently removed( 7) Grand total

July

1,700

430

1,245

3,380

1,555

4,935

August

1,690

430

1,250

3,370

1,600

4,975

September

1,730

390

1,145

3,265

1,520

4,785

July to September

5,125

1,250

3,640

10,015

4,675

14,690

(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 and may not sum to the totals shown because of independent rounding.
(2) Provisional figures. Figures will under record due to data cleansing and data matching exercises that take place after the extracts are taken.
(3) Removals and voluntary departures recorded on the system as at the dates on which the data extracts were taken.
(4) Includes persons leaving under Facilitated Return Schemes.
(5) Persons leaving under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes run by the International Organization for Migration. May include some on-entry cases and some cases where enforcement action has been initiated.
(6) Persons who it has been established left the UK without informing the immigration authorities.
(7) Includes removals performed by Immigration Officers at ports using enforcement powers and cases dealt with at juxtaposed controls.

27 Jan 2011 : Column 433W

Immigration

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to monitor the number of people leaving the UK. [34776]

Damian Green: Our programme for Government sets out our clear commitment to re-introduce exit checks, which we will do by March 2015, and our clear commitment to e-Borders.

Through the e-Borders system, we currently check electronically in excess of 55% of all arrivals into and departures from the UK, enabling the law enforcement agencies to mount an appropriate response, while supporting the UK Border Agency's ability to monitor passenger movement numbers.

We have announced our intention to review by April 2011 the extent to which e-Borders provides a solution to the re-introduction of exit checks.

Immigration Control

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will assess the merits of increasing the fees for the processing of visa applications for economic migrants and visitors to the UK for the purposes of reducing the level of job losses at the UK Border Agency. [36664]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency continues to monitor the visa, immigration and nationality fees paid by migrants and visitors to ensure they make an appropriate contribution to the costs of running the system which the taxpayer continues to support.

Migration Impacts Fund: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding was allocated to the Scottish Government from the migration impact fund in each of the last three years. [36374]

Damian Green: Migration impact funding is allocated to the Scottish Government under the Barnett formula.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 434W

The first allocation under the fund to the Scottish Government was £2.973 million in 2009-10 and a further £1.18 million was allocated in 2010-11 making a total of £4.153 million.

The fund was not in existence for the year 2008-09 and has since been terminated.

UK Border Agency: Correspondence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 16 September 2010, Official Report, columns 1214-5W, on immigration, if she will make arrangements for the collection of statistics by the UK Border Agency on the volume of correspondence received from hon. Members. [35210]

Damian Green: The UK Border Agency collects statistics on the number of inquiries made by hon. Members and these are published yearly by the Cabinet Office.

In the year 2009 the UK Border Agency received 66,320 inquiries by letter or email, and 25,322 inquiries by telephone, a total of 91,642 inquires from Members of Parliament.

Young Offenders: Arrests

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the juvenile violent crime arrest rate was in each (a) local authority area and (b) constituency in each year for which figures are available. [35712]

James Brokenshire: Data on the number of persons aged 10-17 arrested for violent offences per 1,000 population are provided in the table from 2000-01 to 2008-09. Data broken down by (a) local authority area and (b) constituency are not reported to the Home Office, so data broken down by police force area has been provided in lieu.

The arrests collection began in 1999-2000, however figures have not been provided for that year as reliable breakdowns of the data by age group are not available.

Data on arrests for 2009-10 are due to be published on 15 April 2011.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 435W

27 Jan 2011 : Column 436W
Number of persons aged 10-17 arrested for 'violent offences'( 1) per 1,000 population by police force area, England and Wales 2000-01 to 2008-09
Police force area 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

Avon and Somerset

7

5

7

8

11

13

16

16

15

Bedfordshire

9

7

11

15

20

22

21

17

15

Cambridgeshire

10

6

7

8

12

19

18

16

14

Cheshire

8

6

8

7

12

18

16

12

11

Cleveland

14

12

13

15

n/a

19

18

19

17

Cumbria

10

9

11

11

17

19

18

15

20

Derbyshire

13

8

14

16

21

22

20

22

19

Devon and Cornwall

9

8

11

11

12

13

13

13

9

Dorset

9

10

6

8

12

15

16

15

13

Durham

n/a

n/a

n/a

12

18

26

27

27

24

Essex

12

8

9

12

13

15

12

17

15

Gloucestershire

6

6

7

9

10

16

21

19

16

Greater London

17

9

15

17

19

23

28

25

23

Greater Manchester

14

8

14

17

21

26

28

24

21

Hampshire

14

8

13

17

19

19

25

23

19

Hertfordshire

9

6

8

11

16

16

17

15

14

Humberside

11

8

11

12

13

14

15

13

12

Kent

11

6

11

12

13

14

13

13

14

Lancashire

19

12

16

24

32

32

31

26

21

Leicestershire

9

7

9

9

10

14

14

13

10

Lincolnshire

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

5

16

12

10

Merseyside

18

11

20

24

21

20

23

24

22

Norfolk

11

9

9

10

12

14

12

9

10

Northamptonshire

9

7

9

10

11

16

17

13

10

Northumbria

18

12

20

23

31

35

42

33

29

North Yorkshire

15

11

17

22

n/a

22

17

19

11

Nottinghamshire

22

13

18

21

22

27

22

21

17

South Yorkshire

15

10

15

16

21

23

23

24

20

Staffordshire

n/a

n/a

n/a

16

19

17

19

19

15

Suffolk

9

6

9

12

14

14

17

10

10

Surrey

8

7

10

12

14

15

16

12

8

Sussex

8

6

8

13

17

18

19

17

13

Thames Valley

11

7

12

13

17

18

18

14

14

Warwickshire

7

7

6

8

10

13

16

14

12

West Mercia

10

7

9

12

15

17

19

12

13

West Midlands

n/a

n/a

17

19

17

18

17

15

14

West Yorkshire

15

10

19

20

23

30

32

28

21

Wiltshire

9

7

9

8

7

9

6

7

8

Dyfed-Powys

11

9

11

14

12

15

20

15

15

Gwent

n/a

n/a

10

12

18

20

23

18

9

North Wales

10

7

11

16

19

21

27

28

27

South Wales

13

13

13

14

15

17

21

18

15

n/a = Data not available.
(1) Violent offences are made up from violence against person offences, sexual offences and robbery.

Energy and Climate Change

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce its carbon emissions to meet the target of reducing central Government carbon emissions by 10 per cent. by June 2011. [36598]

Gregory Barker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) on 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 478.

Since then we have installed additional LED lighting and delivered our lowest ever monthly office emissions in December 2010 thanks in part to an effort to consolidate the use of space over the low-occupancy week between Christmas and new year. Current figures suggest we have already saved in excess of 100 tonnes compared to our target of 132 tonnes.

Departmental Public Appointments

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) women and (b) men have been appointed to public duties by his Department since May 2010. [35399]

Gregory Barker: Information on key public appointments made since May 2010 is published in individual press releases. Press releases are available at:

In addition, information on the gender of those serving on the boards of public bodies is published annually on DECC's website. Information for the 2010-11 period will be published in due course.

Electricity Generation: Wind Power

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many applications for offshore wind generation under (a) section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, (b) the Transport and Works Act 1992 and (c) the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 were (i) granted and (ii) not granted consent in (A) each year from 2005 to 2010 and (B) 2011 to the latest date for which information is available; and what the reasons for not granting consent were in each case. [36360]

Charles Hendry: Section 36 offshore wind farm applications that were granted consent for the period in question are as follows:

No applications were refused consent in this period.

No offshore wind farm projects were granted consent and none were refused under the Transport and Works Act 1992 during the period in question.

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 does not apply offshore.


27 Jan 2011 : Column 437W

Energy: Prices

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department has taken to raise awareness of social tariffs among low-income households in each of the last four financial years. [35685]

Gregory Barker: Following an announcement in the 2008 Budget the big six energy suppliers voluntarily agreed to increase their collective expenditure on their voluntary social programmes to at least £100 million in 2008-09, £125 million in 2009-10, rising to £150 million by 2011.

Suppliers agreed in 2008 to provide greater visibility of their social tariff offers. Following this Ofgem has worked with the suppliers to ensure that information about their social tariffs and programmes and a contact phone number for consumers to check their eligibility are available on all the suppliers' websites.

Expenditure on suppliers' social assistance as part of the voluntary agreement is monitored by Ofgem and in their latest report they estimated that over 1.6 million customer accounts are benefitting from a supplier's social or discounted tariff, as at the end of March 2010. A copy of Ofgem's report is available online at:

The Voluntary Agreement comes to an end in March 2011 and will be replaced by the Warm Home Discount. Over the four years to 2015, suppliers will be required to spend up to £1.1 billion to help fuel-poor and vulnerable consumers under this scheme. It is projected to help around two million households per year.

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he last met representatives of (a) Ofgem and (b) energy suppliers to discuss consumer energy prices. [36255]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials meet with Ofgem and the energy suppliers on a regular basis to discuss market issues.

It is important that consumers have the lowest possible energy bills, consistent with the need to invest to reduce carbon emissions from energy and ensure security of supply.

Ofgem therefore, monitors the market closely and reports quarterly on retail prices. Their latest report shows large increases in estimated supplier margins for the year ahead, largely due to recent price increases. We are disappointed on behalf of consumers by this development and welcome the announcement of Ofgem's review of the retail market. Ofgem will report on this review in March of this year. This announcement is available online at:

Fuel Oil

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has estimated a date on which global production of crude oil will peak; and if he will make a statement. [36644]


27 Jan 2011 : Column 438W

Charles Hendry: We have not estimated a date on which global production of crude oil will peak. However, we do look at a variety of sources that assess oil demand and oil depletion including the IEA, industry and other research organisations. In 2010, DECC's chief scientist sent out a call for evidence on the prospects for future oil supply to a range of experts. A number of responses received argue that a supply 'crunch' (a tightness in the oil market), if not a peak in oil production, is very likely before 2020. We are very grateful for the excellent responses and will use the results to help ensure that our analysis is informed by all relevant factors and further develop energy policies that reduce the risks inherent in a resource constrained future.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what account he plans to take of the (a) availability and (b) costs of liquid petroleum gas in his consideration of steps to assist rural areas to respond to the effects of rising oil prices. [36658]

Charles Hendry: Many off-grid energy consumers have been hit hard by high prices and supply issues this winter. I am keen the reasons for this are thoroughly investigated by an independent authority. This is why I asked the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to bring forward its competition and consumer study into off-grid energy, and asked the OFT if the study could explore the longer term consumer issues such as lifetime payback, consumer standards and labelling for alternative energy sources or supplies. Such a study would provide an independent assessment of the off-grid market and establish what further action may be necessary to ensure it works properly.

I very much welcome the OFT's decision to bring forward their work which will look at the effectiveness of the off-grid energy market so we can assess what steps may need to be taken well ahead of next winter.

Radioactive Waste

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on developing a deep earth repository for all radioactive waste; and what the role of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management is in the design and siting of such a facility. [36488]

Charles Hendry: Government are undertaking a staged process for implementing geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, as set out in the 2008 White Paper 'Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A framework for Implementing Geological Disposal'. This process is based on voluntarism and partnership with local communities with the first stage being local communities 'expressing an interest' in entering discussions with Government about the geological disposal facility siting process.

To date, three 'expressions of interest' have been received (Copeland borough council, Cumbria county council and Allerdale borough council) for the areas of Copeland and Allerdale. The authorities and local stakeholders are working together in partnership to consider whether to move to the next stage of the
27 Jan 2011 : Column 439W
process. The option to express an interest remains open and DECC officials are available to answer questions or advise any community who wishes to seek further information.

Government, along with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), are responsible for implementing geological disposal. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management's (CoRWM's) primary task is to provide independent scrutiny and advice on the Government's and NDA's proposals, plans and programmes to deliver geological disposal, together with robust interim storage. Further information on the work of CoRWM is available on their website at:

Warm Front Scheme: Finance

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the budget for the Warm Front scheme will be in 2011-12. [37028]

Gregory Barker: As part of the spending review 2010, the Government announced that we will continue to fund a smaller targeted Warm Front programme for the next two years, with £110 million available in 2011-12 and £100 million for 2012-13.

Weather

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations his Department received on winter weather forecasts from the Met Office between October and December 2010. [36509]

Gregory Barker: The Met Office provided written forecasts to the Cabinet Office towards the end of each month: October, November and December; for the following three months. These were shared with the Department.

The forecast in October for November to January stated that early to mid-winter in northern Europe was likely to be colder and drier than the 1971-2000 average, with an increased risk of a cold and wintry start.

The update issued in November, for December to February, stated that the most likely scenario was for northern Europe to be colder and drier than the 1971-2000 average, with the cold bias likely to be stronger during the first half of the winter.

The update issued in December, for January to March, stated that again the most likely scenario was for northern Europe to be colder and drier than the 1971-2000 average.

Transport

Coastguard Services

14. Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department considered alternative proposals for the modernisation of the structure of coastguard services prior to the publication of its consultation paper. [36307]


27 Jan 2011 : Column 440W

Mr Philip Hammond: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been considering options for the reconfiguration of HM Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres for sometime. I should emphasise that it is the Rescue Co-ordination Centres, not the front line rescue services that are being reconfigured.

The consideration has concentrated on development of the most efficient and reliable nationally networked structure. This led to the proposal put to Ministers and subsequently published on 16 December last year. The consultation runs until 24 March 2011. I encourage all those with an interest to contribute.

Rail Franchising

15. Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for reform of rail franchising; and if he will make a statement. [36308]

Mrs Villiers: On 19 January, the Government set out a new approach to franchising, taking account of the consultation which took place last summer. We expect these reforms to deliver a railway which is more responsive to passenger needs and provides better value for taxpayer investment.

Speed Cameras

16. Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to make speed camera data more accessible to the public. [36310]

Mrs Villiers: In December the Minister for Road Safety, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), announced that by April 2011 more data on speed cameras would be made available to the public by local councils and the police.

A working group including representatives from the Home Office, the police and the Highways Agency is considering the best way to deliver this information.

Motoring Costs: Rural Areas

17. Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the cost of motoring on people on low incomes living in rural areas. [36311]

Mr Philip Hammond: I have not made any specific assessment of the effect of trends in motoring costs on low income groups in rural areas.

However, independent studies suggest that between 1997 and 2010 motoring costs (including purchase costs) decreased by 7% in real terms.

Crossrail Line

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for operation of the first Crossrail trains; when he expects the whole line service to be operational; and when he plans to publish the tender for the first trains. [35084]

Mrs Villiers: We expect that phased introduction of Crossrail services will commence from 2018. The detailed timetable for the phased introduction of Crossrail services across the whole line will be announced in due course,
27 Jan 2011 : Column 441W
following the additional work I outlined to the House on 14 December 2010, Official Report, columns 96-97WS. The invitation to tender for Crossrail rolling stock is planned to be published in late 2011.

Driving Standards Agency: Cardiff

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to publish the (a) findings of the review and (b) subsequent report prepared in advance of the announcement of the closure of the Driving Standards Agency office in Cardiff. [34975]

Mike Penning: The report, incorporating the findings of the review of the proposal to close the Driving Standards Agency's Cardiff office, was published on the agency's corporate website at:

on 18 January 2011. A copy of the report has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Large Goods Vehicles: EU Action

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress he has made on discussions with his counterparts on proposed EU restrictions on the height of commercial vehicles. [34829]

Mike Penning [holding answer 20 January 2011]: Department for Transport officials have discussed this issue with the European Commission on several occasions including, most recently, at a meeting on 17 January.

As I stated in my Westminster Hall debate on 18 January 2011, Official Report, columns 229-35WH, with my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire (Pauline Latham), which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South also spoke at, the Government position is strongly opposing this measure and we are working with other member states and industry to ensure that the status quo is maintained. The Commission is now reconsidering its draft proposal.

Railways: North West

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions his Department has had with Network Rail on the planned electrification of rail lines between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool; and if he will make a statement. [36312]

Mrs Villiers: In November 2010 the Government confirmed their support for the electrification of rail lines between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool. Network Rail updates the Department every month on the progress of the electrification project where specific programme issues are raised.

Snow and Ice: West Midlands

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of local transport infrastructure in the West Midlands during the recent severe weather. [36297]

Norman Baker: No specific assessment has been made of the adequacy of local transport infrastructure in the
27 Jan 2011 : Column 442W
west midlands following the recent severe weather. It is for each local highways authority to set its winter service strategy and to ensure resources are in place to deliver that strategy.

Wales

Referendum

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress she has made on arrangements for the referendum on further powers for the National Assembly for Wales; and if she will make a statement. [37067]

Mrs Gillan: I can confirm that this Government have delivered on our commitment to hold a referendum on whether the National Assembly for Wales should have primary legislative powers over those areas that are already devolved, which will take place on 3 March 2011.

The legal instruments setting out the arrangements for the referendum to take place were approved by Her Majesty the Queen in Privy Council on 15 December 2010. The Orders were previously approved by the National Assembly for Wales and both Houses of Parliament. It is now for the people of Wales to have their say in the referendum.

Culture, Media and Sport

Honours

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many nominations for official honours for persons undertaking activities in areas within his Department's remit his Department examined in each of the last three years; and how many such honours were granted. [36695]

John Penrose: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not consider any nominations for official honour for persons undertaking activities outside of its remit.

News Corporation

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what correspondence he has had with Rupert Murdoch on News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB. [35561]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: All relevant correspondence up until 24 January 2011 has been published in the written statement of 25 January 2011, Official Report, columns 3-4WS. Any correspondence after this date will be published at the time I reach my decision.

Tourism

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding his Department provided to promote tourism in each region in the latest period for which figures are available. [36497]


27 Jan 2011 : Column 443W

John Penrose: The regional development agencies have had strategic responsibility for tourism in the regions since 2003, including regional tourism investment. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides funding to VisitBritain and VisitEngland. They are responsible for promoting Britain abroad and England in the UK and certain overseas markets. They endeavour to ensure that their campaigns offer a fair spread of coverage to destinations across the country.

However, up to 2007-08, DCMS contributed £3.6 million a year to the eight non-London RDAs, in support of their regional role. This was reduced to £3.5 million and £3.4 million for 2008-09 and 2009-10. This money was not ring-fenced for tourism-along with the contributions from other Government Departments it was absorbed into the total Single Budget, which was then allocated between the RDAs. It has been up to each RDA to decide on how much it wishes to invest in tourism from its overall allocation from the Single Budget.

Treasury

Aggregates Levy

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the future of the aggregates levy. [34959]

Justine Greening: The Government are fully committed to reinstating the aggregates levy credit scheme in Northern Ireland and have submitted evidence to the European Commission to support a new decision to approve it as a state aid for environmental purposes. The Chancellor will make any other decisions on the aggregates levy at Budget when all taxes can be taken into consideration as part of an overall fiscal judgment.

Banks: Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings he has had with representatives of the banking sector in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. [36026]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. However, a list of meetings with external stakeholders is published on the Treasury website. This list can be found at:

Child Benefit

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effects on income of families with (a) one child and (b) two or more children in each income decile of his proposed changes to the administration of child benefit (i) in cash terms and (ii) as a proportion of income in each of the four financial years from April 2012. [34803]


27 Jan 2011 : Column 444W

Mr Gauke: Child benefit will be withdrawn from families containing a higher rate taxpayer. Affected families are within the top 20% of the income distribution of all families (including those without children). Families with no higher rate taxpayer who receive child benefit, which is around 80% of all families claiming child benefit, will be unaffected by this policy.

At the June Budget and the spending review, this Government have taken the unprecedented step of publishing detailed distributional analysis of the impacts of their decisions for the first time. For instance, charts B.4 and B.5 in Annex B of the "Spending Review 2010" document show the overall impact of spending review and Budget measures by income decile in 2012-13. The impact of the change to child benefit from its introduction in January 2013 to the end of the financial year is therefore captured in the analysis.

Departmental Procurement

Jon Trickett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer 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. [36184]

Justine Greening: Between May-December 2010 HM Treasury awarded 10 contracts using single tender action. One of those contracts (Support and Maintenance Services' for the COINS spending data system) exceeded the EU public procurement threshold at a value of £1.4 million (excluding VAT) for the period September 2010-July 2013.

Enterprise Investment Scheme

Mr Gyimah: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to review the rules on the (a) connected persons and (b) the types of businesses classified as performing a qualifying trade in respect of the Enterprise Investment scheme. [36359]

Mr Gauke: The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) plays a valuable role in incentivising investment into small companies. As with all areas of tax policy, the Government will keep the EIS under review to ensure that it is effectively meeting its policy objectives.

Equality Impact Assessments

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to his Department's paper Overview of the Impact of Spending Review 2010 on Equalities, if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) questions and (b) outcomes data from the screening process referred to in paragraph 1.8. [29198]

Justine Greening: At the spending review, the Treasury conducted a screening exercise to assess whether changes in the areas of tax, welfare and public service pensions would have a particular impact on women or men, people of different ethnic origin or people with disabilities.

The results of these screening exercises can be found in the publication "Overview of the Impact of the Spending Review on Equalities" which was published alongside the spending review announcement. As these
27 Jan 2011 : Column 445W
documents relate to ongoing policy development, it would not be appropriate to place copies in the Library at this stage.

Full impact assessments will be considered and published by the relevant departments as the full details of these policies are finalised.


Next Section Index Home Page