Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of progress in reducing opium production in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: In its opium survey for 2010, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported stable levels of opium cultivation across the country, with the number of poppy-free provinces remaining at 20. Opium cultivation in Helmand fell by 7%. This follows two successive years of reductions in opium cultivation and a dramatic fall in the wheat price. Current indicators suggest that opium poppy cultivation will remain broadly stable again in 2011, despite continuing low wheat prices. The UNODC intends to release its next assessment in February/March.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representation he has received on the compatibility with the Rome Statute on forced population transfer of the proposed relocation of ethnic Kachin people in advance of the construction of the Myitsone dam, Kachin state, Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government have not received any such representations. However, we remain deeply concerned about the human rights and environmental impact of the construction of the Myitsone dam. We understand that construction of the dam will forcibly displace around 15,000 people. In addition, reports suggest the construction of the dam is causing flooding and water shortages, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of people. Our embassy in Rangoon is working with local groups to raise awareness of the situation and staff are scheduled to travel to the affected area shortly.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on attacks against the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army in Myawaddy, Karen state, Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Fighting between troops and ethnic Karen rebels close to the Thai-Burma border has continued since November 2010 and resulted in thousands of Burmese refugees fleeing into Thailand. Regime attempts to force ethnic ceasefire groups to join a national Border Guard Force in addition to restrictive and deeply flawed elections in November, have further heightened tensions.
Our chargé d'affaires in Bangkok raised this issue with the Thai Foreign Minister on 19 January 2011 and with the Army commander and governor of the affected area of Thailand during a visit to Mae La refugee camp, in Mae Sot, on 17 January.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had at EU level on the future of targeted EU sanctions on Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: EU Foreign Ministers last discussed Burma at the November 2010 Foreign Affairs Council, attended by the Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington). There was agreement on the need for caution in response to recent events, including flawed elections and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Longstanding EU policy is that sanctions will only be eased in response to progress on the ground. Official level discussions on the annual renewal of the EU Council Decision on Burma have since begun in Brussels.
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the inward investment in Burma made via British Overseas Territories in each of the last three years. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK Government does not hold information on the amount or destination of outward foreign direct investment via the British Overseas Territories.
Ensuring that the Overseas Territories comply with relevant UK international obligations is a priority for the Government. This includes giving effect to international sanctions, including the EU's targeted restrictive measures against the Burmese regime. We have seen no evidence to date to suggest that there is direct investment in Burma via the Overseas Territories that is contrary to existing sanctions.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the (a) ethnic minority background, (b) gender and (c) socio-economic background of (i) the HM ambassadors and (ii) other members of the Diplomatic Service. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) collects information about its staff in a number of different ways, which means that the level of detail available about the groups of staff mentioned in the question varies. The following response applies to all FCO staff, including Heads of Mission:
(a) ethnic minority background: No central records are kept recording the ethnic background of staff. Information about ethnicity can be recorded by staff themselves on the FCO's management information system, and in the annual staff survey. But since disclosure is optional in both cases, the available information is incomplete, and therefore not representative.
(b) gender: Information on the gender of the FCO's c.5,000 UK-based staff is recorded centrally. The gender breakdown among these staff is approximately 60% male and 40% female.
(c) socio-economic background: We do not collect information on the socio-economic background of staff.
The FCO aims to recruit a talented and diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve and our recruitment policies are designed to encourage applications from the widest possible range of backgrounds. All external recruitment into the FCO is based on merit, and all campaigns must be fair and open.
Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the number of UK Civil Servants who will be involved in running the EU delegations worldwide in 2011. 
Mr Lidington: The UK currently has eight civil servants on secondment to EU delegations worldwide. In addition there are seven British heads of EU delegations, but they are permanent Commission officials, not British civil servants. The EU External Action Service (EAS) recruitment process is in the early stages. The majority of delegation heads are former European Commission and Council Secretariat staff.
There are a number of British staff in the senior management of the EAS including Cathy Ashton herself, James Morrison, her Chef de Cabinet, Robert Cooper, Political Counsellor, and Nick Westcott, Managing Director Africa.
Currently a number of UK civil servants are applying for positions in EU delegations, including as heads of delegation and deputy heads. Our long-term aim is for British representation in all EU institutions to be appropriate to the size of the UK's population.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on border crossing restrictions between Israel and the Gaza Strip. 
Alistair Burt: I visited Israel and the Occupied Territories between 16 and 20 January 2011. I met General Dangot, co-ordinator of the Israeli Government Activities in the Occupied Territories, and discussed the situation in Gaza in detail. I raised concerns over access for goods, including reconstruction materials, and also stressed the importance of increasing exports into Gaza.
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with his counterparts in Gulf States on employment law and the position of trade unions in those countries. 
Alistair Burt: The Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with his counterparts in the Gulf states on these issues.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of UN sanctions in deterring Iran's nuclear programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: International sanctions, including those adopted by the UN and the EU, show the strength of international concerns about Iran's nuclear programme. We continue to monitor the progress of that programme closely. It is clear that sanctions are having an impact. Iran is finding it increasingly difficult to acquire access to goods of proliferation concern and is also finding it hard to access international finance. We believe these and other pressures brought Iran back into talks with the EU 3+3. But, its disappointing failure to engage on the substance of international concerns in Istanbul and its continuing defiance of Security Council Resolutions; of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community more broadly mean that pressure will need to increase.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage joint business initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians. 
Alistair Burt: The UK provides financial support and technical advice to Palestinian businesses in both the west bank and Gaza to compete in new markets, develop new products and re-launch operations.
During my visit in mid-Jan 2011 to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, I raised with interlocutors the issue of exports from Gaza not only to an international market but also to Israel and the west bank. I emphasised the importance of making this happen. Prime Minister Fayyad responded that he had received some positive signals from the Israelis on exports and increased capacity at the crossings.
Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to India on respect for human rights in Kashmir. 
Alistair Burt: Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir, including human rights, with the Indian and Pakistani Governments and with our contacts in Indian and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The UK continues to call for an improvement in the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control and for an end to external support for violence in Kashmir. To this end the UK funds human rights, conflict prevention and peace building efforts on both sides of the Line of Control, including efforts to help build confidence and create a constituency for peace.
Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of Indian actions in Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We have been following closely the initiative of the Indian Government to appoint three interlocutors to take forward a dialogue between Delhi and Srinagar to help resolve the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir. Prime Minister Singh issued a statement last summer that violations of human rights abuses by security forces in Kashmir would not be tolerated. Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with the Indian and Pakistani Governments and with our contacts in Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution in Kashmir but we continue to encourage a lasting resolution which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. This includes calling for an end to all external support for violence in Kashmir and an improvement in the human rights on both sides of the Line of Control.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made representations to the Turkish government on (a) the use of the Kurdish language for teaching in schools and (b) the recent trials of Kurdish community leaders. 
Mr Lidington: The Government have not made specific representations to the Government of Turkey on these issues. Our embassy in Ankara regularly raises the treatment of Kurds in Turkey with the Turkish Government as part of its wider discussions on human rights and encourages them to make progress on respect for minority groups, including the protection of language.
Our embassy in Ankara is monitoring the trials of Kurdish community leaders closely, and we expect high judicial standards to be observed throughout.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Arab League on the peace process. 
Alistair Burt: I spoke with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa on 26 January 2011. I raised my concerns over the current impasse and we discussed opportunities for making progress on the peace process. I was also in Jordan on 20 January 2011 and met with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and we discussed how to best secure a return to talks.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Palestinian Authority on the resumption of peace negotiations. 
Alistair Burt: I visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) between 16 and 20 January 2011. During my visit to the OPTs, I held meetings with President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. We discussed a number of issues, including steps to resume peace talks. I made clear the UK position that negotiations were the best way of achieving the goal of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the death of Salman Taseer; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The assassination of Governor Taseer in Islamabad on 4 January 2011 was shocking. The Foreign Secretary made a statement condemning the action, and reinforced the UK's commitment to working with Pakistan to support democratic stability and religious tolerance. The Foreign Secretary has also written to President Zardari to express his condolences. Following the assassination I have spoken to the Pakistan Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, to express the UK's support for a democratic Pakistan, and of the importance of ensuring that the rights and freedoms of all Pakistanis are upheld.
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) contractual and (b) non-contractual payments were made to each Senior Civil Servant who has 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 as it would breach the fair processing principle. The individual to whom the personal data relate has a reasonable expectation that the Department would hold that information in confidence.
However I can inform the hon. Member that since May 2010 the following number of senior civil servants have left the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
three staff resigned and there were no payments made;
one officer transferred to another Government Department, no payment was made;
six officers took normal age retirement and had immediate access to the pension benefits they had accrued during their service;
one officer departed at the end of their fixed-term contract, due to their role becoming redundant, with a payment calculated in accordance with the formula used for flexible early severance payments under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS);
two officers left at the end of their fixed term contracts, no payments were made;
three staff left the office after a loan period to the FCO from another Government Department, no payments were made;
12 staff took voluntary early departure, all payments to these officers were calculated and paid in strict accordance with the prevailing rules of the CSCS. The total Resource cost to the FCO of these exits was £2.8 million.
Resource costs are the total costs to the FCO as employer and include the annual compensation payment (for early retirees) until their 60th birthday and other capitalised costs at departure. These capitalised costs are:
(i) the total chargeable part of the lump sum;
(ii) the enhanced pension cost adjustment; and
(iii) the accrued lump sum cost adjustment.
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken with the US administration to reach an agreed timetable for Shaker Aamer to be brought to trial or returned to the UK. 
Alistair Burt: On 6 July 2010 the Prime Minister confirmed to Parliament that we will continue to request the release and return to the UK of Shaker Aamer. We have reiterated this request to the US Government on numerous occasions. Most recently the Foreign Secretary raised Mr Aamer's case with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 17 November 2010, and following this the Deputy Prime Minister raised Mr Aamer's case when he met Secretary Clinton at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Summit in Kazakhstan, on 1 December 2010. Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are continuing discussions with their US counterparts on this issue.
The outcome of these discussions remains uncertain. Any decision regarding Mr Aamer's release remains in the hands of the United States Government.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of reports of deaths among Tamil prisoners detained in Anuradhapura prison, Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: We were concerned to hear about the recent prison riots, which led to the death of one Sinhalese prisoner and the injury of other prisoners. There is no suggestion that the riots were ethnically driven. We understand that the Sri Lankan authorities are looking into the causes of the riots. Our high commission has discussed the need to expedite the hearing of cases and overcrowded prison conditions with the Sri Lankan Government.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice the then Minister for Europe received on the legal effect of Declaration 6 of the Treaty of Nice prior to the Treaty's signature on 26 February 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lidington: As has been the case with successive Administrations, policy and legal advice from officials is not normally disclosed.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the publication of a research paper by the Palestinian Authority on the origins of the Western Wall in Jerusalem; whether he has had discussions with the Palestinian Authority on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: Our consulate general in Jerusalem is aware of the report. There have been no discussions with the Palestinian Authority and there are no plans to issue a statement.
The publication was removed from the Ministry of Information's website.
We call for both the Palestinians and Israelis to refrain from provocative actions that may prejudice the outcome of a final settlement.
The Government's position is clear. Our goal is a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a fair settlement for refugees.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Attorney-General (1) what regulations the Law Officers' Departments have introduced since 6 May 2010; 
(2) what regulations the Law Officers' Departments have removed since 6 May 2010. 
The Attorney-General: The Law Officers' Departments have not introduced or removed any regulations since 6 May 2010.
Jon Trickett: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what single tender contracts the House of Commons Service has awarded since May 2010; and what the monetary value is of each contract above the EU public procurement threshold. 
John Thurso: The House's central contract database contains information on six single tender contracts awarded since May 2010, namely:
Additional access control
Supply, delivery and installation of security screening equipment
Anti-fragmentation film in 14 Tothill street
Modifications to the House of Commons Chamber sound equipment and supply of specialist radio microphones
Supply of curtaining fabric
Replacement of broken glass roof domes, Moncrieff's Restaurant
None of these contracts was above the EU public procurement threshold for supplies and services which currently stands at approximately £101,000.
Single tender contracts under £25,000 within individual House Departments are not recorded on the central contract database, and it is not known how many of these there have been.
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet (a) management and (b) employees of Aptuit to discuss that company's proposal to close its sites at Livingston and Riccarton. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office carefully considers all requests for meetings.
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on any possible review of the Barnett formula; and if he will make a statement. 
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a range of issues. The UK Government recognise that concerns have been expressed about the current system of devolution funding whereby changes to the block grant are calculated by the Barnett formula, but the UK Government's priority is to reduce the deficit and they do not have any plans to change arrangements before the stabilisation of the public finances.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland 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. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office has introduced more intensive monitoring of its carbon emissions and has engaged in a staff awareness raising campaign. When undertaking repairs and maintenance the Office considers the opportunity to take any additional cost-effective actions that will reduce carbon emissions.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) certified and (b) chartered librarians his Department has employed in each year since 2000. 
David Mundell: No librarians have been employed by the Scotland Office since 2000.
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the Barnett consequentials of the Government's planned changes in spending on higher education. 
The Secretary of State and I are in regular contact with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on
matters important to Scotland. The Scottish Government's budget is calculated using the Barnett formula which allocates population based shares of changes to spending on devolved matters, such as higher education. The Scottish budget announced at the spending review therefore included the population based share of the higher education resource budget reductions. It is for the Scottish Government to determine how they allocate their overall budget according to their policy
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. 
Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office monitors its carbon emissions on a regular basis and the figures are published on a yearly basis.
Steps my Department has taken include reducing the need for travel between London and Belfast by increasing the use of video conferencing facilities, replacing the routine use of an executive jet by budget and commercial airlines for ministerial and official flights, introducing a bio-mass heating system and new solar panels and improving insulation at Hillsborough Castle, introducing recycling, and ceasing use of bottled water across our estate.
Officials are working closely with the Efficiency and Reform Group to ensure the Department meets its target by June 2011.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent steps her 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. 
Mr David Jones: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) on 18 October 2010, Official Report, column 436W.
Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) certified and (b) chartered librarians her Department has employed in each year since 2000. 
Mr Frank Field: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the policy of the Church Commissioners is on the payment by Church of England parishes of a living wage to their employees. 
Tony Baldry: Clergy are not employees but office holders and they therefore receive a stipend rather than a wage. However, the national average incumbent's stipend plus the estimated value of a provided house (totalling about £32,210 in 2010) is comparable to the average national wage.
The Church is keen for stipends to be adequate to enable clergy to perform their ministries without undue financial anxiety, flexible enough to aid clergy deployment and consistent enough to avoid impeding their mobility. Average earnings growth estimates are taken into consideration when setting stipends levels. From 31 January 2011 the national minimum stipend, below which no full-time clergy should be paid, will become compulsory under the terms of service legislation which comes into effect on that day. From April this will be £21,370 although in practice the stipends of most clergy already exceed this amount.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when he expects tender documents to be issued in respect of the four high-speed broadband pilot areas identified to date. 
Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK is working closely with the local procuring authorities on the timetable for commencing the pilot procurements. No dates are fixed at this time, but will be made public at the earliest opportunity.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport 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. 
John Penrose: The Department has taken the following steps to ensure that the target of reducing carbon emissions by 10% will be met:
Reduced running times of air conditioning units
Improved management of lighting
Improved sequencing of the boiler and chiller
Reduced cooling in the data centre
Reduced the number of physical IT servers in the data centre.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when he expects Ofcom to publish the initial obligations code under the Digital Economy Act 2010. 
Mr Jeremy Hunt: No specific publication date has been confirmed as yet, but I expect Ofcom to publish this draft code in early 2011.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding VisitEngland has allocated to promoting each English region in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
John Penrose: This information is not held in the manner requested by either this Department or VisitEngland.
VisitEngland's expenditure benefits all English regions, but is not subject to specific allocations. The regional development agencies (RDA) have had strategic responsibility for tourism in the regions since 2003, including regional tourism investment. The following table sets out the funding that each RDA has allocated to support tourism over the last three years. These figures are based on estimates provided by the RDAs to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
|(1) Figures for 2009-10 are provisional-awaiting final confirmation from BIS.|
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that the internet market grows in a way that encourages free and fair access to the internet for (a) business and (b) personnel use. 
Mr Vaizey: The Government are absolutely committed to ensuring that the internet remains the powerful innovative, competitive and open force for good that it has become since its inception. The internet has brought huge economic and social benefits across the world, and that must continue.
The internet has developed at an unbelievable pace and in directions which have proved almost impossible to predict. It does not seem wise to introduce legislation to dictate how the internet may or may not evolve. It has done exceedingly well without our intervention up until
now, so until it develops in a way which somehow hurts consumer interests or competition or impedes innovation, it is best if we allow the market to continue to self-regulate.
Ofcom will closely monitor how the market develops and if it develops in an anti competitive way, they have the appropriate powers to intervene.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what timetable he has set for his consultation on changes to Schedule 1 of the Licensing Act 2003; and if he will publish a timetable for consultation on changes to the Licensing Act 2003. 
John Penrose: The Government are currently considering options to remove red tape from live music and other entertainment. I hope to be able to announce our conclusions, including the timetable for reform, shortly.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he plans to take steps to prevent the sale of valuable historical reference books by local authority libraries. 
Mr Vaizey: Local authorities have the freedom to determine the manner in which the 'comprehensive and efficient' library service they are required to provide under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 is managed and delivered. This includes decisions about stock retention and disposal.
Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on the use of volunteers to replace librarians. 
Mr Vaizey: This week I was given an update on the Future Libraries Programme (FLP) which included presentations from three of the authorities that are participating. A number of FLP pilot projects are exploring new models for library delivery-including greater involvement of volunteers. I also hosted a roundtable on the theme of 'libraries and the big society'. A number of local and national government officials and civil sector partners attended the event which explored how libraries can help to achieve the big society vision.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has to visit the North East to meet representatives of
businesses and business associations from the tourism industry. 
John Penrose: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blaydon (Mr Anderson) on 17 January 2011, Official Report, column 468W.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the closure of One NorthEast on the tourism industry in the North East. 
John Penrose: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not made an assessment of the impact on tourism from the closure of the regional development agencies, but of course we recognise that One NorthEast has supported the visitor economy in the North East in the past.
DCMS is currently working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the interests of tourism are addressed during the transition from the RDAs to the new Local Enterprise Partnerships and Destination Management Organisation framework.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which bodies will be responsible for promoting tourism in the North East following the closure of One NorthEast. 
John Penrose: Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), with strong private sector leadership, will become the cornerstone of successful tourism promotion. Many DMOs already exist in the North East, and two LEPs have recently been announced as well. These are Tees Valley and one covering County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland which was approved in January.
In addition, VisitEngland will focus on investment in and support for destination management organisations and the local businesses involved in tourism, and have established a transition team to assist in the move to the new Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much funding One NorthEast allocated to supporting tourism in the North East in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
John Penrose: The funding that One NorthEast allocated to support tourism over the last five years is set out in the following table.
These figures are based on estimates provided by the regional development agencies to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
|(1) Figures for 2009-10 are provisional-awaiting final confirmation from BIS.|
18. Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the standard of trauma care provided to members of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
22. Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the level of trauma care provided to serving and former members of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: Assessments in 2009 and 2010 by the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee and the Healthcare Commission have all agreed that the standard of trauma care provided for injured personnel on operations is extremely high. To give just one example, the NAO in its February 2010 report on "Treating Illness and Injury Arising on Military Operations" stated that
"Clinical treatment and rehabilitation of service personnel seriously injured on military operations are highly effective".
In order to ensure our armed forces benefit from cutting edge research into trauma care, we have very recently established, with the Department of Health and other partner organisations, a new Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research centre at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
19. Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of Iran's potential nuclear weapons capability; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr Fox: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave today to the hon. Member for Watford (Richard Harrington).
20. Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for future UK defence industrial capacity; and if he will make a statement. 
21. Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for future UK defence industrial capacity; and if he will make a statement. 
Peter Luff: The Government are currently undertaking a formal consultation on "Equipment, Support and Technology for UK Defence and Security" following publication of a Green Paper in December last year. The consultation continues until the end of March, and we will be publishing a White Paper later in the year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received on the pay of armed forces personnel engaged in the
location and disposal of improvised explosive devices; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: Could I first pay tribute to this very special group of people, some of whom have given their lives in this vital work to save others. There have been no representations received on the pay of armed forces personnel engaged in the location and disposal of improvised explosive devices.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on steps to ensure that postal ballots for members of the armed forces deployed abroad and their dependants can be issued and returned in time for each election and for the referendum scheduled to take place in 2011. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence, including the British Forces Post Office, are working with the Cabinet Office, the Electoral Commission and Royal Mail to make suitable provisions for service personnel in Afghanistan. As happened for last year's general election, this will include fast tracking the delivery and return of postal voting forms. Personnel will still have the option of voting by proxy. For other overseas locations, BFPO will as before aim to identify and fast track ballot papers where they can.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times each TriStar that has operated in the Afghan theatre has been repaired since January 2010. 
Peter Luff: For TriStar, the engineering unserviceability database does not give the aircraft location or the task planned/undertaken by the aircraft. It would incur disproportionate cost to compare the flight departure logs which give this information against the engineering unserviceability database. I am able to confirm, however, that in 2010 there were 99 instances where short term TriStar unserviceability caused a delay to an Operation Herrick task departing RAF Brize Norton at the start of an Airbridge flight. In many cases, engineers were able to quickly rectify the unserviceability, or to minimise the overall delay another airframe was substituted to undertake the task.
Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will investigate the circumstances in which the then Chief of the General Staff informed HM Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2007 of the reasons for the redeployment of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. 
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with armed forces charities as part of the development of the health for heroes scheme. 
Mr Robathan: "Health for heroes" is an informal tag that has recently been applied by the press to the medical care provided for the armed forces and ex-service personnel, with a particular emphasis on mental health care. To enhance the range of high-quality mental health services already provided for both current personnel and veterans, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Health are currently working closely together to implement the recommendations of the report 'Fighting Fit' by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison). In doing so, we have had valuable discussions with a range of armed forces charities, including Combat Stress and the Royal British Legion, to help ensure that the services being introduced are targeted in the most useful and appropriate way.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on the proposed health for heroes scheme. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 27 January 2011]: The Deputy Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr Clegg) was referring to the wide range of current and planned initiatives across Government to support serving and former members of the armed forces, such as the 'Fighting Fit' review by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) and our enhancements to health care services as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. The term "Health for heroes" has recently been applied by the press to the medical care provided for the armed forces and ex-service personnel, with a particular emphasis on mental health care.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendation of the report by the hon. Member for South West Wiltshire that a member of the armed forces whose requirement for a specialist opinion is identified at the time of discharge should be able to obtain it and any follow-on treatment on a military department of community mental health for the next six months; by what date he expects to have implemented that recommendation; and what funding is being made available by his Department for such implementation in each financial year to 2014-15; 
(2) what recent progress he has made in implementing the recommendation of the report by the hon. Member for South West Wiltshire that a mental health systems enquiry is built into routine service examinations, discharge medicals and the medical examinations conducted prior to invalidity discharge from the service on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity; by what date he expects to have implemented that recommendation; and what funding is being made available by his Department for such implementation in each financial year to 2014-15. 
The recommendations of the report 'Fighting Fit' by my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) have been accepted by the Government in full and will result in many improvements to mental health services to both current
personnel and veterans. We are now working with the Department of Health to implement these recommendations to provide better and wider mental health support.
In April 2011, we will start a three-month trial of the processes for introducing enhanced mental health surveillance during routine medicals. Once this has been completed, we will evaluate the outcome and consider any possible improvements. The requirements will be introduced into discharge protocols, including those for seriously-injured personnel. Arrangements to ensure follow-on treatment, including enabling access to military Departments of Community Mental Health for up to six months following discharge, should be in place and operational by late summer 2011.
Work on assessing any future costs and resource requirements for implementing the recommendations is currently under way and will be assessed as part of the Ministry of Defence's planning process, but it is not possible to give any financial data at this time.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress he has made on implementing the recommendation of the report by the hon. Member for South West Wiltshire that his Department should encourage research to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder screening tool; by what date he expects to have implemented that recommendation; and what funding is being made available by his Department for such implementation in each financial year to 2014-15. 
Mr Robathan: The King's Centre for Military Health Research has secured funding of £1.6 million for research aimed at identifying a possible screening tool for mental health problems in members of the UK armed forces. The research is expected to take around three years to carry out, including 12 months preparation time followed by 24 months data gathering and analysis.
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on armed forces pensions of proposed changes to indexation arrangements for public sector pensions. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (Gregg McClymont).
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) logistics and (b) engineering vehicles of each type were (i) in service and (ii) available for operations on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Peter Luff: I am withholding the information on the number of vehicles available on operations for operational security reasons.
The Department holds a huge variety of logistics and engineering vehicles. For ease these have been grouped by role and category. The overall number of vehicles in service within each category is shown in the following table.
|Role||Total number in service|
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many variants of each vehicle in the
Future Rapid Effect System family he plans to purchase; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each variant type. 
Peter Luff: Decisions on platform numbers, including numbers and variants of the specialist vehicle and utility vehicle programmes, will be made at their respective main investment decision points. The Ministry of Defence does not publish the costs of the programmes before these points. To do otherwise would prejudice commercial interests.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many equipment failure reports were filed in each year since 2003; and how many such reports were filed for each armoured vehicle type in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010. 
Peter Luff: The Equipment Failure Report is unique to the Army and is the primary means by which users record the failure of any item of equipment fitted to land vehicles. As reported by users, the number of equipment failure reports filed in each year since 2003 are shown in the following table.
The data includes accidental damage, maintenance related failures and breakdowns, or the failure of an item fitted to the vehicle. The equipment failure reporting system does not reflect the results of subsequent investigations or the severity of a failure. Given this, the data does not differentiate between what might later prove to have been a problem caused by operator error or damage sustained as a result of operations, or whether the failure had any impact on operational capability or safety.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2011, Official Report, column 21W, on the Defence Vetting Agency: Foreign and Commonwealth Office; when he plans to make an announcement on the future provision of vetting services for his Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 
Mr Robathan: It is the intention to resolve this issue as soon as practicable, but I am not in a position to give a time scale for completion of the work.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the project history for the Typhoon project; and if he will assess the compliance of this project with his Department's guidance in Maintaining a Project History version 4.0, August 2007. 
Peter Luff [holding answer 27 January 2011]: A copy of the project history maintained in respect of the Typhoon project will be placed in the Library of the House following a review to identify whether any information needs to be withheld. The Ministry of Defence document 'Maintaining a Project History v4.0' dated August 2007, provides guidance relating to project histories. The Typhoon project history records entries as recommended by that document.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what options for improving procurement processes his Department identified from the Shrivenham Acquisition Workshop. 
Peter Luff: The 5(th) Shrivenham Acquisition Workshop, which I attended, brought together senior decision makers from Government and Industry in November last year.
The following themes were addressed through workshops: Attacking acquisition costs in non-equipment areas; Achieving long term value across industry sectors; Affordable and sustainable operational capability; Maximising returns on Research and Technology investment across defence and security; and Exports and sovereignty. Each of these workshops made a number of detailed recommendations for proposed actions. The principal options for improving procurement processes fall within the themes of long-term value, sustainable capability, and exportability.
These recommendations are being taken forward by the National Defence Industries Council, a joint forum between the MOD and industry and I will be following that work carefully.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to the aspiration that this should be the greenest Government ever, and is on track to meet the 10% reduction commitment on the civil office estate by May 2011.
The technical and behavioural changes being undertaken to meet the 10% reduction include: boiler optimisation; adjusting heating times to reflect building occupancy; min/max temp mandates; weekend and holiday shutdowns; IT and electrical equipment reductions and rationalisation; staff engagement and behavioural campaigns.
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has undertaken to reduce jargon and promote plain English in Departmental communications. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to using plain English in day-to-day business, and is a corporate life member of the Plain English Campaign. This commitment is reflected in the Defence Writing Guide (Joint Service Publication 101), which sets out the good practice that should be followed when producing written material throughout the MOD and the three services. The latest version was published in June 2010. As well as the Joint Service Publication, there are also three e-learning courses available for staff to undertake.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on consultancy by his Department since May 2010. 
Mr Robathan: The total spend for consultants for the period 1 May to 30 November 2010 for the Ministry of Defence (including its agencies and trading funds) is £15.75 million.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. 
Peter Luff: Over the period from 12 May 2010-31 December 2010, a total of 1,401 Ministry of Defence contracts started which exceeded the EU public procurement threshold of £40,000, to a total contract value of up to £3.8 billion. Of these, 804 had been let non-competitively, with a total value of up to £0.9 billion. Figures are not yet available for January 2011.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff are employed on fixed-term contracts in his Department; and what their job titles are. 
Mr Robathan: The number of staff on fixed term contracts in the Ministry of Defence as at 27 January 2011, broken down by job family and job code are as follows:
|Job family||Job code||Total|
|'-' = Denotes a number lower than 5|
In all instances fixed term appointments are used to reflect the finite nature of the requirement and include casual appointments as well as longer fixed terms.
Details of special adviser appointments, including names and salaries, are published on the Cabinet Office website at:
Recruitment to the civil service is regulated by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Act established the Civil Service Commission with the role of regulating recruitment to the civil service, principally
through their recruitment principles. All recruitment to the Department has been in accordance with these recruitment principles. The recruitment principles are available at:
There has been a freeze on external recruitment to the MOD since May 2010, other than for business critical posts, such as those in direct support of operations, apprenticeships, fast stream and specialist graduates and posts paid for in full by other parties (for example United States visiting forces and NATO support facilities).
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ascertain the health needs of British nationals resident overseas who participated in nuclear weapons tests held by the UK Government in the 1950s. 
Mr Robathan: Meeting the needs of the health service requirements of UK nationals who reside overseas lies with the country in which they reside. However, where a former member of the armed forces is in receipt of a war pension the Ministry of Defence may meet the cost of treatment in some cases, provided that the treatment is clinically necessary for a disablement due to service and is not available through the health system in the country of residence.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will arrange tests to be carried out on surviving nuclear test veterans to
establish whether any increased level of radiation in their bodies is attributable to participation in such tests. 
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will offer all surviving veterans exposed to radiation during the nuclear weapons tests held by the UK Government in the 1950s a medical examination to assess any effects on their health resulting from this exposure. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave on 18 January 2011, Official Report, column 747W, to the hon. Member for East Lothian (Fiona O'Donnell).
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Warley of 25 November 2010, sent on behalf of Mr Chester. 
Mr Robathan: I replied to the right hon. Member's letter on 25 January 2011.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of the Nimrod MRA4 project has been in each (a) year and (b) phase since its inception. 
Peter Luff [holding answer 27 January 2011]: The cost of the Nimrod MRA4 project in each year and phase is contained in the following table:
|Financial year||Assessment phase||Demonstration and manufacturing phase||Support phase||Total|
|(1) Total cost of the assessment phase as at 31 March 1996. Earlier data is no longer available.|
(2) Accruals accounting introduced to MOD accounts.
(3) The variance between 2001-02 and 2002-03 in part reflects an accruals adjustment.
(4) As at 31 December 2010.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what post-tour support services are available to reserve forces personnel on their return from military operations. 
The Ministry of Defence ensures that a full range of support is provided for reserve forces personnel following deployment. Members of the reserve forces and their families receive the same type of support and welfare packages that are provided for Regular personnel following overseas deployment. This support
may include access to defence medical services, facilities and health care, and a range of welfare and financial assistance.
In addition, primary and secondary legislation provides legal protection and safeguards for both reservists and employers.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the remaining Type 22 frigates following their decommissioning. 
Peter Luff: The four Type 22 frigates (HM Ships Chatham, Campbeltown, Cumberland, and Cornwall) will progressively leave service by the end of April 2011. It is too early to say what the disposal plans will be but in accordance with the Ministry of Defence's policy for disposing of such surplus defence equipment, we are first looking at the feasibility of selling to other governments for continued military use. Should this not prove viable, we would then explore other options.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the unit cost target for the Type 26 frigate is. 
Peter Luff: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 October 2010, Official Report, column 377W, to the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Mr Davidson).
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the sustainability criteria for biomass take into account areas of food production displaced by biomass cultivation. 
Gregory Barker: The sustainability criteria take account of direct land use change such as the use of previously uncultivated land to grow energy crops.
Indirect changes affecting food production are also possible, for example, where using food grade crops for energy can result in demand for new cropland elsewhere. The European Commission is due to advise in July on addressing indirect land use change for biofuels, and we will consider the application of this advice to bio-energy feedstocks more generally.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claims have been reviewed in full by Capita on behalf of his Department following the discovery of an undervaluation of less than (a) £200, (b) £100 and (c) £50 having been made in an offer to a claimant; 
(2) how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claims have been reviewed in full by Capita on behalf of his Department following the discovery of new evidence relevant to the claim; 
(3) how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claims have been reviewed in full by Capita on behalf of his Department after making an offer to a claimant but before receiving a formal acceptance or rejection of the offer; 
(4) if he will estimate the average cost to the public purse of reviewing a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claim in full. 
Charles Hendry: The framework of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims handling agreements allowed for reviews of a claim to take place at a number of stages prior to acceptance of the offer subject to certain deadlines and claims could be reviewed for many different reasons. However, no statistics were maintained of the type and number of such reviews undertaken. As a result it is not possible to estimate the cost of such reviews.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the (a) lowest, (b) highest and (c) average award under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compensation claim scheme. 
Charles Hendry: The following table shows the lowest, highest and average compensation awarded to former miners and their families under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease scheme for claims settled by payment, denied and withdrawn as at 23 January 2011.
|Total COPD claims received||Lowest damages (£)||Highest Damages (£)||Average damages (£)|
Of the 591,768 claims made by the deadline to register a claim in March 2004, 454,686 have been settled by payment (as at 31 December 2010) and the average award of this cohort was £5,360.
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