Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials of his Department who are allocated to work in Afghanistan are based in (a) the UK, (b) Kabul and (c) Helmand province. 
Mr Robathan: Afghanistan is the Ministry of Defence's main effort and as such civilian posts across the Department and from all functional specialisms contain different proportions of Afghan-related business. The MOD does not compile numbers and to do so would involve disproportionate cost.
However, I can confirm that there are 10 MOD civilians in Kabul and 130 MOD civilians in Helmand Province. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five as numbers go up and down daily as people hand over and travel between locations in and out of theatre for work and leave.
Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the level of financial savings arising from the reorganisation of the Edinburgh and South Scotland Wing Air Training Corps of the Air Cadets. 
Nick Harvey: The proposed structural re-organisation of the Scotland and Northern Ireland region is part of a streamlining measure across the Air Cadet organisation. The proposed changes will amount to an annual saving of around £72,000 from financial year 2011-12 onwards. These changes will not directly impact on Air Cadet numbers or the opportunities available to cadets.
Dr Fox [holding answer 7 February 2011]: We are continuing to develop and refine our Strategic Defence and Security Review implementation plans. Until this work is complete it is not sensible to speculate about the overall cost of the Defence programme.
However, as the Prime Minister made clear on 19 October 2010, Official Report, columns 797-826, his own strong view is that there is a requirement for year on year real terms growth in the Defence budget from 2015 to ensure that we realise the vision set out in Future Force 2020. We will also continue to meet the NATO target of 2% defence expenditure throughout the comprehensive spending review period.
The purpose of allowances is to reimburse service personnel for justifiable expenditure incurred either when on duty or as a result of the unique nature of service life. The current financial position has placed pressure on the level of allowances that are affordable. Whilst there will be some reductions and changes, appropriate allowances will continue in the future.
We have concentrated on ensuring, where possible, that no group is disproportionately affected, and have sought to mitigate effects by phasing in some changes by up to two years. The service chiefs of staff and their principal personnel officers have been fully engaged in this process.
Nick Harvey: We do not pay separately for brokers' costs in chartering air transport. Our requirements for chartered aircraft are competitively tendered. Both air transport brokers and independent air carriers may decide to tender for the contracts. Should an air transport broker win the contract, under the rules of competing contracts, they are not required to identify the fee separately.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department has offered to the government of Bangladesh in training the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (a) in general and (b) in counter-terrorism techniques. 
Our support to Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to date has focused on the provision of human rights training and on improving their ability to conduct operations in a human rights compliant manner through the provision of training in forensic awareness, management
of crime scenes and recovery of evidence. We have provided training on the concepts of professional ethical policing, with an emphasis on the importance of respecting human rights, including the rights of witnesses, suspects and victims.
The aim of the Government's provision of training to RAB has been to increase the prospects of law enforcement and counter-terrorism operations being conducted in a manner properly respectful of human rights standards.
Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the government of Bangladesh on the Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (a) in general and (b) on training. 
The Government consider it important to address the issue of human rights rather than to ignore it. The Government therefore judges the improvement of law and order and counter-terrorism enforcement in Bangladesh to be a valuable contribution to protecting the safety and human rights of the general community both in Bangladesh and, to the extent that threats emanate from Bangladesh, in the UK.
During the recent visit of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, raised UK assistance already provided to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and emphasised the importance that the UK Government places on human rights. This is part of an ongoing dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh.
The aim of our programme with the RAB is to further improve their standards in accordance with our own values and legal responsibilities and to increase the prospects of law enforcement and counter-terrorism operations being conducted in a manner properly respectful of human rights standards.
Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding his Department allocated to Defence Estates for the maintenance, repair and modernisation of the defence estates in financial year 2010-11. 
Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on his Department's expenditure of implementation of the proposed changes to public sector pensions. 
The final report of the Independent Public Services Pension Commission is due to be published in advance of the Budget 2011. It is therefore not possible to make a proper assessment of the effects on the Department's expenditure until both the final report
has been received, and the Government decide what changes should be made in response to the Commission's report.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the future strategic tanker aircraft will be deployed in high threat environments; what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of equipping the aircraft with platform protection measures; and what estimate he has made of the time required to modify the aircraft to include platform protection measures. 
Nick Harvey: The future strategic tanker aircraft may be required to fly into operational theatres when, based on military judgment, the threat levels have been sufficiently mitigated. All aircraft entering operational theatres will be fitted with the necessary defensive aid measures required to meet the threat level at the time. As options for additional platform protection measures are being considered as part of the current planning round it would be inappropriate to comment on cost or timescale at this stage.
Nick Harvey: HMS Ark Royal will be disposed of in accordance with the Ministry of Defence's policy for disposing of large items of surplus defence equipment to maximise value to the taxpayer. As such, we are first looking at a sale to other governments for continued military use; this will shortly draw to a close. We are also exploring other options including selling HMS Ark Royal to a private commercial enterprise through a competition that would be carried out consistent with European Union regulations.
The Government announced in their National Infrastructure Plan published last October that they were looking to release at least 500MHz of spectrum currently held by the public sector over the next 10 years.
The Shareholder Executive and DCMS, working with other relevant Government Departments, are developing plans that build on the work already carried out by the MOD and others. We anticipate an initial overview of this 10-year project will be published by early April. This will be followed by more in depth analysis, including consultations with industry and other interested groups, on which spectrum bands could add most value to the economy and what would be involved in the release of those bands.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times search and rescue helicopters based at RAF Lossiemouth have been involved in operations related to North Sea offshore oil and gas installations and support aircraft and vessels in each of the last five years. 
|Rigs||Support vessels||Support aircraft|
The figures given for rigs are the call-outs that are categorised on the database as "Rig". The figures given for "Rigs" are the call-outs that are categorised on the database as being to oils or gas rigs; however we do not hold data specific to vessels and aircraft in support of oil and gas installations. We have drawn together figures for "Support vessels" and "Support aircraft" by analysing the narratives of call-outs and recording where the aircraft or vessel assisted is known to be in support of an oil and gas installation. Because these figures are based on extrapolating information from narratives rather than specific fields in our database, we cannot be as sure of their accuracy as we could if the data had a specific recording field.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will assess the merits of removing the need for licences for small charity events holding raffles or bingo games. 
John Penrose: In most cases it is already true that small charity event organisers do not need a Gambling Commission licence to offer raffles or bingo games. We are currently working with the Commission to look at a range of deregulatory measures that would benefit the third sector, and we hope to make an announcement later in the year.
Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will take steps to review the processes involved in removing harmful content from social networking sites in cases of cyber-bullying. 
Mr Vaizey: Ministers are aware of the significant concerns among parents and young people of cyber-bullying. We welcome increasing efforts of social networking sites, which are represented on our UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), to implement policies to help users protect themselves and report unacceptable behaviour, including cyber-bullying. We have no plans formally to review take-down processes, but UKCCIS continues to look at ways in which children can be kept safe online. If the hon. Member has a specific concern, I should be happy to look into it.
John Penrose: The Department has a comprehensive policy on its intranet for supporting colleagues who are deaf or hard of hearing. This policy includes guidance on the use of sign language interpreters. The Department currently has no staff who need to use British Sign Language.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what support his Department has provided for users of British Sign Language to access telecommunications facilities since May 2010. 
Mr Vaizey: Ofcom is carrying out a review of relay services and is considering the needs of British Sign Language users as part of that review. Government funding is available for use of video relay in the workplace (for people who have been assessed as needing it) under the Access to Work scheme.
As part of its implementation of the European Framework on Electronic Communications, Government are supporting British Sign Language users by pursuing the duty to promote the availability of terminal equipment suitable for disabled users through the e-Accessibility Forum, which draws together Government, industry and voluntary sector to explore and understand issues of e-accessibility and develop and share best practice across all sectors.
Mr Vaizey: The revised Universal Service Directive provides for Ofcom to extend equivalence to other communication providers and not just universal communication providers. We propose to amend section 51 of the Communications Act 2003 to clarify Ofcom's power to impose a general condition in relation to equivalence. An amendment to the universal service order may be necessary depending on the outcome of Ofcom's consultation on the provision of relay services in the UK.
Hugh Robertson: I commissioned the Sport and Recreation Alliance to review regulatory burdens which affect sports clubs in the UK. The review will examine what prevents or hinders sports clubs and volunteers providing sport, and I anticipate them coming forward with a range of policy recommendations with the objective of cutting red-tape at grassroots level. The review is due to conclude in March.
The £135 million sport legacy strategy, Places People Play, launched in November, will be funded by lottery money and has been developed in partnership with Sport England, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association (BPA).
As part of the programme, the Inspired Facilities fund will see Sport England invest £50 million in creating a tangible legacy by improving up to 1,000 local sports facilities. Applications for funding will be open in April for the first of five £10 million funding rounds, with the final one in 2014-15. Community sports clubs will be eligible to apply for the fund.
In addition, the Iconic Facilities fund will support innovative and sustainable large scale multi-sport facilities' projects that will become beacons for grassroots sports. £30 million of capital national lottery funding will be invested by Sport England over three years. Applications for the first £10 million funding round were accepted until December 2010 with further funding rounds opening in autumn 2011 and 2012.
We would also encourage every club to consider registering as a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). The scheme has provided valuable funding to sports clubs which allows them to benefit from certain tax reliefs, similar to those normally given to charities.
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many community sports clubs have closed in (a) Gloucester,
(b) the South West and (c) England in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how his Department plans to interpret the requirement in the EU Electronic Communications Framework for access to electronic communications services equivalent to that enjoyed by the majority of end-users. 
Mr Vaizey: The revised provisions of the EU Electronic Communications Framework, which include revisions to the Universal Services Directive, provide for member states to empower national regulatory authorities (Ofcom in the UK) to specify, where appropriate, requirements to ensure that disabled end-users:
(a) have access to electronic communications services equivalent to that enjoyed by the majority of end-users; and
(b) benefit from the choice of undertakings and services available to the majority of end-users.
In order to fully implement this provision, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is proposing to make changes to section 51 of the Communications Act 2003 to clarify Ofcom's power to impose a general condition in relation to equivalence. In addition we will further analyse the responses to the recent Government public consultation on proposals to implement the revised framework, including Article 23a of the USD Directive on equivalence of access and choice for disable end-users.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what statutory requirements there are for the provision of telecommunications services to deaf people; and what services are provided under such requirements. 
Mr Vaizey: Specific arrangements which provide for disabled users of electronic communications networks are mandated under the Universal Service Order 2003 and section 67 of the Communications Act 2003 which empowers Ofcom to set Condition 15 ("Special Measures for end-users with Disabilities") of the Consolidated Version of the General Conditions (18 March 2010) on the providers of universal telecommunications services in the UK.
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps the Government Equalities Office has taken to identify any disproportionate
effects on women of the outcome of the comprehensive spending review; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that any such disproportionate effects are mitigated. 
Lynne Featherstone: All Departments are required to assess the impact on gender, race and disability of their policies. At the spending review the Treasury published an overview of the likely impacts on women, disabled people and ethnic minorities alongside the main spending review announcement-the first time this has been done. This shows that women will benefit from the protection to many key services that are used more extensively by them.
Throughout the spending review process the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has been in contact with spending teams and senior policy owners to ensure they consider the equalities implications of their policies. Departments will continue to consider the impacts of their policies as further details are worked out, publishing material where appropriate, and the GEO will continue to work closely with them to make sure equality considerations are embedded in policy development.
Philip Davies: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what pay gaps there are in respect of (a) gender, (b) race and (c) disability among employees of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 
(a) Gender: 4.88
(b) Race: 9.39
(c) Disability: 5.39.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how much Barnett consequential funding the Government Equalities Office has provided to each of the devolved Administrations in (a) 2010-11 to date and (b) each of the last three years; and with which programmes such funding was associated. 
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) the Scottish Executive on new high speed rail services for Scotland. 
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues and the Scottish Government on a range of issues, including new high speed rail services for Scotland. The Government are committed to a truly national high speed rail network which will be delivered in phases. Every phase of this project will have benefits for Scotland in terms of cutting journey times.
Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of canals and rivers owned by British Waterways are expected to achieve (a) Good Ecological Status and (b) Good Ecological Potential under the Water Framework Directive by 2015. 
Richard Benyon: Nearly all British Waterways' water bodies are designated as heavily modified or artificial under the water framework directive, for which the objective is good ecological potential (GEP). In relation to the physical impacts caused by navigation, 82% of the water bodies owned by British Waterways are classed as being at GEP or better. This is not expected to change significantly by 2015. Most of British Waterways' canals are expected to meet the GEP target by 2027, in line with the objective set by the Environment Agency.
Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many weirs British Waterways own without fully-functional all-fish species passes which comply with the provision of the Water Framework Directive. 
Richard Benyon: British Waterways has 138 river weirs. 30 of them have fish passes, of which 13 cater for all species. British Waterways is working with the Environment Agency and private sector partners to identify funding for fish passes for another 20 weirs identified as a priority. Of the remaining weirs, some are so low that fish are already able to pass, some are at locations where there are alternative routes for them to pass, and others are on rivers where there are obstructions downstream that need attention first.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has been represented at meetings of the EU High-Level Group of Member States Representatives on corporate social responsibility. 
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effect of signal crayfish populations on the native population of white-clawed crayfish; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: We are aware that signal crayfish have a profound impact on the native crayfish population, due to predation, competition, and the spread of disease. We are also greatly concerned that abundant signal crayfish populations also impact other native freshwater invertebrates, particularly soft-bodied species, thus altering the ecology of rivers. To help ensure the long-term survival of the native species, Natural England and the Environment Agency are supporting projects to establish refuge sites for white clawed crayfish. They are currently finalising a best practice/guidance document on decision-making in the placement and establishment of Ark sites, and other conservation requirements. Natural England is currently funding a project in south-west England involving a captive rearing programme at Bristol Zoo, the identification of Ark sites and reintroduction of white-clawed crayfish to a number of sites across the south-west.
Guidance on the creation of Ark sites has been drawn up by Buglife, and Ark site creation projects have been carried out by Buglife and the Peak District National Park, funded by Natural England through DEFRA's Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment her Department has made of the effects on the white-clawed crayfish population of loss of habitat arising from flood defence and drainage programmes. 
Richard Benyon: Natural England (NE) does not regularly monitor habitat loss outside of protected areas. As with other Schedule 5 species similarly protected under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, in areas where white-clawed crayfish are present and work needs to be carried out, all practical measures must be taken to avoid or minimise impacts on the species. NE with the Environment Agency has produced guidance to help those planning work avoid or minimise impact on crayfish and improve habitats where possible. Depending on the type of project, various mitigation measures may be required with the aim being to ensure the long term survival of the resident breeding population. White-clawed crayfish inhabiting the affected area have to be temporarily removed by licensed crayfish handlers and are generally held until works have been completed. Crayfish habitat must be reinstated at the end of the works.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made on the effects on river ecosystems of trends in signal crayfish numbers; and if she will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA is aware that research on signal crayfish shows that the species has an impact on both the physical nature of aquatic habitats (through burrowing and consequent siltation and erosion damage), and on a range of fauna and flora in rivers. The most noted impact is on the native white-clawed crayfish, but effects on other invertebrates and a number of fish species have been recorded. Clearly the scale of any impact will be increased as the signal crayfish population sizes increases in a given environment. A preliminary assessment of ecosystem health under the water framework directive indicates that up to 43 riverine water bodies (out of 5,818 in England and Wales) are likely to fail to achieve 'good ecological status' because of signal crayfish.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with dairy farmers on future contractual arrangements made with purchasers of their milk. 
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which persons not employed by Government departments or agencies hold passes entitling them to enter her Department's premises. 
Richard Benyon: Passes may be issued to those who are required to make frequent visits to specific Government sites, subject to the usual security checks. For security reasons it would not be appropriate to provide details of individuals who hold such passes.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance the Secretary of State has issued to Bassetlaw District Council in respect of the exercise of its functions as regulator under regulation 64 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. 
Richard Benyon [holding answer 7 February 2011]: Statutory regulation 64 guidance has been issued to all local authorities, including Bassetlaw district council, in the form of 82 Process and 10 Sector Guidance Notes which comprise the Secretary of State's views on what constitutes best available techniques for minimising pollution from different industry sectors. Also, a General Guidance Manual has been issued containing advice on procedural, and other matters. All the guidance can be found at:
Fishmeal and fish oil are essential components in the diet of farmed salmon Dependence on wild fish stocks as a feed source needs to be reduced in order for the industry to develop sustainably. Fish In - Fish Out ratios, comparing the weight of wild fish used as feed with the corresponding weight of farmed fish produced, have steadily fallen with the continuing substitution of non-marine ingredients for fishmeal and fish oil. By-products arising from fish and shellfish processing are also increasingly used for fish feed in the UK.
On the potential environmental impacts I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 13 January 2011, Official Report, column 394W, to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Thomas Docherty).
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many owners of sites of special scientific interest were fined for damaging the land under their supervision in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009 and (d) 2010. 
2007: 1 (owner)
2008: 1 (owner)
2009: 1 (owner); 1 (occupier); 2 (third party)
Mr Paice: Average farm business income on specialist pig farms is forecast to fall by around two-thirds in 2010-11. This is primarily a result of higher feed costs combined with lower prices for pig meat reducing output. For specialist pig farms, the falling value of trading livestock towards the end of the accounting year is also expected to lead to a considerable change in the year on year closing valuation.
In January, the European Commission agreed to introduce Private Storage Aid for pig meat and we are waiting to see what impact that has. We welcome the Commission facilitating discussions over the coming months on the future of the pig meat market and how it can become more sustainable and competitive.
Mr Paice: DEFRA has published a set of life satisfaction or wellbeing measures as part of its Sustainable Development Indicators annually since 2007. The statistics are based on public attitude surveys undertaken in England. The measures include overall life satisfaction (on a scale from 0 to 10), and satisfaction with 11 selected aspects of life including standard of living, health, and accommodation.
In March 2010, when asked to rate their satisfaction with life the average response people in England gave was 7.5 on a scale from 0 to 10. The equivalent average rating for earlier years was 7.3 in 2007, 7.5 in 2008 and 7.4 in 2009.
In November 2010 the Prime Minister asked the National Statistician to lead work on developing a national measure of wellbeing. The Office for National Statistics is expected to publish first results in July 2012. Further information is available at the following website address:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many reported pollution incidents in rivers involving the release of
farm-related products there were in each of the last five years. 
Richard Benyon: The Environment Agency's National Incident Recording System (NIRS) records all reported pollution incidents from 2005 to present, but does not classify which incidents involve farm-related products.
The following table gives information for England and Wales for incidents where there was an impact on water, based on an approximation from the NIRS. This approximation includes incidents where the pollutant type was agricultural material or waste and incidents which occurred on agricultural premises.
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the audit process for grants made in each of the last five years from her Department to (a) the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and (b) Natural England. 
Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State has assessed that the audit regime in place for the last five years covering DEFRA and its arm's length bodies complies with professional standards. This audit regime has included testing the controls in place in relation to grant payments made to such bodies as Natural England and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The system is being reviewed to ensure that details of all payments to outside bodies can be easily analysed.
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will assess the risks to (a) the environment and (b) public health of rail carriages operated by train operating companies discharging sewage onto railway tracks. 
Richard Benyon: The discharge of wastes from railway sanitary conveniences is regulated under the terms of an exemption from the need for an environmental permit. (The discharge is exempt only where the types and quantities of waste involved do not endanger human health or risk harm to the environment.)
Businesses carrying out exempt waste operations such as this are required to meet the terms of the exemption and register with the Environment Agency. The Agency is charged with carrying out appropriate periodic inspections of exempt waste operations to ensure compliance with the legislation, and takes appropriate enforcement action where necessary. In practice the Agency adopts an intelligence-based approach to target its resources. It inspects this particular type of exemption when it receives complaints.
The Government carries out regular reviews of exemptions from environmental permitting to ensure the controls are proportionate to the risk posed. I will also write to you in response to your letter on this matter.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with dairy farmers on the effects on the sector of introducing a food prices code adjudicator. 
Mr Paice: I have had no discussions with dairy farmers specific to the groceries code adjudicator. BIS is leading on the Bill, with close co-operation from DEFRA. This is a wider Bill, affecting a number of sectors, not just dairy farming.
I do, however, chair the Dairy Supply Chain Forum, which enables dairy farmers to discuss key issues with processors and retailers. I am pressing the forum to address the trade deficit in dairy (currently £1.27 billion) and to work collaboratively towards greater industry sustainability. At the last meeting on 20 January 2011, I was also able to hear a number of viewpoints on the state and structure of the industry, including from representatives of dairy farmers.
We are introducing the groceries code adjudicator to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice to prevent large retailers from transferring excessive risks or unexpected costs onto their suppliers.
Richard Benyon: Waxwing, fieldfare, and redwing all occur in highly variable numbers in the UK each year in the non-breeding season making the estimation of total numbers extremely difficult. The most recent assessment of numbers are as follows.
In a normal winter probably less than 100 individuals occur (based on data from the 1981-83 British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Winter Atlas). The current 2010-11 winter has seen a major influx of waxwings from Scandinavia and many thousands, possibly tens of thousands have been present in Britain. No precise estimates are available.
Numbers of fieldfares and redwings arriving in autumn from their breeding areas in Scandinavia vary between winters. The most recent estimates of numbers wintering in the UK was 720,000 fieldfares and 685,000 redwings (based on data from the 1981-84 BTO Winter Atlas). No more recent estimates are available.
Both fieldfares and redwings are extremely rare breeding birds in the UK. In most recent years there have just been single records of fieldfares attempting to breed, although in 2008 there were seven such records. Numbers of breeding redwings, although always rare, have shown a long-term decline, from a peak of approximately 110 pairs in 1984, to seven to 27 pairs in 2008 (the most recent year for which records are available).
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many young people aged (a) 12 to 15 and (b) 16 to 17 serving detention and training orders were provided with accommodation on release from custody by (i) local authority, (ii) local housing services and (iii) family members or friends in each of the last five years. 
Mr Blunt: Local authorities have statutory responsibilities to accommodate young people in need of suitable accommodation through the Children Act 1989, the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and housing legislation.
As part of the National Indicator 46 (access by young people who offend to suitable accommodation), the Youth Justice Board collected data on the proportion of all sentenced young people released from custody who had suitable accommodation to go to. This indicator ceased to operate from 31 March 2010.
|Accommodation following a custodial sentence 2006-07 to 2009-10|
|Financial year||Number of young people subject to a custodial sentence transferred to the community( 1)||Number assessed as living in suitable accommodation ( 2)||Percentage in suitable accommodation|
|(1 )For all custodial sentences; data are not available broken down by DTO/other sentence type.|
(2 ')Suitable accommodation' is defined according to the Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001:
11 (2) For the purposes of section 23B(10), suitable accommodation means accommodation:
(a) which so far as reasonably practicable is suitable for the child in the light of his needs, including his health needs and any needs arising from any disability;
(b) in respect of which the responsible authority has satisfied itself as to the character and suitability of the landlord or other provider; and
(c) in respect of which the responsible authority has so far as reasonably practicable taken into account the child's -
(i) wishes and feelings; and
(ii) education, training or employment needs.
This legislation does not prescribe rules for deciding as to whether a particular type of accommodation is suitable or unsuitable, but allows for practitioners to make a professional judgement based on the individual needs and circumstances of each young person.
(3 )English YOTs only
Mr Blunt: Mr Binnington and Mr Atkinson have only recently been categorised as suitable for open conditions. A transfer was arranged but was cancelled due to population pressure at the receiving establishment. A further transfer will be arranged as soon as places become available.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons officials of his Department gave advice to the Governors of HM Prisons Edmunds Hill and Highpoint on applications for release under home detention curfew of Michael Binnington and Luke Atkinson; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each item of correspondence on the matter between his Department, the National Offender Management Service and the Prison Service. 
Mr Blunt: Decisions on home detention curfew (HDC) are for the prison governor in cases such as these. The Department provides a helpline service to prisons offering advice on the application of the legislative provisions and policy relating to the scheme. Copies of the request for advice and the advice given in relation to these applications have been placed in the House Library.
Mr Blunt: The hon. Member has written to Ministers on a number of occasions making representations on behalf of Mr Binnington and Mr Atkinson in reference to their trial in Cyprus, extradition to that country and their repatriation to the United Kingdom to complete their sentence.
Ministers remain satisfied that all representations made to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), have been answered and the position of the Government has been explained in detail. Therefore, Ministers concluded that a meeting with Mr Binnington and Mr Atkinson's family would not be appropriate. Nevertheless, the hon. Member was offered a meeting with Ministers in correspondence of 2 December 2010, in view of her continuing interest in this case. That offer remains open.
Mr Blunt: The National Offender Management Service records a variety of incidents that are related to disorder or disturbances at various levels of seriousness. Details of these are shown in the following table. The majority of disorder-related incidents are of a minor nature and are resolved quickly and professionally.
Since 1 May 2010 there have been six major disturbances, identified as major acts of concerted indiscipline at: HMYOI Cookham Wood, HMYOI Warren Hill, three related incidents at HMP and YOI Moorland, and one incident at HMP Ford. These prisons are all within the public sector.
Following each major disturbance a full investigation is carried out to ensure lessons are learned and best practise in managing incidents is shared across NOMS. Where perpetrators can be identified they are prosecuted.
|Table 1: Breakdown of disturbance-related incidents in prisons in England and Wales from 1 May 2010 until 31 December 2010|
|Public sector prisons||Private sector prisons|
|(1) Concerted indiscipline is when two or more prisoners act together in defiance of a lawful instruction or against the requirements of the regime of the establishment.|
(2) An incident at height is defined as any incident taking place over three feet from ground level and includes where prisoners have gained access to safety netting.
These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
|Table 2: Breakdown of disturbance-related incidents in prisons in England and Wales from 1 January 2007 until 31 December 2010 for private sector prisons|
|Private sector prisons||2007||2008||2009||2010|
|Table 3: Breakdown of disturbance-related incidents in prisons in England and Wales from 1 January 2007 until 31 December 2010 for public sector prisons|
|Public sector prisons||2007||2008||2009||2010|
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects (a) repair work to be concluded, (b) all lanes to be open and (c) the temporary speed limits to be removed from the Hatfield Tunnel on the A1. 
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to promote the Cycle to Work Scheme (a) to employers and employees and (b) to other Government departments. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport values the Cycle to Work Scheme and continues to support it through the provision of the Cycle to Work Scheme implementation guidance and advice to employers and employees.
Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on taking account of social and community value when assessing the value for money of the proposed sale of Government assets for which his Department is responsible. 
Mike Penning: The sale of assets for which the Department for Transport is responsible will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account overall value for money, the policy implications and the impact on stakeholders as appropriate.
Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider the merits of extending the duration of the concessionary fares scheme consultation to ensure that all interested parties have the opportunity to contribute to it in detail. 
Norman Baker: The consultation on the reimbursement of bus operators for carrying concessionary pass holders ran for a period of eight weeks from 17 September 2010 to 11 November 2010. We received a wide range of responses from travel concession authorities, passenger groups and bus operators.
Furthermore, the Department for Transport engaged closely with key stakeholders before the formal consultation and as the draft guidance was developed. The final reimbursement guidance was published on 29 November 2010 and reflected in its final form comments we had received.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received the GRIP stage 4 feasibility study on the Swindon to Kemble railway redoubling project; and whether he plans to publish the study. 
Mrs Villiers: I have not yet received the GRIP stage 4 feasibility study on the Swindon to Kemble railway redoubling project from Network Rail, but expect to do so shortly. When it arrives, I will place a copy in the Library of the House.
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 4 February 2011]: The Southeastern franchise, agreed in 2005 by the previous Government, contains a provision for the contract to end on 31 March 2012, unless the train operator meets the performance targets set out in the Continuation Review.
The terms of the Continuation Review are set by the 2005 franchise agreement. If the train operator meets those targets, the Secretary of State is legally obliged to offer Southeastern a further two years operating the franchise, lasting up to 31 March 2014. In these circumstances, the Secretary of State has no discretion as to whether to make this offer or not. The Secretary of State expects to make an announcement on this matter in due course.
Margaret Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce his plans for the electrification of the Midland Main Line from Bedford to Sheffield via Derby and Nottingham. 
Norman Baker: The Secretary of State and other Department for Transport Ministers have regular formal and informal discussions with their EU counterparts on a wide range of issues. These discussions often touch, directly or indirectly, on the costs falling to motorists and the wider transport sector, particularly where these might be affected by legislative or other proposals.
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the rate of (a) punctuality and (b) cancellation of services was for the Northern Rail service operating on the (a) Seaton Carew and (b) Hartlepool to Heworth lines in each of the last five years. 
Mr Philip Hammond: In my oral statement to the House on 20 December 2010, Official Report, columns 1201-03, I said that I expected the consultation to begin in February this year. I expect it to last until July. The consultation questions will be published at the launch of the consultation.
Mrs Villiers: The views of passengers and passenger representatives, including passengers with disabilities, are sought by the Department for Transport during the development of the specification that is issued to franchise bidders.
Mrs Villiers: A significant criterion will be the type of franchise. For non-commuter franchises, the bidding process will provide an opportunity to take account of strategies on capacity and crowding. For commuter services, we expect obligations on crowding, and associated mechanisms, to be developed as we re-let the relevant franchises, reflecting the circumstances specific to the operations in question.
Mrs Villiers: Maintenance of rolling stock is an issue for the train operator to consider and manage according to its rolling stock leasing arrangements. The Department for Transport does not hold information relating to how many trains are in service or in repair at particular points in time.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department issues to police forces on circumstances in which motorists found to have exceeded speed limits are offered the option of a safer driving course in lieu of a fixed penalty. 
Mike Penning: The Department for Transport does not issue guidance to the police about courses offered to drivers as an alternative to a fixed penalty for a speeding offence. Guidance about the criteria for offering courses is issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Operational decisions are for individual police forces.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness in reducing speeding by motorists of offering those convicted of speeding offences the option of attending a safer driving course in lieu of a fixed penalty. 
The Department for Transport has published two road safety research reports assessing the effectiveness of speed awareness courses: 'Monitoring Speed Awareness Courses: Baseline Data Collection'
(September 2010) and 'Effective Interventions for Speeding Motorists' (March 2006). These reports are available on the Department's website.
Norman Baker [holding answer 1 February 2011]: The recently published Local Transport White Paper 'Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon' outlines the Government's strategy to encourage more sustainable transport choices, including active travel.
Alongside this, the Government have announced a £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund for local authorities to bid for funding for sustainable travel packages, which could include active travel schemes. Bids from authorities working in partnership with their local communities and businesses will be especially welcome The Department also funds the National Business Travel Network, which provides guidance and resources to encourage business to adopt more sustainable travel measures, and continues to support the Cycle to Work scheme and guarantee.
Maria Miller: We recognise that some pensioners who are also carers currently have to claim carer's allowance in order to get the additional amount for caring included in their pension credit, even if carer's allowance would not be payable. We are looking at ways to make it simpler for carers to claim the additional amount in pension credit. In designing any revised test for the award of the additional amount we need to ensure that resources are targeted at those most in need and it is therefore important that we use an appropriate test for those who have caring responsibilities.
The Government are currently considering whether changes to carer's allowance will be necessary to take account of the introduction of universal credit and provide clearer, more effective support for carers.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to set the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission a target for collection of arrears. 
The Government have established a panel of independent debt experts to look at this issue and provide advice on
how arrears of child maintenance might be dealt with most effectively in the long-term.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of working-age people by (a) sex, (b) age group and (c) disability in receipt of the lowest care component of disability living allowance. 
|Working age disability living allowance female recipients of lower care component by main disabling condition and age, May 2010 Great Britain and abroad|
|All working age||16-17||18-24||25-34||35-44||45-54||55-59|
|Working age disability living allowance male recipients of lower care component by main disabling condition and age, May 2010 Great Britain and abroad|
|All working age||16-17||18-24||25-34||35-44||45-54||55-59||60-64|
|(1) Denotes nil or negligible.|
1. The preferred statistics on benefits are now derived from 100% data sources. However, the 5% sample data still provides some detail not yet available from the100% data sources, in particular, more complete information on the disabling condition of DLA claimants. DWP recommends that, where the detail is only available on the 5% sample data, or disabling condition (DLA) is required, the proportions derived should be scaled up to the overall 100% total for the benefit. These figures have been scaled up to the overall total by the application of a single rating factor therefore subtotals, based on uprated 5% data may differ from 100% data because of sampling variation in the 5% sample.
2. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 100. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Figures 500 and under are subject to a high degree of sampling error and should only be used as a guide.
4. Main Disabling Condition
Where more than one disability is present only the main disabling condition is recorded. "Other" includes 25 medical conditions, including "Obesity" from February 2010 (for claims to benefit from October 2008 onwards). Previously, "Obesity" was included within "Mental Health Causes".
5. Working age restricts the analysis to males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to59.
6. State Pension Age
The age at which women reach State Pension age will gradually increase from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients.
7. Figures show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and excludes people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5% sample
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of working age people in receipt of the lowest care component of disability living allowance in the latest period for which figures are available. 
|Disability living allowance recipients of working age with lower rate care component, May 2010|
1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures do not include people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital.
3. Working age restricts the analysis to males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to 59.
4. State pension age: The age at which women reach state pension age will gradually increase from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients.
5. Data are published at
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many items of correspondence his Department has received in support of the proposal to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from those in residential care homes. 
Maria Miller: The proposal to cease payment of the mobility component of disability living allowance after 28 days for those people in residential care, is subject to consultation and the responses will be analysed after the consultation closes on 14 February 2011.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to allow parents whose children are in hospital for longer than 84 days to claim disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: Payment of disability living allowance and carers allowance continues to be made to children under 16 years in a hospital or a similar institution for the longer period of 84 days to avoid terminating payment of benefit for relatively short periods in hospital.
Whereas those aged 16 and over retain payment of disability living allowance for 28 days, under 16s have a longer period of 84 days in recognition of the special needs that they may have for support from their parents while they are adjusting to hospital life.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of (a) incapacity benefit, (b) income support and (c) severe disablement allowance ceased receiving benefits and moved into employment of 16 hours a week or more in each quarter since 1 February 2009. 
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the limitation of contributory employment and support allowance to one year will apply to every new claim for the benefit; and whether any new claims will be linked to previous claims. 
Maria Miller: As part of the spending review announcement, we propose to introduce a time limit of one year for those claiming contributory employment and support allowance and who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group. All other groups claiming employment and support allowance are not affected by this measure.
Subject to passage of the relevant legislation, from April 2012, a time limit of one year is to apply to all claims for contributory employment and support allowance who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group. New claims may link to previous claims where the previous claim was paid for less than one year.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the finding in paragraph 3, page 3 of the summary of research report No. 631, Employment and Support Allowance: Early implementation experiences of customers and staff. 
Maria Miller: The work capability assessment (WCA) is used to determine eligibility for employment and support allowance. It is based on the principle that a health condition or disability should not automatically be regarded as a barrier to work. In March 2010, a department-led review of the WCA found that generally it is accurately identifying individuals for the right support. Additionally, Professor Harrington as part of his second Independent Review of the WCA will be examining in detail the working of the WCA.
Through the Work programme and associated Jobcentre Plus employment support, we will deliver a much more
flexible service to disabled customers and those with health conditions, whatever benefit they claim. Advisers will be free to assess customers' individual needs and offer the support they see fit. We will incentivise Work programme providers to focus their resources on our hardest to help customers, including those with health conditions.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases his Department has reversed employment and support allowance decisions on appeal on the basis of the medical assessment in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Maria Miller: The following table provides information regarding the number of people who appeal the decision to find them fit for work following their initial work capability assessment. The number of appeals found in favour of the appellant to date is shown in the column 'Decision in favour of appellant'.
|Work capability assessment appeals heard on 'fit for work' decision (initial assessments only)|
|Month of claim start||Fit for work||Appeals heard (to date)||Percentage fit for work with an appeal heard (to date)||Decision in favour of appellant||DWP decision upheld||Percentage Decision in favour of appellant||Percentage DWP decision upheld|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|