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Electoral Reform Services

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value was of contracts his Department placed with Electoral Reform Services in each year since 2005. [44226]

Justine Greening: The Treasury has not placed any contracts with Electoral Reform Services since 2005.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 791W

European Committee

Mr Cash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2011, Official Report, European Committee B, column 9, for what reasons the Financial Secretary to the Treasury stated that the only legal action had been struck down. [39868]

Mr Hoban: [holding answer 11 February 2011]: The statement was inaccurate; the admissibility of the case brought against the Council by Mr Thomas Ax is currently under consideration. I have since written, as I committed to do in the course of the debate, to the hon. Member for Stone with a correct account of the matter. This has no material effect on the broader issue, which is that the Government believe that EU Council Regulation No. 407/2010, establishing the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, is consistent with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The Government are not aware of a significant body of legal opinion supporting the opposite view.

Financial Institutions

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the extension of net lending targets to be covered by the Project Merlin agreement. [43999]

Mr Hoban: On 9 February 2011 the Government announced that the five Merlin banks agreed to make available the appropriate capital and resources to support gross new lending to UK small and medium-sized businesses, of £190 billion, should sufficient demand materialise.

Increasing the amounts that the banks are willing to make available to businesses over the next year in new lending will help to give businesses the confidence that they need to seek finance from their bank and ensure that the banks are focused on providing that flow of credit to businesses.

This goes much further than the previous Government and delivers a commitment from all five major retail banks to lend to UK businesses. These five banks represent around 90% of the UK SME banking market.

Financial Services Authority: Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will revise the objectives of the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority to include the promotion of corporate diversity. [43919]

Mr Hoban: The objectives of the chief executive are set by the chairman and the board of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA’s day-to-day operations are independent from government control and influence.

Financial Services Authority: Incentives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff at the Financial Services Authority were entitled to receive a bonus in 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. [43884]

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Mr Hoban: The matter concerned is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), whose day-to-day operations are independent from government control and influence.

There is no automatic or guaranteed bonus for staff at the FSA. However, the FSA has an annual individual incentive plan which extends to all full-time staff and is based on individual performance throughout the year. Individual incentive payments are designed to recognise and reward the FSA’s highest performers. The FSA is not able to confirm any further details as the 2011 pay review process, which rewards performance for 2010, has not yet been completed.

Mileage Payment Allowance

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the future level of the mileage payment allowance. [43711]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given in response to the hon. Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Gordon Banks) on 13 September 2010, Official Report, column 785W.

Northern Rock: Financial Health of Friendly Societies

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent meetings he has had on the (a) possible remutualisation of Northern Rock and (b) financial health of friendly societies; and if he will make a statement. [43920]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI) manages the Government’s investments in financial institutions on an arm’s length and commercial basis. The development and execution of strategies for disposing of the Government’s shareholding in Northern Rock is part of UKFI’s remit.

UKFI will look at the full range of alternatives for divestment, and will explore options based on maximising value for the taxpayer, maintaining financial stability and paying due regard to promoting competition. All exit strategies for Northern Rock plc will be considered. The final decision on the sale of Northern Rock will be made by the Chancellor.

UKFI and Northern Rock plc are in the process of jointly appointing advisers to examine all possible exit strategies. Advisers will be appointed in the field of corporate finance, tax and accountancy.

On the financial health of friendly societies, despite the challenges faced by much of the wider financial sector, most mutuals have emerged from the financial crisis relatively unscathed. The Government support the mutual proposition of which friendly societies are one part, however, they also recognise some specific challenges this model will face over the coming years.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 793W

Personal Savings: Government Assistance

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether his Department has plans to introduce Government-backed individual saving accounts enabling investment in environmental industries; [43676]

(2) whether his Department made a recent assessment of the (a) availability and (b) gross monetary value of individual saving accounts enabling investment in environmental industries; [43677]

(3) what his policy is on issuing Government-backed bonds for investment in low-carbon industries; [43678]

(4) whether he has met representatives of the Sustainable Investment and Finance Association to discuss the creation of Government-backed individual saving accounts enabling investment in environmental industries; [43679]

(5) whether he has met representatives of the UK investment industry to discuss the creation of Government-backed individual saving accounts enabling investment in environmental industries. [43680]

Mr Hoban: The Government are undertaking analysis into how investment in green industries can be increased.

The ISA market is competitive and a number of providers have chosen to offer green, environmental or ethical ISAs. When ISA providers provide information to HMRC on account holders it does not include information on whether an investment is environmental or not and so no estimate of the value of accounts investing in environmental industries is available.

The Government are currently considering how best to encourage additional investment in green infrastructure through the Green Investment Bank, and are aiming to announce their detailed proposals in May. When considering issuing new bond instruments the Government consider:

consistency with the debt management objective (minimising long-term cost, subject to risk) and the principles on which debt management is based;

impact on liquidity and the good functioning more generally of the gilt market;

the likely size of demand for the new instrument; and

an assessment of the cost and resource commitment required for implementation in comparison with the potential size of demand.

Treasury Ministers have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Refrigerators: Recycling

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce financial incentives to increase the use of remanufactured refrigerated display cabinets. [44376]

Justine Greening: All taxes are kept under review and announcements on tax policy are made at Budget.

Tax Credit: Fraud

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the monetary value of tax credits claimed fraudulently in each month since May 2010. [43906]

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Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) measure error and fraud retrospectively. Information is published annually and cannot be broken down by month. Information for 2010-11 is not yet available.

HMRC has a target to reduce the combined levels of error and fraud to no more than 5%, from 8.9% in 2008-09, the latest published estimates, by the end of March 2011.

The Trust Statement that accompanied HMRC’s 2009-10 accounts explains in more detail how the Department measures the overall level of tax credits error and fraud, published at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/hmrc-accs-0910.pdf

HMRC published a joint strategy with the Department for Work and Pensions to help drive down error and fraud across the benefits and tax credits system. The publication can be found at:

www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/tackling-fraud-and-error.pdf

Tax Relief: Dairy Farmers

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide tax relief to assist dairy farmers in preparing for implementations of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations in each of the next four financial years. [43994]

Justine Greening: The extension of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, which protect vulnerable ecosystems and the quality of drinking water in the UK, was undertaken through a phased process. The extension was announced in October 2008, and the new regulations introduced on 1 January 2009 for implementation from 1 January 2010.

The Government have appointed a Taskforce on Farming Regulations which will report early this year on ways to reduce regulatory burdens on farmers.

Taxation: Aviation

Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will take steps to ensure that air passenger duty exemptions for passengers departing from the Highlands and Islands are maintained in implementing his proposals to introduce a per plane tax; [44196]

(2) what consultation his Department plans to undertake in the Highlands and Islands on his proposals to replace air passenger duty with a per plane tax; [44197]

(3) whether he plans to review the military exemptions from air passenger duty; [44198]

(4) whether his proposals for a per plane tax will apply to cargo flights operating within the Highlands and Islands region. [44199]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (Dr Poulter) on 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 83W.

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Taxation: Gambling

Roger Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rate of gross profit tax is paid by (a) adult gaming centres, (b) onshore gaming websites and (c) offshore gaming websites. [44390]

Justine Greening: Adult gaming centres pay Amusement Machine License Duty and VAT on their gaming machines. The licence fee payable varies depending on stake and prize limits.

Online gaming websites, licensed in the UK, pay a remote gaming duty of 15% on gross profits.

International Development

British Overseas NGOs for Development

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has provided for the Bond organisation in each of the last five years; and what reports he has received from that organisation on the effect of its activities on levels of poverty. [43898]

Mr O'Brien: Department for International Development (DFID) funding to Bond from 2006-07 to 2010-11 is as follows.


£

2006-07

450,000

2007-08

454,000

2008-09

479,261

2009-10

558,599

2010-11

627,180

It is a requirement for all non-government organisations who receive DFID funding to provide annual reports and annual audited accounts. DFID has received and reviewed annual reports for Bond in the last five years. DFID has also received an independent evaluation of Bond's work for the period 2008-10 which is available on the Department's website:

www.dfid.gov.uk

Bond's impact on poverty is indirect. Bond's focus is primarily to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of its membership, consisting of 370 UK-based international development organisations.

Broadcasting

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to his Department's report on Building support for Development Strategy—Impact of strategy, expenditure and activities, August 2009, page 6, which broadcast programmes receive seed funding from his Department. [43977]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development provides seed funding to broadcast programmes through our support to the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA). DFID’s current agreement with CBA is for three years and was entered into in December 2009. A list of broadcast programmes

7 Mar 2011 : Column 796W

which received seed funding from DFID over the period 2002 to 2010 will be deposited in the Library of the House.

All DFID’s funding for development awareness raising work is currently being reviewed to determine its effectiveness and to assess whether, and if so how, DFID should continue to use aid funds in the UK to promote awareness of global poverty and public involvement in efforts to address this. More information on this review is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Making-a-difference/Dev-aware-Review/

I expect the review to be completed by the end of March 2011. Ministers will then look closely at its outcomes and assess the relevance of these activities to the UK’s development objectives, in order to determine the future of DFID’s development awareness work in the UK.

Civil Society Challenge Fund

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 7 December 2010, Official Report, column 210W, on the Civil Society Challenge Fund, which trade unions received funding from the Civil Society Challenge Fund in 2009-10; and how much each such trade union received. [43930]

Mr O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 17 January 2011, Official Report, column 527W. The requested information is available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Expenditure

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) each public body sponsored by his Department incurred on engaging external audit services in each of the last three years; and to which service providers such payments were made in each year. [43750]

Mr O'Brien: Expenditure by the Department for International Development (DFID) on engaging external audit services for the last three financial years were as follows, with totals aggregated per provider:

£000
Service provider 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Statutory audit

     

National Audit Office—resource accounts

281

281

256

       

Project audits—aggregated per provider

     

RSM Bentley Jennison

72.5

253.5

Baker Tilly

50.5

European Commission

33

Pannell Kerr Forster

20

6

25

KPMG

9.5

16.5

PricewaterhouseCoopers

35

17

16

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Akinbola Williams Deloitte Consulting

13

MC Global Audit

8.5

8

COI

8

ACNABIN

7

NAO

7

Howlader Yunus and Co.

6.5

International Organisation Development

6.5

S.F. Ahmed and Co.

6.5

A. Quasem

5

A. wahab

4

Institute of Internal Auditors

1

2

0.5

FGS McClure Watters

42.5

Ernst and Young

36

Deloitte

24

OECD

23

CABI

3

13

Graham Carr

3

Vincent Ahwi and Co.

8.5

Wachira Irungu and Associates

3

Total

350.5

577

717

DFID’s non-departmental public body, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), has incurred no expenditure on auditing services in the last three years. CSC delegates financial transactions to two partner organisations, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and British Council; both bodies are subject to external audit.

Departmental Furniture

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) furniture, (b) paintings and (c) other items costing over £100 were purchased for the private offices of Ministers in his Department between May 1997 and May 2010. [43984]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not incurred expenditure on paintings as where these are required they are obtained on free loan from the Government Art Collection. Expenditure on furniture and other items over £100 obtained for Ministers’ private offices in the period 1 May 1997 to 1 May 2010 is not readily available and cannot be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) procurement and (b) outsourcing function of (i) his Department and (ii) each non-departmental public body for which he is responsible in the last financial year for which figures are available. [43954]

Mr O'Brien: The 2009-10 budget for the Department for International Development's (DFID's) central procurement function was £1.6 million. DFID does not currently have any separate outsourcing functions.

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DFID's non-departmental public body, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, does not have procurement or outsourcing functions and has not incurred any such expenditure in the last financial year.

Environment Protection

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Government’s policy on the recommendations of the UN Environment Programme report, Towards a Green Economy. [43694]

Mr O'Brien: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released their report “Towards a Green Economy—Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” on 21 February 2011.

I will raise the report on 8 March at the ‘Green Breakfast’ meeting hosted by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and initiate a preliminary discussion on the recommendations.

Music

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on the Music for Change World Music Matters project; what music has been produced; and if he will place in the Library a recording of the music produced to date. [43974]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) spent £184,550 on the World Music Matters project, implemented by the non-government organisation Music for Change, through the Development Awareness Fund. The project—set up under the previous Government—started in July 2006 and closed in March 2010. The project produced a range of training materials for teachers, including a DVD with music as part of a teaching resource pack. This pack will be placed in the Library of the House.

All DFID’s existing funding for development awareness raising work is currently being reviewed to determine its effectiveness and to assess whether, and if so how, DFID should continue to use aid funds in the UK to promote awareness of global poverty and public involvement in efforts to address this. More information on this review is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Making-a-difference/Dev-aware-Review/

I expect the review to be completed by the end of March 2011. Ministers will then look closely at its outcomes and assess the relevance of these activities to the UK’s development objectives, in order to determine the future of DFID’s development awareness work in the UK.

National Union of Teachers

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funds his Department has given to the National Union of Teachers in each year since his Department’s formation. [43987]

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Mr O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 7 December 2010, Official Report, column 215W. The requested information is available in the Library of the House.

All DFID’s funding for development awareness raising work is currently being reviewed to determine its effectiveness and to assess whether, and if so how, DFID should continue to use aid funds in the UK to promote awareness of global poverty and public involvement in efforts to address this. More information on this review is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Making-a-difference/Dev-aware-Review/

I expect the review to be completed by the end of March 2011. Ministers will then look closely at its outcomes and assess the relevance of these activities to the UK’s development objectives, in order to determine the future of DFID’s development awareness work in the UK.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Agriculture

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will assess the potential use of biochar in assisting carbon and nitrogen fixation in smallholder farms in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. [44018]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) is considering funding research on the use of biochar to assist carbon capture and soil improvement in smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. The existing—mainly technical—research suggests that biochar can deliver benefits in terms of improved soil performance, carbon capture, crop nutrients and plant disease control. However, there is currently little understanding of how this will work for smallholders in Africa. DFID is considering strengthening this evidence base, in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Sudan: International Assistance

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps with his EU and UN counterparts to make improvements to the lives of the people of northern Sudan. [44740]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I last discussed support to Northern Sudan with my EU colleagues at a meeting of Development Ministers and EU Commissioner Piebalgs on 22 February 2011. I have also in recent months discussed UN delivery across Sudan with the Heads of UN Agencies including Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Baroness Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. The UK will continue to work with EU and UN counterparts to promote economic development and improve lives in both North and South Sudan.

Sudan is currently not eligible to money from the 10th round of the European development fund. However, the UK has led on the creation of a special fund for Sudan using undisbursed money from previous rounds. Some of this special fund will go to Northern Sudan for use in its marginalised areas: the three states of the East, the North-South Border Areas, and in Darfur.

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The Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) office in Sudan is currently working closely with the EU delegation on this.

The UN is pivotal to the delivery of the UK’s humanitarian assistance to Northern Sudan, for example through the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF). Thus far in 2011, the UK has provided £30 million to the CHF, of which 46% will be spent in Northern Sudan.

Beyond our work through these specific multilateral channels, I have recently announced the results of the UK’s Bilateral Aid Review. Over the next four years, the UK Government will work with North and South Sudan to promote growth, employment and accountable and transparent government; we will help 1 million people escape from poverty; get 240,000 children through primary school; give over 500,000 people access to clean water and sanitation; and provide life-saving health and nutrition support to up to 10 million people.

Trades Union Congress

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will place in the Library a copy of the Mini Learning Fund report of June 2006 appended to the report on the strategic grant agreement between his Department and the Trades Union Congress. [43896]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I will arrange for a copy of the report to be deposited in the Library of the House. All existing Department for International Development (DFID) funding to the Trades Union Congress will end on 31 March 2011.

Woodcraft Folk Scotland

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of its funding for Woodcraft Folk Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [43897]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: In March 2009, Woodcraft Folk Scotland was awarded £24,812 for a three year project which aims to raise awareness among young people in Scotland of the global effects of climate change. The funding is provided through the Development Awareness Fund Mini Grants Scheme which is managed by the International Development Education Association of Scotland (IDEAS).

All DFID’s funding for development awareness raising work is currently being reviewed to determine its effectiveness and to assess whether, and if so how, DFID should continue to use aid funds in the UK to promote awareness of global poverty and public involvement in efforts to address this. More information on this review is available on the Department’s website at:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Get-Involved/Making-a-difference/Dev-aware-Review/

I expect the review to be completed by the end of March 2011. Ministers will then look closely at its outcomes and assess the relevance of these activities to the UK’s development objectives, in order to determine the future of DFID’s development awareness work in the UK.

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Women and Equalities

Departmental Food

Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will estimate the proportion of the seafood procured for the Government Equalities Office that (a) was on the Marine Conservation Society’s list of fish to avoid and (b) complied with sustainability standards indicated by inclusion in either the Marine Conservation Society’s list of fish to eat or by the list of fish species certified by the Marine Stewardship Council in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011 to date. [45040]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office does not procure any seafood.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Raab: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) procurement and (b) outsourcing function of the Government Equalities Office was in the last financial year for which figures are available. [43966]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office does not have a procurement section or an outsourcing function.

Females: Status

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what arrangements the Government Equalities Office has in place to monitor the status of women in society. [44210]

Lynne Featherstone: The Inter Ministerial Group on Equalities, chaired by the Home Secretary as Minister for Women and Equalities is responsible for overseeing the progress of the Government’s Equality Strategy, published in December 2010. A report on the progress of the implementation of the Strategy will be published annually. The Government considers information from a range of sources including research, surveys and direct engagement with women in order to understand developments which relate to women’s status in society and to inform policy development.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is required to monitor and report on the progress that society is making in relation to equality, including gender equality. The Commission published its first Triennial Review in October 2010.

In addition, the Government will shortly publish a consultation document setting out our vision for a new approach for how Government engages and listens to women which will include more direct engagement and use of social media. This new approach will seek to capture views on the range of issues which affect women’s lives.

Third Sector

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what account she has taken of the Compact between the Government and Civil Society in policy development. [42600]

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Lynne Featherstone: The Compact between this coalition government and civil society organisations was agreed and launched on 16 December 2010. It was accompanied by guidance on accountability and transparency for the first time, ensuring that Government Departments as well as civil society organisations are clear about the level of commitment and the implications for not following the Compact. The Government Equalities Office considers policy that is relevant to civil society organisations from a Compact perspective, ensuring that it is adhered to, and where it is not possible for whatever reason, that this is explained to the sector in an open and transparent manner.

Defence

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the outcome of the NATO Surge in Afghanistan. [44868]

Dr Fox: It is too early to say definitively what the outcome of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) surge has been but the signs are encouraging. The increase in both ISAF and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) has enabled us to continue to take the fight to the insurgency through the winter months. This has led to the momentum of the insurgency being arrested and reversed in many areas. In addition, we expect the formal process of transition to Afghan-led security to begin shortly.

These gains are not irreversible and we should expect levels of insurgent activity to rise again in the spring but as the insurgency is degraded and the ANSF are built up there is some cause for cautious optimism.

Air Force: Military Bases

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of meteorological differences between RAF bases located in the UK on their operational sustainability. [43931]

Nick Harvey: Weather conditions are one of many factors in military aviation and an assessment of the percentage of flying days lost to bad weather at RAF stations across the UK was carried out in 2009 as one of the elements of a study into the UK Military Emergency Diversion Aerodrome capability.

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how many days each RAF base located in the UK was closed as a result of (a) adverse weather conditions and (b) other factors in each of the last five years. [43932]

Nick Harvey: No RAF stations have closed because of adverse weather conditions or other factors during the last five years. However, some of the RAF stations' runways have experienced temporary closures during this period. Details of the runway closures are not centrally available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 803W

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria were used to determine that RAF Leuchars should undertake Quick Reaction Alert North duties. [43933]

Nick Harvey: RAF Leuchars began undertaking Quick Reaction Alert North duties over 40 years ago. Official records relating to the decision to use the station are no longer held by the Ministry of Defence.

Air Force: Redundancy

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the redundancies in the Royal Air Force announced on 1 March 2011 on harmony guidelines in that force. [44425]

Nick Harvey: Tranche one of the RAF redundancy programme announced on 1 March 2011 is not expected to impact upon the RAF’s operational capability or Harmony Guidelines. The reductions have been targeted at trades and branches that are not currently experiencing the highest breach of Harmony Guidelines.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which courses RAF pilots in training and served with (a) a redundancy and (b) a transfer notice were undertaking; and what the (i) mean and (ii) median number of weeks they were from course completion; [44838]

(2) what criteria were used to determine which pilots in training were to be (a) made redundant and (b) transferred in the last six months; [44839]

(3) how many pilots in training at RAF Valley were served with redundancy notices in the latest period for which figures are available; and what courses they were on. [44881]

Nick Harvey: The RAF is currently in the process of selecting up to 170 RAF trainee pilots to be removed from the flying training pipeline. The criteria being used to assess the pilots will be a combination of the service need, officer qualities, ground based pilot aptitude testing and flying performance to date.

Those students affected will currently be undertaking one of the following courses: initial officer training, elementary flying training or type-specific training for either fast-jet, rotary or multi-engine. Further details relating to those being removed from the training pipeline will not be available until the selection process is complete.

Air Force: Training

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to the public purse of training a Royal Air Force pilot was in the latest period for which figures are available. [44301]

Nick Harvey: A pilot is considered to be fully trained once they have successfully completed the flying training pipeline and an operational conversion unit where student pilots train to fly specific aircraft types.

To put a pilot through the flying training pipeline costs (per pilot) £3.2 million for fast jet aircraft, £0.6 million for multi-engine aircraft and £0.8 million for

7 Mar 2011 : Column 804W

helicopters. These figures include a pro rata share of the cost of instructors, fuel, aircraft and simulator support, station and airfield support, recruitment, selection, student pay and shared training costs.

Information relating to the costs for individual operational conversion units is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Aircraft Carriers: Decommissioning

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the potential savings to his Department from the decommissioning of aircraft carriers in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14 and (d) 2014-15. [43901]

Mr Robathan: Savings from the withdrawal from service of HMS Ark Royal in December 2010 are estimated at £10 million in financial year 2011-12, £25 million in 2012-13, £35 million in 2013-14 and £35 million in 2014-15. Savings from the withdrawal from service of HMS Illustrious in 2014, which is our present planning assumption, are estimated at £5 million in 2013-14 and £30 million in 2014-15.

Armed Forces: Conditions of Employment

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with the Chiefs of Staff Committee on the contribution of the Military Covenant to the effectiveness of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [44103]

Mr Robathan: The Secretary of State for Defence and other Defence Ministers have regular meetings with the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Chiefs of Staff at which a variety of subjects are discussed. Among them are the effectiveness of and support offered to the armed forces, including issues covered by the Covenant.

Armed Forces: Criminal Records

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether criminal convictions of members of the armed forces are recorded on the Police National Computer. [41019]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 16 February 2011]: Yes. Recordable offences on the Police National Computer are those offences under section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 for which the corresponding offences under the law of England and Wales are also offences that are recordable under regulation 3 of the National Police Records (Recordable Offences) Regulations 2000.

In addition, there are a number of service offences that are recordable. These are offences under the following sections of the Armed Forces Act 2006:

a. Section 11(1)—Misconduct towards a superior officer;

b. Section 14—Using force against a sentry, etc.;

c. Section 24(1)—Damage to or loss of public or service property;

d. Section 27—Obstructing or failing to assist a service policeman;

e. Section 28—Resistance to arrest, etc. (only in relation to a conviction under section 28(1)(b) or (c)—using violence or threatening behaviour);

f. Section 29—Offences in relation to service custody;

7 Mar 2011 : Column 805W

g. Section 30—Allowing escape, or unlawful release of prisoners, etc. (but only where the conviction is under section 30(4)(a));

h. Section 39—Attempts to commit any offences specified above; and

i. Section 40—Encouraging or assisting the commission of any offence above (apart from an attempt).

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the relevant foreign police force is informed in cases where a member of the armed forces who has been convicted of a criminal offence is subsequently posted overseas. [41322]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 17 February 2011]: No. There is no legislative requirement to do so.

Armed Forces: Manpower

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel in each service are due to renew their contracts in the next 12 months. [43405]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 2 March 2011]: Armed forces personnel do not renew a contract of employment in its traditional form. If a current engagement is coming to an end, for reasons such as voluntary release or normal expiration of service, they may be offered or apply to extend their service if they meet the relevant eligibility criteria. Approval of that extension will only be given if it is in the interests of the service.

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 1 March 2011, Official Report, columns 21-22WS, on the armed forces redundancy process, what definition of personnel (a) recently returned from operations and (b) preparing to deploy on operations he uses. [44393]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 4 March 2011]:Those engaged in combat operations for which they are in receipt of operational allowance, are within six months of deploying or are recovering from those operations, for example on post-operational leave or rest and recuperation, on the day when the redundancy notices are issued will not be made redundant unless they have voluntarily applied for redundancy.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the relevant foreign police force is informed in cases where a member of the armed forces who has been convicted of an offence and placed on the (a) Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements and (b) sex offender register is subsequently posted overseas. [41321]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 17 February 2011]: No. Recording on the violent and sex offenders register is a United Kingdom requirement under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This legislation does not require a government to inform an overseas police force of someone who has been required to register who is then posted to that country.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 806W

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former members of the armed forces have been placed on the sex offender register. [41323]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 17 February 2011]: This information is not held as it would require a convicted individual to declare themselves as a former member of the armed forces.

Bermuda: Armed Forces

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what resources his Department provides for soldiers in the Bermuda Regiment. [43891]

Nick Harvey: The Bermuda Regiment is funded entirely by the Bermuda Government. The Ministry of Defence provides two Army personnel from the Royal Anglian Regiment to advise and assist the Bermuda Regiment and this arrangement is also largely funded by the Bermuda Government.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether there is any mechanism for soldiers in the Bermuda Regiment to obtain uniforms directly from his Department; [43892]

(2) what arrangements there are for soldiers in the Bermuda Regiment to procure their uniforms; and if he will make a statement. [43893]

Nick Harvey: There is no mechanism in place for soldiers in the Bermuda Regiment to obtain their uniforms from the Ministry of Defence.

The Bermuda Regiment is self-funded by the Government of Bermuda and has its own process for procuring uniforms and other equipment.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements there are to make British Army training manuals available to soldiers of the Bermuda Regiment; and if he will make a statement. [43894]

Nick Harvey: The Bermuda Regiment can apply for British Army training manuals through their UK Defence Attaché, who will pass the request to the appropriate training establishment or issuing authority where it will be vetted and processed accordingly.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many places on British Army training courses have been allocated to soldiers of the Bermuda Regiment in each of the last 10 years. [43895]

Nick Harvey: No places on British Army training courses are directly allocated to the Bermuda Regiment or any other Defence force. Should soldiers from the Bermuda Regiment wish to attend a training course, they must apply to the appropriate training authority and places are allocated according to availability and priority.

The number of soldiers of the Bermuda Regiment who have attended British Army training courses in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table:

7 Mar 2011 : Column 807W


Number of Bermuda Regiment personnel attending training

2000-01

15

2001-02

13

2002-03

18

2003-04

21

2004-05

14

2005-06

12

2006-07

19

2007-08

8

2008-09

18

2009-10

8

Blue Force

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) financial and (b) other assistance his Department is offering to serving and former members of HM armed forces who have lost money as a result of property deals undertaken with (i) Blue Force Property and (ii) Blue Force Services; and if he will make a statement. [41704]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 28 February 2011]: We have issued advice through the chain of command for those service personnel who may be affected. However, the Ministry of Defence cannot provide any financial assistance to serving or former members of HM armed forces who have lost money as a result of a private company going into liquidation. Serving personnel who believe they may be affected should consult their chain of command. Former service personnel can contact their local citizens advice bureau or the insolvency practitioners B and C Associates.

Civil Emergencies: Community Relations

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department has spent on measures to develop community resilience to civil emergencies since May 2010; and how much he has allocated for such purposes over the comprehensive spending review period; [43971]

(2) what measures his Department has put in place to develop community resilience to civil emergencies since May 2010. [43973]

Nick Harvey: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 November 2010, Official Report, column 580W.

Defence has a long history of providing a wide range of military support to the civil authorities in the event of a civil emergency. Defence normally provides support where the civil community requires specialist capabilities it does not have or additional capacity due to the severity of the emergency, such as during the severe weather which affected large parts of the United Kingdom in December 2010. Defence engages closely with local and regional responders and resilience organisations through its network of joint regional liaison officers who provide advice and guidance on the provision of Defence capabilities.

Military support when provided at the request of, and in support of, other Government Departments, is normally provided on a reimbursement basis.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 808W

Defence

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department has put in place to respond to (a) terrorist attacks using unconventional materials, (b) major tidal or coastal flooding and (c) a severe influenza pandemic since May 2010. [43942]

Nick Harvey: Defence holds a range of specialist capabilities which can be deployed to support the police in the event of a terrorist attack in the UK. I am withholding the details of those capabilities as their disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Defence also plays a full part in cross-Government work to address potential civil emergencies including severe flooding and the possibility of an influenza pandemic. Defence has a long history of providing a wide range of support in the event of a civil emergency where the civil community requires specialist capabilities or additional capacity. Defence has provided assistance during severe weather outbreaks, including flooding and during the flu pandemic outbreak during 2009. This support continues to be available through the long established mechanism of military aid to the civil authorities.

Defence: Finance

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for spending by his Department to enhance the UK’s ability to tackle civil emergencies. [43940]

Nick Harvey: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 November 2010, Official Report, column 580W.

Defence has a long history of providing assistance in the event of a civil emergency, providing specialist capabilities which may not be available in the civil community or augmenting civil capacity if it is overwhelmed by the scale of an event. Military assistance is normally provided on a reimbursement basis at the request of, and in support of, other Government Departments.

Defence: Information and Communications Technology

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made on the development of the cyber operations memorandum of understanding; and if he will make a statement. [43939]

Nick Harvey: International engagement is critical to the Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s response to the challenges it faces in cyberspace. As part of a wider international programme which is coordinated by the Cabinet Office, the MOD is working with key allies to develop an enhanced relationship on Defence-related cyber issues. It is anticipated that this activity will result in development of new memorandum of understandings with key allies.

Departmental Manpower

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department were in the Civil Service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [44347]

7 Mar 2011 : Column 809W

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) manages its surplus staff by using the Redeployment Pool (RDP). This service enables those who are or who will become surplus to be given priority consideration for vacancies. Staff in the RDP usually continue to work in their last directorate or are redeployed to cover short-term tasks. The RDP is also used by staff returning from overseas postings, including civilians supporting the armed services in operational theatres. The MOD is currently subject to a freeze on external recruitment and the RDP helps us to fill vacancies from within existing staff resources.

The latest available data are as at 1 January 2011, when there were 1,320 people in the RDP. Of these, 650 had been in the RDP for more than six months. These figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Departmental Pay

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid in bonuses to civil servants in 2009-10; how many bonuses were paid; what the aggregate monetary value of those bonuses was; and what the highest bonus paid was. [37331]

Mr Robathan: Officials in the Ministry of Defence are currently collating the information requested. I will write to the hon. Member.

Substantive answer from Andrew Robathan to Angus Robertson:

I undertook to write to you in my response to your Parliamentary Question about civil servants’ bonuses on 7 February (Official Report column 27W).

A close and effective link between pay and performance is an important element of the reward arrangements for the Civil Service. The payments reflect the individual’s performance during the previous year, and are therefore a direct and immediate award to those who have achieved challenging objectives. The performance element of pay is known, colloquially but misleadingly, as a bonus. In fact, the performance-related element of pay is an integral part of an individual’s pay and not an addition to it: it is funded from the core pay bill. The non-consolidated element of pay has increased over the years as consolidated pay awards have formed a lower percentage of the total pay bill. They are a cost effective way of rewarding staff because there is no assumption that the awards will be repeated the following year, so they do not add to future pay bill growth, and because they are not pensionable.

The MOD also operates an in-year non-consolidated payment scheme, the Special Bonus Scheme (SBS), which rewards eligible MOD civilians for exceptional performance of a specific task or for the achievement of a professional qualification the use of which benefits MOD and the individual.

For the Senior Civil Service (SCS), performance incentives are paid primarily as non-consolidated performance payments. Any award is based on a judgment of how well an individual has performed against their peers, with groups of proposed awards judged by panels of senior staff, who make awards to the individuals who have made the greatest in-year contribution to business objectives.

Senior Fixed Term employees are individuals who are recruited through fair and open competition from outside the civil service. Those employed as Senior Fixed Term Appointees (FTAs) are on individual contracts and have a higher percentage of pay set to performance awards which are judged against stringent and stretching delivery based objectives. Some of these payments are paid in stages, and it is now usual to pay only part of the performance award immediately with the remainder deferred for two to three years and judged against the delivery of medium to longer term objectives.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 810W

Performance is judged by line management with assistance from senior officials, stakeholders, remuneration committees and in some cases internal audit.

The total values of non consolidated end of year performance pay made by the Department, the total numbers paid and the values of the highest awards are shown below:

Grade Value of payments (£) Numbers of payments Highest award paid (£) Average award paid (£)

SCS

1,594,500

195

15,000

8,177

Snr FTA

838,393

27

84,563

31,052

Below SCS

40,248,079

58,096

5,635

693

The total value of non consolidated in-year performance payments made by the Department through the SBS, the number paid and the value of the highest award is shown below:

Grade Value of payments (£) Number of payments Highest award paid (£)

Below SCS

4,030,103

8,573

2,000

These figures update information provided in previous answers to the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington 24 June 2010 (Official Report column 289W), and the hon. Member for Witham 11 November 2010 (Official Report column 439W).

Electoral Reform Services

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the monetary value was of contracts his Department placed with Electoral Reform Services in each year since 2005. [44215]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence’s central contracts database has no record since 2005 of payments to Electoral Reform Services.

Ex-servicemen: Radiation Exposure

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason there is a difference between the 6,000 recorded exposures to radiation in the UK atomic tests reported to the House on 19 December 1984, Official Report, columns 389-98, and the number of recorded exposures admitted to by his Department in recent High Court proceedings. [43771]

Mr Robathan: The figures given in 1984 in relation to the number of recorded exposures to radiation covered all the UK atomic tests. The personal injury group action is not concerned with all the tests and therefore the figure provided in the Ministry of Defence’s defence is different.

HMS Victory

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the National Museum of the Royal Navy on the future management of the wreck of HMS Victory 1744. [43740]

Mr Robathan: The National Museum of the Royal Navy has made no representations on the future management of the wreck of HMS Victory.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 811W

Military Aircraft

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the potential savings resulting from a reduction in the initial order of Joint Stroke Fighters from 138 to 40 in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14 and (d) 2014-15. [43902]

Peter Luff: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 3 November 2010, Official Report, column 853W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the condition was of each of the five BAe 125 aircraft sold by his Department in 2007; and how many hours had been flown in the aircraft in total at the date of sale. [43986]

Peter Luff: Prior to their disposal in 2007, the five BAe 125 aircraft (Dominie T1 RAF variant) had been in service for over 40 years and were no longer fit to fly. Towards the end of their service life they had been used for ground training of RAF personnel. Before being sold through a widely advertised competition, all equipment and systems that could be used on other in-service aircraft was removed.

While in service, each airframe had been flown for between 12,000 and 17,000 hours, a total for the five aircraft of 72,496 hours.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many VC-10 aircraft 101 Squadron has; how many are in service at present; and what their commitments are. [44336]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 4 March 2011]:101 Squadron is the only squadron to operate the VC-10 aircraft. The number of VC-10 aircraft in the in-service fleet is 13. In-service aircraft include all bar those which are redundant, declared as surplus or awaiting disposal.

The number of VC-10 aircraft available to 101 Squadron from the in-service fleet will vary from day to day as part of normal fleet management activities including routine and mandated maintenance programmes. VC-10 aircraft operate from a number of locations around the world carrying out a range of military tasks.

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements his Department has for passing on to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the costs to the public purse of military transport commissioned by that Department. [44401]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 4 March 2011]:Charging for any assistance will be in accordance with Her Majesty’s Treasury guidance in “Managing Public Money”.

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his Department reached agreement with the US administration on freehold arrangements affecting (a) buildings, (b) fixed assets and infrastructure and (c) the site at Menwith Hill. [44650]

Mr Robathan: Arrangements covering the freehold of buildings, fixed assets and infrastructure at all United States Visiting Force (USVF) sites, including RAF Menwith

7 Mar 2011 : Column 812W

Hill, are covered in the UK/US Cost Sharing Arrangement (CSA) dated 1973. This document updated the initial CSA from 1953. The Ministry of Defence has made the site at RAF Menwith Hill available to the USVF since 1960.

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2011, Official Report, column 990W, on USA: military bases, what the location is of each area on United States Visiting Forces bases which is held on a leasehold basis. [44651]

Mr Robathan: The following table details the areas at the United States Visiting Force bases which are held on a leasehold basis:


Area Total Hectares

RAF Croughton

Pumping Station (3 separate areas)

0.01

   

0.01

   

0.059

     

RAF Fairford

Landing Lights

0.041

     

RAF Lakenheath

Vehicle Holding Area

1.28

 

Leased Area of Lords Walk

0.908

     

RAF Mildenhall

Waterworks Access

0.074

Military Aircraft: Operating Costs

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operating cost per flight hour is of the (a) Tornado GR4, (b) Tornado F3 and (c) Typhoon FGR4 aircraft. [44688]

Peter Luff: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 14 September 2010, Official Report, column 928W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).

Military Exercises

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has plans to conduct joint exercises with (a) Indian, (b) Sri Lankan and (c) Indonesian military personnel. [45112]

Nick Harvey: The United Kingdom is committed to an enhanced partnership with India and we have an extensive defence relationship which includes regular bi-lateral exercises across all three services. This year, planning is under way for an Army exercise between July and August in the UK and a Navy Command post exercise in the autumn in India. There are no plans for joint exercises with Sri Lanka or Indonesia.

Navy

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential effects on (a) the Royal Navy and (b) his Department's policy on the deployment of a private anti-piracy fleet in the Gulf of Aden by the shipping industry. [43665]

7 Mar 2011 : Column 813W

Nick Harvey: Her Majesty's Government (HMG) is aware of ongoing debate in the private sector on the possible contribution that private military security companies could make to the international community's counter-piracy response. HMG remains open to proposals which seek to assist in combating piracy off the Horn of Africa.

Any proposal of this nature would need to operate in a clear framework and be properly co-ordinated and de-conflicted with all international naval forces operating in the region, including the three multi-national counter-piracy missions in which the Royal Navy operates. Such a concept would also need to comply with applicable international law.

Nimrod Aircraft

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the potential savings resulting from the cancellation of Nimrod in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13, (c) 2013-14 and (d) 2014-15. [43978]

Peter Luff: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Minister for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey), on 13 January 2011, Official Report, column 445W, to the hon. Member for Glasgow South (Mr Harris) and the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds).

Radio Frequencies

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what fee he expects his Department to pay Ofcom for the use of its spectrum holdings in the financial year 2011-12. [44743]

Peter Luff: £155 million.

RAF Valley

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what civilian contractors work at RAF Valley; and in what capacity. [44880]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence does not record the number of civilian contractors at RAF Valley as this is a matter for the contractor. Contractors provide an extensive range of support services including: estates and facilities management; aircraft maintenance and support; flying training delivery; search and rescue maintenance and operational support; hotel, catering and leisure; and bird control.

Strategic Defence and Security Review

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department has put in place to meet its commitment in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to (a) strengthen international commitments to non-proliferation treaties and (b) refocus critical programmes for building security overseas. [43967]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Environment and Climate

7 Mar 2011 : Column 814W

Change (DECC) and other Departments to deliver the commitments in the strategic defence and security review (SDSR).

The Government are committed to publishing a building stability overseas strategy by spring 2011. This strategy will look wider than just security and will examine how we can prioritise and use our defence, diplomatic and development tools to support inclusive politics, economic growth and stronger institutions as the base for building global stability and resilience.

The UK considers the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. We announced a number of significant disarmament measures in the SDSR, which demonstrated our commitment to the NPT. We are also working closely with both nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states to make progress on the May 2010 Review Conference Action Plan, which covers all three NPT pillars (disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses).

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) is the key international instrument for biological disarmament. MOD’s overriding interest in the BTWC is to minimise the risks that biological weapons will be used by state and non-state actors against UK interests, including our deployed UK forces. We aim to do this by ensuring that the BTWC is being strengthened in a way that increases its deterrent, transparency, confidence building, and investigative value. The UK is working closely with the EU and allied partners towards the seventh review conference of the BTWC in December 2011, with the UK objective: of strengthening the convention.

The chemical weapons convention is a successful international instrument for chemical disarmament which has already seen the verifiable destruction of more than 63% of the world’s declared chemical weapons. MOD expertise and engagement underpins the leading role the UK takes with the EU and allies in the work to implement and strengthen the convention.

The Global Threat Reduction Programme (GTRP), the UK’s contribution to the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, remains a priority for the UK. It is a key element in the UK’s work to ensure that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and expertise are out of reach to terrorist groups or hostile states. As part of GTRP, the MOD’s biological non-proliferation programme continues to develop in scale and geographical range to support these aims. Projects have included activities such as strengthening biosafety and biosecurity, promoting the use of biological agents for peaceful purposes, and contributing to implementation of the BTWC. DECC delivers the nuclear and radiological elements of the programme, while the MOD managed the now-complete programme of assistance to Russia with chemical weapons destruction.

The GTRP also provides assistance that enables countries to meet their international commitments including to United Nations Security Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), which requires the adoption and enforcement of controls to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring the ability to deliver a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 815W

Vanguard Submarine

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Islington North of 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 806W, how much of the £330 million allocated to the programme to replace the Vanguard submarine in financial year 2010-11 has been spent in each cost category to date. [43510]

Nick Harvey: To the end of February 2011, £219.05 million had been consumed on the Vanguard submarine replacement programme, comprising Resource Department Expenditure Limit of £178.18 million, and Capital Department Expenditure Limit of £40.87 million.

Royal Navy Ships

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current location is of (a) HMS Ocean, (b) HMS Bulwark and (c) HMS Albion; and what the current duties of each are. [44280]

Nick Harvey: On 3 March 2011, HMS Ocean was in the south coast exercise area conducting operational sea training. HMS Bulwark has recently come out of a refit period and is conducting trials and training from Devonport. HMS Albion is currently alongside at Devonport for routine maintenance and is available for operational tasking.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) name and (b) type is of each (i) frigate and (ii) destroyer to be decommissioned over the next five years. [44737]

Mr Robathan: Under our present planning assumptions, the following frigates and destroyers will be withdrawn from service over the next five years:


Frigates and destroyers

HMS Campbeltown

Type 22 frigate

HMS Cumberland

Type 22 frigate

HMS Cornwall

Type 22 frigate

HMS Gloucester

Type 42 destroyer

HMS Liverpool

Type 42 destroyer

HMS York

Type 42 destroyer

HMS Edinburgh

Type 42 destroyer

Although the decision to withdraw the Type 22 frigates was taken as part of the strategic defence and security review, we had already planned to withdraw the Type 42 destroyers and replace them with the Type 45 destroyers.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of ships required to counter (a) immediate and (b) long-term threats to the UK. [44738]

Nick Harvey: Our future requirement for naval forces was assessed during the strategic defence and security review and set out in the White Paper “Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (Cm 7948)”. Potential short-term threats to UK interests are continually reviewed and the Royal Navy’s present force structure is judged to be sufficient to meet our immediate security requirements.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 816W

Energy and Climate Change

Departmental Expenditure

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) each public body sponsored by his Department incurred on engaging external audit services in each of the last three years; and to which service providers such payments were made in each year. [43761]

Gregory Barker: The National Audit Office provides the external audit service for the Department and its four executive non-departmental public bodies. The costs of this work for the last three completed financial years are given in the following table. In the case of the Department these are notional, and no actual payment is made. The Department and the Committee on Climate Change were established during 2008-09 so figures for 2007-08 are not applicable.

£000

2009-10 2008-09 2007-08

Department of Energy and Climate Change

190

200

n/a

Civil Nuclear Police Authority

44

44

42

Coal Authority

57

39

75

Committee on Climate Change

27

20

n/a

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

976

960

880

Departmental Leaseback Arrangements

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assets his Department has sold and leased back over the last 12 months; what the sale price was of each asset so sold; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of leasing back each such asset over the period of the lease. [45080]

Gregory Barker: The Department for Energy and Climate Change has not sold and leased back any assets in the last 12 months.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) procurement and (b) outsourcing function of (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body and (B) non-ministerial department for which he is responsible in the last financial year for which figures are available. [43958]

Gregory Barker: The costs of the procurement function in my Department and the non-departmental public bodies I am responsible for are presented in the following table.

In all cases there is no separate outsourcing function in the organisations for which I am responsible. The costs of administering outsourcing arrangements is included within the procurement functions of those organisations.

7 Mar 2011 : Column 817W

Organisation Cost of procurement function (2009-10) (£)

Department of Energy and Climate Change(1)

261,000

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority(1)

443,947

Civil Nuclear Police Authority(1)

301,000

Coal Authority(2)

193,053

Committee on Climate Change(2, 3)

0

(1) Source: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/back-office-benchmark-information-200910 (2) Source—Internal records (3) Committee on Climate Change does not have a separate procurement function, procurement is undertaken by finance staff, costs of procurement activities are not separately identified.

Information is not held by the Department for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), a non-ministerial department for which I am responsible. As an organisation with fewer than 250 staff, Ofgem was not included in the Cabinet Office benchmarking study which makes the costs of procurement functions publicly available. Details could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Electoral Reform Services

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the monetary value was of contracts his Department placed with Electoral Reform Services in each year since 2005. [44217]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has not spent anything with Electoral Reform Services since its creation in October 2008.

Electricity

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will use powers under Section 14(3) of the Planning Act 2008 to include electricity network infrastructure projects that are underground or sub-sea in the list of nationally significant infrastructure projects. [43229]

Charles Hendry: Installation of underground cables is permitted development under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (1995) as amended. In view of these permitted development rights there is generally no need for proposals for the underground cable elements of a project to be caught by the Planning Act regime, although (in England) it would be possible for the developer to include aspects of an underground scheme other than the cable itself (such as sealing end compounds) in a Planning Act application as associated development. Other than in these specific cases, in view of these permitted development rights, I do not consider there to be a case to require developers to obtain consent for installation of underground cables under the Planning Act regime, which would amount to a significant extra burden on developers.

Applications for sub-sea cables are considered by the Marine Management Organisation under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA), to be superseded in April this year by a new marine licensing regime under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. The

7 Mar 2011 : Column 818W

Infrastructure Planning Commission in England can consent a sub-sea cable as associated development if it forms part of the infrastructure for an offshore generating station by granting a deemed FEPA Licence or marine licence under (respectively) section 149 or 149(A) of the Planning Act.

I consider these arrangements to be adequate at this stage and do not intend to require applications for sub-sea cables to be included in the list of nationally significant infrastructure projects in the Planning Act.

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he took into account the effect on the time taken to achieve electricity connections by means of underground cables of the failure of National Grid and relevant landowners to come to agreement under existing planning arrangements in specifying the list of projects classified as nationally significant infrastructure projects under section 14(1) of the Planning Act 2008. [43345]

Charles Hendry: Installation of underground cables is permitted development under the Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) Order (1995) as amended. In view of these permitted development rights there is generally no need for proposals for the underground cable elements of a project to be caught by the Planning Act regime, although (in England) it would be possible for the developer to include aspects of an underground scheme other than the cable itself (such as sealing end compounds) in a Planning Act application as associated development.

Energy Supply: Wychavon

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in the Wychavon District Council area did not have a mains supply for (a) electricity and (b) gas in the latest period for which figures are available. [43775]

Gregory Barker: Data on the number of households by local authority without an electricity or gas mains supply are not available.

An estimate of the number of households off the gas grid at Government office region can be derived using data from the English House Survey (EHS), produced by DCLG. In 2008, based on the EHS, there were around 281,000 households in the West Midlands that did not have a mains gas connection. The number of households without a mains electricity connection is too small to be reliably estimated from a sample survey such as the EHS.

Energy: Housing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how he expects energy efficiency improvements to be measured following the repeal of the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 by the provisions of the Energy Bill. [44631]

Gregory Barker: The Government reports, in October each year, on progress in meeting the UK carbon budgets (sector by sector) in response to the Committee on Climate Change's annual progress reports every June.

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In addition to these existing reporting mechanisms, from 2012 there will be detailed reporting of energy efficiency measures to support the forthcoming Green Deal and the future Energy Company Obligation. The Energy Bill seeks powers for reporting purposes allowing the Secretary of State to define what information should be reported and how often, including detailed information on measures delivered in individual properties.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on preparations for the recruitment, training and deployment of (a) independent energy surveyors and (b) appropriately qualified installers to assess home energy use in homes participating in the Green Deal. [44871]

Gregory Barker: I am working closely with the appropriate ministerial colleagues across Government to ensure that robust and high quality standards are in place for all assessors and installers operating under the Green Deal. At the end of 2010, DECC and the Department for Communities and Local Government issued a Call for Evidence seeking views on how to improve the energy performance of buildings in support of the Green Deal, including qualifications arrangements for energy assessors. We have also set up advisory forums for both the assessment and installation stages of the Green Deal. Through these forums we will work with the private, public and voluntary sectors to ensure that industry is appropriately supported and prepared to train and recruit the necessary people ahead of the Green Deal launch. Further information on the forums is available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/consumers/green_deal/green_deal.aspx

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the need for incentives to encourage households to take part in the Green Deal. [44872]

Gregory Barker: The Green Deal will be a market-led initiative and we expect providers to develop packages that are attractive for consumers including a range of marketing incentives. However, to help gauge potential take-up we have commissioned a number of pieces of social research to assess how to make the Green Deal most attractive to consumers. The research will be completed prior to this autumn's consultation on the Green Deal.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take to oversee the work of energy-saving installers under the Green Deal; by what means they will be selected; and what steps he plans to take to measure their cost and performance. [44877]

Gregory Barker: It will be key to the success of the Green Deal that all work to install energy efficiency measures is carried out to a high standard. We are therefore establishing a Green Deal installer certification framework, which will ensure that all work has carried out by companies using competent individuals, following the necessary technical guidance, and supported by appropriate customer care procedures and routes of

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redress. Only companies that have been certified and authorised to carry the Green Deal quality mark will be work under the Green Deal. The details of this framework are being discussed with the Green Deal installation stakeholder advisory forum, and will be set out in due course in secondary legislation.

Energy: Private Rented Housing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the Answer of 17 February 2011, Official Report, column 911W, on energy: housing, what consideration he has given to measures to increase the level of take-up of cost-effective abatement measures in the private rented market; and if he will make a statement. [44625]

Gregory Barker: The Green Deal will enable the take up of cost effective abatement measures at no upfront cost. Commercial organisations will want to market their Green Deal to raise awareness of its benefits amongst landlords and tenants alike. We will continue to work with landlord associations and industry groups to ensure all communication channels are used.

Environment Protection

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what definition of zero-carbon technology (a) his Department uses and (b) is used in the Revised Draft Overarching National Policy Statements on Energy; and if he will make a statement. [44315]

Gregory Barker: DECC does not have a definition of zero-carbon technology and the revised draft energy National Policy Statements do not define or use this term.

DECC has a definition of the term carbon neutral: through a transparent process of calculating emissions, reducing those emissions and offsetting residual emissions – net carbon emissions equal zero. Further information can be found at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/lc_uk/neutrality/neutrality.aspx

Environment Protection: Metals

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment has been made of the potential cost to firms developing green technologies of sourcing rare earth metals from (a) China, (b) the US, (c) Canada and (d) South Africa; and if he will make a statement; [44518]

(2) what assessment has been made of the effects on the environment of importing rare earth metals from (a) China, (b) the US, (c) Canada and (d) South Africa for use in the green technologies industry; and if he will make a statement. [44519]

Gregory Barker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 4 March 2011, Official Report, Column 616W.

I understand that China is the dominant supplier of rare earth metals, although a number of other countries (including the US, Japan and Australia) have their own reserves which are likely to become available after 2014.

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Given this and my understanding that the use of rare earth metals is almost non-existent in commercial-scale turbines in this country, there is no evidence that such assessments are needed at present. I am happy to consider any evidence to the contrary.

Fuel Poverty

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has any plans to revise his Department’s definition of fuel poverty. [44575]

Gregory Barker: The coalition government announced in the spending review that, to ensure the available resources are focused most effectively in tackling the problems underlying fuel poverty, an independent review of the fuel poverty target and definition would be initiated. We expect the review to get under way shortly and to receive a final report from the review by the end of the year.

Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department spent contesting claims by sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prior to the introduction of the compensation scheme in 1999. [44261]

Charles Hendry: The liabilities for British Coal were transferred to the Department on 1 January 1998. On 23 January 1998 the Honourable Mr Justice Turner gave Judgment against the British Coal Corporation in respect of 8 lead actions in which damages were sought for personal injury and damage predominantly in respect of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and chronic bronchitis. During the period January 1998 to September 1999 claims for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which were registered against the British Coal Corporation were not progressed individually pending the negotiation and finalisation of the Claims Handling Agreement. During this period the Department spent c£552,000.00 on legal fees (solicitors and experts) to meet the Department’s obligations for negotiating the Claims Handling Agreement with a Steering Group representing the interests of claimants. The Claims Handling Agreement was signed off on 24 September 1999.

Oil: Offshore Industry

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will consider the merits of introducing legislative proposals to repeal all existing enabling legislation promoting further oil exploration in hard-to-reach areas in UK waters. [44629]

Charles Hendry: No, I envisage no such proposals. We have robust regulatory systems in the UK to protect the environment and ensure safe working. It is very much in Britain's interests for as much as possible of our future oil and gas supplies to be produced here, rather than in other countries which may not maintain the same standards.

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Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department receives any revenue from electricity feed-in tariffs. [44581]

Gregory Barker: At present DECC does not generate any low-carbon energy from its estate and therefore does not derive any revenue from electricity feed-in tariffs.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Access to Learning Fund

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much has been allocated to the Access to Learning Fund in (a) each of the last five years and (b) each of the next four years; and if he will make a statement. [44579]

Mr Willetts: The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) is a discretionary fund that provides additional support for higher education students facing financial hardship. ALF is administered by individual Higher Education Institutions and Further Education Colleges that make their own decisions about how best to target their allocation, taking into account their student population and their knowledge of local circumstances. In the academic year 2009-10 (the most recent year for which we have data) the ALF was used to help around 89,000 full or part-time students.

The ALF budget is announced one year at a time. The allocation for 2011/12 is £40 million. The following table shows how much funding was allocated by the Department to ALF in each of the past five years. Reductions in the ALF budget should be viewed in the context of improved statutory support for students.

Academic year Allocation (£ million)

2006/07

64

2007/08

56

2008/09

50

2009/10

45

2010/11

40

Charity Research Support Fund

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding from the public purse has been allocated to the Charity Research Support Fund in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how much such funding he plans to allocate in each year of the Comprehensive Spending Review period. [44606]

Mr Willetts: The Government recognise the significant contribution made by charitable funders of research. The charity support element of quality-related (QR) research funding, provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has recognised the public benefit arising from research funded by charities. HEFCE funding for this element is set out in the following table.

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Amount (£ million)

2006-07

135.7

2007-08

180.0

2008-09

184.9

2009-10

192.1

2010-11

197.5

“Allocation of Science and Research Funding 2011-2015”, published on 20 December 2010, confirmed that HEFCE will protect support for institutions leveraging funding from external sources, such as the charitable and business sectors. HEFCE announced on 2 February that they would maintain the charity support element of QR at £197.5 million for 2011-12. It will be for the HEFCE board to determine the levels of funding to deploy in future from within its overall research allocation. “Allocation of Science and Research Funding 2011-2015” is available at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2010/Dec/science-research-and-hefce-funding