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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Attorney-General how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful prosecutions were brought by the Crown Prosecution Service in respect of offences involving human trafficking in each of the last five years. [60919]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) records show that, in the last five years, the following prosecutions have been brought on charges under sections 57, 58 and 59 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, alleging trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004, alleging trafficking for other exploitative purposes:

Number of prosecutions under sections 57, 58 and 59 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. alleging trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation

Number

2006-07

40

2007-08

87

2008-09

114

2009-10

102

2010-11

96

Number of prosecutions under section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004, alleging trafficking for other exploitative purposes

Number

2006-07

0

2007-08

3

2008-09

10

2009-10

19

2010-11

20

The CPS records indicate the volume of offences, not defendants, prosecuted by the CPS under each Act and Section. These data are not held by defendant or by outcome.

Departmental Billing

Gordon Banks: To ask the Attorney-General what mechanism the Law Officers' Departments have established to ensure their payments are passed through the supply chain to each tier in accordance with the last date for payment defined in the Government's Fair Payment guidance. [55899]

The Attorney-General: The Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) each have their own accounting officer. The accounting officer for TSol also covers the Attorney-General's Office (AGO) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

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TSol uses contract mechanisms to support the timely payment of their accounts in situations where sub-contractors are used to deliver services. The main expenditure using sub-contractors is for temporary administrative staff. These utilise the Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions framework conditions, which include a clause requiring the contractor to pay all sums due to the sub-contractor within the period specified in their subcontract, and not to exceed 30 days.

Building maintenance services, which would be specifically covered by construction works mentioned in the Government's Fair Payment guidance, are provided as follows:

(a) For TSol headquarters office at One Kemble Street such services are provided under a lease arrangement with a private sector landlord which does not include reference to guaranteeing timely payments to sub-contractors.

(b) For the AGO office at Victoria Street, such services are provided under a separate contract, which does not include any terms relating to the timeliness of payments to sub-contractors. However new contractual arrangements are envisaged which will include provision about the timeliness of such payments.

TSol's standard terms and conditions for services used for low value purchasing do not enable suppliers to sub-contract.

The SFO normally uses contracts provided through OGC frameworks. The SFO indicate that on occasions when they undertake to issue their own contracts they use the model terms and conditions available from the OGC's website, which includes clauses ensuring that contractors sub-contracting pass on Fair Payment practices.

The CPS has a limited requirement for construction services. When it does, it is their policy to use the OGC’s model terms and conditions for construction wherever practicable. These provide for the prompt payment of contractors within specific periods and for lead contractors to adopt similar payment terms for any sub-contractors used.

Transport

Air Routes

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure transparency in decision-making procedures relating to new flight paths. [59800]

Mrs Villiers: The Directorate of Airspace Policy, part of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is responsible for the UK's airspace change process. This is implemented in accordance with CAP (Civil Aviation Publication) 724, the “Airspace Charter”, to ensure fair and effective regulation of the airspace system.

CAP 725, CAA “Guidance on the Application of the Airspace Change Process”, sets out the consultation process an airspace change sponsor must follow before it formally submits an airspace change request to the CAA. It specifies that the CAA will be openly and transparently accountable in making its regulatory decisions.

Airports: Fees and Charges

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department provides guidance to international airports on charges for access for the drop-off of air passengers. [60391]

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Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport does not provide guidance to airport operators on air passenger drop-off charges. The establishment and setting of such charges is a commercial matter for airport operators.

Driving: Licensing

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether provisions are in place to prevent individuals without a (a) provisional or (b) full UK driving licence purchasing motor insurance. [60835]

Mike Penning: There is no statutory requirement on insurers to check that someone seeking motor insurance has a valid driving licence. Insurers undertake the risk of those they insure and are obliged to meet the insured's liability in the event of an accident.

East Coast Railway Line: Finance

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding from the public purse Directly Operated Railways Ltd received to run East Coast Main Line rail passenger services in each year from 2009 to 2011; and how much funding from the public purse will be allocated each year to 2013. [58778]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 10 June 2011]: No public subsidy has been made available to Directly Operated Railways Ltd (DOR) or the East Coast Main Line Company Ltd (ECML) since 2009.

However, a loan facility from the Secretary of State for Transport has been made available, on commercial terms, to DOR and ECML to provide working capital.

The principal outstanding as at 31 March 2011 is £21 million. The rolled up interest on the principal as at that date was £1.486 million. This loan agreement will terminate when the Services Agreement between the Secretary of State for Transport and ECML comes to an end, at which point the principal and any outstanding interest will be repayable.

The loan is a revolving credit facility and as such DOR is free to repay all or part of it at any point prior to the termination of the Services Agreement.

Motor Vehicles: Sales

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of used car sales that have involved tampering with odometer readings since 2005. [60875]

Mr Davey [holding answer 20 June 2011]: I have been asked to reply.

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The Department for Transport does not have year on year figures as requested. However, an OFT study on the second-hand car market estimated that between 5 and 12% of second-hand cars checked have a mileage discrepancy.

Passenger Ships: Liverpool

Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with (i) the European Commission and (ii) others on the potential repayment of funding allocated by his Department to Liverpool cruise terminal. [59984]

Mike Penning: I met Councillor Anderson, leader of Liverpool city council, along with council officers and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman) to discuss this subject during my visit to the Mersey on 13 January this year. I discussed it also with the hon. Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey) in December, and with Councillor Royston Smith, leader of Southampton city council, in March. Officials have discussed the matter informally from time to time with Liverpool city council officers, and with representatives of ports opposing grant repayment in return for permitting turnaround operations at the terminal.

Departmental officials and I have had no discussions with the European Commission on this matter.

Road Works: Regulation

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of street works legislation. [59316]

Norman Baker: I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 14 June 2011, Official Report, column 729W.

Shipping

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions ships' captains have been given a direction under the provisions of the Marine Safety Act 2003; what the date was of each such direction; to which ship each direction applied; and what the nature was of each direction so given. [60946]

Mike Penning: Since the Marine Safety Act came into legislation on 10 September 2003 the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) has made 13 directions to ships' captains. The details of these are set out as follows:

Date Ship name Description of direction

9 February 2004

Altelund

Direction to anchor in a safe place and wait for contracted tug.

25 October 2004

Nyk Argus

Direction forbidding entry into a fire damaged hold until approved by the MCA and the CO2 onboard the vessel had been replenished.

19 November 2004

Fione

Direction to receive a line from the ETV Monarch Sovereign and accept a tow to a place of safety.

10 January 2005

Great Moon

Direction to anchorage to effect repairs.

14 January 2005

Annie Hillina

Direction to receive a line from the ETV Anglian Sovereign and accept a tow to a place of safety.

17 February 2005

Amata

Direction to secure tug assistance.

27 October 2005

Rosita

Direction to Master and owners to provide an acceptable recovery plan for the containers lost overboard.

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21 Jun 2011 : Column 136W

4 February 2006

Saruna

Direction to proceed to an anchorage designated by Falmouth Harbour Master.

22 February 2007

Lokys

Direction to arrange towage.

10 December 2007

Stropus

Direction to arrange towage.

2 January 2008

LT Cortesia

Direction to accept a line from a UK ETV.

25 May 2008

Elbfeeder

Direction to contract a tug and make for refuge.

25 December 2010

Eren Turgut

Direction to take a line from ETV.

Shipping: Alcoholic Drinks

Sarah Newton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to implement section 80 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. [60360]

Mike Penning: There is not currently a fixed date for implementing section 80 of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.

Thameslink Railway Line: Rolling stock

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce the award of the Thameslink Rolling Stock Programme contract. [60084]

Mrs Villiers: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement of 16 June 2011, Official Report, columns 85-6WS, in which I announced the Department's preferred bidder for new rolling stock for the Thameslink Programme.

House of Commons Commission

Members: Cycling

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment the Commission has made of the accessibility of Transport for London hire bicycles to hon. Members. [60393]

John Thurso: Officials and Transport for London (TfL) have identified a suitable site for a docking station on land owned by the House of Commons at Abingdon Green. It is anticipated that the docking station will be accessed from Great College Street. This location was deemed the most appropriate for a number of reasons, including accessibility for hon. Members.

TFL is investigating the feasibility of additional sites in close proximity to the parliamentary estate.

Printing Machinery

Duncan Hames: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how much the House of Commons Service spent on (a) printers and (b) printer ink cartridges in each of the last three years. [59639]

John Thurso: The House of Commons Service spent the following on printers for the use of House staff:

Financial year Expenditure (£)

2008-09

41,000

2009-10

44,000

2010-11

55,000

Most House of Commons printers use toner rather than ink cartridges. It is not possible to state the amount of toner and ink purchased since it is not coded separately in the House's accounting system and can be purchased from a number of suppliers.

Speaker's Conference

Jo Swinson: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what progress the House of Commons Commission has made in implementing the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation. [59847]

John Thurso: The House administration is responsible for 16 of the recommendations from the Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary Representation, on which good progress has been made. For example, since the previous response on this issue (29 October 2010), the proposal for Members being able to vote accompanied by their babies under a year old has been addressed through agreement in principle on nodding through such Members and practical ways of introducing that initiative are being developed; workplace equality networks have been set up to support Members and others on the estate; and more information is about to be published on the internet on accessibility in Parliament. Some of the report's recommendations fall within the purview of the House of Commons Single Equality Scheme, and will be reflected in the update to the Commission on that scheme in the autumn.

Wales

Devolution

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when she plans to announce the (a) terms of reference and (b) membership of the review team for the inquiry into the ways in which Wales is funded. [60645]

Mrs Gillan: The Government intend to announce their proposals before the summer recess.

Olympic Games 2012

Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with the First Minister of the Welsh Government on ensuring that Wales maximises the tourist opportunities of the London 2012 Olympics; and if she will make a statement. [60089]

Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan), has had discussions with the First Minister on a number of topics, including how to maximise the

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benefits of the London 2012 Olympic Games for Wales. Wales will host some of the first Olympic Events including the qualifying matches for Football.

The Secretary of State recently met VisitBritain to discuss, among other issues, the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. VisitBritain will be running the “You’re Invited” programme over the next four years, to capitalise on international interest in the recent royal wedding, as well as next year's diamond jubilee, and Olympic and Paralympic Games. Their programme aims to attract 4 million extra visitors to the UK, including Wales. This anticipated boost in tourism will support businesses, jobs and growth across the UK.

Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what training camps she expects to be established in Wales in preparation for the London 2012 (a) Olympics and (b) Paralympics; and if she will make a statement. [60090]

Mr David Jones: To date, four countries have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Welsh Government that outlines their intention to train in Wales. These include the Olympic team from Trinidad and Tobago and the Paralympic teams of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Welsh facilities will also host training for specific Olympic and Paralympic events, including the:

(a) British Olympic and Paralympic Cycling teams at the Newport velodrome;

(b) US Paralympic Track Cycling team at the Newport velodrome;

(c) Amateur International Boxing Association ‘Road to London’ training camp at Cardiff university; and

(d) Irish Triathlon team at Swansea university and the surrounding Gower Peninsular.

It is anticipated that these camps will involve over 700 athletes and support staff who will train in Wales in the weeks leading to the Games with direct investment into the economy potentially running into millions of pounds.

Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent assessment she has made of the (a) economic, (b) social and (c) cultural legacy of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in Wales; and if she will make a statement. [60507]

Mr David Jones: The UK stands to gain from the wide range of opportunities created by the 2012 Games, through businesses winning Games-related work, increased tourism and cultural celebrations. London 2012 has already brought significant new opportunities for UK businesses especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including those in Wales.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is responsible for developing and building the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Games. As of May 2011, over 1,500 UK businesses, including those directly involved in the construction programme, have supplied the ODA from across UK. Thousands of businesses in the UK are working on the Games through supplier contracts worth in excess of £5 billion.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has commissioned an evaluation of the impacts and legacy of the London 2012 Games. An initial evaluation will be published in the spring/summer 2013.

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Trade Unions

Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions she has had with (a) the First Minister of the Welsh Government and (b) trade unions on the potential effects in Wales of Civil Service job losses; and if she will make a statement. [60092]

Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan), has regular meetings with all stakeholders to discuss employment issues in Wales and will shortly be having another meeting with the Trades Union Congress.

Scotland

Financial Services

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the financial services sector in Scotland. [60389]

Michael Moore: I met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), on 7 June and we discussed a wide range of issues. Both the Chancellor and I are acutely aware of the importance of the financial sector in Scotland.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what powers are available to the Electoral Commission in respect of electoral registration officers who do not meet registration standards; and on how many occasions each such power has been used in each of the last three years. [60432]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Administration Act 2006 gave the Electoral Commission the power to set and monitor performance standards for both electoral registration officers (EROs) and returning officers. The powers, at this time, do not extend to sanctions for those officers who do not meet the standards.

However, in each of the three years where an ERO has failed to meet one of the standards, the Electoral Commission has visited the ERO to establish the reasons for poor performance and to offer support and additional guidance to assist those officers.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many electoral registration officers did not meet the participation standards to promote electoral registration in their community in each of the last three years. [60433]

Mr Streeter: The number of electoral registration officers (EROs) that did not meet the participation standard is set out as follows:


Number of EROs

2008

265

2009

155

2010

47

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This information is available in the Commission's annual assessment reports, which are sent to all hon. Members, and on the Commission website as part of a tool which allows the comparison of year on year performance or between EROs.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which electoral registration officers did not meet the participation standard to promote electoral registration in their community in the latest period for which figures are available. [60434]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that 47 electoral registration officers did not meet the participation standard in the latest period of data collection. The local authority areas of the relevant EROs are shown in the following list. The Commission informs me that this information can also be found in its annual assessment reports and on the Commission's website.

Adur

Ashford

Barking and Dagenham

Basildon

Blaenau Gwent

Broadland

Boston

Broxtowe

Cannock Chase

Cardiff

Ceredigion

Cherwell

Chiltern

Christchurch

Corby

Craven

Dacorum

Eastbourne

East Lindsey

East Hertfordshire

Eden

Fenland

Flintshire

Halton

Hambleton

Harrogate

Isle of Anglesey

Kingston upon Hull

Lewes

Luton

Maldon

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes

Norwich

North Lincolnshire

Portsmouth

Preston

Redbridge

Rugby

Solihull

Spelthorne

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Stroud

Sutton

Uttlesford

Worthing

Wycombe

Wiltshire

Defence

Armed Forces: Officers

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) uniformed officers at three and four stars in the (i) Army, (ii) Royal Navy and (iii) Royal Air Force and (b) civilian officers at the same rank there were (A) in May 2010 and (B) on the most recent date for which figures are available. [60524]

Mr Robathan: The following table lists the number of officers of the armed forces and Ministry of Defence civilians of four and three-star rank/status as at 1 May 2010 and 1 May 2011 respectively.

Rank/status Service 1 May 2010 1 May 2011

4 star

Royal Navy

2

2

 

Army

5

6

 

Royal Air Force

3

2

 

Civilian

3

4

       

3 star

Royal Navy

9

7

 

Army

14

9

 

Royal Air Force

9

8

 

Civilian

7

6

Note: The figures for any one date will include officers undertaking resettlement activity prior to retirement and their replacement taking up a post early to allow for continuity.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new three and four-star roles for (a) military and (b) civilian staffs have been created since May 2010; and whether any compensatory savings have been made elsewhere. [60526]

Mr Robathan: Since May 2010 no new three or four-star posts have been created. Three three-star posts have had their responsibilities amended, and have been retitled accordingly. Within Defence Engineering and Support, the Chief of Corporate Performance has become Director General Resources and the Chief Operating Officer is now Chief of Materiel (Joint Enablers). Separately the Chief Executive of Defence Estates is now Director General Infrastructure. In addition, the three-star civilian post of Director General Commercial has been deleted.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions he has had with military tailors about the cost of dress uniforms for officers; [60600]

(2) what the cost to his Department was of (a) dress and (b) military uniform in the most recent year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [60601]

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Mr Robathan: The majority of contracts for military and dress uniforms for all three services are placed by the Defence Clothing Team (DCT) within Defence Equipment and Support. Spend on military uniforms (including jackets, trousers, shirts, headwear and footwear) in financial year 2010-11 was £42.5 million. Spend on dress (parade and ceremonial) uniforms for the same period was £9.2 million.

There are also some locally placed contracts for uniforms and ceremonial dress where expenditure totalled £218,000 in the last year.

Regular discussions take place between DCT and their potential bidders and actual suppliers on specifications and other aspects of the contracts as well as specific negotiations on contract price.

Aviation: Aircraft Carriers

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of (a) operating (i) aircraft from Italy and (ii) an aircraft carrier within 20 miles of Libya for (A) one and (B) three months and (b) moving an aircraft carrier from the UK to Libya. [60605]

Nick Harvey [holding answer 17 June 2011]: I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Defence: Procurement

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on improving defence procurement since the appointment of the new Chief of Defence Materiel; and if he will make a statement. [60527]

Peter Luff: The new Chief of Defence Materiel, appointed at the beginning of January 2011, has initiated a fundamental review to establish the core role for Defence Equipment and Support and how it can deliver its business most efficiently and effectively. This review, known as The Materiel Strategy, will be coherent with Defence Reform outcomes and the forthcoming ‘Equipment, Support, and Technology for UK Defence and Security’ White Paper that is expected to be published later this year. The Materiel Strategy will be implemented from early 2012 onwards.

Additionally, I have established the Major Projects Review Board that met for the first time on 13 June 2011. This new board scrutinises the Department's highest value equipment projects to ensure tight financial controls are in place and that performance and time targets are met. Those responsible for projects forecasting significant slippage, cost growth, or performance shortfalls will be robustly held to account.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what strategic framework his Department has developed for the delivery of its core functions during the comprehensive spending review period. [59732]

Dr Fox: The Ministry of Defence's delivery of its core functions during the comprehensive spending review period is outlined in the Department's business plan 2011-15. This sets out the vision and priorities until 2015 against the backdrop of the 2010 National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review

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(SDSR). The business plan, like those of every other Government Department, contains five sections: vision, coalition priorities, structural reform plan, departmental expenditure, and transparency. The structural reform plan in particular covers key activities that were outlined in the SDSR White Paper including restructuring the armed forces and their capabilities, rebuilding the armed forces covenant and developing the new employment model, delivering Defence reform, and ensuring that all our other tasks are carried out in an effective, efficient, and sustainable way.

Progress against the Department's business plan is set out in the structural reform plan monthly updates and the forthcoming quarterly data summary, which will be published in due course on the following website:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/WhatWeDo/Transparency/

Departmental Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what regulations his Department introduced between 1 March 2011 and 31 May 2011; and what the estimated costs of implementation for those affected were in each case. [60338]

Mr Robathan: Between 1 March and 31 May 2011, the Ministry of Defence introduced six new items of secondary legislation, namely:

The Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme (Amendment) Order 2011

The Thetford Range Byelaws 2011

The Pensions Appeal Tribunals Act 1943 (Time Limit for Appeals) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Pensions Appeal Tribunals Act 1943 (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Regulations 2011

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Trading Fund Order 2011

The Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 (Amendment) Order 2011

It is not estimated that there will be any cost implications to those affected by these new instruments.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the name is of each regulatory measure revoked by his Department between 1 March and 31 May 2011; and what estimate he has made of the potential annual saving to those affected by each revocation. [60498]

Mr Robathan: Between 1 March and 31 May 2011, the Ministry of Defence has revoked the following seven regulatory measures:

The Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation) (Rights of Appeal) Regulations 2005

The Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006

The Defence Research Agency Trading Fund Order 1993

The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Trading Fund Order 1995

The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Trading Fund (Amendment) Order 1996

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory Trading Fund Order 2001

The Thetford Rifle Range in the County of Norfolk Byelaws 1916

21 Jun 2011 : Column 143W

These revocations have come as the result of the regular updating and consolidation of departmental secondary legislation, and are not estimated to have any financial impact.

Departmental Travel

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on special advisers' travel by (a) Government car, (b) private hire car, (c) train, (d) bus, (e) commercial aircraft and (f) private aircraft in each year between May 2004 and May 2010. [58940]

Dr Fox: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Kenya: Military Bases

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department is giving to the upgrading of the British Army training base in Kenya as part of the UK's long-term military training needs. [60627]

Nick Harvey: The strategic defence and security review confirmed that the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) will remain pivotal to meeting the training needs of the Army. The drivers for further investment include the continued UK presence in Kenya within a strategic context and the need for improved logistic efficiency.

On current plans we intend to relocate BATUK MAIN and the Battlegroup Forward Mounting Base (BG FMB) from their current locations at Turako Farm and Nanyuki to a single site on Laikiapi Airbase (East). Approval of £7 million to deliver accommodation and other facilities was agreed in March this year. Ground works commenced shortly after with an estimated completion date of April 2012.

Libya: Armed Conflict

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sorties flown by the RAF have involved the discharge of bombs or missiles against targets in Libya on each day since the commencement of military action. [60045]

Nick Harvey: From the start of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 operations in Libya on 19 March up to 14 June 2011, UK aircraft have flown about 200 sorties which have involved the discharge of bombs or missiles against targets in Libya. I cannot, however, disclose further information as this would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's officials are working on post-conflict planning for Libya. [60077]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working with Whitehall partners in supporting and planning for the post-conflict efforts in Libya. Within the MOD there are a range of units in main building, London and the permanent joint headquarters, Northwood

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working exclusively on Libya. Many of the military and civilian officials are providing support to the post-conflict planning in addition to their permanent duties and it is not therefore possible to calculate the precise number.

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) discussions he has had with and (b) representations he has received from senior armed forces personnel on the level of the UK's military commitment in Libya. [60963]

Dr Fox [holding answer 20 June 2011]: I have frequent dialogue with our senior armed forces personnel regarding Defence matters including our military support to NATO operations in Libya.

Military Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the availability rate was of each TriStar aircraft in each of the last 12 months. [33442]

Nick Harvey: The available information is shown in the following table. The figures represent the average number of airframes from each TriStar variant available in the forward fleet during each month of 2010. The forward fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable.

TriS tar forward fleet

C2 KC1 K1

January

2

2.9

0

February

1.9

2.5

0

March

1.9

2.9

0.5

April

2

3.3

1

May

1

3.8

0.7

June

1

3.8

0.9

July

0.8

3.9

1

August

1

4

1

September

1

4

1

October

1

4

0

November

1.4

2.8

0.7

December

1.6

2.3

1

I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Substantive answer from Nick Harvey to Angus Robertson:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question of the 13 January 2011 (Official Report, column 444W) about the availability rate of TriStar aircraft in each of the last 12 months. I apologise for the delay in replying.

I have already provided you with the average number of TriStar aircraft available per month during 2010. The figures in the tables below show the availability expressed as a percentage of the forward fleet that was categorised as fit for purpose, which I hope you will find helpful. I have also added figures for the first three months of 2011 in order to bring the information as up to date as possible. As there is always an expectation that some maintenance tasks will be carried out and the fleet numbers are small, the figures would never reach 100%. The Forward Fleet comprises aircraft which are serviceable and those which are short-term unserviceable, and could therefore be recalled if needed at short notice. Fit for purpose (FFP) aircraft include only serviceable aircraft available to the front-line commands for operational and training purposes.

2010

FFP/Fwd Fleet percentage

January

59.2

February

67.5

March

47.0

April

49.2

21 Jun 2011 : Column 145W

May

36.5

June

47.4

July

42.4

August

48.8

September

60.7

October

58.0

November

55.0

December

(1)38.4

(1 )December 2010/January 2011 figures were low due to severe weather conditions in the UK.
2011

FFP/Fwd Fleet percentage

January

38.8

February

43.2

March

67.7

As you will be aware the TriStar VC10 fleets are due to leave service in December 2013 and March 2013 respectively and will be replaced by the more capable Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft.

I hope this explains the situation.

Military Bases: Cyprus

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 9 June 2011, Official Report, column 416W, on British Sovereign Base, what level of security clearance, Lord Ashcroft has been given in his capacity as senior independent adviser to the study of British sovereign base areas in Cyprus. [60608]

Dr Fox [holding answer 17 June 2011]: The noble Lord, Lord Ashcroft, has been given the required security clearance. It would not however be appropriate to provide details of an individual's security clearance.

Territorial Army

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department is giving to a potential restructuring of the Territorial Army. [60628]

Mr Robathan: As part of the strategic defence and security review, the Prime Minister commissioned a study into the future role and structure of the reserve forces, which includes the Territorial Army. The study has yet to report its findings, and I anticipate that a statement will be made to the House shortly.

Treasury

Budget: June 2010

16. Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the progressive effects of the measures in the June 2010 Budget which have been implemented to date. [60788]

Justine Greening: The Government published detailed analysis of the impact of measures announced at the June Budget 2010. Charts A1 and A2 in Annex A of Budget 2010 show the impact of measures announced at that fiscal event, in 2012-13.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 146W

The majority of these measures have now been implemented. These charts show that the most well-off households make the largest contribution to fiscal consolidation in both cash terms and as a proportion of their net income.

Structural Deficit

17. Andrew Selous: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the size of the structural deficit. [60789]

Danny Alexander: The independent OBR published their latest forecasts for the structural deficit in the March “Economic and Fiscal Outlook”. The OBR forecast shows the structural deficit was 7.4% GDP in 2010-11.

Job Creation: Manufacturing

20. Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the rate of job creation in the manufacturing sector. [60792]

Justine Greening: Compared with previous trends, the 8,000 extra jobs created in manufacturing over the last two quarters is encouraging. In the decade preceding the recession, an average of 30,000 jobs were lost in manufacturing every quarter.

Private surveys of employment intentions are also encouraging; all main surveys suggest that employment intentions are above their long-run average in the manufacturing sector.

Unemployment Forecast

21. Jon Ashworth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likelihood that unemployment figures in 2011 will meet the forecast for that year made by the Office for Budget Responsibility in June 2010. [60793]

Justine Greening: The OBR published the latest official forecast for unemployment at Budget 2011 in March. This forecast was revised since June 2010, to account for new developments in the economy and policies announced at Budget 2011.

The OBR forecast at Budget 2011 was for the unemployment rate to be 8.2% in 2011. Since the latest forecast was published, the unemployment rate has fallen from 7.9% to 7.7%.

Tax: Equality

22. Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects on equality of the UK tax system. [60794]

Mr Gauke: The Government have taken significant steps to improve tax policy making since coming into office. This has included a new approach to impact analysis for tax measures. The Government now publish a Tax Information and Impact Note for individual tax policy changes. These explicitly include an assessment of the equalities impact of each individual measure.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 147W

Inland Revenue: Merger

24. Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the merger between the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. [60796]

Mr Gauke: No formal review has been conducted. HMRC has faced a number of significant challenges since its formation in 2005 but it plays a vital role in restoring public finances through the tax it collects.

This is why we invested over £900 million in HMRC at the spending review, which is planned to bring in an additional £7 billion of revenue a year.

Charity Bequests

Mrs Grant: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal measures he is taking to encourage bequests to charities. [60795]

Justine Greening: The philanthropy package announced at Budget represents the most radical and generous reforms to charitable giving for more than 20 years. The package is expected to increase funding to charities by around £600 million over the life of this Parliament by making it easier for people to give to charity and for charities to benefit from that gift.

To help foster a culture of charitable bequests, from April 2012 we will allow a 10% reduction in inheritance tax where 10% or more of an estate is left to charity, encouraging people to consider increasing existing bequests, and to promote a discussion of legacies when people make or alter their wills.

The Treasury is currently consulting on this measure and welcomes responses from interested parties.

Aggregates Levy: Northern Ireland

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to ensure that those who import stone to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland are aware of their liability for the aggregates levy. [60455]

Justine Greening: HM Treasury and Northern Ireland Executive Ministers hold regular discussions on issues of taxation, including ways to improve compliance.

In addition, HM Revenue and Customs have issued a news briefing drawing attention to the responsibility of those who import stone to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland to register and account for the aggregates levy. This has been widely reported in the Northern Ireland press.

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the aggregates levy on the competitiveness of the quarrying industry in Northern Ireland. [60456]

Justine Greening: A Government-sponsored report produced by the Symonds Group in October 2003 confirmed that the introduction of the aggregates levy in 2002 had put firms in the Northern Ireland aggregates industry in a more difficult competitive position than expected.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 148W

This resulted in the introduction in April 2004 of the aggregates levy credit scheme, which granted an 80% relief to producers who entered into environmental agreements with the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. The Government are working with the Northern Ireland Executive to establish the impact of the suspension of the credit scheme on the quarrying industry there, and to gather data to support efforts to have it reinstated.

Anne Frank Trust UK

Mr Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the speech he gave at 11 Downing street to mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Anne Frank Trust UK; and if he will make a statement. [60475]

Justine Greening: In accordance with the ‘Ministerial Code’, and in line with the practice of previous Administrations, the Treasury is content for 11 Downing street to be used as a venue for events by charities, as long as those are not used for commercial, fundraising or sponsorship purposes. The Chancellor was pleased to host the Anne Frank Trust 20th anniversary event on 1 June. He did not make a speech at the event. Speeches made by Treasury Ministers are available via the Treasury website.

Conditions of Employment

Julian Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with (a) officials in his Department, (b) the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and (c) outside organisations on the potential effects of changes arising from the review of employment law on matters within his Department's responsibilities. [60713]

Justine Greening: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sector as part of the process of policy development and implementation. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Departmental Data Protection

Andrew Miller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to promote visual data security in his Department; and what training his Department provides to its officials in respect of the management of visual data security. [60902]

Justine Greening: The Department has in place policies and guidance covering all forms of visual data security, which is provided to staff on the Treasury intranet. This covers such things as protective markings, the handling and storage of sensitive information and assets, adhering to the Treasury's clear desk policy, and the monitoring and reporting of any security related incidents. Reminders are issued periodically.

All new staff are made aware of the importance of visual data security during their induction training, and all staff also have to undertake a mandatory e-learning course on an annual basis.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 149W

Departmental Written Questions

Mike Crockart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of parliamentary questions for written answer his Department answered within 28 days of the date set down for answer in the latest period for which figures are available. [58540]

Justine Greening: As of 31 May, 4,555 of the 4,654 written parliamentary questions tabled to the Treasury in the current session (98%) had received substantive replies within 28 days.

East Midlands

Chris Williamson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the (a) direct and (b) indirect contribution to (i) the economy, (ii) employment and (iii) the public finances of offices of Government departments and agencies in (A) Derby, (B) Leicester and (C) Nottingham. [60666]

Danny Alexander: We do not hold information on the direct and indirect contributions that Government Departments and agencies make to the economy, employment and the public finances in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

However, there are publicly available data that show the direct contribution that the public sector as a whole makes to employment. Data from 2008 (latest available) show the following numbers of public sector employees:


Number

Derby

27,300

Leicester

38,000

Nottingham

49,100

There are also publicly available data on the contribution that these places as a whole make to the UK economy. Gross value added (GVA) figures, which measure a place's contribution to the UK economy according to the value of goods and services it produces, show that: Derby contributed nearly £5.5 billion, Leicester contributed £6.2 billion, and Nottingham contributed over £7.6 billion to the UK economy in 2008 (latest data available).

The datasets referred to above are available from:

http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ppse/index.asp

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/product.asp?vlnk=14650

Financial Services

Mr Umunna: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 5 April 2011, Official Report, column 893W, on financial services, if he will publish the letters sent by the remuneration committee chair of each bank confirming its commitments as part of Project Merlin have been met. [60563]

Mr Hoban: The Government are closely monitoring the banks' progress in meeting the commitments made under Project Merlin, and will provide further information at the appropriate time.

Financial Services: Taxation

Mr Offord: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on proposals to introduce a financial transaction tax to raise funds for overseas development assistance. [60569]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 150W

Mr Hoban: The Government of France have announced that discussion of financial transactions taxes will be one of their priorities for their presidency of the G20 this year. In addition, as requested by ECOFIN, the European Commission is currently preparing an impact assessment on financial sector taxation, including financial transactions taxes.

The UK Government believe a financial transactions tax would need to be applied globally to prevent the relocation of financial services and are willing to engage in further international discussions of such taxes.

This Government remain committed to the international development agenda. In the spending review, the Government announced their plans to meet the international commitment for official development assistance of 0.7% of gross national income from 2013. We believe that the debate on innovative financing options for development should not distract from member states’ official development assistance commitments.

National Insurance Contributions

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the merits of extending the national insurance contributions holiday to all businesses who employ less than four staff members. [60380]

Mr Gauke: The Government have considered the case for extending the national insurance contributions holiday to all existing micro businesses.

The Government believe the best use of public funds at this time is to keep the holiday as a targeted scheme for those areas in most need of employment support.

New Businesses: Northampton

Mr Binley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many new businesses have been set up in Northampton South constituency since the introduction of the national insurance contributions holiday; [60557]

(2) how many new businesses he estimated would be set up in Northampton South constituency as a result of the national insurance contributions holiday for new small businesses. [60626]

Mr Gauke: Information on how many new businesses have been set up in individual constituencies is not available.

The NICs holiday scheme is designed to support new businesses in their first year by reducing the costs of hiring staff. It provides a benefit to new businesses by increasing incentives to take on employees and improving the likelihood of business survival in the potentially vulnerable early stages.

No estimates were made for the number of businesses that would take up the NICs holiday on a constituency level.

Private Finance Initiative: Wales

Guto Bebb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many private finance initiative projects there are in each parliamentary constituency in Wales. [61282]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 151W

Danny Alexander: There are 24 private finance initiative (PFI) projects in Wales. Details of each project are available on the Treasury website at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/ppp_pfi_stats.htm

These data were updated in March 2011 and were provided by the Welsh Assembly. They have not been audited by the Treasury.

Constituency Number of PFI projects

Aberavon

1

Caerphilly

1

Cardiff South and Penarth

2

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

2

Ceredigion

1

Clwyd West

1

Conwy

2

Islwyn

1

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

1

Monmouth

4

Newport East

2

Newport West

1

Ogmore

1

Pontypridd

2

Wrexham

1

Ynys Mon

1

Public Sector: Females

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects of the recession on the number of public sector jobs held by women in (a) Wales and (b) the UK. [60551]

Danny Alexander: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes quarterly statistics on public sector employment, including a breakdown by region (but not by gender), which are available on a consistent basis from 1999. The latest release can be found at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/pse0611.pdf

Furthermore, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility published, as part of the ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook’ on 23 March 2011, projections for general government employment to 2015-16, which can be found at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/wordpress/docs/economic_and_fiscal_outlook_23032011.pdf

The OBR has not produced a breakdown by gender, or by region.

Revenue and Customs: Internet

Julian Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps HM Revenue and Customs has taken to improve the comprehensibility of the language used on its websites. [60728]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has implemented a changed approach to dealing with core content on its website:

www.hmrc.gov.uk

This entails a customer centric approach to writing and presenting information—writing content in plain English and organising it in a way that is more intuitive for the Department's customers, aiding comprehensibility and accessibility.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 152W

Not all areas of the site have been improved in this way, but HMRC has prioritised around subject areas where the Department receives most customer contact such as Income Tax, Pay As You Earn and VAT. This approach is in line with requirements set by the cross departmental sites:

www.businesslink.gov.uk

(which HMRC manages) and

www.direct.gov.uk

Customer feedback is also being used to ensure that this web content continues to be modified and improved on an ongoing basis.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on progress of negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan. [61008]

Alistair Burt: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on 16 June 2011, Official Report, column 903W.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the progress of the Afghan High Council for Peace in negotiating a political reconciliation with the Taliban. [61009]

Alistair Burt: Since its establishment in October last year, the High Peace Council has convened governors' roadshows in provinces across Afghanistan to take forward the reintegration of former fighters into mainstream communities. It has also undertaken outreach visits to Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. High Peace Council Chairman Rabbani accompanied President Karzai during his visit to Pakistan on 10 June and participated in the inaugural meeting of Afghanistan and Pakistan's Joint Commission for Peace and Reconciliation.

Afghanistan: Taliban

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on sanctions against members of the Taliban in Afghanistan. [60035]

Mr Hague: I have had a number of discussions in recent weeks regarding the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 sanctions regime with our UN Security Council partners. These have included the need to ensure that the sanctions regime is an effective tool with which to counter the insurgency in Afghanistan.

Bahrain: Motor Sports

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with the Federation International de l'Automobile on the Bahrain Grand Prix. [60033]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 153W

Mr Hague: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 16 June 2011, Official Report, column 904W.

Colombia: Human Rights

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Colombian counterpart on Carmelo Agamez; and what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Colombia. [60566]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Mr Agamez has been held in detention since 15 November 2008. Our Embassy in Bogota has made numerous representations in respect of his case and the delay in bringing it to trial. There is still no date set for Mr Agamez's trial. While we cannot interfere directly in the Colombian judicial system we continue to express our concern about the delay, which is extreme.

Our increased engagement with Latin America and strategic partnership with Colombia provide a platform on which we can engage fully with the Colombian Government, including on human rights. I visited Colombia in May and took the opportunity to emphasise to President Santos the importance we continue to place on human rights. During my meeting with Vice President Garzon he reassured me of the determination of the Colombian Government to create a culture of zero tolerance for human rights violations. I expressed our full support, but also stressed that much remained to be done. There are some signs of improvement; extrajudicial killings have reduced significantly over the past two years and a Victims and Land Restitution Bill which will return land to those from whom it was forcibly removed was recently signed into law. Despite these positive advances significant challenges remain. We will continue to raise our human rights concerns with the Colombian Government, including in relation to individuals who have been detained for long periods without trial.

Employment Law

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) officials in his Department, (b) the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and (c) outside organisations on the potential effects of changes arising from the review of employment law on matters within his Department's responsibilities. [60718]

Mr Bellingham: The review of employment-related laws being co-ordinated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is a cross-Government initiative.

All Departments with a responsibility for employment-related law are engaged in the process, and relevant Ministers and officials are in contact with BIS on a regular basis in taking forward the review. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not have responsibility for any of the areas arising from the review of employment law.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 154W

English Language

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of the population of (a) Brazil, (b) the Russian Federation, (c) India and (d) China who speak English. [56333]

Mr Hague: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not routinely collect or hold information on the numbers of English speakers in Brazil, the Russian Federation, India or China.

Libya: Armed Conflict

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's officials are working on post-conflict planning for Libya. [60079]

Mr Hague: It is crucial that the international system starts planning early to help the Libyan people stabilise a future peace. Stabilisation Response Teams (SRT) provide an integrated and bespoke approach to post-conflict stabilisation, reconstruction and development.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working with Whitehall partners in supporting and planning for post-conflict efforts in Libya. Within the FCO, there are a range of departments contributing to this work. There are also seven UK personnel working on post-conflict planning in the SRT and elsewhere in Libya.

An SRT, comprising UK and international staff, travelled to eastern Libya in late May to assess and set out a well coordinated and effective response to the needs of the Libyan people by the international community in coordination with the UN. The International SRT is due to report to the international community in July. The UK is also working closely with a range of partners on post-conflict planning, including NATO, the UN, the EU and the Libya Contact Group.

Libya: Politics and Government

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the Transitional National Council in Libya on outstanding issues relating to Libya's past involvement in IRA terrorism. [60641]

Alistair Burt: At the request of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have met members of the National Transitional Council in London and Benghazi to discuss a range of subjects, including Libya's past involvement in IRA terrorism.

Libya: UN Resolutions

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the enforcement of the non-military aspects of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. [56321]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 155W

Mr Hague: The arms embargo, flight ban and asset freeze mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1973 have all played an important role in putting pressure on the Qadhafi regime. It is also significant that the resolution sets out international condemnation of the regime's conduct and the individual identification of its worst members.

Maldives: Embassies

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess the merits of (a) establishing a British High Commission in the Maldives and (b) appointing an official to facilitate visa processing for Maldivian students who wish to study in the UK. [59952]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have no plans to open a high commission in Maldives. There is an Honorary Consul in Malé who handles any urgent consular issues on behalf of our high commission in Colombo which has formal responsibility for Maldives. Staff at our high commission undertake regular visits to Maldives, most recently on 8-9 June 2011.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) lead on visa policy and operations. We understand that the system UKBA put in place last year, with a dedicated time-slot for Maldivian student applications, was successful and will be repeated again this year.

North Africa: International Assistance

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) source and (b) year of expenditure will be of the assistance to Egypt and Tunisia agreed at the recent G8 Deauville summit. [60080]

Mr Hague: At the Deauville summit on 26-27 May, the G8 agreed that multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, African Development Bank and European Investment Bank, could provide over $20 billion for Egypt and Tunisia in support of suitable reform efforts, for the period 2011-13.

Press TV

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the role of the Press TV television station; and if he will make a statement. [60224]

Mr Hague: We are concerned by the programmes and reporting of Iranian state-sponsored Press TV. Not only is much of the channel's output inaccurate and biased, but it has filmed and broadcast the forced confessions obtained under duress of individuals detained in Iran without access to fair trial. One such broadcast led to a complaint which was recently investigated and upheld by Ofcom, the UK's independent communications industry regulator. We are deeply concerned that Press TV appears complicit in such human rights violations.

Sri Lanka: Minority Groups

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the representation of minorities in state institutions in Sri Lanka. [61134]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 156W

Alistair Burt: The UK Government have made clear their concerns about the treatment of minorities in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Government themselves have identified the need to increase minority representation in key state bodies and are also seeking to ensure more state officials are able to speak Tamil. During 2010, the police force launched recruitment drives to attract 1,500 Tamil civilians into the police force. In parallel, our high commission in Colombo has funded a number of projects to train more police officers to speak Tamil.

Sri Lanka: War Crimes

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the implementation of the UN Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka. [60074]

Mr Hague: We welcomed the publication of the UN Panel's Report and encourage Sri Lanka to act on the report's recommendations to lead to a process of accountability. The Report suggests that both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were involved in potential violations of international law.

The Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), Minister for South Asia, spoke to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 14 June to make it clear that his Government needs to address the allegations of war crimes and that we expect to see progress on this by the end of the year. If the Sri Lankan Government does not respond, we will support the international community in revisiting all options available to press the Sri Lankan Government to fulfil its obligations.

Communities and Local Government

Anti-Semitism

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of (a) anti-Semitism and (b) anti-Semitic incidents his Department uses; what discussions he has had with the Jewish community on its definition since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [R] [60424]

Andrew Stunell: We recognise that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ working definition of anti-Semitism is a useful tool in helping to identify anti-Semitic discourse and is used by a number of agencies for this purpose. Officials discussed the definition with representatives of the Jewish community on 6 and 20 June. The UK Government use the Macpherson definition of a racist incident, one that is perceived as racist by the victim or any other person, and this would include anti-Semitism.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to publish monthly information on changes in the numbers of his Department's employees categorised by (a) seniority, (b) number of employees taking voluntary redundancy, (c) natural wastage and (d) involuntary redundancy. [57616]

21 Jun 2011 : Column 157W

Robert Neill: The Government are committed to transparency and the availability of data and are currently exploring options for the more frequent publication of this type of work force management information across the civil service.

The Department for Communities and Local Government already publishes detailed headcount data, senior salaries and organograms and financial, property and procurement information with the Office for National Statistics and in conjunction with the wider commitment to publish data via HM Treasury for publication on the data.gov.uk website.

DCLG has not yet taken a decision on the merits of including this additional level of detail, on a monthly basis.

Energy: Planning

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he received a request from (a) members of the Welsh Government or (b) the Secretary of State for Wales between 6 May and 20 May 2011 to meet to discuss planning issues relating to energy in Wales and its territorial waters. [57470]

Robert Neill: Ministers within the Department for Communities and Local Government regularly meet colleagues from the Wales Office to discuss a range of matters.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government did not receive any meeting requests from members of the Welsh Assembly Government between 6 May and 20 May 2011.

Enterprise Zones

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2011, Official Report, column 1179W, on enterprise zones: non-domestic rates, on which date discussions began; and on which date each area was informed it would be an enterprise zone. [60675]

Robert Neill: Officials began discussions with some local authorities and local enterprise partnerships about the possible location of enterprise zones in March 2011. This followed decisions by the Chancellor about the criteria that should be used to select local enterprise partnership areas. Local enterprise partnerships were notified of the final decision to announce enterprise zones for their area on 23 March at Budget.

Enterprise Zones: Broadband

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2011, Official Report, column 42W, what discussions on what dates he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on superfast broadband in enterprise zones. [60671]

Robert Neill: Ministers within the Department for Communities and Local Government regularly meet colleagues from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to discuss a range of matters.

21 Jun 2011 : Column 158W

Officials in both departments wrote to local enterprise partnerships on 10 June outlining how superfast broadband will be rolled out in enterprise zones.

Enterprise Zones: Non-domestic Rates

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2011, Official Report, column 1179W, on enterprise zones: non-domestic rates, if he will estimate the monetary value of business rates to be retained by local authorities over the 25 years following the establishment of the enterprise zones set out in The Plan for Growth taking account of the location, size and nature of successful bids. [60672]

Robert Neill: As I outlined in my previous answer, this rate retention will depend on the location, size and nature of the successful bids, among other factors. The Department has received 29 expressions of interest for an enterprise zone from local enterprise partnerships, and final bids are due by the 30 June 2011. Successful bids will be announced by the end of July 2011.

Government Procurement Card

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which of his Department's public bodies utilise the Government Procurement Card; since what date each has been authorised to utilise the card; and how many cards were on issue in his Department and each of its public bodies in April 2010. [59217]

Robert Neill: The Department's public bodies have autonomy over the payment methods they may use and hence use the Government Procurement Card without authorisation. The number of public bodies which utilise the card and the number of cards that may be on issue, is not held centrally and could be supplied at only disproportionate cost.

The Department itself had 74 cards in issue as of April 2010.

As recommended by Sir Philip Green's report into Government efficiency, my Department has put in place more robust checks and balances over the use of the Government Procurement Card.

Land: Hexham

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what plans he has for the disposal for housing development of unused state-owned land in Hexham constituency; and what timetable has been set for any such disposal; [60439]

(2) whether he has any plans for the future use or disposal of the former Stannington hospital site in Hexham constituency. [60440]

Grant Shapps: On 8 June I announced plans to accelerate the release of public sector land for housing, and alongside this the Homes and Communities Agency published their development and land disposal strategy at:

http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/sites/default/files/our-work/hca_development_and_land_disposal_strategy.pdf

21 Jun 2011 : Column 159W

In the autumn, all major landholding departments will publish their plans to release land for housing development, and later this year a new map will be launched to show land and buildings owned by public bodies in each area.

In respect of the Stannington hospital site, the Homes and Communities Agency has been working with the local planning authority to investigate possible alternative uses for it, and these investigations should be completed by the summer.

Local Government Finance: Sunderland

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding his Department allocated to Sunderland council in each of the last five years. [60381]

Robert Neill: The total grant funding allocated by the Department of Communities and Local Government to Sunderland council is as follows:

Sunderland

£000

2005-06

308,043

2006-07

164,933

2007-08

168,492

2008-09

200,696

2009-10

205,252


The definition of central Government grant used here is the sum of:

formula grant (revenue support grant and redistributed non-domestic rates);

specific grants inside Aggregate External Finance (i.e. revenue grants paid for council's core services) (only includes grants from this Department);

specific grants outside Aggregate External Finance (only includes grants from this Department);

Area Based Grant (from 2008-09); and

‘other grants’ provided by all Government Departments.

These figures are taken from revenue outturn forms provided by authorities after the end of a financial year. Figures for formula grant, Area Based Grant and other grants are aggregated grants for all Government Departments.

Comparison across years may not be valid owing to changing local authority responsibilities and changes to funding methodology.

Mobile Homes

Sheryll Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many cases related to park homes (a) have been heard and (b) are scheduled to be heard in the next two months by the Residential Property Tribunal Service. [59971]

Grant Shapps: On 30 April 2011 residential property tribunals (RPTs) took over most of the adjudication role that was formally exercised by county courts in respect of disputes between residents and site owners under the Mobile Homes Act 1983. RPTs (a) have not determined any applications to date and (b) have received five applications which are scheduled to be determined within the next two months.

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Sheryll Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps he is taking to protect vulnerable residents of park home sites from unscrupulous site owners; [60135]

(2) what progress he has made on his plans to consult on improving the buying and selling process for park homes; [60136]

(3) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North East Derbyshire of 27 April 2011, Official Report, column 459W, on mobile homes, what progress he has made on measures to improve the licensing regime that applies to park home sites to enable local authorities to more effectively ensure that the health and safety of residents are better protected. [60137]

Grant Shapps: I announced on 10 February 2011 my proposal to consult on a range of measures to improve the licensing regime which applies to park home and caravan sites so local authorities are better equipped and resourced to tackle problems of poor management in the sector and so better protect the health and safety of residents. I also announced that my plan to consult on improvements to the buying and selling process of park homes to prevent the unacceptable practice of the blocking of lawful sales by unscrupulous site owners and to provide an effective means of redress for residents where this happens. In May my officials and I met with key industry and resident partners, and my officials met separately with local authority partners and representatives of holiday caravan owners, to help inform the consultation and gain a better understanding of the expectations and aspirations of our partners in this sector of the housing market. I plan to publish the consultation in the summer.

National Planning Policy Framework

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework will provide the same level of protection to pubs as National Planning Policy Statements. [60976]

Robert Neill: The National Planning Policy Framework will be a consolidated and more concise expression of national planning policies, but will include policy on safeguarding community facilities, including pubs. The draft Framework will be published for consultation shortly.

Non-domestic Rates

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2011, Official Report, column 1182W, on non-domestic rates, if he will estimate the average net rate yield per hereditament in England for each of the next four years. [60673]

Robert Neill: No estimates have been made of the net rate yield per hereditament in England for the next four years.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2011, Official Report, column 1182W, on non-domestic rates, what the net yield per hereditament was in (a) each local authority area and (b) parliamentary constituency in England in each year between 1997-98 and 2010-11. [60676]

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Robert Neill: I have today placed in the Library of the House a table containing details of the average national non-domestic rates yield per hereditament in each local authority area in England for the period 1998-99 to 2010-11.

The data, which refer to the local lists only, are taken from national non-domestic rates returns submitted annually by all billing authorities in England.

Average non-domestic rates are calculated by dividing the net rate yield, after deductions for reliefs, from local authorities' lists by the number of hereditaments on local lists as at 31 December of the previous year. The net yield is the total amount collected in the year irrespective of the year to which it relates. Comparisons across years should be treated with caution as figures will reflect changes in the number and type of hereditaments as well as changes to rateable values and multipliers.

Data are collected at local authority level and it is not possible to provide data at constituency level.

Planning Permission: Wind Power

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will produce national planning guidance on planning considerations in respect of small wind farms. [60987]

Robert Neill: The National Planning Policy Framework will set out the Government's priorities for the planning system, including on renewable energy. We will consult on the Framework shortly.

Planning: Enforcement

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information he holds of the number of section 215 enforcement notices that have been issued by each local authority in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [60354]

Robert Neill: My Department does not collect information on the number of section 215 notices issued by local authorities in England. The Welsh Assembly Government is responsible for policy and legislation on section 215 notices in Wales.

Public Houses

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps the Asset Transfer Unit has taken to (a) publicise measures to enable communities to take over pubs and (b) provide information for communities on taking over pubs; [60979]

(2) how many pubs have been taken over by community groups under the Asset Transfer scheme to date; and if he will make a statement. [60980]

Robert Neill: No pubs have transferred under the Advancing Assets programme which was managed by the Asset Transfer Unit and funded by the DCLG between 2007 and 2011, and which has focussed on local authority assets. The DCLG continues to fund the unit to provide advice and guidance mainly to local

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authorities and community groups to assist the transfer of publicly owned assets to the community. The unit rarely advise groups seeking to take over pubs, and have done so only on three occasions since January.

Pubs are extremely important assets for this country, contributing to the economy and providing local jobs. They can also provide local hubs that strengthen community relationships and encourage wider social action.

The Government want to help to protect local pubs where they are important community assets, and to ensure that they are working in the best interests of the communities they serve. The Government have introduced provisions in the Localism Bill for a Community Right to Buy to give community groups a fairer chance to bid to buy assets of community value (which could include, for example, the last pub in a village) by being able to nominate such assets for listing, and having the time to prepare a bid for listed assets when they are put up for sale.

We are strongly supportive of the work of organisations which advise community groups seeking to acquire pubs, for example, the Pub is the Hub and the Plunkett Foundation, both of which offer advice and guidance and disseminate good practice to community groups wishing to take over and manage pubs.

We are currently considering the use of a number of social finance initiatives (such as the development of community shares and the big society bank) which will make it easier for community organisations to gain the necessary finance without reliance on central Government grants.