Departmental Carbon Emissions

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2011, Official Report, column 357W, on carbon emissions, if he will assess the feasibility of low-carbon energy generation on the Downing Street estate. [67926]

Mr Maude: In November 2008, under the previous Administration, an energy use options study was carried out in consultation with the Carbon Trust.

The report stated that:

“there appears to be little benefit in initiating a local CHP (combined heat and power) facility at Downing street as the existing Whitehall District Heating System (WDHS) already fulfils that role”.

In line with the report's recommendation, this position remains unchanged and there are no plans to disconnect Downing street from the WDHS.

The study also considered other options for renewable energy generation such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. However, these proved to be either economically unviable or precluded by the Grade 1 listing status of 10 Downing street.

Downing street continues to seek improvements in its sustainability under a programme of building improvement and, over the last year, has reduced carbon emissions by 10.8%.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many procurement contracts his Department has awarded to small businesses since May 2010. [67251]

Mr Maude: Comprehensive information is not currently available on the number of contracts awarded to small businesses and cannot be obtained without exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold of £800.

Since January 2011, all new contracts over the value of £10,000 are required to be published on Contracts Finder. Up to 15 July the Cabinet Office has awarded and published on Contracts Finder eight contracts over the value of £10,000 to Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs).

Telephone Services

Nia Griffith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much funding he has allocated to each telephone helpline operated by his Department in 2011-12; and what the purpose is of each such helpline. [68552]

6 Sep 2011 : Column 431W

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office is responsible for the operation of the following telephone helplines:

The Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office includes the ERG Service Desk, which answers telephone queries, among other services that it provides. However, it is not possible to isolate the budget allocated to answering telephone inquiries from the Service Desk's overall funding.

MyCSP, the administrator for the civil service pension arrangements, operates helplines for scheme members and employers. Capita also operate a helpline for payroll queries on behalf of MyCSP. This activity is not costed separately, either locally or centrally.

Green Investment Bank

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether the Green Investment Bank will be classified by the Office for National Statistics as a public corporation for the purposes of the National Accounts. [68104]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck:

As the Director General of ONS, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the Green Investment Bank will be classified by the Office for National Statistics as a public corporation for the purposes of the National Accounts (68104).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has not been asked for a classification decision with regard to the proposed Green Investment Bank (GIB). ONS will apply the international guidelines contained in the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA 95) to determine the appropriate classification—this may or may not result in the classification of the GIB as a public financial corporation.

We understand the GIB is currently still in the planning stage, consequently ONS is unlikely to reach a classification decision on the GIB until details are finalised.

A summary of the UK National Accounts sector and transaction classification process is published on the ONS website at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/method-quality/specific/economy/na-classifications/the-uk-classification-process.pdf

Prostate Cancer: Ethnic Groups

Mr Lammy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the (a) age-standardised incidence rate for prostate cancer was and (b) number of diagnoses of prostate cancer there were amongst (i) Black African, (ii) Black Caribbean, (iii) Black other, (iv) mixed White and Black African and (v) mixed White and Black Caribbean men in England in each year between 1997-98 and 2009-10. [69413]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 432W

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated August 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the (a) age-standardised incidence rate for prostate cancer was and (b) number of diagnoses of prostate cancer there were amongst (i) Black African, (ii) Black Caribbean, (iii) Black other, (iv) mixed White and Black African and (v) mixed White and Black Caribbean men in England in each year between 1997-98 and 2009-10. [69413]

The latest available figures for newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer (incidence) are for the year 2009.

The tables attached provide the (a) age standardised incidence rate per 100,000 population (Table 1) and (b) the number of diagnoses (incidence) (Table 2) of prostate cancer in England for the years 1997 to 2009.

Figures are provided for calendar years (January to December) to be consistent with routine cancer registration outputs.

It is not possible to provide figures for (i) Black African, (ii) Black Caribbean, (iii) Black other, (iv) mixed White and Black African and (v) mixed White and Black Caribbean men as ethnicity is not consistently recorded for individual cancer registrations.

The latest published figures on the incidence of prostate cancer in England are available on the National Statistics website:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Health+and+Social+Care

Table 1: Age-standardised incidence rates per 100,000 population, prostate cancer, males, England, 1997-200 9 (1, 2, 3, 4)

Rate per 100,000

1997

71

1998

72

1999

78

2000

85

2001

96

2002

96

2003

96

2004

103

2005

99

2006

103

2007

100

2008

98

2009

108

(1) Age-standardised incidence rates per 100,000 population, standardised to the European Standard Population. Age-standardised rates are used to allow comparison between populations which may contain different proportions of people of different ages. (2) Prostate cancer is coded as C61 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). (3) Based on newly diagnosed cases registered in each calendar year. (4) Figures for England exclude cancer registrations for non-residents.
Table 2: Registrations of newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer, males, England, 1997-2009 (1, 2, 3)
Number

1997

20,006

1998

20,480

1999

22,387

2000

24,593

2001

28,015

2002

28,246

2003

28,503

2004

30,975

2005

30,053

2006

31,476

2007

31,236

2008

30,893

6 Sep 2011 : Column 433W

2009

34,593

(1 )Prostate cancer is coded as C61 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). (2) Based on newly diagnosed cases registered in each calendar year. (3) Figures for England exclude cancer registrations for non-residents.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the age-standardised mortality rate from prostate cancer was amongst (a) Black African, (b) Black Caribbean, (c) Black other, (d) mixed White and Black African and (e) mixed White and Black Caribbean men in England in each year between 1997-98 and 2009-10. [69414]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated August 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the age-standardised mortality rate from prostate cancer was amongst (a) Black African, (b) Black Caribbean, (c) Black other, (d) mixed White and Black African and (e) mixed White and Black Caribbean men in England in each year between 1997-98 and 2009-10. (69414)

Table 1 attached provides the age-standardised mortality rates per 100,000, where prostate cancer was the underlying cause of death, in England, for the years 1997 to 2010 (the latest year available).

Figures are provided for calendar years (January to December) to be consistent with routine mortality outputs.

It is not possible to provide figures for (a) Black African, (b) Black Caribbean, (c) Black other, (d) mixed White and Black African and (e) mixed White and Black Caribbean men as ethnicity is not recorded at death registration.

Table 1: Age-standardised mortality rates per 100,000 males, where prostate cancer was the underlying cause of death, England, 1997-2010 (1, 2, 3, 4)

Rate per 100,000

1997

28

1998

28

1999

27

2000

26

2001

27

2002

27

2003

27

2004

26

2005

26

2006

25

2007

25

2008

24

2009

24

2010

24

(1) Age-standardised mortality rates per 100,000 population, standardised to the European Standard Population. Age-standardised rates are used to allow comparison between populations which may contain different proportions of people of different ages. (2) Cause of death for prostate cancer was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) code 185 for the years 1997 to 2000, and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code C61 from 2001 onwards. The introduction of ICD-10 in 2001 means that the numbers of deaths from this cause before 2001 are not completely comparable with later years. (3) Figures for England exclude deaths of non-residents. (4) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 434W

UK National Accounts

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what timetable he has set for the inclusion of natural capital within the UK National Accounts. [69449]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated August 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what timetable has been set for the inclusion of natural capital within the UK National Accounts. (69449).

The timetable is set out in the Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP)(1) which was published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 7 June 2011 with the following commitments:

‘The new measures of national wellbeing which are in development will reflect our dependency on the natural environment for the quality of our lives.’

‘We will put natural capital at the heart of Government accounting. We will work with the Office for National Statistics to fully include natural capital in the UK Environmental Accounts, with early changes by 2013. In 2012 we will publish a roadmap for further improvements up to 2020.’

The Office for National Statistics is leading on the delivery of these measurement commitments through our Measuring National Wellbeing(2) programme. The 2012 roadmap will detail the timetable for inclusion of natural capital within the UK Environmental Accounts, a satellite account to the UK National Accounts. ONS will be seeking to engage with a broad range of experts and potential users in the development of the roadmap. The exact date for its publication in 2012 has not yet been agreed but the publication date will be pre-announced in line with the National Statistics Code of Practice.

(1) http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/

(2) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/well-being/index.html

Scotland

Air Force: Military Bases

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the future of Royal Air Force bases in Scotland. [67648]

David Mundell: Prior to the announcement of the Basing Review conclusions, the Secretary of State had regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Defence, on the future of the Royal Air Force bases in Scotland and other relevant matters.

Banks

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of major Scottish banks. [67647]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State meets regularly with representatives of major Scottish banks. He last met with representatives of the sector shortly before the House rose for the summer recess, and has further relevant engagements planned this week.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 435W

Banks: Pay

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussion he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on bonuses awarded by Scottish banks. [67646]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), and I meet regularly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss a wide range of issues, including matters relevant to the banking sector in Scotland.

Child Benefit

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the potential impact on families in Scotland of reductions in child benefit. [67769]

David Mundell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke) on 15 November 2010, Official Report, column 614W.

Child Poverty

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent assessment he has made of the level of child poverty in Scotland. [67651]

David Mundell: The most recent National Statistics publication on poverty and income inequality in Scotland shows that between 2008-09 and 2009-10 child poverty rates in three of the four statutory poverty indicators have decreased. Earlier this year both the UK and Scottish Governments published their respective Child Poverty Strategies, as required by the Child Poverty Act. The UK Government will continue to work closely with the devolved Administrations to reduce child poverty across all parts of the United Kingdom.

Conditions of Employment

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with trade unions in Scotland on proposals to alter employment law relating to redundancy and employment tribunals. [67771]

David Mundell: Scotland Office Ministers are in regular contact with trade unions in Scotland on a range of issues.

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the potential effect in Scotland of proposals to alter employment law relating to redundancy and employment tribunals. [67772]

David Mundell: Scotland Office ministers are committed to creating the right conditions for economic prosperity in Scotland, including the need to remove barriers to growth and job creation. UK Government officials have

6 Sep 2011 : Column 436W

discussed the proposed Employment Tribunal changes with the Presidents of Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland.

Air Travel

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what occasions he has flown on official business (a) by budget airline and (b) in economy class in the last 12 months. [67921]

David Mundell: All air travel is undertaken by the most efficient and cost effective way, in accordance with the Ministerial Code, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. In the last 12 months, the Secretary of State for Scotland has travelled in economy class on each occasion he has flown on official business, and on two of these occasions he used a budget airline.

Departmental Correspondence

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters the Advocate-General for Scotland received from hon. Members in June 2011. [68767]

David Mundell: The Advocate-General for Scotland did not receive any correspondence from hon. Members of Parliament in June 2011.

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member of each political party was refused by (a) a Minister in his Department directly and (b) his Department on behalf of a Minister in November 2010. [67586]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) and I regularly meet with hon. Members from a range of political parties both formally and informally. The Scotland Office does not keep a record of declined meetings.

Disability

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of groups representing disabled people. [67774]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) and I are in regular contact with a range of individuals and organisations representing disabled people.

Energy Supply

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when he last met with representatives of the six main energy providers in Scotland; [67803]

(2) what discussions he has had on recent electricity and gas price increases by energy suppliers in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [67804]

6 Sep 2011 : Column 437W

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) is in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne), and with representatives from the main energy suppliers in Scotland on a range of issues including the recent electricity and gas price increases.

Fuel Poverty

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of fuel poverty campaigners in Scotland. [67802]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) and I are in regular contact with a range of individuals and organisations on energy issues, including those relevant to fuel poverty.

Green Investment Bank

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the creation of the Green Investment Bank. [67805]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), has met on a number of occasions with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and other interested Ministers to discuss the creation of the Green Investment Bank. In all relevant discussions, he has discussed Edinburgh's case to host the Bank.

Housing Benefit

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact in Scotland of changes to housing benefit. [67773]

David Mundell: The Scottish Government has published its own impact assessment of how changes to housing benefit announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the June 2010 Budget and October 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review may impact on those households in Scotland which currently rely on housing benefit to pay their rent. It builds on data previously provided by the Department for Work and Pensions and is available online from:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/supply-demand/chma/marketcontextmaterials/hbchangesscottishimpact/

Human Trafficking: Children

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met campaigners against the trafficking of children in Scotland. [67768]

6 Sep 2011 : Column 438W

David Mundell: I am in regular contact with Home Office Ministers to ensure that HM Government work closely with their partners in Scotland to implement the UK strategy to combat all trafficking crimes, including the trafficking of children.

Insolvency

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to reduce the number of business insolvencies in Scotland. [67649]

David Mundell: The Government's aim is to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth, driven by investment and exports. In Scotland, we are committed to working with the Scottish Government to support businesses.

Shipbuilding

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on his remarks to the Scottish Affairs Committee on the future of shipbuilding in Scotland were it to separate from the Union; and if he will make a statement; [67645]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the state of the shipbuilding industry in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [67662]

David Mundell: Both the Secretary of State and I recognise the significant contribution shipbuilding makes to the Scottish economy.

Ministry of Defence contracts are critical to the future of Scotland's shipbuilding industry. That is why I welcome the decision, following the Strategic Defence and Security Review last year, to press ahead with building the Queen Elizabeth Carriers and to develop the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship which is intended to follow the Queen Elizabeth Class build programme.

The Secretary of State and I have had discussions with Defence Ministers on a range of issues. This Government firmly believe that Scotland benefits from being part of the United Kingdom and that the United Kingdom benefits from having Scotland within it and will continue to make that case.

Long-term Unemployment: Scotland

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent assessment he has made of levels of unemployment in Scotland; and what steps is he taking to reduce long-term unemployment in Scotland. [67650]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) and I pay close attention to levels of unemployment in Scotland. For example, we are hosting a series of seminars across Scotland to examine the particular challenge of youth unemployment.

The Government have introduced a range of measures to reduce long-term unemployment. These include creating the wider conditions for balanced, sustainable growth, and ensuring that work pays and that people on benefits

6 Sep 2011 : Column 439W

who can work are given support to prepare and search for work. The Work Programme in particular is aimed at reducing long-term unemployment.

Transport

A1: Road Signs and Markings

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the temporary message signs alongside the southbound carriageway of the A1M were not activated on 11 June 2011 notifying motorists of the long delays occurring southbound north of the junction between the A1 and the M25; and if he will make a statement. [68489]

Mike Penning: The temporary message signs from Junction 6 to Junction 3 of the A1M were installed to provide information to drivers during the Hatfield Tunnel refurbishment works. This work is complete and the signs have been left in place to provide additional information in particular to drivers entering the widening works on the M25.

On 11 June 2011 between 6 am and 2 pm the East Regional Control Centre (ERCC) did not log any congestion, incident led or otherwise, within 10 km of Junction 2 of the A1M and therefore were not required to set these signs.

Unreported congestion may have caused these delays. On other sections of Motorway this would have been registered by the Motorway Detection and Automatic Signalling (MIDAS) system and Variable Message Signs (VMS) in the proximity of the congestion would have been activated to warn drivers. This system is not available for the temporary message signs Junction 6 to Junction 3.

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason a number of the mobile message boards on the southbound carriageway of the A1(M) are not currently being activated to warn drivers of possible delays. [68655]

Mike Penning: The temporary message signs from Junction 6 to Junction 3 on the A1(M) were installed to provide information to drivers during the Hatfield Tunnel refurbishment works. This work is now complete and the signs have been left in place to provide additional information, in particular to drivers entering the widening works on the M25. The system is still active but is not connected to the Highways Agency's Control Office Based System which controls the standard Variable Message Signs.

The temporary signs are controlled by a stand-alone personal computer located in the East Region Control Centre (ERCC) and are operated manually by ERCC staff. As the system is stand alone the Motorway Detection and Automatic Signalling system which detects and signs for congestion is not available for the temporary message signs from Junction 6 to Junction 3.

Airlines: Competition

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will include a passengers rights framework within the Economic Regulation of Airports Bill for the

6 Sep 2011 : Column 440W

purposes of protecting consumers at airports from anti-competitive airline practices; and if he will make a statement. [68607]

Mrs Villiers: The proposed reforms to the framework for airport economic regulation would give the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) a primary duty to promote the interests of existing and future passengers. Under the new regime airports with substantial market power and for whom regulation adds real value would need a licence and CAA would have powers to impose conditions on these airports to promote passengers' interests.

The airline sector is generally very competitive. Like most other sectors in the UK economy, their prices and service quality are not regulated. Instead airlines are subject to UK and European competition law, which is enforced by the UK and European competition authorities.

There is also a range of existing legislation which aims to protect consumers in the airline sector, including the Denied Boarding Compensation Regulations and the Passengers with Reduced Mobility Regulations.

In addition, CAA has been consulting on the proposal to set up an aviation consumer advocate panel, which would provide independent advice to CAA on consumer issues. The Government are also consulting on a number of reforms to ensure that consumer advice, representation and enforcement, more generally, are delivered effectively and efficiently.

Airports: Rail Connections

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to improve intermodal connectivity between airports and the rail network. [69383]

Mrs Villiers: The Government recognises the importance of good surface access transport links to airports and the crucial role the public sector must play in their delivery.

The Government are pressing ahead with major rail improvement schemes including Crossrail, Thameslink and the tube upgrades. A consultation has also recently closed on High Speed Rail. These projects are expected to benefit passengers travelling to some of our busiest airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Birmingham.

Aviation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the Civil Aviation Authority's proposed Future Airspace Strategy for the UK 2011 to 2030. [69315]

Mrs Villiers: The Government support the development of the Civil Aviation Authority's Future Airspace Strategy.

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to bring forward legislative proposals to vest the Civil Aviation Authority and Office of Fair Trading with powers to enforce Article 23 of EC Regulation 1008/2008. [69521]

6 Sep 2011 : Column 441W

Mrs Villiers: We intend to introduce regulations to that effect later this year. Until they are in place, the Civil Aviation Authority is able to use its enforcement powers under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 to ensure greater transparency in the sale of air fares.

Aviation: Working Hours

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether flight time limitations for pilots were discussed at the EU Transport Council meeting of 16 June 2011; and what the outcome was of any such discussions. [69457]

Mrs Villiers: The issue of flight time limitations was not discussed at the EU Transport Council meeting of 16 June 2011.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with representatives of business on plans to extend high speed services to the North West. [69030]

Mr Philip Hammond: I recently met with businesses and business representatives in the North West when I spoke at the High Speed Rail summit hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on 25 July 2011, about the Government's proposals on High Speed 2. In addition, the Department regularly meets with business representatives in the North West and across the country, including Chambers of Commerce and Local Enterprise Partnerships, to discuss transport matters, including High Speed 2.

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the assessment of HS2 in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13. [69767]

Mr Philip Hammond: The information requested is as follows:

Funding allocated to planning and preparation for HS2, 2014-15
£ million

Pre-2011-12 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15

Resource spending

21.3

116.1

163.3

89.4

204.2

Capital spending

3.1

50

50

50

50

M6: Noise

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ask the Highways Agency to commission a survey on the effect of road noise from Junction 9 of the M6 motorway. [69768]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency is currently working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) who were tasked with identifying ‘First Priority Locations’ of areas impacted by traffic noise, which are to be investigated as a matter of priority.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 442W

The M6 at Junction 9 has been identified as a ‘First Priority Location’ and the Highways Agency aims to complete its investigation into noise at this location by the end of 2011. This will identify any options for mitigating road traffic noise. Implementation will be subject to available funding.

Additionally, following the recent introduction of hard shoulder running at peak times on the M6 between Junctions 8 to 10a, the Highways Agency are monitoring noise levels across the length of the scheme, including Junction 9, to compare with noise readings taken before the scheme was introduced. The results of this separate study are anticipated to be available from March 2012.

Maritime Labour Convention

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to implement the Maritime Labour Convention; and if he will make a statement. [69485]

Mike Penning: The UK is already largely compliant with the requirements of the Convention. Discussions are ongoing, including with the trade unions and the shipping industry, over the areas that will require amendments to current legislation to ensure full compliance. The Convention cannot be implemented piecemeal.

In line with our policy of ensuring that all possible non-regulatory approaches have been explored and that there is a robust argument for the Government to legislate, full impact assessments are being prepared setting out the arguments for legislation and non-legislative approaches. Subject to a satisfactory conclusion, the Government will then go to public consultation.

Motor Vehicles: Testing

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations his Department has received on its plans to review the frequency of MOT testing since May 2010. [69769]

Mike Penning: From May 2010 up to 16 August 2011, the Department for Transport received 311 representations on its plans to review the frequency of MOT testing. These representations consisted of 242 letters from MPs, 47 letters from the general public, six ministerial meetings, one invitation and 15 parliamentary questions.

Ragwort

Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fines the Highways Agency has received for allowing ragwort to grow on highway verges in the period since 2007. [69579]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency has not received any fines in respect of ragwort and takes this perennial problem very seriously. Areas of particular concern are identified and efforts are targeted at infestations of the weed growing close to animal pasture. Herbicides are used as a spot treatment throughout the year when the plant is at the rosette stage and in full flower.

The agency continues to monitor and treat known sites.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 443W

Northern Rail

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has retained funds from the revenue-sharing arrangements made in relation to the Northern franchise; and for what purpose. [69486]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has one budget line for Support for Passenger Rail services which includes a combination of income and subsidy payments arising from its franchise agreements with each Train Operator Company, of which the Northern revenue-share arrangements is one element. The overall position in respect of TOC income/subsidy forms one part of the Department’s DEL within its SR settlement and receipts from individual TOCs are not matched against specific areas of departmental expenditure.

Railways: North West

Simon Reevell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on rail infrastructure in (a) the North West and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2007-08, (iii) 2008-09 and (iv) 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. [69471]

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport is not directly responsible for expenditure on rail infrastructure. This role is fulfilled by Network Rail whom the Department fund by way of a grant.

Simon Reevell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent assessment is of progress in the development of the Northern Hub; and if he will make a statement. [69545]

Mrs Villiers: In March 2011, the go-ahead was announced for the construction of Ordsall Chord; the first phase of the Northern Hub. Subject to achieving the necessary planning consents, this scheme will be completed by December 2016 allowing faster trains between Leeds and Manchester. Network Rail is undertaking further development work for the remaining phases and a decision will be made in July 2012 as part of the next High Level Output Specification on whether elements will be implemented during the period 2014 to 2019.

Rescue Services

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on its consultation on the future of Liverpool, Holyhead and Belfast coastguard stations. [68449]

Mike Penning: The consultation on revised proposals to modernise Her Majesty's Coastguard is due to complete on 6 October 2011 at which point responses will be considered and final decisions taken. The consultation covers all Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres within the HM Coastguard structure and takes a national view. It is not possible to apportion costs to individual stations in Liverpool, Holyhead and Belfast.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 444W

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons he has concluded that Belfast coastguard station should not close; and whether he was aware of these reasons prior to his Department's consultation. [68488]

Mike Penning: In response to the consultation I have considered the special circumstances that are associated with the Belfast rescue centre as set out in the original consultation, including the management of civil resilience arrangements specific to Northern Ireland, the relationship with rescue services in the Republic of Ireland, and its position as the only rescue centre within the devolved Administration.

Consultees emphasised the need for a local presence to ensure effective routine co-operation with the Northern Ireland Executive, local authorities and emergency services, and to ensure alignment of approaches to civil resilience, civil contingencies and operational arrangements. After careful consideration of all representations, the Government decided to retain a Maritime Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) in Belfast.

Rolling Stock: Greater Manchester

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any of the rolling stock to be deployed to alleviate overcrowded peak hour rail services into Greater Manchester will be new. [69042]

Mrs Villiers: The Department is committed to the procurement of at least 36 new Electric Multiple carriages for the Manchester-Scotland route.

The procurement of these carriages is being led by London Midland, supported by TransPennine Express.

The Department is currently negotiating with the two train operating companies on the commercial terms for introducing such trains into service.

Assuming that commercial agreement can be reached between all the parties, there should be an announcement later this year.

Thameslink Railway Line

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Thameslink programme is proceeding on (a) time and (b) budget. [69489]

Mrs Villiers: The Thameslink Programme is proceeding to time and within budget.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to answer question 56686 tabled on 17 May 2011 for answer on 24 May 2011 relating to biofuel exports. [68479]

Norman Baker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 20 July 2011, Official Report, column 1092W.

6 Sep 2011 : Column 445W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Police

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason the Council of Ministers amended decision 2010/279/CFSP; what reasons were given for the increase in expenditure on EU police activity in Afghanistan; and what estimate has been made of the expenditure required after July 2012. [69246]

Mr Lidington: 2010/279/CFSP set out the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan's tasks and objectives for the three year period ending 31 May 2013 and provided a budget of €54.6 million for the first year. The Council of Ministers decided on 23 May 2011 that this amount would be sufficient to cover a further two months of activity until 31 July 2011.

The amendment on 25 July 2011 (2011/473/CFSP) was to provide the budget of €60.5 million for the period 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012. The increase in expenditure was partly due to improved staffing levels, but also due to increased security costs. The Government have provided detailed information on this new budget to Parliament in the Explanatory Memorandum provided to the European Scrutiny Committee and the House of Lords EU Select Committee. Their analysis can be found at

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeuleg/428-xxxiv/42818.htm

No estimates have yet been made of the budget after July 2012. We are working to ensure it represents value for money while still allowing the Mission to deliver its objectives and operate effectively in a challenging environment.

Anguilla: Public Appointments

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria were used by the Deputy Governor to Anguilla in appointing the permanent secretaries of Anguillan Government Departments. [69388]

Mr Bellingham: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State, my noble Friend the right hon. Lord Howell of Guildford, to the noble Lord Jones of Cheltenham on 11 August 2011, Official Report, House o f Lords, column WA454.

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Deputy Governor to Anguilla had with the Chief Minister concerning the appointment of permanent secretaries of Anguillan Government Departments. [69389]

Mr Bellingham: Responsibility for ensuring that the Anguilla Public Service is appropriately staffed and run has been delegated by the Governor to the Deputy Governor, who is the most senior member of the Anguillan Public Service.

While the British Government have no direct responsibility for making appointments within the Anguilla Public Service, I understand that the Deputy Governor

6 Sep 2011 : Column 446W

discussed the transfer of Permanent Secretaries with the Chief Minister recently and that they have also exchanged correspondence on the matter.

I also understand that the Deputy Governor informed the Executive Council earlier this year that consideration was being given to the movement of Permanent Secretaries within the Public Service. I am therefore fully satisfied that the Deputy Governor met the requirement placed on him under s.66 of the Anguilla Constitution to consult the Chief Minister.

Bahrain: Politics and Government

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the jamming of opposition television stations in Bahrain; and what representations his Department has made to the Government of Bahrain on this matter. [69360]

Alistair Burt: The television stations in Bahrain are state owned, and we are unaware of television stations belonging to opposition groups. However, there have been reports from the main opposition group (Al-Wefaq) stating that the authorities in Bahrain have blocked an internet-based live broadcasting medium used by them.

We continue to call on the Government of Bahrain to guarantee its citizens the universal human rights and freedoms to which they are entitled, meet all its human rights obligations and uphold political freedoms, equal access to justice and the rule of law. The Government and the security forces must respect the civil rights of peaceful protestors, the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Politics and Government

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans his Department has to strengthen relations with Bosnia Herzegovina; and what steps he plans to take to assist in (a) maintaining an international presence in support of the Dayton peace accords and (b) guaranteeing the country's territorial integrity. [69371]

Mr Lidington: The UK maintains a close and active bilateral relationship with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In July, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met with BiH Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj in London and underlined the UK's commitment to a strong and constructive bilateral relationship with BiH. In June, I visited BiH, meeting government, parliament, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and civil society representatives. On 11 July, Baroness Warsi represented the UK Government at the commemoration of the 16(th) anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica and had a wider programme of meetings. Our bilateral relationship with BiH ranges across a variety of issues, for example the UK has worked closely with BiH during its two years as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (2010-11).

The UK is actively committed to BiH as a sovereign, stable country with functioning state-level institutions, irreversibly on path to EU and NATO. We urge progress

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towards the formation of a state-level Government. We are fully committed to the territorial integrity of BiH and have repeatedly made clear that challenges to the structure of the state established by the Dayton Peace Agreement are unacceptable.

The UK Government fully and strongly supports the OHR in its efforts to improve the functionality of the state and to deal promptly and decisively with challenges to the Dayton Agreement. The UK has consistently argued for strong international support for the High Representative, and to uphold the ‘5+2’ objectives and conditions necessary for the OHR's closure. We have also worked to help reinvigorate the EU's strategy towards, and presence in, BiH, while maintaining the safeguards provided by the High Representative and the EU Peacekeeping mission, EUFOR Althea. We welcome the new EU Special Representative assuming his mandate in September, as a means of strengthening EU engagement with BiH, working with the range of international actors.

The international community can however only do so much: the onus must be on Bosnian politicians to act responsibly and in the interests of the Bosnian people. We continue to give this clear and unequivocal message in country.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political situation in Bosnia following the decision by the Republica Srpska leadership on a referendum on the competencies of the judicial institutions and certain powers bestowed on the EU High Representative. [69375]

Mr Lidington: The political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is of serious concern. A new state-level Government have still not been formed following elections in October 2010. There has been a failure to deliver important reforms which are necessary for progress towards the EU and which would improve the functionality of the Bosnian state.

On 13 April 2011 the RS National Assembly (RSNA) passed Conclusions calling a referendum on the authority of state-level judicial institutions, and rejecting the authority and past decisions of the High Representative in BiH. This was a serious development. The UK made clear that Conclusions represented a serious challenge to the Dayton Agreement and the rule of law in BiH and condemned the move.

We welcomed the firm response from the international community, including the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) and EU. We also welcomed active EU engagement, including by EU High Representative Baroness Ashton which led to RS President Dodik pledging to repeal referendum legislation, in return for a dialogue on judicial issues. This dialogue was in fact already allowed for as part of the EU accession process. We noted the annulment of the referendum decision on 1 June. We welcomed the PIC Steering Board of 29 June reiterating that the 13 April Conclusions do not discharge the requirement of the RS authorities to meet their obligations under Dayton. We urge participants in the EU dialogue to engage constructively, but recall that this is a technical dialogue aimed at accession standards, not a political forum.

The UK's support for the Office of the High Representative in upholding the Dayton Agreement will continue to be firm and unwavering. The Government

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are firmly committed to BiH as a sovereign, stable country with functioning state-level institutions, irreversibly on the path to EU and NATO membership. We are engaging actively to this end and continue to urge political leaders to form quickly a broad-based and representative government, capable of undertaking reforms.

China: Human Rights

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what recent occasions he has raised human rights with his Chinese counterpart; and what areas of human rights policy were raised. [69538]

Mr Hague: I spoke to Foreign Secretary Yang on 3 June. I urged him to agree the dates for the next round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue during the UK-China Summit on 27 June. At the Summit we agreed to hold the next round of the Dialogue before 23 January 2012 (Chinese New Year).

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) and I also raised human rights when we met Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying on 10 May. We discussed our concerns about individual cases, including that of Ai Weiwei.

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) US and (b) EU counterparts on human rights in China. [69543]

Mr Hague: I am in regular contact with both my US and EU counterparts on international human rights issues, including discussions on specific countries of concern, such as China. EU Foreign Ministers frequently discuss our specific concerns in EU fora.

Colombia: Human Rights

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what human rights issues he raised in his recent meeting with the Foreign Minister of Colombia. [69544]

Mr Hague: I met the Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin on 13 July. We discussed Colombia's new Land and Victims Law and processes to ensure its proper implementation, including the need for adequate protection for all people returning to their land. I offered Her Majesty's Government's expertise and guidance in land registration and related issues to assist the implementation of the law.

I welcomed progress made and stressed the importance of continued work in areas such as protection of human rights defenders and impurity. We will continue to work with Colombia to tackle these challenges including by supporting their international human rights conference next year.

Council of Europe: Costs

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost to the UK of the common costs of the Council of Europe have been in each year since 2003; what

6 Sep 2011 : Column 449W

proportion of the common costs of the Council of Europe the UK paid in each such year; and what the cost to the public purse in pounds sterling was of the UK's representation in the

(a)

Committee of Ministers and

(b)

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in each such year. [68626]

Mr Lidington: The following table shows the totals of the Council of Europe (CoE) Ordinary Budget between 2003 and 2010, the contribution made by the UK, and the proportion of the total paid by the UK.

The office of the UK Delegation to the CoE is responsible for, among other things, representing the UK at regular meetings of the Committee of Ministers. Its running costs by financial year are shown in the table. Figures before 2004 are not available.

Cost of UK Delegation to the Council of Europe
Financial year £ Sterling

2004-05

985,668

2005-06

773,530

2006-07

863,551

2007-08

578,337

2008-09

843,271

2009-10

727,190

2010-11

565,229

National delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) are politically independent and do not represent national governments. PACE activities and running costs are funded from the Council of Europe’s Ordinary Budget, and Parliament pays for the expenses of the UK delegation to PACE. The following table shows the UK’s contribution to the PACE allocation from the Ordinary Budget.

UK contribution to PACE’s allocation from the Ordinary Budge

Euros

2003

1,663,966

2004

1,729,629

2005

1,787,644

2006

1,825,013

2007

1,825,891

2008

1,785,771

2009

1,760,947

2010

1,753,434

Cyprus

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials of his Department are stationed in the sovereign territories of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. [68866]

Mr Lidington: The Sovereign Base Areas are military bases on the island of Cyprus and are administered by the Ministry of Defence. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has no officials stationed in Akrotiri or Dhekelia.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to commission an official standard for the sovereign territories of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. [68867]

Mr Lidington: I refer my hon. Friend to my response of 5 May 2011, Official Report, column 878W.

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Democratic Republic of Congo: Elections

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to offer (a) assistance and (b) monitoring for the forthcoming election in Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. [69083]

Mr Bellingham: The British Government, through the Department for International Development, is offering significant assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo elections, aimed primarily at ensuring that everyone has the right to vote, and encouraging as wide a participation as possible.

We are also supporting critical logistics assistance from MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping force, to which the UK contributes through UN assessed contributions.

The EU plans to deploy an election observation mission for a period of three and a half months, from the end of September 2011 until mid-January 2012. We will also stay in close contact with other Congolese and international election observers, including the Carter Centre.

These elections can help embed a democratic tradition in Congo, and mark an important milestone on the road to lasting peace and prosperity.

Procurement

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what methodology (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible used to estimate savings to the public purse made in respect of its procurement and purchasing since May 2010. [69264]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) methodology follows the efficiency measures as defined by the Cabinet Office which drive savings in procurement, major projects and estates. In August 2011 the Cabinet Office announced £3.75 billion savings over 2010-11 supported by methodologies which include the following initiatives:

Consulting: a moratorium is in place and savings are calculated from differences between 2009-10 and 2010-11 departmental reported spend.

Crown Commercial Representatives (major cross-Government suppliers): savings have been agreed with individual suppliers via Memoranda of Understanding.

Contingent labour: savings are calculated from the differences between 2009-10 and 2010-11 departmental reported spend.

The FCO calculates its savings according to a methodology defined for each initiative, either in accordance with the Cabinet Office methodology where available or to an equivalent methodology where the category is specific to the FCO. Equivalent pricing in 2009-10 is usually taken as the baseline. Non-departmental public bodies are requested to follow the same procedures.

Internships

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) persons undertaking unpaid work experience, (b) unpaid interns and (c) other persons in unpaid positions were working in his Department as of 1 July 2011. [69513]

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Mr Bellingham: Records indicate that as of 1 July, there were no people working in unpaid positions, as unpaid interns, or doing unpaid work experience in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). There were, however, 33 people working on paid intern schemes, which we use to encourage participants to consider the FCO as a career.

EU Common Foreign and Security Policy

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what agreements on climate change and security were made at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 18 July 2011. [69381]

Mr Bellingham: The EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions that acknowledged the security implications and threat to stability posed by climate change, on 18 July. These Conclusions recognised that climate change acts as a threat multiplier exacerbating tensions over land, water, food and energy prices, and contributes to migratory pressures and desertification.

The Council recognised the need to build on work already undertaken on climate change and international security and agreed the EU will continue to raise global awareness of the security risks to, and threat multiplier nature of, climate change. The Council also agreed on the need to drive forward the global debate on climate change and international security and welcomed the increasing attention of the UN Security Council on the security aspects of climate change. The Council called for increased effort from all relevant EU actors to address climate change at all political levels and agreed that climate change and international security should be a strand for action for EU climate diplomacy, and that the Council would review progress at a future Foreign Affairs Council.

This discussion and adoption of Conclusions represents clear agreement that, as the UK National Security Strategy 2010 made clear, climate change is a foreign policy and security challenge.

European Union

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with representatives of the European Court of Justice on breaches of the provisions of the former Article 227 of the treaty establishing the European Community. [69737]

Mr Lidington: There have been no bilateral discussions between the UK and the Court on the operation of Article 227 EC (now Article 259 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

The UK agents to the Court participate in periodic meetings between the member state agents to the Court and the Court, where a broad range of issues relating to the operation and work load of the Court may be discussed, including matters such as the procedures applicable to cases under Article 259 TfEU.

Export Controls

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what evidence his Department's recent review of export control policy considered; [69537]

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(2) which overseas posts provided evidence considered by his Department's review of export control policy; [69539]

(3) which (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department were involved in his Department's recent review of export control policy. [69540]

Mr Hague: On 16 March 2011, I announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) would undertake a thorough review of the UK's policy and practice with regard to the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression, in particular crowd control goods, in light of events in the Middle East and North Africa.

All relevant FCO officials and Ministers were involved in the review, which considered evidence supplied by relevant cross-Whitehall and FCO departments. The Review also considered evidence supplied by our Posts in the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library copies of (a) minutes, (b) evidence and (c) reports prepared as part of his Department's recent review of export control policy. [69541]

Mr Hague: This was an internal Foreign and Commonwealth Office review and will not be published.

Goran Hadzic

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to his Serbian counterpart on the extradition of Goran Hadzic to the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement. [68689]

Mr Lidington: Goran Hadzic, the last remaining indictee sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY), was arrested by the Serbian authorities on 20 July 2011 and transferred to the ICTY in The Hague on 22 July 2011. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in a statement on 20 July, welcomed the arrest as a historic moment for international justice and for the victims of war crimes during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. He expressed his hope that the arrest will mark the closing of a horrific and traumatic chapter for the people of the region. The Foreign Secretary also congratulated the Serbian authorities and called for continued co-operation with the ICTY in supporting existing and future trials. The Government will continue to give firm support to the ICTY and the vital role it plays in upholding international justice.

India: Terrorism

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the government of India on the recent bombings in Mumbai; and if he will make a statement. [69542]

6 Sep 2011 : Column 453W

Mr Hague: In my statement of 13 July, I said that the bomb attacks in Mumbai were deplorable acts of terrorism. Senior members of Her Majesty's Government spoke to their counterparts after the attacks to pass condolences and offer support on behalf of the UK. The UK is committed to working with the Indian Government and other international partners to combat the threat from terrorism in all its forms.

Libya: Overseas Students

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of Libyan national students sponsored by the Libyan Government who were studying in (a) Leicester City local authority area and (b) Leicester South constituency in academic year 2010-11. [69436]

Alistair Burt: Information relating to the time period requested is currently not available. However, the 2010-11 statistics for higher education will be published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2012, but these will cover students only in higher education, and not those in further or secondary education.

United Arab Emirates: British Nationals Abroad

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions Ministers in his Department have directly contacted the government of the United Arab Emirates to express concern over the treatment of UK citizens under arrest or imprisonment in that country in each of the last five years. [69213]

Alistair Burt: This information is available only at a disproportionate cost. However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all allegations of mistreatment very seriously, and with the permission of the British national involved will raise these with the relevant local authorities. I meet my United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterpart on a quarterly basis at the UK-UAE task force and this is one opportunity to raise such cases. Our embassy would also forward the allegations of mistreatment and ask for a full, prompt and impartial investigation to be conducted.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings Ministers in his Department had with an hon. Member who has contacted them regarding constituents or family members of constituents who have been arrested or imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates in each of the last five years. [69214]

Alistair Burt: This information is available only at a disproportionate cost. However, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers and our Consular Directorate in London are very happy to meet with families to talk about relatives in detention and services that the FCO can and cannot provide.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions a Minister in his Department was contacted by an hon. Member in relation to constituents or family members

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of constituents in the United Arab Emirates who have requested assistance from the hon. Member in respect of arrest or imprisonment in that country in each of the last five years. [69215]

Alistair Burt: This information is available only at a disproportionate cost. However, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and our Consular Directorate in London are very happy to be contacted by hon. Members in relation to constituents or family members of constituents detained overseas.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens died (a) in police custody and (b) while serving a prison sentence in the United Arab Emirates in each of the last five years. [69216]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are aware of one British national who has died in police custody. We are not aware of any British nationals who have died while serving a prison sentence in the UAE in the last five years.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions UK citizens have successfully appealed against a conviction in the United Arab Emirates in each of the last five years; and in how many such cases the successful appeal followed intervention by his Department. [69217]

Alistair Burt: This information is available only at disproportionate cost. However, appealing a sentence is for an individual's lawyers to do. We are prevented by international law from interfering or intervening in the legal procedures of an independent state. The British legal system is similarly protected.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions his Department has intervened in court cases involving UK citizens in the United Arab Emirates because of concerns over due process in each of the last five years. [69218]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is unable to intervene in the legal procedures of an independent state. The British legal system is similarly protected. However, we do make representations to the authorities of another state where we judge there has been an significant delay in process, and we can consider making representations should a lawyer of an individual feel that they are being prevented by the authorities from acting on behalf of their client or the legal procedures are being conducted in such a way that breaches local law.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions his Department has been contacted by UK citizens or their families for assistance after they have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates in each of the last five years. [69219]

Alistair Burt: This information is not centrally held and is available only at disproportionate cost. Given the numbers of prisoners, and their often long-running

6 Sep 2011 : Column 455W

cases, we estimate that the occasions that families have contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the embassies for assistance would run into the thousands.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens have been arrested in the United Arab Emirates in each of the last five years. [69220]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and our embassies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be aware of British nationals who have been detained in the UAE in each of the last five years only if the individual chooses to inform us. The number of British nationals detained in each of the last five years, of which the FCO is aware, are as follows:


Number

2007

150

2008

279

2009

266

2010

241

2011(1)

122

(1 )To date.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens are imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates (a) after conviction and (b) awaiting trial. [69643]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are aware of 35 British nationals who are currently serving a sentence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), The FCO is also aware of 14 British nationals who are at the pre-trial stage and 124 British nationals who are on bail in the UAE. Supporting British nationals in difficulty around the world is a vital part of the work of the FCO. This support is explained in our publication ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he holds on (a) the type of offences for which UK citizens are serving a prison sentence in the United Arab Emirates and (b) the number held for each such offence, including specifying how many are imprisoned against each offence. [69647]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be aware of British nationals that are detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) only if they have contacted one of the British embassies for assistance. The types of offences that British nationals are serving a prison sentence for, and the number of individuals held for such offences, this year so far (as at 23 August 2011) are as follows:

Financial charges (including bounced cheques, money laundering, fraud, counterfeit etc.): 21

Drug and alcohol related charges (including possession and trafficking): nine

Murder/manslaughter/assault: four

Immigration offences/false documents: three

Burglary/trespassing: four

Breach of trust: two.

Please note that some of the British nationals detained may be charged with more than one offence.

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United Nations: Finance

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding his Department plans to allocate to each agency of the United Nations in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement. [69832]

Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not pay the regular budget (subscription costs) of the UN's specialised agencies. These costs are paid by the UK Government Department leading on the respective policy areas of the specialised agencies. FCO programme funds may in theory be used to deliver projects through UN specialised agencies in the next three financial years. However, this will depend on competing bids in the period.

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding his Department allocated to the United Nations in each year since 2000; how much he plans to allocate in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement. [69848]

Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) pays the UK contribution to the United Nations regular budget, which covers the running costs of the UN headquarters/secretariats and some of their core activities. The UK is billed in US dollars and since 2000 has contributed a total of US$1,123,679,857. The breakdown is as follows:


$

2000

53,562,152

2001

57,588,929

2002

61,951,540

2003

74,742, 944

2004

87, 985,732

2005

109,030,513

2006

104,563,268

2007

132,890,130

2008

121,483,273

2009

161,820,119

2010

139,648,230

2011

155, 107,511

Since 2000 the FCO has also funded a number of small projects with UN involvement. However aggregation of the data would involve disproportionate costs.

The UN regular budget is negotiated biennially, with the next negotiation taking place this autumn for the budget period 2012-13. Furthermore the UK's share of contributions to that budget is subject to periodic changes according to the Scales of Assessment, rating countries' capacity to pay. Therefore it is not possible to project precisely what the UK will pay over the next three years.

Venezuela: Human Rights

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the government of Venezuela on (a) human rights and (b) compliance with international law. [69552]

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Mr Jeremy Browne: We regularly discuss human rights issues with the Government of Venezuela, both bilaterally and through the European Union (EU). In the last year, we have worked with the Venezuelan Government and Venezuelan civil society on areas of mutual interest such as police reform and good governance. Venezuela is due to be the subject of a Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in October. Venezuela has ratified the main international human rights treaties and we monitor its compliance with them, as with all countries.

Work and Pensions

Absent Parents

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what definition he uses of therapeutic justice style of approach in respect of the voluntary arrangements with non-resident parents; and if he will place in the Library the evidence on the effectiveness of a therapeutic justice style of approach. [68435]

Maria Miller: I outlined within the Work and Pension Select Committee on 15 June that therapeutic justice, as defined by the Centre for Separated Families, may play an important part of how we manage people through family breakdowns to successful outcomes for their children. The definition we are using is:

‘Therapeutic Justice in the sense of Child Maintenance is defined as transforming behaviour by using joined up support to help parents who are struggling with the emotional impacts of separation to come to shared agreements’

The Government are working with leading organisations to establish a coherent way in which parents can be signposted to the most appropriate support using a “therapeutic justice” style of approach—supporting parents to work through emotional issues so they can deal with more practical issues. We are enlisting the input of a Steering Group made up of academics and leading organisations from the voluntary and community sector. The Steering Group will assist in building a robust evidence base about what support can help different families and examine whether therapeutic justice would be an appropriate approach.

Access to Work Programme

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department plans to enable Work programme providers to provide professional qualifications. [69332]

Chris Grayling: Work programme providers have the flexibility to design personalised approaches to help people back to work. If providers consider that a professional qualification is the most appropriate route back to work for an individual, and they have the funding, then the Work programme is flexible enough to allow this.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the performance of Work programme providers in (a) Bedford constituency, (b) the East and (c) the UK. [69333]

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Chris Grayling: All Work programme providers performed well in getting the new service up and running in every area on time.

It will be some time yet before it is possible to assess the performance of the Work programme in getting people back to work. The programme just started in June 2011, it lasts two years for each individual and, as providers only receive job outcome payments once a participant has been in employment and off benefit for up to 26 weeks, it will be 2012 before job outcomes start to be recorded in substantial numbers.

The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish statistics that meet the required high quality standards at the earliest opportunity. We intend to publish national statistics on referrals to the Work programme from spring 2012 and on job outcomes from autumn 2012.

As participation lasts for two years, we expect to see substantial indications of the success of the Work programme from spring 2013. A full independent evaluation has been commissioned for that year and I look forward to sharing the results with the House in due course. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of the programme in the interim.

Access to Work Programme: Visual Impairment

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has put in place to enable deafblind people to receive specialist support to access the labour market. [69415]

Chris Grayling: New measures introduced in April 2011 allow Jobcentre Plus to offer more flexible support to deaf/blind people, ensuring provision is tailored to personal and local labour market needs.

This includes advice and support about maintaining well-being and managing health in preparation for a return to work

A flexible support fund has been created from a number of discretionary adviser funds and programmes targeted towards overcoming barriers to employment, which district managers can use to offer additional support according to local need.

The Work programme is a cross benefit programme that ensures providers are free to innovate and design support that addresses the needs of individuals. Work programme providers are paid more to support harder to help groups into sustained employment, including those claiming employment support allowance.

In addition, disabled people may be able to access a range of specialist employment provision including:

Work Choice which provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment, find and stay in work;

Access to Work which provides practical support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability;

Remploy Employment Services which delivers employment support for disabled people, including through the Work Choice programme and Remploy Enterprise Businesses—a network of 54 factories across the UK, providing supported employment to disabled people;

Residential Training, which is delivered through nine Residential Training Colleges, providing vocational training to unemployed disabled adults.

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Jobcentre Plus disability employment advisers offer help with finding and retaining employment. Where appropriate, they can refer individuals to specialist programmes that help disabled people move into paid work, including Residential Training and Work Choice. They may also use the professional expertise of Work Psychologists specialising in working with disabled people if required. They can advocate with employers on the individual's behalf and help employers to explore job solutions such as the restructuring of a job's tasks or the environment, or the provision of, or change to equipment.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the provision of specialist support services for deafblind people through the Access to Work programme. [69416]

Chris Grayling: Access to Work is a pan-disability programme. While there are no plans to specifically review how Access to Work support for the deafblind is delivered the Department is currently considering how to update the range of support it provides for disabled people in the light of the Sayce review recommendations and subsequent consultation.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what incentives are in place to encourage Work programme providers to support people with combined hearing and sight loss into sustained employment. [69417]

Chris Grayling: The Work programme is designed to give providers the flexibility to design personalised approaches to help each individual participant back to work.

Providers delivering the Work programme have been chosen, among other reasons, for their ability to deliver specialist support to people who have longer term barriers to work, including physical barriers such as hearing and sight loss. They will be predominantly paid by results, for helping people into sustained jobs and with higher payments for the hardest to help. This incentive ensures it is in providers' financial interests to help all individuals overcome their personal challenges.

We recognise there will be some for whom the Work programme is not appropriate. The Government are committed to supporting severely disabled people and so the Work Choice programme provides more intensive support for disabled people with more complex barriers to finding and staying in employment.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what employment support his Department provides to deafblind people placed in the work-related activity group who will not be fit for work within three months. [69418]

Chris Grayling: Jobcentre Plus advisers offer back-to-work support for all people claiming employment and support allowance, whether they are placed in the support group or the work-related activity group (WRAG). Those in the support group can access this help voluntarily; most of those in the WRAG are expected to take steps to prepare themselves for a return to work. This support is available from the individual's Jobcentre Plus adviser

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or via a Work programme provider where a person volunteers for, or is required to join, this new scheme. A diagnosis of every individual's circumstances is performed to establish a tailor-made package of support or training that will best help that person to secure work.

Assistance available from Jobcentre Plus includes the “Get Britain Working” measures and locally arranged provision as agreed by the Jobcentre Plus District manager to reflect the local labour market.

Specialist help is also available via disability employment advisers (DEAs) who can refer individuals to specialist programmes, including Residential Training and Work Choice. They may also use the professional expertise of work psychologists specialising in working with disabled people if required. They can advocate with employers on the individual's behalf and help employers to explore job solutions such as the restructuring of a job's tasks or the environment, or the provision of, or change to equipment. They can also signpost customers to the Access to Work service.

Child Maintenance

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the use of exemptions of overseas earnings from payments to the Child Support Agency for fathers employed by (a) overseas companies, (b) offshore companies and (c) shipping and other sea-based companies. [69261]

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

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the. use of exemptions of overseas earnings from payments to the Child Support Agency for fathers employed by (a) overseas companies, (b) offshore companies and (c) shipping and other sea-based companies. [69261]

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (the Commission) has jurisdiction, i.e. legal authority, to make a maintenance calculation and collect child support maintenance only when the parent with care, the non-resident parent and the qualifying child are all habitually resident in the United Kingdom (UK). Habitual residence is a legal concept which means more than simply ‘where you live'. A person can habitually reside in more than one country or in none. Habitual residence can continue during an absence from UK.

Under the current child maintenance scheme, which deals with cases opened since March 2003, if the non-resident parent works for a company based overseas, it is not possible for earnings on which UK tax has not been paid to be taken into account within the maintenance calculation. This is because such earnings do not align with the statutory definition of net weekly earnings upon which the calculation is based. The Commission continues to have jurisdiction over any additional income earned and taxed in Great Britain. Any arrears that were built up while the non-resident parent was earning in Great Britain would continue to be enforceable if the non-resident parent subsequently became entirely dependent on income from overseas.

The Commission has reviewed child maintenance cases under the 2003 child maintenance scheme where the Commission determines

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a non-resident parent has no assessable income and is presently in the process of proposing regulatory changes which will resolve this anomaly to some degree.

The Commission has just launched an external consultation with stakeholders on these regulatory changes; one of which will include a new measure that would allow the Commission to take into account the UK taxable earnings of all non-resident parents (including those that work offshore and seafarers) that are habitually resident in the UK, even if they are paid abroad. This will reduce the number of cases where the Commission is required to make a nil-assessment. The Consultation commenced on the 26 July and will end on 26 October 2011. You can obtain a copy of the consultation at the following link:

http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/pdf/CSMA-Consultation-May-2011.pdf

We are also aware that there might be a small proportion of non-resident parents, who although habitually resident in the UK for child maintenance purposes are non-resident for UK tax purposes; and as such will continue to be nil-assessed. We are presently reviewing this matter to establish how best to handle such cases.

Finally, I should also add that recent EU legislation which came into effect in June 2011 allows the Commission to recover arrears of maintenance which have arisen in a case within the statutory maintenance schemes from non-resident parents who live within the EU.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many mothers were refused payments from the Child Support Agency as a result of the father receiving his earnings overseas in the latest period for which figures are available. [69262]

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

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many mothers were refused payments from the Child Support Agency as a result of the father receiving his earnings overseas in the latest period for which figures are available. [69262]

Information is not available for the number of mothers refused payments from the Child Support Agency as a result of the father receiving his earnings overseas.

The Child Support Agency does however record the number of live cases where the residential address of the non-resident parentis abroad. As at June 2011 there were 7,130 live cases where the non-resident parent is recorded as living abroad. Of these, 5,020 cases existed where there was a liability to pay child maintenance with 2,110 cases being nil-assessed. Management information does not record the reason why cases are nil-assessed. Maintenance was received in 3,440 of the cases with a liability to pay maintenance.

The fact the non resident parent lives abroad does not necessarily mean that all of their income is earned abroad.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Council Tax

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of likely (a) demand and (b) take-up of council tax benefit in (i) England and (ii) each local authority area in each of the next five years. [69340]

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Steve Webb: The forecast number of council tax benefit claimants in England from 2011-12 to 2015-16 is in the table. Forecasts are not produced at local authority level.


2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16

Council Tax Benefit claimants in England (thousand)

4,908

4,818

4,684

4,575

4,501

Source: Budget 2011 forecasts.

Forecasts are for the numbers of people who are receiving council tax benefit at a point in time. There are no forecasts of numbers eligible, or numbers who make a claim. The most recent estimate of council tax benefit take-up for Great Britain can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/income_analysis/jun_2010/0809_Summary.pdf

Forecasts assume the current structure of council tax benefit remains in place throughout the period shown.

Crisis Loans

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have received crisis loans in each of the last three years; what the total monetary value was of such loans; and how much his Department has written off in respect of such loans. [69739]

Steve Webb: The information is as follows:


Number of awards Amount awarded (£) Amount written off (£)

2008-09

1,964,700

167,011,300

582,000

2009-10

2,696,800

228,845,800

545,000

2010-11

2,657,100

228,344,100

537,000

Notes: 1. The social fund does not normally write off debt. However, there are some circumstance where write-off is legitimate, i.e. the claimant: has died (and there is no estate to recover from); has been deported or gone abroad (and there is no probability of returning to the country); cannot be found; has received a custodial sentence (i.e. long-term prisoners) or is bankrupt. 2. The information has been provided for the past three full years for when data are available. 3. The figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred. 4. Figures are for applications received, not for the number of people who made an application, and for initial awards made, not the number of people who received an initial award. (Some people made more than one application or received more than one initial award.) 5. The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics but in this case we only have Management Information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data; for example, they do not include applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the social fund computer system. 6. If an applicant receives an initial award and this award is increased on first review in the same month as the initial award was made, then the Policy, Budget and Management Information System (PBMIS) does not count the initial award and the review award separately, but counts one award on the one application. However, if a first review award is made in a later month than the initial award, then PBMIS counts two awards on the one application. Similarly, if an initial or first review award is increased by the Independent Review Service, then all awards made in the same month on one application count as one award. However, if an initial award or any review award(s) on one application are made in different months, then PBMIS will count one award for each month in which an initial or review award was made. Because of this counting method, only the numbers of initial awards have been given.