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8 Sep 2011 : Column 747W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 8 September 2011

House of Commons Commission

MyUK

Jo Swinson: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what feedback the Parliamentary Education Service has received following the launch of MyUK; and if he will make a statement. [70622]

John Thurso: 8 September 2011 is the official launch of MyUK, the new online learning activity from Parliament's Education Service. Feedback from students and teachers prior to the launch has been extremely positive, and the quality of the material has already been recognised, having been shortlisted in the ‘best learning game, simulation or virtual environment’ category at this year's prestigious E-Learning Awards. The Education Service will provide hon. and right hon. Members with MyUK publicity material for their schools to coincide with Parliament Week (31 October to 6 November 2011).

Construction

Mr Knight: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, by what date the House of Commons Commission expects Commons Court to be free of scaffolding, portacabins, builders' huts and contractors' vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [69753]

John Thurso: The portacabins currently located in Commons Court are being used for the medium-term mechanical and engineering project. It is envisaged that they will remain in place until the current phase of the project is completed, expected to be at the end of December 2011. Commons Court is an area suitable for site huts and from time to time in the future huts are likely to be sited there in connection with various works projects.

Most of the scaffolding in Commons Court has been erected to permit the demolition of a roof-top hut. This scaffolding is due to be removed in the next few weeks. The remainder of the scaffolding is there to carry power and water services above the carriageway to the portacabins and will be removed at the same time as the cabins.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Chagos Islands

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) US and (b) Mauritius counterpart on the Chagos Islands. [70878]

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Mr Bellingham: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and I have had no recent discussions on the British Indian Ocean Territory with our US or Mauritian counterparts.

Gibraltar

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to increase the number of officials of his Department based in Gibraltar. [70875]

Mr Lidington: There are no plans to increase the number of officials in the Governor’s Office in Gibraltar.

Sergei Magnitsky

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Russian Interior Ministries on the prosecution of the late Sergei Magnitsky for tax evasion; and if he will make a statement. [70119]

Mr Lidington: While we have not had discussions with, or received representations from, the Russian Government on the resumption of the prosecution case against the late Mr Magnitsky, we have repeatedly made clear to the Russian Government our concerns about his arrest, detention and death. We have urged the Russian Government to investigate the case fully and bring to justice those responsible.

The Foreign Secretary discussed the case with Foreign Minister Lavrov when he visited London in February, and I raised the case during my visit to Moscow in July.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Russian Government on the prosecution of the late Sergei Magnitsky for tax evasion. [70120]

Mr Lidington: While we have not had discussions with, or received representations from, the Russian Government on the resumption of the prosecution case against the late Mr Magnitsky, we have repeatedly made clear to the Russian Government our concerns about his arrest, detention and death. We have urged the Russian Government to investigate the case fully and bring to justice those responsible.

The Foreign Secretary discussed the case with Foreign Minister Lavrov when he visited London in February, and I raised the case during my visit to Moscow in July.

Zimbabwe: Racial Discrimination

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government intends to ask the United Nations to activate the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in respect of Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. [70821]

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Mr Bellingham: Zimbabwe ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on 13 May 1991 and is required to respect that obligation.

The British Government regularly call on Zimbabwe to uphold its obligations under international human rights treaties, and to treat all of its citizens equally and fairly.

Prime Minister

Climate Change: Conferences

Luciana Berger: To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to attend the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. [70828]

The Prime Minister: The Government are committed to achieving an ambitious global deal to cut emissions consistent with limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. The UK will be represented at Durban by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) and the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker).

Departmental Consultants

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister how many senior civil servants in his Office at each grade had worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst and Young, Deloitte or KPMG immediately prior to taking up their appointment in each of the last four years; what consultancy agreements his Office had with those firms in each such year; and how many consultants from those firms have advised his Office in each such year. [68957]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply.

The Prime Minister's Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office and therefore the answer provided is for the whole of the Cabinet Office.

Appointments to the civil service are made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition in accordance with the Constitutional Reform Act 2010.

The information requested for the Cabinet Office is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

In May 2010 the Government announced a freeze on new consultancy expenditure. Any exception to this freeze (where the estimated value is over £20,000) must be approved by the relevant Minister. In the case of the Cabinet Office, the Minister for the Cabinet Office approves any exception to the consultancy freeze. Expenditure on consultancy is only allowed if the consultancy is deemed to be operationally necessary, or the work cannot be done by in-house staff. All consultancy contracts are subject to a review every three months, for a maximum of nine months. Where contracts go beyond nine months, they must be submitted for approval to the Efficiency and Reform Group for consideration by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

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Communities and Local Government

Community Right to Challenge

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department plans to issue to local authorities on the statutory grounds on which certain local services may be exempted from the Community Right to Challenge. [70183]

Andrew Stunell: The Localism Bill enables the Secretary of State to exempt services from the Community Right to Challenge, and to set out grounds for rejecting an expression of interest, in regulations. The Department is considering what additional guidance may need to be provided on these issues and will discuss this with key interested parties.

Community Relations

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects on community cohesion of the Al Quds Day rally held on 21 August 2011. [70037]

Andrew Stunell: My Department has made no specific assessment of the effects of the Al Quds Day rally.

Council Housing: Evictions

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) guidance has been issued to and (b) discussions he has had with local authorities on the eviction of council tenants from their homes if they, or their family members, are convicted of criminal conduct resulting from the public disorder of August 2011. [70572]

Grant Shapps: No guidance has been issued to local authorities on the eviction of tenants if they or their family members are convicted of criminal activities during the recent disorder. The Department for Communities and Local Government is however currently consulting on proposals to extend the existing discretionary ground for possession for antisocial behaviour to include tenants or family members who have been convicted of the sort of criminality witnessed during the recent riots, wherever that criminality took place.

During and in the aftermath of the riots a number of discussions took place between Ministers in this Department and local authorities. Eviction was one of many issues discussed.

Travellers

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding was provided to each local authority from Homes and Communities Agency Gypsy and Traveller programme grants for new Gypsy and Traveller sites in each of the last five years. [70550]

Andrew Stunell: Before 2009, Gypsy and Traveller Site Grant was administered by DCLG and the following total sums were paid out:

2007-08—£32,295,321

2008-09—£22,945,064

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Figures broken down by local authority are available in the Library of the House. The Homes and Communities Agency has been responsible for paying the Gypsy and Traveller Site Grant since financial year 2009-10. Since then they have provided funding for:

2009-10
Local authority £

Bedford

326,155

Sandwell

1,063,000

South Gloucestershire

418,163

Total

1,807,318

2010-11
Local authority £

Barnsley

1,160,000

Bedford

279,786

Bromsgrove

999,600

Buckinghamshire

358.072

Corby

475,000

East Riding

1,214,139

Gateshead

512,549

Kent

932,107

Lancashire

278,362

Lincolnshire

1,248,571

Middlesbrough

583,009

North Dorset

956,856

North Yorkshire

43,986

Northumberland

935,007

Norwich

475,000

South Cambridgeshire

1,101,051

South Gloucestershire

77,250

Total

11,630,345

In the spending period 2011-15 £60 million has been set aside for the provision of new Traveller sites and the refurbishment of existing ones.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many Traveller sites have been built in each local authority area since May 2010. [70551]

Andrew Stunell: The Department for Communities and Local Government only holds details on the number of pitches that have been built since May 2010 with Homes and Communities Agency funding. These are:

2009-10
Local authority New/additional pitches

Bedford

9

Sandwell

1

South Gloucestershire

2

Total

12

2010-11
Local authority New/additional pitches

Barnsley

2

Bedford

2

Bromsgrove

5

Buckinghamshire

1

Corby

4

East Riding

10

Gateshead

6

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Kent

18

Lancashire

2

Lincolnshire

2

Middlesbrough

5

North Dorset

8

North Yorkshire

2

Northumberland

1

Norwich

3

South Cambridgeshire

1

South Gloucestershire

5

Total

77

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate his Department has made of the number of unauthorised Traveller sites in (a) each local authority area and (b) England (i) in each of the last five years and (ii) since May 2010. [70552] [Official Report, 13 September 2011, Vol. 532, c. 7MC.]

Andrew Stunell: The "Count of Gypsy and Traveller Caravans" undertaken bi-annually by local authorities in England and collated by my Department collects data on the number of caravans on unauthorised sites in England. It does not provide data on the number of unauthorised sites. Information on the number of caravans on unauthorised sites in England and by local authority area for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 is available in the Library of the House.

Figures from the "Count of Gypsy and Traveller Caravans" for the past five years indicate a downward trend on unauthorised caravans.

  Number

January

 

2007

3,797

2008

3,680

2009

841

2010

896

2011

695

Deputy Prime Minister

Edelman

John Mann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many telephone calls have taken place between his Department and Edelman since 6 May 2010; [67951]

(2) how many representatives of Edelman have visited his Department since 6 May 2010. [67952]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply.

The Deputy Prime Minister's office is part of the Cabinet Office. Details of telephone calls and meetings held by officials are not held centrally.

The Government are committed to publishing details of Ministers' meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis. Details of these meetings can be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-external-organisations

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Work and Pensions

Housing Benefit: Domestic Violence

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department issues to local authorities on the award of housing benefit to victims of domestic violence who flee their homes. [70181]

Steve Webb: Guidance for local authorities on the award of housing benefit for victims of domestic violence is contained in chapter A3, paragraphs 3.410-3.415 and 3.630-3.633, of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Guidance Manual, which is published on the Department's website at

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/hbgm-a3-liability-to-make-payments.pdf

Housing Benefit: Parents

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of non-resident parents (a) in Bristol and (b) nationally who will be restricted to the local housing allowance shared accommodation rate as a result of increasing the age threshold to 35 in January 2012. [70138]

Steve Webb: It is estimated that around 10,000 of the people affected by the extension of the shared accommodation rate are non-resident parents who have some contact with children who live elsewhere.

Estimates have not been produced at local authority level.

Source:

DWP analysis of 2008/09 Family Resources Survey and 2008 Families and Children Survey

Housing Benefit: Prisoners

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with charities and support workers on the effects on single people under 35 leaving (a) prison and (b) supported housing of changes to the local housing allowance shared accommodation rate. [70137]

Steve Webb: We have regular meetings with voluntary organisations and these have included discussions on the change to the shared accommodation rate. We have also liaised closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government on the introduction of two new exemptions: for ex-offenders who could pose a risk of serious harm to the public, and those leaving hostels who have been homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of 25 May and 30 June 2011 regarding his constituent Mr P Philpot. [70733]

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Chris Grayling: Despite an extensive search, I am afraid the Department has found no trace of these letters.

Pensioners: Jarrow

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners (a) aged 80 and over received the annual £400 winter fuel payment and (b) aged 60 and over received the annual £250 winter fuel payment in (i) Jarrow constituency, (ii) South Tyneside, (iii) the North East and (iv) the UK in (A) 2009-10 and (B) 2010-11. [70098]

Steve Webb: Winter fuel payment information is available in the document “Winter Fuel Payment recipients 2009-10 by Parliamentary Constituencies, age and payment amount”. This is available in the Commons Library and on the internet at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=wfp

Information for 2010-11 is not currently available.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly income was of a pensioner household in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [70451]

Steve Webb: Estimates of the median equivalised household incomes after housing costs are published in the Households Below Average Income series. The median income is the income of the middle person in the population, such that half the population have incomes below the median and half the population have incomes above the median. The median is used instead of the mean income because the mean is affected by outlying cases with very high income values.

These statistics only allow a breakdown of the overall numbers in poverty at regional level. Therefore, information is available for the North East region, but not available for Jarrow or South Tyneside.

Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility.

The first table shows the median equivalised weekly household income for pensioners in the North East of England, After Housing Costs, for three year periods spanning 1997-98 to 2009-10, which is the latest year for which figures are available.

The second table shows the median equivalised weekly household income for pensioners in the United Kingdom, After Housing Costs, for each year since 1998-99, which is the first year for which UK figures are available.

Equivalisation adjusts incomes for household size and composition, taking an adult couple with no children as the reference point. For example, the process of equivalisation would adjust the income of a single pensioner upwards, so that we can use income to directly compare their standard of living with a pensioner couple.

In each case, incomes are presented in 2009-10 prices and have been rounded to the nearest pound.

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Table 1: Median equivalised weekly household incomes for pensioners in the North East, After Housing Costs

Median equivalised household weekly income for pensioners, (£)

1997-98 to 1999-2000

223

1998-99 to 2000-01

225

1999-2000 to 2001-02

240

2000-01 to 2002-03

254

2001-02 to 2003-04

269

2002-03 to 2004-05

278

2003-04 to 2005-06

287

2004-05 to 2006-07

297

2005-06 to 2007-08

309

2006-07 to 2008-09

314

2007-08 to 2009-10

317

Table 2: Median equivalised weekly household incomes for pensioners in the United Kingdom, After Housing Costs

Median equivalised household weekly income for pensioners, (£)

1998-99

241

1999-2000

253

2000-01

268

2001-02

280

2002-03

289

2003-04

295

2004-05

313

2005-06

321

2006-07

323

2007-08

335

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2008-09

341

2009-10

347

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax, payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes. 3. Figures have been presented on an After Housing Cost basis. For After Housing Costs, housing costs are deducted from income. 4. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 5. The reference period for HBAI figures is the financial year. 6. Monetary amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) nationwide received the basic state pension in each year since 1981. [70452]

Steve Webb: The information available is in the table.

State pension recipients, March 2000 to March 2002 and February 2003 to February 2011

Great Britain North East region South Tyneside local authority Jarrow parliamentary constituency

March 2000

10,126,800

472,200

30,100

15,600

March 2001

10,176,700

473,700

29,800

15,500

March 2002

10,233,000

475,000

30,100

15,900

February 2003

10,296,240

470,900

30,030

15,950

February 2004

10,385,360

473,970

29,930

15,990

February 2005

10,517,940

478,930

29,950

16,040

February 2006

10,585,700

481,260

29,930

16,070

February 2007

10,726,000

486,970

29,960

16,180

February 2008

10,920,230

494,900

30,220

16,400

February 2009

11,108,310

501,720

30,410

16,570

February 2010

11,334,610

511,870

30,870

16,830

February 2011

11,403,370

513,890

30,700

17,130

Notes: 1. Geographical breakdowns were not available on the state pension data until September 1999. 2. 5% sample figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, 100% figures to nearest 10. 3. Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100% data was not available prior to February 2003, therefore 5% sample data was used instead. The sample data is uprated to be consistent with WPLS case loads. 4. State pension figure provided is the total State pension case load. Around 1% of state pension recipients are not in receipt of the basic state pension, but are receiving additional pension only or graduated retirement benefit only. 5. From April 2010, the age at which women reach state pension age started to gradually increase from 60. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients. Figures from May 2010 onwards reflect this change. 6. This data does not include claimants living abroad. This data is available on the Department’s tabulation tool at http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool Sources: 1. Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5% samples from March 2000 to March 2002. 2. DWP Information Directorate, 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study from February 2003.

Post Office Card Account

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people had a Post Office card account in the latest period for which figures are available. [70052]

Steve Webb: As of July 2011, around 3.5 million people held a Post Office card account.

Work Capability Assessment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work capability assessments have been completed in each month of the last year. [70900]

Chris Grayling: The Department regularly publishes official statistics on employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA). The

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information requested can be found in the latest report published in July 2011 on the internet at the following link:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca

Tables 2 and 2a in the above publication show monthly statistics on completed initial and repeat assessments for ESA claims from October 2008 up to February 2011 (the latest data available).

The following table shows completed assessments for the latest year of data currently available. This is a summary of Tables 2 and 2a in the publication.

Completed assessments by month of assessment

Initial assessments Repeat assessments Total

2010

     

March

38,900

5,700

44,700

April

32,200

5,700

37,900

May

34,100

6,300

40,400

June

38,600

7,600

46,100

July

40,300

9,300

49,500

August

37,200

9,700

46,900

September

38,900

11,100

50,000

October

38,200

11,600

49,700

November

41,300

13,900

55,300

December

28,700

10,800

39,500

       

2011

     

January

34,600

14,900

49,500

February

37,900

17,000

54,900

Total

440,900

123,600

564,500

Notes: 1. The data presented above come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare. 2. These figures do not include IB reassessment claims. 3. A small number of clerical assessments, where the result cannot be determined from DWP benefits data, are excluded from these figures.

Culture, Media and Sport

Daylight Savings Bill

15. Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the potential benefits to the tourism industry of the provisions of the Daylight Saving Bill. [70602]

John Penrose: I have received a number of representations and am aware of a range of arguments regarding the effect of introducing daylight saving time on tourism businesses, other industries and sectors. Steps towards any movement in this area must be taken with consensus across the UK.

Film and Video Games Industries

17. David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has for future support for the (a) film and (b) video games industry; and if he will make a statement. [70604]

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Mr Vaizey: In addition to grant in aid, lottery funding and the film tax relief, the Government have commissioned an independent review of film policy, with findings expected later this year.

We are committed to publishing a response to the Livingstone-Hope report on skills for the video games and visual effects sectors this summer.

London Olympics

18. Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the potential legacy of the equestrian events of the London 2012 Olympics. [70605]

Hugh Robertson: Greenwich was chosen as the venue for the equestrian events for the London 2012 games with the support of the International Equestrian Federation and the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). Staging the events in Greenwich Park ensures a compact games, increases exposure and stimulates interest in equestrian sports with new audiences locally and across the UK. The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) staged the equestrian test event in July attended by 5,000 local people, including over 3,500 from local schools and colleges—the vast majority of whom attended an equestrian event for the first time.

Sport England is providing £4.2 million of funding to the BEF between 2009 and 2013 to increase access to equestrian sports under its Whole Sports Plan as part of the 2012 legacy.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the status is of the contingency fund for the London 2012 Olympics. [70739]

Hugh Robertson: The Government Olympic Executive publishes quarterly reports on progress towards delivering the Olympic and Paralympic games. These reports include the latest position on the status and level of contingency remaining within the £9.3 billion public sector funding package for the games. The most recent report, published in July 2011, showed that the balance of contingency and other savings in the programme stood at £643.5 million. For more information see:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/8308.aspx

While we are confident that the programme will be delivered within the £9.3 billion budget, significant challenges remain in the final year before the games. We will continue to publish quarterly reports on progress, including the level of contingency remaining.

Media Ownership

20. Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received on the implications for the broadcasting sector of the decision by News Corporation not to proceed with its proposed acquisition of BSkyB. [70607]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: We have received a number of representations over the course of the proposed acquisition of BSkyB.

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Casinos

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether he plans to review the restrictions on building new casinos under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005. [70031]

John Penrose: ( )Not immediately. The Government would want to consider the impact of the small( )and large casinos which can currently be developed under the Gambling Act 2005,( )before making any judgment on how casino regulation should be treated in the( )future. The timing of any such consideration will depend on how quickly sufficient( )numbers of small and large casinos are in place to allow assessments of local impact( )in order to establish an overall picture.

Football: Flags

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) whether he has had any discussions with the Scottish Executive regarding the flying of the Cross of St. George at matches where Berwick Rangers play; [70869]

(2) whether his Department issues guidance on the flying or possession of flags by attendees at football matches; [70873]

(3) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Football Association, (b) the Scottish Football Association, (c) the Football Association of Wales, (d) the Irish Football Association, (e) the Scottish government and (f) FIFA on the flying of flags at football matches. [70877]

Hugh Robertson: Neither the Secretary of State nor I have had discussions with colleagues at the Scottish Executive, or with the domestic or international football bodies, on this issue. There are no requirements in relation to the flying of flags at football grounds in the leagues in England, Wales and Scotland. It is for the club in each case, in conjunction with the police, and the local authority to decide on their use, based on safety and public order considerations.

Gun Sports

Mr Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect of the provisions of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 on levels of grassroots participation in target pistol shooting. [70179]

Hugh Robertson: Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 concerns prohibited weapons, which Parliament has judged to be especially dangerous, and may only be possessed with the authority of the Home Secretary. In 1997, following the tragic shooting incident at Dunblane, Parliament legislated to place most pistols within this category. Sport England advise it is broadly accepted that participation in the Olympic Sport of Target Pistol Shooting in Great Britain dropped by an estimated 70% post 1998.

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Motor Sports

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on Formula One motor racing in the last year. [70260]

Hugh Robertson: Neither the Secretary of State nor I have had specific discussions on Formula One. However departmental officials, along with their colleagues at Business, Innovations and Skills, meet regularly with motorsport representatives. I have also met the chief executive of the Motorsport Association to discuss a range of issues in the sport.

Telephone Hacking

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what progress has been made in the Leveson inquiry into telephone hacking. [70136]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: Lord Justice Leveson has made some opening remarks which set out how he intends to run his independent Inquiry. Details of that and of the panel members appointed to assist him in his work can be found on the Inquiry's website at:

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

Written Questions: Government Responses

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer between (a) 27 May 2010 and 19 July 2011 and (b) 9 March 2011 and 19 July 2011. [71125]

John Penrose: During the period 27 May 2010 to 19 July 2011, 22.8% of written parliamentary questions tabled to my Department for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer. During the period 9 March 2011 to 19 July 2011, 24.9% of written parliamentary questions tabled to my Department for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer.

My Department endeavours to answer all named day parliamentary questions on the allocated day but where this is not possible we aim to provide a substantive reply at the earliest opportunity possible.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Department performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

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Leader of the House

Business Questions

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make it his policy to increase the number of days allocated to backbench business in the 2010-12 Session pro rata from 35 to reflect the anticipated length of the Session. [70397]

Sir George Young: As I said in my written ministerial statement of 23 March 2011, Official Report, column 60WS, the Government are mindful that, due to the longer than usual current Session, extra provision will be necessary for Opposition days and Back-Bench business days. No changes to Standing Orders are necessary to accommodate adequate extra provision in these two instances, and I will announce the provision of extra time through the weekly business statement as usual.

Departmental Written Questions

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Leader of the House what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer between (a) 27 May 2010 and 19 July 2011 and (b) 9 March 2011 and 19 July 2011. [71135]

Sir George Young: I have answered all 35 named day written parliamentary questions tabled to this Office since 27 May 2010 on the named day.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the session. Statistics relating to Government Department performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary session were previously provided to the Committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Energy and Climate Change

Climate Change

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. [70825]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State meets regularly with the Prime Minister to discuss a range of issues.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what meetings (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. [70826]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State and other DECC Ministers have had a range of meetings, including bilateral and formal events on the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. Attendees at these meetings have included non-government organisations, external stakeholders, other Departments and representatives of other Governments.

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Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he and his ministerial colleagues have had with European counterparts to discuss the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. [70827]

Gregory Barker: Discussions with EU counterparts on preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban took place at the March EU Environment Council, which the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change the right hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) attended, and at the Informal Meeting of EU Environment Ministers, which I attended in July. Both Ministers are in regular contact with key European counterparts outside of these meetings to discuss issues including preparation for Durban.

Departmental Written Questions

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer between (a) 27 May 2010 and 19 July 2011 and (b) 9 March 2011 and 19 July 2011. [71127]

Gregory Barker: 313 named day questions for written answer were tabled to the Department between 27 May 2010 and 19 July 2011. Of these, 35 questions did not receive a substantive reply on the named day.

178 named day questions for written answer were tabled to the Department between 9 March 2011 and 19 July 2011. Of these, 14 questions did not receive a substantive reply on the named day.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Department performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Desalination: Carbon Emissions

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the effects of desalination plants on UK carbon emissions. [70053]

Gregory Barker: The UK has one desalination plant, run by Thames Water, which opened in 2010. We will not have any estimates of emissions from this plant until the UK's greenhouse gas inventory for 2010 is published in early 2012. Emissions attributable to the energy used by the plant will be included in these estimates.

Fuel Poverty: Housing

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of households in fuel poverty living in (a) F and (b) G rated properties in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [R] [71234]

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Gregory Barker: The years for which data are available for England are shown in the following table. Numbers of households are rounded to the nearest thousand.


Number of households in fuel poverty (F rated properties) Number of households in fuel poverty (G rated properties)

2009

856,000

436,000

2008

811,000

410,000

2007

749,000

415,000

2006

735,000

437,000

Fuel Poverty: Prices

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effects of increasing fuel prices on levels of fuel poverty since July 2011; and if he will make a statement. [R] [71171]

Gregory Barker: On 14 July 2011, DECC published projections of fuel poverty in England in 2011. These indicated that the number of fuel poor households in England is likely to rise to 4.1 million in 2011 as the price changes begin to impact.

Nevertheless, the main impact on fuel poverty will occur in 2012 and will only be known when we have full information on price changes and data from the 2011 and 2012 English Housing Survey (EHS). The EHS provides vital information for calculating the level of fuel poverty, including the mix of domestic fuels used by households, the income of those living in the households and the energy efficiency of the housing stock. Each of the devolved Administrations manages equivalent surveys with the same range of information as fuel poverty is a devolved statistic.

Wind Power: Birds

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if his Department will commission independent research into the effect of (a) offshore and (b) onshore wind turbine bird strikes on bird habitats and populations. [70171]

Charles Hendry: Both on and offshore wind farm developers commission specialist consultants to undertake survey work and modelling to determine the likelihood and significance of bird strikes as part of their environmental impact assessments. If a Special Protection Area or other Natura 2000 site is affected, the competent authority is also required to conduct an Appropriate Assessment(1) that will address bird collision risk, if appropriate.

The Department funds a strategic programme of research into the impacts of offshore wind farms, as part of its rolling programme of Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessments(2). This has included bird tagging and monitoring to determine the foraging behaviour and flight heights of selected seabird species to provide input to collision risk assessments.

A considerable amount of research has been undertaken to determine the significance of impacts of wind farms on wildlife. The RSPB has noted in its own report on planning for onshore turbines(3) that:

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“the majority of studies indicate that (bird) collision mortality rates per turbine in the UK are low.'

1 Under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive (92/42/EEC).

2 See http://www.offshore-sea.org.uk/site/index.php

3 See http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/Positive%20Planning%20 for%20Onshore%20Wind_tcm9-213280.pdf

Wind Power: Hydrogen

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the status is of hydrogen in his Department's energy policy; what consideration he has given to the possibility of storing power from wind farms in the form of hydrogen; and what conclusion he reached. [71168]

Charles Hendry: Hydrogen is regarded as having the potential to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions in the UK and globally in the period 2020-50.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier (like electricity) which has to be produced using a primary energy source. If used in fuel cells, hydrogen offers zero emissions at the point of use. It can be produced using low carbon routes such as electrolysis using renewable electricity, but currently the most economic route is from fossil fuels such as natural gas.

Hydrogen has long-term potential for both transport and distributed energy applications, but further research, development and demonstration will be needed before the market can make a realistic assessment of its prospects. It is technically feasible to use hydrogen to store power from wind farms but with the exception of some remote or island installations it does not appear so far to have found favour with wind farm developers. This may reflect the costs of hydrogen relative to that of other energy storage options, or the non-storage option.

Transport

Buses: GPS

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will develop a strategy for the installation for global positioning system tracking systems on bus fleets. [70100]

Norman Baker: In England, outside London, the installation of global positioning systems or other automatic vehicle location (AVL) equipment on bus fleets is a matter for the individual bus operator. Since April 2010 operators have been eligible for a 2% increase in bus subsidy for each bus where AVL equipment is installed and operating.

Consultants

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior civil servants in his Department at each grade had worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte or KPMG immediately prior to taking up their appointment in each of the last four years; what consultancy agreements his Department had with those firms in each such year; and how many consultants from those firms have advised his Department in each such year. [68948]

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Norman Baker: One senior civil servant, a deputy director, worked for Ernst & Young immediately prior to their appointment at the Department for Transport in March 2010. There is no central record of a consultancy agreement with that consultancy for that financial year.

Telephone Services

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. [68547]

Norman Baker: The Department does not currently operate any permanent telephone helplines, but directly manages four public facing contact centres. The budget for each contact centre in 2011-12 is as follows:


£ million

DVLA

18.5

DSA

3.9

VOSA

1.7

Highways Agency

0.8

These provide a range of services to citizens and businesses via telephone, e-mail and post including: supplying advice and information on services; handling inquiries about driver and vehicle licensing transactions; dealing with bookings for driving tests and vehicle inspections; and providing up to date information on road works and traffic conditions on the strategic road network.

DSA also provides a small contact centre for the Driving Theory Test. This is part of an externally tendered contract for which costs for the contact centre element are not separately available.

Driving: Age

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the application of provisions of the Equality Act 2010 relating to age discrimination to car rental companies on his Department’s road safety strategy. [70645]

Mike Penning: The Government are currently considering the responses to the age discrimination consultation which finished on 25 May 2011, before making a decision on the policy, which will be conveyed in the Government’s published response to the consultation.

We have thought carefully about whether the different road safety risk faced by older and younger drivers might justify a blanket exception. While these groups clearly do have different risk profiles from other drivers, a blanket exception would be an excessively blunt instrument, and inconsistent with what the Equality Act is trying to achieve. Under the exemption planned for financial services, firms will be able to reflect in their prices the link between age, risk and insurance costs.

In addition, and irrespective of what is finally decided on any exception, it will be still open to firms to justify objectively any restrictions they may wish to place on who may rent their cars. For example, a firm might require a minimum level of driving experience of those renting vehicles This would be consistent with the road safety evidence which suggests that it is experience,

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rather than just age, which is a key determinant of road safety risk. We believe such a practice is likely to meet the objective justification test if challenged as indirect age discrimination.

Driving: Licensing

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department plans to publish its response to the consultation on proposals to amend driving licence standards for vision, diabetes and epilepsy. [71012]

Mike Penning: Responses to the proposed changes for vision and epilepsy are being analysed now with further input being sought from some of those who have responded. Final decisions have not yet been taken and a date for implementation or publication of responses has not been set. However, we do intend to introduce changes to the law in October to allow drivers with insulin treated diabetes to apply for a licence to drive larger lorries and buses.

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and (b) Diabetes UK on proposals to amend driving licence standards for people with diabetes. [71013]

Mike Penning: I have held discussions with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) but I have not met Diabetes UK about the proposal to amend driving licence standards for people with diabetes. I am aware that officials from the DVLA have held discussions with Diabetes UK. Diabetes UK has also submitted written comments as part of the recent public consultation exercise. I plan to introduce legislation in October that will permit drivers with insulin treated diabetes to be considered for driving entitlement to buses and lorries.

Rescue Services: Scotland

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of lives saved by coastguards operating out of the (a) Forth and (b) Clyde station in the last 10 years; what estimate he has made of the average length of service of staff serving at each station; and what estimate he has made of the number of redundancies at each station consequent upon the decision to close them. [68196]

Mike Penning [holding answer 5 September 2011]: The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC) at Clyde and Forth are responsible for the co-ordination of maritime search and rescue. It is organisations such as the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service and the RNLI that respond to maritime incidents. They will continue to be tasked by the MRCCs to respond to such incidents.

Her Majesty's Coastguard do not record estimates of lives saved. However, following the debate in Westminster Hall on 24 March 2011 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) published a breakdown of incident statistics for the period 2006-10. This information is available on the MCA's website:

www.dft.gov.uk/mca

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The average (median) length of service for Coastguards at Clyde Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) is 13.43 years, and at Forth MRCC is 15.98 years.

With the closure of the MRCCs there will be a loss of 31 posts at Clyde MRCC and 20 posts at Forth MRCC. However, these will be reduced by a mixture of natural wastage and redundancy depending on the agreed implementations schedule.

Thameslink: Rolling Stock

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what dates bidders for the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project were required to submit (a) their initial bids and (b) any revised bids. [65190]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 11 July 2011]: Initial bids were required on 25 June 2009 and further responses from both bidders were required to the following Supplementary Instructions as follows:

2(nd) Supplementary Instructions on 16 March 2010;

3(rd) Supplementary Instructions on 16 March 2010;

4(th) Supplementary Instructions on 26 May 2010;

5(th) Supplementary Instructions on 24 January 2011.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many meetings (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) senior departmental officials had with lobby companies representing Siemens between 10 July 2008 and 16 June 2011 at which the Thameslink rolling stock contract was discussed; and if he will make a statement; [68620]

(2) whether (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) senior officials met to discuss the Thameslink rolling stock contract with lobbying companies between 10 July 2008 and 16 June 2011. [68715]

Mrs Villiers: Details of the Secretary of State for Transport's meetings are published quarterly on the DfT website.

Since 10 July 2008 no Ministers or senior officials in the Department have met lobbying companies to discuss the Thameslink rolling stock contract, since 10 July 2008.

Thameslink: Contracts

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department have had with representatives of manufacturing industry to discuss the Thameslink contract; on what dates; and with whom. [65894]

Mrs Villiers: All ministerial diary commitments are published on the Department for Transport's website.

Vehicle Number Plates: Flags

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pieces of correspondence relating to the use of national flags on vehicle number plates he has received in the last 12 months. [70872]

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Mike Penning: The correspondence records of the Department and its executive agencies (specifically VOSA and DVLA) suggest that no pieces of correspondence regarding national flags on vehicle number plates were received in the 12 months up to September 2011.

International Development

Afghanistan: Reconstruction

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on tarmac roads in Afghanistan in each year since the start of UK military operations. [69901]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Since 2007 the Department for International Development (DFID) has spent £17.2 million on improving roads in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Up to 2010, an estimated £98 million provided by DFID through the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) was used for infrastructure, a large proportion of which supported priority road projects through the National Rural Access Program and National Solidarity Program.

Road improvement work in Afghanistan is a combination of road construction, repair and improvement, including tarmacing. Figures for annual spend are not available.

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many miles of tarmac roads his Department has funded in Afghanistan in each year since the start of UK military operations. [69905]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Between 2007 and 2010, the UK Government have directly contributed to the construction or rehabilitation of approximately 91 miles of roads in Helmand province, Afghanistan. A further 53 miles of road improvements are under way.

In addition, through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), DFID has indirectly supported the improvement of 6,584 miles of roads through the National Rural Access Program (NRAP), and contributed to construction or upgrades of a further 10,875 miles of roads through the National Solidarity Program.

Road improvement work in Afghanistan is a combination of road construction, repair and improvement, including tarmacing. Annual figures are not available.

Research

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development from what organisation each piece of research commissioned by his Department since May 2010 was commissioned; and what the net worth was of the commission in each case. [69260]

Mr O'Brien: I have placed in the Library of the House a table detailing the lead organisations commissioned to undertake research by the central research department at the Department for International Development (DFID) since 1 May 2010, along with the value of each contract or agreement. Research work is routinely subject to competitive tendering.

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Departmental Responsibilities

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) meetings and (b) other contacts he has had with Vitol Group since May 2010. [70520]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Details of meetings are available on the DFID website:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Our-organisation1/Ministers

and are published every quarter in the normal way.

Libya: Reconstruction

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding his Department has allocated to post-conflict reconstruction in Libya. [70516]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: In classifying expenditure, the Department for International Development (DFID) does not explicitly separate conflict prevention from post-conflict reconstruction. Post-conflict reconstruction work is funded both from the tri-departmental Conflict Pool, part of a separate HM Treasury settlement on conflict resources, and from DFID’s own budget.

The Conflict Pool is used to fund a wide range of conflict prevention work including activities aimed at preventing the recurrence of violent conflict, for example in the Western Balkans. Planned Conflict Pool expenditure, which includes Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA spend, to 2014-15 is as follows:

£ million

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

Conflict Pool

256

270

290

309

Of which:

       

ODA

130

150

175

200

non-ODA

126

120

115

109

The Government have committed to increase the proportion of UK ODA that supports conflict-affected and fragile states to 30% by 2014-15. In 2010-11, approximately £1.9 billion, around a fifth of UK ODA, supported fragile and conflict-affected states, tackling the drivers of instability, building more responsive and accountable governments and strengthening security and justice overseas. Increasing such spending to 30% of UK ODA means we could double the amount spent on such activities by 2014-15. While we are not able to provide further details of expenditure by year, we will publish in our Annual Report and Resource Accounts the percentage of UK ODA spent in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department is funding on nitrogen fixation on farms. [70298]

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Mr Paice [holding answer given 7 September 2011]: Nitrogen fixing crops offer an opportunity to reduce synthetic fertiliser use on farms, with the benefit that greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertiliser production and use can be reduced. DEFRA is co-funding a project with industry (LK09106) investigating the use of legume-based mixtures to enhance the nitrogen use efficiency and economic viability of cropping systems. The Department is also funding research on the genetics of grass and clover mixtures (project IF0145) to develop more sustainable and productive pasture systems, and maximise opportunities for climate change mitigation and adaptation. This represents an investment of £1.7 million in research into nitrogen fixation on farms.

Animal Welfare: Antisocial Behaviour

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support she plans to provide to local authorities seeking to tackle anti social behaviour involving dogs. [69692]

Mr Paice: DEFRA is working closely with the Home Office on the antisocial behaviour aspects of the issue of dangerous dogs. The Home Office launched a public consultation on proposals to give the police, local authorities and other partners more effective powers to tackle antisocial behaviour. The proposed new, flexible tools would replace the 18 formal powers currently available to the police and local authorities—including those applicable to dogs. The consultation closed in May and the Home Office is currently considering the responses.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on (a) proposed measures to tackle anti social behaviour and (b) the effect of such measures on the ownership of dangerous and status dogs. [69694]

Mr Paice: My noble Friend the Lord Henley has been working alongside Baroness Browning at the Home Office to see how the antisocial measures can be best applied to such behaviour relating to dogs.

Badgers

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the training of operatives to carry out a badger cull; [68985]

(2) what estimate she has made of the cost to Natural England of training associated with her proposals for a badger cull. [68987]

Mr Paice: To obtain a licence to carry out culling, operators would be required to demonstrate competence and attend a Government-approved training course. This badger-specific course would include training to cover anatomical and behavioural characteristics of badgers and how these differ from other species, as well as health, safety and security aspects. Additional marksmanship training and assessment would be required for those who may have experience but no formal qualification such as Deer Stalking Certificate or equivalent.

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The farming industry would be expected to design, organise and deliver these training courses. We expect Government will incur some modest costs relating to the approval and auditing of these courses, which will be met from existing resources.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the likely costs to the public purse in each cost category arising from the proposed badger cull in respect of each 150 km(2) cull area. [68988]

Mr Paice: Our most recent estimates relate to two pilot areas of 350 km(2) each. For each area, the costs to the public purse are expected to be £0.6 million for licensing, £0.3 million for monitoring and £0.1 million for testing and compensation costs in cattle TB incidents arising from perturbation impacts in the areas neighbouring the pilots. If the pilot areas were 150 km(2), these costs would be slightly lower at £0.4 million, £0.2 million and £0.1 million respectively. All the costs are expressed in present value terms. The savings to the public purse from reduced costs of cattle TB incidents prevented by a successful cull are estimated to exceed these costs. Policing costs have not yet been estimated.

Biodiversity

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to her Department's Natural Environment White Paper, what decision-making process will apply to the timing and distribution of funding for forest and biodiversity conservation under the International Climate Fund. [69675]

Richard Benyon: Decisions on forestry funding under the International Climate Fund (ICF) will be informed by a recently published independent review commissioned by the Government. This will set out and assess options for how the UK can most effectively scale up its programming on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries), offering the best outcomes for carbon abatement, poverty reduction and biodiversity enhancement.

The UK is currently undertaking a design phase to prepare a programme for UK bilateral support (of up to £300 million) on REDD+ in priority countries. This support will be distributed over the length of the spending review period (2011-15). Resources will be allocated in line with ICF objectives and an agreed set of expected results. The ICF will use a set of high level indicators to measure impact and value for money, including an assessment of ecosystem services saved. In line with commitments set out in the Natural Environment White Paper, all funding decisions will be based on strong scientific evidence. We will ensure environmental monitoring systems are in place to assess impact, thus aiding the design of future programmes.

Bovine tuberculosis

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her Statement of 19 July 2011, Official Report, column 811-2, on Bovine TB, who will provide training courses for those carrying out a badger cull; and whether additional courses will be provided on (a) the physiology of badgers and (b) any health and safety requirements. [69212]

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Mr Paice [holding answer 6 September 2011]: To obtain a licence to carry out culling operators would be required to demonstrate competence and attend a Government-approved training course. This badger-specific course would include training to cover anatomical and behavioural characteristics of badgers and how these differ from other species, as well as health, safety and security aspects. Additional marksmanship training and assessment would be required for those who may have experience but no formal qualification such as Deer Stalking Certificate or equivalent.

The farming industry would be expected to design, organise and deliver these training courses. We expect Government will incur some modest costs relating to the approval and auditing of these courses, which will be met from existing resources.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the potential reduction in compensation and testing costs over (a) five and (b) 10 years under her proposed measures to tackle the spread of bovine TB in cattle. [68981]

Mr Paice: Our central estimate of the potential net reduction in compensation and testing costs to Government for a single badger control area of 350 km(2) is £2.9 million over 10 years, of which £1.1 million occurs in the first five years. These figures are expressed in net present value terms.

Without any further action to tackle bovine TB, it is estimated that the disease would cost the taxpayer £1 billion in England alone over the next 10 years.

Common Agricultural Policy

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much was paid to farmers in Harrogate District under the common agricultural policy in the last 12 months. [70233]

Mr Paice: The Rural Payments Agency does not record information on payments to farmers on a constituency basis. The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Dogs: Urban Areas

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the size of the (a) dog and (b) cat population in urban areas; and if she will bring forward proposals to institute a national neutering day. [69698]

Mr Paice: No definitive statistics are available on the size of the dog and cat population.

The Government recommends all owners have their dogs and cats neutered if they do not intend to breed them. While there are no plans for the Government to institute a “national neutering day”, many animal welfare organisations promote neutering through a range of initiatives.

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Foot and Mouth Disease

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the risk that a reduction in resources affects the capability of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency to detect and prevent a foot and mouth outbreak. [70307]

Mr Paice [holding answer 7 September 2011]: The primary responsibility for the detection and prevention of foot and mouth disease (FMD) rests with the animal keeper. The animal keeper has a duty to report any suspicion of FMD to Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA). AHVLA and its delivery partners retain their capabilities to respond effectively to outbreaks of FMD and the impact of the current reduction in the AHVLA resources is considered to be very low.

Meat: Labelling

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will bring forward proposals to introduce meat labelling that indicates whether the animal slaughtered has been stunned or non-stunned. [70316]

Mr Paice [holding answer 7 September 2011]: While the Government remain of the view that it would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter it has, over the last few months, made it clear that it has no plans to ban the slaughter of animals without a pre-cut stun where this is done for religious purposes to meet the needs of a particular religious community. However, Ministers have made it clear that they will wish to discuss options for improving the welfare of animals slaughtered without stunning with the Jewish and Muslim communities. This will be done in the context of work to implement the new EU Regulation (No 1099/2009) on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which comes into effect on 1 January 2013. There will be full consultation with all interested parties before any final decisions are taken.

Pets

George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that Regulation (EC) 998/2003 on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals is renewed at the end of 2011; and if she will make a statement. [68674]

Mr Paice: As announced to the House by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) by written ministerial statement on 30 June 2011, Official Report, columns 63-66WS, the UK will harmonise its rabies entry requirements with the EU-wide pet movement system from Sunday 1 January 2012. Under EU law, the new entry requirements will be directly applicable and will apply as soon as the derogations expire. New domestic legislation is being drafted to repeal the Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals (England) Regulations 2004 and to enforce the EU rules when they take effect on

8 Sep 2011 : Column 774W

1 January 2012. This legislation will be laid before Parliament in December 2011.

On tapeworm controls, following representations made by the UK, the European Commission has come forward with a proposal that would enable us to retain controls with a treatment window of one to five days. We have decided that the evidence doesn't justify maintaining tick controls, though should pet owners choose to do so as part of wider animal welfare considerations they could, and we are working with veterinary and welfare organisations to ensure that those travelling with their pets are provided with the necessary advice.

Poultry: Animal Welfare

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding her Department has allocated in England to convert existing cages for laying hens into enriched cages. [70247]

Mr Paice: DEFRA has made no funding available under the English Rural Development Programme to egg producers in England to enable them to convert conventional cages. Our position is that this aid should not be available for meeting minimum legal standards. It would also be totally unfair to all those producers who have already invested heavily in conversion to give those late in doing so financial assistance.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on rates of lameness among broiler chickens in each of the last three years. [70297]

Mr Paice [holding answer 7 September 2011]: DEFRA does not hold annual data on rates of lameness amongst broiler chickens.

Roadmap

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the European Commission's proposed roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe. [69309]

Mr Paice: In January, the Commission published the communication “a resource-efficient Europe”, a flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 growth strategy for the coming decade.

The UK responded positively to the communication via a UK position paper which was sent to the Commission in April. This set out the UK's views on the forthcoming Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, and forms the basis for our discussions with the Commission on the initiative. It is available on DEFRA's website.

Weedkillers

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent reports she has received on the contamination of crops and produce by the herbicide aminopyralid; and if she will make a statement. [69790]

8 Sep 2011 : Column 775W

Mr Paice [holding answer 7 September 2011]: DEFRA Ministers receive regular information from officials on reports of crop damage allegedly caused by aminopyralid, and the latest of these shows that the number of such reports is decreasing.

Given the concern about the effects of aminopyralid in manure, the approval holder, Dow AgroSciences, is also providing the Government with regular reports detailing any complaints it has received and what action it has taken. Officials from the Health and Safety Executive's Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD), as the pesticides regulator, also monitor any complaints received directly and are keeping this issue under scrutiny.

Defence

Armed Forces

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to extend tour of duty periods for (a) regular and (b) reservist service personnel serving overseas. [70170]

Mr Robathan: The Force Generation Review is considering a wide range of factors including tour lengths and harmony guidelines; this work is ongoing.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers are based at (a) Redford, (b) Dreghorn and (c) Craigiehall. [70202]

Mr Robathan: The number of Army officers currently based at Redford Barracks, Dreghorn Barracks and Craigiehall is shown in the following table:

Location Number of officers

Redford Barracks

59

Dreghorn Barracks

38

Craigiehall

62

This information is taken from the joint personnel administration system and includes regular, non-regular permanent staff, reserves and full-time reserve service officers.

Armed Forces: Private Education

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many children of Army personnel based at (a) Craigiehall, (b) Redford and (c) Dreghorn have received funding from the public purse for the purposes of attending private schools (i) in total and (ii) as a proportion of the number of children based at each site in each of the last 10 years. [70194]

Mr Robathan: The number of children of Army personnel based at Craigiehall Camp, Redford Barracks and Dreghorn Barracks, who are recorded as having claimed continuity of education allowance (CEA) on the joint personnel administration (JPA) system are detailed in the following table:

8 Sep 2011 : Column 776W

  Number of children in receipt of CEA
Financial years Craigiehall Camp Redford Barracks Dreghorn Barracks Total

2007-08

20

15

5

40

2008-09

20

10

30

2009-10

20

10

30

2010-11

20

15

35

Total

80

50

5

135

Note: All figures have been rounded to the nearest five, ‘—’ represents fewer than five.

It is not possible to provide this information for earlier years as this is held on the single service legacy systems and could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

It is also not possible to identify the proportion of children based at each site, due to the limitations of the JPA system. This is because it is not a mandatory requirement for service personnel to disclose specific details about their children unless they are submitting a claim for CEA.

Army Air Corps

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the establishment is of (a) helicopters by type and (b) fixed wing aircraft of each type of the Army Air Corps; [70302]

(2) what the establishment is of the Army Air Corps at each rank; and which bases it operates from. [70303]

Peter Luff [holding answer 7 September 2011]: The current establishment of aircraft operated by front-line and training Army Air Corps units is as follows:

Helicopter type Forward fleet

Lynx

57

Apache

60

Gazelle

15

Bell 212

7

Islander/Defender (Fixed Wing)

13

The current establishment for Army Air Corps units by rank is shown in the following table. Some of the posts are ‘rank-ranged’ which means that a post could be filled by any of the defined ranks for that post, according to availability.

Rank Regular Territorial Army

Col

5

1

LtCol

17

2

Maj

63

13

Capt

158

13

Capt-Maj

20

0

Lt-Maj

20

6

Lt-Capt

17

0

Lt

2

0

WO1

31

0

W02-W01

50

0

SSgt-WO1

117

14

WO2

62

7

SSgt-WO2

30

0

SSgt

55

4

8 Sep 2011 : Column 777W

Sgt-WO2

48

4

Sgt-SSgt

10

6

Sgt

135

13

Cpl-Sgt

2

0

Cpl

143

45

LCpl-Cpl

52

12

LCpl

271

124

Air Tpr-Cpl

0

51

LCpl

4

0

Air Tpr-LCpl

41

13

Air-Tpr

427

300

The locations of Army Air Corps main front-line and training units is shown in the following table:

Location Unit

Aldergrove

5 Regiment AAC

Aldergrove

JHC Flying Station Aldergrove

Brunei

7 Flight AAC

Bury St Edmunds

6 Regiment AAC (V)

Dishforth

9 Regiment AAC

Gutersloh

1 Regiment AAC

Hereford

8 Flight AAC

Middle Wallop

25 Flight AAC

Middle Wallop

Army Air Corps Centre

Middle Wallop

HQ AAC

Netheravon

Air Manoeuvre Planning Team

RAF Odiham

657 Squadron AAC

RAF Shawbury

Defence Helicopter Flying School

RNAS Yeovilton

Wildcat Force

Wattisham

3 Regiment AAC

Wattisham

4 Regiment AAC

Wattisham

Air Manoeuvre Training and Advisory Team

Wattisham

HQ Wattisham Station