19 Oct 2011 : Column 955W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Wales

Departmental Manpower

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time employees her Department has employed in each year since 1997. [74476]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office was established on 1 July 1999 so we have data only from the financial year 1999-2000. Although total numbers are available for years 2000-11, as can be seen in the following table, data on the breakdown between full-time and part-time staff are available only for 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Financial year ending Total staff numbers Number of part-time staff

2000

36

5

2001

44

n/a

2001

42

n/a

2003

48

n/a

2004

50

n/a

2005

54

n/a

2006

54

n/a

2007

57

n/a

2008

54

n/a

2009

56

2

2010

60

3

2011

56

4

n/a = not available

Home Department

Bolivia: Drugs

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to encourage Bolivia to re-accede to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. [74317]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 October 2011]: Bolivia withdrew from the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 on 1 July 2011. The Bolivian Government have announced that they will reapply to the convention in January 2012, with a reserve on the articles relating to the prohibition of coca leaf. The international community will then have 12 months to consider the reserve. The Government continue to engage with their EU and international partners, including the Bolivian Government, to formulate their position.

We remain committed to working with Bolivia to tackle the drugs trade, which causes harm to both our countries. A Memorandum of Understanding on Drugs Co-operation was signed in January 2011 to formalise this commitment.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 956W

Alcoholic Drinks: Antisocial Behaviour

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has (a) evaluated and (b) conducted on (i) the effects of different types of alcohol and (ii) the relationship between types of alcoholic products and anti-social behaviour. [73530]

James Brokenshire: The Government have not evaluated or conducted any research on the effects of different types of alcohol or the relationship between types of alcoholic products and antisocial behaviour.

It has however considered issues of price and alcohol in the report “Alcohol Pricing, and Criminal Harm” by Sheffield university, which was published in December 2008.

Counter-terrorism

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to prevent terrorist acts sponsored by foreign states from taking place in the UK. [75060]

James Brokenshire: The Government's counter-terrorism strategy, Contest, published in July 2011, is designed to deal with the full range of terrorist threats to the UK and its interests, including any which may be sponsored by foreign states.

Crime: Football

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many orders under section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 have been served on football supporters since its inception; how many such orders have been served in the last 12 months; whether any discussions have taken place with (a) the Association of Chief Police Officers, (b) the UK Football Policing Unit and (c) individual police forces on the appropriate use of section 27; what assessment she has made of whether section 27 is being used appropriately; and if she will make a statement. [74051]

James Brokenshire: The UK Football Policing Unit has collected data on orders issued under section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, from local police football intelligence officers since the start of the 2009-10 football season. Police data submitted to the UK Football Policing Unit, from more than 3,000 football matches each season, show police issued section 27 notices to football supporters on 60 occasions during 2009-10 and 69 occasions during 2010-11. The number of individuals receiving notices during these incidents was not recorded, but totals around 500 each season, from a total attendance of approximately 37 million.

Discussions took place in 2009 between Home Office, the UK Football Policing Unit, the Association of Chief Police Officers and individual police forces on the use of section 27 powers during police football operations. These discussions focused on the need to ensure that any use is proportionate and appropriate, fully compliant with the Act, follows Home Office guidance and does

19 Oct 2011 : Column 957W

not stereotype the behaviours of groups of football supporters. The decision to use section 27 is an operational matter for chief officers.

Departmental Allowances

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much members of her departmental management board have claimed in expenses since May 2010. [74946]

Damian Green: Information relating to the expenses of management board members is published quarterly and is available on the Home Office website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/non-personal-data/hospitality-business-expenses/

Departmental Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost to her Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period her Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [74983]

Damian Green: The Home Office processes its invoices through the Ministry of Justice Shared Service Centre. The devolved nature of the process within the Home Office means that a full end-to-end cost is difficult to identify but the costs to the Department for the Shared Service Centre can be identified.

The average cost in September 2011 based on the average cost for the previous 12 months was £4.62 per invoice. This was the cost of the Shared Service Centre teams directly involved with processing the invoice and their share of the overheads. It does not include Home Office costs internally such as requisitioners, buyers, approvers and receipters. This figure covers the core headquarters and the UK Border Agency only. Other Home Office agencies and non-departmental public bodies do not use the Shared Service Centre for their transactions.

The proportion of invoices paid electronically to date during 2011-12 is 97.03% and the proportion paid by cheque for the same period is 2.97% These are the latest financial data available.

Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts her Department has awarded directly to third sector organisations in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; and if she will make a statement. [75146]

Damian Green: The Home Department has not awarded any contracts to third sector organisations since May 2010. The Home Office awards contracts through fair and open competition and in accordance with EU procurement directives.

The Department makes a number of grant payments direct to third sector organisations to assist in the implementation of policies. This is the main route to providing funding to the third sector as opposed to the contractual route.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 958W

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts her Department has awarded directly to (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in each month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; and if she will make a statement. [75147]

Damian Green: The Home Department and its executive agencies do not differentiate small and medium businesses. Since May 2010, 38 contracts have been awarded directly to small and medium-sized businesses and 196 to large businesses.

Details of the contracts are shown in the following table:

Business Type Month Year Number Contract value (£)

SME

October

2010

2

203,148

SME

November

2010

1

2,100,000

SME

December

2010

2

4,500,000

SME

January

2011

2

322,808

SME

February

2011

3

449,272

SME

March

2011

2

174,778

SME

April

2011

14

932,556

SME

May

2011

7

486,284

SME

June

2011

2

129,867

SME

July

2011

1

85,799

SME

August

2011

2

200,981

Large Businesses

June

2010

3

3,638,000

Large Businesses

July

2010

7

4,436,169

Large Businesses

August

2010

1

2,600,000

Large Businesses

September

2010

2

12,608

Large Businesses

October

2010

3

47,095,000

Large Businesses

November

2010

4

12,111,748

Large Businesses

December

2010

2

19,176,000

Large Businesses

January

2011

21

7,613,622

Large Businesses

February

2011

8

2,028,293

Large Businesses

March

2011

12

980,260

Large Businesses

April

2011

43

65,600,270

Large Businesses

May

2011

19

2,465,806

Large Businesses

June

2011

37

15,026,636

Large Businesses

July

2011

23

8,330,287

Large Businesses

August

2011

10

1,031,638

Large Businesses

September

2011

1

8,343,639

The Department awards contracts in competition according to the EU Procurement Directives based on value for money.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts her Department has advertised on the Contracts Finder website in each

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month since May 2010; what the value was of such contracts; what proportion were awarded to

(a)

third sector organisations and

(b)

small businesses; and if she will make a statement. [75149]

Damian Green: The Home Department and its executive agencies began using Contract Finder in February 2011. Since then 37 contracts have been advertised.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 960W

The total value of contracts advertised on Contract Finder by the Home Department since February 2011 was £8,940,000.

The Home Department and its executive agencies do not differentiate small and medium businesses and therefore can only provide the details of contracts awarded to (a) third sector organisations and (b)small and medium sized businesses (SME) in the table:

2011

All contracts, number awarded All contracts, value (£) (a) Third Sector, contracts, number awarded (a) Third Sector contracts, value (£) (b) SMEs contracts, number awarded (b) SMEs contracts, value (£) Proportion of contracts awarded to SMEs (%)

February

4

1,200,000

0

0

1

160,000

25.0

March

3

100,000

0

0

0

0

 

April

8

180,000

0

0

1

11,000

12.5

May

8

1,200,000

0

0

2

140,000

25.0

June

9

950,000

0

0

1

65,000

11.0

July

4

5,200,000

0

0

0

0

August

1

110,000

0

0

0

0

September

0

0

0

0

0

0

Details of the contracts provided to small business alone could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department awards contracts in competition according to the EU Procurement Directives based on value for money.

Domestic Violence

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many recorded instances of domestic violence there were in England and Wales in 2010-11; [75445]

(2) how many people were convicted for offences of domestic violence in England and Wales in 2010-11. [75446]

Lynne Featherstone: The available information shows the number of reported domestic violence incidents, 2010-11, the figures are provisional and have not been verified by forces.

The Ministry of Justice's Court Proceedings Database (CPD) holds information on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. The CPD does not hold specific information on offences beyond descriptions provided in the statutes under which prosecutions are brought. It is not possible to separately identify domestic violence offences from other offences of assault and violence against the person. Court proceedings data for 2011 are scheduled for publication in spring 2012.

Total number of reported domestic violence incidents, 2010-11 (1, 2)

Total number of reported domestic violence incidents

Avon and Somerset

15,648

Bedfordshire

9,137

Cambridgeshire

12,830

Cheshire

5,887

Cleveland

15,042

Cumbria

6,455

Derbyshire

18,363

Devon and Cornwall

24,972

Dorset

6,946

Durham

13,025

Dyfed-Powys

2,004

Essex

21,385

Gloucestershire

Greater Manchester

Gwent

443

Hampshire

24,009

Hertfordshire

11,675

Humberside

16,409

Kent

21,633

Lancashire

27,615

Leicestershire

12,492

Lincolnshire

7,232

London, City of

107

Merseyside

31,069

Metropolitan Police

121,314

Norfolk

8,546

Northamptonshire

Northumbria

28,167

North Wales

10,766

North Yorkshire

7,504

Nottinghamshire

4,670

South Wales

28,016

South Yorkshire

23,725

Staffordshire

16,193

Suffolk

7,556

Surrey

12,731

Sussex

17,384

Thames Valley

32,186

Warwickshire

7,855

West Mercia

16,431

West Midlands

41,494

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West Yorkshire

34,742

Wiltshire

4,584

(1) All data are provisional and unverified with forces. (2) Data is not available for Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester and Northamptonshire.

Fly-tipping

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) arrested on suspicion of and (b) convicted for offences related to fly-tipping in each London borough since 1997. [74597]

James Brokenshire: The information requested on arrests is not collected centrally.

The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and criminal damage.

Further breakdowns of offences within these offence groups are not reported to the Home Office.

Data provided by the Ministry of Justice, showing the number of people found guilty at all courts for ‘fly-tipping’ in England and Wales from 1997 to 2010 (latest available) are given in the following table.

The Ministry of Justice advises that court proceedings data for 2011 are planned for publication in the spring of 2012.

Number of persons found guilty at all courts for ‘fly-tipping’ (1) and other related offences, England and Wales 1997 to 2010 (2,3)

Number of persons found guilty

1997

250

1998

304

1999

324

2000

411

2001

446

2002

557

2003

624

2004

791

2005

931

2006

1,102

2007

1,218

2008

1,193

2009

1,184

2010

1,270

(1) Covers offences under sections 33(1), 33{6),33(8),33{9),34 and 59 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. (2) The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

19 Oct 2011 : Column 962W


Homicide

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many domestic homicide reviews took place in each of the last five years; and in what proportion of cases there was evidence of stalking or harassment of the victim. [75437]

Lynne Featherstone: The information requested is not available. The statutory requirement to undertake Domestic Homicide Reviews only came into effect on 13 April 2011. For this reason there was no previous requirement to notify the Government of reviews being undertaken.

Human Trafficking: Northern Ireland

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of people trafficked through Northern Ireland in the latest period for which figures are available. [74573]

Damian Green [holding answer 17 October 2011]: No estimate has been made of the number of people trafficked through Northern Ireland.

As set out in the Government's strategy on human trafficking, we are strengthening action at the border to improve our ability to identify those most at risk. The Home Office is working closely with the Ministry of Justice in Northern Ireland to strengthen UK borders against serious and organised crime threats such as human trafficking.

Metals: Theft

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to reduce the incidence of scrap metal theft. [74233]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office contributes to the wide-ranging plan of work being delivered by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Metal Theft working group to tackle metal theft. In addition, discussions are taking place with other Government Departments to identify whether any legislative changes should be made to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of theft of copper and lead from buildings. [74554]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office contributes to the work being delivered by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Metal Theft working group to tackle metal theft. In addition, discussions are taking place with other Government Departments to identify whether any legislative changes should be made to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. The Home Office's Forum for Innovation in Crime Prevention is also looking at how innovative design and technology could be used to tackle the increasing incidence of metal theft, both now and in the future.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the Association of Chief Police Officers' Conductive Metal Theft Working Group has met in 2011; and on which occasions a Minister has attended. [74567]

19 Oct 2011 : Column 963W

James Brokenshire [holding answer 17 October 2011]:The Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) Metal Theft Working Group has met three times during 2011.

The Home Office is represented at these meetings by officials; Ministers do not attend.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) publications and (b) legislative proposals have been brought forward by the Association of Chief Police Officers' Conductive Metal Thefts Working Group. [74568]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 17 October 2011]:In September 2011, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Metal Theft Working Group supplied the Home Office with a report from Deloitte on the estimated cost of metal theft; in addition, in 2010, they compiled a metal theft problem profile.

Separately, in September 2011 the British Transport police provided the Home Office with suggested changes to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much direct funding her Department has allocated to each civil society organisation in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12, (c) 2012-13, (d) 2013-14 and (e) 2014-15; and if she will make a statement. [74822]

Damian Green: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department provided £56.9 million grant funding to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) during 2010-11. Forecasted funding for 2011-12 is £57 million, but, since grant applications have not been fully received, it is not yet possible to break 2011-12 spend down by organisation. No forecasts are yet available for 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The Home Office funded hundreds of VCS organisations during 2010-11 The following table lists those paid more than £250,000 during the year.

Third parties Grant spend in 2010/11 (£)

Refugee Council

7,294,672.50

Catch 22

5,456,030.00

Refugee Action

4,982,070.02

Eaves Housing for Women Ltd

2,198,280.00

Co-ordinated Action

1,250,991.38

Scottish Refugee Council

1,211,648.25

Welsh Refugee Council

955,681.00

Migrant Helpline

944,472.50

Crimestoppers Trust

900,000.00

The Survivors Trust

898,333.00

Police Dependants' Trust

453,481.33

Active Change Foundation

360,640.82

London Tigers

336,739.57

Princes Trust

326,100.00

Inner City Guidance

304,997.30

Strategy to Reach Empower and Educate

295,388.00

Initiative for Muslim Progression

282,255.24

Siraat Ltd

281,015.00

Refuge

272,100.00

19 Oct 2011 : Column 964W

Womens Aid

260,000.00

Fast

252,525.00

Providing a full list of organisations would involve significant data cleansing activity which would result in a disproportionate cost to the Department.

UK Border Agency: Manpower

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff of (a) the UK Border Agency and (b) her Department were seconded to the Prison and Probation Ombudsman in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007, (iv) 2008, (v) 2009 and (vi) 2010. [72971]

Damian Green: The information stored on our central computerised personnel system Adelphi, does not enable us to answer the question directly, it records the numbers of staff seconded out from (a) the UK Border Agency and (b) the Department but it does not record the specifics of the recipient organisation. In order to answer the question it would be necessary to inspect the manual personnel files of all those seconded out over the years concerned. For this reason the information could not be provided except at disproportionate cost.

The Office of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been asked to comment. They advise that for the period 2007-10 inclusive there were no staff seconded from (a) the UK Border Agency, or (b) the Department. They do not have records for the years 2005 and 2006.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty: Northern Ireland

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on devolving air passenger duty to Northern Ireland. [75049]

Miss Chloe Smith: From 1 November 2011, the rate of air passenger duty (APD) for direct long-haul passengers departing from airports in Northern Ireland will be cut to the short-haul rate, which is currently £12 in economy and £24 in business and first class.

This measure is a response to the unique challenge facing Northern Ireland and is designed to ensure local airports remain competitive, demonstrating the Government's commitment to stimulating and rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy.

In parallel the Government are launching a process for the devolution of aspects of APD to the Northern Ireland Assembly to provide a lasting solution to the unique circumstances Northern Ireland faces.

Devolution of APD to Northern Ireland will require primary legislation. The precise scope of devolution will be agreed in close consultation with the Northern Ireland Executive.

Bank Services: Switzerland

Mr Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likelihood of UK taxpayers with bank accounts in Switzerland moving

19 Oct 2011 : Column 965W

such accounts from Switzerland as a result of the agreement with that country on offshore tax evasion. [71195]

Mr Gauke: It is impossible to give a precise assessment of the likelihood of UK taxpayers moving their accounts from Switzerland. Under the terms of the agreement the Swiss authorities will give HMRC details of the top 10 destinations of funds which do move from there. Any person who moves funds from Switzerland and does not pay the tax levied under the agreement will still be liable for all UK taxes on those funds.

European Fighter Aircraft

Graham Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department was represented when the decision was taken to slow down orders for tranche 3A of the Eurofighter. [73861]

Danny Alexander: The decision to slow down orders for tranche 3A of the Eurofighter was taken by the Ministry of Defence. The agreement was signed on 28 July 2011. The Treasury has not been involved in this decision, as it falls within MOD's delegated authority.

National Insurance Contributions: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency have participated in the national insurance holiday scheme. [75091]

Mr Gauke: A breakdown of successful applications for the NICs Holiday by constituency will be published in the NICs Holiday Factsheet in the House of Commons Library in the autumn.

National Insurance: Databases

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value in current prices is of the (a) original estimate and (b) final cost of the National Insurance Recording System 2; and what additional costs, in current prices have been incurred since its completion. [65637]

Mr Gauke: The NIRS2 project was instigated by the then Department of Social Security prior to the merger of the Contributions Agency into the former Inland Revenue Department. The contract with Accenture started in May 1995 and finished in April 2004 and it was subsequently subsumed into the Aspire contract between the former Inland Revenue Department and Capgemini (which entered into force in July 2004), with effect from January 2005.

Since June 2009, the NIRS2 service has been delivered as part of the National Insurance and PAYE (NPS) and Associated Services and the figures given in the following tables include NPS development and running costs, as well as NIRS2 costs and costs on-charged to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Since January 2005, the following costs have been charged under the Aspire contract.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 966W

Running costs to August 2011

£ million

NIRS2

55.789

NPS

10.122

DWP

6.507

Note: The DWP figure is on-charged to DWP and may be. included in any figures provided by that department.
Project costs to August 2011

£ million

NPS

13.607

NIRS2

1.214

NIRS

27.425

Note: None of the costs above have been grossed up to today's prices

Pensions: Females

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of recipients of tax relief on pension contributions were women in the latest period for which figures are available. [73786]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 12 October 2011]: The estimated proportion of individuals receiving tax relief on pension contributions that were women was 46% for the year 2009/10.

The information is published on the HMRC website at the following address:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/table7-11.pdf

Revenue and Customs: Scotland

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many HM Customs and Excise staff were employed in Scotland in each year since 1997. [75050]

Mr Gauke: The following table contains a breakdown of the headcount and full-time equivalent staff for HM Revenue and Customs and prior to that HM Customs and Excise based in Scotland at the end of each financial year from 1 April 1997. Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise merged to form HMRC in April 2005. For 1997-99 only headcount figures are available.


Date Headcount FTE

HMRC

31 March 2011

9,860

8,826.6

 

31 March 2010

10,031

9,038.0

 

1 April 2009

11,063

10,039.5

 

1 April 2008

11,018

10,131.7

 

1 April 2007

11,464

10,519.9

 

1 April 2006

11,415

10,470.6

       

HMCE

1 April 2005

1,324

1,288.2

 

1 April 2004

1,275

1,240.8

 

1 April 2003

1,222

1,190.4

 

1 April 2002

1,215

1,184.7

 

1 April 2001

1,291

1,255.6

 

1 April 2000

1,324

1,289.5

 

1 April 1999

1,363

n/a

 

1 April 1998

1,397

n/a

 

1 April 1997

1,447

n/a

19 Oct 2011 : Column 967W

Revenue and Customs: Telephone Services

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the cost of telephone calls made by the public to HM Revenue and Customs; and whether he plans to reduce the cost to individuals of such calls. [72977]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 12 October 2011]: The cost of calling HMRC is dependent on several factors. Calls are charged to the customer based on the tariff arrangements they have with their service provider, the device they use for the call and the location from which they call.

However, HMRC recognises that the cost of calling its 0845 numbers can be an issue for some customers—particularly those using pay-as-you-go mobile phones. It has therefore been actively reviewing its numbering strategy to see if it can find ways of reducing the costs involved while striking the right balance between costs to the caller and costs to the public purse.

I can confirm that as part of the process of agreeing its next telephony contract—which is due to take effect by June 2013—HMRC will continue to investigate alternatives to 0845 numbers. As a first and immediate step, HMRC expect that it will by the end of the year be able to offer an 0345 number for those customers calling its tax credit helpline (which last year accounted for around 40% of the total calls handled by its contact centre network).

The provision of a 0345 number is expected to result in significant cost savings for the majority of callers to the line.

Tax Avoidance

Mr Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many promoters HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has required to disclose tax avoidance schemes since May 2010; how many such schemes have been (a) investigated and (b) closed (i) since May 2010 and (ii) in each year since 2005; and how many schemes are under investigation by HMRC. [70214] [Official Report, 17 April 2012, Vol. 543, c. 3MC.]

Mr Gauke: Since 1 May 2010 78 promoters have disclosed tax avoidance schemes under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes legislation.

To remove any doubt about a scheme's effectiveness, legislation has been changed in relation to the following numbers of disclosed schemes in each year since 2005:


Number

1 June 2005 - 31 May 2006

223

1 June 2006 - 31 May 2007

173

1 June 2007 - 31 May 2008

101

1 June 2008 - 31 May 2009

40

1 June 2009 - 31 May 2010

18

1 June 2010 - 31 May 2011

17

Legislative changes are, of course, just one of the ways in which HMRC may respond to disclosures.

All disclosures received by HMRC are subject to close examination. It is the returns of scheme users that are potentially subject to enquiry rather than the scheme disclosure itself and each disclosed scheme may have

19 Oct 2011 : Column 968W

multiple users. Many users of the schemes are subject to further investigation by HMRC's teams of tax specialists. Although information on investigations is held by HMRC, it is not collated centrally in the form requested and it is not possible to provide details within the time and cost constraints.

Tax Collection: Foreign Workers

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the possible effect of changes to Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas on tax collection from migrant workers. [75092]

Damian Green: I have been asked to reply.

An Impact Assessment of respect of the impacts, including the fiscal impacts, of the changes made to Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points Based System in connection with implementation of limits on migration was published by the UK Border Agency on 16 March 2011, and can be found at:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/ia/migration-perm-limit-pbs/

Taxation: Civil Disorder

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses have made special arrangements with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for the payment of tax due to the public disorder of August 2011. [75094]

Mr Gauke: As at 12 October 2011 Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had agreed 166 time to pay arrangements through its Civil Disorder Helpline.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the level of farming regulation. [74293]

Mr Paice: The Government remain committed to reducing the burden of regulation on farmers and the authorities they deal with. The independent Task Force on Farming Regulation published its report on 17 May. The Government are now carefully considering implementation of the report's recommendations, and expect to provide an initial public response this autumn followed by a final response early in 2012.

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department has taken in respect of the resolution of the House of 23 June 2011 to introduce a regulation banning the use of all wild animals in circuses to take effect by 1 July 2012. [74058]

19 Oct 2011 : Column 969W

Mr Paice: The Government understand the House's desire for a ban and are continuing to assess how the legal obstacles may be overcome so that one could be achieved.

In the meantime, we are developing a tough licensing regime which will stop circuses using wild animals if they do not provide appropriate welfare standards and will consult on these early next year. We want regulations in place by July 2012.

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress she has made in banning the use of wild animals in circuses by July 2012. [74512]

Mr Paice: The Government understand the House's desire for a ban and are continuing to look at how the legal obstacles may be overcome so that one could be achieved.

In the meantime, we are developing a tough licensing regime which will stop circuses using wild animals if they do not provide appropriate welfare standards and will consult on these early next year. We want regulations in place by July 2012.

Iain Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made towards the introduction of a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. [74623]

Mr Paice: The Government understand the House's desire for a ban and are continuing to look at how the legal obstacles may be overcome so that one could be achieved.

In the meantime, we are developing a tough licensing regime which will stop circuses using wild animals if they don't provide appropriate welfare standards and will consult on these early next year. We want regulations in place by July 2012.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what timetable she has set for the introduction of a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. [73862]

Mr Paice: The Government understand the House's desire for a ban and are continuing to assess how the legal obstacles may be overcome so that one could be achieved.

In the meantime, we are developing a tough licensing regime which will stop circuses using wild animals if they do not provide appropriate welfare standards. We will be looking to consult on the proposals in early 2012 with a view to having regulations in place by July 2012.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken towards banning the use of wild animals in circuses. [73863]

Mr Paice: The Government understand the House's desire for a ban and are continuing to assess how the legal obstacles may be overcome so that one could be achieved.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 970W

In the meantime, we are developing a tough licensing regime which will stop circuses using wild animals unless they provide appropriate welfare standards and we will consult on these early next year. We want regulations in place by July 2012.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2011, Official Report, column 1085W, on wildlife: circuses, what estimate she has made of the cost of enforcing a licensing scheme for wild animals in circuses using Government approved vets. [74003]

Mr Paice: It is our intention that the costs of enforcing a licensing scheme for animals in circuses will be borne by the circus industry itself, through the cost of the licence fee. DEFRA intends to hold a public consultation on the proposals in early 2012. The consultation package will include an impact assessment that will set out our estimate of the costs of enforcing, in addition to meeting, the standards we will be proposing.

Animal Welfare: Standards

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if her Department will provide additional support for farmers who apply stricter animal welfare standards than the EU minimum. [73850]

Mr Paice: Farmers who apply stricter animal welfare standards than the EU minimum can demonstrate that their products have added value, and are therefore able to market them at, and charge, a premium. While the Government support farmers' efforts to adhere to, and exceed, EU animal welfare standards, we do not believe there is a case for market intervention in this case.

Animals: Electric Shock Equipment

Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the use of electronic training aids for (a) cats and (b) other animals. [70109]

Mr Paice: We are currently evaluating recent research on the use of electronic training collars for dogs before making any decisions on whether to introduce any legislative proposals relating to such devices. The research is expected to be published before the end of the year.

Biofuels

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Environment Agency on the (a) disposal of glycerol, (b) use of chemicals such as methanol and (c) need for biodiesel on UK roads to meet EU Standard EN14214 in respect of producers of biodiesel made from waste cooking oil who do not require a permit. [73967]

Mr Paice: Any business treating waste cooking oil to produce biodiesel legally will either require an environmental permit or, if it qualifies, have to register an exemption from the need for a permit.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 971W

The Environment Agency has produced position statements on “The use of glycerol produced during the manufacture of biodiesel as a fuel” and another on “The environmental regulation of the production and use of biofuel”. We have not discussed the use of biofuels on the roads, which is a matter for the Department for Transport and does not involve the Environment Agency.

DEFRA officials have met representatives of industry and the Environment Agency about the theft of waste cooking oil and possible illegal manufacture of biodiesel.

Fortified Vitamins

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the potential effects in the UK of Danish legislation on fortified vitamins. [75462]

Anne Milton: I have been asked to reply.

Legislation on the addition of vitamins and minerals to food is harmonised at European Union level, the impact of which was assessed prior to its introduction in 2007. A copy of the Regulatory Impact Assessment is available at:

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/addsubstanceeng07ria.pdf

Media reports claiming that Denmark has ‘banned' a number of well known British foods are incorrect. The media reports relate to products that had not been notified to the Danish authorities in accordance with EU legislation on fortified foods as implemented in Denmark.

Ofwat: Public Appointments

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to announce the new Chairman of Ofwat; and if she will make a statement. [74611]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA and the Welsh Government have decided to relaunch a recruitment exercise to appoint a new Chair of the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat). Philip Fletcher CBE has agreed to remain as the Ofwat Chair until his successor is appointed.

Poultry: Animal Welfare

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on the implementation of the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive in each other EU member state; and if she will make a statement. [74102]

Mr Paice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recently written a joint letter with nine other like-minded member states to the Commission urging them to act to deal with the likelihood of non-compliance from 1 January 2012.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 972W

The Commission requested that all member states provide a further update on the level of conversion out of conventional cages as at 27 September. The UK has submitted this return.

Education

Care to Learn Scheme

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many parents aged (a) under 16, (b) 16, (c) 17, (d) 18, (e) 19 and (f) 20 received support through the Care to Learn scheme in each of the last five years. [73656]

Mr Gibb: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the Care to Learn Childcare Support scheme for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 14 October 2011:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question PQ73656.

The information you requested about the number of parents who have received Care to Learn is as follows:

  Age
Academic year Under 16 16 17 18 19 20

2007/08

330

681

1,384

2,108

2,230

964

2008/09

340

658

1,357

2,067

2,226

1,066

2009/10

368

779

1,576

2,416

2,342

372

2010/11

325

657

1,389

2,118

1,882

237

2011/12(1)

61

201

393

663

616

91

(1 )These are take-up figures as at 30 September 2011, all other figures reflect the full academic year and are therefore greater.

Training Studies

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what longitudinal studies on speech, language and communication his Department undertook in each of the last five years. [73069]

Sarah Teather: The Department is funding the Better Communication Research programme which aims to provide an understanding of the cost-effectiveness of interventions used to support children and young people with speech, language and communication needs and identify good practice. The programme includes a longitudinal study of pupils with speech, language and communication needs and autism which began in 2009. The final report from the programme is due in 2012.

Early Intervention Grant

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) cash and (b) percentage change was in the early intervention grant to each London borough in (i) 2008-09, (ii) 2009-10 and (iii) 2010-11. [71683]

19 Oct 2011 : Column 973W

Sarah Teather [holding answer 13 September 2011]:The Early Intervention Grant (EIG) is a new un-ring-fenced and un-hypothecated grant which came into effect in April 2011. The grant replaced a number of funding streams which ended in March 2011. The grant will total £2,222,555,697 in 2011-12 and £2,307,196,996 in 2012-13. Information on individual local authority's EIG allocations is available on the Department's website at:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/e/early%20intervention%20grant%20s31%20determination% 202011-12.pdf

Free Schools

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department has taken to concentrate (a) new free schools in the poorest towns and cities and (b) the catchment areas of new free schools. [72151]

Mr Gibb: Half of the 24 free schools which opened in September this year are located in the 30% most deprived communities, based on the indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) measure. For the 2012 application round, the Department received 281 applications, many from local groups wanting to improve educational standards in their area. All free school applications are assessed against the criteria published on our website as well as against other free school applications. As the Department's website also says, wider contextual factors, such as the level of deprivation in the community, are taken into account when considering which projects should proceed to the next stage. A list of successful projects for the 2012 application round is available on the website.

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/freeschools/b00197715/free-schools-2012

It is not for the Department to determine the admissions arrangements for individual free schools. Free schools are however, required to adopt arrangements that comply with the school admissions code.

Free Schools: Newham

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many applications his Department has (a) received and (b) rejected for the establishment of free schools in Newham; and what consultation (i) his Department and (ii) Partnerships for Schools has conducted on the (A) establishment, (B) composition and (C) location of free schools in Newham. [72284]

Mr Gibb: The Department has now completed the process of assessing the applications it has received to establish free schools in 2012. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education made an oral statement on 10 October 2011, Official Report, columns 62-64, about those that are approved to move to the next stage of development. We received seven applications to establish free schools in Newham and three of these applications have been approved to move to the next stage of development.

The successful applicants are required to consult locally in accordance with section 10 of the Academies Act 2010. Neither the Department nor Partnerships for Schools have undertaken any consultations on free school applications in Newham.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 974W

GCSE: Males

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to ensure that (a) working class, (b) ethnic minority background and (c) other boys perform to the same level as girls in their GCSEs. [74704]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 17 October 2011 ]: The Government believe that the best way to raise boys' attainment is by raising the status and quality of teaching; investing in school leadership; setting clear expectations of what all children must know and be able to do at each stage of education and freeing up schools to develop their own strategies for tackling underperformance.

There is no single strategy that has been shown to achieve the best possible results for boys, disadvantaged boys or boys from a minority ethnic background. Evidence does show however, that schools are independently important for narrowing attainment gaps. That is why we are providing head teachers with the freedom and the funding they need to develop local solutions to local needs.

From April 2011, for example, the £201 million Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant has been mainstreamed into the wider Dedicated Schools Grant. This will give schools greater freedom over how the grant is spent and allow them to respond more flexibly to the needs of ethnic minority pupils.

We have also introduced a pupil premium and increased this to £488 per pupil, providing additional funding for the most disadvantaged pupils of both genders at both primary and secondary level. Total funding for the pupil premium is £625 million in 2011-12 and this will rise to £2.5 billion a year by 2014-15.

The data, from foundation stage onwards, do point to a persistent problem with boys' mastery of English and literacy. To narrow the GCSE attainment gap between boys and girls, we need intervene early to make sure that boys can read well. By ensuring high quality synthetic phonics teaching, we will improve literacy levels for all pupils, helping them to develop a love of reading and giving them a solid base on which to build their future education.

Schools: Playing Fields

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many school playing fields have been sold in England for development in each of the last 20 years; and what acreage of fields was sold in each year; [73545]

(2) what provisions govern the sale for development of school playing fields. [73546]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 12 October 2011 ]: There have been 226 applications approved in the last 13 years that involve the sale of a school playing field. Of these 112 were in respect of closed schools where the playing field was not needed by any other local school. Prior to 1998 playing fields were not protected and this information, along with the acreage of fields sold each year, is not held centrally.

School playing fields are protected by section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The aim of the legislation is to stop their indiscriminate sale. It sets out clear criteria for sales and establishes a

19 Oct 2011 : Column 975W

system of checks. Schools and local authorities must obtain the Secretary of State for Education's approval before they can dispose of their land; and applications to dispose of school playing fields are approved only when it is demonstrated that the land is genuinely surplus to the needs of all local schools and community sports activities.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Departmental Re-location

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many civil servants in his Department have been (a) relocated and (b) agreed for relocation in the last 12 months; and to which areas of the UK. [74911]

Mr Davey: In the last 12 months there have been no new cases of civil servants from the Department having been relocated (receiving a relocation payment) or agreed for relocation (relocation application approved but no payments made).

Departmental Postgraduate Education

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many civil servants in his Department at (a) director general and (b) director level have qualified as a master of business administration. [75203]

Mr Davey: In core BIS (ie excluding UKTI and agencies) there are currently two directors general and four directors who are qualified as masters of business administration. In addition one BIS director has a doctorate in business administration.

Senior Civil Servants

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many civil servants his Department employed in each of its three most senior grades (a) on the most recent date for which figures are available and (b) in each of the last five years. [73655]

Mr Davey: In June 2009 the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) was merged with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) to create the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Therefore we only have access to data from this date.

The coalition Government are committed to publishing staffing data as part of the transparency agenda. Departments and other public sector organisations are required to publish a breakdown of their senior staff data. BIS information from these exercises is shown in the following table and is also available on the website:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/transparency/staff

Grade 30 June 2010 31 March 2011

Permanent Secretary

1

1

Chief Scientific Advisor

1

1

SCS PB3—Grade 2

9

7

19 Oct 2011 : Column 976W

SCS PB2—Grade 3

40

31

Note: Data excludes agencies and UKTI.

Employment: Complaints

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to reduce the level of spurious claims by former employees against their employers. [75646]

Mr Davey: Earlier this year, my Department launched the resolving workplace disputes consultation, a significant step in the Employment Law review. This consultation sought views on various measures to deter weak claims and help improve business confidence in the employment tribunal system, such as increasing the maximum levels for cost awards and deposit orders. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already announced our intention to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years. We will publish our Government response in the coming weeks setting out how we intend to proceed with the remaining proposals.

Financial Services: Isle of Man

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the financial sector in the Isle of Man on investment in the UK. [74487]

Vince Cable: Ministers and officials from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills meet a wide range of organisations nationally and internationally on a variety of trade and investment issues as part of our continuing commitment to growth.

Government Departments: Data Protection

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what analysis he has undertaken of the (a) potential financial benefits of charging for access to Government data via a public data corporation and (b) potential economic benefits of adopting open data principles for such data. [73790]

Mr Davey: The Government are currently running two public consultations related to public data, on ‘Making Open Data Real: A Public Consultation' and ‘Data Policy for a Public Data Corporation', which close on 27 October 2011. As part of the Growth Review the Government are looking at the possible benefits of releasing more data as ‘open data' to stimulate growth. One of the aims of a Public Data Corporation is to provide a more consistent approach towards access to and accessibility of public sector information from certain organisations, balancing the desire for more data free at the point of use while ensuring affordability and value for taxpayers. Responses to the consultations will support internal analysis of these issue, which will enable Government to reflect on an appropriate policy framework for a Public Data Corporation.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 977W

Multinational Companies

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the introduction of country-by-country annual reporting by all multinational companies listed in the UK on profits made and taxes paid in each country where they operate; and if he will make a statement. [74034]

Mr Davey: The Government believe the most effective way of improving transparency on this issue is for the EU to develop a reporting system for the extractives sector that matches the standards in the Dodd Frank legislation in the US.

Office of Fair Trading: Government Procurement Card

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) date of purchase, (b) amount, (c) supplier and (d) level 3 or enhanced transaction entry was of each transaction undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading using the Government Procurement Card in (i) 2007-08, (ii) 2008-09 and (iii) 2009-10. [73498]

Mr Davey: An electronic file of the details of Government Procurement Card transactions undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for financial years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 will be deposited in the Libraries of the House. Due to the way information was recorded during the periods in question, the dates shown are normally those on which the transaction was entered on to the accounting system rather than the actual purchase dates. The actual purchase dates and level 3 or enhanced transaction entries could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Government Procurement Cards are primarily used for the purchase of low-value items and to settle travel and subsistence costs incurred by staff travelling on OFT business. This not only guarantees on-time payment to suppliers, particularly beneficial to small and medium sized enterprises, but is also a cost-effective contributor to efficiency targets.

Postal Services: VAT

Sir Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the potential change in the level of revenues to the Exchequer that would arise if the Royal Mail's value added tax exemption were reduced to cover only the universal service obligation and did not apply to downstream access services. [56878]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply.

The Government do not publish estimates of impacts on specific taxpayers as this would breach taxpayer confidentiality.

Transport

Biofuels

Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if she will assess the potential effects of the removal of the biodiesel duty differential on the Government's green energy targets; and if she will make a statement; [74962]

19 Oct 2011 : Column 978W

(2) if she will assess the level of awareness amongst (a) the public, (b) small and medium-sized enterprises and (c) large corporations of the environmental benefits of biodiesel; and if she will make a statement; [74963]

(3) whether her Department maintains a national register of companies who operate using biodiesel. [74964]

Norman Baker: In respect of his question on the biodiesel duty differential, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies) on 5 July 2011, Official Report, column 1173W. We have recently consulted on proposals to amend the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) to implement the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). The RED contains a target for the UK to source 15% of its overall energy, and 10% of energy used in transport from renewable sources by 2020.

The Government have no intention of extending beyond 31 March 2012 the temporary duty differential for biodiesel derived from used cooking oil. We have not made an assessment of how this might affect our longer-term 2020 renewable energy targets, as any impact is likely to be short-term. The consultation document referred to above explains how we have proposed to support biofuels which meet mandatory sustainability criteria via the RTFO.

We have no plans to assess the level of awareness of the environmental benefits of biodiesel among the public and UK companies. Nor do we maintain a national register of companies who operate using biodiesel. We do, however, raise awareness of the environmental impacts of biofuels in numerous ways, including via our website and through regular ministerial speeches and statements.

Government Car and Despatch Agency

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she issues guidance to the Government Car and Despatch Agency on the (a) loan and (b) purchase of vehicles; and if she will place in the Library a copy of any such guidelines. [73265]

Mike Penning: All vehicles purchased by the Government Car and Despatch Agency are obtained through the Government Procurement Service approved framework. While specific guidance is not usually issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, she does retain responsibility for advising on the choice of cars for Ministers when necessary.

Harbour Authorities

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials of her Department have had with representatives of competent harbour authorities since May 2010. [75468]

Mike Penning: Ministers and officials meet with representatives of competent harbour authorities from time to time in the normal course of departmental business.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 979W

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many (a) authorised pilots, (b) assistant pilots and (c) apprentice pilots were employed in each of the competent harbour authorities in the latest period for which figures are available; [75469]

(2) what the average time of service was of authorised pilots in each of the competent harbour authorities in the latest period for which figures are available. [75470]

Mike Penning: The Department does not hold this information.

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she has taken to ensure the maintenance of standards determined by a competent harbour authority under section 3(2) of the Pilotage Act 1987 on age, physical fitness, time of service, local knowledge, skill, character and otherwise. [75471]

Mike Penning: None, as this is the function of the harbour authority concerned. Competent harbour authorities are responsible for the provision of pilotage services to ships navigating within their operational area; they are also responsible for the authorisation of the marine pilots that operate there.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has plans for future high speed rail stations at (a) Manchester airport and (b) other sites in the north-west. [69029]

Justine Greening [holding answer 6 September 2011]: HS2 Ltd is currently preparing detailed advice on route and station options for the north-west. This element of the company's remit also instructs it to provide advice on serving major airports in the regions that would be served by HS2.

Large Goods Vehicles

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received from (a) cycling organisations, (b) road safety organisations and (c) individuals on potential changes to legislation governing the length of heavy goods vehicles. [73263]

Mike Penning: Details of the categories of respondents to the consultation on increasing the length of semi-trailers are in Section 1.3 of the Government's response, available on the Department for Transport website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-06

Since the consultation closed the Department has received further representations relating to cycling and road safety.

These representations were taken into account in my decision to launch a 10-year trial of 1800 longer semi-trailers, and to appoint an independent consultant to monitor that trial.

Ports

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether all borrowing by major trust ports classified as public corporations counts against annually-

19 Oct 2011 : Column 980W

managed expenditure or departmental expenditure limits for the purposes of HM Treasury classification rules. [74050]

Mike Penning: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 1 February 2011, Official Report, columns 681-82W.

Railways: Nuneaton

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passenger (a) arrivals and (b) departures have been made at Nuneaton railway station in each of the last five years. [74668]

Norman Baker: The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) produces estimates for the number of passengers using stations on the rail network in Great Britain each year based on ticket sales. The estimated number of entries, exits and interchanges at Nuneaton station in each of the last five years for which figures are available are shown in the following table:

Estimated entries, exits and interchanges at Nuneaton railway station: 2005-06 to 2009-10

Entries Exits Interchanges

2005-06

316,184

321,604

238,480

2006-07

341,417

348,688

273,211

2007-08

349,979

356,993

197,157

2008-09

407,485

407,485

291,096

2009-10

447,479

447,479

210,343

Further information about these estimates can be found in the reports on the ORR website at the following link:

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1529

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she proposes that her response to her recent consultation on the implementation of the transport elements of the renewable energy directive will consider proposals for two separate obligation targets for biodiesel and ethanol under the renewable transport fuels obligation. [73607]

Norman Baker [holding answer 12 October 2011]: The Department received representations on a number of issues related to the renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) during consultations on the renewable energy directive (RED). These included suggestions that the RTFO should distinguish between bioethanol and biodiesel, arguing that if it did, this might provide a mechanism to drive equal demand for both products. The suggestion has been taken into account through the consultation exercise.

The RTFO is a mechanism designed to reduce carbon emissions and promote the supply of sustainable biofuels. It does not seek to direct the market towards a particular biofuel product or method of production.

We expect to publish a Government response soon setting out both our plans and the timeline for implementation.

19 Oct 2011 : Column 981W

Roads: Dartford

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she has discussed with the Mayor of London the construction of a road transport crossing between Blackwall and Dartford. [68652]

Mike Penning: While the Secretary of State for Transport and the Mayor have regular discussions about a range of subjects, I understand that to date the construction of a new road crossing between Blackwall and Dartford has not been raised specifically in these conversations.

Roads: Large Goods Vehicles

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many roadside heavy vehicle tests were administered in each of the last three years. [74091]

Mike Penning: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) conducted the following number of roadside checks in the last three years:


Roadside checks

2010-11(1)

276,124

2009-10

313,625

2008-09

225,410

(1) Figures are taken from VOSAs draft 2010-11 Effectiveness report which will be published shortly. Older versions are available from: http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/publications/corporatereports/corporatereports.htm Note: VOSA holds data on the number of tests rather than the number of vehicles, vehicles can be tested for more than one item at the roadside.

Shipping: Atlantic Ocean

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information her Department holds on the number of daily shipping movements through the Western Approaches. [71955]

Mike Penning [ h olding answer 15 September 2011]: A snapshot 24-hour period (9 September 2011) indicated that 188 east and west bound vessels transited through the Western Approaches to the English Channel. While the precise number of vessels transiting will vary day by day, this figure is assessed as an accurate daily average.

Tugboats

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what replacement arrangements her Department plans to make following the potential withdrawal of emergency towing vehicles at the end of September. [71943]

Mike Penning [holding answer 15 September 2011]: The Government believe that ship salvage and towage is properly a commercial matter between a ship's operator and the established commercial tug industry. The commercial tug and salvage industry will be used by operators in future to assist ships that get into difficulty.

Following the withdrawal of publicly funded emergency towing vessels (ETVs), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has arrangements in hand for shipping to be alerted in the areas affected. The relevant coastguard

19 Oct 2011 : Column 982W

co-ordination centres will actively monitor shipping using the automatic identification system and will be proactive in contacting ships that are observed to be stopped at sea or behaving erratically. Coastguards will monitor tug availability in the waters around the UK and will encourage ship masters, owners and their insurers to take early action to summon tug assistance should ships get into difficulty or become disabled. Coastguards will also advise the principal salvage and towage brokers about the existence of disabled vessels so that they can match market capabilities with demand.

Additionally, Her Majesty's Coastguard has longstanding arrangements with ports, harbours and tug brokers for the supply of tugs in an emergency situation, and the Coastguard Agreement for Salvage and Towing (CAST) provides a further option for the provision of emergency towing.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department plans to end the use of emergency towing vehicles to provide emergency cover for any ships and boats needing assistance. [71944]

Mike Penning [holding answer 15 September 2011]: The Government have decided that the continued provision of emergency towing vessel (ETV) cover around the coast of the UK at taxpayers' expense can no longer be justified. Accordingly, the current ETV contract was not renewed when it expired on the 30 September 2011.

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department has estimated the number of private emergency towing vehicles that would be available should a submarine or surface ship require assistance. [71976]

Mike Penning [holding answer 15 September 2011]: On any day there will be around 400 vessels with a bollard pull of between 30 and 300 tons operating in UK waters and the North sea. Around 90% of these will typically engaged for service against short-term or long-term commercial contracts.

Around 10% of the vessels can be expected to be capable of being available to be tasked to respond to requests for salvage or emergency towage, with a majority of these being based along the east coast of the UK or in the North sea. There will also be tugs available to respond to vessels in the English channel and Western Approaches to the Irish sea although they may vary in number because their positioning closely reflects the likely opportunity for salvage and wider towage market conditions.