Armed Forces: Members

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the assessment and recommendations on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme made in the Kiszely report remain the policy of his Department; and if he will make a statement. [80926]

Nick Harvey: The assessment and recommendations of the 2006 Kiszely report remain valid for the purpose and method of delivery of the scheme.

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to announce the final figures for redundancies in the armed forces arising from his restructuring of the armed forces. [80322]

Mr Robathan: The strategic defence and security review announced a reduction in the armed forces of 17,000 by 2015. In order to achieve a balanced drawdown which ensures that the services retain sustainable structures, the full range of manning levers is being employed. These include natural turnover, a reduction in recruiting, and an armed forces redundancy programme.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the timetable is for his proposed restructuring of the armed forces and for the redundancies arising from that restructuring. [80323]

Mr Robathan: While the number, timing and size of the redundancy tranches has yet to be finalised, the armed forces redundancy programme which was initiated in October 2010 will be completed by 2015. Personnel selected for redundancy in Tranche 1 were notified in September 2011. It is anticipated that the details of Tranche 2 will be announced in the new year.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 30W

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations he has conducted with members of the armed forces below the rank of officer on his proposed restructuring of the armed forces. [80324]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the previous Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), on 20 December 2010, Official Report, columns 993-94W, to the hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones).

Armed Trade: Cluster Munitions

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if (a) he and (b) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for International Security, were aware (i) prior to and (ii) during the Parliamentary Under-Secretary's attendance at the IDEX arms fair in February 2011 in the United Arab Emirates, that cluster munitions were being sold at the fair; and if he will make it his policy not to send any Government representatives to attend arms fairs that promote products banned in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [79025]

Mr Philip Hammond: Defence Ministers attend exhibitions as part of our defence diplomacy initiative and to promote UK industry overseas. They are not routinely made aware of items that will be on show at defence and security exhibitions in advance of attendance.

Exhibitors are bound by the laws and conventions of the host country organising the event, which may differ to UK laws. The United Arab Emirates is not a signatory to the convention on cluster munitions. However, UK firms are subject to UK legislation, including the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010.

Defence: Procurement

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) original budget, (b) projected final cost, (c) expected time scales for delivery, (d) primary contractor and (e) identity of additional consortium members are in relation to the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. [80517]

Peter Luff [holding answer 15 November 2011]: The original budget for the demonstration and manufacture phases of the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Class aircraft carriers at their Main Gate approval in July 2007 was £3.54 billion. The previous Government then took the decision to delay construction owing to financial pressures, resulting in direct cost increases of £1.3 billion by May 2010, but with no increase in capability. The current equivalent forecast to build both ships is £5.13 billion. These figures do not include any costs to convert the operational carrier to Carrier Variant, as a result of the decision taken by this Government as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The planned in-service dates for HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are 2016 and 2018 respectively—however, these dates may change once our conversion investigations are complete and we have decided which ship will be converted.

The carriers are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which comprises BAE Systems, Babcock Marine, Thales UK and the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

21 Nov 2011 : Column 31W

The project does not have a prime contractor in the traditional sense and each member of the Alliance has equal decision-making rights. However, for various technical and financial reasons, activity is contracted by MOD to BAE Systems who then flow work to their Alliance Industrial partners using manufacturing flow through agreements.

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) original budget, (b) projected final cost, (c) expected timescales for delivery, (d) primary contractor and (e) identity of additional consortium members are in relation to the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile project. [80809]

Peter Luff [holding answer 14 November 2011]: The National Audit Office's Major Projects Report 2011 reported that the original budget for the demonstration and manufacture phases of the beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) programme was £1,136 million (original approval granted in 2002),with the final cost projected to be £1,115 million. BVRAAM is expected to enter service on Typhoon in 2015. The prime contractor is MBDA-UK, which is not part of a consortium.

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 20 October 2011, Official Report, columns 1067-68W, on departmental procurement, how many contracts his Department awarded to companies providing consultancy services in 2010-11; how many such contracts involved the provision of consultant staff working within his Department; how many such staff are in place currently; and if he will make a statement. [78208]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded 152 contracts in financial year 2010-11 to companies providing services under the Government procurement services definition of consultancy. The MOD does not hold information centrally on how many contracts involved the provision of consultants within the Department or how many consultants are currently in place. We contract with consultancy companies to deliver a specific output at an agreed price. The resourcing of individual consultancy contracts is therefore a matter for the contractors we engage.

Consultants can help us to increase our efficiency and effectiveness, but we engage them only when we cannot do the work ourselves and where we can demonstrate clear value for money. There are currently stringent controls on consultancy spend across Government.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the name is of each consultancy employed by his Department to renegotiate defence contracts; and what the (a) daily rate of each consultant, (b) total amount paid to the consultancy to date and (c) bonus or incentive schemes included in the contract with each consultancy is. [81293]

Mr Philip Hammond: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), on 10 October

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2011,

Official Report,

columns 42-43W, to the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Thomas Docherty).

AlixPartners remains the only company employed by the Ministry of Defence to support its renegotiation of defence contracts.

Data Protection

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many official ministerial papers were recorded as not returned to his Department or otherwise unaccounted for in each month since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [76809]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 26 October 2011]: We have taken the phrase 'ministerial papers' to mean Cabinet Committee papers. These are circulated electronically to relevant branches of the Department who are notified to destroy them after one month. Individual branches are responsible for handling this material and no central record is kept.

While we are not aware of any Cabinet papers that are unaccounted for, a comprehensive answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Any significant losses of other papers are reported on a case-by-case basis to Ministers.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the record of interests he provided to his Department's permanent secretary on his appointment. [75511]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 19 October 2011]: Section 7 of the Ministerial Code sets out the procedures for handling Ministers' interests. An updated list of Ministers' interests will be published shortly by the Cabinet Office.

Dubai

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on what date it was decided and by whom that his predecessor would return from Afghanistan via Dubai in June 2011; [76190]

(2) for how long the right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) stayed in Dubai during the stopover which commenced on 16 to 17 June 2011; what the purpose of the stopover was; and what the cost to the public purse was of the accommodation for (a) his predecessor and (b) officials of his Department during the stopover. [76191]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 21 October 2011]: Visits to Afghanistan are regularly undertaken via a number of Gulf states including Dubai. In the period before the visit to Afghanistan of 14 to 16 June 2011, Private Office officials, in consultation with the then Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), the Ministry of Defence policy staffs, and in-country national representatives, considered opportunities for Key Leader Engagement (KLE) and media engagement in Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the return leg in the period 16 to 19 June.

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In the week prior to the visit, the opportunities for engagement in Oman became unavailable, and updates from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised that engagement in Bahrain at that time was not now advisable. On 13 June, the day before departure from the UK, information was received from posts that the calls intended in the UAE might not happen due to changed availability of those that my right hon. Friend hoped to see. However, it was recommended that the days in the UAE be kept in the expectation that calls could either be re-established or alternatives found; similarly, it was decided that the media engagements arranged for 19 June should remain as planned in order to achieve their objectives.

My right hon. Friend and his accompanying officials arrived in Dubai late on 16 June and departed on 19 June. Regrettably, KLE was not achieved on 17 (a holy day) and 18 June but media engagement was undertaken on 19 June. The accommodation was chosen on the basis of the original itinerary and security considerations; the cost of three nights’ accommodation for my right hon. Friend was £580.95; the total cost of accommodation for the two accompanying officials for the same period was £959.83.

Libya: Armed Conflict

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the UK is playing in explosive ordnance disposal in Libya. [81099]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence is providing a small team of military experts to support a US-led quick reaction force, which is working in partnership with the Libyan authorities to secure, disable and destroy Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADs). In addition, the Department for International Development is providing financial support for the clearance of explosive remnants of war through the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the United Nations Mines Action Service (UNMAS).

South East Asia: Military Alliances

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to strengthen the Five Power Defence Arrangements. [79934]

Mr Philip Hammond: Membership of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) remains the focus of the Ministry of Defence's engagement in south east Asia. I visited Singapore and Malaysia at the beginning of November to participate in commemorative events marking the fortieth anniversary of the Arrangements, and publicly acknowledged the FPDA's enduring value. Defence Ministers from the other four nations and I discussed how best to take the FPDA forward. We agreed to implement a number of recommendations arising from a major stock take of the FPDA's structure and activities. These measures will strengthen the arrangements in line with both the changing security environment and the needs of the five members.

Stephen Crouch

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has agreed any contracts with companies or organisations in which Mr Stephen Crouch is (a) a director or (b) a significant shareholder since May 2010. [79267]

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Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 7 November 2011]: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not hold information on companies or organisations of which Mr Stephen Crouch is a director or in which he is a significant shareholder.

Mr Crouch is, however, known to the MOD as a director of Iraq Research Group Limited. There is no record, on the MOD contracts database, of any contracts having been awarded to this company in recent years.

Submarines

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the number of jobs dependent on orders for submarines in (a) Warrington and (b) the North West; [80459]

(2) what estimate he has made of the amount spent in the North West as a result of his Department's orders for submarines. [80460]

Peter Luff: These data are not held by the Ministry of Defence. The UK defence budget has never been allocated or planned on a regional basis and decisions on where contracts with industry are placed are not taken in order to benefit one local economy or industry sector over another.

Trident

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish all evidence submitted to the Trident Alternatives Review on its completion. [80280]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 15 November 2011]: In looking at alternative systems and postures, the review draws upon highly classified technical, intelligence and policy information covering extremely sensitive national security issues. There are, therefore, no plans to publish either the report or the information it draws upon.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how he plans to keep hon. Members informed of the progress and cost of the Trident replacement programme in the remainder of this Parliament prior to the Main Gate point. [80281]

Mr Philip Hammond: Both this Government and the previous Administration have regularly updated Parliament on the nuclear deterrent. In recognition of the level of public and parliamentary interest, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to provide an annual update to Parliament; the first of these was produced for the Initial Gate announcement in May of this year. The precise format and timing of subsequent statements is yet to be decided. The MOD will also keep Parliament informed of any major developments on the programme as and when they occur.

Yemen

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to implement the priorities for his Department set out in the Building Stability Overseas Strategy in Yemen. [80510]

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Nick Harvey [holding answer 14 November 2011]: The principles of the Building Stability Overseas Strategy underpin the British Government's response to Yemen's manifold challenges. The three lead Departments, the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence have for some time worked closely together to deliver an integrated and coherent cross-Government approach. Our strategy has focused on degrading al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to the point where they no longer pose a strategic threat, and halting Yemen's decline into state failure by reducing conflict and grievances and increasing the capacity of the state.

Our cross-Government conflict management programmes aim to strengthen popular participation in the political process, to bridge the gap between governed and the governing elite. The programme focuses on tribal and community structures, professionalising security and justice services, refugee and host community conflict reduction, water-related conflict issues and election-related violence. We also continue to provide training for a very small number of Yemeni officers on key courses in the United Kingdom.

The current security situation in Yemen has significantly reduced our ability to deliver against our strategy. The Government hope to be able to provide support in order to increase Yemen's ability to manage tensions and shocks and hence reduce instability and conflict in the future; however, future engagement will be dependent on the political and security situation in Yemen.

Energy and Climate Change

Biofuels

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the average proportion of stemwood combusted in biomass generating plants. [81511]

Gregory Barker: Stemwood is a generic term which covers a range of different products from forestry. Based on returns submitted to Ofgem for the renewables obligation period April 2010 to March 2011, the types of wood reported as combusted in biomass generating stations include; brash, recycled wood, wood from tree surgery, forestry and timber processing rejects, forest stumps, sawmill co-products and offcuts, forestry waste wood, wood pellets, recycled fibre, small roundwood, sawdust and sawmill chip. Of these, only brash and forest stumps would not be classified as stemwood.

A total of 1,818,326 metric tonnes of wood were reported to be combusted, of which about 0.9% comprised brash and stump wood.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on achieving self-sufficiency in the sourcing of biomass within the UK; and if he will make a statement. [81522]

Gregory Barker: We have no policy for self-sufficiency and expect sustainably-sourced, imported biomass to play a role in meeting our 2020 renewable energy target, particularly in large-scale biomass power generation.

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However, we are looking to increase UK biomass supplies by bringing forward more of our wood and forestry residues to market, by better management of our waste resources and by developing other biomass resources, such as purpose-grown perennial energy crops on low-grade land unsuitable for food crops.

In June 2011, the Forestry Commission launched its Woodfuel Implementation Plan, which sets out actions to bring forward an additional two million tonnes of UK wood per year by 2020. DEFRA will consult next year on the introduction of landfill restrictions on waste wood, and DECC is consulting on proposals to provide grandfathered, additional support for the use of perennial crops under the renewables obligation from April 2013.

Biofuels: Health Hazards

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what criteria his Department has set for acceptable levels of emissions of arsenic in microgrammes per cubic metre from biomass plants burning waste wood in consideration of planning applications for biomass plants. [78000]

Richard Benyon: I have been asked to reply.

If waste wood contains halogenated organic compounds or heavy metals as a result of its treatment with wood preservatives or coating, the Waste Incineration Directive (2000/76/EC), which is applied through the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, requires that the total concentration of a specified range of metals and their compounds, including arsenic, shall not exceed 0.5 mg/m(3) in emissions to air when burnt in a technical unit, irrespective of the unit's capacity. If all the waste wood to be burnt is free of those substances, the waste incineration directive does not apply.

Under other provisions of the environmental permitting regulations, burning of any non-waste fuel in a combustion unit of greater than 20 megawatts is subject to regulatory controls on any likely significant emission of pollutant to air.

Energy: Billing

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what discussions he has had with representatives of energy companies on the effects on customers of the failure of companies to resolve billing complaints within an acceptable time-frame; [81678]

(2) what arrangements are in place to impose financial penalties on energy companies that fail to resolve customers' billing complaints within an acceptable time-frame; [81679]

(3) what steps he is taking to ensure that energy companies resolve their customers' billing complaints within an acceptable time-frame. [81680]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials meet with energy suppliers on a regular basis to discuss market issues.

Individual consumer billing complaints are dealt with by the energy company itself by following its formal complaint process. If a company fails to offer a satisfactory resolution they will issue a deadlock letter which allows

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domestic and micro business customers to pursue the matter with the energy ombudsman. Domestic and micro business customers can also approach the ombudsman direct if a complaint has not been resolved within eight weeks. The ombudsman has the power to award compensation up to £5,000 (inc VAT) and its final decisions are binding on its members.

Larger business customers can address billing complaints by using the legal system.

Energy: Meters

Stephen Metcalfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will provide an update on the plans for the roll-out of smart meters. [77978]

Charles Hendry: We have made good progress so far in taking forward the smart metering programme meeting a number of key milestones in line with our stated ambition to complete the roll-out in 2019. In August 2011, we published consultations on draft licence conditions and technical specifications for the roll-out(1), and on draft licence conditions for an installation code of practice(2). Also in August, we issued a call for evidence on data access and privacy(3). In September 2011, we published a consultation on the regulatory and commercial framework for Data Communications Co. (DCC)(4). In addition, the procurement of service providers for the DCC has been started.

Work since the start of phase 2 in April 2011 has led us to re-examine a number of our planning assumptions. We are currently discussing these assumptions with industry and we also expect responses to our latest consultations to provide further relevant information. We expect that before the end of the year we will be in a position to confirm whether any amendments to the plan are required.

(1) DECC, Consultation on draft licence conditions and technical specifications for the roll-out of gas and electricity smart metering equipment, August 2011.

(2) DECC, Consultation on draft licence conditions for a code of practice for the installation of smart electricity and gas meters, August 2011.

(3) DECC, A call for evidence on data access and privacy, August 2011.

(4) DECC, Consultation on the detailed policy design of the regulatory and commercial framework for DCC, September 2011.

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect of smart metering on consumers living in remote rural areas. [80869]

Gregory Barker: The Government believe all consumers should have the opportunity to benefit from smart meters regardless of where they live. The August 2011 impact assessments for the Smart Meter programme identified that over the next 20 years, the rollout of smart meters is expected to deliver £7.1 billion net benefits to consumers, energy suppliers and networks. Benefits to consumers include the provision of accurate billing and near real time information on their energy consumption to help them control energy use, save money and reduce emissions. Smart prepayment meters would also provide scope for introducing different payment

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methods, which may assist those in rural areas who have to travel further to access key-charging services or to purchase tokens.

DECC is currently developing an evaluation plan, which will consider how to assess any potential differential access to benefits or impacts across types of consumer and region. We intend to publish the evaluation plan by spring 2012.

Energy: Prices

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from what date he expects the average cost of a duel fuel energy bill will be 10 per cent. of median household income; and if he will make a statement. [80004]

Charles Hendry: In 2009 the average household dual fuel energy bill (gas and electricity) was £1,113,(1) representing 5.2% of median household income of £21,400.(2 )Global fossil fuels prices are the main driver of UK energy bills and although future movements in their prices are uncertain, the increases required for the average household dual fuel bill to represent 10% of median household income are not expected going forward.(3)

Nevertheless the coalition Government are not being complacent and are committed to help households save energy, to provide support for the most vulnerable households and to reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, since July 2010 we have made a number of policy announcements which mean that the impact of energy and climate change policies on the average household and medium-sized business user's energy bill is expected to be lower. These announcements include proposals on Electricity Market Reform and the Green Deal, the introduction of the Carbon Price Floor, consultations on new cost-effective levels of support for large-scale renewable electricity and lower tariffs and energy efficiency eligibility requirement for solar PV under the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, the decisions to fund the Renewable Heat Incentive from general taxation rather than through a levy on fossil fuel suppliers and the decision to consider several alternative funding options for the Government's CCS commitments rather than through their own levy.

Updated energy bill estimates accounting for all these announcements and proposed changes will be published alongside the forthcoming Annual Energy Statement later this year.

(1) Calculated assuming an annual consumption of 18,000 kWh of gas and 3,300 kWh of electricity. DECC, Quarterly Energy Prices:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/stats/publications/qep/2867-qep-sep11.pdf

Real Prices 2009

(2) Unequivalised median income, real prices 2009-10, before housing costs. Based on DWP Statistical Publications, Households Below Average Income:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2010/index.php?page=contents

(3) DECC, Estimated Impacts of Energy and Climate Change Policies on Energy Prices and Bills:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/publications/basket.aspx?filetype=4 &filepath=What+we+do%2fUK+energy+supply%2f236-impacts-energy-climate-change-policies.pdf&minwidth =true#basket

Annex C, Table C2.

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Environment Protection

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of new investment required per annum for the next 15 years to achieve a low carbon economy. [80562]

Gregory Barker: The Government are pursuing the transition to a low carbon economy through a range of policies, covering multiple sectors.

In the power sector, the electricity market reform White Paper(1) estimates that total investment of £110 billion is needed in electricity generation infrastructure by 2020 to meet our decarbonisation targets, while simultaneously ensuring security of supply and keeping electricity bills affordable. This figure covers all investment however, and not just the additional investment required to decarbonise electricity generation.

In industry, the carbon reduction commitment is estimated to generate capital investments totalling around £270 million up to 2025, as noted in the January 2010 impact assessment(2).

For transport, an assessment was made of the costs of transport policies to reduce carbon in the impact assessment of the ‘Carbon Reduction Strategy for Transport, Low Carbon Transport: A Greener Future’(3). The impact assessment estimated costs of investment in technologies at £26 billion (2009) over the lifetime of the measures.

Significant capital expenditure will also be required in other sectors of the economy. The forthcoming Green Deal and energy company obligation consultation impact assessment will present estimates of the levels capital spending associated with associated energy efficiency measures.

The Government will also be laying out the investment required to meet the fourth Carbon Budget (2023-27) in a forthcoming publication.

(1) ( )http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/policy-legislation/EMR/2176-emr-white-paper.pdf

(2) http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/[email protected]@_ crcconsia.pdf

(3) http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft. gov.uk/pgr/sustainable/carbonreduction/ia.pdf

Gas-fired Power Stations

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many proposed gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbine plants are awaiting approval by his Department; and what the megawatt capacity of each such plant is. [78696]

Charles Hendry: There are three combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) applications for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 currently being considered by my Department. The maximum generating capacities of these are 875 MW (Wyre, Fleetwood), 1,220 MW (Drakelow E), and 1,260 MW (Sutton Bridge B).

Nuclear Power Stations: Construction

Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the financial stability of the Project Horizon nuclear plant consortium; and what due diligence his Department is performing on the programme. [81374]

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Charles Hendry: The Department continues to monitor each of the consortia, including Horizon, which plan to build new nuclear power stations in the UK. The parent companies of Horizon (RWE and EoN) have recently confirmed their commitment to the UK. Horizon is progressing well with their site preparation work has recently demonstrated its financial commitment to the development of its nuclear new build plans through the completion of its purchase of land for the company's proposed development at Wylfa on Anglesey.

Nuclear Power: Employment

Malcolm Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the number of jobs which are (a) directly and (b) indirectly reliant on the nuclear power industry; and what estimate he has made of the number of jobs which will be created by the construction of new nuclear power stations. [81372]

Charles Hendry: Cogent, the sector skills council for nuclear, estimates that the civil nuclear industry today provides employment for 44,000 people. Of these, 24,000 are employed directly by the nuclear operators. The remainder are employed in the direct supply chain to the nuclear industry.

It is estimated that each new nuclear power station will employ around 5,000 people during peak construction and 1,000 people during operation.

Renewable Energy

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which renewable energy technology his Department has assessed as the quickest to deploy. [80115]

Gregory Barker: In July 2011, the Government published the “UK Renewable Energy Roadmap”(1) that sets out the eight key renewable energy technologies that are capable of making the most significant and cost-effective contribution to the achievement of the UK’s renewables goals.

Based on the latest information available, the report states that the eight key technologies are onshore wind, offshore wind, marine energy, biomass electricity, biomass heat, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and renewable transport.

The report includes illustrative scenarios of the deployment potential of the eight key technologies up to 2020 based on underlying assumptions about potential build rates, as well as factors such as potential cost-effectiveness, but do not represent technology specific targets or the level of the Government’s ambition.

(1) UK Renewable Energy Roadmap, available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/renewable_ener/re_roadmap/re_roadmap.aspx

Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the potential job losses arising from his planned changes to the feed-in tariff scheme. [80380]

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Gregory Barker: We estimate that, based on the number of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by the end of October 2011, around 8,000 to 14,000 gross full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs have been supported by solar PV since the introduction of the feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme. The total number of people doing some solar PV work is likely to be higher than this range because those who are involved in solar PV installations are also likely to undertake other tasks linked to their employment.

In the impact assessment supporting the consultation on FITs for solar PV:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/fits-comp-review-p1/3416-fits-IA-solar-pv-draft.pdf

we estimate that 1,000-10,000 gross additional FTE could be created in this sector in the three years to 2014-15 under our proposals. This estimate relates to solar PV installations only and does not account for jobs created as a result of the proposed energy efficiency requirement, so it is unclear whether solar PV-related employment will fall.

Furthermore, it should be noted that current tariffs are providing returns well in excess of the 5% that was intended when the FITs scheme was launched. Any jobs that are affected are dependent on rates of support above those the scheme was intended to provide, and should not therefore be considered sustainable.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the impact assessment on his proposed changes to feed-in tariffs what estimate his Department has made of the length of time required for energy bill savings to repay the £5,600 required to bring a household up to energy performance certificate level C. [81081]

Gregory Barker: The measures required to reach C rating depend on the individual characteristics of the house. In addition, the length of time required to pay back the initial investment through savings on the energy bill depends on the package of measures installed and on the particular property.

Renewable Energy: Heating

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what measures for off-mains gas households he is considering as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive. [81454]

Gregory Barker: DECC currently has a renewable heat premium payment that is targeted at households living off the gas grid. We are currently developing proposals for supporting renewable heat in the domestic sector, which will include consideration of measures for households off the gas grid, and will consult on them in due course.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the proportion of renewable heat incentive premium payments made (a) to households where the replaced heating equipment was working well and (b) to households consisting of four bedrooms or more in the latest period in which figures are available. [81615]

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Gregory Barker: We have received preliminary results from the initial batch of the first customer surveys returned under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.

Of the 222 people who have so far responded to the survey, 63% (77) indicated that the system was working well (100 people installed solar thermal so have kept their original heating system). 69% of all respondents live in a property of four bedrooms or more.

Solar Power

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of UK electricity needs which could be generated by solar photovoltaic installations. [79906]

Gregory Barker: The 2050 calculator developed by my Department suggests that solar PV could contribute up to 127 TWh of electricity a year by 2030 and 140 TWh by 2050. This would be an extremely ambitious level of deployment without precedent anywhere else in the world, equivalent to covering 1.3% of the UK in solar panels by 2050—approximately the same area as that currently covered by buildings. Without accompanying electricity storage infrastructure, it could also only generate electricity during daylight hours.

Were the electricity generation of 2010 (381 TWh)(1) to be maintained out to 2050, this level of deployment would meet up to 37% of total electricity daytime demand. However, the 2050 Pathways Analysis(2) published by my Department earlier this year suggests that electricity demand is likely to increase in the future, so this maximum potential figure is likely to be far lower in reality.

(1) UMG, DUKES 2011—chapter 5, 2011

(2) HMG, 2050 Pathways Analysis: the Government's Response to the Call for Evidence—part 1, 2011

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his most recent estimate is of the number of people employed in the solar industry. [81323]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply.

HM Government have made no official estimate of employment in the solar industry.

However, independent research commissioned by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills estimate that photovoltaic renewable energy (i.e. solar power) employed 39,000 across 2,000 businesses in 2009-10.

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he undertook an assessment of the effect on existing orders and contracts for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations when setting 12 December 2011 as the date for the introduction of the reduced solar PV feed-in tariffs. [79907]

Gregory Barker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk (Mr Yeo), on 14 November 2011, Official Report, column 592W.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 43W

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he undertook an impact assessment on the loss of income to solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing and installation companies when determining the proposed reductions to solar PV feed-in tariffs. [79908]

Gregory Barker: We have not made an estimate of the loss of income to companies in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector due to the proposals in the consultation on feed in tariffs for solar PV.

The overall effect of the consultation proposals on the income of companies in the solar PV sector is uncertain, as many will be able to provide services related to the proposed energy efficiency requirement.

It should be noted that current tariffs are providing returns well in excess of the 5% that was intended when the FITs scheme was launched, and that the proposed new tariffs are intended to ensure that returns go back to a similar level. Any commercial income lost is dependent on rates of support above those the scheme was intended to provide, and should not therefore be considered sustainable going forward.

Nadhim Zahawi: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effect on energy prices if no action were taken to reduce feed-in tariffs for solar energy before April 2012 in (a) high and (b) central forecast scenarios. [80219]

Gregory Barker: The impact assessment supporting the consultation on feed-in tariffs for solar photovoltaics (PV), available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/fits-comp-review-p1/3416-fits-IA-solar-pv-draft.pdf

estimates the impact on the average annual household energy bill of the subsidy cost associated with both a no change scenario and the proposed new feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar photovoltaics (PV), under central growth rate projections. Under the central scenario, with no change to tariffs the estimated impact would be to increase annual household energy bills by around £26 per year in 2020.

If PV growth is higher than the central estimate (according to assumptions for the high growth scenario set out in the impact assessment) the impact could be to increase the average annual household electricity bill by around £55 per year in 2020, on top of a projected annual average electricity bill of £535 in the absence of FITs.

There is considerable uncertainty around future bill impacts of FITs as solar PV costs have declined rapidly to date and hence future costs (and therefore uptake) are uncertain.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect on levels of employment if the feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaic is reduced before 31 March 2012. [80439]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 44W

Gregory Barker: An Impact Assessment-has been published to support the consultation on Feed-in Tariffs for solar photovoltaics (PV). This includes an assessment of the economic impacts of the consultation proposals, including the impact on jobs. The Impact Assessment is available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/fits-comp-review-p1/3416-fits-IA-solar-pv-draft.pdf

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the impact assessment on his proposed changes to feed-in tariffs, what estimate his Department has made of the number of jobs that will be lost in the solar industry as a result of the reduction in uptake for feed-in tariffs predicted from December 2011. [81082]

Gregory Barker: We estimate that, based on the number of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by the end of October 2011, around 8,000 to 14,000 gross full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs have been supported by solar PV since the introduction of the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme. The total number of people doing some solar PV work is likely to be higher than this range because those who are involved in solar PV installations are also likely to undertake other tasks linked to their employment.

In the Impact Assessment supporting the consultation on FITs for solar PV:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/fits-comp-review-p1/3416-fits-IA-solar-pv-draft.pdf

we estimate that 1,000 to 10,000 gross additional FTE could be created in this sector in the three years to 2014-15 under our proposals. This estimate relates to solar PV installations only and does not account for jobs created as a result of the proposed energy efficiency requirement, so it is unclear whether solar PV-related employment will fall. Furthermore, it should be noted that current tariffs are providing returns well in excess of the 5% that was intended when the FITs scheme was launched. Any jobs that are affected are dependent on rates of support above those the scheme was intended to provide, and should not therefore be considered sustainable.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will estimate the potential additional cost of introducing his proposed reductions to solar feed-in tariff rates on (a) 31 January 2012, (b) 29 February 2012 and (c) 31 March 2012; and if he will estimate the equivalent cost for an average (i) industrial and (ii) domestic consumer. [81083]

Gregory Barker: The Impact Assessment published alongside the consultation on feed-in tariffs for solar PV estimates the range of costs to consumers for a reference date of 12 December 2011 (Option 2) and a reference date of 1 April 2012 (Option 3). Under the central scenario, assuming a linear increase in costs from later reference dates, we estimate that the additional costs associated with a reference date later than 12 December 2012 would be as follows:

Reference date Additional cost to consumers over spending review period (£ million) Additional impact on average domestic bill in 2014 (£) Additional impact on average medium-size business user bill in 2014 (£)

31 January 2012

81

0.36

1,000

21 Nov 2011 : Column 45W

21 Nov 2011 : Column 46W

29 February 2012

128

0.57

1,600

31 March 2012

178

0.79

2,200

The average annual domestic electricity bill is projected to be £610 in 2014 in the absence of FITs. The average medium size business user's electricity bill in 2014 is projected to be £1.4 million in the absence of FITs. (Bill projections are in 2010 prices, undiscounted and rounded).

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what legal advice he received prior to taking the decision to implement changes to the solar PV tariffs before the statutory consultation was completed. [81114]

Gregory Barker: No decision has been taken to implement changes to feed-in tariffs for solar photovoltaics (PV) before consultation is completed. The proposal on which the Government are consulting is to bring new tariffs into force on 1 April 2012, which will apply from that date to all new PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 12 December 2011. Responses to the consultation will be carefully considered before any final decision is taken.

Legal advice obtained by the Department is confidential and the subject of legal professional privilege.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Adam Werritty

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South (Bridget Phillipson) of 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 157W, on Adam Werritty, whether a Minister in his Department requested that officials attend each such meeting; and whether any particular countries were discussed at those meetings. [80982]

Mr Lidington: No Minister requested officials to attend each such meeting. The discussions covered a range of issues.

Afghanistan: War Crimes

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the Government of Afghanistan's approach to immunity for individuals accused of serious violations of human rights and war crimes in Afghanistan. [80110]

Alistair Burt: When human rights violations occur or where war crimes may have been committed, they should be investigated in accordance with international practices and those responsible should be held to account. We expect the Afghan Government to abide by their national and international human rights commitments.

Bahrain: Politics and Government

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on medical staff in Bahrain who were made subject to legal proceedings following the provision of treatment to patients. [80741]

Alistair Burt: I was deeply concerned to hear on 29 September 2011 the sentencing of Bahraini medical personnel to between five and 15 years in prison after the briefest of hearings in a special tribunal. I spoke to the Bahraini ambassador in London the next day to reiterate our position.

The Bahraini Attorney-General announced on 6 October that the medics' case would be retried in a civilian court. We welcomed this development and the first hearing was held on 23 October 2011 to cover preliminary matters.

We continue to encourage the Bahraini authorities to ensure due process is fairly and transparently followed in all cases. It is essential that all defendants have access to legal counsel and are tried before independent, impartial, civil tribunals.

Judicial Review

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what applications for judicial review have been made against his Department (a) in the last Parliament and (b) since May 2010; whether each such application (i) succeeded, (ii) failed and (iii) remains pending; what legal costs were incurred by his Department for each such application; in each failed application whether he applied for costs against the applicant and whether they were (A) awarded and (B) paid; whether his Department (1) paid for and (2) offered to pay for the legal costs incurred by each such applicant; and what the total cost to the public purse was of payment of the legal costs for each such applicant. [80713]

Mr Lidington: We do not hold records of judicial reviews against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) during the last Parliament centrally, and cannot provide this information accurately without incurring disproportionate cost. 26 applications for judicial review have been made against the FCO since May 2010.

In 11 of these cases, proceedings have been brought against FCO jointly with other Government Departments. In relation to these 26 cases:

(a) In six cases proceedings are actively ongoing;

(b) In 11 cases settlements have been reached, the question of who should bear costs has yet to be decided;

(c) In four cases the court refused permission for judicial review, costs were awarded against the claimants in these cases but have not been paid;

(d) In one case a settlement was reached with each side bearing their own costs;

21 Nov 2011 : Column 47W

(e) In one case, which went to final judgment FCO succeeded and the FCO was

awarded costs against the claimant, but these costs have yet to be assessed;

(f) In one case the claim succeeded and the FCO with the other Government Departments involved were ordered to pay the claimant's costs. The FCO share was £12,500;

(g) In one case the claim was partially successful. The FCO and other Government Departments involved were ordered to pay the claimant's costs, which are yet to be assessed;

(h) In one case the FCO was initially joined as a party, but was subsequently removed as a party without incurring costs.

The total of the bills that we have received in relation to the payment of FCO legal costs in these cases is approximately £325,500. However, there may be some additional ongoing work that is not accounted for in the bills to date.

Egypt: Embassies

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Egyptian authorities about the protection of UK diplomatic premises and staff in Egypt. [80468]

Alistair Burt: Our embassy in Cairo has regular discussions with the Egyptian authorities about the protection of UK diplomatic premises and staff in Egypt. However, it is longstanding Foreign and Commonwealth Office practice not to comment on the detail of these discussions.

European Union: Powers

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 November 2011, Official Report, columns 582-83W, on European Union, on what date the Government commenced work on an examination of the balance of the EU's existing competencies; how many civil servants are engaged in the work (a) full-time and (b) part-time; and when he expects the work to be complete. [79125]

Mr Lidington: Work on the examination of the balance of the EU's existing competences, as set out in the coalition agreement, has begun, but is in its preliminary stages and is drawing on existing resources. There is no formal timetable for the work, but we will keep Parliament fully informed of our plans.

Heritage Oil

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have met representatives of Heritage Oil or any of its subsidiaries since May 2010. [80642]

Mr Lidington: A full list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is published quarterly on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/transparency-and-data1/hospitality/

In addition, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was approached by a representative of Heritage Oil at a Conservative Party event at the Carlton Club in March 2011. The Foreign Secretary asked him to put any representation in writing.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 48W

Human Rights

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to encourage companies to adopt the UN protect, respect and remedy framework for business and human rights in their global activities. [80867]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government expect UK businesses to operate at all times in a way respectful of human rights whether in Britain or overseas. Following the UN Human Rights Council's June 2011 endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in which the UK played an important role, the Government are fully committed to implementing those principles as part of a wider strategy on business and human rights. A cross-Whitehall steering group has been formed to co-ordinate input from across relevant Government Departments into the strategy's formulation. We also plan to seek inputs to this process from the business world and non-governmental individuals and organisations.

Iran: Baha'i Faith

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the trial of seven Baha'i educators in Iran associated with the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education; and if he will make a statement. [80492]

Alistair Burt: I met with representatives from the Baha'i community in the UK on 15 September to discuss the continuing repression of the Baha'i minority in Iran and to hear reports on the latest situation of the Baha'i Institute of Higher Education, including the trial of seven educators. The closure of the Institute and arrest of members of its staff form part of a wider pattern of harassment of Baha'is in Iran, including the imprisonment of Baha'i leaders. We regularly raise these issues with the Iranian authorities, for example when I met the Iranian Chargé d'Affaires in August this year. We will continue to press the Iranian Government to accord all their people the right to freedom of religion. With our EU partners, the UK has taken co-ordinated action to address Iran's human rights record, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on over 60 Iranians responsible for human rights violations, including Government Ministers and members of the judiciary.

Iraq: Iran

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with EU Ambassador Jean de Ruyt on the envoy sent into Camp Ashraf following the Iraqi Government deadline for the closure of the camp. [81074]

Alistair Burt: I met Ambassador Jean de Ruyt on 27 October 2011 following his recent appointment to advise Baroness Ashton, Vice President of the European Commission, on Camp Ashraf. He highlighted the urgent need to address the humanitarian situation at Camp Ashraf, and agreed that the Government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf should negotiate a peaceful and durable solution. We continue to urge the

21 Nov 2011 : Column 49W

Iraqi Government to ensure the protection of the human rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf in accordance with international and domestic Iraqi law. We will remain in close touch with Ambassador Jean de Ruyt. We understand that he has no current plans to visit Camp Ashraf.

Israel: Embassies

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Israeli Government about the protection of the Israeli embassy in London and its staff. [80469]

Alistair Burt: We have not received recent representations from the Israeli Government about the protection of the Israeli embassy in London. I regularly meet the Israeli ambassador to London, most recently on 7 November, and this issue has not been raised.

The security of the Israeli embassy is delivered by the Diplomatic Protection Group of the Metropolitan Police who maintain a permanent police presence on site and are in constant contact with the Israeli security staff.

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the future protection of Israeli embassies in their respective countries. [80756]

Alistair Burt: There have been no recent discussions with European counterparts in relation to the protection of Israeli embassies in their countries. We expect all signatories to the Vienna convention, including our European counterparts, to meet their responsibilities under the convention, including the protection of diplomatic property and personnel.

Following the attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo on 9 September 2011, the Prime Minister—alongside the EU High Representative and European counterparts—issued a statement condemning the attack, urging the Egyptian authorities to meet their responsibilities under the Vienna convention to protect diplomatic property and personnel, including the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Libya: Embassies

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had on re-opening the Libyan embassy in London. [80114]

Alistair Burt: The Libyan embassy in London remained open throughout the conflict and subsequent political transition in Libya. In line with the Government's decision of 27 July to recognise the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the sole governmental authority in Libya, the then chargé d’affaires was informed that he and other diplomats appointed by the Qadhafi regime were no longer considered to represent Libya and must leave the UK. The Government also invited the NTC to appoint diplomatic representatives. We formally recognised Mr Mahmud Nacua as the new chargé d’affaires on 4 August and he took possession of the embassy premises on 9 August.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 50W

Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department received on (a) the size of Hezbollah's arsenal of missiles and (b) the range of such missiles in (i) 2006, (ii) 2007, (iii) 2008, (iv) 2009 and (v) 2010. [80758]

Alistair Burt: We have received various reports and estimates on the size of Hezbollah's rocket and missile arsenal that put the figure in the low tens of thousands. In 2006, Hezbollah's weapons perhaps had ranges up to 150 km. Reports received in 2010 claim the longest range Hezbollah weapon could exceed 300 km.

The reported acquisition of short range ballistic missiles in 2010, such as Fateh-110 and SCUD class missiles, is a step change and one that has received much press coverage.

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 calls upon the Government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related material and requests UNIFIL to assist the Government of Lebanon at its request. We remain concerned by reports of weapons transfers to Hezbollah, including Hezbollah's own claims that it possesses significant military capabilities.

The Prime Minister raised the importance of full implementation of UNSCR 1701 with Lebanese Prime Minister Miqati on 7 November 2011. We continue to raise this issue at senior level with the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli Governments.

Middle East: International Assistance

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the findings of the (a) Palmer Commission and (b) Turkel Commission report on the Gaza Flotilla incident in May 2010. [81479]

Alistair Burt: The UN Palmer report into the Gaza Flotilla in 2010 was published on 2 September. This drew on information provided by the Israeli Turkel Commission, as well as that set up by Turkey. The UK supported the UN Secretary-General’s establishment of an independent panel of inquiry to review the incidents that occurred around this event. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs stated at the time that the UK deeply deplored the loss of life and urged strenuous efforts to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future.

The Palmer report makes clear that the events of 31 May should never have taken place. Turkey and Israel have made public statements on the report. We regret the breakdown in the relationship between them and we continue to urge both sides to renew their efforts to find a way forward that will promote reconciliation and enhance regional stability.

The situation in Gaza is of serious concern to the Government. I visited Gaza in June and raised this issue. He saw for himself a United Nations Relief and Works Agency School. The British ambassador in Tel Aviv and other officials regularly discuss the situation in Gaza with Israeli interlocutors.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 51W

While there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there is an enduring need for humanitarian aid. We have also been clear that actions by both Israel and Hamas have contributed to the status quo. Working closely with EU and Quartet partners, we will continue to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access and enable a return to economic normality.

Middle East: Peace Negotiations

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will have discussions with the Palestinian National Authority to seek to ensure that any replacement of the Palestinian Negotiation Support Unit is committed to a two-state solution. [80571]

Alistair Burt: We continue to reiterate our calls for negotiations towards a two-state solution. We regularly emphasise the importance of efforts towards this end with the Palestinian National Authority.

The UK continues to be one of the principal supporters of Palestinian state building efforts, assisting them to tackle poverty, build institutions and boost their economy.

We will continue to engage with the Palestinian leadership, including where appropriate through the Negotiation Support Unit, and to reinforce the importance of working towards a two-state solution.

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Palestinian Authority on the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel. [80799]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs most recently met President Abbas during UN General Assembly Ministerial week on 20 September, including on efforts to re-start peace negotiations. The British consul general in Jerusalem most recently met President Abbas on instruction to discuss these issues on 8 November.

Middle East: Reconciliation

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support the reconciliation work of the Parents Circle Families Forum in Israel and Palestine. [80897]

Alistair Burt: The Government support many organisations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories whose aims are to promote reconciliation and conflict prevention.

The Parent Circle Families Forum have been part of a mapping study carried out by another organisation that was supported by the British consulate general in Jerusalem, but they are not directly supported by UK funding.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support his Department provides to groups working to promote reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. [80898]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 52W

Alistair Burt: Officials from the UK's missions in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are in contact with a wide variety of groups that are working to bring peace and stability to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including reconciliation, and hold discussions on a variety of issues including what support and assistance Her Majesty's Government can provide.

Under both the MENA Conflict Pool and bi-lateral funding we have provided support to a number of Jewish, Arab-Israeli and Palestinian groups. The aim of this support is to reduce the causes of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, promote co-existence between Israel's Jewish and Arab populations and promote respect for human rights in Israel and the occupied territories.

Organisations supported by the UK include the Hand in Hand school, International Peace and Co-operation Centre and Mercy Corps, as well as the Norwegian Refugee Council and UN Refugee and Works Agency. Additionally, during FY 2011-12 we have established a joint UK-Israeli Taskforce to support a range of projects assisting Israel's Arab communities and promoting positive relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. This has resulted in some new initiatives to promote Arab language and culture in Israeli schools, supporting young Arab Israelis to gain skills and create a mechanism to enable them to participate alongside young Jewish entrants in Israel's flourishing hi-tech sector.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) he and (b) his officials have had any discussions with (i) the Israeli authorities, (ii) the Palestinian authorities, (iii) his US counterparts, (iv) his EU counterpart and (v) the UN on promoting reconciliation in Israel and Palestine since May 2010. [80900]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I, as well as our officials, have held numerous meetings with the various counterparts mentioned, including to discuss how to resolve the middle east peace process and promote reconciliation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Providing the detail of each interaction since May 2010 would entail disproportionate cost.

Pakistan: Cluster Munitions

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Pakistan on the stands at the DSEi 2011 arms event belonging to (a) Pakistan Ordnance Factories and (b) the Defence Export Promotion organisation of Pakistan that were closed for displaying promotional material for cluster munitions; and if he will make a statement. [81341]

Alistair Burt: Officials in the Export Control Organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, together with representatives of HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency, worked closely with the organisers of DSEi 2011 before, during and after the conference. The organisers became aware during the conference of a breach by Pakistani exhibitors and took action accordingly.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 53W

Private Military and Security Companies

Mr Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to put in place a system of standards and certification for private security companies operating in (a) high-risk environments and (b) the maritime and anti-piracy sector; and if he will make a statement. [80192]

Mr Bellingham: We have been working for a number of years on how best to ensure there is a national and international regulatory system in place for the private security sector that is practicable, affordable and effective and that minimise the risk of human rights abuses.

As I confirmed in my written ministerial statement of 21 June 2011, Official Report, column 7WS, we have appointed Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) as our partner in developing and implementing UK national standards for private security companies (PSCs). ADS have established a special interest group, the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG), which will support the Government in the transparent regulation of all UK-based PSCs which operate in complex and high risk environments, both on land and at sea. Membership of the SCEG is open to all UK-based PSCs who have signed the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICOC). Of the 211 PSCs who have now signed up to the ICOC, 80 are UK-based. A third of signatory companies work exclusively in the maritime sector and the remainder work either on land or in both sectors.

Along with the Swiss, US and Australian Governments, industry and non government organisation partners, we are members of the Temporary Steering Group of the ICOC which is working to establish a mechanism and standards to monitor compliance with the ICOC. We expect to publish a draft charter for public consultation in mid January next year, and to be in a position to establish the governance mechanism for the ICOC in mid 2012. ICOC signatory companies will then be able to begin the application process to become certified by the ICOC, through a process of independent compliance audit and verification.

UK national standards for PSCs will be derived from the ICOC standards in order to avoid duplication and minimise the burden on business. For maritime-based PSCs, UK standards will also take into account the draft interim guidance to commercial maritime security providers produced under UK chairmanship in the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Saudi Arabia: Diplomatic Service

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterpart about the recent allegations of Iranian involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US; and what his assessment is of whether there is a similar threat to the Saudi ambassador to the UK. [80472]

Alistair Burt: My officials and I have been in close touch with our US counterparts about the recent allegations of Iranian involvement in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington—a plot which would appear to constitute a significant escalation in Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism outside its borders.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 54W

Earlier this month, the UK and US co-sponsored a resolution tabled by Saudi Arabia in the United Nations General Assembly deploring the plot. The resolution, which calls on Iran to co-operate in bringing those responsible to justice, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 November. I call on Iran to respond positively to the United Nations’ request.

Since the revelation of the plot, the UK and EU have also imposed an asset freeze on five individuals in relation to terrorist activities.

We keep the potential threat to all diplomatic targets under regular review, including that from Iran. We have no information to suggest that there is a current threat to the Saudi ambassador in the UK. We will continue to work closely with the US and other partners on this issue.

South Sudan: Armed Conflict

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on bombing of the Yida refugee camp and other southern Sudanese territories by Sudan armed forces in the last week; and if he will make a statement. [81620]

Mr Bellingham: We are deeply concerned at reports by the UN and others of aerial bombardment by Sudanese armed forces (SAF) of the Yida refugee camp in south Sudan and elsewhere in the border region. I issued a statement on 10 November condemning the attacks and asked for both sides to refrain from taking further cross-border military action. Our ambassador in Khartoum met the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week to tell them the attacks were unacceptable. Our Defence Attaché also made similar representations to SAF. The attacks are under discussion by the UN Security Council. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Thailand: Roads

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of British citizens who have died in road traffic incidents in Thailand in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [81497]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We hold figures for the total number of deaths of British nationals in Thailand reported to us during the period in question. These are listed in the following table. But our case-handling database does not separately record the number of British nationals who have died in road traffic collisions. To extract this information manually for each year would incur a disproportionate cost. However, we have done so for this year and so far in 2011 our records show 17 British nationals have died in road traffic collisions in Thailand and a further 36 have been seriously injured.

Reported deaths of British nationals in Thailand
  Number

2006-07

269

2007-08

275

2008-09

288

2009-10

292

2010-11

347

21 Nov 2011 : Column 55W

British Overseas Territories: Biodiversity

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much of the Government's biodiversity conservation budget will be spent in British Overseas Territories in each year from 2012-13 to 2014-15; [80449]

(2) how much of the Government's biodiversity conservation budget was spent in British Overseas Territories in each year from 2010-11; [80450]

(3) what measures the Government have put in place to implement the Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy; [80452]

(4) what progress has been made on implementation of the Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [80453]

Richard Benyon: I have been asked to reply.

Following agreement of the Overseas Territories Biodiversity Strategy in 2009, DEFRA has taken the lead in coordinating a partnership of Government Departments overseeing its implementation. This partnership comprises DEFRA, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID), and is supported by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). As part of this partnership, DEFRA established the Overseas Territories Biodiversity Group (OTBG), comprising officials from DEFRA, the FCO, DFID, JNCC and the UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA). Chaired by DEFRA, the OTBG is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the strategy.

In terms of delivering the objectives set out in the strategy, formal contact points on biodiversity matters have been established in the territories and, in addition to securing more inclusive UK reporting to multilateral environmental agreements, DEFRA hosted a workshop in September 2011 to improve communication and knowledge of the obligations related to the membership of such agreements. I can report that, by June 2011, 38 discrete projects and/or activities in 10 Overseas Territories have been funded that address four of the strategic priorities of the strategy.

Looking ahead, DEFRA will continue to liaise closely with other Government Departments, inter alia through the OTBG, as well as directly with Overseas Territories and with the UKOTA, to offer such advice and assistance as is within our purview and is appropriate.

Funding amounting to over £1.2 million was spent on biodiversity in Overseas Territories in 2010-11. This comprised a contribution of £200,000, announced by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at last year's Nagoya Biodiversity Conference, towards rodent eradication on the World Heritage site of Henderson Island in the Pitcairn group of islands, which hosts many endangered species of birds, including the Henderson petrel. It also comprised a figure of just over £1 million from DEFRA'S Darwin Initiative for the period 2010-11 towards projects in the Overseas Territories. We are continuing to welcome project proposals for Darwin funding from the territories. Since the Darwin Initiative is now being co-funded by DEFRA and DFID, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also announced at the Nagoya Biodiversity Conference that funding

21 Nov 2011 : Column 56W

under Darwin would in fact increase over the spending review period. In addition to this £1.2 million, the JNCC also contributed £150,000 during 2010-11, and a further £10,000 was committed by DEFRA on research and development projects within the Overseas Territories. In view of the current financial climate it is not possible to predict how much will be spent on biodiversity conservation measures in Overseas Territories in future.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reported previously to Parliament, a new global biodiversity target for 2020 was agreed at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in October 2010. The Aichi Targets apply to those Overseas Territories to which the Convention on Biological Diversity has been extended.

DEFRA's submission to the Prime Minister on our current and future priorities for providing support to the Overseas Territories will include measures relating to biodiversity.

Finally, turning to the level of staff resource within DEFRA which is committed to working on issues associated with the Overseas Territories over the last five years, it is impossible to be precise. While there is no dedicated service towards supporting work in the Overseas Territories, there are a number of officials who regularly provide advice to the Overseas Territories on a range of issues on which DEFRA leads.

Communities and Local Government

Betting Shops: Planning Permission

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to create a new planning use class for betting shops; and if he will make a statement. [80603]

Robert Neill: Ministers have received representations on this issue, including from a number of hon. Members, the Mayor of London and the Local Government Association. The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is also taking evidence on this matter as part of its inquiry into the implementation and operation of the Gambling Act 2005.

As I outlined in my answer of 9 November 2011, Official Report, columns 336-37W, my Department is currently considering how change of use is handled in the planning system. This includes examining the issues surrounding the proliferation of betting shops as a result of legislative changes made by the last Administration.

Caravan Sites: Fees and Charges

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on surcharges levied by park sites owners on caravan or static homes owners who sell their property. [80949]

Grant Shapps: As a matter of law the maximum rate of commission a site owner can obtain on the sale of a residential mobile home is 10% of the agreed price. The position is different on the sale of holiday caravans. The amount of commission payable will be a contractual

21 Nov 2011 : Column 57W

term of the pitch agreement although industry guidance is that the amount payable should not exceed 15% of the agreed sale price. An unreasonable term relating to commission may not be enforceable under the provisions of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

I plan to consult in due course on a range of measures to improve the rights of residential mobile home owners.

Caravan Sites: Licensing

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects to publish his consultation on measures to improve the licensing regime applying to park home and caravan sites. [80859]

Grant Shapps: I plan to publish the consultation in due course.

Council Tax Benefits

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his policy to localise council tax benefit and reduce funding, what assessment he has made of the average reduction in council tax benefits for recipients in non-protected groups. [80604]

Robert Neill: My Department will publish a full impact assessment in due course.

Council Tax: Empty Property

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of the removal of council tax discount on empty and second homes owned by local authorities; [79485]

(2) what discussions he has had with local authorities on the cost to local authorities of the removal of the council tax discount on empty and second homes owned by local authorities. [79486]

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the consultation paper—Technical Reforms of Council Tax—announced in the written ministerial statement of 31 October 2011, Official Report, column 24WS. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Library of the House. We welcome local authorities' comments on these proposals.

Council Tax: Students

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to change the level at which local authorities receive compensation for student exemptions from council tax. [78772]

Robert Neill [holding answer 8 November 2011]: Support for student exemptions from council tax is provided through formula grant.

There are no specific changes in the level of this support in the current Local Government Finance Settlement, other than the general changes to formula grant announced as part of that two year settlement.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 58W

Details of the final settlement for 2011-12 and the provisional settlement for 2012-13 are available at:

http://www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1112/grant.htm

Ministerial Visits

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities he has visited since his appointment; on what dates; and for what purpose in each case. [75321]

Robert Neill: Further to the answers I gave to the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) of 24 May 2011, Official Report, columns 680-82W, and 17 February 2011, Official Report, columns 887-89W, since 24 May 2011, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has undertaken the following visits on a range of topics across his ministerial responsibilities:

The Cambridge city council area on 24 May 2011;

The London borough of Camden on 26 May 2011;

The Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea on 26 May 2011;

The Sunderland city council, South Tyneside council, Durham county council and Newcastle city council areas on 9 June 2011;

The Hertfordshire county council and Dacorum borough council area on 10 June 2011;

The City of London on 14 June 2011;

The London borough of Ealing area on 21 June 2011;

The Warwickshire county council and Rugby borough council area on 23 June 2011;

The Birmingham city council area on 28 June 2011, 30 June 2011 and 7 July 2011;

The Cardiff council area on 12 July 2011;

The London borough of Camden on 14 July 2011;

The Essex county council and Colchester borough council area on 14 July 2011;

The Sheffield city council area on 28 July 2011;

The Swindon Borough Council area on 16 August 2011;

The London borough of Haringey area and Harlow district council areas on 17 August 2011;

The Thurrock council area on 18 August 2011;

The Newport city council area on 15 September;

The Salford city council area on 23 September 2011;

The Bristol city council area on 27 September 2011;

The Manchester city council area 1-5 October 2011(1);

The Lincolnshire county council and West Lindsey district council area on 13 October 2011;

The Hertfordshire county council and Welwyn Hatfield borough council area on 14 October 2011(1);

The Oxfordshire county council and South Oxfordshire district council area on 15 October 2011(1);

The Norfolk county council and Great Yarmouth borough council area on 27 October 2011; and

The London borough of Croydon on 29 October 2011(1).

(1) Political visit, included in the interests of transparency.

Internships

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many unpaid and expenses-only internships (a) his Department and (b) each public body for which he is responsible employed in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [78372]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 59W

Robert Neill: Neither the Department for Communities and Local Government, nor the public bodies for which the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is responsible, has had any unpaid or expenses-only internships in the last 12 months. In answering this question I have distinguished internships from work shadowing and volunteering.

Growing Places Fund

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish and place in the Library (a) the data sets, (b) the calculations and (c) the models for the formulae used to produce the allocations to local enterprise partnerships set out in pages 10 and 11 of the Growing Places Fund prospectus. [80597]

Greg Clark [holding answer 14 November 2011]: The indicative Growing Places Fund allocations to Local Enterprise Partnerships are based on a weighted distribution using district level data on population (in the final allocations 2010 data will be used but current indicative figures are based on 2009 data) and “employed earnings” (employment multiplied by earnings, which provides a partial measure of output) with both being given equal weighting.

The allocations reflect the size of the Local Enterprise Partnership and associated economic activity in the area. Rather than using a more time-consuming bidding process, the formula was drawn up to be as simple and transparent as possible, and to facilitate funding being allocated to the Local Enterprise Partnerships as quickly as possible—and thus help them deliver the key infrastructure needed to unlock developments, generate jobs and build more homes.

The relevant data and details of the calculations have been placed in the Library of the House.

Housing

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the planning implications of the housing need represented by the (a) upper and (b) lower limits of the population projections by the Office for National Statistics for 2050. [81277]

Andrew Stunell: The Department does not estimate housing need. However, the Department publishes household projections, which are a trend-based view of the number of households that would form given a projected population and previous demographic trends. Local authorities should use the projections as a part of the evidence base for assessing future housing demand.

Household projections are based on the Sub-national Population Projections published by the Office for National Statistics, the most recent of which are 2008-based. The 2008-based Household Projections show that, by 2033, there will be a projected 27.5 million households in England, an additional 5.8 million households compared to 2008. This decreases to 26.3 million projected households in 2033 using the low population variant projection (an additional 4.6 million households compared to 2008),

21 Nov 2011 : Column 60W

and increases to 28.7 million projected households in 2033 using the high population variant projection (an additional 7 million households compared to 2008).

Local Government: Redundancy

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of local authority employees in each salary band who have lost their jobs since May 2010 in each local authority. [81387]

Robert Neill: The Department does not collect detailed information on local government work force. It is for councils, as individual employers, to manage the structure of their work forces in light of their local circumstances and in a way that offers value for money for local taxpayers.

Local Government: Sustainable Development

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether regulations under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 will contain a duty on local authorities to reach agreement with their communities when submitting proposals to Government under the Act. [81187]

Greg Clark: We are currently considering the content of regulations under the Sustainable Communities Act, including whether they should include a duty on local authorities to consult and try to reach agreement with their communities on proposals, taking into account the results of the consultation which closed on 20 June 2011.

Natural Gas: Exploration

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to include internal drainage boards and water utility companies as statutory consultees when assessing planning applications for onshore oil and gas exploration. [80936]

Robert Neill: The Department have no plans at present to amend the statutory consultation arrangements for planning applications, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010, to require consultation with drainage boards and water utility companies on planning applications for onshore oil and gas applications.

The Government expect local planning authorities to work with infrastructure providers from an early stage in the local plan process to ensure that they are actively involved in shaping its proposals. Drainage boards and utility companies may also wish to work with local authorities to identify individual planning applications where consultation with drainage boards and water utility companies would be beneficial.

Planning Permission

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will introduce measures to ensure residents of new developments cannot take action to close down long standing legitimate existing businesses in an area. [79326]

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Greg Clark: The issues raised by this question encompass both planning policy and environmental health protections in respect of matters such as noise and emissions. It is important in considering proposals and locations for new development that any potential environmental health issues are considered and these risks are mitigated where appropriate. In planning for their areas, local authorities should aim to ensure that uses are compatible so that such conflicts do not arise. The draft National Planning Policy Framework recognises the importance of ensuring that established shops, facilities and services are able to develop and modernise in a way that is sustainable, and retained for the benefit of the community. We are now carefully considering responses to the consultation.

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the number of local authorities whose local development frameworks will need amendment following the publication of the draft National Planning Policy Framework; and whether he plans to publish transitional arrangements for such councils. [79353]

Greg Clark: The draft National Planning Policy Framework aims to strengthen local decision making and reinforce the importance of local plans. We will therefore work closely with local authorities to ensure that appropriate transitional arrangements are in place before the new framework comes into force. Amending a local plan is a matter for each local authority and communities to decide locally.

Postcodes

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the status is of his Department's inquiry into anomalous postcodes. [78484]

Mr Davey: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are not conducting any inquiries into postcodes.

Changes to postal addresses and postcodes are governed under a code of practice which has been subject to a number of consultations over the years. Royal Mail will consider making changes to postal addresses which do not materially impact on the efficiency of its operations or lead to a deterioration of the service it provides. More information about the code of practice can be found on Royal Mail's website:

www.royalmail.com

Property Development

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to empower local authorities who have identified a risk of unlawful occupation of land and gained an injunction against such occupation to (a) block the site entrance and (b) take other reasonable action to prevent such illegal occupation. [80498]

Robert Neill [holding answer 14 November 2011]: A landowner (including a local authority) can already take action to block the entrance to their land.

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The Government have also brought forward provisions in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to allow local authorities to attach the power of seizure to their byelaws, for encampments on local authority land. These provisions will be commenced shortly.

The Government are reviewing what further steps can be taken to increase local authority powers to tackle unauthorised development and occupation.

Rented Housing: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of new homes to be made available under the Homes and Communities Agency's affordable rent scheme in the Peterborough City Council area from 2011 to 2014; and if he will make a statement. [79804]

Grant Shapps: In the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area, providers that have so far agreed their final contract offers with the Homes and Communities Agency under the Affordable Homes Programme are expected to deliver 684 Affordable Rent homes and 213 Affordable Home Ownership homes from allocations totalling £12.6 million.

Details of the specific local authority areas in which homes to be delivered through the Affordable Homes Programme will be located are not yet available.

Rough Sleepers: Weather

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what provisions his Department has made for emergency shelters for people sleeping rough in the event of a very cold winter. [81197]

Grant Shapps: The Department supports Homeless Link, the umbrella organisation for homelessness charities, to work with the voluntary sector and local authorities to provide advice on operating cold weather arrangements. Homeless Link published a good practice guide for local authorities and the voluntary sector on 9 September 2011 “Severe weather emergency protocol and extended cold weather provision”. Usual practice is that severe weather emergency provision is triggered when the night time temperature is forecast to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights.

This Government are committed to tackling and preventing homelessness and protecting the vulnerable. We have maintained homelessness grant funding, investing £400 million over the next four years to support local authorities and the voluntary sector in their work to tackle and prevent homelessness.

For the first time ever, we have established a Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness which brings together eight Departments to tackle the complex causes—not only housing, but just as importantly health, work and training. In particular, the Group has pledged to roll out “No Second Night Out” nationally, the approach being taken by the Mayor of London to quickly identify new rough sleepers. We are providing an additional £20 million to Homeless Link for a new Homelessness Transitional fund to help deliver this national programme.

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More recently, we announced £42.5 million for the Homelessness Change Programme which will provide in excess of 1,500 new and improved bed spaces to improve hostels for rough sleepers and ensure that those coming off the streets get the support they need.

Wales

Dangerous Dogs

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether (a) she and (b) her officials have had any discussions with ministerial colleagues on dangerous dogs since May 2010. [80997]

Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Wales and I discuss a range of issues with Cabinet and ministerial colleagues. There has been official level discussions between the Wales Office, the Home Office and the Welsh Government about the Government's proposals to improve the tools for tackling anti-social behaviour, including dangerous dogs, which we outlined in our consultation published on 8 February 2011.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether she has received any correspondence on the effects of dangerous dogs in Wales. [80998]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has received no correspondence in relation to this issue.

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Departmental Redundancy

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much her Department has spent on redundancy costs since May 2010. [67530]

Mr David Jones: There have been no voluntary or compulsory redundancies in this period. However, the Wales Office has made contributions of £71,320 since that time towards the cost of voluntary exits.

International Development

Developing Countries: Disease Control

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department has provided in each of the last five years for research and development into prevention, treatment and diagnostics for diseases connected with poverty, including (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) tuberculosis and (c) malaria; and if he will make a statement. [R] [80260]

Mr Duncan: The UK Government have provided funding to a range of Product Development Partnerships working on technologies for the prevention, treatment and diagnostics of a number of diseases of poverty. There are now more products at all stages of development, for diseases of poverty, than at any time in history. For example there are three new drug combinations to treat malaria, with over 140 million doses distributed in Africa and Asia and five new diagnostic tests for TB and malaria.

UK Government funding provided:

  £ million per financial year

2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

(a) HIV and AIDS

         

International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

6

6

6

10

8

International Partnership for Microbicides

2.5

2.5

2.5

7.5

3.5

           

(b) Tuberculosis

         

Global Alliance for TB drug development

1.8

0.9

3.9

5.7

7.3

AERAS—TB Vaccine

4

5.5

Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics

0.6

0.2

           

(c) Malaria

         

Medicines for Malaria Venture

4

2

2

2

13

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

0.5

0.5

0.5

1.3

1.4

Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics

0.2

0.07

Institute of One World Health

0.7

1

           

In addition the Government also support a broader range of research into how best to deliver effective health services, including the strengthening of health systems and the delivery of new technologies, through a wide range of research programmes

2.1

2.6

4.3

6.3

6.2

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding his Department provided for research and development of new vaccines for (a) HIV/AIDS, (b) tuberculosis and (c) malaria in each of the last five years; what assessment his Department has made of future vaccine-related research and development needs; and if he will make a statement. [R] [80261]

Mr Duncan: The UK Government have provided funding to a number of organisations for the development of new vaccines:

(a) To the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative for the development of HIV vaccines: £6 million in 2006-07, £6 million 2007-08, £6 million 2008-09, £10 million 2009-10 and £8 million 2010-11.

(b) To AERAS for the development of tuberculosis vaccines: £4 million 2009-10 and £5.5 million 2010-11

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(c) The UK Government have not funded malaria vaccine research.

Significant investment in malaria vaccine research has been made by a number of groups, for example the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), who announced preliminary results about a potential malaria vaccine in October 2011. The UK Government are encouraged by the results and awaits the final results (to be published in 2014), so that we can understand how and in what circumstances a vaccine may be effectively delivered as part of a malaria prevention strategy for the world's poorest people.

Vaccine research has to be seen as a medium-term investment and the science changes rapidly. Many organisations keep this under review and it is an area of priority for some private foundations particularly the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The UK Government will make an assessment of future vaccine- related research and development needs during a planned open competition for funding in 2012.