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Schools: Buildings

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what criteria he used to determine the priorities for the Property Data Survey Programme; [81432]

(2) whether the Property Data Survey Programme will include any assessment of the condition of asbestos; and if he will make a statement; [81433]

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the condition of asbestos in school buildings; and what estimate he has made of the costs of (a) managing asbestos in situ and (b) demolishing and rebuilding schools containing asbestos; [81434]

(4) what assessment he has made of the findings of the report by Nottinghamshire county council on the cost of rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings containing asbestos. [81435]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 22 November 2011]: The Property Data Survey (PDS) Programme will take into account both the condition and the priority of the work to elements of buildings, external areas and playing fields.

Condition will be graded on a scale of A to D, where A is classified as good and D as bad. In addition to the condition grade the priority of work will be captured on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is urgent work and 4 is work

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which will be required in the longer term. To minimise burdens we are applying the same condition and priority grading system that has been used by local authorities for asset management planning purposes since 1999.

The data collected will be used to provide evidence of the current condition of schools, and enable future maintenance funding allocations to be focused on the buildings with the greatest need.

Property data surveys will not include an assessment of asbestos, the responsibility for which currently lies and will remain with local authorities and schools under the Control of Asbestos Regulations. However while carrying out the PDS the surveyor will seek confirmation that the school has carried out their statutory obligations and if not will direct them to the Department's website and relevant guidance.

The responsibility for assessing the condition of asbestos in school buildings lies with the local duty holder for the particular school. We have not made an estimate of the cost of managing asbestos in situ or demolishing and rebuilding schools containing asbestos.

Partnerships for Schools received a report from Nottinghamshire county council, "Issues of Using CLASP to transform learning—Nottinghamshire County Council". This addresses the best value for money approach to refurbishing or rebuilding CLASP schools and includes some consideration of how to deal with asbestos in these buildings. The report showed the high cost of refurbishment of CLASP buildings and that in many cases it is more cost-effective to rebuild than to refurbish and remodel such buildings. We are not aware of another report from Nottinghamshire county council specifically addressing the cost of rebuilding or refurbishing school buildings containing asbestos.

Schools: Fires

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) whether his Department plans to review Building Bulletin 100: Design for fire safety in schools; and if he will make a statement; [79038]

(2) whether his planned review of school building regulations will consider fire safety; [79039]

(3) whether his Department has assessed the costs and benefits of installing sprinklers in new schools. [79040]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 1 November 2011]: On 3 November the Department issued a public consultation document "Standards for School Premises". This document includes our proposals to revise the school premises regulations and to reduce significantly the amount of guidance on school premises.

Fire safety, including the fire resistance of building elements and provision of adequate means of escape in case of fire, is covered in Part B of the Building Regulations, but more generally by the RRF03 (as cited in Part 3 of the ISSs). We think that it is unnecessary to duplicate the requirements of the RRFO in school premises regulations.

We propose to withdraw all documents that are of limited value and streamline the rest. It is our intention to consolidate our regulatory guidance including BB100.

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Regulatory guidance includes requirements for compliance with the building regulations and illustrates how compliance can be achieved.

The costs and benefits of installing sprinkler systems varies with the type of school, its location and the incidence of crime. The Department has published a cost benefit analysis tool for sprinklers and other fire and security measures which is available on the Department's website. It is intended for use by local authorities and schools to calculate the cost benefit for a particular school. A cost analysis of sprinklers in schools that was carried out on behalf of the Department in 2007 is also available on the website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/environmental/a0063718/fire-safety-design-guidance-building-bulletin-100

Schools: Solar Power

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will estimate the potential cost to schools, colleges and other educational buildings for which photovoltaic solar panels were planned arising from the proposed reductions in feed-in tariffs. [81084]

Mr Gibb: The Department does not hold information on take-up and use of photovoltaic solar panels in education establishments. Therefore, I am not able to estimate the impact of changes to feed-in tariffs.

Schools: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much (a) capital and (b) revenue funding was allocated to schools in Warrington in each of the last five years, including the pupil premium for 2011-12. [76379]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 24 October 2011]:The available information on how much funding (a) capital and (b) revenue funding was allocated to schools in Warrington in each of the last five years, including the pupil premium for 2011-12 is shown as follows:

(a) Capital figures for Warrington (for Partnership for Schools managed programmes)

£ million

2006-07

12.7

2007-08

11.7

2008-09

14

2009-10

37.6

2010-11

19.3

2011-12 (provisional)

5.6

(b) Revenue funding allocated to schools in Warrington excluding pupil premium

£

2007-08

117,186,325

2008-09

120,393,189

2009-10

123,572,276

2010-11

127,340,094

2011-12

133,062,958

(c) Warrington has been allocated a total of £1.72 million for the pupil premium in 2011-12.

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Training: Citizenship

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Education for what reason he has decided that there should be no training bursary available for PGCE citizenship courses. [81650]

Mr Gibb: Trainees currently receive no bursary for PGCE citizenship courses. Bursaries are an additional incentive, on top of the full package of student support, to attract teacher trainees. Citizenship has a good record in attracting enough high quality trainees to meet the demand from schools for new teachers. We will therefore continue not to offer a bursary for citizenship for those who train in 2012/13. We review ITT bursaries each year to ensure that they reflect the level of supply and demand for trainees in each subject.

Young People: Education

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many young parents were in receipt of care to learn funding in (a) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, (b) Middlesbrough local authority area, (c) Redcar and Cleveland local authority area, (d) Teesside, (e) the North East and (f) nationally in the last year for which figures are available; and how many such recipients were aged 19 years or over. [80765]

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

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 24 November 2011:

I am writing in response to your Parliamentary Question PQ80765 that asks:

"How many young parents were in receipt of care to learn funding in (a) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, (b) Middlesbrough local authority area, (c) Redcar and Cleveland local authority area, (d) Teesside, (e) the North East and (f) nationally in the last year for which figures are available; and how many such recipients were aged 19 years or over."

The academic year 2010/11 is the last year for which these figures are currently available. The numbers of young parents who received funding through the Care to Learn scheme in the 2010/11 academic year in the areas you requested are in the following table. These are the take-up figures as at 31 August 2011.

Area/local authority (LA) Aged 19 years or over Total care to learn take-up

Middlesbrough LA

7

38

Redcar and Cleveland LA

7

29

North East

146

509

National

2,133

6,622

This information is only available by local authority area, and so we are unable to provide figures for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency and Teesside.

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Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Capture and Storage

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department has spent on the Longannet Carbon Capture and Storage project since it was established. [82356]

Charles Hendry: The Department has spent £60.3 million on the Longannet Carbon Capture and Storage project since it was established to the end of October 2011.

Official Photographs

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many official photographs have been taken of (a) Ministers and (b) senior officials in his Department for use in Government publications since May 2010; how many staff of his Department are expected to undertake photography of the Ministerial and senior leadership team as part of their duties; and if he will make a statement. [82576]

Gregory Barker: Official photographs are taken when Ministers or senior officials arrive in the Department if required and where a pre-existing photo is not available. Photos of DECC's four Ministers were taken by in-house staff on arrival in May 2010 and have since been used in publications and the departmental website. No photographs of senior officials have been taken since May 2010. There are no designated members of staff expected to undertake photography as part of their duties.

Double Glazing

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of domestic properties without double glazing. [82762]

Gregory Barker: The latest English Housing Survey report, published in July 2011, shows that in 2009 only 9% of English homes had no double glazing at all, and only 27% were without full double glazing:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/pdf/1937212.pdf

Electricity Generation

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he will re-open his Department's consultation on possible models for a capacity mechanism to seek views on the issue of phantom megawatts; [82471]

(2) what consideration his Department gave to phantom megawatts in its recent consultation on possible models for a capacity mechanism. [82472]

Gregory Barker: The recent consultation on possible models for a capacity mechanism considered high level options for a capacity mechanism.

The chosen capacity mechanism design will be announced in a technical update to the White Paper, which will be published around the turn of the year.

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The detailed design of the mechanism will be developed in the next phase of the project.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will not reopen the Department's consultation on possible models for a capacity mechanism.

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he will urge the National Grid to introduce a full metering system to measure accurately the capacity supplied by short term operating reserve aggregators; [82473]

(2) what his policy is on establishing an independent auditor of the performance of short term operating reserve aggregators. [82474]

Gregory Barker: National Grid has a metering system to accurately measure the capacity supplied by short term operating reserve aggregators in place.

To monitor and despatch services from demand side response providers such as aggregators, National Grid installs a standing reserve despatch (SRD) system. This is connected to the reserve provider's metering equipment to allow the amount of reserve from each contracted provider to be read each minute and communicated back to National Grid. Following installation, National Grid then has the discretion to ascertain the accuracy and adequacy of the metering equipment providing the metering signals and of the resultant data sent to the SRD system.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change does not plan to establish an independent auditor of the performance of short term operating reserve aggregators.

Energy: Business

Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the energy-intensive industries due to receive mitigation from the effect of the carbon floor price will be given the opportunity to review any measures before they are announced. [81907]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 23 November 2011]: I am working closely with Government colleagues to deliver the commitment the Government gave earlier this year to create a package of measures to support those energy intensive industries whose international competitiveness is most affected by our energy and climate change policies. We will announce details before the end of the year.

We have welcomed industry's helpful input to the development of the package through the Green Economy Council Energy Intensive Industries sub-group. I have also met several times with chief executives of energy intensive industries here and in Germany. There are no further plans to discuss measures before our announcement.

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether there will be a further meeting of the Economy Council sub-group for energy-intensive industries to review plans for mitigation from the carbon price floor; and whether individual businesses will be consulted on site-specific mitigation before it is announced. [82060]

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Gregory Barker [holding answer 23 November 2011]: I am working closely with Government colleagues to deliver the commitment the Government gave earlier this year to create a package of measures to support those energy intensive industries whose international competitiveness is most affected by our energy and climate change policies. We will announce details before the end of the year.

We have welcomed industry's helpful input to the development of the package through the Green Economy Council Energy Intensive Industries sub-group. I have also met several times with chief executives of energy intensive industries here and in Germany. There are no further plans to discuss measures before our announcement.

Energy: Meters

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether smart meter rental companies will be regulated. [82025]

Gregory Barker: Ofgem is currently undertaking a review of metering arrangements in the gas and electricity sectors which includes consideration of the role of meter asset providers or “meter rental companies”. Under the current arrangements, suppliers are obliged to ensure their meter providers are “fit and proper” to undertake these activities.

The Government will consider any recommendations made by Ofgem as part of their review of current metering arrangements, in the context of the wider changes to the regulatory framework in the gas and electricity markets being made as part of the smart meter programme.

Energy: Prices

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of energy companies offering discounted prices to new customers only on competition in the energy market; [82156]

(2) what discussions he has had with Ofgem on the issue of energy companies offering discounted prices to new customers only; [82157]

(3) whether he has made an estimate of the number of energy companies operating loss-making tariffs in order to attract new customers; and if he will make a statement. [82158]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials regularly meet with the Regulator and energy suppliers to discuss a range of market issues.

Following their Probe in 2008, Ofgem introduced new rules to prohibit undue discrimination and to ensure cost reflective pricing between payment methods. In order to allow suppliers to compete for new customers, these rules allow suppliers to offer time limited, introductory tariffs.

Competition is vital to ensure consumers get the best possible deal in the marketplace. Part of ensuring effective competition is opening the market to new entrants and it is therefore important that small suppliers are not disadvantaged if larger suppliers are cross-subsidising loss leader deals to attract new customers by charging their 'sticky' customers higher prices and we have therefore asked Ofgem to look into this issue.

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Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he will take steps to prevent energy companies offering heavily discounted deals only to new customers; [82234]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with major energy companies on their pricing policies. [82235]

Gregory Barker: DECC Ministers and officials regularly meet with the Regulator and energy suppliers to discuss a range of market issues.

Following their Probe in 2008, Ofgem introduced new rules to prohibit undue discrimination and to ensure cost reflective pricing between payment methods. In order to allow suppliers to compete for new customers, these rules allow suppliers to offer time limited, introductory tariffs.

It is important that existing customers are not disadvantaged if suppliers are cross-subsidising loss leader deals to attract new customers by charging existing customers higher prices and it is also vital that customers can move to the lowest tariff consistent with their needs, which should save them money. We have therefore asked Ofgem to look into this issue.

Environment Protection: Taxation

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with groups who support the introduction of measures to assist energy intensive businesses affected by the carbon price floor, but who are not included in the Economy Council sub-group for energy-intensive industries, to review plans for mitigation from the carbon price floor; and what the outcome was of such meetings; [82514]

(2) what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with groups opposed to the introduction of measures to assist energy intensive businesses affected by the carbon price floor; and what the outcome was of those meetings. [82515]

Gregory Barker: I am working closely with Government colleagues to deliver the commitment the Government gave earlier this year, 17 May 2011, Official Report, columns 176-177, to create a package of measures to support those energy intensive industries whose international competitiveness is most affected by our energy and climate change policies. We will announce details before the end of the year.

DECC Ministers and officials have met, and receive representations from a range of stakeholders in the development of this package, including non-governmental organisations, trade associations, and individual companies. Neither DECC Ministers nor officials have received representations opposing the objective to provide support in a package of measures as set out by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of mitigating the effect of the carbon price floor on energy intensive industries on the policy's aim of providing certainty and support for low-carbon investment; and if he will make a statement; [82516]

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(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey) of 14 November 2011, Official Report, column 643-4W, on taxation: environment protection, what assessment he has made of the effect of measures to mitigate the effect of the carbon price floor on energy intensive industries on emissions from electricity generation; and if he will make a statement. [82517]

Gregory Barker: I am working closely with Government colleagues to deliver the commitment the Government gave earlier this year to create a package of measures to support those energy intensive industries whose international competitiveness is most affected by our energy and climate change policies. We will announce details before the end of the year.

Government Buildings: Solar Power

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with other Departments on the installation of solar PV on (a) any Whitehall department buildings and (b) any other Government-owned properties; and whether such installations would be eligible for solar photovoltaic feed-in tariffs. [82236]

Gregory Barker: The Department has had no such discussions.

The eligibility of individual installations for the feed-in tariffs (FITs) is a matter for Ofgem and licensed electricity suppliers. There is nothing specifically precluding solar photovoltaic installations on Government-owned buildings being eligible for FITs, if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Heating Systems

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether future revisions to the Code for Sustainable Homes will specify the types of central heating systems that are acceptable; and what consideration he has given to the potential effects of any such revisions on (a) fuel costs and (b) carbon dioxide emissions. [R] [82784]

Andrew Stunell: I have been asked to reply.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is similar to the building regulations in that it sets performance targets to be met, combined with a functional (technology-neutral) approach to sustainable development to help encourage innovation in this sector. The code does not specify particular products or systems to meet outcomes. Future revisions to the code in respect of central heating will reflect the direction of travel of forthcoming revisions to Part L of the building regulations, which are underpinning the Government's policy for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. Where changes to the code are proposed, these will be subject to impact assessment examining cost issues and the likely effects on emissions.

International Physical Protection Advisory Service

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information (a) his Department and (b) nuclear operators provided to the International

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Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) in support of its visit to Sellafield and Barrow; what conclusions were reached by IPPAS; and if he will place in the Library a redacted copy of the final report by IPPAS. [82376]

Charles Hendry: The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) Mission Team were presented with a range of background material on the legal and regulatory framework for civil nuclear security by my Department and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Sellafield Ltd and International Nuclear Services provided background information on how this framework is implemented at the Sellafield site and Barrow port.

The IPPAS Mission Team concluded that the state of civil nuclear security in the UK is robust; both in the context of the legal and regulatory framework and how this is implemented at Sellafield site and Barrow. The team also identified many examples of good practice in the UK civil nuclear security regime and provided a number of valuable recommendations and suggestions.

The IPPAS Mission Team's report is a security classified document that contains sensitive site-specific security information and it cannot be made publicly available.

Nuclear Installations: Safety

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to respond to the recommendations for specific actions by his Department made by HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations in his report on the implications of the Fukushima nuclear accident for the UK nuclear industry; and whether he has estimated the cost to his Department of implementation of all such recommendations. [82307]

Charles Hendry: As the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change noted in his written ministerial statement of 11 October 2011, Official Report, column 20WS, the Government intend to respond to Dr Weightman's recommendations in more detail by the end of the year.

As with the response to Dr Weightman's interim report, we will set out what we have done, and what we intend to do, to address the recommendations most pertinent to Government.

Nuclear safety is a top priority and as such any associated costs to the Department will be borne out of the overall departmental budget.

Nuclear Power: Foreign Investment in UK

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what reports he has received of interest expressed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in supporting inward investment by Toshiba in the UK commercial nuclear power programme; and if he will make a statement. [82074]

Gregory Barker: We are aware that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation is interested in supporting Japanese industry investment in large-scale infrastructure projects globally.

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The consideration of any specific investment by Toshiba, or any other inward investor in the UK, would be a matter for the company themselves.

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which representatives from the solar photovoltaic industry he consulted when drawing up his timetable for the implementation of and consultation on the new rates for solar photovoltaic tariffs. [79824]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 21 November 2011]: Ministers and officials meet regularly with a range of stakeholders from the solar photovoltaic industry.

Details of meetings between DECC Ministers and external organisations are published quarterly on the DECC website.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the potential number of bankruptcies that will occur in the UK solar industry as a result of planned changes to feed-in tariffs. [81079]

Gregory Barker: The Department does not hold relevant information on which to base any estimate of potential bankruptcies. The impact assessment accompanying the Government's consultation on feed-in tariffs (FITs) 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 that new solar PV installations will continue to come forward under the proposed changes to FITs for solar PV. The impact assessment does not estimate the specific impact of the proposed changes on the UK solar industry as a whole.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the cost of (a) consultations and (b) fast track reviews on feed-in tariffs for solar PV has been since May 2010. [82246]

Gregory Barker: The central FITs team in DECC, with support from DECC economists and lawyers, and others where necessary, deals with all aspects of the feed-in tariffs scheme, including consultations and the reviews, so there are no separate costs available for these aspects of the FITs scheme.

In addition £41,400 was paid for economic modelling to support the work of DECC economists.

Defence

Armed Forces Covenant

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department plans to (a) interpret and (b) apply the Military Covenant under the terms of the Armed Forces Act 2010. [81896]

Mr Robathan: The previous Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), announced the publication of the

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new tri-service armed forces covenant on 16 May 2011,

Official Report

, columns 25-27, setting out the key relationships between the armed forces, the Government and the nation. The covenant set out the principles of removing disadvantage in the access to public and commercial services and making special provision in some circumstances. It sets a framework for policy making and delivery across Government and will improve the support available for the armed forces community.

The new Armed Forces Act 2011 creates the requirement for an annual armed forces covenant report to Parliament. It specifies that the armed forces covenant report must cover the areas of health care, education, housing and inquests, as well as any other topics which the Secretary of State for Defence thinks appropriate. When considering what will be covered, the Secretary of State for Defence will have regard to the full range of topics which were identified as within the scope of the armed forces covenant when it was published.

The statutory requirement for an annual armed forces covenant report comes into effect from 2012. However we plan to publish an interim report this year, which will provide a useful baseline for the statutory reports that will follow.

Defence Equipment and Support

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what budget his Department allocated for Defence Equipment and Support in the financial year 2011-12; how much of that budget has already been spent; and what estimate he has made of likely out-turn at the end of the financial year. [81900]

Peter Luff: The full year near cash budget for Defence Equipment and Support in financial year 2011-12, as at October 2011, is £150,201 million. As at October 2011, spend to date totalled £75,722 million and the current forecast for outturn at the end of the financial year is within budget allocation. Both figures exclude depreciation, write offs, urgent operational requirements and the net additional cost of military operations. Fully audited out-turn figures will be provided as part of the annual accounts.

Defence: Procurement

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) original budget, (b) projected final cost, (c) expected timescale for delivery, (d) primary contractor and identity of additional consortium members are in relation to the Type 45 destroyer project. [80516]

Peter Luff [holding answer 15 November 2011]: As recorded in the Major Project Report 2011 recently published by the National Audit Office, the original projected cost for six Type 45 destroyers, including the Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS) was approximately £4.75 billion. Currently, the forecasted final cost is approximately £5.66 billion. The in-service schedule for all six Type 45 destroyers is as follows:

Daring: 2010

Dauntless: 2010

Diamond: 2011

Dragon: 2012

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Defender: 2013

Duncan: 2014.

The Type 45 destroyers are not delivered by a consortium but by the prime contractor, BAE Systems Surface Ships. The PAAMS system is delivered and supported by MBDA.

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 A400M project. [80807]

Peter Luff [holding answer 14 November 2011]: The initial approved cost for the A400M aircraft was £2.498 billion, and the current forecast cost to the UK of the A400M is £3.105 billion (including training and initial support). This increase is largely due to macro-economic factors including the foreign exchange rate against the Euro. The first UK A400M delivery is expected in September 2014 with the final UK aircraft delivery expected in September 2021. The A400M prime contractor is Airbus Military Sociedad Limitada. In addition to the United Kingdom, the other A400M partner nations are Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey.

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 Terrier Project. [81167]

Peter Luff [holding answer 15 November 2011]: The original budgetary approval for Terrier was £304 million. The forecast final cost for demonstration and manufacture is some £328 million, which reflects the incorporation of customer driven requirement changes to ensure the vehicle can meet the operational challenges it is likely to face. The first 20 vehicles will be ready for operations in 2013, and all 60 will be in service by the end of 2014. The prime contractor is BAE Systems Global Combat Systems and the programme does not have any other consortium members.

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 Land Environment Air Picture Provision project. [81169]

Peter Luff [holding answer 15 November 2011]: The original cash approval for the Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) project was £138 million, final cash costs are projected to be £150 million. The cost growth is a result of a contractual claim settled and agreed between the prime contractor and the Ministry of Defence. For delivery, at the main gate decision point this was initially February 2012. At the most recent approval, delivery is now projected for September 2012. The primary contractor is Lockheed Martin UK, and there is no consortium.

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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 Chinook Project Julius. [81171]

Peter Luff [holding answer 15 November 2011]: The original approval for the Chinook Julius project Design and Manufacture (D and M) phase, for eight aircraft was £132 million. This initial requirement was subsequently expanded by £158 million to enable the Julius Cockpit to be integrated into the remainder of the current total Chinook fleet of 46 aircraft, giving a total budget of £290 million. The current expected outturn cost remains, at £290 million as of 31 October 2011. The first of these helicopters will be delivered to the RAF in December 2011.

The prime contractor for the Chinook Julius D and M is The Boeing Company. They have sub-contracted the design of the cockpit system to Thales (UK) Ltd.

Lost Property

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has lost any (a) computers, (b) mobile phones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other IT equipment since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [77412]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes any loss and theft of Communications and Information Systems (CIS) and associated media storage devices very seriously. We have robust procedures in place to mitigate against such occurrences and to manage such losses when they do occur. This is reflected in the level of detail we record, and our policy of including in our figures incidents when equipment may have been securely disposed of without the correct records being kept, where missing items are subsequently located and where incidents involve the loss of contractors' equipment which was being used to process Defence information.

The size and complexity of the MOD, more than 250,000 individuals operating all round the world, from permanent bases and in theatre and with frequent movement of kit between locations in support of operations, means it is almost inevitable that equipment will go missing. Our challenge remains to reduce the number of such incidents and minimise the risk of any incident resulting in the loss of information by ensuring that devices are encrypted or where this is not possible that additional security measures are in place. Processes, instructions and technological aids are being continually reviewed, revised and implemented to mitigate human errors and further raise the awareness of every individual in the Department of their vital role protecting MOD information and assets.

The following table details how many computers, mobile phones, BlackBerrys and other IT equipment have been reported lost or stolen since May 2010.

CIS asset Number

Desktop computers

99

Laptop computers

(1)188

Mobile phones

18

BlackBerrys

10

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Disks (CD/DVD)

194

Removable hard disk drives

72

Printers

6

Tapes (Backup)

(2)150

USB memory sticks

73

Other IT(3)

135

(1) Includes 21 laptops stolen in one incident during transit in Germany and 20 laptops reported lost in another incident which have subsequently been recovered. (2) Includes 80 legacy backup tapes unaccounted for in one incident. (3 )The majority of the “Other” category refers to USB tokens but it also includes radios, 3G cards, cameras, keyboards and monitors.

For comparison, using laptops as an example, 326 were lost in 2008 and 129 in 2009.

Departmental Pay

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials in his Department received a pay rise other than by promotion in the last two years; and what the average increase was in each such year. [78129]

Mr Robathan: In financial year (FY) 2010-11, 51,603 employees who are covered by the Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s main pay arrangements received a pay rise, which was the last year of a three-year pay deal agreed in 2008 under the previous Administration. The average increase was £1,259 (full-time equivalent). From FY 2011-12 these employees are subject to a two-year pay freeze except for those earning less than £21,000 per annum who are entitled to receive a pay increase of at least £250. For FY 2011-12, 24,518 employees earning less than £21,000 per annum received an increase of an average value of £357, which included an element for shortening the length of the pay scales.

In addition to its main pay arrangements, the MOD has a number of separate pay arrangements covering specialist grades (such as fire service personnel, police, teachers, doctors and nurses) where pay is analogued to comparators in other Government Departments. In 2010-11, 4,988 employees were entitled to pay rises under these arrangements which included revalorisation and incremental progression under existing pay deals. The average increase was £1,160 (full-time equivalent). For FY 2011-12, 1,288 employees in this group received an average increase of £906. These employees are now subject to a two-year pay freeze in line with the arrangements for their comparators in other Government Departments.

MOD trading funds, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally employed civilians working overseas have their own delegated arrangements for pay and grading and are excluded.

Departmental Redundancy

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilian and (b) military redundancies his Department had forecasted would be made in the 12 months following the Strategic Defence and Security Review; and how many such redundancies were actually made. [81928]

24 Nov 2011 : Column 546W

Peter Luff [holding answer 23 November 2011]: The Strategic Defence and Security Review set a savings target equivalent to a reduction in the civilian workforce of 25,000, and a reduction of 17,000 posts in the regular armed forces by 31 March 2015. The Department's aim is that, so far as possible, those savings will be made without recourse to compulsory redundancy.

For the civilian workforce, allowing for the effects of normal staff turnover and the current civil service recruitment restrictions, it was estimated that the Department would need to agree some 15,500 paid releases between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2014. Accordingly, a voluntary early release scheme was launched in February. By the end of October 2011, 2,589 individuals had left under this scheme. It is important to note that these are not redundancies.

In respect of reductions within the armed forces, no specific forecast was made for the number of redundancies in Tranche 1, within the overall envelope of 3,600 posts within the different redundancy fields. Some 2,859 were selected for redundancy of whom 1,770 were applicants. Notifications were issued by the Army and Royal Air Force on 1 September 2011, with the Royal Navy following on 30 September 2011. Applicants were given six months' notice to leave and others 12 months. Further tranches are planned, with the second due to be under way in early 2012.

Departmental Reorganisation

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish his Department's organisational redesign strategy. [81956]

Mr Philip Hammond: We have agreed the recommendations in Lord Levene’s Defence Reform report and are working on a detailed departmental blueprint setting out how we will implement them. This will be coming forward for ministerial consideration shortly. We will publish our conclusions once they have been agreed. We have already established the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in April 2011, Defence Business Services in July 2011, and we will set up the new Joint Forces Command in April 2012.

Germany: Military Bases

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he expects his Department to save from the re-basing in the UK of troops based in Germany in each financial year until 2030. [81487]

Mr Gerald Howarth [holding answer 22 November 2011]: We expect to make substantial savings as a result of returning forces currently based in Germany to the UK. The additional costs to the Ministry of Defence of stationing forces in Germany are at least £250 million a year in allowances and education and medical support. However, a detailed implementation plan for the return of British forces is in the process of being developed, so we do not yet have a profile for the delivery of savings as these additional costs are reduced.

Libya: Security

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Libya. [81466]

24 Nov 2011 : Column 547W

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 22 November 2011]: We keep the security situation in Libya under close review. While we do not underestimate the significant challenges facing the Libyan authorities, our current assessment is that Libya remains largely stable.

Seedcorn Initiative

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many personnel are taking part in the Seedcorn initiative; what the location is of each; and with what equipment they are training; [81671]

(2) what capabilities are being maintained through the Seedcorn initiative; [81672]

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Seedcorn initiative in each of the next five years. [81673]

Mr Gerald Howarth: The Seedcorn initiative will sustain the Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s capability to operate high level fixed-wing Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and maintain the associated skills of its personnel. Qualified RAF aircrew will be on exchange with a variety of Allied MPA forces, where they will maintain their anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, long-range search and rescue, and Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) skills.

The estimated cost of the initiative on average is £2.4 million per year for the next five years; this includes salary and allowances.

Retaining skills and MPA knowledge is vital if the United Kingdom is to be in a position to regenerate our own MPA capability at some point in the future.

The number and location of personnel and equipment to be used is as follows:

Location
Aircraft Number of personnel

Canada

Royal Canadian Air Force Greenwood

CP-140 Aurora

7

       

New Zealand

Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Whenuapai

P-3K Orion/P-3K2 Orion

5

 

Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea

Beech King Air B200

1

       

Australia

Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh

AP-3C Orion

4

       

United States

Naval Air Station Norfolk

Non-flying appointment related to maritime operational staff duties.

1

 

Naval Air Station Patuxent River

P3C Orion

2

Additionally, discussions are ongoing with the US Navy on an exchange initiative for fully qualified RAF aircrew to support the US P-8A Poseidon programme.

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Syria: Security

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his NATO counterparts on the security situation in Syria. [81463]

Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 22 November 2011]: I have discussed a range of security issues with a number of my NATO counterparts. In NATO, the North Atlantic Council has met informally to consider the situation in Syria in line with the emphasis the Alliance's Strategic Concept places on political consultations. However, the United Nations Security Council is the main forum for discussions on Syria.

Terrorism: Chemical and Biological Warfare

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the agreement between the Government and NATO regarding Ministry of Defence sites as locations to receive victims in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. [69757]

Mr Robathan: I will write to the hon. Member.

Trident

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will publish all the evidence submitted to the Trident Alternatives Review on its completion; [81681]

(2) how the Government intends to take account of the Trident Alternatives Review once it is published. [81690]

Peter Luff: The review will report jointly to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Secretary of State for Defence on 21 November 2011, Official Report, column 34W.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to update hon. and right hon. Members on the progress and cost of the Trident replacement programme during the remainder of the Parliament prior to Main Gate. [81682]

Mr Philip Hammond: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 21 November 2011, Official Report, column 34W.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

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 Watchkeeper Surveillance System project. [81381]

Peter Luff [holding answer 22 November 2011]: The initial approved cost for the Watchkeeper project was £908 million and the forecast procurement costs are £904 million. These are reductions in the previously reported costs due to changes in the Ministry of Defence

24 Nov 2011 : Column 549W

accounting procedures. The approved initial three year support cost for Watchkeeper is £55 million, with a current forecast cost of £53 million.

Watchkeeper platforms will be delivered in the first quarter of 2012. Thales (UK) is the prime contractor on the Watchkeeper programme. Major subcontractors include Elbit Systems and UAS Tactical Systems Ltd; however Thales are not developing Watchkeeper as part of a consortium.

USA: Military Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the US Navy on the training of Royal Air Force personnel on the P-8 Poseidon aircraft. [81670]

Mr Gerald Howarth: Discussions are progressing with the US Navy on an exchange initiative for fully qualified RAF aircrew to support the US P-8 Poseidon programme.

World War Two: Military Decorations

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he is giving to the creation of an official campaign medal for the veterans of the Second World War's Arctic Campaign. [82464]

Mr Gerald Howarth: Contemporary medal papers make it clear that the convoys to north Russia were considered at the time that the qualifying criteria for the Second World War Campaign Stars and Medals were under discussion.

From the outset, the qualifying criteria for the proposed Atlantic Star were designed to include recognition of service on the Russian convoys. The regulations for the Atlantic Star specifically allude to the Arctic convoys in the qualifying criteria.

However, I gave assurances in Opposition regarding the award of a specific Arctic Convoy Medal and the Government recently agreed that there should be a fresh review of the rules governing the award of military medals. This will be conducted by an independent reviewer with full consultation with interested parties. It will make use of all of the work already undertaken as a part of the Ministry of Defence's earlier review but will have a broader scope and an independent lead, both of which are expected to be announced shortly.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to answer question 77412 tabled on 25 October 2011 for answer on 27 October 2011. [82597]

Mr Robathan: I replied to the hon. Member today.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Food Security

14. Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to improve food security in the UK. [82284]

24 Nov 2011 : Column 550W

Mrs Spelman: The Foresight report on the Future of Food and Farming identified the global challenges we face feeding an estimated population of 9 billion in 2050. The UK Government are working at home and abroad to increase resilience, promote open global markets, boost trade and ensure there will be more food, at less cost to the environment.

Farm Administration

15. Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made in reducing the administrative burden of inspection and regulation on farmers. [82285]

Mr Paice: In my written statement of 3 November 2011, Official Report, columns 40-41WS, I announced the publication of the interim response to the independent Farm Regulation Task Force. We will publish a final response early in 2012.

Animal Welfare

16. Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will introduce a unilateral ban on the import of eggs produced in contravention of the welfare of laying hens directive. [82286]

Mr Paice: The Government have thoroughly investigated the possibility of taking unilateral action and bringing in a UK ban on all imports of egg and egg products which have been produced in conventional cages in other member states. There are very significant legal and financial challenges in instigating a unilateral ban, but at this stage we are not ruling it out altogether. We will be announcing our enforcement strategy shortly.

17. Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with (a) her EU counterparts and (b) ministerial colleagues on the implementation of the welfare of laying hens directive. [82287]

Mr Paice: Discussions at an EU level are ongoing and the UK is fully engaged with the Commission, other member states and the devolved Administrations in finding a practical enforcement solution. We need to protect those producers across the EU, who will have complied with the ban, from the risk of competitive distortion in favour of those who will have maintained illegal production after 1 January 2012.

Housebuilding

18. Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the building of houses in areas prone to flooding. [82288]

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and his ministerial team. Our officials also meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues.

24 Nov 2011 : Column 551W

Natural Environment White Paper

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made on the implementation of the plans set out in the Natural Environment White Paper. [82274]

Richard Benyon: The Natural Environment White Paper includes 92 commitments for action. Five months after publication, seven commitments are complete and significant progress has been made in: running the Nature Improvement Area competition; round one of the Local Nature Partnership capacity building fund; and in levels of interest in becoming pilot areas to test biodiversity off-setting.

Rural Broadband

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of poor broadband access on rural businesses. [82283]

Richard Benyon: There is evidence that businesses using the internet outperform those that do not, growing four to eight times faster. We recognise that lack of broadband availability hampers the potential of rural businesses and that is why the Government are investing £530 million to bring superfast broadband to 90% of the population in all local areas, with at least a functional level of access—two megabits per second—to the rest of the population by 2015.

Agricultural Land Tribunals

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the functions are of the Agricultural Land Tribunals. [77637]

Mr Paice: The Agricultural Land Tribunals (ALTs) play an important role in settling disputes and other issues between agricultural tenants and landlords arising from tenancy agreements held under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986. For example, ALTs consider applications:

by close relatives of a deceased or retiring tenant to succeed to an agricultural tenancy;

by landlords for consent to a notice to quit served on the tenant;

by landlords for a certificate of bad husbandry on the ground that the tenant is not farming in accordance with the rules of good husbandry;

by tenants for approval to carry out long-term improvements on the holding; and

for a direction to provide fixed equipment.

ALTs also have a role under the Land Drainage Act 1991 in considering certain drainage disputes between neighbours.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the expected (a) budget and (b) staffing levels will be for Agricultural Land Tribunals in each year to 2014-15. [77638]

24 Nov 2011 : Column 552W

Mr Paice: The administrative support for the Agricultural Land Tribunals transferred from DEFRA to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service as from 31 October 2011. A budget transfer has been agreed between DEFRA and the Ministry of Justice of £115,000 per annum for each year of the spending review period until 2014-15. This includes an element for costs for the equivalent of 2.6 full-time staff.

Agriculture

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department plans to take to promote the sustainable intensification model of food production. [80773]

Mr Paice: In the recently published Natural Environment White Paper, the Government made a commitment to consider how we could increase food production while also enhancing the natural environment. This is being taken forward through the “Green Food Project”, which is a joint initiative between Government, the farming and food industry and environmental and consumer organisations.

We want to ensure that the UK is making a contribution to the need for global food security and environmental improvement, and is demonstrating leadership in doing so.

Working in partnership with other funders, industry and academics, DEFRA is delivering a co-ordinated framework for research and innovation through initiatives such as the Global Food Security Programme. We are also supporting a new Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform for collaborative Research and Development funding with industry. This will stimulate the development of new technologies which will increase productivity while decreasing the environmental impact of the food and farming industries.

DEFRA is working with businesses through the Courtauld Commitment and consumers through the Love Food Hate Waste initiative to tackle food waste, a commitment which was highlighted in the Government's recent Waste Policy Review 2011. Making the food chain more efficient through waste reduction measures will reduce pressure on resources, such as water and energy, required for food production, and will lower greenhouse gas emissions, therefore making a substantial contribution to producing more food with fewer resources.

Agriculture: Industrial Health and Safety

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the health and safety of agricultural workers. [80893]

Mr Paice: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had no recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the health and safety of agricultural workers. Health and safety in the agriculture industry is a matter for HSE.

24 Nov 2011 : Column 553W

The report of the Independent Farm Regulation Task Force published in May 2011 endorsed HSE's risk-based approach to inspection and its proactive approach to improving compliance. The steps HSE are taking to promote health and safety within the industry are detailed in the response from the Minister for Employment, Department for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), on 21 November 2011, Official Report, column 125W.

Common Agricultural Policy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact on farmers of proposed reforms to the common agricultural policy; and if she will make a statement. [76984]

Mr Paice: The European Commission published its draft regulatory proposals concerning the 2014-20 common agricultural policy on the 12 October, including an extensive impact assessment. The proposals were discussed for the first time in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 20 October 2011, which the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), and I attended.

The EU has an important opportunity to agree the genuine reforms needed to meet the long-term demands of the 21st Century. We are disappointed at the lack of ambition the Commission has shown in their CAP proposals. We do not believe the proposals will benefit the environment or have the long-term competitiveness of the industry in mind. They root agriculture in the past and fall short of addressing future challenges and opportunities ahead. The proposals fail to encourage the innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable actions that are essential—and in some ways work against these aims.

DEFRA is currently considering the Council's documents in detail and will, as usual, meet with key stakeholder groups to assess the potential impact these may have on UK farm businesses. We will continue to discuss the proposals with devolved Ministers, and look forward to further discussions at European level. We will work constructively with member states, the Commission and—for the first time on CAP Reform—with the European Parliament to deliver the ambitious reform we believe is necessary.

Negotiations on the proposals are under way but this is the start of a long and complex process which will take place alongside negotiations on the next Multi Annual Financial Framework 2014-20.

Flood Prevention

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her top three priorities for flood prevention are for 2012; and if she will make a statement. [82640]

Richard Benyon: Our priorities for managing flood risk remain those we set out in the programme for government. These are taking forward the findings of the Pitt review to improve our flood defences, avoiding

24 Nov 2011 : Column 554W

unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk and maintaining an effective and robust capability to respond to flooding emergencies.

Food Supply

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress she has made on the implementation of the recommendations of “Food 2030”. [78100]

Mr Paice: “Food 2030”, published by the previous Government in January 2010, set out goals for food production and the supply chain, and the changes needed to achieve them. Many of the document's themes remain relevant and are still embedded into DEFRA's policy-making.

Over the last year however DEFRA has been working with a new business plan that places a clear focus on the need to support a competitive, productive agriculture and food industry, alongside new commitments to environmental protection and enhancement of the environment. DEFRA has also welcomed the publication of the Foresight report on the Future of Food and Farming, which explores the pressures on the global food system between now and 2050. These pressures will undoubtedly influence our policy-making. To this aim, we are working with the food chain and other partners and across Government to ensure that we have a sustainable food system capable of dealing with a growing population and changing climate while protecting and enhancing the environment.

One particular action we are taking forward in this area is the new “Green Food Project”. The project originated from a commitment we made in the Natural Environment White Paper in June 2011 to:

“bring together government, industry and environmental partners to reconcile how we will achieve our goals of improving the environment and increasing food production” (NEWP page 24, paragraph 2.46).

Our intention is that the project will generate conclusions in June 2012 which we can draw on to help us tackle the findings of the Foresight report, and create a more strategic framework for agri-food policy going forward.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding her Department has allocated to the Skills Action Plan for the food supply chain in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. [81424]

Mr Paice: The Food Supply Chain Skills Action Plan was a collaborative effort involving Government, industry, the Institute of Grocery Distribution and a number of sector skills councils. While DEFRA facilitated it, and has one specific commitment to deliver, it does not fund the actions that the other participants have committed to.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will publish her Department's response to the consultation on greenhouse gas emissions. [80273]

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Mr Paice: A public consultation looking at the options available for ensuring corporate reporting of greenhouse gas emissions are more widespread and consistent was held between 11 May and 5 July 2011.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently considering the Government's response to the consultation and will make an announcement in the coming months.

Sheep Meat: Prices

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of recent trends in the price of lamb on the lamb industry. [75034]

Mr Paice: From 2007 to 2010 there has been a large increase in the ex-farm price of finished sheep, which rose from 237p/kg to 389p/kg.(1)

The value from sheep and lamb production in the UK rose significantly from £641 million in 2007 to £958 million in 2009. The provisional figures for 2010 continue to show growth with an estimated value of £970 million.

In this same period (2007-10) the production of sheep and lamb meat decreased by over 10%. There was a similar decline in the number of sheep (8%) over this period. However, the latest provisional UK results for 2011 show a 1% increase in the number of sheep and lambs to 31.4 million, the first increase since 2004.

Movements in ex-farm prices and numbers of sheep, and the production costs, have a bearing on farm incomes in the sheep sector. DEFRA have published farm incomes for a range of farm types in England, including grazing livestock farms (lowland and LFA), for the year ending February 2011.

(1 )GB finished sheep (pence per kg estimated dressed carcass weight) average price in each year.

References

Agriculture in the UK

Table 5.15

http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-crosscutting-auk-auk2010-110525.pdf

June survey of Agriculture and Horticulture for the UK

Table 9—Sheep and Lambs

http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-landuselivestock-june-statsnotice-uk-111006.pdf

June survey time series

UK Livestock numbers 1866 to present

http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/landuselivestock/junesurvey/junesurveyresults/

Farm Business Survey results

http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/farmmanage/fbs/publications/fbsincomes/

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Embassies: Opening Hours

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to advertise his policy on out-of-hours consular assistance more widely on his Department's website. [81447]

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Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides 24-hour support to British nationals in difficulty abroad through its consular staff abroad and in London. This support is described in our publication “Support for British nationals abroad: A guide”, which is available on the FCO website at:

www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/2855621/support-for-british-nationals-abroad.pdf

The Travel and Living Abroad pages on the FCO website provide clear details of how to contact our staff 24 hours a day, specifically at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/

and:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/contact

The FCO's 24 hour telephone number is also carried on all consular leaflets and publications. Facebook users can link directly to the "find an Embassy" facility on the FCO website. British nationals contacting a British embassy, high commission or consulate out of office hours will be redirected to the FCO's global response centre and charged a local rate for their call.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on out-of-hours consular assistance by UK consulates; and whether it has changed in the last 18 months. [81448]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides 24-hour support to British nationals in difficulty abroad through its consular staff abroad and in London. This support is described in our publication “Support for British nationals abroad: A guide”, which is available on the FCO website at:

www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/2855621/support-for-british-nationals-abroad.pdf

The Travel and Living Abroad pages on the FCO website provide details of how to contact our staff 24 hours a day, specifically at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/when-things-go-wrong/

and:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/contact

The FCO's 24 hour telephone number is also carried on all consular leaflets and publications. Facebook users can link directly to the “find an Embassy” facility on the FCO website.

The FCO's global response centre (GRC) was launched on 1 April 2009. This changed the way we deliver consular assistance outside of normal office hours. British nationals contacting a British embassy, high commission or consulate out of office hours are redirected to the GRC and charged a local rate for their call. The GRC will handle the majority of inquiries directly. Those that require the urgent attention of a consular officer abroad will be passed to the relevant British embassy, high commission or consulate, so that a consular officer can attend. Such cases might include the death of a British national in custody; rape or sexual assault; kidnaps; and cases involving vulnerable groups such as children or elderly people; and issuing emergency travel documents (ETDs) in cases of genuine emergency such as the death or serious illness of a relative requiring urgent travel.

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Kurds: Syria

Nadhim Zahawi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the position of the Kurds in Syria. [R] [82350]

Alistair Burt: Syrian Kurds continue to suffer discrimination by the Assad regime. Although the Syrian authorities recently announced a review of the 1962 census, which had revoked the nationality of thousands of Syrian Kurds, around 300,000 of the 1.7 million Kurds living in Syria are still without citizenship. We hear regular reports of arbitrary arrests, violations of Kurdish property rights, and deaths of Kurds in military service. The teaching of Kurdish is prohibited and Kurdish festivals are disrupted by the security services.

During his meeting with members of Syria's opposition on 21 November, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs urged opposition representatives to unite around a common political platform that will enable the people of Syria to see a pathway to a clear alternative to dictatorship and repression. He particularly stressed the importance of respecting the rights of minorities, so that all Syria's citizens are protected and have a stake in the future of the country.

Libya: Asylum

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the number of Libyan refugees on or near Libyan borders. [81492]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I have been asked to reply.

The latest UN estimate, dating from mid October, registered approximately 9,500 Libyan nationals' as refugees in Tunisia, mostly in the southern governorate of Tataouine. This number is down from the 13,000 refugees that had been registered by the UN in early September. We remain in close contact with the UN refugees agency (UNHCR) to monitor the situation at the Libyan borders.

Lord's Resistance Army

Nicola Blackwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions officials of his Department have had with their counterparts in the US administration on its announcement on sending armed military advisers to assist in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army; and if he will make a statement. [82703]

Mr Bellingham: Officials in my Department have had a number of discussions on this matter with their US counterparts, about the terms and the objectives of this deployment.

The UK welcomes and shares the commitment of the US to help bring the Lord's Resistance Army's (LRA) campaign of atrocities to a sustainable end, including through our support to the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation, Repatriation and Reconciliation programmes, and our significant humanitarian support to LRA affected areas. As an

24 Nov 2011 : Column 558W

active member of the International Working Group (IWG) on the LRA, and through our work with partners at the UN Security Council, we are working to improve co-ordination of the international response, and ensure that civilians are afforded maximum protection.

We also call upon the remaining LRA fighters to surrender to local military forces, and for the UN to continue its work to return and reintegrate these fighters back into their home communities.

Palestine: Peace Negotiations

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Palestinian National Authority on returning to peace negotiations as soon as possible. [82619]

Alistair Burt: We continue to reiterate our calls for negotiations towards a two state solution based on the timetable set out in the Quartet Statement of 23 September. We regularly emphasise the importance of efforts towards a negotiated solution 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 and to reinforce the importance of working towards a two-state solution.

Strategic Shrinkage

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria his Department uses to (a) define and (b) quantify strategic shrinkage. [81722]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office regards strategic shrinkage as a reduction in Britain's diplomatic network and our ability to build productive relationships which further our national interests.

Work and Pensions

Crisis Loans

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many budgeting loan acceptances have been sent out by his Department in the six months to 31 August 2011; and how many such acceptances have been received by his Department (a) within the qualifying time and (b) too late. [80150]

Steve Webb: Information relating to the number of budgeting loans offered to claimants by the Department and the number of such offers that are accepted is not gathered. Information is available as to the number of budgeting loan applications, initial decisions, awards and refusals.

Please see the following table for the six month period from March 2011 to August 2011.

24 Nov 2011 : Column 559W

Number of applications and initial awards March 2011 to August 2011

Number

Applications

757,600

   

Initial Awards

525,900

Initial Decisions

757,900

Initial Refusals

211,300

Notes: 1. Figures are from March 2010-11 to August 2011-12 2. Figures are for applications received, not for the number of people who made an application, and for initial awards made, not the number of people who received an initial award. (Some people made more than one application or received more than one initial award.) 3. Figures for initial decisions are based on the applications processed. 4. Figures rounded to the nearest 100. 5. The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics but in this case we only have Management Information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, it does not include applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System. Source: DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System

The difference between applications received, initial decisions, initial awards, and initial refusals is due to: applications being withdrawn; applicants rejecting or not responding to loan offers; and applications not decided at the time the count was made.

Where a budgeting loan offer is accepted but returned late, it may still be paid where there is good reason for the delay. If there is no good reason for the delay the applicant is invited to resubmit their application. The Department does not hold information about the number of responses to loan offers that are made late.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 14 November 2011, Official Report, column 554W, on crisis loans, whether he has made an assessment of the factors underlying the increase in defaults in March 2011. [82041]

Steve Webb: There has been no change to the policy for crisis loan defaults during 2010-11. There was a purge in March in the system maintenance on deceased records and this accounts for the associated increase in default loans during that month.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what will replace crisis loan alignment payments for non-claimants of universal credit from April 2013; and which official body or bodies will be responsible for making such awards. [82745]

Steve Webb: The current Welfare Reform Bill contains provisions which will enable crisis loans for alignment to be replaced by payment on account short-term advances from April 2013 for both universal credit and all current benefits. These advances will be made at the discretion of the Secretary of State and administered by Jobcentre Plus and Pensions, Disability and Carers Service.

Disability Living Allowance

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the report of the Low Review, page 10, what consideration he has given to the

24 Nov 2011 : Column 560W

finding that the mobility component of disability living allowance is key to meeting the personal mobility needs of care home providers. [82148]

Maria Miller: When we announced that we would not remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from people in residential care from October 2012, we said we would review the position in personal independence payment. This is precisely what we have done. We are now considering the findings of the recently published review into provision for the mobility needs of care home residents by the noble Lord, Lord Low, before we announce our final decision.

Disability: Transport

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the level of financial assistance for disabled people who cannot use public transport to get to work; and what his policy is on (a) means-testing and (b) regionally evaluating such assistance. [82642]

Maria Miller: The Access to Work programme may be able to provide financial assistance for disabled people unable to use public transport to get to work. Individual disabled people make an application for assistance and then will discuss with an Access to Work adviser the type and level of support needed. The support that is offered differs for each individual and is tailored to meet the disabled person's specific needs.

Access to Work is a discretionary programme and not a formal benefit and is not means tested.

Information on the number of disabled people using Access to Work and the type of support they receive is available broken down to regional level.

Housing Benefit

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of the affordable rent model for social housing rents on the number of households who would be subject to the household benefit cap in each of the next five years. [82666]

Steve Webb: The new affordable rent product will allow social landlords to charge rents at up to 80% of local market rents. When setting rents, it is expected that providers will, where possible, utilise the flexibility to charge rents at 80% of local market rents in order to maximise delivery of new homes, but landlords should take into account a number of factors, including the proposed reforms of the welfare system.

It is not possible to assess robustly the impact of the affordable rent model on the number of households who might be subject to the benefit cap because it is dependent on the behavioural decisions of housing providers, and the individual circumstances of future tenants.

My officials will work very closely with those responsible for the Government's affordable rent policy at the Department for Communities and Local Government in introducing the benefit cap.

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Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of householders who would become subject to the household benefit cap if they were to become unemployed after entering an affordable rent tenancy. [82667]

Chris Grayling: This information is not available as the Department can make no estimate of the number of people who might become unemployed after entering an affordable rent tenancy.

Jobcentre Plus: Argyll and Bute

Mr Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent staff were in post in each Job Centre office in Argyll and Bute constituency (a) on the most recent date for which figures are available and (b) at the end of each of the last five years. [82494]

Chris Grayling: The following table gives the number of full-time equivalents in each Jobcentre in the Argyll and Bute constituency as at August 2011, being the latest published data available, and as at March in each of the last five years, with March being the end of the operational and financial year for which staffing is recorded.

  Number of full-time equivalents
Jobcentre March 2007 March 2008 March 2009 March 2010 March 2011 August 2011

Campbeltown

11

10

7

9

9

8

Dunoon

7

10

11

14

12

11

Helensburgh

9

8

8

13

12

11

Oban

18

16

14

14

13

14

Rothesay

7

6

4

8

7

6

Total

52

50

44

57

52

49

Pensions

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of uprating pension credit using a consumer prices index level of (a) 2.5, (b) 3, (c) 3.1, (d) 3.5, (e) 4, (f) 4.3, (g) 4.5, (h) 4.6, (i) 4.9, (j) 5.1 and (k) 5.2 per cent. in 2012-13. [82752]

Steve Webb: The information is in the table.

Percentage increase Cost (£ million)

(a ) 2.5

470

(b) 3.0

560

(c) 3.1

580

(d) 3.5

650

(e) 4.0

750

(f) 4.3

800

(g) 4.5

840

(h) 4.6

860

(i) 4.9

920

(j) 5.1

950

(k) 5.2

970

Notes: 1. Costing based on DWP budget 2011 expenditure forecasts. 2. Costs are rounded to the nearest £10 million. 3. Costs are compared to a baseline of no uprating and are indicative only. Proposed benefit rates will be announced to Parliament by ministerial statement later in the autumn. 4. The costing assumes that housing benefit and council tax benefit rates are aligned with those for pension credit.

24 Nov 2011 : Column 562W

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of people who would be disadvantaged if the roll-out of auto-enrolment into pensions at work were to be deferred by two years. [82801]

Steve Webb: The Department estimates that between 9 million and 10 million people are eligible for automatic enrolment and are not currently saving in a qualifying workplace pension scheme. Delaying automatic enrolment for two years would mean these individuals would forego the opportunity to save in a workplace pension scheme for those two years.

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of people who would be eligible for auto-enrolment into pensions at work if companies with 10 or fewer employees were exempted. [82802]

Steve Webb: The Department estimates that between 9 million and 10 million people are eligible for automatic enrolment and are not currently saving in a qualifying workplace pension scheme. If companies with 10 or fewer employees were exempted, this would reduce the number of people eligible by between 2 million and 3 million, resulting in an estimate of around 7 million people eligible for automatic enrolment.

Child Poverty

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 April 2011, Official Report, column 594W, on children: poverty, what progress he has made in the establishment of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission; whether its remit has changed from that set out in the Child Poverty Act 2010; and if he will make a statement. [79973]

Maria Miller: As we announced in the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Strategies published on 5 April 2011, we are using the Welfare Reform Bill to make the necessary changes to the Child Poverty Act 2010 to create a Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. The Bill is currently at Committee Stage in the House of Lords. The Commission will be established as soon as possible following Royal Assent.

We believe that the Commission must be an effective public body, which improves accountability and thus helps to drive progress towards the 2020 goal to eradicate child poverty. It should also assist Government in improving social mobility in the UK. We want to achieve these aims by expanding the Commission's remit to include social mobility and by giving the Commission the power to publish annual progress reports on child poverty and social mobility.

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent estimate he has made of the number of school-age children in England living in poverty; [81611]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of school pupils in England aged between four and 16 living in poverty. [81612]

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Maria Miller: Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or “equivalised”) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

Statistics covering 2009-10 are the most recent available.

The following tables show the number and proportion of all children aged 4 to 16 who were in households with equivalised disposable income below 60% of contemporary median income Before Housing Costs (BHC). School-age children have been included in the age range 4 to 16 using the definition for a child from the HBAI series.

Table 1: Numbers and proportions of children aged 4 to 16 living in relative poverty (BHC)

Number (million) Proportion (%)

Children aged 4-16

1.7

19

Table 2: Numbers and proportions of school pupils aged 4 to 16 living in relative poverty (BHC)

Number (million) Proportion (%)

Children aged 4-16

1.5

19

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc 2. Data are sourced from the Family Resources Survey and covers Great Britain up to 1997-98 and the United Kingdom from 1998-99, with estimates for Northern Ireland imputed for the years 1998-99 through 2001-02. The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years. 3. Disposable household income is adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 4. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 5. Numbers of people in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, while proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. 6. Figures have been presented on a Before Housing Cost (BHC) basis. For BHC figures, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, buildings insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income. 7. The household level poverty threshold is defined as the 60% of contemporary median equivalised disposable household income. 8. A dependent child is defined in HBAI as an individual aged under 16. A person will also be defined as a child if they are 16 to 19 years old and they are: not married nor in a civil partnership nor living with a partner; and living with parents; and in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training. 9. School-age children have been included in the age range 4 to 16 using the definition of a child from HBAI given in point 8. 10. Children have been defined as school pupils if they are attending a primary school (including reception class); special school; middle-deemed primary; middle-deemed secondary; secondary/grammar school; or any private school (preparatory or secondary). These may be state run or assisted. This classification is independent of the type of qualification being taken forward. The main difference between the populations are four-year-olds not having started primary school yet and 16-year-olds who are in non-advanced further education not being counted as school pupils. Children being home schooled have also not been counted as school pupils. 11. The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets three further income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty. Source: Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2009/10, DWP.

24 Nov 2011 : Column 564W

Social Security Benefits

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many (a) women, (b) men and (c) pensioners are entitled to (i) attendance allowance, (ii) carer's allowance, (iii) council tax benefit, (iv) dependency increases, (v) disability living allowance, (vi) employment and support allowance, (vii) housing benefit, (viii) incapacity benefit, (ix) income support, (x) industrial injuries disablement benefit, (xi) jobseeker's allowance, (xii) maternity allowance, (xiii) pension credit, (xiv) the Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases scheme and the Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation), (xv) state pension, (xvi) severe disablement allowance, (xvii) statutory adoption pay, (xviii) statutory maternity pay, (xix) statutory paternity pay, (xx) statutory sick pay, (xxi) widow's benefit and (xxii) bereavement benefit; [82753]

(2) if he will estimate the cost of uprating (a) attendance allowance, (b) carer's allowance, (c) council tax benefit, (d) dependency increases, (e) disability living allowance, (f) employment and support allowance, (g) housing benefit, (h) incapacity benefit, (i) income support, (j) industrial injuries disablement benefit, (k) jobseeker's allowance, (l) maternity allowance, (m) pension credit, (n) the Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases scheme and the Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation), (o) state pension, (p) severe disablement allowance, (q) statutory adoption pay, (r) statutory maternity pay, (s) statutory paternity pay, (t) statutory sick pay, (u) widow's benefit and (v) bereavement benefit for 2012-13 by (i) 2.5, (ii) 4.3 and (iii) 5.3 per cent. [82754]

Steve Webb: The information is tabled as follows:

Benefit entitlement (1)
Benefit Total claimants Males Females Pensioners (2) Number of claimants with a partner

AA

1,760,620

571,910

1,188,700

1,760,620

n/a

CA

1,020,120

341,240

678,880

418,990

n/a

DLA

3,231,330

1,621,050

1,610,280

1,061,010

n/a

ESA

662,230

362,640

299,600

93,410

IB/SDA

1,946,200

1,095,910

850,280

37,470

22,150

IS

1,703,220

592,560

1,110,660

224,250

JSA

1,404,140

946,100

458,040

153,570

PC

2,674,670

1,051,670

1,622,990

599,080

SP

12,616,240

4,871,260

7,744,980

12,616,240

n/a

WB

44,000

n/a

44,000

n/a

BB

64,770

18,590

46,180

n/a

MA

54,800

n/a

54,800

n/a

IIDB

270,380

217,770

52,620

141,090

n/a

Pre-1948 schemes:

         

WC

80

70

10

80

n/a

PBM

80 Total

60

20

80

n/a