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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Home Department

Departmental Written Questions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many parliamentary questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day by her Department have remained unanswered for a period of two months since May 2010. [79542]

Damian Green: From May 2010 to 30 November 2011, 39 ordinary written questions and 21 named day written question remained unanswered for a period of two calendar months. This includes periods that cover non-sitting Fridays, weekends, public holidays and periods of recess, when questions cannot be answered.

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

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many questions for written answer received by her Department have not received an answer within (a) one month, (b) two months and (c) three months or more since May 2010. [81146]

Damian Green: The information requested is provided in the following table. These data include periods that cover non-sitting Fridays, weekends, public holidays and periods of recess, when questions cannot be answered.

  Number

Number of written questions for answer from May 2010-30 November 2011

5,902

Written answers overdue by 1-2 months

165

Written answers overdue by 2-3 months

41

Written answers overdue by three or more months

19

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

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of written questions for answer on a named day received a substantive answer within five working days in each of the last six months. [85063]

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Damian Green: The information requested, to November 2011, is provided in the following table.

Named day questions receiving a substantive answer within five working days
  Number received Percentage answered within five working days

June 2011

99

82.3

July 2011

96

68.8

August 2011

0

September 2011

75

72

October 2011

54

92.6

November 2011

143

72

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

Driving Offences

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to permit persons found guilty of an offence under section 14(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to attend a driving safety course paid for by the offender that includes instruction on the benefits of wearing seat belts in lieu of a fine; and if she will make a statement. [R] [78680]

Nick Herbert: The police can offer such courses at their discretion. They do not require Government permission.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 9 November 2011 concerning Mrs Sabba Ali. [87652]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

A reply has now been sent.

Police: Rural Areas

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure the provision of funding for rural police forces. [89078]

Nick Herbert: The vast majority of Government funding is allocated using the police allocation formula (PAF). PAF distributes funding based on relative police workload, taking into account population sparsity to address the specific needs of rural forces.

House of Commons Commission

Computers

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 460W, on computers, if the House of Commons Commission will consider alternative ways of disposing of obsolete

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laptop and desktop computers that would raise greater revenue per computer than was raised by the last disposal process. [88099]

John Thurso: The parliamentary ICT department has not identified any disposal options likely to raise more revenue per computer, but the Commission would be pleased to consider any option which could do so.

Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has any plans to vary the statutory interest rate absent parents with assets valued over £65,000 are charged by the Child Support Agency. [87786]

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

Letter from Noel Shanahan:

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

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has any plans to vary the statutory interest rate absent parents with assets valued over £65,000 are charged by the Child Support Agency. [87786]

Child Support law prescribes that in specific circumstances the calculation used to determine child maintenance liability can be varied if it is ‘just and equitable’ to do so via the child support variations rules. One of these circumstances is when it is appropriate to allow the interest on any income produced by capital to be taken into account as income for child maintenance purposes.

Child Support legislation provides that in instances where a variation on these grounds is agreed, in order to calculate what income is derived from any capital held, the statutory rate of interest should be applied. As this is presently set at 8% we are obliged by law to adhere to this figure. This rate, which is used across government for a variety of purposes, is set by the Ministry of Justice and therefore the Commission is not in a position to alter the level. I should also add that the rate to be used is dependant on the jurisdiction within the UK within which the non-resident parent habitually resides. A parent living in England or Wales may pay a different rate to a parent living in Scotland. The rate is not intended to represent an amount which reflects the income a parent can guarantee to achieve from their asset. It is intended to reflect longer-term trends in interest rate levels, and therefore is not subject to fluctuation on a day-to-day basis.

Using this statutory rate provides Child Support Agency staff with a simple means to obtain an income figure where grounds for a departure or variation may exist. It means that they do not have to contend with complexities arising from the fact that the actual achievable return may vary considerably from case to case or over time, for example, due to market trends or the nature of the asset itself. There are currently no plans to amend the legislation in this area for the existing child maintenance schemes.

However, you may be interested to know that on 1 December 2011 the Government launched a public consultation on the Child Support Maintenance Calculations Regulations 2012 which will run until 23 February 2012. These Regulations will provide most of the detailed rules for calculating statutory child maintenance under the new scheme of child maintenance to be introduced in the course of 2012.

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The Government are proposing that where a child maintenance calculation is varied under the new scheme, the actual income that is produced from any assets will be taken into account and the statutory rate of interest will not be applied to the asset. This is because in the new scheme child maintenance calculations will be based upon actual income data obtained from HMRC, rather than applying notional amounts based on a non-resident parent's assets.

The proposed Regulations, detailed consultation document and other related items can be found here:

http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/publications/consultations.html

Employment Schemes

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the funding arrangements are for Work programme providers which provide Mandatory Work Activity. [88558]

Chris Grayling: Each Mandatory Work Activity provider receives a single payment at the point a person starts on a work placement arranged by the provider, the amount depending on the individual contract. Mandatory Work Activity and the Work programme are entirely separate programmes and separately contracted, and the fact that a provider might deliver both has no bearing on funding arrangements.

Housing Benefit: Fraud

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will support local authorities with funding to ensure that they continue to employ housing benefit fraud investigators until the commencement of universal credit in 2013. [87653]

Steve Webb: From 2013, the new Single Fraud Investigation Service (SFIS) will be formed by consolidating the benefit and tax credit fraud investigation teams across DWP, local authorities and HMRC, which will enable them to undertake a single investigation for the first time. This will be a more efficient way of using investigative resources, and it will ensure the expertise that currently exists across all these areas is not lost.

Local authority staff will remain employed by local authorities, but they operate under SFIS powers, policies, processes and priorities. We will continue to work collaboratively with them to co-design an operational structure for SFIS from 2013.

Pensions

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to improve transparency in pension charges and transfers before the introduction of auto-enrolment. [87667]

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to increase transparency in the charges, fees and commissions paid by consumers on private pensions; and if he will make a statement. [88762]

Steve Webb: On 15 December 2011, we published a consultation paper, ‘Meeting future workplace pensions challenges: improving transfers and dealing

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with small pots’, which seeks views and evidence on possible options to reduce the number of small pension pots and facilitate transfers to enable individuals to consolidate their pension saving.

The Government welcome recent initiatives, involving the National Association of Pension Funds and other stakeholders with an interest in pension provision, to develop an industry code of practice to support greater transparency in the charges made on workplace pensions.

Child Poverty

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many children (a) in total, (b) with learning difficulties, (c) with autistic spectrum disorders, (d) with disabilities and (e) under the age of five are living in poverty in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority area in Scotland; [88156]

(2) how many households with children (a) aged under five and (b) of any age are living in poverty in

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each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority area in Scotland. [88171]

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.

The sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates for small areas such as those requested. However, figures for Scotland are available.

Information about children with learning difficulties and with autistic spectrum disorders is not included in the HBAI datasets, therefore we are unable to provide the number and proportion of children in these groups in poverty.

Three survey years have been combined because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable.

Statistics covering 2007-08 to 2009-10 are the most recent available.

Table 1: Number and proportion of children (a) in total, (b) with disabilities and (c) under the age of five who are living in relative poverty before housing costs (BHC) in Scotland, 2007-08 to 2009-10
  Number in relative poverty (Million) Proportion in relative poverty (Percentage)

All children

0.2

20

Children with disabilities

(1)0.0

24

Children aged under five

0.1

22

(1) The number of children with disabilities in relative poverty is under 50,000.
Table 2: Number and proportion of households with children (a) aged under five and (b) of any age, who are living in relative poverty BHC in Scotland , 2007-08 to 2009-10
  Number in relative poverty (Million) Proportion in relative poverty (Percentage)

Households with children aged under five

0.1

22

All households with children (any age)

0.1

20

Notes 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax, payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes. 3. Figures have been presented on a before housing cost rather than an after housing cost basis. For before housing costs, housing costs are not deducted from income, while for after housing costs they are. 4. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 5. The reference period for these HBAI figures is three financial years. 6. Number of children has been rounded to the nearest 100,000 children. In table 1, the number of children with disabilities is under 50,000. 7. Proportion of children in low-income households has been rounded to the nearest percentage point. 8. For this analysis, disability is defined as having any long-standing illness, disability or infirmity that leads to a significant difficulty with one or more areas of the individual’s life. This is consistent with the definition of disability used in the HBAI publication. Everyone classified as disabled under this definition would also be classified as disabled under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), but these estimates do not reflect the total number of children covered by the DDA as the Family Resources Survey, the source of the Households Below Average Income series, does not fully collect this information. 9. This measure is defined as: Relative poverty: children living in households with equivalised incomes below 60% of contemporary median household income before housing costs (BHC). 10. 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 to 2009-10, DWP.

Health

Dementia:

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what spending his Department has recently incurred on radio advertisements relating to dementia; and for what reason it has commissioned such advertisements. [87700]

Mr Simon Burns: In the 2011-12 financial year, the Department has spent £276,573 on radio advertising relating to dementia. The advertising formed part of the national dementia: early signs and symptoms campaign, which was commissioned to help more people receive an early diagnosis.

Hearing Impaired: Children

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children in Somerset were identified as deaf through the newborn hearing screening programme in each of the last five years. [88435]

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Anne Milton: The information requested is not held centrally.

Information is available from the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme website at:

http://hearing.screening.nhs.uk/statistics

Meningitis: Vaccination

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on making pneumococcal conjugate vaccine available to adults in clinical risk groups; and if he will make a statement. [87954]

Anne Milton: There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine:

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV); and

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).

At present, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevenar 13) is recommended for use in the national childhood immunisation programme for children up to the age of five.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is awaiting the results of a major research study that is looking at how effective the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevenar 13 ) is in preventing pneumococcal disease in older people. The JCVI will consider the research findings as soon as they become available.

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax) should continue to be used for the national pneumococcal programme for those aged 65 and over and at-risk groups aged two years and over.

Mental Health Services

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis a person diagnosed with a degenerative and progressive neurological condition who has been awarded NHS continuing health care may have it withdrawn; and if he will make a statement. [88803]

Paul Burstow: Those in receipt of NHS funded continuing health care will have their needs reviewed at least annually. If their needs no longer meet the eligibility requirements, funding for continuing health care will be withdrawn.

Communities and Local Government

Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what equality impact assessments his Department has carried out since May 2010; and for what purpose in each case. [88576]

Andrew Stunell: The Department for Communities and Local Government considers equality issues in exercising its functions, to comply with equality legislation and to ensure it understands how its activities will affect different people. The conclusions are used to inform policies and programmes in various ways. Sometimes this information is published in the form of an equality impact assessment, although there has never been a legal requirement to produce such documents.

During the period in question DCLG carried out 35 equality impact assessments.

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European Regional Development Fund

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will meet representatives of the Industrial Communities Alliance to discuss take-up of European regional development fund resources. [88538]

Grant Shapps: The Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my noble Friend Baroness Hanham, who is responsible for European regional development fund programmes in England, is arranging to meet the Industrial Communities Alliance to discuss take up of fund resources.

Treasury

Bristol and West Building Society

Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to protect the interests of holders of perpetual subordinated bonds originally issued by the Bristol and West Building Society. [78610]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 7 November 2011]: Bristol and West permanent interest bearing securities were transferred to Bank of Ireland by court order in 2007 as part of a transfer of business. The Irish Minister of Finance announced on 2 December 2011, following Bank of Ireland's successful capital-raising exercise, that he is no longer considering applying for a subordinated liability order, which could have been used to write down the value of bonds including these securities.

As a matter of course the Government do not comment on or intervene in disputes between a bank and their bondholders.

Get Britain Building Investment Fund

Ed Balls: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to table 2.3 of his autumn statement (1) what (a) assumptions and (b) methodologies underlie the £50 million saving shown for the Get Britain Building investment fund in 2014-15; [87774]

(2) what (a) assumptions and (b) methodologies underlie the profile of the costings shown for the Get Britain Building investment fund in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [87773]

Danny Alexander [holding answer 20 December 2011]: The Get Britain Building investment fund will support building firms in unlocking the finance needed to get builders back to work. The programme will operate by making direct investments in specific projects through loans or taking equity stakes.

It is anticipated that the fund will invest £260 million and £160 million in England in 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively. Taking funding for the devolved Administrations into account, the investments in 2012-13 and 2013-14 will be £310 million and £190 million respectively. The time profile reflects the anticipated build programmes of supported projects.

Funding has been made available by the Government for this programme on the basis that it yields a return. It is forecast that £5 million and £50 million of receipts will be generated by these investments in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively.

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Corporation Tax: Scotland

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value was of receipts to the Exchequer from corporation tax from the transport sector in Scotland in each year since 2001. [88769]

Mr Gauke: The information is available only at disproportionate cost as HMRC does not hold details of corporation tax receipts data relating to specific sectors of economic activity at a country or regional level.

Debts: Business

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with (i) the Bank of England and (ii) other banks on the operation of the market for corporate bonds. [77427]

Mr Hoban: The Treasury has regular discussions with the Bank of England and market participants, including banks, on overall financial market conditions and the market for corporate bonds. The Bank of England continues to operate its Asset Purchase Facility Corporate Bond Scheme to help facilitate the operation of the secondary market for corporate bonds. The latest information on this scheme can be found on the Bank of England's website at:

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/apf/corporatebond/index.htm

More information on the Bank of England's Asset Purchase Facility can be found on its website, including the latest quarterly report here:

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/other/markets/apf/quarterlyreport.htm

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had discussions with the Bank of England on the (i) underwriting and (ii) guaranteeing of business debt. [77428]

Mr Hoban: Both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and HM Treasury officials meet with officials from the Bank of England on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues.

EU Budget: Contributions

Mr Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the percentage change has been in the size of (a) the overall EU budget and (b) the UK's contribution to the EU budget in each of the last 10 years. [88759]

Mr Hoban: Details of EU budgets, including their overall sizes and the UK contributions to them, are published in the annual European Union Finances documents available on HM Treasury's public website

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/int_eu_statefraud.htm

Money Advice Service: Northern Ireland

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much the Money Advice Service in Northern Ireland spent on advertising in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12 to date; [89168]

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(2) what funding was allocated to the Money Advice Service in Northern Ireland in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much will be allocated in 2012-13; [89169]

(3) how many staff are employed by the Money Advice Service in Northern Ireland; [89170]

(4) whether there are any plans to reduce staff levels in the Money Advice Service in Northern Ireland; [89171]

(5) how many cases the Money Advice Service in Northern Ireland has taken on in each year since it was established. [89172]

Mr Hoban: The Money Advice Service is an independent body, funded by a levy on the financial services industry. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is responsible for approving its business plan and budget.

I have asked the Money Advice Service to respond to the detailed points you have raised in writing. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

National Insurance Contributions

Robert Halfon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of receipts to the Exchequer from the employer element of national insurance contributions; and what proportion of the overall tax-take this represents in each financial year from 2000 to 2010. [87899]

Mr Gauke: Employer's national insurance receipts are provided in the following table. The proportion of total tax and NICs receipts this represents is also given in the table.

  Employer national insurance contributions (£ billion) Total tax and NICs receipts (1) (£ billion) Proportion of total tax and NICs receipts (percentage)

2000-01

35.7

360.4

10

2001-02

36.9

369.7

10

2002-03

37.1

375.6

10

2003-04

41.0

396.8

10

2004-05

44.5

426.5

10

2005-06

49.4

456.8

11

2006-07

50.7

485.8

10

2007-08

58.5

515.9

11

2008-09

55.7

508.0

11

2009-10

54.7

477.8

11

2010-11

55.5

520.1

11

(1) Consistent with supplementary table 2.8 from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR)'s Autumn 2011 Economic Fiscal Outlook. Historic figures are consistent with the equivalent table in previous Budget publications produced by the OBR and HMT.

Northern Rock plc

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the first coupon payment on the new convertible debt in the sale of Northern Rock is due to be paid; and what further receipts he expects in each of the next three years. [83460]

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Mr Hoban: Virgin Money issued to HM Treasury, on completion of the sale on 1 January 2012, Tier 1 Capital Notes with a par value of £150 million and a coupon of 10.5%.

The Capital Notes are designed to be CRD IV compliant. In order to be compliant, the coupon will have to be conditional. The coupon on the Capital Notes will be conditional in several ways; for example Virgin Money would be unable to pay interest if it had insufficient distributable reserves or if, after payment of such interest, it would not meet its capital resources requirement.

Interest accrues from the first anniversary of the issue of this debt, and the first interest payment is expected to be made in 2013.

Regional Growth Fund: Taxation

Mr Watts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on taxation of Regional Growth Fund grants. [83398]

Mr Gauke: There are no special tax exemptions for grants. A private sector beneficiary must record a grant as income in their accounts which wilt affect their overall tax position.

Tax Credit

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the number of tax credit claims which are awaiting processing. [85896]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 12 December 2011]: At the close of business on 6 December 2011 there were around 50,000 new tax credit claims to be processed.

Taxation

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate HM Revenue and Customs has made of the amount of underpaid tax in the years up to financial year 2007-08; [84307]

(2) what his estimate is of the amount which will be repaid to people who were over-taxed in the tax years up to 2007-08. [84308]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 1 December 2011]: Most people within PAYE pay the right amount of tax during the year, but some customers pay either too much or too little.

HMRC set up the Open Case Programme to tackle the cases relating to 2007-08 and earlier years which were still to be cleared when their new computer system came in. The Programme is on track to complete this work by the end of 2012.

HMRC estimates that when the Programme is complete repayments worth around £2.8 billion for 2003-04 through to 2007-08 will have been issued and a further £236 million will have been collected.

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Defence

Armed Forces: Education

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the cost of the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme was in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10 and (d) 2010-11; [88385]

(2) how many service personnel used the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10 and (d) 2010-11; [88389]

(3) what proportion of course fees has been claimed by service personnel on average through the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme; [88437]

(4) what the average level has been of the contribution made by the Government towards the cost of course fees undertaken by service personnel through the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme. [88438]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence promotes lifelong learning among members of the armed forces and this is encouraged through the Learning Credits schemes. The Enhanced Learning Credit (ELC) scheme is designed to complement the Standard Learning Credits scheme by providing larger scale help to personnel who qualify, with a single payment of £1,000 or £2,000 (dependent upon length of service) in each of a maximum of three separate financial years, to help pay towards the cost of higher-level learning. It remains available for up to 10 years after discharge.

ELC is not a refund scheme and operates by payment being made direct to a registered training provider. Training by this funding stream is subject to a minimum 20% personal contribution.

The following table lists the amount paid to registered training providers and the number of service personnel and leavers who have accessed the scheme:

Financial year Total number of claimants Amount paid to registered training providers (£ million)

2007-08

6,500

5.7

2008-09

7,900

10.1

2009-10

7,600

9.8

2010-11

10,400

14.9

The ELC Scheme is administered under contract by G4S who hold all records relating to claims for this type of funding. However, no management information is compiled on the proportion of course fees claimed on average or on the Government's contribution. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel suffering from post traumatic stress disorder received specialist treatment from the NHS in the last 12 months. [88322]

Mr Robathan: During the period 1 December 2010 to 30 November 2011, 229 service personnel were admitted to NHS in-patient facilities under the co-ordination of the South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust, which has the lead for the provision of mental

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health in-patient services to service personnel. Of that number, some 20 were diagnosed on admission with post traumatic stress disorder.

Armed Forces: Training

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the relative benefits of live firing training for the armed forces and the use of simulators. [88665]

Nick Harvey: The Ministry of Defence continuously and objectively assesses the relative benefits of live fire training and the use of simulation, some areas of assessment being more mature than others.

Simulation is increasingly used for training purposes by all three armed services. However, they all acknowledge that simulation cannot fully replicate the operational environment and that a balance must be struck between simulation and live fire training.

Marines: Rescue Services

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many callouts RMB Chivenor received from each local authority in (a) England and (b) Wales in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [87941]

Nick Harvey: The information is not held in the format requested. All requests for assistance from the emergency services throughout the United Kingdom (police, fire, ambulance and coastguard) are handled by the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre based at RAF Kinloss. The centre is responsible for tasking and co-ordinating all of the UK's search and rescue helicopter teams.

The number of callouts tasked to Royal Marine Base Chivenor in each of the last five years is provided in the following table:

Number of callouts
  England Wales Maritime (1)

2006

168

101

24

2007

135

94

27

2008

150

84

27

2009

192

129

18

2010

189

133

17

2011(2)

128

107

10

(1) Maritime incidents are those that occur more than three miles out from the coastline. (2) Up to 31 October 2011.

Yemen

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2011, Official Report, columns 665-6W, on Yemen, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on whether units of the Yemeni security forces trained by the UK have been involved in human rights violations against protesters. [87947]

Mr Philip Hammond: I have not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on this matter.

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While there have been numerous allegations of human rights abuses being committed by elements of the Yemen Security Forces, on both sides of the political divide, we have seen no evidence confirming the involvement of units that have received UK training.

Scotland

Employment

13. Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effect of the autumn statement on levels of employment in Scotland. [88264]

David Mundell: As a result of the Autumn Statement, more than £500 million has been added to the existing Scottish budget by the UK Government which provides the Scottish Government with significant resources in these uncertain times.

Additional action, such as credit easing, will support small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland to create jobs, and help to build a stronger, more balanced economy.

Green Investment Bank

14. Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the likely benefits to Scotland of the green investment bank. [88265]

Michael Moore: I have had regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on the potential benefits to Scotland and the rest of the UK of the Green Investment Bank.

Once the bank is established it will play a vital role in the Government's efforts to develop the low carbon economy in the whole of the UK, including Scotland, and I have no doubt it will act as a significant spur to investment.

Co-operatives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps (a) his Department and (b) those bodies for which his Department is responsible are taking to mark UN Year of the Co-operative 2012; and if he will make a statement. [88609]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office will work closely with Cabinet Office, the Mutuals Taskforce and with Co-operatives UK to develop and take full advantage of opportunities to celebrate the achievements of co-operative organisations during the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives where those steps are compatible with the purposes for which Parliament has voted it supply.

Sovereignty

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his policy is on whether an in or out referendum on the future of the Union between England and Scotland is held as soon as possible. [88692]

David Mundell: It is the Government's clear view that the Scottish Parliament does not have the legal power to legislate for any referendum on independence. That is why the Secretary of State for Scotland published a

11 Jan 2012 : Column 307W

consultation to seek views on how to deliver a legal, fair and decisive referendum. I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Scotland of 10 January 2012,

Official Report

, columns 51-72.

Transport

A31

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the cost of the (a) delay to and (b) diversion of traffic arising from the closure of local roads leading to the Canford Bottom roundabout on the A31 in spring 2012. [88110]

Mike Penning [holding answer 10 January 201 2 ]: The cost of the delay to traffic arising from the closure of local roads is estimated at £343,000 per week. This is based on the DFT market value of £11.28 for an average vehicle being delayed per hour.

The cost arising from the diversion of traffic due to local road closures has been estimated at £245,700 per week. This is based on an average distance per vehicle of six miles at 45p a mile (a figure suggested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which includes fuel costs, wear and tear, insurance etc).

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her estimate is of the additional cost to the public purse of reducing by one week the period of total closure of access from local roads to the Canford Bottom roundabout on the A31; and if she will make a statement. [88113]

Mike Penning [holding answer 10 January 201 2 ]: The estimate of the additional cost to the public purse of reducing by one week the period of total closure of access from local roads to the Canford Bottom roundabout on the A31 is £360,000.

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) earliest and (b) latest time is (i) on each weekday and (ii) at weekends contractors will be working on the Canford Bottom junction improvement during the period when all other local roads are to be closed. [88129]

Mike Penning [holding answer 10 January 2012]: During the proposed programme of side road closures, our contractor will be working continuously from 7.30 am on Mondays day and night until 5.30 pm on Saturdays. On Sundays they will be working from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Coastguard Agency: Finance

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department plans to provide for the annual running costs of (a) the new Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) operations centre in Fareham and (b) existing MCA centres in the remainder of the comprehensive spending review period. [87961]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 308W

Mike Penning [holding answer 10 January 2012]: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will provide for the running costs of its estate (including the Maritime Operations Centre) within the departmental expenditure limits set out in Department for Transport’s comprehensive spending review. The detail of this is published in the MCA's Business Plan (Section E) which is available on the MCA's website

www.dft.gov.uk/mca

and in the Libraries of both Houses.

In respect of the new Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham the MCA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG); this is a statement of intent for both sides regarding the transfer of the Fareham site to the MCA.

This MOU does not stipulate any financial commitments; this is currently subject to ongoing negotiation between the MCA and the DCLG and has yet to be agreed. The Fareham site is an existing government property and therefore the MCA's use of it will be of net benefit to the UK taxpayer.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Databases

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the (a) minimum, (b) maximum and (c) average time taken by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to enter registered keeper details for new vehicles. [88546]

Mike Penning: The specific information requested is not recorded. The vast majority of new vehicles are registered through the Automated First Registration and Licensing system (88%), whereby all the information is transferred automatically from the manufacturers system to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's database. This update is instantaneous.

For those new vehicles that are registered manually via the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's local office network the entire transaction has to be keyed into the system. Although the average time taken to key just the keeper's name and address is 30 seconds, the complete transaction can take just over 17 minutes to complete.

Fuels: Sulphur

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether she plans to review the adoption of the International Maritime Organisations limit on sulphur content of marine fuels so that the UK is in line with other EU member states. [88542]

Mike Penning: The new sulphur limits for marine fuel that were agreed at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as part of the revision of Annex VI of the MARPOL convention also need to be incorporated into European legislation.

The UK, along with other European member states, is considering a draft proposal to align EU legislation to the MARPOL standard. Once EU legislation to this effect has been adopted, the Government will take the necessary steps to transpose it into domestic legislation, thereby also implementing the sulphur provisions of the revised MARPOL Annex VI in UK law.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 309W

M54: M6

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the case for connecting the M54 with the M6 toll road; and if she will make a statement. [88952]

Mike Penning: The statement of 26 October 2010, Official Report, column 177, by the then Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), “Investment in Highways and Local Transport Schemes” identified the M54/M6/M6 Toll Link road scheme as a ‘future scheme’ for potential construction in future spending review periods and as one of four schemes to be reviewed by the Highways Agency.

In conducting the review the Agency has looked again at the scheme options currently under consideration to ensure these remain the most appropriate. The business case for the scheme has also been revisited to ensure that it is as up to date as possible.

The Department for Transport is currently considering the allocation of development funding for the ‘future schemes’. This would see investment in a small number of schemes to progress pre-construction work and thereby maintain a pipeline of major investment in the strategic road network. Any announcements will be made in due course.

M6: West Midlands

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will hold discussions with local authorities in the West Midlands on the possibility of extending the M6 toll road. [88951]

Mike Penning: My officials regularly engage with authorities in the West Midlands, and would be willing to discuss the possibility of extending the M6 Toll.

Road Signs and Markings

Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans her Department has to make greater use of vehicle information signs on motorways and A roads to inform motorists of congestion, accidents and road closures; and if she will make a statement. [87695]

Mike Penning: Following the recent Traffic Signs Regulations review, undertaken by the Department for Transport, the Highways Agency now have greater ability to inform drivers about traffic conditions. For example, signs can now be set to;

Give advance warning of severe weather (up to 24-hours in advance of a forecast event),

Give multi-modal messages warning of delays to other forms of transport (for example a closure of an airport or major train station).

Furthermore, the Agency are continually improving their information provision to customers with initiatives such as:

Improved travel time legends to show the time it takes to travel between two points affected by congestion or delays.

Legends that can be set to inform drivers when a closed road will re-open.

Legends to inform drivers that a road has now re-opened.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 310W

Roads

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the importance of roads to (a) reducing congestion, (b) increasing road safety and (c) economic growth; and if she will make a statement. [88707]

Mike Penning [holding answer 10 January 2012]: The Department collects and publishes a range of official statistics related to traffic and the road network. Most of these statistics are summarised in “Transport Statistics Great Britain”, the Department's main annual statistical compendium publication, the 37th edition of which was published on 15 December 2011. Congestion related information includes changes to average speeds on local authority A roads and percentage of journeys deemed to be on time on the strategic road network.

The Government published a strategic road safety framework in May 2011, with a focus on high-risk groups in the short term and longer term benefits from technology and safer driving.

The Government's Growth Review and National Infrastructure Plan, published in November 2011, identifies transport as a key economic infrastructure sector and, through the Autumn Statement, an additional £1 billion of new investment will be used to tackle areas of congestion and improve the national road network.

Northern Ireland

Co-operatives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps (a) his Department and (b) those bodies for which his Department is responsible are taking to mark UN Year of the Co-operative 2012; and if he will make a statement. [88608]

Mr Paterson: As my Department has no policy responsibility for co-operatives in Northern Ireland—these are devolved matters for the Northern Ireland Executive—we have no opportunity to mark the United Nation International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.

Debt Recovery

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times his Department has used the services of debt recovery companies since May 2010; which companies were used; and if he will make a statement. [88372]

Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office has not used the services of debt recovery companies since May 2010.

Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what equality impact assessments his Department has carried out since May 2010; and for what purpose in each case. [88588]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 311W

Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office considers equality issues in exercising its functions, to comply with equality legislation and to ensure it understands how its activities will affect different people. In the specified period, the Northern Ireland Office has not undertaken any equality impact assessments.

Justice

Young Offenders: Health Education

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information is collected from prisoners on their (a) health and (b) education on entry to the secure estate; and whether any other information is collected on entry. [87920]

Mr Blunt: All newly arriving prisoners into prison are screened by a trained nurse or trained officer to assess their health needs and to ensure appropriate treatment. People with a mental health problem, or vulnerable to suicide, are referred for a mental health assessment.

Prisoners are also screened or assessed for literacy, language and numeracy skills and where a need is identified a referral is made to the establishment's education provider.

Other recorded details of newly arriving prisoners include the name and contact details of their next of kin or nominated contact, the prisoner's ethnic group, and their religion (including nil religion). Newly arrived prisoners also undergo a cell sharing risk assessment for potential harm from and to others and screening is also carried out to identify any risks of self-harm.

All prisoners must also be photographed in accordance with the National Security Framework. Features that will aid identification including tattoos, scars, and biometric data must also be recorded.

International Development

Apprentices

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding from the public purse has been allocated to sponsor apprenticeships in each of the public bodies for which his Department is responsible between (a) April 2010 and March 2011, (b) April 2011 and March 2012 and (c) April 2012 and March 2013. [88722]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development allocated funding to sponsor apprenticeships as follows:

April 2010 to March 2011: £20,000

April 2011 to March 2012: £10,000

April 2012 to March 2013: Not yet allocated.

Redundancy Pay

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much redundancy pay was paid to civil servants in his Department in each month between September and November 2011. [88000]

Mr Duncan: DFID spent the following amounts on voluntary redundancies between September and November 2011 in line with the terms of the Civil Service Compensation scheme.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 312W

  £

September 2011

154,580

October 2011

52,516

November 2011

138,452

Developing Countries: Agriculture

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department has spent on supporting agricultural production in developing countries in each year since 1997. [88517]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not measure aggregate spend on support for agricultural production, as a wide range of activities supported by DFID contribute directly and indirectly to agricultural production. However, support for increasing agriculture productivity has been a major focus of DFID’s agricultural research budget which has increased from £35.6 million in 2005-06 to £70 million in 2010-11, DFID's agricultural research budget has funded a wide range of research projects, including crop research by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a consortium of international agricultural research centres. CGIAR rice and maize breeding is attributed with lifting two million people out of poverty per year in India and 740,000 per year in Africa. DFID has also co-funded GALVmed (Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines) to make the vaccine for east coast fever (ECF) more accessible and affordable to livestock keepers. ECF is a tick-transmitted disease that threatens more than 25 million cattle across eastern and southern Africa each year.

Developing Countries: Biofuels

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to address the loss of agricultural land due to biofuel production in developing countries. [88326]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to ensuring biofuel production does not jeopardise food security of poor people in developing countries. We also recognise that biofuel production can play a positive role in promoting access to energy and agricultural development, providing the production systems benefit smallholder farmers and appropriate safeguards on land acquisition are in place.

Together with other Government Departments, DFID has been successful in ensuring that UK and EC policy takes into account the impact (positive and negative) of biofuels on developing countries. We are currently contributing to the Department for Energy and Climate Change's new bioenergy strategy (to be published later in 2012) to ensure biofuel feedstocks sourced from developing countries do not adversely affect food security, for example by converting land used for food production to biofuel production. It is worth noting that under the Government's renewable transport fuels obligation, which is the principal mechanism for increasing biofuel use, less than 0.1% of UK biofuel has been reported as coming from Africa since the obligation came into force in 2008.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 313W

Developing Countries: Business

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist the UK's bilateral partner countries to improve the conditions for doing business in their countries; if he will place in the Library examples of UK-funded development programmes that have improved business conditions in developing countries; if he will respond to the recommendations in the 2012 Doing Business Report; and if he will make a statement. [88766]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) is committed to making British international development policy more focused on boosting economic growth and wealth creation in developing countries. As part of this effort, 25 DFID country offices are implementing a wide range of business environment reform programmes that will improve the conditions for doing business in those countries. Moreover, DFID is supporting the Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa to work with governments, private sector and other stakeholders in 29 countries across the continent to reduce the time, costs and risks of doing business in those countries; information on these programmes and their results can be found on the ICF website:

www.icfafrica.org

The UK Government through DFID, together with several other donors, also provides funding to the World Bank Group's Investment Climate Advisory Services (FIAS), which provides advice and assistance to developing country governments in support of their follow-up reforms to the annual Doing Business reports.

I will place in the Library a document which gives examples of other UK-funded bilateral and multilateral development programmes which are improving business conditions in developing countries: ‘The Engine of Development, The Private Sector and Prosperity for Poor People’ (DFID, 2011). This report is also available on our website:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications1/Private-sector-approach-paper-May2011.pdf

Although the 2012 Doing Business report does not contain recommendations, DFID welcomes the report and its main findings. In particular, the global country ranking of the ‘ease of doing business’ is an influential way to stimulate reform in the countries where we work.

Education

Apprentices

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will assess the merits of subsidising wage costs from the public purse for apprentices aged 16 to 18 years. [82556]

Mr Hayes: The Government have announced that we will incentivise small employers who have not been previously engaged in the apprenticeships programme to take on their first young apprentices aged 16-24. Up to 40,000 places will be available.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 314W

Apprenticeships deliver strong value for money, with good progression in employment and continued learning. Small employers, who often do not have human resource departments, or dedicated training budgets, can find it more challenging to take on their first apprentice, providing an incentive payment to support them in doing so will enable them to offer new opportunities to young people.

Children: Disadvantaged

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education with reference to the Autumn Statement, how many disadvantaged two-year-olds in each (a) region, (b) local authority and (c) parliamentary constituency will receive 15 hours a week free early education and childcare. [87399]

Sarah Teather: The Autumn Statement provides that, by 2014, some 260,000 two-year-olds in England will be entitled to free early education.

The Government have announced that they plan to take a phased approach to the implementation of the new entitlement. The 20% most disadvantaged two-year-olds—around 130,000 children—will become eligible for free places from September 2013. The entitlement will then be extended to around 40% of two-year-olds—some 260,000 children—from September 2014.

The Government are currently consulting, until 3 February 2012, on the proposal that the first phase will include two-year-olds from families meeting the benefits criteria also used for free school meals, and looked-after children. The following table sets out the number of two-year-olds who would be likely to be eligible by local authority and region in this first phase. Numbers are not available by parliamentary constituency.

We will make a further announcement in due course about how we plan to determine eligibility for 40% of two-year-olds when the entitlement is extended from September 2014.

Number of families with a child aged two, with an income of £16,190 or less and receiving child tax credit, April 2011
  Number (to the nearest 100)

England

136,400

   

North East

7,900

Darlington

200

Durham

1,700

Gateshead

600

Hartlepool

400

Middlesbrough

600

Newcastle upon Tyne

900

North Tyneside

500

Northumberland

600

Redcar and Cleveland

400

South Tyneside

500

Stockton-on-Tees

700

Sunderland

1,000

   

North West

20,100

Blackburn with Darwen

600

Blackpool

500

Bolton

1,000

Bury

500

Cheshire East

600

Cheshire West and Chester

700

11 Jan 2012 : Column 315W

Cumbria

900

Halton

500

Knowsley

600

Lancashire

2,700

Liverpool

1,800

Manchester

2,300

Oldham

800

Rochdale

900

Salford

900

Sefton

500

St. Helens

600

Stockport

600

Tameside

700

Trafford

300

Warrington

400

Wigan

800

Wirral

1,000

   

Yorkshire and the Humber

14,700

Barnsley

800

Bradford

1,900

Calderdale

600

Doncaster

1,000

East Riding of Yorkshire

400

Kingston Upon Hull, City of

1,100

Kirklees

1,000

Leeds

2,300

North East Lincolnshire

600

North Lincolnshire

400

North Yorkshire

700

Rotherham

800

Sheffield

1,600

Wakefield

1,000

York

300

   

East Midlands

10,800

Derby

700

Derbyshire

1,600

Leicester

1,400

Leicestershire

900

Lincolnshire

1,800

Northamptonshire

1,700

Nottingham

1,200

Nottinghamshire

1,500

Rutland

   

West Midlands

16,800

Birmingham

4,700

Coventry

900

Dudley

900

Herefordshire

300

Sandwell

1,400

Shropshire

400

Solihull

400

Staffordshire

1,600

Stoke-on-Trent

1,100

Telford and Wrekin

600

Walsall

1,200

Warwickshire

1,000

Wolverhampton

1,100

Worcestershire

1,100

   

East of England

13,100

11 Jan 2012 : Column 316W

Bedford borough

500

Cambridgeshire

1,100

Central Bedfordshire

500

Essex

2,700

Hertfordshire

2,200

Luton

700

Norfolk

2,000

Peterborough

700

Southend-on-Sea

600

Suffolk

1,600

Thurrock

600

   

London

26,300

Barking and Dagenham

1,200

Barnet

800

Bexley

700

Brent

1,000

Bromley.

700

Camden

600

City of London

Croydon

1,400

Ealing

1,100

Enfield

1,400

Greenwich

1,100

Hackney

1,000

Hammersmith and Fulham

500

Haringey

1,000

Harrow

400

Havering

500

Hillingdon

900

Hounslow

900

Islington

800

Kensington and Chelsea

300

Kingston upon Thames

300

Lambeth

1,300

Lewisham

1,100

Merton

500

Newham

1,100

Redbridge

600

Richmond upon Thames

200

Southwark

900

Sutton

500

Tower Hamlets

1,200

Waltham Forest

1,000

Wandsworth

700

Westminster

600

   

South East

16,800

Bracknell Forest

300

Brighton and Hove

600

Buckinghamshire

700

East Sussex

1,100

Hampshire

2,100

Isle of Wight

300

Kent

3,300

Medway

700

Milton Keynes

800

Oxfordshire

1,000

Portsmouth

600

Reading

400

Slough

500

Southampton

900

Surrey

1,600

West Berkshire

300

11 Jan 2012 : Column 317W

West Sussex

1,300

Windsor and Maidenhead

Wokingham

200

   

South West

10,000

Bath and North East Somerset

200

Bournemouth

400

Bristol, City of

1,200

Cornwall

900

Devon

1,200

Dorset

700

Gloucestershire

800

Isles of Scilly—

 

North Somerset

400

Plymouth

700

Poole

300

Somerset

900

South Gloucestershire

500

Swindon

600

Torbay

400

Wiltshire

700

Notes: 1. These indicative figures are derived from a sample. Numbers at local authority level are relatively small, so are subject to statistical error. In forecasting eligibility for the two-year-old offer, local authorities may also want to draw on other available information, such as numbers and proportions of school age children known to be eligible for free school meals, and demographic projections. Please note that the table will have no figure where the number of children eligible within a local authority is less than 100. 2. Figures are estimates, subject to statistical error. 95% Confidence intervals for an estimate of 500 children are plus or minus 88 children; for an estimate of 1,000 are plus or minus 124; and for an estimate of 2,000 are plus or minus 175 (for couples with children, lone parents imply a larger confidence interval) 2. No adjustment is made to reflect that some families will have more than one child aged two. 3. Individual LA totals may not sum to regional or England total due to rounding. Source: HMRC http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

Early Intervention Grant

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much each recipient organisation received from the Early Intervention Grant in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [87729]

Sarah Teather [holding answer 20 December 2012]: The Early Intervention Grant (EIG) is an un-ring-fenced and un-hypothecated grant to local authorities in England which came into effect in April 2011. The grant replaced a number of funding streams to local authorities which ended in March 2011. The allocations for both 2010-11 and 2011-12 are available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/earlylearningandchildcare/a0070357/early-intervention-grant-frequently-asked-questions/

Email

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) he and (b) his special advisers (1) sought legal advice as to whether the deletion of private emails concerning Government business sent or received by him or his special advisers constitutes a breach of section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; [88073]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 318W

(2) have used private email accounts to discuss the possible dismissal of officials in his Department; [88074]

(3) used private email accounts to discuss (i) the free school application by Katherine Birbalsingh and (ii) any other free school application; [88075]

(4) used private email accounts to discuss the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme. [88076]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 10 January 2012]: The Department seeks legal advice on a wide variety of matters related to its functions, and Ministers and Special Advisers discuss a range of issues using different media. Legal advice is subject to legal professional privilege and the Department does not routinely disclose whether or not it has taken such advice on particular matters. The Information Commissioner published guidance on 15 December 2011 concerning information held in private email accounts. The Cabinet Office is considering this and will issue further guidance to Departments.

GCSE

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of pupils in (a) comprehensive and (b) independent schools achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE (i) in total and (ii) including English and mathematics in (A) 1997 and (B) 2010. [73233]

Mr Gibb: The available information is given in the following table.

Percentage of pupils in comprehensive and independent mainstream schools who achieved five or more A* to C grades at GCSE or equivalent in total and including English and Mathematics, 1997 (final) (1) and 2010 (revised) (1, 2)
  Comprehensive schools (3) () (,4) Independent mainstream schools (4)
  5+ A*-C grades 5+ A*-C inc. English and mathematics 5+ A*-C grades 5+ A*-C inc. English and mathematics

1997(5)

41.8

31.3

82.5

77.9

2010(6)

76.7

54.7

87.1

48.0

(1) Including attempts and achievements by these pupils in previous academic years. (2) iGCSEs, accredited as at January 2011, have been counted in 2010 figures as GCSE equivalents and also as English and maths GCSEs. (3) Including City Technology Colleges and Academies. (4) School type as recorded in the Secondary School Performance Tables. (5) Figures for 1997 are based on pupils on roll aged 15 at the beginning of the academic year. (6 )Figures for 2010 are based on pupils at the end of Key Stage 4. Source: Secondary School Performance Tables.

Only accredited iGCSEs are included in these measures for 2010. A large number of pupils in independent schools took unaccredited iGCSEs in mathematics in 2010.

The 2010 figures given here were published in the Statistical First Release “GCSE and Equivalent Results in England, 2009/10 (Revised)” at the following link

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000985/index.shtml

The equivalent information for 2011 was published on 20 October 2011 in the Statistical First Release “GCSE and Equivalent Results in England, 2010/11 (Provisional)”. This information can be found in tables 5 and 6 of this publication which is available at the following link

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001034/index.shtml

11 Jan 2012 : Column 319W

Pupil Premium: Pendle

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many students have benefited from pupil premium funding in Pendle constituency since April 2011. [84731]

Sarah Teather: Pupil premium funding is provided in respect of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, children in care who have been continuously looked after for at least six months and children whose parents are serving in the armed forces. In the Pendle constituency in January 2011 there were 2,241 pupils known to be eligible for FSM and 13 service children. The total number of pupils eligible for the pupil premium in the Pendle constituency may be higher, but it is not possible to identify the number of pupils in each parliamentary constituency recorded as being in care or recorded in the alternative provision census as, in both cases, the returns are provided at local authority level rather than at establishment level.

Cabinet Office

Charities: VAT

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will extend eligibility for the VAT refund scheme to charities who deliver public services under a contract with a public sector organisation. [88783]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

There are no plans to provide VAT refunds to charities delivering public services under a contract with a public sector organisation.

In many cases, EU VAT rules mean that it would not be necessary or possible to provide a refund scheme to any contracted provider of public services. The provision of any services under a contract, by a charity or a business, will normally be regarded as a business activity and thus within the scope of VAT. Therefore, if the services provided are taxable (in other words, they are not specifically exempted from VAT) the provider will be able to recover their VAT costs through the normal VAT system.

However, if the services provided are VAT exempt, any form of VAT refund is prohibited under EU VAT law. Where a provider does incur irrecoverable VAT in the provision of public services, these costs should be taken into account by the contracting public sector organisation when agreeing funding.

CyberCrime Prevention

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what (a) cyber and (b) physical steps he is taking to protect UK businesses and individual internet users from cyber infrastructure attacks. [88405]

Mr Maude: The Government takes the threat of cyber attacks very seriously which is why we have allocated additional funding of £650 million over four years to respond effectively to threats from cyberspace through the National Cyber Security programme.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 320W

The Government have a wide ranging set of measures in place to protect businesses and individuals from cyber attacks and our new national Cyber Security-Strategy published in November:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/cyber-security-strategy

sets out our plans for how we will improve the UK's cyber security and build confidence by creating a more secure and resilient cyberspace.

The Government also supports Get Safe Online, a joint government/industry initiative to raise awareness of internet security and educate and empower people and firms to protect themselves online.

EU Law

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many of the regulations his Department brought into force through (a) primary legislation, (b) secondary legislation and (c) other means originated from proposals by the European Commission in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. [88961]

Mr Maude: In 2010 and 2011, the Cabinet Office did not bring into force any regulations, by any means, originating from proposals by the European Commission.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions the ministerial group on the Big Society has met; what subjects were on its agenda at each meeting; and on what dates these meetings took place. [87537]

Mr Hurd: The informal ministerial group on Big Society and Localism has met three times on the following dates, considering the following agenda items:

21 July 2010:

The Big Society vision

Role of the adviser on Big Society

The compact

28 October 2010:

Locally integrated services

Spending review and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations

Big Society vanguard areas

16 March 2011:

Community budgets and locally integrated services

Community capability

Strategic communications

Energy and Climate Change

Co-operatives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps (a) his Department and (b) those bodies for which his Department is responsible are taking to mark UN Year of the Co-operative 2012; and if he will make a statement. [88603]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 321W

Gregory Barker: Departments will work closely with Cabinet Office, the Mutuals Taskforce and with Cooperatives UK to develop and take full advantage of opportunities to celebrate the achievements of co-operative organisations during the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives.

Specifically, DECC is working to support local communities to develop co-op structures for ownership of renewable energy infrastructure locally through our “Community Energy On-Line” website.

We have also just launched a programme for community energy called LEAF (Local Energy Assessment Fund) which is open to cooperatives and encourages communities to look at renewable energy options.

The Mutuals Taskforce has recently indicated it will play a co-ordinating role for Departments to support the International Year of Co-operatives, with Cooperatives UK leading the Taskforce's work in this area.