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Vetting: Trade Unions

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to prevent the blacklisting of workers for trade union activities. [89574]

Mr Davey: The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 make it unlawful, subject to certain exemptions, to compile, use, sell or supply “prohibited lists” (i.e. a blacklist). Data protection law provides additional protection against the misuse and mishandling of individuals' personal information.

Individuals may take action to enforce the law through several avenues, such as complaining to the court or the employment tribunal about blacklisting, or by reporting a breach of data protection law to the Information Commissioner.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Belarus: Political Prisoners

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to provide support for imprisoned political activists in Belarus. [89501]

Mr Lidington: The UK is at the forefront of efforts within the EU and the wider international community to put pressure on the Belarusian authorities to release and rehabilitate the political prisoners. I have made

16 Jan 2012 : Column 583W

clear in press statements and in this house my deep concerns about the health and welfare of the prisoners. These messages have been passed on directly to the Belarusian ambassador to the UK, Together with other EU states represented in Belarus, our ambassador in Minsk has asked for access to the prisoners on several occasions, to no avail. She has also made representations to the authorities about reports of the alleged ill-treatment of prisoners. In Belarus and in the UK we have been offering support to the relatives of the political prisoners. We will continue to pursue all means possible to press for the release of the prisoners, including by advocating tougher sanctions in the EU.

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Belarus on the case of Siarhei Kavalenka. [89502]

Mr Lidington: We have not made specific representations on Mr Kavalenka's behalf to the authorities, but our embassy in Minsk is monitoring his situation and our ambassador in Minsk has discussed it with human rights activists. We have expressed our concerns on many occasions and in many fora about widespread human rights violations by the authorities. We will continue to put pressure on Belarus to respect the international standards which it is obliged to fulfil as a signatory to the key international human rights legal instruments.

Speechwriters

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many speechwriters his Department employs at each pay grade. [89392]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) speechwriting team consists of four civil servants, who serve the FCO ministerial team of six Ministers, including the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague).

There is one officer at band D, two officers at band C and one officer at band B.

Departmental Official Visits

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department visited in an official capacity in 2011. [88857]

Mr Lidington: Details of ministerial travel are published on the Foreign and Commonwealth website at:

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

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries neither received a ministerial visit or a meeting in London with Ministers or senior officials of his Department in 2011. [88858]

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Mr Lidington: This information is not held centrally and would be obtainable only at disproportionate cost. Ministers and senior officials frequently meet counterparts from a wide range of countries across the world during the normal course of business.

Egypt: Politics and Government

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he (a) has had or (b) plans to have meetings with the leadership of the Freedom and Justice party in Egypt. [89079]

Alistair Burt: Our ambassador in Cairo met the president of the Freedom and Justice party in Egypt on 4 December. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has not met the leaders of the Freedom and Justice party to date, but the British Government will engage with all political parties who respect the democratic process and have a clear commitment to human rights, the rule of law and non-violence.

Falkland Islands: Sovereignty

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking at the UN in respect of Mercosur's closure of ports to vessels flying the Falkland Islands flag. [89897]

Mr Jeremy Browne: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), said in his written ministerial statement of 10 January 2012, Official Report, columns 5-6WS, we consider that the decision to close ports to ships flying the Falklands flag has no legal basis. While we do not accept Mercosur's announcement, our priority has been to ensure that trade and commercial links between the Falklands and South America are not compromised by this political declaration. Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have told us that all Falklands-related commercial shipping will continue to enjoy access to their ports, in accordance with domestic and international law, if they are flying the Red Ensign or another national flag when docked. We will continue to protest, at the UN and elsewhere, against Argentina's attempts to deny the people of the Falkland Islands their right to trade openly and without hindrance, including in our response to the letter circulated by the Argentine delegation to the UN on 3 January.

Foreign Policy

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish a list of the countries currently subject to country business plans. [89334]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office internally maintains country business plans for all states in which it represents the interests of the Government. These are used for internal planning in support of the Government’s foreign policy priorities and the Department's business plan which is available on our public website

www.fco.gov.uk

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Iraq: Christianity

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of reports of the persecution of Christians in Iraq and the security of acts of Christian worship, including over the Christmas period; what representations he has made to the Iraqi Government about the need to protect Christians in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [89894]

Alistair Burt: The security situation for Christians has generally improved over the past 12 months, although the situation facing Iraq's ethnic and religious groups remains precarious. We are not aware of any major attacks against Christians that occurred over the Christmas period, although some Christian services are reported to have been cancelled for security reasons. The Government of Iraq have pledged their commitment to safeguarding places of worship and providing adequate protection to all their minority groups, including increasing security on the streets of Baghdad. We continue to monitor the situation closely and have raised our concerns at the highest levels with the Iraqi Government. In the past, both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), have raised the persecution of Christians with the Iraqi Government, and I raised it most recently with the Iraqi Human Rights Minister on 12 January. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to fund project activity to promote religious tolerance. We have agreed to fund a further meeting of the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq, which seeks to bring together religious leaders from all faiths to combat sectarian violence.

Israel: Borders

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on its proposals to further extend parts of the security wall into Palestinian territory. [89498]

Alistair Burt: The British Government support Israel’s right to defend itself. However, where the security barrier is built on Occupied Palestinian land outside of green line Israel, its route is illegal according to both international and Israeli law.

I visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) between 8 to 10 January 2012, my third visit in the past year. Having seen the situation for myself, I raised our concerns with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, including the security situation in the west bank, access issues for Palestinians in the OPTs and the security barrier.

Our officials in Tel Aviv regularly raise the issue of the barrier with the Israeli authorities.

Israel: Prisoners

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the report submitted to the United Nations on 28 December 2011 on the use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention; and if he will make a statement. [89230]

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Alistair Burt: We are aware of this report which raises serious concerns about the treatment of children in Israeli detention facilities. We await to see how the UN responds. The treatment of children in detention in Israel is an issue of concern to the UK. Together with EU partners, the UK monitors the situation with regard to all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and raises our concerns with the Israeli Government as appropriate.

Kashmir: Politics and Government

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he (a) has had and (b) plans to have meetings with his Indian and Pakistani counterparts on peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. [89784]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), regularly speaks to his US, Indian and Pakistani counterparts about regional issues including relations between India and Pakistan. Officials in our high commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss India-Pakistan relations, including Kashmir, with their counterparts in both countries.

With the US and EU we recognise the importance of finding a lasting solution to the situation in Kashmir but it is not for third parties to prescribe one. It is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. A solution to the Kashmir dispute is something that both sides will need to develop.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on the number of checkpoints in the Gaza Strip. [89499]

Alistair Burt: I visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) on 8 to 10 January 2012, my third visit in the past year. During my visit, I discussed movement and access issues, including those relating to checkpoints, with the Israeli authorities. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), visited the region on 17-18 December 2011, including the Gaza Strip, and discussed movement and access issues across the OPTs.

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the operation of checkpoints in the Gaza Strip; and if he will make a statement. [89500]

Alistair Burt: I visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) on 8 to 10 January 2012, my third visit in the past year, during which I discussed movement and access issues, including those relating to checkpoints, with the Israeli authorities. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell) visited the region on 17-18 December 2011, including the Gaza Strip, and discussed movement and access issues across the OPTs.

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Our ambassador to Tel Aviv raises these concerns regularly with Israeli authorities. The issue of restrictions on Gaza was also formally raised by the UK at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting of donors in New York on 18 September 2011 both in the plenary session and in bilateral meetings with the Israeli delegation in the margins of the main event. We continue to work closely with the Quartet and EU partners, and to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Peace Negotiations

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the progress of Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks; and what steps he plans to take to facilitate a possible resolution. [88827]

Mr Lidington: Peace and stability in the Caucasus is an important objective for the Government. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk group leads the negotiations on behalf of the international community in finding a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In December the co-chairs of the Minsk Group (US, France and Russia) and the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents issued a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to peace and identifying areas of potential co-operation, such as a mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations.

We support the work of the Minsk Group and regularly discuss progress with them and the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan. We will continue to monitor developments closely. We have funded project work to 'Strengthen the groundwork or a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through close engagement with civil society in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh worth £1.06 million this financial year through the Conflict Pool (a fluid programme administered jointly by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development with the aim of preventing and managing conflicts).

Stephen Crouch

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings Ministers in his Department have had with Stephen Crouch since May 2010. [89158]

Mr Lidington: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones) on 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 157W.

Sudan: Ethnic Groups

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on UK support for the request that the submission from the Dinka Ngok people of Abyei Area be considered at the 80th session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. [89367]

Mr Bellingham: It is for the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as an independent expert body, to decide whether to consider this case.

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We are deeply concerned about the welfare of the 100,000 people who have been displaced from their homes in Abyei. We urge the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to implement their existing agreements in full, in particular the 20 June Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, and the 8 September decision of the Abyei Area Joint Oversight Committee. We also urge both parties to withdraw their armed forces fully, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and establish an Abyei Area Administration. This will allow security to be provided by the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei and displaced people to return home.

We call on the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to work together to find a peaceful long-term political solution to the status of Abyei. This should be resolved by negotiations between the parties in a manner consistent with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and not by the unilateral actions of either party.

Syria: Human Rights

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will impose travel bans and other sanctions on the 74 Syrian military and intelligence officers named in the Human Rights Watch report on individual and command responsibility for crimes against humanity in Syria; and if he will make a statement. [89229]

Alistair Burt: Of the 74 Syrian military and intelligence officers named in the December Human Rights Watch report, 17 are already subject to EU travel bans and a freeze on assets, including President Assad. A full list of individuals listed by the EU can be found on the HM Treasury website:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/syria.htm

Where the UK believes there is good evidence that an individual is responsible for violence and repression against the Syrian people, we will work with our EU partners to impose travel bans and asset freezes on them.

The UK has stated that those accused of the most serious of international crimes must be held to account for their actions. There must be no impunity and we will continue to work with our international partners to ensure this.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), made clear in his statement on 1 December, the ten rounds of EU sanctions, agreed to date, targeted on President Assad, his regime and those who support them with the aim of increasing pressure on the Syrian regime to stop the continuing violent repression of the Syrian people. I welcome these moves which send a clear message that the Syrian regime's actions have left it isolated.

Deputy Prime Minister

Sovereignty: Scotland

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps his Department is taking to prepare for the possibility of independence for Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [89464]

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Mr Harper: The Government are committed to keeping the United Kingdom together. Responsibility for constitutional issues relating to Scotland rests with the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for East Londonderry of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 480W, on domestic visits, on which dates he visited Wales; and for what purposes. [88637]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I have visited Wales twice, in an official capacity, since coming into office. The first occasion was a Town Hall event in Cardiff on 30 September 2010, and the second visit was for a Regional Cabinet meeting on 12 July 2011.

Work and Pensions

Apprentices

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work and training placements will be created in Ashfield constituency under the proposed youth contract scheme. [89471]

Chris Grayling: The youth contract is a national package of measures and the take up of work and training opportunities will depend on the level of need and demand in different locations. The breakdown of opportunities at constituency level is not available. The Department will monitor take-up as the policy is implemented and an evaluation strategy for the youth contract is currently being developed.

Debt Recovery

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. [88366]

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Chris Grayling: The volumes of debtors serviced by the debt recovery companies since May 2010, and the debt recovery companies used, are detailed in the following table:

Company Volume of debtors

CCS Collect

104,941

Credit Solutions

91,658

Fairfax

54,498

iQOR

96,966

Total

348,063

Data Source: Departmental Systems of the Commercial Management Team. This does not form official statistics but is derived from Management Information.

The Department uses external debt collecting agencies to help in the recovery of the more difficult cases.

Where the Department has been unsuccessful in seeking recovery and has exhausted the options available to enforce recovery; or has been unable to locate a customer, the case may be passed to a private sector partners.

Our partners will then attempt to trace the debtor and seek recovery as our agents. This will include taking civil enforcement action if necessary.

Legal action would be taken only in cases where customers will not pay; it would never be considered in cases where the customer cannot pay.

The Department is currently exploring opportunities to increase its levels of engagement with its private sector partners to further enhance our ability to recover outstanding overpayments.

Apprentices

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many apprentices were employed by each public body for which his Department is responsible between (a) April 2010 and March 2011 and (b) April and December 2011; and how many apprenticeships he expects each public body to sponsor between (i) January and March 2012 and (ii) April 2012 and March 2013. [88725]

Chris Grayling: The number of apprentices employed by each public body for which my Department is responsible for is as follows:

  April 2010 to March 2011 April 2011 to December 2011 January 2012 to March 2012 April 2012 to March 2013

Health and Safety Executive

0

0

0

10

Remploy Ltd

6

(1)6

(1)6

(2)

(1) These are the same six individuals throughout.( 2) Not yet known. Unable to provide information as all recruitment is subject to a planning approval process.

None of my Department's other public bodies have employed or anticipate employing any apprentices during the periods shown.

Additionally, the number of apprentices employed by Department for Work and Pensions is as follows:

(a) April 2010 and March 2011

During 2010-11, DWP did not employ any apprentices; however following agreement with the Permanent Secretary they did commence an apprenticeship programme for 75 existing staff.

(b) April and December 2011

In October 2011, DWP employed 107 apprentices between the ages of 16 to 24 from the unemployment register to support Get Britain Working.

The number of apprentices the Department for Work and Pensions expects to sponsor between:

(i) January and March 2012

DWP does not expect to employ any more apprentices between January and March 2012. They will continue to support the apprentices that they employed in October 2011.

(ii) April 2012 and March 2013

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DWP expects to employ a minimum of 100 apprentices aged between 16 and 24, between the dates stated.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. [88726]

Chris Grayling: The amount of funding available from the public purse which has been allocated to sponsor apprenticeships in each of the public bodies for which my Department is responsible for is as follows:

£
  April 2010 to March 2011 April 2011 to March 2012 April 2012 to March 2013

Health and Safety Executive

0

0

(1)166,000

Remploy Ltd

60,000

60,000

(2)

(1) The apprentices will be funded from within HSE's existing payroll allocation and amounts to the total above. (2) Not yet known. Unable to provide information as all recruitment is subject to a planning approval process.

None of my Department's other public bodies have employed or anticipate employing any apprentices during the period shown.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much funding his Department allocated to sponsor apprenticeships in his Department in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much such funding he plans to allocate in 2012-13. [89140]

Chris Grayling: In response to the parliamentary question asking the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith):

how much funding his Department allocated to sponsor apprenticeships in his Department in:

(a) April 2010 to March 2011—During the period concerned DWP paid for the assessment of 75 employees to undertake an apprenticeship programme, this was at a cost of £555,547;

(b) April 2011 to March 2012—The cost of the current group of recruited apprentices is £2,405,234; this includes recruitment and the strategic partner assessment costs;

and how much such funding he plans to allocate in 2012-13:

To take 100 apprentices through a full programme during the period April 2012 and March 2013 is expected to cost £4,186,578, including recruitment and strategic partner costs.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many apprentices were employed by his Department between (a) April 2010 and March 2011 and (b) April and December 2011; and how many apprenticeships his Department will sponsor between (i) January and March 2012 and (ii) April and March 2013. [89207]

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Chris Grayling: In response to the parliamentary question asking the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith):

how many apprentices were employed by his Department between:

(a) April 2010 and March 2011—DWP did not directly employ any apprentices; however following agreement with the Permanent Secretary they did commence an apprenticeship programme for 75 existing staff;

(b) April and December 2011—In October 2011, DWP employed 107 apprentices between the ages of 16 to 24 from the unemployment register to support Get Britain Working;

and how many apprenticeships he plans that his Department will sponsor between:

(i) January and March 2012—DWP does not expect to employ any more apprentices between January and March 2012. They will continue to support the apprentices that they employed in October 2011;

(ii) April and March 2013—DWP expects to employ a minimum of 100 apprentices aged between 16 and 24, between the dates stated.

Food Procurement

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on food purchased through its food and catering services in the last 12-month period for which information is available. [87001]

Chris Grayling: Since 1998 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) occupies the majority of its accommodation under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the PRIME Contract. Under the terms of this PFI the Department leases back fully serviced accommodation from its private sector partner Telereal Trillium. This covers a variety of facilities including, where appropriate, the provision of catering services which is delivered through Telereal Trillium's service partner Compass Group UK, trading as Eurest. Eurest undertakes all catering activity including food procurement for around 130 sites across the departmental estate. Where staff restaurant facilities are available, the Department would normally use these for the provision of any hospitality or working lunches required. For the remainder of the estate, these services would be procured locally on an ad-hoc basis.

The expenditure on officially provided food and refreshments for the period April 2010 to March 2011 was £572,236. However, the Department implemented a change in policy about the provision of refreshments and working lunches around June 2010, significantly reducing expenditure. Thus, for the most recent 12-month period available—from January to December 2011—the total spend is reduced to £134,577. As a further comparison, expenditure in the 12-month period from January to December 2009 was £883,649.

Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what equality impact assessments his Department has carried out since May 2010; and for what purpose in each case. [88593]

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Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions considers the effect on equality during the policy making process right through to implementation. It does this to ensure the needs of all groups of people are taken into account when we develop and implement a new policy or service or when we make a change to a current policy or service. It provides information about these considerations in various ways. In the specified period, this information was sometimes published in the form of an equality impact assessment, but not always as there is no legal requirement to publish such a document.

During this period the Department for Work and Pensions, including Jobcentre Plus, the Pensions Service and Disability Carers Service, published over 100 equality impact assessments that are available to the public online on the Department's website:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/impact-assessments/equality-impact-assessments

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Speechwriters

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many speechwriters his Department employs at each pay grade. [89390]

Chris Grayling: This Department employs one speechwriter at pay grade HEO(D).

Employment Agencies

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on recruitment agencies in each month since September 2011. [87972]

Chris Grayling: DWP spend on recruitment agencies since September 2011 was as follows:

£
  September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 Total

Hays Executive

10,000

6,945

0

16,945

TMP Worldwide

0

0

13,995

13,995

Capita Resourcing Ltd(1)

0

0

16,277

16,277

Capita Resourcing Ltd(2)

1,019,883

622,611

1,104,237

2,746,731

Total

1,029,883

629,556

1,134,509

2,793,948

(1) Capita Resourcing Ltd managed recruitment for the DWP Financial Management Development Scheme and Procurement Management Development Scheme. (2) Capita Resourcing Ltd also provides a managed service to DWP to supply interim personnel and specialist contactors on an agency basis. Agency workers are employed and paid by Capita. The figures represent the total fee paid to Capita by DWP including the fees paid by Capita to the agency workers.

DWP uses recruitment agencies to recruit to specialist posts where there is no internal expertise in specific sectors of employment.

Hays Executive managed a recruitment for members of the Social Security Advisory Committee.

TMP Worldwide managed a recruitment for Legal Professionals.

Employment Schemes

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of jobseekers who started on the flexible new deal entered employment up to (a) three months, (b) six months, (c) nine months and (d) 12 months after starting on the programme. [89982]

Chris Grayling: Flexible new deal providers were paid for jobs which lasted for 13 weeks (short job outcomes) or 26 out of 30 weeks (sustained job outcomes). Participants stayed on the programme for up to 12 months although three-month extensions were available.

The following figures are based on participants who started prior to September 2010 and hence could have spent a year on the programme prior to contract termination. They show the percentage of participants who achieved a 13-week job outcome which started within three to 12 months of their entry to flexible new deal.

Percentage of FND participants who achieved job outcome which started by : Percentage

3 months

10

6 months

16

9 months

19

12 months

21

Source: Provider Referrals and Payment System Management Information (December 2011).

Employment: Overseas Residence

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the proposed Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State; what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the directive on welfare and benefits payments; what estimate he has made of the total cost of implementing the directive's provisions relevant to his Department; and if he will make a statement. [89748]

Chris Grayling: The United Kingdom has not opted into this directive and is not therefore required to implement it.

Housing Benefit

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the June 2010 Budget, whether the estimated saving arising from the introduction of the social sector size criteria from 2013-14 took account of the effect of new rents charged at affordable market rent levels. [89337]

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Steve Webb: The policy on affordable rents was announced in the 2010 spending review.

Estimates of the savings likely to result from the introduction of the social sector size criteria have been based upon the information collected as part of the Family Resources Survey in 2008-09. Rent levels have been increased to reflect forecast increases in social sector rents, but take no account of the introduction of affordable rents.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people moving (a) into and (b) out of the social rented sector as a result of the introduction of the social sector size criteria from 2013-14. [89338]

Steve Webb: One of the aims of the social sector size criteria is to help increase mobility within the social rented sector. Figures from the English Housing Survey for 2009-10 suggest that only around 5% of tenants living in the social rented sector moved within the sector during the year.

Housing benefit claimants affected by the size criteria are likely to have a number of choices. This could include moving into work or increasing working hours. It could also involve claimants moving to alternative accommodation in the social rented sector, or possibly downsizing into smaller accommodation in the private rented sector. We are unable to accurately estimate the numbers moving out of, or into, the social rented sector as different claimants are likely to have different options available to them, and will respond in a variety of ways to the introduction of the size criteria.

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the June 2010 Budget, what methodology his Department used to determine the £490 million saving to the public purse arising from the introduction of the social sector size criteria from 2013-14. [89339]

Steve Webb: The method used to calculate savings from changes to housing benefit for working age social tenants contained within the June 2010 Budget report was published by HM Treasury in the Budget 2010 policy costings document.

The document can be found at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/junebudget_costings.pdf

Maternity Pay: Public Expenditure

Elizabeth Truss: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to the public purse was of statutory maternity pay (SMP) paid during the first six weeks of maternity leave; and what proportion this was of total SMP for the most recent period for which figures are available. [88907]

Maria Miller: In 2009-10, we estimate that employers recovered a total of £2.02 billion from the national insurance fund with respect to statutory maternity pay.

This figure is based on provisional employer returns to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and is subject to change following of late recoveries or adjustments.

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The employer returns do not detail how much of the total expenditure relates to the first six weeks of maternity leave. However, internal estimates place this at around £0.79 billion, accounting for almost two-fifths of total recorded SMP recoveries.

Pension Credit

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of tenants over pension credit age who will be affected by the size criteria reduction in benefit entitlement in each year in the period 2013 to 2017. [89336]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

The introduction of size criteria from 2013-14 for housing benefit claimants living in the social rented sector will only affect working-age claimants.

The age threshold for distinguishing working-age from pension-age for benefit purposes is generally based upon the qualifying age for pension credit. This age threshold is gradually increasing over time. A small number of claimants over this age threshold may choose to claim a working-age benefit, such as income-based jobseeker's allowance, instead of pension credit. These claimants would also be treated as working-age for housing benefit purposes.

For couples currently claiming housing benefit, both the claimant and their partner need to be under the qualifying age for pension credit to be treated as working-age. When universal credit is introduced, if either member in a couple is under the qualifying age for pension credit then the couple would be treated as working-age.

They would then be expected to access universal credit rather than pension credit.

It is intended that those already in receipt of pension credit at the point of change will be protected, and continue to receive pension credit as long as they continue to meet the other qualifying conditions.

Social Security Benefits: Overseas Residence

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to recent judgements by the European Court of Justice what his policy is on the application of the past presence test to benefit claimants living abroad. [89092]

Chris Grayling: The past presence test is a requirement in UK legislation that a person must have been in the UK for 26 out of 52 weeks before they make a claim to certain benefits.

The Court of Justice of the EU issued a judgment in the case of a young person who lived in Spain and applied for incapacity benefit (Youth) (Case C-503/09).

The court said that it is not acceptable for us to refuse to pay a benefit to a person who had lived in Spain for a number of years and thus did not meet the past presence condition, if they could otherwise demonstrate that they had genuine and significant links to the UK. The court found that the past presence test was too narrow in focus to determine the issue. We accept that, in relation to claims from abroad, it is therefore necessary to consider the claimant's links to the UK in accordance with the criteria outlined by the court in this case.

16 Jan 2012 : Column 597W

We are carefully considering the wider implications of the judgment, and will be issuing guidance in due course.

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of children in each age group who will be in households in receipt of universal credit once it is fully introduced. [89324]

Chris Grayling: The following table provides an estimate of the number and proportion of children broken down by age group who will be in households entitled to universal credit once it is fully introduced.

Age of child (a) Number of children in households entitled to universal credit (Million) (b) Proportion of children in each age group in households entitled to universal credit (%)

0 to 4

2.2

55

5 to 10

2.1

55

11 to 15

1.8

50

16 to 18

0.6

45

Total

6.7

50

The number of children has been rounded to the nearest 0.1 million and the proportion has been rounded to the nearest 5%.

These estimates have been made using the Department’s Policy Simulation Model, which is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS), and is consistent with the updated Impact Assessment for Universal Credit which was published in October 2011, where case load information was provided on the basis of entitlement.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what indicative forecasts he has made of the (a) amounts and (b) budget headings for spending under the universal credit programme in each of the next three years. [89983]

Chris Grayling: The 2010 spending review settlement included funding of £2 billion for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15. This is intended to meet all the costs of introducing universal credit including any increases in benefit expenditure, additional benefit administration costs in the transition period, the cost of IT development and implementation, communications, staff training and programme management.

The Department is currently forecasting to spend £105 million of the budget allocated to the implementation of universal credit in the financial year 2011-12. Plans for future year expenditure remain under development, alongside programme plans.

Work Capability Assessments

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to update the guidance issued to Atos on assessing claims by people living with HIV. [88905]

16 Jan 2012 : Column 598W

Chris Grayling: We are planning to review the guidance (evidence based protocol and learning set) on HIV/AIDS for Atos health care professionals this year.

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of proposed disability entitlement test on people living with HIV. [88906]

Maria Miller: The personal independence payment assessment is being designed to consider an individual's personal circumstances, their ability to participate in society and the support they need, rather than basing eligibility on any medical condition they may have. As such it is not possible to provide an assessment of how individuals with certain conditions, such as HIV, will be affected.

We are still developing the assessment criteria for personal independence payment and will be providing initial information on the second draft of the assessment criteria in advance of our debate on personal independence payment at Lords Report Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill.

It is our intention to begin a formal consultation on the assessment criteria in its entirety shortly which will provide individuals and disability organisations with a further opportunity to tell us their thoughts and further engage in the developmental process. Officials have previously met with the Terrence Higgins Trust and National Aids Trust and will seek to do so as part of the forthcoming consultation.

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent meetings he has had with HIV groups on planned changes to the work capability assessment. [89151]

Chris Grayling: Ministers and officials hold regular meetings about the work capability assessment (WCA) with a range of stakeholders including those representing people with HIV. The National Aids Trust were represented at the ministerial launch of the second Independent Review of the WCA on 24 November 2011.

The National Aids Trust are also part of the group of stakeholders Professor Harrington has asked to look at the way the WCA accounts for fluctuating conditions. Their report was submitted to the Department during late November and we are considering these proposals closely.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recommendations following a work capability assessment made by Atos (a) to place a claimant in (i) the support group and (ii) the work-related activity group and (b) finding a claimant fit for work were overturned by his Department when making an initial decision since the introduction of the assessment. [89981]

Chris Grayling: Decisions on entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) rest solely with the Department’s Decision Makers taking into account the medical assessment reports from Atos and any other relevant information.

16 Jan 2012 : Column 599W

The following table shows the recommendations made by Atos together with the final decision made by the DWP Decision Makers. For example, there were 597,100 claimants where the recommendation from Atos at initial assessment was ‘fit for work’, of these, 564,800 received a final fit for work decision, but 27,700 were assessed to be in the work-related activity group and 4,700 were assessed to be in the support group.

16 Jan 2012 : Column 600W

There were also around 24,000 clerical assessments where the Atos recommendation cannot be determined but the claimants subsequently received a decision from DWP.

The table presents data for all completed initial work capability assessments for ESA claims from October 2008 up to May 2011 (the latest data available).

    DWP decision
    FFW WRAG SG Total

Atos Recommendation

FFW

564,800

27,700

4,700

597,100

 

WRAG

600

212,600

4,200

217,500

 

SG

100

600

90,200

90,900

 

Unknown

10,000

12,000

2,000

24,000

 

Total

575,400

253,000

101,000

929,500

Note: All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100 and as a result may not sum to totals.

Work Programme

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he plans to undertake the next stocktake of Work programme providers. [89325]

Chris Grayling: The next stock take is due to be undertaken on 30 January 2012.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to publish the most recent indicative volumes for claimants entering the Work programme over the next five years. [89326]

Chris Grayling: This and future iterations of the indicative Work programme volumes (which will be updated twice per year in line with the OBR forecasting/Budget cycles) will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what data Work programme providers are required to collect to facilitate subsequent reporting in line with the requirements of the UK Statistics Authority. [89328]

Chris Grayling: DWP is developing official statistics on the information recorded by providers on the payment administrative system. The information collected is subject to regular validation checks to ensure providers are paid correctly for job outcomes and sustainment payments claimed, which in turn will help guarantee the accuracy of information which is released. Prior to the release of any figures DWP will perform extra validation checks to ensure that official statistics meet the appropriate standards for publication.

Providers have not been given specific instructions regarding the collation of data for the purpose of publishing official statistics, only that they should adhere to the code of practice which can be viewed via the following link:

http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/code-of-practice-for-official-statistics.pdf

In addition, the DWP ensures that the National Statistician's guidance on the use of administrative or management information is followed. This can be viewed via the following link:

http://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/national-statistician/ns-reports--reviews-and-guidance/national-statistician-s-guidance/use-of-administrative-or-management-information.pdf

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the (a) sufficiency and (b) scope of the information on claimants passed to Work programme providers by Jobcentre Plus; and if he will make a statement. [89980]

Chris Grayling: An independent evaluation of the Work programme has been commissioned that will gain detailed feedback from participants on their experience of the Work programme; the support they received, how it was delivered and which types of support were most effective in moving people into sustainable work. This will include specific questions about the handover of information between Jobcentre Plus and their Work programme provider and whether continuity of service was maintained. The evaluation will start later this year with the full report due to be published in 2014.

Cabinet Office

Cancer: Redditch

Karen Lumley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people aged between 13 and 24 were diagnosed with cancer in Redditch in the latest period for which figures are available. [90302]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people aged between 13 and 24 years have been diagnosed with cancer in Redditch in the most recent period for which data are available. [90302]

16 Jan 2012 : Column 601W

The latest available figures for newly diagnosed cases of cancer (incidence) are for the year 2009. Please note that these numbers may not be the same as the number of people diagnosed with cancer, because one person may be diagnosed with more than one cancer.

In the Redditch parliamentary constituency, which is coterminous with the Redditch local authority district, there were six new diagnoses of cancer(1) registered for persons aged between 13 and 24 years in 2009.

The latest published figures on the incidence of cancer in England are available on the National Statistics website at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases .html?definition=tcm%3A77-27454

(1) Cancer is defined using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes C00-C97 excluding code C44, non-melanoma skin cancer.

Death

Paul Goggins: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many deaths were registered in each constituent part of the UK in each of the last five years. [89958]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2012:

16 Jan 2012 : Column 602W

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths were registered in each constituent part of the UK in each of the last five years. (89958)

The following table provides the number of deaths registered for each constituent country of the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2010 (the latest year available).

Further information about the trends in mortality in the UK over the last 30 years, including age-standardised mortality rates for constituent countries, will be published on 20th January and will be available from the Office for National Statistics at:

http://ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/mortality-ageing/mortality-in-the-united-kingdom/mortality-in-the-united-kingdom-2010/mortality-in-the-uk-2010.html

More detailed information for each of the constituent countries is available separately. Annual figures on the number of deaths registered in England and Wales are available from the Office for National Statistics at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases. html?definition=tcm%3A77-27475

Figures for Scotland are available in the annual Vital Events Reference Tables produced by the National Records for Scotland at:

http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/vital-events/general/ref-tables/index.html

Figures for Northern Ireland are available in an annual statistical bulletin produced by the Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency at:

http://www.nisra.gov.uk/demography/default.asp23.htm

Number of deaths registered in the United Kingdom by constituent country, 2006 to 2010 (1,2)
Deaths (persons)
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

England

470,326

470,721

475,762

459,242

461,017

Scotland

55,093

55,986

55,700

53,856

53,967

Wales

31,083

32,148

32,066

31,005

31,197

Northern Ireland

14,532

14,649

14,907

14,413

14,457

(1) Figures include deaths of non-residents. (2) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year. Source: Office for National Statistics, National Records for Scotland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

Death: Greater London

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the perinatal mortality rate was for children in (a) Poplar and Limehouse constituency, (b) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and (c) nationally in the latest period for which figures are available. [89883]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the perinatal mortality rate was in (a) Poplar and Limehouse constituency, (b) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and (c) nationally in the latest period for which figures are available. [89883].

The latest available figures for perinatal mortality are for the year 2010. The table attached provides the perinatal mortality rates for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and for England and Wales in 2010.

Annual sub-national data on the number of deaths registered in England and Wales is available from the Office for National Statistics at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases. html?definition=tcm%3A77-27478

Figures for perinatal mortality in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in 2010 can be found in table 1a of the linked publication for 2010.

Perinatal mortality rates for the Poplar and Limehouse Parliamentary Constituency have not been given in line with the current ONS policy on protecting confidentiality with birth and death statistics available at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/best-practice/disclosure-control-policy-for-birth-and-death-statistics/index.html

Table 1: Perinatal mortality rates (1 ) with 95% confidence limits (2) for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and England and Wales (3) , 2010
    95% confidence limits
Area Perinatal mortality rate Lower limit Upper limit

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

7.8

5.5

10.8

       

England and Wales

7.4

7.2

7.6

(1) Perinatal deaths per 1,000 live births and stillbirths. (2) Confidence intervals are a measure of the statistical precision of an estimate and show the range of uncertainty around the estimated figure. Calculations based on small numbers of events are often subject to random fluctuations. As a general rule, if the confidence interval around one figure overlaps with the interval around another, we cannot say with certainty that there is more than a chance difference between the two figures. (3) Figures for England and Wales include deaths of non-residents.

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Apprentices

Mr Umunna: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how much funding his Department allocated to sponsor apprenticeships in his Department in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much such funding he plans to allocate in 2012-13; [89137]

(2) how many apprentices were employed by his Department between (a) April 2010 and March 2011 and (b) April and December 2011; and how many apprenticeships he plans that his Department will sponsor between (i) January and March 2012 and (ii) April and March 2013. [89206]

Mr Maude: Apprenticeships are a key feature of Cabinet Office skills and resourcing strategies. The Cabinet Office provides apprenticeships as a development opportunity for existing staff who are not already qualified to degree level; or as an appointment type for new recruits at entry level administrative grade or first line management.

Funding to support apprenticeships in 2010-11 was £59,165.53 to fund five apprenticeships. Funding to support apprenticeships from 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2012 was £140,022.16 to fund 10 apprentices. The Department plans to allocate the same level of funding in 2012-13 to support 10 new apprentices.

Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what equality impact assessments his Department has carried out since May 2010; and for what purpose in each case. [88574]

Mr Maude: My Department has complied with all legislative requirements.

Individual units are responsible for conducting equality impact assessments on relevant policies or services. The Cabinet Office does not hold records on individual impact assessments centrally. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Security

Mrs Moon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what (a) guidance and (b) training is in place for officials in his Department on the operation of protective marking schemes; and if he will make a statement; [89087]

(2) how many documents were protectively marked at each level of protection in each Government department in each year since 2005; [89843]

(3) what (a) guidance and (b) training he has put in place for officials to ensure that protective marking of documents is used for the purpose of national security and does not restrict the principles of open and transparent government; [90414]

(4) what monitoring of protectively marked documents takes place across Government departments to ensure that they are being appropriately classified. [90415]

16 Jan 2012 : Column 604W

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office Security Policy Framework (SPF), available on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/resource-library/security-policy-framework

provides Departments with comprehensive advice and guidance on all security matters, including the Government Protective Marking Scheme (GPMS). This guidance requires Departments to foster a professional and positive security culture by ensuring that staff are aware of departmental security policies and understand their responsibilities. Risk management underpins all HMG security controls, and there is a strong emphasis on ensuring that controls are only applied appropriately and proportionately.

Within the Cabinet Office itself staff are provided with guidance and trained on their responsibilities via induction courses and refresher briefings. Detailed advice is published on the Department's intranet site, and ad hoc reminders are issued when appropriate. Further guidance is provided on request by the Departmental Security Unit. Staff handling protectively marked information are given plain English guidance about security controls along with advice on how relevant legislation (such as the Official Secrets Act and the Freedom of Information Act) relates to their role. The appropriate application of the GPMS does not restrict the principles of open and transparent Government.

There is no central record of protectively marked documents or other assets and such information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Nor is there any central monitoring, however a light touch compliance regime requires Departments to provide the Cabinet Office with a robust level of assurance that security and information risks are being appropriately managed.

Internships

Luciana Berger: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what guidance is issued to Departments on the employment of unpaid interns. [89332]

Mr Maude: In line with the Social Mobility Strategy, only paid internships are permissible.

The civil service ran three paid Whitehall Internship programmes during 2011, targeted at the following groups:

Undergraduate/Graduate level

College level

Secondary school

In addition, individual business units have provision to also run their own departmental paid internship schemes.

Disadvantaged

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office by what means his Department measures levels of (a) social mobility and (b) social inequality; and if he will make a statement. [88780]

Mr Hurd: “Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility”, launched by the Deputy Prime Minister in April 2011 developed a set of leading indicators of likely future trends in social mobility. These indicators, and the policy needed to deliver against

16 Jan 2012 : Column 605W

them, are owned by the relevant Departments and included in their business plans. The document is available at

http://www.dpm.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files_dpm/resources/opening-doors-breaking-barriers.pdf

The Social Justice Cabinet Committee, chaired by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, focuses on issues relating to poverty, equality and Social Justice, and facilitates cross-Government working and scrutiny of policies for their effects on some of the most disadvantaged groups in society.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for (a) Education, (b) Business, Innovation and Skills, (c) Communities and Local Government and (d) Health on social inequality between (i) May 2010 and May 2011 and (ii) June and December 2011. [88781]

Mr Maude: Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on the Cabinet Office website at:

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

As has been the practice of previous Administrations, information relating to internal Government meetings, discussions and advice is not normally disclosed. Disclosure of such meetings would inhibit free and frank discussions between Ministers.

Honours

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people in each parliamentary constituency (a) were nominated for and (b) received an honour in (i) the 2011 New Year Honours list and (ii) the Queen's Official Birthday Honours list 2010. [89068]

Mr Maude: The Honours and Appointments Secretariat, which is responsible for the operation of the honours system, does not hold information about honours nominees or honours recipients in the format requested. The Secretariat does not hold centrally geographical information about every honours nominee because not all nominations are made directly to the Secretariat. Full geographical information for all honours recipients is held centrally, but not broken down by parliamentary constituency.

Public Sector: Manpower

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the change in the proportion of working age population employed by the public sector in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland between 2001 and 2011. [89449]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated January 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking, what estimate has been made of the change in the proportion of working age population employed by the public sector in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland between 2001 and 2011. 89449.

16 Jan 2012 : Column 606W

Estimates of regional employment for the UK public sector are published on a quarterly basis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). These estimates are only available on a consistent basis back to 2008.

Mid-year population estimates for the UK are published annually by ONS. Mid-2010 estimates were published on 30 June 2011 and are the latest available. Data for 2011 are based on 2010-based national population projections published on 26 October 2011.

The requested data for the period 2008-2011, for which consistent data are available, are attached at Table 1.

Table 1: Regional public sector employment rates as a percentage of the working age population (16 to 64 years) (1, 2, 3)
Percentage of working age population
  2008 2009 2010 2011 (4)

England

14.4

15.0

14.9

14.3

Wales

17.9

18.4

18.2

17.7

Scotland(5)

17.5

18.5

18.1

17.3

Northern Ireland(6)

19.5

20.0

19.6

19.0

(1 )Annual figures relate to June quarter (Q2). (2 )Rates are based on ONS's official estimates of Public Sector Employment. These estimates exclude approximately 40,000 public sector employees that could not be assigned to a region. (3 )Public Sector Employment estimates are based on where people are employed, whereas mid-year population estimates are based on country of residence. (4 )Working age population estimates for 2011 are based on 2010-based national population projections. (5 )Public sector employment estimates for Scotland are provided by Scottish Government to ONS on a quarterly basis. (6 )Estimates for Northern Ireland will differ to those published by DETINl. The ONS figures include HM Forces Personnel.

Children

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much funding his Department provided to (a) Action on Addiction, (b) Adoption UK, (c) the Adoption and Fostering Information Line, (d) the Child Bereavement Charity, (e) Well Child and (f) each of East Anglia's childrens hospices in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [89767]

Mr Hurd: In the financial year 2010-11 and up to the end of December in 2011-12, the Cabinet Office has not directly funded Action on Addiction, Adoption UK, the Adoption and Fostering Information Line, the Child Bereavement Charity, or Well Child.

Cabinet Office systems cannot identify whether funding has been provided to East Anglia's Children's hospices without the names of individual organisations.

International Development

Arms Trade

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure a transparent reporting mechanism and effective monitoring and verification procedures are part of any agreement on the Arms Trade Treaty. [88051]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I refer the hon. Member to the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 74W.

16 Jan 2012 : Column 607W

The Government's commitment to transparent export controls is demonstrated through the publication of the UK's annual report on strategic export controls. The UK continues to argue for effective transparency mechanisms within an arms trade treaty, both on the treaty's application and its implementation, and regularly raises the issue in its meetings with other states and during the UN negotiations.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution his Department is making to developing policy on the inclusion of import, export, re-export, transit, transhipment, brokering activities and the gifting, loan or lease of arms within the terms of the arms trade treaty. [88058]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: I refer the hon. Member to the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) on 10 January 2012, Official Report , column 75W.

The UK supports an arms trade treaty (ATT) with a broad scope that covers a range of activities and transfers. The cross-Whitehall team on ATT has held a number of technical meetings on different aspects of the treaty, including how different types of transfer and activity could be dealt with by an ATT, and these meetings will continue as we approach the UN conference in July 2012.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department provides (a) training and (b) detailed briefings on the arms trade treaty to staff working in overseas posts; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the treaty is raised in all relevant bi-lateral meetings. [88615]

Mr Duncan: I refer the right hon. Member to the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 75W.

The UK maintains a leading global position on an arms trade treaty (ATT), and regularly provides updates and briefing on the treaty to overseas posts and senior officials. The ATT is regularly raised in bilateral and multilateral meetings with states, and this outreach will intensify as we approach the crucial negotiating conference in July 2012.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contribution his Department has made to policy development on including small arms, light weapons and ammunition within the terms of the arms trade treaty. [88616]

Mr Duncan: I refer the right hon. Member to the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 75W.

The UK supports a comprehensive scope for an arms trade treaty (ATT), including small arms and light weapons and ammunition. The cross-Whitehall team on ATT has held a number of technical meetings on different aspects of the treaty, including on the treaty's

16 Jan 2012 : Column 608W

scope, and these meetings will continue as we approach the UN conference in July 2012.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to ensure negotiations for an arms trade treaty in 2012 include representatives from civil society and non-governmental organisations. [88620]

Mr Duncan: I refer the right hon. Member to the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 76W.

Civil society and non-governmental organisations have played a crucial role in the progress made on an arms trade treaty (ATT) so far, including through regular meetings with UK officials and by providing a representative on the UK ATT team. Alongside Ambassador Moritan of Argentina, the Chair of the UN process on ATT, the UK has worked to ensure that civil society retain a voice in the UN Preparatory Committee meetings, and we will continue to support this approach at the UN conference in 2012.

Bhutan: Overseas Aid

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department gave to Bhutan in 2011. [88842]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) does not have a bilateral assistance programme with Bhutan. DFID focuses its bilateral aid in 27 countries where we believe our support will have the biggest impact and where the need is greatest.

DFID does however provide financial support to a wider range of countries, including Bhutan, through our increasing contributions to multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and the International Financial Institutions. The estimated UK share of multilateral aid to Bhutan was £1,020,000 in 2009, the latest year for which such figures are available. Statistics on UK aid are published in DFID's annual report and accounts which may be found on the DFID website:

www.dfid.gov.uk

Departmental Location

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries his Department had directly-employed and posted staff in 2011. [88841]

Mr Duncan: Details of the countries in which the Department for International Development (DFID) had employees on DFID postings, as at 31 December 2011, are shown in the following list:

Afghanistan

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belgium

Bosnia

Brazil

Burma

16 Jan 2012 : Column 609W

Burundi

China

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ethiopia

Ghana

Guyana

India

Indonesia

Iraq

Jamaica

Israel (inc. Palestine Occupied Territories)

Kenya

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Libya

Malawi

Montserrat

Mozambique

Nepal

Nigeria

Pakistan

Rwanda

Serbia

Sierra Leone

South Africa

South Sudan

St Helena

Sudan

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Turks and Caicos Islands

Uganda

Vietnam

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe.

Speechwriters

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many speechwriters his Department employs at each pay grade. [89411]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development employs one speechwriter at A2 grade.

Departmental Records

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is on record keeping for official meetings. [89045]

Mr Duncan: In line with the Civil Service Code, our policy is to create accurate records of official meetings where substantive issues are discussed.

Departmental Responsibilities

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the terms of reference are for the dedicated private sector team in his Department. [89157]

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Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Private Sector Department was established in January 2011 as part of the coalition Government’s commitment to support vibrant, resilient and growing business sectors in the poorest countries.

The context, vision and anticipated results of the Private Sector Department are set out in its operational plan available here:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications1/op/priv-sect-dept-2011.pdf

Further information on the Department for International Development’s work with and on the private sector can be found in the 2011 publication, “The engine of development”, available here:

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

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what new projects related to (a) property rights, (b) microfinance, (c) small and medium-sized enterprise finance and (d) investment climate reform have been developed following the commitment in section 3.1(ii) of his Department's most recent business plan. [89159]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Property rights feature in three of several programmes developed on investment climate. Two programmes are in implementation: (i) the Facility to Utilise UK Specialist Expertise from UK Government departments (iFUSE) and (ii) a programme to strengthen regulatory and planning capacity for infrastructure development in Mozambique. The design of a third programme in Nigeria was strengthened to improve impact. The development of three additional programmes in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania is advanced while a new programme is at an early stage of development in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several financial sector programmes have been developed, which incorporate microfinance and small and medium sized enterprise (SME) finance components. These include new financial sector development programmes in India and Zimbabwe and two centrally funded multi-country SME finance and microfinance initiatives. Other financial sector programmes in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia are in the advanced stages of design.

Developing Countries: Agriculture

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his Department's policy is on support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. [88038]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: Ministers are considering whether providing funds for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program would represent value for money and make a significant, additional contribution to our support for agriculture and food and nutrition security in developing countries.

Developing Countries: Education

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has any plans to introduce voucher schemes to access education in

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any of his Department's programmes up to 2015. [88039]

Mr Duncan: DFID is interested in all programmes or schemes which increase the number of boys and girls gaining access to basic education and are cost-effective for the UK taxpayer. Where the barriers to education (particularly for girls) are financial we will help to find a way to overcome them including, for example, through voucher schemes or stipend programmes targeted at girls. These schemes put purchasing power in the hands of the poor. DFID is currently assessing the use of voucher schemes in India and Pakistan.

For example, DFID's support to the Punjab Education Foundation delivers quality education to one million children through its Foundation Assisted Schools as well as Voucher Programmes. The Voucher Programme, designed specially to support out of school children, is being expanded to all 36 districts of Punjab and will support 300,000 children in the next three years.

Developing Countries: Elections

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to his Department's Business Plan, in which countries his Department is supporting electoral processes. [88041]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: DFID's Business Plan for 2011-15 commits to supporting at least 13 countries to hold freer and fairer elections. In addition to supporting elections, DFID programmes work to strengthen democratic institutions such as parliaments, and improve political participation by marginalised groups such as women.

Currently DFID has programmes to support electoral processes and democratic institutions in 13 countries:

Afghanistan;

Bangladesh;

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC);

Ghana;

Kenya;

Malawi;

Mozambique;

Nigeria;

Pakistan;

Sierra Leone;

Tanzania;

Uganda; and

Zambia.

During 2011 these programmes supported elections in DRC, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. New programmes are being planned in Yemen for the interim presidential elections, and in Nepal and Zimbabwe, subject to elections being announced.

Food Aid

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on the Charter to End Extreme Hunger. [89560]

Mr Duncan: The Government supports the Charter to End Extreme Hunger's aim to reduce the likelihood of crises such as that currently affecting the Horn of Africa taking place in the future. In at-risk areas such as

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the Horn, we are already supporting the strengthened warning systems, resilience to disasters and stability that the Charter calls for. In Ethiopia, for example, we are helping 7.8 million people to break their need for emergency aid by providing support before food insecurity reaches famine levels.

Analysis conducted by the Department for International Development concluded that of the Charter's 13 commitments, the Government are already carrying out seven and considering another two. The four remaining commitments we deem to be unworkable. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), wrote in November to the non-governmental organisations behind the Charter to express the Government's appreciation for their vital work and to note that he will take appropriate opportunities to express publicly his support for the Charter's aims.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will endorse the Charter to End Extreme Hunger. [89663]

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make it his policy to endorse the Save the Children Charter to End Extreme Hunger. [89794]

Mr Duncan: The Government support the Charter to End Extreme Hunger's aim to reduce the likelihood of crises such as that currently affecting the Horn of Africa taking place in the future. In at-risk areas such as the Horn, we are already supporting the strengthened warning systems, resilience to disasters and stability that the charter calls for. In Ethiopia, for example, we are helping 7.8 million people to break their need for emergency aid by providing support before food insecurity reaches famine levels.

Analysis conducted by the Department for International Development concluded that of the charter's 13 commitments, the Government are already carrying out seven and considering another two. The four remaining commitments we deem to be unworkable. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), wrote in November to the non-governmental organisations behind the charter to note therefore that while the Government will not formally endorse the charter, he will take appropriate opportunities to express publicly his support for the charter's aims.

International Assistance: Pilot Schemes

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development in which countries the (a) Results-Based Aid and (b) cash-on-delivery contracts pilot schemes are running; and when he expects to announce his Department's assessment of the pilot schemes. [89156]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Department for International Development (DFID) is developing innovative results based aid (RBA) pilots to test this new approach and develop an evidence base of what works. We have designed three pilots and are planning more. We are the first donor to implement the Cash on Delivery model—a form of RBA originally devised by the Centre for

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Global Development—through an education pilot in Ethiopia. We have another education RBA pilot in Rwanda and a health RBA pilot in Northern Uganda. Rigorous independent evaluation is built in to all our pilots. Our pilots are just starting, and will have to run for two to three years to generate robust evidence. Results from these evaluations will be available from mid to late 2014.

International Citizen Service

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the (a) set-up and (b) running costs of the International Citizen Service. [88042]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: In 2011, DFID launched a one year pilot phase of the International Citizen Service (ICS) offering 1,250 young people a chance to volunteer in developing countries. The cost of the pilot phase to DFID is £9 million.

The independent mid term evaluation of the ICS Pilot, completed by ITAD in October 2011, found that the costs of the ICS pilot were justified, though it noted that economies of scale could be achieved in a few areas as the programme increased in size.

DFID is using these findings to inform the ongoing tender process for the full programme to ensure that value for money is achieved. The full programme will offer a chance for 7,000 young people to volunteer in developing countries.

Overseas Aid

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to his Department's Business Plan, what progress his Department has made in discussions with other Government departments on a joint approach to enhance British soft power. [88040]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence are drawing up a strategy outlining the UK Government's approach to soft power. We aim to publish this strategy later in the year.

Reviews: Internet

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department has made in establishing an internet-based evidence bank of quality-assessed evidence papers and systematic reviews as proposed in section 2.1(iv) of its most recent business plan. [89155]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: An intranet-based evidence base of quality-assessed evidence papers and systematic reviews has been established and is now available to the Department for International Development (DFID) staff. We are developing and refining the database. In addition all quality-assessed evidence papers and systematic reviews funded by DFID are publically available for free download from the Research for Development section of DFID's website.

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UN Central Emergency Response Fund

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on European co-ordination of donations to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund; [88838]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on EU contributions to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. [88839]

Mr Duncan: The UK is leading the way in contributing to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which was assessed as good value for money in the UK's Multilateral Aid Review and has been shown to contribute to a more effective humanitarian system by helping to save more lives in the critical first hours after a disaster hits. Many other European countries are significant contributors to the CERF. I recently called upon all our international partners, including European partners, to ensure that the CERF remains fully funded. In 2012 we exceptionally allocated an additional £20 million to CERF for 2012 from our 2011-12 budget.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what comparative assessment he has made of the UK contribution to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and that of (a) France, (b) Germany, (c) Korea, (d) Japan and (e) the US. [88840]

Mr Duncan: The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was assessed as good value for money in the UK's Multilateral Aid Review and has been shown to contribute to a more effective humanitarian system by helping to save more lives in the critical first hours after a disaster hits.

Recognising the CERF's vital role, the Department for International Development recently agreed a package of predictable multi-year funding set against the CERF's UN mandated funding target. The UK is leading the way in contributing to the CERF and we exceptionally allocated an additional £20 million to CERF for 2012 from our 2011-12 budget. We have called on all other partners to increase their contributions to this vital fund.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the UK economy of compliance with a possible future EU target of reducing carbon emissions by 30 per cent. [89224]

Gregory Barker: We are in discussion with the European Commission and our EU partners to develop a shared understanding of how an EU 30% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target would be split between member states, as well as assessing options for delivering the UK's share, and therefore what the precise economic implications for each member state might be.

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A full assessment of the potential effect on the UK economy can only be provided when the EU has concluded negotiations on whether and how to move to a 30% GHG reduction target.

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what economic assessments of the impact of proposed UK emissions reductions were prepared for the British delegation to the Copenhagen conference in 2009. [89481]

Gregory Barker: In July 2009, the previous Administration published a Low Carbon Transition Plan and an accompanying analytical annex that set out how the UK would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet our first three carbon budgets and the cost to the UK of doing so, consistent with reducing emissions by at least 34% by 2020.

Were we to move to a higher 2020 target and set new carbon budgets consistent with that, then the Climate Change Act requires that we publish our proposals and policies for delivering those emissions reductions as soon as is practicable following the setting of new budgets in legislation. As EU negotiations on whether to move to a higher target are ongoing, and there is no agreed EU methodology yet for moving to 30%, we continue to assess the impact on the UK of moving to a higher target against a range of possible scenarios.