some default text...

Business, Innovation and Skills

Assisted Areas: Northern Ireland

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when the Government plan to publish their response to the consultation on

21 Mar 2012 : Column 749W

removing Northern Ireland's 100% automatic assisted area status from the Industrial Development Act 1982. [100792]

Mr Prisk: Following ministerial level discussions between this Department and the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Northern Ireland we are aiming to publish the Government's response shortly.

Construction

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of output in the construction industry in January 2012; if he will take steps to boost growth in construction output; and if he will make a statement. [100147]

Mr Prisk: Non-seasonally adjusted data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 9 March 2012 showed that output in the construction contracting sector fell by 12.3% on the month in January, following an 11.8% monthly decline in December (seasonally adjusted ONS data are not available for January).

The best way to help the construction industry is by creating a balanced model of economic growth. We are doing this through our Plan for Growth.

The Government are acting positively to strengthen the industry including reforming the planning system, modernising public sector procurement and setting out the first National Infrastructure Plan (NIP), which will unlock up to £200 billion of public and private investment. The NIP sets out a clear pipeline of over 500 infrastructure projects that will be built over the next decade and beyond, including indentifying the 40 priority projects considered most critical for growth

Announced as part of the Housing Strategy were a number of measures which will make it quicker and easier to get developments off the ground including a mortgage indemnity scheme.

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Housing and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), jointly announced that from 12 March the mortgage indemnity scheme will allow prospective first time buyers to obtain mortgages on newly-built properties with just a 5% deposit. The NewBuy Guarantee will support an estimated 50,000 jobs in construction and related industries by increasing demand for newly-built homes.

Another initiative is the £420 million Get Britain Building Fund to help get stalled sites moving again and £500 million Growing Places Fund to provide infrastructure support. It was announced in February that the Growing Places Fund has been allocated to the country's 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships, who will now decide what to prioritise locally.

Digital Technology

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how his Department defines the term digital economy. [101226]

Mr Prisk: This area of responsibility was transferred to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 18

21 Mar 2012 : Column 750W

January 2011 as set out in the written ministerial statement made by the Prime Minister,

Official Report

, columns 35-36WS.

English Language: Qualifications

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to develop alternative qualifications below Level 1 for English for speakers of other languages; and if he will make a statement. [100865]

Mr Hayes: This Department is currently considering the future shape and content for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications.

Exports: Angola

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the value was of UK exports to Angola in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [100692]

Mr Prisk: UK exports of goods to Angola were: £535 million in 2010 and £376 million in 2011 UK exports of services to Angola were: £781 million in 2010. 2011 figures are planned for release in July 2012.

Sources:

HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics (Goods) and ONS Balance of Payments (Services)

Exports: Niger

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the value was of UK exports to Niger in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [100693]

Mr Prisk: UK exports of goods to Niger were: £3 million in 2010 and £8 million in 2011. UK exports of services to Niger were: £21 million in 2010. 2011 figures are planned for release in July 2012.

Sources:

HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics (Goods) and ONS Balance of Payments (Services)

Foreign Investment in UK

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) regional inward investment agencies and (b) local economic partnerships which have signed a memorandum of understanding with his Department now have access to international pipeline markets. [99019]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 12 March 2012]: The impending abolition of the regional development agencies means that none have had, or will have, access to the single national pipeline.

Currently, there are 15 local economic partnerships, and their nominated delivery partners, that have direct access to the pipeline.

21 Mar 2012 : Column 751W

ICT

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken on adopting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Internet and Communications Technology Forum to (a) increase Government investment in broadband, (b) increase Government investment in cutting-edge, innovative ICT education in schools, (c) train and retain highly-skilled ICT students and professionals and (d) develop a strategy to encourage take-up of ICT by small and medium-sized enterprises to encourage their own growth; and if he will make a statement. [100341]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 19 March 2012]: In adopting the recommendations of the Parliamentary Internet and Communications Technology Forum the Government are:

(a) Funding £630 million of investment in rural and urban broadband in this spending review period, with match funding from local authorities. £300 million of additional investment from the TV licence fee is already secured in the next spending review period and decisions on the use of this funding will be taken nearer the time.

(b) Currently consulting on the proposal to disapply the existing programmes of study, attainment targets and statutory assessment arrangements for ICT from September 2012. This is part of the Government's wider policy on technology in schools, and is intended to reinvigorate ICT in the curriculum through enabling schools to innovate and use their creativity to teach ICT in a way that really meets the needs of their pupils. While the proposed policy does not constitute direct Government financial investment in cutting edge ICT education in schools, if implemented it will provide schools with the freedom to develop more their own more creative and challenging programmes of study—drawing on support and advice from those best positioned to judge what an ambitious and forward-looking curriculum should contain. We know that a number of leading organisations in the IT field are already developing resources and courses which schools can use to enhance their ICT curriculum provision so that it better equips pupils with the higher-level technological skills needed for progress into further study and employment within the IT industry. We anticipate that in response to the proposed disapplication of the ICT programme of study, other organisations will also produce and market resources and support services to schools to help them strengthen their ICT curriculum offer to pupils.

The Government are also continuing to support better quality ICT teaching. Between the period 2011 and 2013 we will have invested a total of £3.75 million to support the regional centres that provide professional development opportunities for ICT teachers delivered by the VITAL consortium, comprising the Open University and e-skills UK (the Sector Skills Council for IT). We will also be continuing to fund continuing professional development (CPD) for ICT teachers until March 2013.

(c) The Government currently invest significant funds to support the development of IT skills through the education system. This ranges from the apprenticeships offer, to higher education including funding for provision

21 Mar 2012 : Column 752W

of the highly regarded IT Management for Business degree, designed by over 60 leading businesses and e-skills UK.

In addition, e-skills UK, in partnership with industry, is seeking to identify a number of interventions they believe are key to overcoming barriers to developing the skilled individuals required by the sector. They have recently bid successfully for Government funding, provided through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, to advance a number of key projects to help employers develop better links with universities, addressing both the quality of degree courses and to help develop students with the skills required by business; raise the quality and demand for IT apprentices in SMEs; and develop a framework for a high level apprenticeship which was launched in February this year. These initiatives, alongside the existing professional placement scheme, should assist the industry secure quality IT professionals.

(d) Through a national pilot programme of 16 “bootcamp” events and web broadcasts, over 4,500 SMEs are being trained to make greater and more effective use of the internet and associated technologies to help them boost productivity and growth. The pilot programme will be completed by the end of March 2012 and will thereafter be evaluated, with the results informing decisions on a potential larger scale roll-out.

Inward Investment: West Midlands

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps UK Trade & Investment has taken to support inward investment in the west midlands. [100353]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 20 March 2012]: United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) has contracted with PA Consulting to provide resource to deliver inward investment for England and to co-ordinate inward investment project opportunities for the UK.

UKTI has agreed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with all of the local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in the west midlands (Coventry and Warwickshire, the Marches, the Black Country, Stoke and Staffordshire and Worcestershire) describing how we work together to support inward investment into the UK.

As part of the MOU, UKTI is working with the LEPs to understand the detail of their proposition to potential inward investors. LEPs are asked to articulate their local capability to UKTI which will be fed into sub-sector company propositions. Additionally, UKTI is visiting key local assets in the west midlands to understand potential locations that can be put forward to clients. LEPs will also have access to the new UKTI national pipeline of inward investment opportunities where they can see an aggregate view of investment inquiries in different sectors and regions of interest. There are currently 3,923 projects in the national pipeline, and 135 of these inquiries have expressed an interest in the west midlands as a region to locate.

UKTI currently has eight staff in the region proactively managing 120 companies, which will increase to 190 by May 2012. UKTI has supported a number of companies who have invested in the west midlands in 2011-12 including Kraft and Tata.

UKTI will be announcing the 2011-12 inward investment results for the UK on 26 July 2012.

21 Mar 2012 : Column 753W

Learning and Skills Improvement Service

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) achieved Corporate Aim 1 of its Operational Plan of 2010-11 that sector delivery should comprise 70 per cent. of the body's overall contract delivery in 2010-11; what progress has been made in increasing sector delivery to 80 per cent. in 2011-12; and when the LSIS plans to publish its Operational Plan for 2011-12. [101161]

Mr Hayes: In its “Operational Plan 2010-11” the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) stated that it would work towards a target of 60% overall programme delivery by the sector for 2010-11, increasing to 70% in 2011-12 and 80% in 2012-13.

Based on an analysis of its expenditure for 2010-11, LSIS exceeded its target of 60% sector delivery for that year.

The document “Strategic Intentions 2011-14” sets out key areas of strategic importance for LSIS over the next three years. This document states that LSIS will achieve a sector delivery target of 70%. This replaces the targets previously set out in the “Operational Plan 2010-11”, and was endorsed by the sector, through the LSIS Council.

LSIS will report on its achievement for 2011-12 against this target within its “2011-12 Trustees' Report and Financial Statements” in summer 2012.

Together the documents “Strategic Intentions 2011-14” and “LSIS Improvement Services 2011-12” replace LSIS's operational plan for 2011-12.

Overseas Trade: Africa

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many full-time personnel are employed by UK Trade & Investment to work on increasing UK trade with (a) Chad, (b) Guinea-Bissau and (c) Guinea-Conakry. [100690]

Mr Prisk: There are no staff employed by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to work on trade with Chad, Guinea or Guinea-Conakry. However, political support from the head of mission, in respect of a particular contract or business with interests in the market, continues to be available. UKTI also provides some information on these markets via the relevant country pages of the UKTI website.

Overseas Trade: Algeria

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps UK Trade & Investment is taking to increase UK trade with Algeria. [100691]

Mr Prisk: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has a team in Algiers focused on increasing UK trade, and offers UK based businesses the full range of its services. This includes bespoke reports, assisting with trade missions, country briefings, maintaining contacts with the Algerian Government and key decision makers, lobbying and other services as requested. My noble Friend Lord Howell of Guildford, the Minister of State for the

21 Mar 2012 : Column 754W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, participated in trade talks with Algeria in 2011. UKTI works with relevant stakeholders and communicates market opportunities to UK based firms through a range of mechanisms, including an event on North Africa held on 8 March 2012.

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many regulations his Department repealed between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012; and what savings were made as a result of each such repeal. [98515]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 15 March 2012]: The following regulations have been introduced in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012, which have repealed 86 statutory instruments. Although there are no cost savings for business, this has improved the regulatory landscape.

Title of the measure Purpose of the measure Date the measure is due to come in force Equivalent annual net cost to business (£ million, 2009)

Calibration of Tanks of Vessels (EEC Requirements) (Revocation) Regulations 2011

Revocation of the Calibration of Tanks of Vessels (EEC Requirements) Regulations 1975

1 July 2011

0

Public Policy Exclusion Order (Complex Weapons) (Revocation) 2011

To revoke an exclusion from the prohibitions of the Competition Act 1998 to agreements relating to complex weapons.

October 2011

0

The Trading with the Enemy (Revocation) Order2011—81 measures

The intention of the Trading with the Enemy legislation, which came into effect when the United Kingdom entered a state of war in September 1939, was to prevent the enemy from benefiting from enemy interests in the UK and, vice versa, enemy interests in the UK from benefiting from activities of the enemy. It prohibited any commercial or financial dealings with the enemy and provided for the preservation of enemy property in the United Kingdom in contemplation of arrangements to be made at the conclusion of peace.

15 December 2011

0

The Trading with the Enemy (Revocation) Order in Council 2011—three measures

As above but made by a privy council order.

15 December 2011

0

Tobacco: Packaging

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effects of introducing plain packaging of tobacco products on the UK black market in counterfeit tobacco products. [101121]

21 Mar 2012 : Column 755W

Mr Prisk [holding answer 20 March 2012]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has not made any assessment of the potential effects of introducing ‘plain’ or ‘standardised’ packaging of tobacco products on the UK black market in counterfeit tobacco products. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have the lead responsibility for any such assessment. BIS officials are however working closely with HMRC officials in exploring the potential impacts of introducing such a policy, along with officials from the Department of Health (who lead in this policy area), the Intellectual Property Office, HM Treasury and other interested Departments.

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the potential effects of an introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products on (i) the supply and demand of counterfeit tobacco products and (ii) potential violations of UK and international trade mark law. [101210]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 20 March 2012]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has not commissioned any research into the potential effects of ‘plain’ or ‘standardised'’ packaging of tobacco products nor evaluated the effects of introducing such a policy. The lead for developing and commissioning any new research in this policy area is with the Department for Health (DH). BIS officials are however working closely with DH officials in exploring the potential impacts of introducing such a policy, along with officials from the Intellectual Property Office (trade mark law), HM Treasury (tobacco duty), HM Revenue and Customs (illicit/counterfeit trade) and other interested Departments.

UK Trade & Investment: Libya

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much UK Trade & Investment spent on activities related to business and commerce in Libya in each of the last five years. [100110]

Mr Prisk: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) expenditure on activities related to business and commerce in Libya for the last five years to date is set out in the following table.

  Total (£)

2007-08

54,720

2008-09

48,224

2009-10

45,013

2010-11

25,305

2011-12

107,280

Note: The figures show a decrease in 2010-11 which was due to the unrest in the region impacting on UKTI activities. The marked increase for 2011-12 was due to UKTI designating Libya as a High Value Opportunity (HVO) giving it extra resource to ensure that UK businesses are positioned to respond adequately to Libyan priorities for economic development. These figures do not include the cost of UKT1 staff in Libya and of staff in the UK working on Libya.

21 Mar 2012 : Column 756W

International Development

Bangladesh

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department has made representations to the Bangladeshi authorities on Bangladesh's new national coal policy. [101170]

Mr Duncan: I enquired about the progress of the national coal policy when I visited Bangladesh last year. There was no discussion of the Phulbari mine and the Department has not entered into any further discussions on the matter. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, recently said that there would be no new mining under the current Government.

Bangladesh: Overseas Aid

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his Department has provided support for the proposed Phulbari Coal Project in Bangladesh since 2006. [101280]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development has not provided any support for the Phulbari Coal Project.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what correspondence and discussions his Department has had with UN Special Rapporteurs on the proposed Phulbari Coal Project in Bangladesh. [101281]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development has not had any discussions with the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Phulbari Coal Project, but we are aware of their recent report.

British Overseas Territories

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the paper his Department prepared on discharging its responsibilities towards the British Overseas Territories; [100383]

(2) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 14 September 2011, Official Report, column 48WS, on Overseas Territories Strategy, if he will publish the paper his Department prepared on how it intends to recognise its responsibility to engage with the British Overseas Territories. [100557]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) is currently drafting a paper which sets out its responsibilities to the Overseas Territories. The final paper will be published on the DFID website and will be available in the Library in due course.

Information Commissioner

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many appeals his Department has made to an information tribunal contesting a decision notice of the Information Commissioner in the last 12 months. [100299]

Mr Duncan: None.

21 Mar 2012 : Column 757W

Lost Property

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what property has been lost or stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what the estimated cost was of replacement of such property. [100900]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development's (DFID) central accounting records show the following items have been reported as lost or stolen within the past 12 months.

  Estimated current replacement cost (£)

17 laptops

5,070

Three mobile phones

159

One Blackberry

332

Two memory sticks

16

Total

5,577

It is the responsibility of DFID staff to ensure that valuable items of official equipment are adequately protected. If items are lost or stolen, staff must submit a report to security section setting out the circumstances leading up to the loss. Follow-up action, including formal disciplinary procedures where required, will be invoked by the line manager.

Procurement

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of contracts issued by (a) his Department and (b) agencies for which he is responsible were rewarded to small and medium-sized enterprises in the latest period for which figures are available. [100366]

Mr Duncan: In the last full financial year (2010-11) contracts awarded by the Department for International Development (DFID) to small and medium-sized enterprises accounted for 53% of all contracts awarded. DFID is not responsible for any agencies.

Rwanda

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government is taking to assist the development of water projects in Rwanda. [101006]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The Government assist the development of a wide range of water projects in Rwanda. Firstly, the Government support provision of water for irrigation through sector budget support and technical assistance to the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture, which aims to increase the area of irrigated land from 13,000 to 65,000 hectares by 2017. The Government also support the provision of drinking water through its general budget support to the Government of Rwanda, which since 2009-10 has increased the percentage of households with access to safe drinking water from 74% to 81%. Finally, the Government are supporting the establishment of the Rwanda National Fund for Climate and the Environment, which will finance programmes

21 Mar 2012 : Column 758W

and private sector initiatives which contribute to low carbon and climate resilient development, including integrated water resource management.

Work Experience

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 4 May 2011, Official Report, column 826W, on departmental work experience, how many people (a) worked as an intern, (b) undertook a work experience placement and (c) worked as a volunteer in his Department in accordance with the hiring criteria set out in that answer in the last 12 months for which data are available; and how many such people were employed other than according to those criteria. [100741]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) participates in the two week Civil Service Whitehall Internship Programme which was announced through the Social Mobility Strategy in April 2011. This programme provides Year 12 College level students with an opportunity to undertake a two week work experience placement in a Government Department. The programme is designed to increase professional experience and workplace skills and is aimed at students from under-represented backgrounds. DFID offered three internships on this programme in 2011 and will offer a similar number of placements for the 2012 intake.

DFID also offers internships to graduates and undergraduates through the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP). The programme is aimed at black and minority ethnic university students and those from lower socio-economic groups and seeks to provide talented candidates with 6-9 week training placements in Government Departments. DFID did not offer any placements during 2011 but has offered three across the Department in 2012.

Energy and Climate Change

British Overseas Territories

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will place in the Library a copy of the paper his Department prepared on discharging its responsibilities towards the British Overseas Territories. [100382]

Gregory Barker: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office plan to publish a White Paper setting out the Government's overall approach to the Overseas Territories shortly.

In advance of this, we will publish online a paper on DECC's proposed engagement with the British Overseas Territories. I will, on the same day, deposit a copy of the paper in the Libraries of the House.

Energy: Billing

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of average debt levels of (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic customers in debt to their energy supplier in (i) 2011,

21 Mar 2012 : Column 759W

(ii) 2010, (iii) 2009, (iv) 2008, (v) 2007, (vi) 2006 and (vii) 2005. [100525]

Charles Hendry: Ofgem monitors and publishes information about the average level of debt that domestic customers owe for their gas and electricity supplies (in its Social Obligations Annual Reports). Ofgem does not publish data on non-domestic customers' level of debt. The following table shows the average level of debt for domestic customers at the end of the year from 2005 to 2010. Data for 2011 are not yet available.

£
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Electricity

197

215

194

240

285

316

Gas

205

204

210

202

295

310

These figures have been adjusted to take into account inflation, with all debt figures calculated in 2010 prices. This has been done using the gross domestic product (GDP) deflator series, published by HM Treasury:

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

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2012, Official Report, column 160W, on Energy, if he will consider collecting data on household energy switching by (a) region and (b) social class. [100701]

Charles Hendry: The Department collects data of direct relevance to developing policy or tracking the effectiveness of existing policies. Ofgem provides data on the total number of customers switching from one supplier to another in the UK and my Department uses these data in its Quarterly Energy Prices reports. At this time we do not consider the benefits of a more detailed breakdown of switching data to outweigh the costs of sourcing this, but we will keep the matter under review.

Energy: Carbon Emissions

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish a table for each level of projected carbon emission factors for grid electricity for Standard Assessment Procedure calculation purposes for (a) 2012, (b) 2013-14, (c) 2016-18, (d) 2019-21, (e) 2022-24 and (f) 2025-27 showing the expected percentage of decarbonisation of the electricity grid that is expected to have been achieved within each such time period. [100869]

Charles Hendry: The projected carbon dioxide emission factors covering specific periods out to 2027 were published on 4 January in a technical paper that supports the public consultation on potential changes to the Standard Assessment Procedure. The paper, reference STP11/CO204, can be access via the following link:

http://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/SAP/2012/STP11-CO204_emission_factors.pdf

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish a table of the forward projections of carbon emission factors for grid electricity within the iterations of Standard Assessment Procedure calculations over the last 10 available years, and the corresponding annual outturn in each year. [100870]

21 Mar 2012 : Column 760W

Charles Hendry: The carbon dioxide (CO2) emission factors for electricity for the iterations of Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) back to 2002 are:

SAP/period in use Estimated (kg/CO 2 /kWh) Actual (kgCO 2 /kWh)

2001-02 to 2006

0.414

(1)0.534

2005-06 to 2010

0.422

0.605

2009-10 to 2013

(2)0.517

2012-13 to 2016

(3)0.522

(1) The actual value for the period 2002 to 2006 has not been determined, as compliance with building regulations was generally determined by the elemental U value method, not the alternative Carbon Index method. By comparison the averaged carbon emission value for electricity for the period 2002 to 06, as published in DEFRA's Company Reporting Guidelines, was 0.534 kgCO2/kWh (kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour). (2) The information necessary to determine the values for subsequent years is not yet available. (3) Provisional.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change by what methodology he calculated the forward carbon emission factors for grid electricity in Standard Assessment Procedure 2012. [100872]

Charles Hendry: The methodology employed was published on 4 January in a technical paper that supports the public consultation on potential changes to the Standard Assessment Procedure. The paper, reference STP11/CO204, can be access via the following link:

http://www.bre.co.uk/filelibrary/SAP/2012/STP11-CO204_emission_factors.pdf

Energy: Prices

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will commission an inquiry into fair pricing of energy. [98924]

Charles Hendry: A public inquiry could take up to a year to complete and may require primary legislation afterwards to deliver any outcomes. The process would be likely to delay Ofgem's planned retail market reforms which are aimed at simplifying complex tariff structures, increasing transparency and improving information provided to consumers.

Ofgem monitors the market closely to ensure consumers pay a fair price for their energy. Our competitive energy market has ensured that British households pay some of the lowest prices for gas and electricity in Europe.

Environment Protection

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's strategy is for promoting the low-carbon manufacturing base. [101097]

Gregory Barker [holding answer 20 March 2012]:The building of a vibrant green economy and the promotion of a low-carbon manufacturing base are top priorities for this Government.

Last August, the Government published 'Enabling the Transition to a Green Economy'. This sets out the range of levers we are using to drive green growth.

21 Mar 2012 : Column 761W

The National Infrastructure Plan sets out our plans for Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering—and DECC has been working closely with BIS on agreeing the locations and prospectus for the centres.

DECC has set aside up to £200 million for the development of low-carbon technologies including up to £60 million for offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites in Assisted Areas in England.

Policies including the renewables obligation, renewable heat incentive, the green deal, feed in tariffs and new nuclear build will stimulate greater investment in UK manufacturing, strengthening domestic low-carbon supply chains and bringing local jobs. For example, in February, the British and French Governments signed a partnership agreement underpinned by a number of commercial deals in the field of nuclear energy, worth more than £500 million and creating more than 1,500 jobs across the country—including the building of a new factory in Rotherham.

Environment Protection: Taxation

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of consumer energy bills that is attributable to green taxes. [98986]

Charles Hendry: The only tax levied on household gas and electricity bills is VAT at 5%. The costs of energy and climate change policies are not direct levies on energy bills but impact the prices energy suppliers charge their customers.

DECC estimates that the costs of these policies represent around 7% of the current average household dual fuel bill,(1) consistent with Ofgem's estimates. These largely relate to policies designed to improve the energy efficiency of our homes, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and provide support with energy costs for eligible low income and vulnerable energy customers.

(1) Analysis published in November 2011 and available online at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/aes/impacts/impacts.aspx

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect the carbon price floor will have on domestic energy bills; and by what means he carried out such an assessment. [101289]

Miss Chloe Smith: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury Department.

An assessment of the impacts of the carbon price floor is given in “HM Revenue and Customs's Tax Information and Impact Note” published alongside Budget 2011. This is available online at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2011/tiin6111.pdf.

Green Deal Scheme

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has considered introducing a transition period for implementation of the Green Deal to allow workers fitting insulation to retrain to fit solid wall installation; and if he will make a statement. [97422]

21 Mar 2012 : Column 762W

Gregory Barker: DECC is working with the solid wall sector to ensure the supply chain can increase capacity in a steady and sustainable way between now and 2015.

Media Monitoring

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what media monitoring services his Department has purchased in each of the last five years. [100891]

Gregory Barker: The Department was formed in October 2008. The Department has purchased the following media monitoring services:

2008 and 2009:

Press cuttings services from Precise, Press Data, Clip Ability Ltd and Strata Matrix.

Transcripts, media briefings and broadcast summaries from the Media Monitoring Unit of the Central Office of Information.

2010:

Press cutting services from Precise, Press Data and Monitor Cymr Wales.

Transcripts (until September), media briefings and broadcast summaries from the Media Monitoring Unit of the Central Office of Information.

Transcripts (from October) from Wordsworth.

2011:

Press cuttings service from Press Data.

Press cuttings services (until September) from Precise.

Press cuttings service (from October) from Durrants.

Media briefings and broadcast summaries from the Media Monitoring Unit of the Central Office of Information.

Transcripts from Wordsworth.

2012:

Press cuttings service from Durrants and Press Data.

Media briefings and broadcast summaries from the Media Monitoring Unit of the Central Office of Information.

Transcripts from Wordsworth.

Nuclear Power

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much energy was generated by each nuclear power station in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012. [101260]

Charles Hendry: DECC does not hold generation data for individual nuclear power stations. Data are collected at company level only, for total nuclear generation in each of the UK countries.

Nuclear generation for the UK as a whole can be found in table ET 5.1, available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/energy_stats/source/electricity/electricity.aspx

Provisional data for 2011 will be available on 29 March 2012.

Renewable Energy

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the proportion of each county's consumption that is produced by renewable energies (a) including and (b) excluding biomass generation. [101038]

21 Mar 2012 : Column 763W

Gregory Barker: Unfortunately, no information is held centrally relating to the proportion of each county's electricity consumption that is produced by renewable sources.

We do publish estimates of final energy consumption(1) at local authority level:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/energy_stats/regional/total_final/total_final.aspx

(1) However, the electricity estimates show consumption for all generation types (which would include renewables), and estimates for ‘renewables and wastes’ relate to heat consumption.

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the estimated load factor was for each form of renewable energy in the latest period for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of the load factor in each case in 2020. [101042]

Gregory Barker: Data on load factors for electricity generation from the main renewable technologies are published annually in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (table 7.4 in the 2011 edition) and quarterly in Energy Trends (table 6.1). Both publications are available in the House Library, and on the Departments website at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/publications/publications.aspx

The latest data relates to the period 1 July 2011 to 30 September 2011, and was published in the December 2011 edition of Energy Trends; these are reproduced in the following table. Provisional data for the calendar year 2011 will be available in the March 2012 edition of Energy Trends, which will be published on 29 March 2012.

It should be noted that because load factors are subject to seasonal variability, those covering the latest period are not directly comparable to the estimates covering a full year in 2020. Load factors for renewable technologies vary over time due to factors including weather conditions, maintenance requirements and market conditions.

Estimated load factors for 2020 are taken from Arup (2011) (1)
Percentage
Renewable technology Average load factor during the period 1 July 2011 to 30 September 2011 Central load factors in 2020, Arup (2011)

Onshore Wind

19.2

28.6 above 5MW

 

25 below 5MW

Offshore Wind

30.7

37.7

Hydro

33.7

45.8 above 5MW

 

46.4 below 5MW

Landfill gas

56.3

81

Sewage sludge digestion

42.1

68

Municipal solid waste combustion

44.8

(3)82.7

Animal biomass

54.3

90

Plant biomass

51.0

(4)

Total (excluding co-firing and non-biodegradable wastes)

30.2

n/a

21 Mar 2012 : Column 764W

(1 )Arup (2011), Review of the generation costs and deployment potential of renewable electricity technologies in the UK, available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/cons_ro_review/cons_ro_review.aspx (2) Load factors are calculated using the average installed capacity covering the period in question (in this case 1 July 2011 and 30 September 2011) and the total amount of electricity generated throughout the period. New capacity installed towards the end of the period in question can artificially reduce the load factor. (3) Energy from waste. (4) Indicates brace.

Wind Power: Health Hazards

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what reports he has received of people treated for the effects of illness apparently caused by being in, or living in, close proximity to a wind turbine in the last five years. [100605]

Charles Hendry: We are aware of one specific report of illness allegedly related to the operation of wind turbines, of which there are over 3,500 in operation in the UK.

There is however no scientific evidence that demonstrates a link between wind turbines and direct adverse health impacts in people living in proximity to them.

DECC and its predecessor Departments have published various independent studies into the impacts of wind farm noise and shadow flicker in recent years. These have concluded that properly sited wind farms do not have a direct effect on public health.

This position has been most recently confirmed in an independent study by medical and engineering experts published by the US Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health in January 2012(1) . This found that there is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterised as a "Wind Turbine Syndrome" and that there is insufficient evidence that the noise from wind turbines is directly causing health problems or disease (ie independent from an effect on annoyance or sleep). Noise, shadow flicker and other environmental impacts from wind turbines are considered within the planning process before any decision is taken on whether or not to grant consent to a project.

(1 )Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel, January 2012—prepared for Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Public Health. See:

http://www.mass.gov/dep/energy/wind/turbine_impact_study.pdf

Wind Power: Seas and Oceans

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he (a) last chaired and (b) will next chair a meeting of the Offshore Wind Developers' Forum. [101282]

Charles Hendry: I chaired the last Offshore Wind Developers Forum meeting on 6 February 2012 with Keith Anderson, Chief Corporate of Scottish Power. The next meeting is scheduled for 26 June 2012.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what methodology his Department plans to use to measure progress in achieving

21 Mar 2012 : Column 765W

the Offshore Wind Developers' Forum target of 50% local contract. [101285]

Charles Hendry: Following the publication of the Offshore Wind Developers Forum's vision on UK content in February, DECC and The Crown Estate are working with the OWDF to develop a standardised methodology for identifying and recording the level of UK content in future offshore wind farm projects. The outcome of this work will be considered at the next meeting of the OWDF in June 2012.

Education

Adoption: Kent

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children in (a) Dartford constituency and (b) Kent were adopted in each of the last five years. [100423]

Tim Loughton: The information requested can be found in the table. Information at constituency level is not available.

Looked after children who were adopted during the years ending 31 March (1) . Years ending 31 March 2007 to 2011
  Number of looked after children adopted during the year
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Kent local authority

90

90

75

70

60

(1) Figures have been rounded to the nearest five. Source: SSDA903

21 Mar 2012 : Column 766W

This information has been published in table LAE1 of Statistical First Release 'Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England (including adoption and care leavers)—year ending 31 March 2011', which is available on the Department's website via the following link:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001026/index.shtml

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children in (a) Dartford constituency and (b) Kent were in foster care waiting for adoption in each of the last five years. [100424]

Tim Loughton: The information requested for Kent local authority can be found in the table. Information at constituency level is not available.

The decision that a looked after child should be placed for adoption is made by the local authority but the local authority cannot actually place the child with prospective adopters without either a placement order or parental consent (depending on the individual circumstances of the case).

Information about the decision that a child should be placed for adoption has only been collected for all looked after children, for whom the decision was made, since 2009. Previously, this information was only given when the child had been adopted. Consequently, the number of children waiting for adoption can only be provided for the last three years.

Looked after children for whom the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption while placed in foster care, who were then placed for adoption, adopted, had the decision that they should be placed for adoption reversed or who were still waiting to be adopted at 31 March (1, 2, 3, 4) . Years ending 31 March 2009 to 2011. Coverage: Kent
Number
    Year in which the child was placed for adoption, adopted, for whom the decision was reversed or was waiting to be adopted
    2009
Year in which the decision was made that the child should be placed for adoption Number of children in foster care for whom the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption Number of children placed for adoption Number of children adopted Number for whom the decision was reversed Number at 31 March awaiting adoption (5)

2009

45

10

0

0

45

2010

60

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

2011

45

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Number
    Year in which the child was placed for adoption, adopted, for whom the decision was reversed or was waiting to be adopted
    2010
Year in which the decision was made that the child should be placed for adoption Number of children in foster care for whom the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption Number of children placed for adoption Number of children adopted Number for whom the decision was reversed Number at 31 March awaiting adoption (5)

2009

45

30

15

0

35

2010

60

15

0

0

60

2011

45

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

21 Mar 2012 : Column 767W

21 Mar 2012 : Column 768W

Number
    Year in which the child was placed for adoption, adopted, for whom the decision was reversed or was waiting to be adopted
    2011
Year in which the decision was made that the child should be placed for adoption Number of children in foster care for whom the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption Number of children placed for adoption Number of children adopted Number for whom the decision was reversed Number at 31 March awaiting adoption (5)

2009

45

5

20

0

10

2010

60

25

20

5

30

2011

45

20

0

0

45

n/a = Not applicable (1) Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5. Consequently, the figures may not add up. (2) Only children looked after in a foster care placement when the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption have been counted. (3) For children living with the family intending to adopt them (ie placed for adoption), it is for the prospective adopters to apply to court for an adoption order. (4) Children waiting to be placed for adoption may either be wailing for a placement order to be made by the court or be in the process of being matched with prospective adopters. (5) The number of children at 31 March awaiting adoption is calculated as the total number of children in foster care for whom the decision was made that they should be placed for adoption, minus the total number of children who were adopted or for whom the decision was reversed. The number includes children who have been placed for adoption, but for whom an adoption order has not yet been made, as well as children who have not yet been placed. Source: SSDA 903

Information on adopted children can be found in the Statistical First Release 'Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England (including adoption and care leavers)—year ending 31 March 2011', which is available on the Department's website via the following link:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001026/index.shtml

Media Monitoring

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what media monitoring services his Department has purchased in each of the last five years. [100889]

Tim Loughton: The Department for Education press office has used the same media monitoring services for each of the last five years. These services are set out as follows:

Durrants, who are now part of the Gorkana Group, provide national and regional newspaper cuttings on a daily basis.

The Cabinet Office Media Monitoring Unit provides TV and radio summaries and a transcript service.

Kantar Monitoring provide regional broadcast summaries.

Pupils: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding each (a) primary and (b) secondary school in Peterborough local education authority area had received in respect of the Pupil Premium at 28 February 2012; and if he will make a statement. [100841]

Sarah Teather: The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and allocations have so far been made for the 2011-12 financial year only. Pupil Premium funding is provided in respect of pupils known to be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), 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 2011-12 the total Pupil Premium allocation for Peterborough local authority is £2,752,000, in respect of 5,860 eligible pupils. This includes 5,299 pupils eligible for the Deprivation Premium, 371 eligible for the Looked after Premium and 189 eligible for the Service Premium.

The school level allocations are provided at Annex A. It is not possible to present at school level eligible Looked after Children, service children and FSM pupils recorded on the Alternative Provision census. This is because of the way we collect data for these pupils and for data protection reasons.

State-funded primary, secondary and special schools, and pupil referral units (1,2,3,4) : number of pupils eligible for the pupil premium in 2011/12 (5,6) , Peterborough
        Deprivation Pupil Premium (7)
URN LAEstab School Name Number on roll (8) Number of pupils eligible for the Deprivation Pupil Premium Allocation for the Deprivation Pupil Premium 2011/12 (9) (£)

110601

8741101

The Pupil Referral Service, Peterborough

(10)

(10)

(10)

110683

8742215

Old Fletton Primary School

257

75

36,600

110691

8742223

Southfields Primary School

338

91

44,408

21 Mar 2012 : Column 769W

21 Mar 2012 : Column 770W

110692

8742225

Woodston Primary School

170

45

21,960

110699

8742233

John Clare Primary School

99

(11)

(11)

110700

8742234

Northborough Primary School

193

12

5,856

110705

8742244

The Duke of Bedford Primary School

180

11

5,368

110710

8742251

Oakdale Primary School

199

8

3,904

110718

8742263

Dogsthorpe Junior School

338

100

48,800

110719

8742264

Dogsthorpe Infant School

267

65

31,720

110722

8742269

Brewster Avenue Infant School

166

28

13,664

110723

8742270

Queen's Drive Infant School

213

31

15,128

110726

8742274

West Town Primary School

304

54

26,352

110727

8742275

Newark Hill Primary School

408

64

31,232

110730

8742279

Gunthorpe Primary School

295.6

74.6

36,405

110731

8742286

Welland Primary School

189

100

48,800

110732

8742288

Bishop Creighton Primary School

197

58

28,304

110734

8742295

Norwood Primary School

200

21

10,248

110735

8742296

Braybrook Primary School

197

59

28,792

110736

8742297

Longthorpe Primary School

417

47

22,936

110743

8742307

Leighton Primary School

329.5

115.64

56,432

110747

8742313

Winyates Primary School

195

114

55,632

110749

8742316

Welbourne Primary School

127.5

37

18,056

110753

8742320

Matley Primary School

245

83

40,504

110755

8742324

Wittering Primary School

288

9

4,392

110756

8742325

The Beeches Primary School

520

104

50,752

110757

8742326

Gladstone Primary School

416

58

28,304

110761

8742330

Ravensthorpe Primary School

191.9

47

22,936

110764

8742334

Parnwell Primary School

237

94

45,872

110767

8742337

Eyrescroft Primary School

375.5

109

53,192

110768

8742338

Highlees Community Primary School

287

141

68,808

110774

8742445

Thorpe Primary School

421

56

27,328

110778

8742449

Paston Ridings Primary School

365

152

74,176

110779

8742450

Abbotsmede Primary School

275

82

40,016

130930

8742451

Werrington Primary School

413

30

14,640

131693

8742453

Heritage Park Primary School

196

27

13,176

131240

8742454

Watergall Primary School

251.8

110.76

54,051

131719

8742455

Middleton Primary School

277.5

99

48,312

132763

8742456

Hampton Hargate Primary School

520

60

29,280

133537

8742457

Nene Valley Primary School

234

18

8,784

21 Mar 2012 : Column 771W

21 Mar 2012 : Column 772W

134306

8742458

Hampton Vale Primary School

452

49

23,912

110819

8743073

Stanground St Johns CofE Controlled Primary School

175

65

31,720

110822

8743076

St Botolph's CofE (Controlled) Primary School

379

28

13,664

110823

8743077

Barnack CofE (Controlled) Primary School

111

14

6,832

110824

8743078

Castor CofE Primary School

150

11

5,368

110825

8743079

Eye CofE Primary School

317

45

21,960

110826

8743080

Newborough CofE Primary School

185

(11)

(11)

110851

8743374

Peakirk-Cum-Glinton CofE Primary School

196

12

5,856

110852

8743376

All Saints' CofE (Aided) Junior School

242

34

16,592

110853

8743377

St Augustine's CofE (Voluntary Aided) Junior School

184

43

20,984

110854

8743378

St Thomas More RC Primary School

406

74

36,112

110855

8743379

Sacred Heart RC Primary School

202

14

6,832

110856

8743380

St John's Church School

232

110

53,680

110858

8743382

William Law CofE (Aided) Primary School

549

43

20,984

134461

8743384

Fulbridge Primary School

623

155

75,640

135196

8743385

Discovery Primary School

378

84

40,992

110882

8744081

Ken Stimpson Community School

837

128

62,464

135002

8744082

Hampton College

650

80

39,040

130389

8744083

The Voyager School

1278

273

133,224

110893

8745205

Orton Wistow Primary School

307

9

4,392

136398

8745404

The King's School (the Cathedral School)

730

24

11,712

110899

8745405

Jack Hunt School

1399

282

137,616

110904

8745410

Stanground College

1219

176

85,888

110907

8745413

St John Fisher Catholic High School

639

158

77,104

110908

8745414

Orton Longueville School

732

114

55,632

136266

8745417

Arthur Mellows Village College

1259

55

26,840

135263

8746905

Thomas Deacon Academy

1686.5

338

164,944

135980

8746906

Ormiston Bushfield Academy

648.5

179

87,352

110943

8747013

Marshfields School

(10)

(10)

(10)

110948

8747020

Heltwate School

(10)

(10)

(10)

134272

8747024

The Phoenix School

(10)

(10)

(10)

21 Mar 2012 : Column 773W

21 Mar 2012 : Column 774W

135386

8747025

Nene Gate

(10)

(10)

(10)

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies. (4) Includes maintained special schools, excludes general hospital schools and non-maintained special schools. (5) The number of eligible Looked After Children and FSM pupils recorded on the Alternative Provision census are not included in school level tables (although are eligible for the pupil premium) as they are taken from local authority returns. (6) The number of service children are not provided at school level due to data protection issues. (7) Full time equivalent (FTE) number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals in year groups R-11, (where National Curriculum year groups do not apply pupils aged four to 15). For all those aged five and over includes sole or dual main registrations only. In Pupil Referral Units, FTE pupils aged four (all registration types) and headcount of pupils aged five to 15 (sole or dual main registrations as well as pupils who are registered with other providers and further education colleges) known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals. (8) Full time equivalent (FTE) pupils in year groups R-11 (where National Curriculum year groups do not apply pupils aged four to 15). For all those aged five and over includes sole or dual main registrations only. In Pupil Referral Units, FTE pupils aged four (all registration types) and headcount of pupils aged five to 15 (sole or dual main registrations as well as pupils who are registered with other providers and further education colleges). (9) Each FSM eligible pupil will attract £488 through the pupil premium. For pupils in maintained primary and secondary schools funding will be passed to schools via the local authorities. Academies will receive funding from the YPLA. For pupils in maintained special schools and PRU's funding will be allocated to local authorities to decide whether to pass on funding to the education setting or to hold back funding to manage centrally for the benefit of those pupils it has responsibility for. (10) Allocations for these schools are not included as they are either a maintained special school or PRU. The premium for these establishments is held with the local authority (please see the conditions of grant). (11) Less than five pupils or a percentage based on less than five pupils or an allocation amount based on less than five pupils. Source: January 2011 School Census

Schools: Asbestos

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what level of funds his Department advise local authorities to hold in respect of asbestos-related claims made by former school staff and pupils; [100811]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the availability of employer and public liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks in academies and free schools; [100812]

(3) what (a) arrangements his Department has made and (b) guidance his Department has issued for academies and free schools in respect of employer and public liability insurance cover for asbestos exposure risks to school staff, non-employees and pupils; [100813]

(4) how many local authorities are unable to obtain public liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks to visitors and pupils in their schools; [100814]

(5) how many local authorities are unable to obtain employers' liability insurance for asbestos exposure risks to school staff; [100815]

(6) how many local authorities are self-insured for (a) employer and (b) public liability asbestos exposure risks to visitors and pupils. [100816]

Mr Gibb: Local authorities and schools are responsible for making their own arrangements for insurance. As such the Department does not maintain central records on insurance coverage in place.

No guidance has been issued to local authorities, academies or free schools in respect of insurance cover for asbestos exposure risks.

Discussions with insurers indicate that asbestos is not considered to be a barrier to obtaining employer liability insurance, though there is a general asbestos exclusion for public liability insurance.

Schools: Fire Sprinklers

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent representations his Department has received on the mandatory installation of fire sprinklers in new school buildings. [100266]

Mr Gibb: The Department has not received any recent direct representations on the mandatory installation of fire sprinklers in new school buildings. We have recently received a copy of a letter from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services to the principal of Staffordshire University Academy and others about sprinklers. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, my noble Friend Lord Hill of Oareford, will be responding in due course. We did recently consult on proposals to revise the school premises regulations: included in this was a proposal to remove specific references to fire safety in schools, as such requirements are adequately covered in the Regulatory reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Around 14% of respondents objected to this proposal.

Special Educational Needs: Complaints

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information his Department holds on the amount spent on handling complaints relating to care packages allocated to severely disabled children by each local authority in England in each of the last five years. [100820]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 19 March 2012]: This information is not collected centrally. However, local authorities must monitor the complaints arrangements that they have in place. They must keep a record of:

each representation/complaint received;

the outcome in each case, that is, the decisions made in response to the representation/complaint and any action to be taken; and

21 Mar 2012 : Column 775W

whether there was compliance with the time limits.

Information on the numbers of complaints and outcomes must be published in an annual report.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty: Northern Ireland

Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider bringing forward proposals to change the level of air passenger duty paid at band A by passengers travelling from Northern Ireland to destinations within the UK. [101238]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Government set out air passenger duty (APD) rates for 2012-13 and 2013-14 at Budget 2012, including the band A rate that applies to all departures from the UK. Budget 2012 also confirms that the power to set APD rates for direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland will be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly and provided for in the Finance Bill 2012.

Gift Aid

Gordon Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value was of Gift Aid contributions made by non-taxpayers in error and then reported by HM Revenue and Customs in 2010-11. [101236]

Miss Chloe Smith: This information is not held centrally. Errors resulting in the recovery of tax are included in the HMRC reports of additional tax yield.

ICT

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to support the ICT sector by (a) encouraging venture capital funding at the later stages of small and medium-sized enterprises growth and (b) enabling greater global workforce mobility. [100290]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

(a) The Government have undertaken a range of measures to encourage venture capital funding at later stages of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) growth.

Government support for venture capital investment includes firms at the early stage of growth and firms seeking follow-on funding at later stages as the firm develops, through Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) and the UK Innovation Investment Fund ("UKIIF" or "the Fund").

ECFs provide approved private sector investors with access to Government funding for investment in SMEs (of between £250,000 and £2 million). Government have increased their commitment to the ECF programme by £200 million over the four years to 2014-15, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment.

The £330 million UK Innovation Investment Fund is investing in venture capital funds that support technology-based businesses—including ICT businesses—with high-growth potential that are finding it difficult to raise finance in the current economic climate.

Government are promoting individual venture capital investment in SMEs through the tax system. Government have reformed the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts

21 Mar 2012 : Column 776W

(VCTs), increasing rate of income tax relief for EIS to 30% and increasing amounts that can be invested in qualifying companies and the size of qualifying companies (subject to state-aid clearance). These changes will provide an incentive for investment into a broader range of firms than previously, including those at later stages of growth.

The Government inspired the establishment of the Business Growth Fund as a long-term intervention, funded fully by the banks, and designed to provide finance for firms seeking growth capital helping to fund the recovery which fall between initiatives for small business support and those for larger companies. Five banks agreed to commit £2.5 billion between them over the next decade; the fund was launched on 19 May 2011. Of the six investments already made to date, one investment is in an ICT company.

It is also worth highlighting the work of the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). ICT is one of the priority areas of the TSB and it is engaged in a range of activities which have a strong ICT component, including Knowledge Transfer Networks and has supported ICT projects in a number of areas. The TSB recently launched a TechCity LaunchPad competition to fund R&D projects aimed at developing a digital product or service to proof-of-concept and/or a user-facing trial. The competition was also designed such that applicants could use the endorsement of Technology Strategy Board assessment, to secure funding from outside their business if required, either from new business partners or from angel or venture capital investors.

Furthermore, there are plans in place, as stated in UKTI's strategy, "Britain open for business", to take forward an initiative to help link up innovative and high growth SMEs with overseas venture capital. One of the aims of this initiative is to strengthen the links between overseas technology clusters such as Silicon Valley, where there are concentrations of venture capital operations, and UK technology hotspots such as Cambridge and Tech City in the East End of London.

(b) The Home Office has informed me that Tier 2 of the Points-Based System enables skilled non-EEA nationals to work in the UK. The ICT sector is the largest user of this route.

Income Tax: Rates and Bands

Annette Brooke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the number of firefighters in each (a) region and (b) local authority area who will no longer be eligible to pay income tax once the income tax threshold is set at £10,000; [101228]

(2) if he will estimate the number of firefighters who benefited from the increase in the personal allowance of income tax in 2011-12; and if he will estimate the likely number of firefighters who will benefit from the increase in 2012-13; [101229]

(3) if he will estimate the number of local government staff in each (a) region and (b) local authority area who will no longer be eligible to pay income tax following the increase in the personal allowance in April 2012; [101230]

(4) if he will estimate the number of local government staff in each (a) region and (b) local authority area who will no longer be eligible to pay income tax once the income tax threshold is set at £10,000; [101231]

(5) if he will estimate the number of local government staff who benefited from the increase in the personal allowance of income tax in 2011-12; and if he will estimate the likely number of local government staff who will benefit from the increase in 2012-13. [101232]

Mr Gauke: The June 2010 Budget announced a £1,000 cash increase in the personal allowance for under 65s to £7,475 in 2011-1-2 (£820 above the previous Government's

21 Mar 2012 : Column 777W

plans), with the benefits focused on individuals on low and middle incomes through accompanying changes to the basic rate limit and national insurance upper earnings and profit limits.

The 2011 Budget announced a £630 cash increase in the personal allowance for under 65s to £8,105 in 2012-13 (£240 above indexation), with an equivalent reduction in the basic rate limit to leave the higher rate threshold unchanged.

As a result of these measures, the Government estimate that 22.6 million basic rate taxpayers will benefit in 2011 -12, among which 830,000 of the lowest income taxpayers will be removed from tax altogether.

In 2012-13 the Government estimate that 25 million taxpayers will benefit, among which 260,000 of the lowest income taxpayers will be removed from tax altogether.

These estimates are based on the 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2011 economic and fiscal outlook.

The information requested is not available specifically for fire fighters or local government staff.

The Government are committed to supporting lower and middle income earners by raising the personal allowance to £10,000, and removing the lowest income individuals out of income tax. Decisions on future changes in the personal allowance will be taken as part of the annual Budget process in the context of the wider public finances.

Inheritance Tax

John Stevenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many taxable estates there were in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. [100148]

Mr Gauke: The number of taxable estates are provided in the National Statistics table ‘Numbers of taxpayers and registered traders’ which can be found on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_receipts/table1-4.pdf

VAT: Third Sector

Alun Cairns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review his policy on VAT insofar as it affects charitable organisations who serve their local communities. [99374]

Mr Gauke: The Government value the contribution of charities across a wide spectrum of national life and interests.

The UK has one of the most generous tax systems for charities in the world. Existing reliefs for charities are worth over £3 billion a year. Within this, are existing VAT reliefs worth over £200 million per year. These include zero rates for charities on sales of donated goods, medical equipment and the construction of charitable buildings. In addition Gift Aid, the largest single relief, is now worth nearly £1 billion to charities each year.

In terms of whether we could extend the VAT reliefs further; in many cases, EU VAT rules mean that it would not be necessary or possible to provide a refund

21 Mar 2012 : Column 778W

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.