13 Jun 2012 : Column 467W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Women and Equalities

Recruitment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on recruitment, to what extent the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission used name-blank CVs or the blind sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system to recruit staff in the last year. [110968]

Lynne Featherstone: As of 1 April 2011, the Government Equalities Office has been part of the Home Office and is no longer a separate Government Department. The information requested will be provided by the Minister for Immigration, the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green), in response to your question to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May).

Work and Pensions

Disability Living Allowance: Appeals

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 285W, on disability living allowance: appeals, what the (a) maximum and (b) average length of time waited was where the appellant had elected to have an oral hearing. [111102]

Maria Miller: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not hold information on the longest waiting times for an appeal hearing before the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (SSCS). The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost by manually checking each individual case file.

It is possible to provide, from management information, the percentages of oral appeals disposed of by the Tribunal within four weeks and longer than 52 weeks. During the period 1 April to 31 December 2011 (the most recent period for which statistics have been published), 41,700 DLA oral appeals were disposed of nationally. Of these, 0.3% were disposed of within four weeks and 10.6% were aged 52 weeks or more when disposed of. Appeals taking longer than 52 weeks to be disposed of are likely to be the most complex cases, which may have more than one hearing, for example a first hearing may have been adjourned for further evidence to be gathered.

The average time from receipt at HMCTS to disposal for DLA oral appeals in the period 1 April 2011 to 31 December 2011 was 33.9 weeks.

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Employment and Support Allowance

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2012, Official Report, column 729W, on incapacity benefit, whether a risk register was compiled in advance of the migration from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance. [111228]

Chris Grayling: For each of our significant reform or change programmes and projects their senior responsible owners are required to maintain risk registers for the risks inherent within their area. The programme lead for the migration of claimants of incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance did hold a risk register.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his letter of 28 February 2012 to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, what changes to procedures have been implemented; what the recommendations of his officials on procedures for DS1500 ESA claimants were; and whether DS1500 ESA claimants now have an individual officer assigned to take personal control of their case. [111229]

Chris Grayling: Following the concerns raised DWP guidance has been amended to reflect additional considerations to be taken into account when a claimant notifies the Department of a potential terminal illness at the commencement of, or during, the IB (IS) reassessment process.

DWP staff have been instructed to confirm whether a form DS1500 has been issued to the claimant and, if so, to request sight of the form. If a DS1500 has been previously provided in support of another claim for benefit such as DLA, the claimant is informed that a duplicate is not required. Staff are further instructed to refer the case immediately to Atos Healthcare who will scrutinise the available medical evidence, consider requesting further evidence if necessary and provide advice to the DWP decision maker within two working days.

DWP are considering proposals for providing a single point of contact for claimants and customers with particular needs.

Health and Safety Executive

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effect of funding reductions to the Health and Safety Executive on its ability to make workplace inspections related to (a) occupational asthma and (b) high temperatures in bakeries. [110889]

Chris Grayling: HSE will achieve the necessary budget reductions in ways that allows it to maintain its frontline activities of inspection and incident investigation at those businesses and in those sectors which represent the highest risk to the safety and health of workers and the public. Employers who do not take seriously the protection of their employees, or those affected by work activities, seriously will still face intervention by HSE.

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Housing Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether, when housing benefit is replaced by universal credit, local authorities will be compensated, under the new burdens doctrine, for breaking housing benefit delivery contracts. [111032]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities are currently studying this issue closely.

Hunterston B Power Station

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2012, Official Report, column 816W, on Hunterston B Power Station, if he will place in the Library the correspondence between the Minister of State for Employment and Michael Russell MSP in relation to Hunterston B Power Station. [111142]

Chris Grayling: A copy of the correspondence between the Minister of State for Employment and Michael Russell MSP, in relation to Hunterston B Power Station, is being placed in the Library of the House.

Minimum Wage

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) England, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland include a couple working (i) 16, (ii) 17, (iii) 18 and (iv) 19 hours a week on the minimum wage, living in their own home and paying more than £1,000 in council tax. [111141]

Chris Grayling: We use Family Resources Survey data to provide estimates of household economic status and housing costs. However, the sample size is not sufficient to provide estimates for small groups such as those requested.

National Insurance

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to align the number of national insurance numbers with the number of working people. [110917]

Chris Grayling: National insurance numbers (NINos) are required for both working and non-working people. This is because NINos are also required for the administration and payment of benefits for people who are not in work and for those who have worked previously and have a call upon the national insurance contributions they have made such as State Pensioners.

Once allocated, a NINo remains on the Department's computer system. This is because the NINo provides a permanent numerical link between the individual and their national insurance contribution record which determines entitlement to contributory benefits and state pension. The NINos of deceased individuals are retained on the system as a partner may make a claim for a contributory benefit, which is dependent on the contribution record of the deceased.

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The retention of the NINo for deceased persons on our systems—clearly marked as such to DWP staff—also provides an important counter-fraud measure in that it prevents fraudsters from hi-jacking these numbers.

Departmental Administration Costs

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on the administration of his Department in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [109840]

Chris Grayling: The expenditure of the department for the years 2009-10 and 2010-11 is contained in the published Annual report and accounts:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2010-2011.pdf

HM Treasury published the February 2012 forecast outturn for all Government Departments in its 2012 Budget publication. For the Department for Work and Pensions this was a forecast underspend of £177 million, of which £78 million was transferred to 2012-13 as part of the Budget Exchange scheme.

The Department's 2011-12 year-end position is not yet finalised. HM Treasury will provide an update on the expenditure forecasts of all Government Departments in July in the public expenditure statistical analysis.

Pension Credit

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the savings to his Department of downrating pension savings credit in 2012-13; [110499]

(2) what estimate he has made of the savings to the public purse of changes to the pension savings credit threshold in 2012-13; [110500]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners who will no longer be entitled to savings credit as a result of changes to the savings credit threshold in 2012-13; [110501]

(4) what the average cash loss will be (a) for individuals, (b) for couples and (c) in total for people who will no longer be entitled to pension savings credit as a result of the decision to uprate the savings credit threshold by 8.4 per cent in 2012-13; [110533]

(5) what the average cash loss will be (a) for individuals, (b) for couples and (c) in total for people receiving pension savings credit as a result of its downrating by 9.6 per cent and 12.4 per cent for individuals and couples respectively in 2012-13. [110534]

Steve Webb: From April 2012 the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit was increased by £5.35 to £142.70 a week for single pensioners and by £8.20 to £217.90 a week for couples. This was greater than the increase required by statute, in order to ensure that the poorest pensioners received the full effect of the increase in the basic state pension with September CPI. The cost of this exceptional increase in the standard minimum guarantee was offset by increasing the savings credit threshold. The net effect of these two measures is cost-neutral, and no household should be worse off in cash terms as a result of this change when all sources of income are taken into account. Guarantee credit-only cases all gain from this change. For those with continuing

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savings credit entitlement, on average the pension credit component of their income would have been £1.15 a week higher without this policy change. For couples, it would have been £2.10 a week higher.

We estimate that there could be around 30,000 fewer pension credit recipients in 2012-13 than there would otherwise have been. However, the 30,000 includes those who may otherwise have gained or lost entitlement to pension credit as a result of the up-rating changes as well as those who would naturally have floated off pension credit due to changes in circumstances, such as an increase in other sources of income. pension credit in these cases would have been an average of £0.65 a week higher for singles or £1.15 a week higher for couples, although no-one should see cash losses overall.

It is not possible to quantify the broader impact to the public purse of the change arising from entitlement to passported benefits, since some of these are also available on low income grounds. There will be additional expenditure on housing benefit and council tax benefit as a result of the up-rating changes to pension credit, which are included in the cost-neutral assessment.

Recruitment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on recruitment, to what extent his Department and its non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies used name-blank CVs or the blind sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system to recruit staff in the last year. [110952]

Chris Grayling: The DWP has not yet used name-blank CVs or the “blind” sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system, however the Department may consider using this functionality in the future.

State Retirement Pensions: Females

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women received (a) a full and (b) a partial retirement pension on the contribution record of their husbands in each of the last 30 years. [108294]

Steve Webb: Information on the number of women receiving a retirement pension is not held electronically prior to 1995 and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The number of females receiving a state pension by category of pension in Great Britain from 1995 to 2011 is given in the following tables:

State pension: Females: by category of pension in Great Britain: 1995 to 2002
DateCategory BCategory ABLCategory BLCategory AB

September 1995

1,737,000

746,000

1,226,100

n/a

September 1996

1,683,600

800,500

1,203,500

n/a

September 1997

1,623,300

852,000

1,180,400

n/a

September 1998

(1)

(1)

(1)

n/a

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September 1999

1,496,000

942,500

1,135,500

n/a

September 2000

1,433,600

979,700

1,095,300

n/a

September 2001

1,375,500

1,011,900

1,068,600

n/a

September 2002

1,309,700

1,032,800

1,031,500

n/a

n/a = not available (1) Information for September 1998 is not available. Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. 2. Numbers are based on a 5% sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation. 3. Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100% data are the preferred source when producing analysis. When WPLS 100% data are not available then sample data are used instead. WPLS state pension data are available from May 2002—prior to that sample data are used. 4. Statistically robust Category AB pension figures can only be sourced from 100% data and so are unavailable before 2002. 5. Category A pension: This is based on a person's own national insurance contributions. A composite pension (Category ABL) based on both the personal and spouse's contributions can also be paid up to a maximum amount of 60% of the standard Category A rate. 6. Category B pension: This is based on the spouse's national insurance record. It is paid when a widow or widower is not entitled to a Category A pension in their own right. Any Category A entitlement would be topped up by the spouse's contributions before a Category B pension would be considered. The maximum is the same as the standard Category A rate. A Category BL pension is payable when a married person is not entitled to a Category A pension but their spouse is. It is currently paid at approximately 60% of the standard Category A rate. 7. The age at which women reach state pension age is gradually increasing from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and November 2018. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients. Figures from May 2010 onwards reflect this change. For more information see: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/espa.pdf 8. Figures are published at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate: 5% sample data
State pension: Females: by category of pension in Great Britain: 2002-11
DateCategory BCategory ABLCategory BLCategory AB

November 2002

1,248,290

1,049,070

1,042,080

866,520

November 2003

1,188,550

1,074,600

1,009,230

924,980

November 2004

1,136,140

1,086,080

972,940

986,140

November 2005

1,080,520

1,092,410

935,630

1,040,540

November 2006

1,028,970

1,089,060

895,770

1,096,210

November 2007

976,700

1,082,130

858,720

1,150,250

November 2008

924,800

1,077,300

823,530

1,196,070

November 2009

883,200

1,071,330

782,800

1,248,200

November 2010

.841,620

1,059,980

740,640

1,282,320

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November 2011

797,830

1,042,540

699,840

1,301,030

Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Category A pension: This is based on a person's own national insurance contributions. A composite pension (Category ABL) based on both the personal and spouse's contributions can also be paid up to a maximum amount of 60% of the standard Category A rate. 3. Category B pension: This is based on the spouse's national insurance record. It is paid when a widow or widower is not entitled to a Category A pension in their own right. Any Category A entitlement would be topped up by the spouse's contributions before a Category B pension would be considered. The maximum is the same as the standard Category A rate. A Category BL pension is payable when a married person is not entitled to a Category A pension but their spouse is. It is currently paid at approximately 60% of the standard Category A rate. 4. The age at which women reach state pension age is gradually increasing from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and November 2018. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients. Figures from May 2010 onwards reflect this change. For more information see: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/espa.pdf 5. Figures are published at: www.nomisweb.co.uk Source: NOMIS

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contingency plans he has in place for rolling out universal credit if real-time PAYE information is not available for all claimants. [111033]

Chris Grayling: Even though universal credit is on time and on budget, sensible contingencies –such as self-reporting of earnings are available—but the Department does not expect to draw on them.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to have made an estimate of the number of local authority staff that will be needed to deliver the universal credit face-to-face service. [111034]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government, the devolved administrations and the local authority associations on these resource implications and once more detail is available, we expect to be in a position to provide the necessary information to assist resource planning by local authorities.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the £2 billion universal credit spending envelope he expects to spend in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15. [111035]

Chris Grayling: Based on current plans, the universal credit programme is forecasting to spend £0.6 billion in 2013-14 and £1 billion in 2014-15

The Department is also forecasting to spend £391 million in 2012-13 and has already spent £103 million in 2011-12.

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Work Capability Assessment

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people, found fit for work under the work capability assessment, submitted an appeal against that decision and subsequently died prior to the appeal being heard in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012. [110951]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is not available.

Treasury

Atos

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total monetary value is of each contract between his Department and Atos; [111175]

(2) when each contract between his Department and Atos was most recently (a) agreed, (b) renewed and (c) extended. [111176]

Miss Chloe Smith: HM Treasury does not currently hold any contracts with Atos.

Business: Loans

Simon Kirby: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made on the introduction of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme. [110994]

Mr Hoban: The National Loan Guarantee Scheme has been up and running since 20 March 2012 and is currently being rolled out nationwide by the participating banks. Thousands of businesses have already benefited from the scheme.

Child Trust Fund

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the savings from the abolition of the Child Trust Fund were allocated to each of the devolved administrations in 2011-12. [110092]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 11 June 2012]: Following the abolition of the Child Trust Fund, savings averaging over £20 million per annum were recycled to provide funding for Short Breaks for Disabled Children through the Early Intervention Grant (EIG). The EIG is not ring-fenced and it is for each local authority to determine how to use its overall allocation to best meet local needs and priorities. As this matter is devolved, the devolved Administrations received the following Barnett consequentials:

£ million
 2011-122012-132013-142014-15

Scotland

1.683

2.104

2.525

2.946

Wales

0.972

1.215

1.457

1.700

Northern Ireland

0.564

0.706

0.847

0.988

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Equitable Life

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of qualifying Equitable Life policyholders have received compensation to date; how many are awaiting compensation payments; and if he will make a statement. [111104]

Mr Hoban: The scheme intends to publish a progress report in summer 2012 on the volumes and values of payments made.

Excise Duties: Fuels

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the rise in fuel duty planned for August 2012 on (a) businesses and (b) families; and if he will make a statement; [111105]

(2) if he will consider cancelling the proposed rise in fuel duty planned for August 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111106]

Miss Chloe Smith: At the 2011 autumn statement, the Government decided to cancel the 1.92 ppl inflation increase that was planned for 1 August 2012, and to defer to that date the 3.02 ppl duty increase that was due to take effect on 1 January 2012. This decision provided support for motorists and businesses.

At Budget 2012, the Government published their distributional analysis of the expected impact of announced Government measures on household incomes, split by direct taxes, indirect taxes and tax credits and benefits. This can be found in annex B of the Budget Report.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer keeps all taxes under review.

Financial Services: Education

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will encourage more businesses in the financial services sector to volunteer in schools to support teachers in teaching financial capability. [110792]

Mr Hoban: The Money Advice Service is undertaking a strategic overview of the educational work of the financial services industry, to inform and improve the provision of financial education for young people in the UK. A two-part research project, which is expected to be completed by June 2012, will inform further work in this area.

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Money Advice Service on access for young people to a good quality personal finance education. [110793]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions. The Money Advice Service is developing its role in financial education for young people as set out in its Money Advice business plan for 2012-13 which can be found at:

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http://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/about/corporateinformation/publications.aspx

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff working for his Department, its Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies are employed through off-payroll engagements costing less than £58,200 per annum; and if he will make a statement. [110824]

Miss Chloe Smith: As at 1 June 2012, HM Treasury, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies had 34 staff who were not paid through payroll costing less than £58,200. These staff can be broken down as follows:

 Number

Paid secondments

8

Contractors

8

Temporary agency staff

18

Taxation: Business

Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many company tax returns filed by companies (a) paying tax at the main rate, (b) in the FTSE 250 and (c) in the FTSE 100 in relation to accounting periods ending in the period from (i) 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005, (ii) 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006, (iii) 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007, (iv) 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 and (v) 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 have been opened for enquiry under the Finance Act 1998 by HM Revenue and Customs. [110801]

Mr Gauke: For the categories of company specified the following table sets out the number of company tax returns filed for accounting periods ending in the period from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2009 that have been opened for an inquiry under Finance Act 1998.

Accounting periods ending inCompanies paying full rateCurrent FTSE 250 companiesCurrent FTSE 100 companies

1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005

10,416

69

51

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

8,293

56

45

1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

6,169

59

36

1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008

4,483

58

32

1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009

3,247

58

25

The figures for inquiries into FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies do not include any inquiries into subsidiaries or other companies in the same group of any currently quoted FTSE 100 or FTSE 250 company.

Voluntary Contributions

Michael Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many living persons made voluntary financial donations to the Exchequer in the latest period for which figures are available. [111289]

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Mr Hoban: Seven living persons made voluntary financial donations to the Exchequer in 2011-12. A small amount was also made payable by members of the public to the Commissioners for the Reduction of National Debt in 2011-12.

Transport

Exceptional Hardship Scheme

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what circumstances an application to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme is reviewed by her or by a Minister acting on her behalf. [111042]

Justine Greening: Applications to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) are reviewed by the Secretary of State for Transport or a Minister acting on her behalf when:

The majority independent panel does not reach a unanimous decision; or

The Decision Maker (a senior civil servant with delegated authority from the Secretary of State to decide on EHS applications) disagrees with the panel's recommendation;

The panel considers that there are extenuating circumstances such that the application should be accepted even though it does not satisfy all of the EHS criteria.

Pay

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department has taken to introduce regional pay since 20 March 2012; and if she will make a statement. [111545]

Norman Baker: The department is still considering its plans on reform of pay arrangements in light of the recently issued civil service pay guidance for 2012/13. This process takes place every year and departmental officials will begin consultation with the Trades Unions Side in each of the Agencies and DfT(c) in the coming months.

Railways: North West

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she plans to respond to HS2 Ltd's proposals on design options for a high speed line route to Manchester and Leeds. [110756]

Justine Greening: As stated in my written statement on 27 March 2012, Official Report, columns 134-35WS, I intend to publish my response in the autumn.

Road Works

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance and protocols she publishes to ensure full co-operation on road works and other matters between neighbouring counties. [111285]

Norman Baker: The Traffic Management Act 2004 introduced a Network Management Duty, which is the duty of a local traffic authority to manage their road

13 Jun 2012 : Column 478W

network with a view to securing the expeditious movement of traffic on the authority's road network, and facilitating the expeditious movement of traffic on road networks for which another authority is the traffic authority.

The Secretary of State's Network Management Duty Guidance published in November 2004 includes techniques in network management aimed at providing local authorities with a good practice approach to performing the Network Management Duty. The Guidance states that local authorities should have in place systems to record and co-ordinate both planned utility works and planned road works, and that access to this information should be given to utilities, contractors and adjoining authorities so that they can review their activities in light of the activity of others.

A new duty to co-operate was introduced through the Localism Act 2011. This requires local planning authorities, county councils, and other public bodies to work together constructively when they are planning for strategic cross boundary matters, such as transport infrastructure, in their local plans. The National Planning Policy Framework, published in March, sets out the strategic priorities that should be addressed by local planning authorities in their local plans and on which cooperation is expected.

Northern Ireland

Air Passenger Duty

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had on the introduction of an exemption from airport passenger duty for flights to and from Northern Ireland. [111224]

Mr Paterson: I have had no recent discussions on this matter.

Northern Ireland Executive Ministers previously discussed the matter with Northern Ireland Office and Treasury Ministers and requested the devolution of Air Passenger Duty in respect of passengers travelling from Northern Ireland on direct long-haul flights that fell within bands B, C and D serving destinations of 2001 miles or greater.

This request was agreed to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), and will be provided for by schedule 23 of the Finance Bill which is currently before the House.

Fraud

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the level of (a) procurement and (b) other fraud affecting his Department's spending in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [110170]

Mr Paterson: No incidents of procurement or other fraud were recorded in my Department during 2010-11 or 2011-12. The Northern Ireland Office has an anti-fraud policy that sets out responsibilities and procedures for preventing, detecting and reporting potential incidents of fraud.

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Public Expenditure

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a statement of his Department's expenditure in each of the last 36 months; and what steps his Department is taking to avoid an annual underspend. [110620]

Mr Paterson: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available following the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010. However, details of the Northern Ireland Office's expenditure are published in the financial statements which are available on the Northern Ireland Office website at:

http://www.nio.gov.uk/index/foi/publication_scheme-foi/what_nio_spend_and_how_we_spend_it-foi.htm?keywords=financial+statements

The Department is committed to publishing the 2011-12 audited financial statements by July 2012.

The Department has in place a budget management process that allows the board to review any budget variances on a monthly basis and, if necessary, amend the budget allocation to ensure that funds are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

International Development

Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he has made any funding commitments to organisations which deal with victims of rape and gender violence in conflict. [111236]

Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides funding to a number of organisations which deal with victims of rape and gender violence in conflict. Often this work is a component of broader programming, including programmes for women and girls, conflict resolution and peace building, humanitarian response, access to health care and access to security and justice.

In this regard, DFID has made funding commitments to the UN, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and a range of international and local civil society organisations. Specific examples of this include DFID's funding to UN Women. DFID is providing £3.25 million to their Women, Peace and Security programme (2010-13). This programme is being implemented in Uganda, Liberia, Haiti and Timor Leste and aims to ensure that women are able to contribute to and benefit from security measures and peace-building and peace-making processes at the community, national, regional and global levels. DFID also funds Womankind Worldwide and Gender Links through Programme Partnership Arrangements (£10.6 million). Their work includes supporting the implementation of national legislation, funding civil society organisations to provide services such as refuges/shelters, legal aid, advice and counselling for women; publicising women's rights and setting up centres of excellence for the inclusion of gender-related issues in the media and contributing to the improvement of National Action Plans to end violence against women and girls.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 480W

Burma

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to assist the delivery of humanitarian aid to conflict victims in Burma. [111237]

Mr Duncan: British aid is supporting humanitarian assistance in Kachin state, Burma, which is being delivered by a number of Kachin-based NGOs. Around 27,000 internally displaced people have received assistance in the areas of food security, shelter, water, sanitation, health and bedding. Further support is planned.

Along the border between Thailand and Burma, British aid supports humanitarian needs for internally displaced people inside Burma by providing food security, sanitation and grants to help with the cost of schooling. We also provide food, shelter, other necessities and improved access to legal assistance to approximately 140,000 Burmese refugees in camps in Thailand. The total allocation for this work from 2009 to 2012 is more than £8 million. DFID will be implementing a new programme of humanitarian assistance for those fleeing conflict along the Thai-Burma border later this year.

During visits to Burma from the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), all pressed the Burmese Government on the need for humanitarian access to conflict areas in Burma. I also raised this issue with Shwe Mann, Burma's Speaker of the Lower House, when he visited the UK in May.

Home Department

Driving Offences: Insurance

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost to the police of apprehending and bringing charges against drivers accused of making fraudulent insurance claims in (a) 1997, (b) 2002 and (c) 2011. [111036]

Mike Penning: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Transport.

The Department for Transport does not hold the information.

Entry Clearances: Appeals

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will investigate the reasons for the six-week delay to the visa appeal hearing of the wife of Philip English, constituent of the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire; and if she will take steps to speed up the appeal process to prevent such a delay occurring in the future. [111045]

Damian Green: Obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998 mean that I am unable to comment publicly on this case.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 481W

Although at present there are no plans under way to change the appeals process, the UK Border Agency consistently reviews its processes to provide the best service.

Festivals and Special Occasions: Security

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment she has made of the use of unpaid staff by companies providing stewards for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant; what measures were put in place to ensure the security of staff or volunteers engaged by companies contracted to provide stewards for the pageant; and whether her Department has had any discussions with the companies employed to provide stewards for the pageant on the recruitment, pay, accommodation and security of staff; [111233]

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure companies providing security for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games provide appropriate terms and conditions for the staff engaged by them; and if she will make it her policy that firms contracted to provide security for the Games should not be able to make a profit if they use unpaid staff; [111234]

(3) what checks her Department carried out in respect of Close Protection UK Ltd prior to awarding the company contracts to provide services for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; what contracts have been awarded to the company for these events; and how performance will be assessed. [111235]

James Brokenshire: The Government have no contractual relationship with Close Protection UK in respect of either the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant or the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant was organised by a specially created company, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation. The company was responsible for all aspects of the event, including contracting stewarding for the day.

Provision of venue security at the Games is a matter for LOCOG, as event organiser. We understand that LOCOG has been working closely with all security and stewarding contractors to ensure that appropriate standards are met, including clear assurances on pay and conditions.

Human Trafficking Ministerial Group

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2012, Official Report, column 792W, on the human trafficking ministerial group, whether there was agreement on establishing a Rapporteur on Human Trafficking independent of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group. [110947]

Damian Green: The Inter-Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking agreed that it acts as a sufficient equivalent mechanism to act as a National Rapporteur and. Its terms of reference have been drafted to reflect this.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 482W

Health

Cord Blood: Donors

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many donations of umbilical cord blood took place in NHS hospitals in each of the last five years; and at which hospitals such donations were made; [111131]

(2) how many hospitals are equipped to take donations of umbilical cord blood in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) London, (d) the West Midlands and (e) Dudley. [111132]

Anne Milton: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), who run the NHS Cord Blood Bank, have advised that they have collected the following number of cord blood units from the following hospitals:

 Cord blood units collected (per business year)
Hospital cord blood collection centre for NHSBT2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12

Barnet General Hospital

528

543

539

475

533

Northwick Park Hospital

600

529

477

369

971

Luton and Dunstable Hospital

1,037

808

542

551

950

Watford General Hospital

473

832

1,223

1,136

1,479

St George's Hospital

n/a

n/a

385

924

1,573

University College Hospital

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

429

Anthony Nolan have advised that they have collected the following number of cord blood units from the following hospitals and are due to open a collection centre in Birmingham Women's Hospital shortly:

 Cord blood units collected (per calendar year)
Hospital cord blood collection centre for Anthony Nolan200720082009201020112012

Royal Free Hospital

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

21

230

Leicester Royal Infirmary

n/a

n/a

n/a

69

873

822

Leicester General Hospital

n/a

n/a

n/a

17

477

526

Kings College Hospital

1

115

461

622

1,092

587

The hospitals listed in the tables above collect altruistic cord blood donations from mothers for the public cord blood banks. It is up to each national health service

13 Jun 2012 : Column 483W

trust in the United Kingdom to decide whether it wishes to allow the private collection of cord blood samples in its maternity units.

Clinical Commissioning

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what direction he has issued to the (a) Health Commissioning Board, (b) local clinical commissioning groups and (c) other agencies in the National Health Service on the commercial input and partnership required for the establishment of Commissioning Support Services; and if he will make a statement. [111107]

Mr Simon Burns: Clinical commissioning groups will have the freedom to decide how they carry out their commissioning functions and what support they use to help them.

The detailed strategy for developing commissioning support services is set out in the document “Developing Commissioning Support: Towards Service Excellence”, a copy has been placed in the Library. The strategy describes how the NHS Commissioning Board will build capability in the national health service staff who deliver the majority of commissioning support and involve external suppliers in building capacity and capability. The NHS Commissioning Board Authority's Business Development Unit is working with the range of stakeholders to ensure that suppliers from all sectors are able to contribute to the development of a commissioning support market.

King's Mill Hospital

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients waited longer than four hours in the accident and emergency ward at King’s Mill Hospital, Nottinghamshire between (a) January and March 2012 and (b) January and March 2011; [111225]

(2) how many patients waited longer than four hours in the accident and emergency ward at King’s Mill Hospital, Nottinghamshire in each of the last three years.[Official Report, 25 June 2012, Vol. 547, c. 1MC.] [111226]

Mr Simon Burns: Information is not available at hospital level. Information is however available at trust level. King's Mill hospital is part of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The numbers of patients who waited longer than four hours in the accident and emergency departments at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in quarter 4 2010-11 and 2011-12 is shown in the following table:

PeriodType 1 Departments—Major accident and emergency (A and E)Type 2 Departments—Single SpecialtyType 3 Departments -Other A and E/Minor Injury Unit

2010-11 Quarter 4

796

0

12

2011-12 Quarter 4

1,310

0

41

Source: Unify2data Collection

13 Jun 2012 : Column 484W

The numbers pf patients who waited longer than four hours in the accident and emergency departments at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation from 2009-10 to 2011-12 is shown in the following table:

PeriodType 1 Departments—Major A and EType 2 Departments—Single SpecialtyType 3 Departments—Other A and E/ Minor Injury Unit

2009-10

1,351

0

36

2010-11

991

0

25

2011-12

4,074

0

135

Note: Data is taken from the weekly sitrep collection for 2009-10 and 2010-11 up to July. Data is taken from the monthly sitreps collection for August, September and October 2010-11. Data is taken from the weekly A and E collection for November 2010-11 onwards. Source: Unify2data Collection

Obesity: Children

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate has been made of the potential savings to the NHS of reducing obesity levels amongst those in compulsory education. [110010]

Anne Milton: The Government have not undertaken an assessment of the potential savings to the national health service if obesity levels were reduced in school children. However, the estimated cost of obesity and the overweight to the NHS across the population (in terms of the cost of treating, for adults and children, the conditions and diseases attributable to obesity) is £5.1 billion.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding his Department has allocated for tackling obesity in schools in (a) 2012 and (b) each subsequent year up to 2015. [110011]

Anne Milton: It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide how to use their allocation to improve the health of their population, including tackling child obesity. All PCTs currently participate in the National Child Measurement Programme, which weighs and measures children aged 4-5 and 10-11 years in schools, informing parents about their child's results and providing follow up advice and support. Additionally, the Department is investing £8.6 million in 2012-13, £8 million in 2013-14, and £8 million in 2014-15 to help tackle obesity in schools through the School Games and Change4Life School Sports Clubs.

Obesity: Young People

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people under the age of 18 years in each (a) socio-economic, (b) ethnic and (c) gender group were diagnosed with suspected obesity-related conditions in each of the last 10 years. [110979]

Anne Milton: This information is not collected by the Department.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 485W

Smoking and Alcohol-related Diseases

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating (a) smoking and (b) alcohol-related diseases. [111291]

Anne Milton: The estimated cost to the national health service of treating smoking-related illnesses in 2006-07 was £2.7 billion. Further information about NHS costs relating to smoking is set out in paragraph 2.10 of “Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England”, published in March 2011. This document has already been placed in the Library.

The Department estimates that alcohol misuse cost the NHS in England about £3.5 billion in 2009-10. This figure relates to all costs incurred by the NHS, including hospital admissions, outpatient visits, accident and emergency attendances, general practitioner consultations and other costs.

Society of Sports Therapists

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will regulate the Society of Sports Therapists through the Health Professions Council before the London 2012 Olympic Games. [111103]

Anne Milton: The Department has seen no evidence to demonstrate that compulsory statutory regulation for Sports Therapists is necessary in addition to the existing safeguards in the system and there are no plans to introduce regulation for this group.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 provides for the accreditation of voluntary registers by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (which will be renamed the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care). Individuals on an accredited voluntary register will be required to meet standards of training and education which will have been quality assured to ensure they are robust and appropriate.

Telemedicine

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to publish the data from his Department's telehealth and telecare trial. [111238]

Paul Burstow: The Whole System Demonstrator is a complex study comprising of over 6,000 people across three sites and independently evaluated by six leading academic institutions. The results of the telehealth and telecare trial will be published in full, after an independent peer review and that process is still ongoing. As soon as the review is completed, the papers will be published in a respected peer journal.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Al Qaeda: Cybercrime

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the recent call by Al Qaeda operatives for cyber attacks. [110754]

13 Jun 2012 : Column 486W

Mr Hague: We are aware of the recent call by Al Qaeda for cyber attacks on western targets. This is not the first time they have issued such threats.

The UK's National Cyber Security Strategy acknowledges that cyberspace is already used by terrorists to spread propaganda, radicalise potential supporters, raise funds, communicate and plan. The threat that terrorists might use cyberspace to facilitate or to mount attacks against the UK is growing. We judge that it will continue to do so, especially if terrorists believe that our national infrastructure may be vulnerable. The £650 million four-year National Cyber Security Programme is expanding our understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities in cyberspace that affect the UK and increasing our ability to protect the UK and respond to incidents.

Debts Written Off

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much bad debt was written off by his Department in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [110216]

Mr Lidington: No bad debt was written off by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2010-11. The Department's 2011-12 year end position is not yet finalised. The annual report and accounts to be published in July will contain details of any amounts written off during 2011-12 if relevant.

The FCO reviews bad debts on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Overdue debts are rigorously pursued by the department and only written off when the chances of recovery are remote and the cost of pursuing the debt would not represent value for money.

Gabon

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to open an embassy in Libreville, Gabon. [110894]

Mr Bellingham: There are no plans to reopen an embassy at present but we are keen to strengthen bilateral links. The Prime Minister met President Bongo in May and I visited Gabon in July 2011. We are in the process of recruiting a commercial officer based in Libreville who will support British companies looking to invest in Gabon. Our Cameroon-based ambassador and his staff will continue to travel regularly to Libreville to support our bilateral objectives.

Human Rights

Mr Frank Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many staff in each of his Department's missions work on human rights; [109618]

(2) how many full-time employees of his Department work exclusively on human rights issues; [109674]

(3) how many human rights specialist positions were vacant in his Department in the latest period for which figures are available. [109675]

13 Jun 2012 : Column 487W

Mr Jeremy Browne: Human rights represent an integral part of our foreign policy. All the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s embassies and high commissions have a responsibility to monitor and promote human rights. The amount of staff resource devoted varies over time because these responsibilities are carried out at different levels of seniority, in response to developments. For individual staff this work is normally one part of a broader role.

We do not hold information centrally on the number of positions devoted exclusively to human rights work, specialist or otherwise, but we estimate that we have the equivalent of approximately 240 full-time employees working on human rights in the UK and overseas. This includes 25 permanent staff, plus one contracted human rights adviser within the Human Rights and Democracy Department in London.

More information on the FCO's priorities including resources allocated to human rights work can be found in the FCO's 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report available at:

www.fco.gov.uk/hrdreport

Mutual Societies

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent staff who will transfer from his Department, its non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies workforce to a mutual in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [110196]

Mr Bellingham: There are no plans to transfer Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff to mutuals. Staffing decisions in the FCO's agencies and non departmental public bodies are devolved and information relating to them is not held centrally but we are not aware of any such plans.

Public Expenditure

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish a statement of his Department's expenditure in each of the last 36 months; and what steps his Department is taking to avoid an annual underspend. [109625]

Mr Lidington: HM Treasury publishes monthly expenditure data for all Departments from their COINS database. This data are available at:

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

HM Treasury will publish data for the 12 months to March 2012 in August 2012.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) aims to spend within 1% of its resource departmental expenditure limit (RDEL) each year. The FCO Management Board monitors the Department's budget on a monthly basis and reprioritises in-year resources in order to seek the best value for the tax-payer and to achieve the Government's foreign policy priorities.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 488W

UN Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government considered nominating a UK candidate for the committee elections for the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women to be held on 26 June 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111230]

Mr Bellingham: No UK candidate has been put forward for the elections to the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on 26 June. The UK is committed to supporting meritocratic appointments and elections to international jobs in the United Nations and other international organisations and has a very good record in getting good UK candidates elected. The Government support the CEDAW convention and would both welcome the nomination of good UK candidates to the Committee and support any candidate that emerged.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government has ever nominated a UK candidate for the committee elections for the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; and if he will make a statement. [111231]

Mr Bellingham: The Government have not nominated a UK candidate for elections to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The UK is committed to supporting meritocratic appointments and elections to international jobs in the United Nations and other international organisations and has a very good record in getting good UK candidates elected. The Government support the CEDAW convention and would both welcome the nomination of good UK candidates to the Committee and support any candidate that emerged.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government has made to the government of Ukraine on the case of Yulia Tymoshenko. [109976]

Mr Hague: As I said in my statement to the House of 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 420, we have made very clear representations to the Government of Ukraine about Yulia Tymoshenko. Along with other EU partners we have made strong representations about her case and other trials that do not appear to have followed due process. While these concerns remain, the Association Agreement that has been negotiated between Ukraine and the EU will not be brought into force. We welcome recent developments such as the provision of medical care to Mrs Tymoshenko with the assistance of Germany. We will continue to pursue Ms Tymoshenko’s case and others vigorously with Ukraine.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 489W

Cabinet Office

Fraud

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the level of (a) procurement and (b) other fraud affecting his Department's spending in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [110182]

Mr Maude: While detected fraud was not reported before 2010, levels are now published in departmental QDS.

Details of my Department's financial and procurement controls can be found on pages 138 and 139 of the Cabinet Office annual report and accounts 2010-11.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress has been made on his Department's plans to reform non-departmental public bodies. [110360]

Mr Maude: So far 92 quangos have been directly abolished and another 103 merged together to leave 50. Our overall plans will get rid of a third of public bodies and will save the taxpayer £2.6 billion over the spending review period

Offices

Guy Opperman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether the (a) Cabinet Secretary and (b) Head of the Home Civil Service has a dedicated personal office in his Department; whether it is a shared or open plan office; and what the floor area is of each of the personal offices. [109117]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Home Civil Service each have offices in the Cabinet Office.

Public Sector

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many times his Department has consulted non-public sector bodies on the Open Public Services White Paper since its publication in July 2011. [110742]

Mr Maude: While we do not hold details of all contact with non-public sector organisations, we talk regularly to public and non-public sector bodies, think tanks, mutuals, private sector providers, and others, as part of our ongoing work on Open Public Services.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what period of time licences will be granted for the use of wild animals in circuses. [110919]

13 Jun 2012 : Column 490W

Mr Paice: The Animal Welfare Act 2006 allows for the duration of a licence to be set at the discretion of the inspectorate, but only up to a maximum of three years. We have made clear that we anticipate that circus licences, at least initially, will be required annually. The length of any licences granted after that will depend on several factors, including when and how our proposed ban on wild animals in travelling circuses is implemented.

Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to introduce a formal tuberculosis testing regime for camelids. [111282]

Mr Paice: There is no mandatory TB surveillance programme for camelids because they are not regarded as significant reservoirs of TB infection for other species.

Surveillance for TB infection in camelids in Great Britain relies primarily on notifications of suspected cases detected during post mortem examination by private veterinarians and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) regional laboratories. Owners and their private veterinarians are under legal obligation to notify such cases to AHVLA.

In March, AHVLA reported the results of research funded by the British Alpaca Society, the British Llama Society and British Camelids Ltd into the validation of “ante mortem” TB tests in camelids. DEFRA officials are in discussion with the industry on how these tests can best be deployed within the present TB surveillance programme.

Dairy Farming

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to issue guidance on the formation of producer organisations under the EU Dairy Package. [111283]

Mr Paice: Public guidance is available to dairy farmers wishing to form producer organisations under current agricultural and competition rules here:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/ca-and-cartels/OFT740rev.pdf

The basic criteria for the formation of even larger producer organisations under the EU Dairy Package are laid out clearly in Council Regulation 261/2012 but the final Commission Regulations have not been published yet.

DEFRA officials have been and continue to liaise closely with representatives throughout the industry to ensure they are fully aware of the possibilities that producer organisations bring.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the sustainability of the dairy industry. [111284]

Mr Paice: I firmly believe the British dairy industry can be amongst the best in the world the most competitive, the most productive, and the most sustainable.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 491W

The keys to achieving this are seizing market opportunities and increasing industry collaboration so that the whole supply chain is working together towards this goal.

At my dairy supply chain forum over the last two years I have heard and encouraged the achievement of these aims through the dairy roadmap, the dairy 2020 industry sustainability initiative and the ongoing negotiation of a voluntary code of practice to improve contractual relationships between farmers and processors.

Sheep: Numbers

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the level of sheep populations in (a) Cumbria, (b) the Lake District National Park and (c) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in each of the last 10 years [111049]

Mr Paice: The number of sheep on commercial holdings(1) in Cumbria, the Lake District National Park and Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency(2) for 2001 to 2010 are shown in the following table.

(1 )Commercial holdings are those with significant levels of farming activity. These significant levels are classified as any holding with more than five hectares of agricultural land, one hectare of orchards, 0.5 hectares of vegetables or 0.1 hectares of protected crops, or more than 10 cows, 50 pigs, 20 sheep, 20 goats or 1,000 poultry.

(2 )Figures for 2001 to 2009 are based on old parliamentary constituencies boundaries used before the 2010 reclassification. Results for 2010 are based on the new parliamentary constituency boundaries.

 CumbriaLake District National ParkWestmorland and Lonsdale constituency

2001

1,497,662

570,049

559,923

2002

1,799,755

648,429

535,767

2003

1,949,091

684,780

561,329

2004

2,025,071

731,346

570,150

2005

2,047,928

718,862

576,490

2006

2,038,602

728,196

562,904

2007

2,005,938

692,121

530,479

2008

2,028,133

697,284

536,667

2009

1,909,902

658,896

499,695

2010

1,924,912

661,527

453,755

Energy and Climate Change

Atos

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what the total monetary value is of each contract between his Department and Atos; [111187]

(2) when each contract between his Department and Atos was most recently (a) agreed, (b) renewed and (c) extended. [111188]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not have any contracts with Atos.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 492W

Carbon Emissions: Wind Power

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the carbon equivalent of emissions caused by (a) the manufacture and installation of the concrete bases of wind turbines and (b) the manufacture of wind turbines for turbines installed in the UK in the last year for which figures are available. [111010]

Charles Hendry: DECC does not hold specific information on carbon emissions relating to the manufacture and installation of wind turbines in the UK for any given year.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology(1) has compared the carbon footprint(2) of different UK electricity generating technologies based on analysis of a number of research reports and life cycle assessments. It found that onshore wind power has a carbon footprint range of between 8 and 20gCO2eq/kWh(3). By comparison, the average emissions from mainly fossil fuelled power generation in the UK were around 500 gCO2/kWh in 2008.

It reported that 98% of the total life cycle CO2 emissions associated with onshore wind occur during the manufacturing and construction phases arising from the production of steel for the tower, concrete for the foundations and epoxy/fibreglass for the rotor blades. Emissions generated during the operation of wind turbines are relatively small and arise mainly from routine maintenance inspection trips.

A number of research projects suggest that the average wind farm is expected to generate at least 20 to 25 times the energy used in its manufacture, installation, operation and eventual decommissioning over its lifetime, and the average energy payback time for a wind farm is between three and 10 months(4).

(1) Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology Note (Postnote) 268 at:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn268.pdf

which was updated in June 2011 by Postnote 383 at:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn_383-carbon-footprint-electricity-generation.pdf

(2) This is the total amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted over the full life cycle of generating plants. This footprint is expressed in terms of grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour of generation (gCO2eq/kWh).

(3) Carbon emissions relating to the manufacture and installation of wind turbines will depend on a range of factors including size and type of turbine, extraction of any raw materials and processes and energy type used to manufacture turbine components, method of transport of components to the site, and location and typography of the site.

(4) See Centre for Sustainable energy (May 2011)—common concerns about wind power:

http://www.cse.org.uk/downloads/file/common_concerns_about_wind_power.pdf

Sustainable Development Commission, (2005). Wind Power in the UK. A guide to the key issues surrounding onshore wind power development in the UK:

www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications/downloads/Wind_Energy-NovRev2005.pdf

Analysis is generally based on an average 20 year lifespan for the wind turbine. It should be noted that emissions will be affected by a number of factors including wind speed at the site, the type of turbines installed, and the type of energy which is being replaced.

13 Jun 2012 : Column 493W

Combined Heat and Power

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has visited any cities in Europe which are seeking to become zero carbon through the promotion of combined heat and power technology; and what research he has commissioned on such cities. [111002]

Gregory Barker: DECC Ministers and senior officials have visited a number of European cities including in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, as well as pioneering cities in the UK, to learn more about various low carbon options including CHP. Officials keep abreast of international developments as part of their evidence-gathering to inform development of the Government's long-term heat strategy.

Fuel Poverty

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of fuel poverty in Birmingham, Hall Green constituency. [110938]

Gregory Barker: The coalition Government are committed to tackling fuel poverty and supporting vulnerable consumers to heat their homes at an affordable cost.

We continue to fund the Warm Front scheme, providing low income vulnerable households, living in energy inefficient properties, with a range of energy efficient heating and insulation measures. Since 2005 Warm Front has assisted 5,721 households in Birmingham, Hall Green Constituency(1). Since the start of the scheme in June 2000 the scheme has assisted 2.3 million households across England.

In Winter 2011-12, the Warm Home Discount scheme provided energy supplier funded discounts to well over 660,000 of the poorest pensioners across Great Britain with a core group discount of £120 off their electricity bills. Nearly 600,000 of these customers will have received the discount without having to claim as a result of data matching between Government and energy suppliers. This is a significant benefit for a group which may struggle to claim. Other low income vulnerable households may also be assisted through the scheme. Overall we expect 2 million low income vulnerable households a year to be assisted through the Warm Home Discount scheme.

In addition, Government provide pensioner households with winter fuel payments to help with additional heating costs during the Winter. Cold weather payments are also made to low income and vulnerable households where there is an average temperature of 0°C or below for seven consecutive days. These payments have been permanently increased to £25 per week and in winter 2011-12 over 5 million cold weather payments were paid in Great Britain worth an estimated £129 million.

(1) This information is only available post 2005.

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of trends of the prevalence of fuel poverty over the last 10 years among households containing people (a) over and (b) under retirement age; and if he will make a statement. [111290]

13 Jun 2012 : Column 494W

Gregory Barker: The following table shows the number of fuel poor households in England containing someone aged 60 or over; and households containing only people below the age of 60, for each of the years 2003 to 2010 (the years for which this information is available).

 Households containing someone aged 60 or over, in Fuel Poverty in EnglandHouseholds containing only people below the age of 60, in Fuel Poverty in England
 Number of households (thousand)Percentage of households (%)Number of households (thousand)Percentage of households (%)

2003

634

8.9

587

4.3

2004

604

8.2

633

4.7

2005

794

10.6

736

. 5.4

2006

1,285

17.0

1,147

8.4

2007

1,462

18.4

1,361

10.1

2008

1,720

22.1

1,615

11.9

2009

2,045

26.5

1,920

13.9

2010

1,886

23.7

1,649-

12.1

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department's (a) wind and (b) renewables policies on fuel poverty. [111581]

Gregory Barker: The estimated impacts of policies are published by the department impact assessments for those policies. These typically include an assessment of the impact of policies on fuel poverty and household energy bills. However, no assessment has been made of the aggregate effect of (a) wind and (b) renewable policies on fuel poverty.

Natural Gas

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the level of liquid natural gas imports in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012. [111575]

Charles Hendry: In 2011 the UK imported 270,733 gigawatt hours (GWh) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which accounted for 47% of total natural gas imports. In the first quarter of 2012 the UK imported 39,332 GWh which accounted for 24% of total natural gas imports.

LNG imports by country of origin are published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change's website in monthly Energy Trends table ET 4.4 and can be found at this website address:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filetype=4&filepath=Statistics/source/gas/et4_4.xls&minwidth=true

Monthly Energy Trends tables are updated on the last Thursday of each month.

Public Expenditure

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish a statement of his Department's expenditure in each of the last 36 months; and what steps he is taking to avoid an annual underspend. [109714]

13 Jun 2012 : Column 495W

Gregory Barker [holding answer 12 June 2012]: The Department of Energy and Climate Change's spending for the core Department and four arm’s length bodies (the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Coal

13 Jun 2012 : Column 496W

Authority, the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, and the Committee on Climate change) is published on the Combined On-line Information System (COINS).

£000
 AprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

2009-10

         

AME

130,252

168,679

157,584

154,307

164,840

158,440

20,353

168,542

156,981

DEL

237.174

242,641

105.842

238,279

223.779

291,257

201,383

161,212

291,156

DEL and AME

367,426

411,320

263,426

392,586

388,619

449,697

221,736

329,754

448.137

          

2010-11

         

AME

-497

-4,936

-29,652

-3,949

-10,810

-36,526

-12.997

-5,951

-5,952

DEL

72,202

229,669

337,076

207,131

200,917

284,862

215,383

372,406

305,230

DEL and AME

71,705

224,733

307,424

203.182

190,107

248,336

202,386

366,455

299,278

          

2011-12

         

AME

-2,194

-6,853

-5,979

-14,791

-3,719

-15,481

-35,555

121,510

-32,622

DEL

161,891

222,895

259,414

188,513

171,324

249,736

-60,680

214,507

317,168

DEL and AME

159,697

216,042

253,435

173,722

167,605

234,255

-96,235

336,017

284,546

£000
 JanuaryFebruaryMarchTotal

2009-10

    

AME

181,096

167,972

2,170,953

3,799,999

DEL

217,857

262,571

529,436

3,002,587

DEL and AME

398,953

430,543

2.700,389

6,802,586

     

2010-11

    

AME

-15,670

-7,712

2,217,809

2,083,157

DEL

194,425

245,292

535,014

3,199,607

DEL and AME

178,755

237,580

2,752,823

5,282,764

     

2011-12

    

AME

-15,782

90,078

3,564,196

3.642,808

DEL

96,140

291,652

493,432

2,605,992

DEL and AME

80,358

381,730

4,057,628

6,248,800

A link to the COINS site is as follows:

http://data.gov.uk/dataset/coins

The Department aims to minimise underspends by continuous improvement of its financial management processes so that underspends early can be identified and redeployed in a constructive manner. The Department is also working to strengthen project management so that underspends are less likely to arise and is introducing a portfolio management process to make best use of available budget.

Recruitment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on recruitment, to what extent his Department and its non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies used name-blank CVs or the blind sift function on the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system to recruit staff in the last year. [110965]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not use the Civil Service Resourcing e-recruitment system.

The Department does not use name blank CVs or blind sifting for its own recruitment purposes.