Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provisions are in place to allow for the testing of unmanned air vehicles in UK airspace. [116254]

Mrs Villiers: A facility for research and development in relation to Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been set up in the ParcAberporth site in west Wales. This utilises West Wales Airport and a complex of Danger Areas surrounding it (both over water and over land). These Danger Areas provide the requisite segregated airspace for UAS operations ‘beyond visual line of sight'. In addition, there are a number of other UK Danger Areas within which UAS operations may be permitted.

A Danger Area is defined as

“airspace which has been notified as such within which activities dangerous to the flight of aircraft may take place or exist at such times as may be notified”.

When such airspace is required, its vertical and lateral dimensions, hours of operation and other salient details are notified in the En-Route section of the United Kingdom Aeronautical Information Publication.

DFT charges the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), through the Directorate of Airspace Policy (DAP), with ensuring the safe and efficient use of all airspace, including Danger Areas, while embracing the concept of the Flexible Use of Airspace (FUA). Danger Area Sponsors manage Danger Area airspace and set the policy to ensure the safe, effective and efficient management of the airspace for which they have responsibility. UAS will be subject to the same level of safety regulation as conventional manned aircraft.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on external consultants, including management consultants, in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [107495]

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Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was to her Department of the use of external consultants in each of the last two years. [110615]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA’s total expenditure on external consultants in the relevant financial years is set out in the following table:

Financial yearExpenditure (£)

2010-11

7,370,397

2011-12

4,657,302

Morocco: Fisheries Agreements

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ask the European Commission to consult representatives of the Saharawi population excluded from the Western Sahara territory on the proposed renewal of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. [114694]

Richard Benyon: Morocco, as the de facto administering power of Western Sahara, is obliged under international law to ensure that economic activities under its administration do not adversely affect the interests of the people in Western Sahara. The UK will continue to lobby the European Commission to ensure that a renewed

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EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement is compatible with international law and will also ask the Commission to seek advice on what consultations Morocco has carried out in connection with the renewal of the Agreement.

Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) highest, (b) median, (c) median full-time equivalent and (d) lowest full-time equivalent salary was paid by (i) her Department and (ii) its public bodies in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12 and (C) 2012-13. [112477]

Richard Benyon: The response in the following table provides data for the core Department and its Executive Agencies. Data for other public bodies are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The information provided shows the position for staff in post as at 31 March 2011, 31 March 2012 and 31 May 2012. Information for all staff employed within the full yearly periods requested would not be available without incurring disproportionate cost. Data shown include base salary and allowances.

In line with previous reporting on senior salaries, the highest salary figure in response to (a) has been provided in a £5,000 band.

Core DEFRA
£
Data as at (date):Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

31 March 2011

155,000 to 160,000

32,617

33,399

15,739

31 March 2012

155,000 to 160,000

32,617

33,650

15,279

31 May 2012

155,000 to 160,000

32,617

33,507

15,279

Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)

AHVLA was vested on 1 April 2011 through the merger of Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency. The following table shows figures for each Agency separately for the 2010-11 financial year, with merged figures for 2011-12 and 2012-13.

£
OrganisationData as at (date):Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

AH

31 March 2011

130,000 to 135,000

25,266

25,903

15,279

VLA

31 March 2011

130,000 to 135,000

21,469

23,489

14,310

AHVLA

31 March 2012

130,000 to 135,000

23,740

25,462

14,560

 

31 May 2012

130,000 to 135,000

23,740

25,462

14,560

Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VIVID)
£
Data as at (date);Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

31 March 2011

90,000 to 95,000

29,848

30,527

19,155

31 March 2012

115,000 to 120,000

29,848

29,848

19,405

31 May 2012

115,000 to 120,000

29,848

29,848

19,405

Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
£
Data as at (date):Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

31 March 2011

120,000 to 125,000

24,036

25,250

13,402

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10 July 2012 : Column 144W

31 March 2012

120,000 to 125,000

24,036

25,250

13,652

31 May 2012

120,000 to 125,000

24,036

25,250

13,652

Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)
£
Data as at (date):Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

31 March 2011

110,000 to 115,000

25,307

26,117

14,000

31 March 2012

110,000 to 115,000

24,125

25,914

9,500

31 May 2012

110,000 to 115,000

24,125

25,935

9,500

Rural Payments Agency (RPA)
£
Data as at (date):Highest salaryMedian salaryMedian FTE salaryLowest FTE salary

31 March 2011

155,000 to 160,000

19,657

22,196

16,118

31 March 2012

155,000 to 160,000

19,907

22,337

16,368

31 May 2012

155,000 to 160,000

19,907

22,337

16,368

Public Expenditure

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, (1) what progress her Department has made on identifying a proportion of its resource budget which can be re-prioritised; what steps she has taken to identify such funds; and which parts of her Department's resource budget she has identified as suitable for re-prioritisation; [115745]

(2) what discussions she has had with her Department's agencies and the non-departmental bodies for which she is responsible on the contribution they will make to identifying resource budget for possible re-prioritisation. [115746]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in ‘Improving Spending Control’:

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

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They should be “live” plans that are reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

Justice

Legal Aid Scheme

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether a student loan is classified as income in the assessment for legal aid; and whether he has any plans to review this classification. [115587]

Mr Djanogly: Under the criminal and civil legal aid schemes, student loans covering maintenance and cost of living expenses are counted as income in assessing a student's financial entitlement to legal aid; student loans covering tuition fees, which are paid directly to the student's university, are not treated as income for the purposes of conducting this assessment. The Ministry of Justice currently has no plans to review these arrangements.

Members: Correspondence

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Weaver Vale of 23 May 2012 on behalf of Mr Dominic Moss. [115578]

Mr Djanogly: I am very sorry for the delay. I can now confirm that a reply has now been sent.

Offenders: Deportation

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to facilitate the removal of foreign national prisoners. [114160]

Mr Blunt: Ministerial colleagues and I are in regular contact with overseas counterparts to explain the benefits of prisoner transfer agreements and encourage EU member states to implement the EU Framework Decision on the Transfer of Prisoners; this provides for compulsory prisoner transfers. We are also examining our offender management processes in the UK to identify how more foreign national offenders (FNOs) can be transferred to their home countries at the earliest possible point in their sentence. We are developing projects to improve standards in prisons in some of our high volume FNO countries to improve our ability to return time-serving prisoners to their countries of origin. We are also improving communications with FNOs eligible for return under existing voluntary mechanisms to explain the benefits and encourage them to take up this option.

Following the introduction of a new tariff expired removal scheme in May 2012, it will be possible for the Secretary of State to authorise removal for FNOs who have received an indeterminate sentence, without reference to the Parole Board, once they have served the punitive part of their sentence.

We are also enabling conditional cautions to be used as an alternative to prosecution for certain foreign offenders aged 18 or over who have no right to be in the UK; admit guilt; agree to accept the conditions; and where it is in the public interest to offer a conditional

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caution. The new conditions will result in the foreign offender's departure from the UK and prevent their return for an appropriate period of time.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to ensure fair competition in the (i) procurement of software for the extension of the road traffic accident portal to other types of claim and (ii) administration of the portal after its extension. [115673]

Mr Djanogly: The RTA portal is run by the RTA Portal Company, which is a privately owned and funded enterprise. Therefore, issues relating to the running of the portal are not a matter for this Department.

Public Expenditure

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, what progress his Department has made on identifying a proportion of its resource budget that can be re-prioritised; what steps he has taken to identify such funds; and which parts of his Department's resource budget he has identified as suitable for re-prioritisation; [115754]

(2) with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, what discussions he has had with his Department's agencies and the non-departmental bodies for which he is responsible on the contribution they will make to identifying resource budget for possible re-prioritisation; [115755]

(3) with reference to the speech by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury of 23 April 2012 at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, when he will make public the areas of his Department's resource budget he has identified for possible re-prioritisation; and when he plans to report to the Justice Select Committee on the outcome of this exercise. [115756]

Mr Djanogly: The Department is working with the Treasury to agree contingency plans as set out in “Improving Spending Control”:

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

Plans and options for re-prioritisation will not be published. They should be ‘live’ plans that are reassessed and updated on an ongoing basis.

Reoffenders

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people convicted of offences related to the public disorder of August 2011 have reoffended after being released from prison. [115815]

Mr Blunt: As at 15 June 2012, 710 offenders who were sentenced to custody for offences related to the public disorder of 6-9 August 2011 had been released from prison. In terms of measuring reoffending, these offenders will fall in the cohort for July 2011 to June 2012 whose reoffending will be published in the Proven Reoffending

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Statistics Quarterly Bulletin in April 2014. This is because we allow a one-year follow-up period for reoffending to occur and a further six-month waiting period for offences to be processed by the courts.

For your information, reoffending statistics are available from the Ministry of Justice website at:

www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/proven-re-offending

The latest information on the public disorder in August 2011 is available at:

www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/criminal-justice/public-disorder-august-11

Road Traffic Offences

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice to what extent the UK participates in EU decision SCH/Com-ex (99) 11 rev.2 on co-operation in proceedings for road traffic offences; and what assessment he has made of the effect of any such participation on the prosecution of road traffic offences in the UK. [115913]

Mr Blunt: The UK participates in this EU decision and has implemented it in so far as we have implemented Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA, which in part supersedes it. The UK must decide, no later than 31 May 2014, whether to accept full European Court of Justice jurisdiction over those EU police and criminal justice measures adopted before 1 December 2009 which have not been amended or replaced. This instrument falls within the scope of this decision and is being reviewed accordingly.

Unpaid Fines: Lancashire

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the value was of uncollected fines in (a) Blackpool and (b) Wyre for each of the last five years for which figures are available. [116032]

Mr Djanogly: Financial penalties are collected by local accounting centres which collect financial penalties on behalf of courts in their area. Lancashire Accounting Centre enforces fines imposed by Blackpool, Blackburn, Chorley, Lancaster, Preston and Reedley magistrates courts and the Crown Court sitting at Burnley and Preston. Accounting centres do not record amounts collected and outstanding at a court or geographic breakdown and are the lowest level we can go to without manually inspecting individual accounts which would incur disproportionate costs.

Table 1 as follows shows the outstanding balance at Lancashire Accounting Centre on 31 March 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

Financial penalties include amounts for fines, costs, prosecution costs, legal aid, victim surcharge, compensation and unpaid fixed penalties and penalty notices for disorder that are transferred to HMCTS for enforcement. The outstanding balance includes fines which are being collected by instalments and outstanding monies from previous months/years.

Over the last few years there has been an increase in fine collections by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). Last year (2011) we collected £277 million in fines, compared to £251 million in 2009—a 10% increase.

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HMCTS has achieved this by focusing on early compliance with financial impositions by using a number of methods such as telephone and text message reminders to defaulters, intelligence tracing tools, increased use of enforcement sanctions like deduction from benefit orders and attachment of earnings and targeted payment blitzes on specific groups of defaulters. There are a number of other initiatives being developed to further improve the collection of financial penalties.

Table 1: Outstanding balance of financial penalties at Lancashire Accounting Centre as at 31 March in each of the last five years
 Outstanding balance (£)

31 March 2012

11,604,000

31 March 2011

12,476,000

31 March 2010

13,111.000

31 March 2009

13,870.000

31 March 2008

12,236,000

Note: Rounded to nearest thousand pounds.

Victim Support Schemes

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the Government's response to their consultation on victims and witnesses, when his Department will publish further details on how local commissioning will be implemented; [115806]

(2) with reference to the Government's response to their consultation on victims and witnesses, if he will make it his policy to ring-fence police and crime commissioner budgets for victims' services; [115807]

(3) with reference to the Government's response to their consultation on victims and witnesses, if he will hold discussions with stakeholders on the practicalities of implementing the commissioning of victims' services by police and crime commissioners. [115808]

Mr Blunt: On 2 July the Government announced in our response to the consultation “Getting it Right for Victims and Witnesses'” that by 2015 police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will be responsible for commissioning the bulk of victims' services.

There is more work to be done before we are in a position to provide further details of how local commissioning will be implemented but we will certainly engage with stakeholders to help us consider the practicalities.

PCCs are an important element of the Government's drive towards greater localism and freedom to make informed choices is fundamental to their role. As such, it is not the Government's intention to ring-fence the funding that will go to them.

Welfare Tax Credits

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) average and (b) maximum waiting time was for an appeal for a tax credit decision in the latest period for which figures are available. [116333]

Mr Djanogly: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) hears appeals against Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) decisions on tax credits.

(a) During the period 1 January to 31 March 2012 (the latest period for which data have been published) the average time taken from receipt of a tax credit

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appeal by the Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) Tribunal until the date of the decision being issued was 18.1 weeks. In most tax credit appeal hearings a decision notice is issued on the day of the hearing.

(b) The SSCS Tribunal does not hold information on the single longest period an appellant has waited for a benefit appeal hearing. The information can be provided only at disproportionate cost by manually checking individual case files. However, during the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 4,400 tax credit appeals were disposed of (an increase of 57% on the same period in 2010-11). Of these, 0.3% were more than two years old. Those appeals that take longer than two years to be disposed of are likely to be complex cases which may have more than one hearing. For example, a first hearing may have been adjourned for further evidence to be gathered.

HMCTS has continued to respond strongly to the significant increase in appeal cases received by the SSCS Tribunal. It is working hard to increase the capacity of the SSCS Tribunal and reduce waiting times. It has implemented a range of measures which include recruiting more judges and medical panel members; increasing administrative resources and streamlining processes; securing additional hearing venues across the country; increasing the number of cases listed in each tribunal session; running double shifts in its largest processing centre; running Saturday sittings in some of the busiest venues; and establishing a customer contact centre to deal with telephone inquiries.

All of this is having a positive effect. The total number of disposals has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 380,000 in 2010-11, and 433,600 appeals in 2011-12, with the capacity for half a million disposals in 2012-13. Perhaps most notably, the tribunal disposed of more appeals than it received in every month between January 2011 and February 2012 (14 consecutive months) and the outstanding caseload within the tribunals fell by 25% in 2011-12 to reach 145,000 on 31 March 2012. The average waiting time has stabilised nationally and is beginning to fall across many venues.

International Development

Biofuels

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what provisions have been made to ensure that the companies receiving subsidies for biofuel use comply with the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and International Labour Organisation Convention 169. [116279]

Mr O'Brien: The UK Government support commercial biofuel production. Sustainability criteria to support schemes for energy generated from biofuels are set under the European Union renewable energy directive (RED); the UK cannot deviate from these. These criteria must show greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions saving compared to fossil fuel use and restrictions to protect land with high carbon or biodiversity value.

The Department for International Development (DFID) does not provide subsidies to companies to produce biofuels. DFID has supported the development of the Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation

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Voluntary Guidelines on land use to set voluntary international standards for investment in agricultural production including biofuels. The Voluntary Guidelines explicitly encourage recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. The UK Government are also a signatory to the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Under RED the European Commission must monitor and report every two years on the impact of biofuel policy and increased demand for biofuel on social sustainability. Reports must address issues of land use rights and must also state whether the production of raw material for biofuel for use in the EU complies with conventions of the International Labour Organisation.

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what safeguards are in place to ensure that biofuels used in the UK have not been grown on the land of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent. [116280]

Mr O'Brien: The UK Government are clear that biofuel production should not be detrimental to local communities, their food security, livelihoods, or the environment. The European Commission must monitor and report every two years on the impact of biofuel policy and increased demand for biofuel on social sustainability. Reports must address issues of land use rights and must also state whether the production of raw material for biofuel for use in the European Union (EU) complies with conventions of the International Labour Organisation. If necessary, the Commission must propose corrective action. The Government will press for proper account to be taken of the social impacts of bioenergy production in EU policy.

We have supported work to develop Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment and the Voluntary Guidelines on land use, which will help to set voluntary international standards for investment in agricultural production including biofuels.

Burma

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate his Department has made of the number of internally displaced people in Burma (a) on the most recent date for which figures are available and (b) in June 2011; and what the change in the level of his Department's funding for internally displaced people has been in the last year. [116238]

Mr Duncan: Reports estimate that there are between 55,000 and 100,000 people currently displaced as a result of the recent unrest in Rakhine state. In Kachin state it is estimated that some 65,000 people are currently displaced. Along the Thai-Burma border it is estimated that there are approximately 141,000 people currently displaced.

For June 2011 reports show that there was an estimated 150,000 people displaced along the Thai-Burma border.

In 2011, bilateral funding from DFID for internally displaced people along the Thai-Burma border was around £1.4 million. This is an increase of around £300,000 compared to 2010. We are currently reviewing bids for DFID's new programme of support to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees along the Thai-Burma border, which is planned to start later this year.

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In January this year the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), announced that DFID will be allocating an additional £2 million of bilateral funds for IDPs in Kachin. To date, just over £1.1 million of this has been spent.

Developing Countries: Biofuels

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he plans to take to address the effect of biofuels on developing countries; and what discussions he has had with (a) his EU counterparts and (b) the European Commission on biofuels and developing countries. [116314]

Mr O'Brien: The UK Government are clear that the production of biomass for bioenergy must not undermine food security in the UK or internationally. Biofuel production should not adversely impact on food prices and availability, or on local people's access to land and other natural resources, in developing countries. The Department for International Development (DFID) continues to assess the evidence for the impact of biofuels on developing countries. Any steps taken will be predicated on the principle that food production must remain the primary goal of agriculture.

The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), has not had formal discussions on biofuels with his European counterparts or the European Commission. DFID is working closely with other UK Government Departments, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Transport, to address concerns related to the impact of biofuels on food prices and on developing countries. These concerns have also been addressed in the DECC ‘UK Bioenergy Strategy’, published in April.

Developing Countries: Family Planning

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to the London Summit on Family Planning, what estimate he has made of the proportion of unintended pregnancies in developing countries which were the result of forced or coerced sex. [116034]

Mr Andrew Mitchell: The ability of women and girls to use contraception is hindered when they are in abusive relationships where domestic violence or forced sex takes place. Evidence indicates that the risk of unintended pregnancy is higher in the context of poor partner communication and a higher rate of domestic violence.

Adolescent girls, including girls who are married to or in relationships with older men, are particularly at risk. In Malawi and Ghana studies report that around a third of the girls reported that they were not “willing at all” during their first sexual experience.

The London Summit on Family Planning recognises the risks of coerced sex and commitments sought by the summit therefore include measures to address the wider context of women's and girls' empowerment.

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Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress his Department has made on implementation of the Manchester Declaration of 2005. [116362]

Mr Duncan: DFID had no involvement in the implementation of the Manchester Declaration, which was led by the Cabinet Office.

Middle East

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to encourage Arab nations to support his Department's projects in the Gaza strip. [116287]

Mr Duncan: The UK supports a range of interventions in Gaza and works closely with other donors, including Arab nations, to make sure our work is co-ordinated and reflects Palestinian Authority priorities. This includes raising movement and access restrictions with the Israeli authorities. The UK is actively encouraging Arab and other donors to provide predictable financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority budget, of which about 40% is spent on service delivery in Gaza.

Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the lowest hourly rate paid to staff by his Department is; how many members of staff based outside London are paid less than £7.20 per hour; and how many members of staff based in London are paid less than £8.30 per hour. [116368]

Mr Duncan: The lowest paid members of staff at the DFID are clerical assistants (C2), based outside of London, who are paid £8.08 per hour. No members of DFID staff are paid below £7.20 per hour (outside London) or are paid below £8.30 per hour in London.

Private Sector

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what definition his Department uses of the private sector in respect of this pillar of his Department's work. [116310]

Mr O'Brien: DFID uses a broad definition of the private sector, encompassing private enterprises of all sizes, and in developing countries and elsewhere, for example including small-holder farmers, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, larger firms, financial institutions and multinational corporations.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding mechanisms his Department uses to deliver work with the private sector. [116313]

Mr O'Brien: The various funding mechanisms the Department for International Development (DFID) uses are laid out in the operational plans of all DFID offices and departments and are available on our website:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2011/action-plans-set-out-future-of-uk-aid/

The range of funding mechanisms available for businesses wanting to work with DFID are also outlined on our website:

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http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Work-with-us/Funding-opportunities/Business/

and there is an overview of the approaches DFID takes to deliver work with the private sector in our 2011 publication ‘The Engine of Development’, available at:

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

South Sudan

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. [115650]

Mr Duncan: We are monitoring the situation in South Sudan closely. The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated significantly since December. The refugee crisis along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, the situation in Abyei and the potential for widespread food insecurity are our key current humanitarian concerns. DFID has already allocated over £29 million to the humanitarian response in South Sudan and will provide over 130,000 people with clean drinking water, and 100,000 people with emergency food assistance. However, the consequences of the oil shutdown are exacerbating the deterioration of the broader country-wide humanitarian situation. Last month the Consolidated Appeal Process raised its target for 2012 from $776 million to $1.2 billion. It is now roughly 30% funded.

The UK Government are one of the leading donors to the humanitarian response in South Sudan, both through our direct funding (£15 million through CHF, £2 million through ICRC, and £10 million through WFP) and through our support channelled through the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). This assistance will help support thousands of vulnerable and displaced people.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2012, Official Report, column 279W, on South Sudan, what recent assessment he has made of the crisis in South Sudan; what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) other Governments and (b) the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the level of extra funds needed; if he will provide additional UK funds to alleviate the crisis; and if he will make a statement. [116409]

Mr O'Brien: We are monitoring the situation in South Sudan closely. During my visit to South Sudan in April 2012, I saw for myself the dire situation in the border region with Sudan and was briefed on humanitarian needs across the country. In response to increasing needs, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has bid for $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund, to which the UK contributes 20%. We are also encouraging other donors to increase their humanitarian funding. Officials in the DFID office in Juba co-ordinate closely with representatives of other Governments and humanitarian agencies to establish a

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common view of the level of humanitarian need and officials from my Department held a meeting with the Head of the UNHCR South Sudan office in London on 5 July.

UN Women

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the executive director of UN Women; and if he will make a statement. [116257]

Mr Duncan: DFID is in regular contact with the executive director for UN Women and her officials in a variety of formats. Most recently, at the executive board of UN Women the UK made a national statement welcoming the progress that has been made to date and highlighting the priorities for the year ahead. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell), met with the deputy executive director to discuss this while in New York last month and has a meeting with the executive director to discuss this further when she is in London for the family planning summit.

Attorney-General

Fast-Tracked Prosecutions: Olympics and Paralympics

Diana Johnson: To ask the Attorney-General what progress he has made on introducing fast-tracked prosecutions during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. [115836]

The Solicitor-General: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the oral question from the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Rushanara Ali) today.

Non-molestation Orders

Stella Creasy: To ask the Attorney-General if he will publish data on the number of breaches of non-molestation orders and restraining orders where domestic violence is an aggravating factor in each of the last five years. [115443]

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

The number of defendants found guilty at all courts for breach of a non-molestation order and breach of a restraining order (under section 5 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997), in England and Wales, in each year between 2009 and 2011 (latest currently available), can be viewed in the following table.

It is known that there were issues in the central recording of offences resulting from a breach of a previously imposed court order. These issues were subsequently resolved allowing information on prosecutions and convictions for breach of a non-molestation order to be collated from 2009 onwards only.

Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice includes details on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. This statistical information does not include all the specific circumstances of each case other than

10 July 2012 : Column 154W

where specified in the statute. It is therefore not possible to separately identify proceedings brought for breaches of non-molestation orders and restraining orders where domestic violence was a factor from those where it was not.

Defendants(1) found guilty at all courts for offences of breach of a non-molestation order(2) and breach of a restraining order(3) in England and Wales in each year between 2009 and 2011
 Found guilty:
Offence200920102011

Breach of a non-molestation order

2,279

2,626

2,552

Breach of a restraining order

1,464

2,920

4,376

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Includes offences under Family Law Act 1996, s.42A as added by Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, s.1. (3) Includes offences under section 5 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Note: Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Serious Fraud Office

Debbie Abrahams: To ask the Attorney-General when he expects the review by the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate of the Serious Fraud Office's cases to be completed. [115844]

The Solicitor-General: Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate's review is expected to be completed in the autumn.

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has assessed the level of resources available for local councils to issue council tax notices electronically as an e-invoice. [115518]

Robert Neill: My Department is keen to promote the voluntary take-up of electronic billing for council tax. As set out on 28 May, in ‘Technical reform for council tax: Summary of responses report’, my Department is taking steps to provide greater flexibility which will assist local authorities in promoting voluntary e-billing in their area.

When adopting a voluntary e-billing system, a local authority will, no doubt, consider the potential savings on printing and postage, combined with the likely greater take-up of direct debits, I would expect such an approach to save taxpayers' money rather than require additional resources; such savings could be passed back to local residents or be used to protect other frontline services.

10 July 2012 : Column 155W

For example, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has recently announced plans to offer Nectar points to residents who choose to sign up to paperless billing and to those who choose to pay by direct debit.

Fire Services: Floods

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many calls fire and rescue services received relating to flooding in June 2012; how many flood incidents were attended by fire and rescue services; and how many people were rescued by firefighters in flood-related incidents. [R] [115711]

Robert Neill: Numbers of emergency calls received by fire and rescue authorities are not held centrally.

The Department receives records from fire and rescue authorities on incidents attended and this includes rescues. However the Department does not yet have these for June 2012. Numbers of flood incidents are produced routinely for the Fire Statistics Monitor whose edition next January will include data up to September 2012.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to announce a final decision on a statutory duty for the fire and rescue services to respond to flooding. [R] [115941]

Robert Neill: We have been working with partners on this issue as part of the Government's response to the Exercise Watermark Report; we expect this response to be announced in due course.

First-time Buyers: Hendon

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to assist young people to buy their first property in Hendon constituency. [115637]

Grant Shapps: Across England the Government have committed to supporting people to achieve their aspirations and feel the pride of home ownership. From 1 April 2012, the Mayor of London has been responsible for strategic housing, regeneration and economic development in London.

We recognise the particular challenges faced by first-time buyers, and we are providing a range of options intended to help them and others into home ownership, including:

shared ownership which helps people unable to buy a home without assistance to purchase a minimum 25% share paying rent on the remainder;

the FirstBuy equity loan scheme, jointly funded by the Government and participating developers, which will help almost 10,500 aspiring home owners by spring 2013;

the NewBuy Guarantee Scheme which will provide up to 100,000 prospective buyers—including first-time buyers—with access to 95% loan to value mortgages on new build properties, delivering a significant boost to housing supply; and

the reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme with the new discount cap of £75,000 will also help more people—including first-time buyers—to realise their aspiration for home ownership.

The Government are also committed to reducing the UK's burden of debt and abolishing the structural deficit. This will help to keep interest rates low and improve credit availability, freeing up lending for first-time buyers.

10 July 2012 : Column 156W

High Street Review

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans his Department has to assist business communities which were unsuccessful in the first round of the Portas Pilot. [115638]

Grant Shapps: In response to the overwhelming interest from hundreds of locations across the country, sparked by the competition for the first wave of 12 Portas Pilots, I announced there would be a second wave of pilots who will receive a share of a further £1 million, support from Whitehall and Mary Portas. 12 further pilots will be funded by DCLG with a further three funded by the Greater London Authority. Winners of the second round will be announced by the end of July.

I want to ensure all town teams can benefit from the successes and learning from the pilots. Details of further support for unsuccessful applicants will be announced in due course.

Portas Pilots are part of a package of measures announced in March to revive high streets, including;

A £10 million High Street Innovation Fund awarded to councils in areas blighted by empty shops and recovering from the riots to help bring entrepreneurs back to their communities;

A £500,000 investment to help Business Improvement Districts access loans for their set-up costs,

A £1 million Future High Street X-Fund which will reward the areas delivering the most effective and innovative plans to bring their town centres back to life.

£1 million funding support to help the development of high street neighbourhood plans as part of our neighbourhood planning programme.

Housing: Construction

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many house building starts there were in (a) 2009 and (b) 2011. [115709]

Grant Shapps: House building starts in England were 29% higher in 2011 compared to 2009, rising from 85,600 units in 2009 to 110,230 in 2011 (DCLG, “Housebuilding: March Quarter 2012 England”, 17 May 2012, Table 2a).

I also note that the value of new housing construction was 34% higher in 2011 compared with 2009 (ONS, “Output in the Construction Industry”, 11 May 2012; figures in constant price terms, for Great Britain).

Moreover, housing construction orders were up 39% in 2011 compared with 2009 (ONS, “New orders in the construction industry” Q1 2012, 8 June 2012, Table 4; figures in constant price terms, for Great Britain).

Housing: Standards

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many dependent children in (a) Coventry, (b) Coventry North East constituency, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England were living in homes not classed as decent in each of the last five years. [115824]

10 July 2012 : Column 157W

Andrew Stunell [holding answer 9 July 2012]:The data source for this is the English Housing Survey (2008-09 to 2010-11), and its predecessor the English House Condition Survey (2005-06 to 2007-08). Due to the nature of sample surveys, figures can only be provided where sample sizes are large enough to make reliable estimates.

(a) Not available at this geographical level.

(b) Not available at this geographical level.

(c) In the West Midlands the numbers of dependent children living in non-decent housing was approximately:

 Number

2010

300,000

2009

350,000

2008

400,000

2007

400,000

2006

400,000

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 50,000, as there is a good deal of uncertainty around these figures due to small sample sizes.

(d) In England the numbers of dependent children living in non-decent housing was approximately:

 Million

2010

2.7

2009

3.2

2008

3.3

2007

3.7

2006

3.9

Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100,000.

My Department is providing £1.6 billion of funding over the spending review period to help councils ensure council housing meets the Decent Homes Standard. This is expected to deliver an additional 127,000 decent council homes by 2014-15.

Local Government: Procurement

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the investigation by a local authority of commercial concerns and disputes prior to it awarding a contract to a company involved in such a matter. [115628]

Robert Neill [holding answer 9 July 2012]:Subject to their legal duties local authorities are responsible for taking their own procurement decisions, including what investigations they make about a company's commercial affairs and disputes. The local government transparency code requires councils to publish tenders and contracts online to assist local scrutiny and accountability in terms of the awarding of contracts.

Localism Act 2012

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent discussions he has had on extending the provisions of the Localism Act 2012 to enable local newspapers to be identified as community assets; [115713]

(2) what assessment he has made of the proposal that the provisions of the Localism Act 2012 be extended to enable local newspapers to be identified as community assets. [115714]

10 July 2012 : Column 158W

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 569.

Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years. [115295]

Robert Neill: The following average number of working days lost per person due to sickness absence reported to Cabinet Office for the last three calendar years for the Department for Communities and Local Government and its agencies, including an aggregate figure, were as follows:

 200920102011

DCLG

4.6

6.3

6.5

Fire Service College

11.5

8.8

14.0

Planning Inspectorate

9.2

7.8

6.4

QEII Conference Centre

6.8

7.4

3.3

Ordnance Survey

5.7

3.1

n/a

Aggregate

6.0

5.8

6.9

Average sickness rates in the Department are below the civil service average. The Department is currently looking at streamlining its policies on sick absence and is taking a pro-active role in working with line managers to tackle sick absence. The Department is committed to the wellbeing of its staff and offers a number of services to assist in minimising staff absences:

A self-test stress indicator tool for line managers, to help them identify the skills they need to tackle workplace stress in their team, has been developed by the Health and Safety Executive, in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Investors in People.

Intranet information pages to inform staff on ways in which they can actively seek to maximise their physical and mental health.

Access to a 24 hour Employee Assistance helpline which offers advice and support for all staff to deal with sick absence.

Non-domestic Rates

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the publication of the Pooling of Non-Domestic Rates and Redistribution to Local Authorities in England Account 2011-12; how much was contributed by each local authority in each of the last five years; and what the value was of sums redistributed to each local authority in each of the last five years. [115954]

Robert Neill: Information on the amount of national non-domestic rates collected by each local authority in England in each of the last five years can be found at the following address:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/localregional/localgovernmentfinance/statistics/nondomesticrates/outturn/outturndatalocallevel/

Information on the amounts of redistributed national non-domestic rates received by each local authority in England in 2007-08 to 2010-11 can be found in row 870 of the revenue outturn summary forms, which have been published as follows:

10 July 2012 : Column 159W

2010-11

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/21237421.xls

2009-10

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/2031728.xls

2008-09

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1718972.xls

2007-08

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1718946.xls

I have today placed in the Library of the House a table containing information on the amount of redistributed national non-domestic rates received by each local authority in England in 2006-07 which was taken from the revenue outturn summary form for that year.

Private Rented Housing: Disability

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that properties available on the private rental market are accessible to people with disabilities. [116286]

Andrew Stunell: The Department for Communities and Local Government provides funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant to all 326 local authorities in England for the provision of adaptations to homes to allow disabled people to live independently in their own homes. The grant is available to home owners and tenants alike. In 2012-13 the Disabled Facilities Grant funding is £180 million and over the spending review period to 2014-15 DCLG has safeguarded £745 million for the grant.

Part M (access to and use of buildings) of the Building Regulations sets out baseline requirements for access in all new housing and in cases where existing properties are subject to a material change of use to provide homes for sale or rental.

Deputy Prime Minister

Power of Recall

7. Dan Jarvis: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress he has made on plans to introduce a power for people to recall their Member of Parliament. [115852]

Mr Harper: Following the conclusion of its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Government's draft Bill, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee published its report on 28 June. The Government are carefully considering the Committee's recommendations and will respond in due course.

Rio+20 Summit

9. Robert Halfon: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received from (a) European and (b) other foreign Governments on his speech to the Rio+20 summit. [115854]

10 July 2012 : Column 160W

The Deputy Prime Minister: In the build-up to the Rio summit, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and I worked extensively with our partners to prepare the ground for a positive result. We achieved much that the UK fought for and broadly can welcome: Sustainable Development Goals, support for the green economy, sustainability reporting and GDP+—though it did not go as far as we wanted.

The UK position was developed in close co-operation with our European and global partners. For example, while in Rio I hosted the Natural Capital summit with Norway, Denmark and Colombia. Working with our partners on an international scale will continue to be crucial as we turn words into action, implementing the agreements achieved at Rio.

Lobbying

10. Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has received on improving transparency in lobbying. [115856]

Mr Harper: The Government received a wide range of responses to their consultation on ‘Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists' which closed on 20 April 2012. I have also received correspondence from MPs and interested parties regarding the Government's proposals.

The Government will publish their formal response—providing a summary of responses received and setting out the next steps—shortly. This will then be followed by a White Paper and draft legislation setting out the Government's detailed proposals, later this Session.

House of Lords Reform

11. Mr McCann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he plans to take to ensure that the primacy of the House of Commons is maintained under his proposals for House of Lords reform. [115857]

Mr Harper: The primacy of the House of Commons rests on a number of resolutions and conventions, but it is buttressed and guaranteed by statutes. The Joint Committee on the draft House of Lords Reform Bill recognised this when it said that

“the remaining pillars on which Commons primacy rests would suffice to ensure its continuation”.

The Government have ensured that Commons’ primacy will remain beyond doubt by restating the continued application of the Parliament Acts on the face of the House of Lords Reform Bill.

Social Mobility

12. Stephen Williams: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made on the Government's social mobility strategy; and if he will make a statement. [115858]

The Deputy Prime Minister: This Government remain committed to improving social mobility. On 22 May 2012, the Government published a full update on the progress we have made in the last year on the policies outlined in the Social Mobility Strategy that was published in April 2011.

10 July 2012 : Column 161W

Devolution

13. Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent representations he has received from the Scottish Government on the devolution settlement. [115859]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The UK Government position is clear: Scotland is stronger in the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it.

We said that the referendum should be sooner rather than later. It is time to get on and agree the details of a referendum as the Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), has invited the First Minister to do.

Electoral Register

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will estimate the change in the number of voters on the electoral register between 1 December 2014 and 1 December 2015. [115855]

Mr Harper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Deputy Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Glasgow North East (Mr Bain), at oral questions earlier today.

Cabinet Office

Breast Cancer: Death

Mr Leech: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people aged (a) 49 years and under, (b) 50 to 59, (c) 60 to 69, (d) 70 to 79, (e) 80 to 89 and (f) over 90 years died from breast cancer in each (i) cancer network and (ii) primary care trust in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. [116431]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated July 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people aged (a) 49 years and under, (b) 50 to 59, (c) 60 to 69, (d) 70 to 79, (e) 80 to 89 and (f) over 90 years died from breast cancer in each (i) cancer network and (ii) primary care trust in each year since 1997 for which figures are available [116431].

Tables 1 and 2 provide the number of deaths where breast cancer was the underlying cause of death for each age group, for (a) cancer networks (Table 1) and (b) primary care organisations (Table 2) in England, for 1997 to 2011 (the latest year available).

Copies of Tables 1 and 2 have been placed in the House of Commons library.

Employment: Lancashire

Paul Maynard: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the net change in the number of private sector jobs was in (a) Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency and (b) Lancashire in the latest period for which figures are available. [116077]

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

10 July 2012 : Column 162W

Letter from Stephen Penneck dated July 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what the net change in the number of private sector jobs was in (a) Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency, (b) Lancashire area in the latest period for which figures are available. (116077)

Private sector employment statistics for local areas can be calculated from the Annual Population Survey (APS). Individuals in the APS are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the survey.

Table 1 attached shows levels and the net changes in private sector employment in Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency and Lancashire between the 12 month APS periods ending in March 2011 and March 2012, the latest available period.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Levels and net change in private sector employment between the 12 month APS period ending March 2011 and March 2012
Thousands
 12 months ending: 
 March 2011 LevelMarch 2012 LevelChange

Blackpool North and Cleveleys

21

(**)23

2

Lancashire

395

398

3

Note: Coefficients of Variation have been calculated for the latest period as an indication of the quality of the estimates. See Guide to Quality below. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent. we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key Coefficient of Variation (CV) (%) Statistical Robustness * 0 = CV< 5 Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV < 10 Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV < 20 Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV 20 Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes Source: Annual Population Survey

Government Departments: Procurement

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which companies are the largest suppliers to the Government by value of contracts. [116330]

Mr Maude: As part of the Government's commitment to transparency all central Government contracts worth more than £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder at:

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his policy is on ensuring that Government suppliers do not engage in tax avoidance. [116331]

Mr Maude: The public procurement rules require suppliers to be excluded if they have been convicted of various specific offences, which include “cheating the Revenue” and “fraudulent evasion”.

There are further grounds for exclusion at the discretion of the authority, including failure to fulfil obligations related to payment of tax.

10 July 2012 : Column 163W

Job Creation: South East

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many private sector jobs have been created in the South East since May 2010. [116414]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated July 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many private sector jobs have been created in the South East since May 2010. 116414

Estimates of new jobs created are not available.

10 July 2012 : Column 164W

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: Bexley

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of (a) intermediate, (b) advanced and (c) higher level apprenticeships (i) starts and (ii) completions were (A) men and (B) women in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency in the last year for which figures are available. [115664]

Mr Hayes: Table 1 shows information on apprenticeship starts and achievements in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, broken down by level and gender, during the 2010/11 academic year (the last full year for which figures are available):

Table 1: Apprenticeship programme starts and achievements by level and gender, Bexiey and Crayford Constituency, 2010/11 academic year
LevelStartsAchievements
 Male (Percentage)Female (Percentage)Total (number)Male (Percentage)Female (Percentage)Total (number)

Intermediate

40.4

59.6

450

49.7

50.3

180

Advanced

53.1

46.9

180

59.2

40.8

100

Higher

All apprenticeships

44.2

55.8

630

53.6

46.4

290

‘—’ Indicates a base value of less than 5. Notes: 1. Percentages are rounded to 1.d.p. Totals are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Percentages are based on unrounded figures. 3. Geography is based upon the home postcode of the learner. Geographic information is based on boundaries of regions as of May 2010. Source: Individualised Learner Record.

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts and achievements is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR and supplementary tables were published on 28 June 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

Further breakdowns including gender, level and geography are available as a supplementary table:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

Arms Trade

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) which developing countries owe the UK debts for arms sales; and what arms this includes; [116072]

(2) when each debt held by sovereign governments to the Export Credits Guarantee Department under debt rescheduling agreements was incurred. [116073]

Norman Lamb: The information requested is not readily available and would involve disproportionate cost to obtain, assuming it is still held, given the age of the export contracts involved, most of which go back to the 1970s and 1980s. UK Export Finance (ECGD) is currently carrying out an exercise to ascertain what information might be available about the debts. Because of the age of the related export contracts and the sheer volume of files involved, this exercise is still ongoing. Subject to availability of staff resources that can be diverted to this task, the aim is to complete it as soon as possible. When the exercise is complete, the information that is available will be placed in the Library of the House.

Billing: EU Action

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects EU Directive 2011/7/EU on late payments to be transposed into UK law. [116088]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 9 July 2012]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) on 27 June 2012, Official Report, column 311W

Business: Regulation

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria his Department and its Executive agencies use to determine whether or not to grant waivers for micro-businesses in respect of the introduction of new regulations. [116260]

Mr Prisk: The Government's policy on the application of new regulation to micro-businesses is set out in the document ‘Guidance on Moratorium on New Domestic Regulation for Micro-Businesses and Start-Ups' at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/better-regulation/docs/g/11-1198-guidance-moratorium-on-new-domestic-regulation

10 July 2012 : Column 165W

Direct Selling

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what guidance his Department provides to Trading Standards on doorstop selling and cold calling; [115945]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effect of doorstep selling and cold calling on old people; [115946]

(3) what steps his Department has taken to encourage local communities to establish No Cold Calling Zones. [115947]

Norman Lamb: The Department does not issue guidance specifically for trading standards officers. It does, however, issue or contribute to a variety of guidance for business, including guidance published on the BIS and Business Link websites. Guidance covers a number of regulations which are relevant to doorstep selling and cold calling—for example, on the application of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1277) and on the cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1816). I understand that trading standards officers consult our guidance, although particular enforcement strategies are a matter for each local authority to decide.

The Department has made no recent assessment of the effect of doorstep selling and cold calling on old people. More generally, in April this year the Office of Fair Trading published its evaluation of the effects of its 2004 market study into doorstep selling. The report is published on the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFTs) website at:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/Evaluating-OFTs-work/oft1413.pdf

The establishment of a No Cold Calling Zone is a matter for local consideration based on locally prevailing conditions, This generally involves a co-ordinated approach by a local community, a local authority, and the police. Central Government therefore neither encourages nor discourages local communities to establish No Cold Calling Zones, but we are of the view that local authorities should limit their establishment to those circumstances and areas where there is a compelling evidence-based case to suggest they are needed as an aid to combating crime. The benefits to consumers from measures aimed at crime reduction should outweigh the costs to legitimate business of having restrictions imposed, and those restrictions should be removed when it is apparent that the criminal activity they are aimed at has diminished.

Green Investment Bank

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress his Department has made on the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. [116307]

Mr Prisk: We are making good progress on the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. A public company, UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB), has now been formed. Lord Smith of Kelvin has been appointed as Chair, and Sir Adrian Montague as

10 July 2012 : Column 166W

Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director. Legislation has been introduced to set the bank's green purpose, embed its independence, and make funding provision for UK GIB.

The bank is expected to be fully operational later this year, subject to state aid approval from the European Commission. In the meantime the Government is making investments, on commercial terms, in green infrastructure through the UK Green Investments team in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Higher Education: Languages

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on the financial viability of UK colleges of the time taken to bring forward a strategy on the future design and content of English for speakers of other languages qualifications. [115525]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 5 July 2012]: English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) adult basic skills certificates at entry, level 1 and level 2 remain in place for 2012/2013. This Department is currently considering the future shape and content for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications for 2013/2014 and beyond. This includes the intention to consult with key stakeholders including FE colleges and training providers who deliver ESOL training.

Lost Working Days

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years. [115292]

Norman Lamb: In June 2009 the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) was merged with The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) to create The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Therefore we only have access to data from this date.

The table shows days lost through sickness absence for BIS core (including UKTI). Days lost due to annual leave cannot be quantified as this information is not held centrally. Agencies will provide their own responses.

Years overlap due to the way in which data is collected on a 12 month rolling period.

 Average Working Days Lost

July 2009 to June 2010

3.8

January 2010 to December 2010

3.3

April 2010 to March 2011

3.5

July 2010 to June 2011

3.0

October 2010 to September 2011

3.1

January 2011 to December 2011

4.6

All BIS core (including UKTI) and agencies sickness absence information is published on a quarterly basis and can be found in the following link:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/about/performance-reports

10 July 2012 : Column 167W

The increase in recorded absence in 2011 was expected, as BIS has implemented more robust reporting arrangements.

Letter from John Alty, dated 4 July 2012:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 2nd July 2012, to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Intellectual Property Office's average working days lost per person, as reported to the Cabinet Office at Q4 each year, are as follows:

Year 2011/12—7.6

Year 2010/11—7.0

Year 2009/10—7.9

Letter from Graham Horne, dated 5 July 2012:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question, what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years.

The Insolvency Service is an Executive Agency of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The following table shows the average number of working days lost per person through sickness absence. Days lost due to other types of leave cannot be quantified as this information is not held centrally.

Year ending:Average Working Days Lost

March 2010

7.9

March 2011

7.5

March 2012

9.2

Letter from Malcolm Dawson, dated 4 July 2012:

I write on behalf of Land Registry in response to your Parliamentary Question numbered 115292 tabled on 2 July 2012 which asked the following:

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years.

The figures are:

2011/2012—7.64

2010/2011—8.49

2009/2010—8.87

I hope that you find this information helpful.

Letter from John Hirst, dated 4 July 2012:

I am replying on behalf of the Met Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 2 July 2012, UIN 115292 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Met Office reports the average working days lost per person in its annual report and accounts, available on the Met Office website at:

www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/publications/corporate

In each of the last 3 years, the average working days lost per person at the Met Office was:

5.5 days in 2011-12;

5.6 days in 2010-11;

4.9 days in 2009-10.

I hope this helps.

Letter from Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, dated 4 July 2012:

As Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, I have been asked to contact you in response to your

10 July 2012 : Column 168W

Parliamentary Question asking the Minister of State of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average number of working days lost per person was in his department and each of his agencies in each of the last three years.

The average days lost due to sickness absence per Ordnance Survey employee for each year are as follows:

2009-10—4.29

2010-11—3.91

2011-12—4.77

Letter from David Williams, dated 3 July 2012:

Thank you for your question addressed to the Minister of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, what the average number of working days lost per person was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last three years. 115292

The UK Space Agency became an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 1 April 2011 and the only data available is for the period 1 January - 31 December 2011, where the average number of working days lost per person was 1.7. Figures prior to this date are included in the core Department of Business, Innovation and Skills data,

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 4 July 2012:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (NMO) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 2 July 2012, asking the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills about days lost during the last three years.

The average number of working days lost per person employed by NMO in each of the last three years was as follows:

In 2009 - 2010 an average of 4 days per person

In 2010-2011 an average of 3.5 days per person

In 2011 - 2012 an average of 4.9 days per person

This information is made available publicly each financial year in the NMO Annual Report and Accounts, as required.

Letter from Tim Moss, dated 5 July 2012:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 2 July 2012, UIN 110971 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The average number of days lost per person in Companies House in each of the last three years was as follows.

2009/10—11.18

2010/11—10.86

2011/12—10.81

Letter from Kim Thorneywork, dated 5 July 2012:

Thank you for your question in asking the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the average number of working days lost per person was in his Department and each of its agencies in each of the last three years.

Please be advised that the Skills Funding Agency (the Agency) has only been in existence since April 1st 2010 and as such it is only possible to provide this data for each of the last 2 years.

Year 1 (Apr 2010 to Mar 2011)

The average number of sickness absence days lost per person = 6.47 working days

Year 2 (Apr 2011 to Mar 2012)

The average number of sickness absence days lost per person = 6.16 working days

2 Year Average (Apr 2010 to Mar 2012)

The average number of sickness absence days lost per person = 6.32 working days

Manufacturing Industries: Regulation

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to reduce the number of regulations affecting the manufacturing sector. [115663]

10 July 2012 : Column 169W

Mr Prisk: The Red Tape Challenge has run a specific manufacturing ‘theme', identifying 38 redundant regulations for removal and a further 19 to improve. The Government have also committed to streamlining procedures for export control, including increasing transparency and keeping customers better informed of timescales for processing applications. Furthermore, plans from other themes such as employment-related law and environment are expected to deliver significant savings to all businesses, including the manufacturing sector—for example, an overhaul of employment tribunals which is expected to save businesses £40 million per year and a package of environmental deregulation which will save businesses at least £1 billion over five years. Details on all commitments made through the Red Tape Challenge can be found at:

www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Overseas Students

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many foreign students of each nationality started courses in English universities in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [115573]

Mr Willetts: Information on the number of non-UK domiciled entrants at English higher education institutions broken down by country of domicile will be placed in the Libraries of the House. Figures are provided for the academic years 2008/09 to 2010/11. Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from January 2013.

Overseas Trade: Malawi

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the primary (a) imported and (b) exported goods and services are between the UK and Malawi. [115409]

Mr Prisk: In 2011, the UK exported goods to the value of £18.3 million to Malawi, and imported goods to the value of £31.7 million.

The top five goods traded between the UK and Malawi are shown in the tables using the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) at 2 digit detail.

No services trade data is available for 2011. In 2010 the UK exported services to the value of £34 million to Malawi and imported services to the value of £10 million from Malawi. No product breakdown is available. In 2010 HMRC reported total goods exports of £17.5 million to Malawi and total goods imports of £23.9 million from Malawi. It should be noted that HMRC goods and Office for National Statisitics services trade data are not reported on a wholly consistent basis.

Source:

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

UK Exports to Malawi 2011
SITC-2£ SterlingPercentage

Total

18,333,781

   

78—Road vehicles (including air cushion vehicles)

5,503,799

30.0

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89—Miscellaneous manufactured articles n.e.s.

5,473,845

29.9

72—Machinery specialized for particular industries

1,029,366

5.6

75—Office machines and adp machines

1,016,555

5.5

87—Professional, scientific and controlling ins and app n.e.s.

1,002,714

5.5

UK Imports from Malawi 2011
SITC-2£ SterlingPercentage

Total

31,729,490

   

07—Coffee, tea, cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

14,501,271

45.7

12—Tobacco & tobacco manufactures

9,042,580

28.5

06—Sugar, sugar preparations and honey

6,259,284

19.7

05—Vegetables and fruit

1,693,417

5.3

91—Postal packages not classified according to kind

148,900

0.5

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) when he expects all successful Round One bidders from the Regional Growth Fund to receive their full allocation of allotted funding announced on 12 April 2011; [115767]

(2) when he expects all successful round 2 bidders from the Regional Growth Fund to receive their full allocation of allotted funding announced on 31 October 2011; [115768]

(3) how many successful round 1 bidders to the Regional Growth Fund received their full allocation of allotted funding by 12 November 2011; [115769]

(4) how many successful round 2 bidders to the Regional Growth Fund had received their full allocation of allotted funding by 30 April 2012. [115770]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 6 July 2012]: The Regional Growth Fund has made £502 million of funding available to successful bidders since it was established. Funding for the majority of successful round 1 and round 2 bidders is expected to paid in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and will be dependent on bidders satisfying the conditions attaching to their particular grant offer, progress against which is closely monitored. A number of these successful bids were for programmes, where beneficiaries receive funding that they disburse to projects on behalf of the Government.

No successful round one bidders had received their full allocation of funding by 12 November 2011. Eight successful round two beneficiaries, all relating to the programmes mentioned above, had received all of their allotted funding by 30 April 2012.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) England and Wales have received funding from the Regional Growth Fund since its inception. [116285]

10 July 2012 : Column 171W

Mr Prisk: Since the Regional Growth Fund was established 46 applicants have received funding, four of these are in Merseyside and one is in the Liverpool city region.

We do not break down figures by constituency; the most detailed breakdown is at a local authority district level.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will increase the number of full-time staff in his Department working solely on the administration of the Regional Growth Fund. [116404]

Mr Prisk: I am pleased to say that the number of full-time staff working on the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has already been increased. As of 6 July 2012, there are 52 full-time equivalent staff working on the administration of the RGF.

The RGF staff comprises a mixture of accountants, economists, policy specialists and administrative staff.

Regional Growth Fund: Merseyside

Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what projects in Merseyside have received or have been announced as being expected to receive funding from the Regional Growth Fund; how much was awarded to each such project; and what funds had been released to each project from the Regional Growth Fund as at 1 July 2012. [116227]

Mr Prisk: The following projects in the Merseyside region are expected to receive funding from the Regional Growth Fund. The total amount awarded is £96,728,724. The total amount paid to those projects which have started is £31,872,900 as at 1 July 2012.

Final offersAward made (£)

Crown Speciality Packaging UK

1,030,000

Eldonians Group Ltd

25,335,000

Getrag Ford Transmissions

3,360,000

Harpscreen (GB) Ltd

1,097,750

Liverpool Echo/Aspire Fund

1,000,000

Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd

5,000,000

Redx Pharma Ltd

5,920,000

Provisional offers (award not yet finalised)

Dairy Crest Ltd

Keepmoat Homes Ltd

North West Aerospace Alliance

Sefton Council

Unilever.