Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 September 2012

Women and Equalities

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 567W, on publications, how much her Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) publications and (c) consultation documents since May 2010. [117911]

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).

Public Accounts Commission

National Audit Office

Frank Dobson: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how many National Audit Office staff were previously employed by management consultants or organisations which include management consulting in their overall services. [118298]

Mr Leigh: The National Audit Office (NAO) does not hold these data on the whole of its work force, but, of the 420 individuals recruited to the NAO since 1 April 2009, 42 were previously employed by management consultants or organisations which include management consulting in their overall services (including accountancy firms).

Frank Dobson: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission how many National Audit Office staff have gone to work for management consultants since 2009-10. [118299]

Mr Leigh: The National Audit Office does not collect this information.

Frank Dobson: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether any employment restrictions are placed on staff leaving the National Audit Office. [118300]

Mr Leigh: Before staff leave the National Audit Office (NAO) they are reminded of their obligations under the Official Secrets Act and are required to re-sign the Act. This prohibits disclosure of certain categories of security-sensitive information acquired through their official duties. In addition, they are reminded that they have a continuing obligation to respect the copyright and confidentiality of NAO and client information after they have left the NAO.

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Frank Dobson: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether the National Audit Office examines, logs and analyses the use of management consultants by Government Departments, including the advice given, whether it is followed and whether it is good value for money. [118301]

Mr Leigh: The National Audit Office (NAO) does not routinely log information on Government's use of consultants but periodically reports on how Government is using consultants within value for money reports on specific Government programmes and in cross-Government reports.

The NAO published its most recent cross-Government report, ‘Central Government's use of consultants and interims’, in October 2010 making a number of recommendations to improve value for money. The recommendations included collecting and making better use of information on the type of consultancy services being bought, the benefits being delivered and the performance of suppliers. The NAO also recommended using consultants only when there were no suitable existing staff in Departments, and contracting with consultants, and assessing their performance, against specified outcomes rather than the time spent on a project. The NAO's recommendations influenced the Cabinet Office's approach to achieving better value for money from consultants. Spending on consultants across all Departments reduced by £645 million in 2010-11. The Cabinet Office agreed that the NAO's influence was accountable for half of the savings, equivalent to £322.5 million.

Frank Dobson: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether the National Audit Office warns Government Departments of management consultants with a poor track record of advice. [118302]

Mr Leigh: The National Audit Office (NAO) does not warn Departments about the poor track record of specific management consultants. However, the NAO's 2010 report found that Departments were not using information on the past performance of consultants to inform buying decisions. The NAO recommended that the Cabinet Office analyse and share Departments' management information to inform purchasing decisions by identifying top suppliers by service provided, the value delivered from past spending with consultants and, where possible, reusing existing work.

Wales

Twitter

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Twitter accounts her Department operates; and who in her Department is responsible for them. [118193]

Mrs Gillan: The Wales Office operates two official twitter accounts—@walesoffice and @swyddfacymru. The communications team is responsible for updating both of these accounts.

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Northern Ireland

Motor Vehicles

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the devolution to the Northern Ireland Assembly of vehicle licensing and motor taxation powers; and if he will make a statement. [118046]

Mr Paterson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 7 February 2012, Official Report, column 171W.

I have had no discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), on the devolution of vehicle licensing and motor taxation powers.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he plans to have discussions with the new Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; if he will discuss the investigation by the Police Ombudsman's office into the police investigation of the 1994 attack in Loughinisland; and if he will make a statement. [118215]

Mr Paterson: I welcome the appointment of the new Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Dr. Michael Maguire, and look forward to meeting him soon.

Any decision on the investigation by the Police Ombudsman's office into the police investigation of the 1994 attack in Loughinisland is an operational matter for the Police Ombudsman to determine in his independent capacity.

Ulster Bank

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further discussions he will have with the Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland on the technical difficulties at Ulster Bank; and if he will make a statement. [118214]

Mr Paterson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 9 July 2012, Official Report, columns 21-22W.

I have discussed the technical problems at Ulster Bank with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke).

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), also spoke to the RBS Chairman and Chief Executive, to impress on them the significant distress which had been caused to many Ulster Bank customers.

I welcome the announcement on 31 August that Ulster Bank is to compensate customers affected by the computer failure and its commitment that none of its customers will be out of pocket.

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I will continue to monitor the situation and await the outcome of the independent investigation into the IT failure, which I understand will be available in the autumn.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Greater London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many affordable homes have been completed in each London borough in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [118166]

Grant Shapps: The numbers of affordable homes completed in each London borough in 2010-13 and 2011-12 were reported in the Homes and Communities Agency's National Housing Statistics, published on 12 June 2012:

http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/national-housing-statistics

These statistics only cover affordable housing that is delivered through the Homes and Communities Agency's affordable housing programmes; affordable housing delivered outside these programmes is not included. The Homes and Communities Agency delivery normally accounts for 80% to 95% of total affordable supply. Completions include both new build and acquisitions.

Affordable housing completions (recorded by the Homes and Communities Agency) across London rose from 12,870 dwellings in 2010-11 to 16,176 in 2011-12.

Total affordable completions, including those delivered outside the Homes and Communities Agency's programmes are published annually in the Department's Affordable Housing Supply statistics available on the Department's website. Figures for 2011-12 are expected in the autumn:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/affordablehousingsupply/livetables/

From the 1 April 2012, the Mayor of London has had oversight of strategic housing, regeneration and economic development in London. The Mayor has clearly stated that over the next three years he anticipates delivering 55,000 affordable homes within London.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of affordable housing in respect of London his Department (a) used in May 2010 and (b) now uses; and if he will make a statement. [118167]

Greg Clark: The affordable housing definition for planning purposes in England is set out in Annex 2 of the National Planning Policy Framework published in March 2012. The definition which applied in May 2010 was set out in Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing published in November 2006.

The substance of the definition is unchanged.

Since June 2011, the definition has also referenced the new Affordable Rent model, which did not exist in 2006.

The National Planning Policy Framework also amended the definition to be clear that eligibility for affordable homes should be determined according to local incomes; this was ambiguous in Planning Policy Statement 3.

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Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to which registered charities his Department has made payments in the last three years; and what sums over what period have been paid in each case. [118156]

Robert Neill: The Department's records do not differentiate between payments made to registered charities and other voluntary and community sector organisations. A list of payments made under section 70 of the Charities Act 2006 to charities and voluntary groups is published in the Department's annual report and resource accounts on a yearly basis.

This list will include some of the payments made by the Department to registered charities for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

In addition, departmental spending over £500 since 2008-09 is also published monthly on our website as part of my Department's broader transparency agenda. Since February 2011 these reports have included a column indicating whether a vendor classifies themselves as a voluntary and community sector organisation.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what timetable he has set for his Department's review of the community infrastructure levy. [117445]

Robert Neill: A comprehensive review of the community infrastructure levy is to be held five years after the regulations first came into force in 2010. Following a consultation last year on reforms to the Levy, including the introduction of neighbourhood funds, we are working to bring forward draft amendment regulations later this year.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with the National Farmers Union on the potential implications for the community infrastructure levy on the viability of UK farming. [118033]

Greg Clark: In addition to the discussions I have held with the National Farmers Union about planning reform, officials meet regularly with the National Farmers Union to discuss a range of planning matters. In relation to the Community Infrastructure Levy, local authorities must have regard to development viability and have discretion to set a low charge for uses where viability is limited. For example, both Huntingdonshire and Shropshire were among the first authorities to charge the levy and both apply a £0 charge for agricultural uses. Also, non-residential buildings under 100 sq m are exempt from the levy, as are buildings which people do not normally go into, such as plant and machinery facilities. Officials would welcome further discussion with the National Farmers Union as further early practice emerges.

Ex-gratia Payments

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate his

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Department has made of the monetary value of ex-gratia payments made through schemes administered by his Department in the last two years. [116775]

Robert Neill: Special payments made by the Department are as follows:

2010-11: £1,380,901 (of which £1,364,345 relates to personal injury compensation claims)

2011-12: £1,769,432 (of which £1,596,566 relates to personal injury compensation claims)

The vast majority of the payments relate to the settlement of personal injury compensation claims brought against the Department by former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works/Property Services Agency employees who contracted asbestos related diseases following exposure in the workplace.

Fire Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of fire service response times from time of call to time of first attendance for each fire and rescue service were of a duration of (a) up to five minutes, (b) six to 10 minutes, (c) 11 to 15 minutes and (d) over 15 minutes in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [R] [117798]

Robert Neill [holding answer 17 July 2012]: These data were published on 4 July in spreadsheet table 2a of the publication Fire Incidents Response Times. They can be found on the Department's website at:

www.communities.gov.uk/fire/researchandstatistics/firestatistics/fireresponsetimes/

Google

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington, of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 7W, on Google, what the outturn spending on Google Adwords was in (a) 2008-09 and (b) 2009-10; and what the 868 different keywords are which were used in each year. [118187]

Robert Neill: During the period 2008-09 and 2009-10 the Department bought online advertising, including Google Adwords, through the COI framework appointed agency i-Level. As both COI and i-Level have ceased trading, the Department no longer has access to this level of detail about historical media buying.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer on 29 March 2010, Official Report, column 836W, where the total Department spend on advertising via Google Adwords was reported as being £212,825.94 for the year 2009-10. We are aware that this spend was on three campaigns—Fire Kills, Fire and Rescue Service Equality, and Preventing Repossessions. A breakdown of spend on the Department's marketing activity for these two years can be found at:

www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1298507.pdf

for 2008-09 and, for 2009-10 at:

www.communities.gov.uk/documents/corporate/pdf/1684008.pdf

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Government Procurement Card

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of the Audit Commission's Government Procurement Card transaction data including value, date, merchant and merchant for each item of expenditure incurred in the last 36 months for which figures are available. [118194]

Robert Neill: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to my hon. Friend direct.

Letter from Eugene Sullivan to Marcus Jones, dated 3 September 2012:

Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.

The list of transactions made by the Audit Commission on the Government Procurement Card for 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 will be placed in the Library.

Green Belt

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what records the Planning Inspectorate keeps of decisions that they have made in allowing planning applications made for developments on green belt land. [116659]

Robert Neill [holding answer 16 July 2012]:The Planning Inspectorate keeps records of decisions made by Inspectors on planning appeals where the green belt was a specific issue. Electronic copies of decisions made since 2005 are available through the inspectorate's online system. Appeal files are retained for a year after decision and are destroyed thereafter.

High Street Review

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what additional funding his Department plans to allocate to successful Portas pilots; and what criteria will be used in judging the effectiveness of the Portas pilots; [117455]

(2) what data his Department is collecting to monitor the success of (a) Town Team pilots and (b) the high street innovation fund. [117456]

Grant Shapps: The successful Portas pilots will each receive up to £100,000 along with a comprehensive package of support. Each of the pilots will be putting in place appropriate indicators to monitor the impact of their actions locally. We will also be commissioning a national study which will measure impact from the successful pilots, enabling the sharing of best practice and lessons learnt across the country.

Local areas were awarded the high street innovation fund to support empty properties on the high street and drive their local economy and are responsible for ensuring that it is spent effectively. No central data will be collected on the use of the high street innovation fund reflecting the fact that this Government are committed to reducing top-down reporting burdens on local government; we would encourage the spread of best practice, especially at the local government level.

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Housing Companies

Sheryll Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have established local housing companies to date. [112607]

Grant Shapps: Local housing companies pilots were a programme of the last Administration; the Homes and Communities Agency concluded that such schemes were not viable in the short-term due to the prevailing conditions of the housing market.

Some local councils may have subsequently pursued local initiatives, but such information is not centrally collated.

Housing: Construction

Sheryll Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been built in each of the new growth points to date. [112608]

Grant Shapps: It is for local areas to determine their housing need, and my Department no longer centrally designates or monitors top-down “growth points”.

Instead we have put in place measures to support the delivery of new housing, in line with local need, such as through the New Homes Bonus, Getting Britain Building and the Growing Places Fund.

Official figures on house building by local authority area are available on my Department's website.

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what data his Department is collecting to monitor the implementation of the New Homes Bonus; and when he plans to make this data publicly available. [117414]

Grant Shapps: The Department publishes the provisional and final allocations of New Homes Bonus each year to all local authorities in England; the full details of their calculation are set out in the New Homes Bonus Calculator on the departmental website which can be found at this weblink:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/2079385.xls

New Homes Bonus is an unringfenced grant, so that local authorities are free to spend it as they wish. Although the Department takes an interest in good practice in use of New Homes Bonus, it does not maintain a comprehensive record of how local authorities spend their bonus grants as this is a matter for local discretion.

The bonus payments for 2011-12 and 2012-13 recognise an increase of over 300,000 in effective housing stock over two years, comprising some 270,000 new build homes or conversions and more than 37,000 empty homes brought back into use.

Housing: Central London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the change in the value of central London homes since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [118134]

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Grant Shapps: Information is not available on the recent value of central London homes. Statistics are available on house prices based on sales. For example, the Office for National Statistics publishes the House Price Index which includes separate figures for London. The latest release is available at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/hpi/house-price-index/april-2012/stb-april-2012.html

Information on house price changes by London boroughs is included in the Land Registry monthly statistics report, available at:

http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/house-prices-and-sales

Housing: Overcrowding

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 8W, on housing, how many overcrowded (a) households and (b) individuals there were in each region. [116571]

Andrew Stunell: Levels of overcrowding and under-occupation are measured using the “bedroom standard”, which is the difference between the number of bedrooms needed to avoid undesirable sharing (given the number, ages and relationship of the household members) and the number of bedrooms actually available to the household.

The answer is taken from the English Housing Survey 2010-11. Due to small sample sizes it is necessary to combine three years of data (2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11) together to form the estimates. Even so, there is considerable uncertainty around these figures due to sampling effects. The estimates are as follows:

 HouseholdsIndividuals

North-east

19,000

93,000

North-west

68,000

323,000

Yorkshire and the Humber

46,000

233,000

East midlands

40,000

205,000

West midlands

66,000

344,000

East

51,000

234,000

London

259,000

1,121,000

South-east

70,000

310,000

South-west

35,000

162,000

Note:Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.

Given that these figures include data from at least two years’ worth of surveys that were carried out prior to May 2010, they are primarily a reflection of the situation that the coalition Government have inherited from the last administration.

The Government are taking a series of steps to promote house building, to help councils tackle waiting lists and better manage their housing stock, to get empty homes into productive use, and to build 170,000 affordable homes over the spending review period.

Internet

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to create a myth buster section on its website similar to that of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [117903]

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Robert Neill: Not at present; however, the newsroom area of the Department's website has a section with responses to assorted topical issues that feature in the media:

www.communities.gov.uk/newsroom/issuesandresponses/

Landlords: Prosecutions

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many private landlords have been prosecuted for evicting tenants who have requested that repairs are made to the property, in each of the last five years. [118239]

Grant Shapps: The Government do not hold this information. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 September 2012, Official Report, 118256, which makes clear, the English Housing Survey strongly suggests that the incidence of landlords evicting tenants because they requested repairs is very low.

Local Government Finance

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make an assessment on the effect of the manipulation of the LIBOR rate on the cost of borrowing for local councils. [116985]

Robert Neill [holding answer 13 July 2012]: Local councils borrow primarily from the Government, through the Public Works Loan Board. LIBOR rates do not factor in determining the board's lending rates. The Government does not collect specific information on councils' costs of borrowing from other sources.

Local Government: Pay

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities increased pay for staff earning less than £21,000 per annum by £250 or more between 2010 and 2012. [117484]

Robert Neill [holding answer 17 July 2012]: The information requested is not held centrally. While the Government's overall policy on public sector pay sets the context in which decisions about pay are taken locally by councils, Government have no role in determining annual pay awards in local authorities. These are for the employers and unions to negotiate within the framework of the relevant National Joint Committee.

Local Government: Staff

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of staff employed in local authority planning departments in each of the last two years and the predicted levels for the next five years; and what assessment he has made of the effect that future staffing levels will have on the ability of local planning authorities to carry out planning enforcement activities. [118231]

Robert Neill: The Department does not collect detailed information on local government workforces. It is for councils, as individual employers, to manage the structure

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of their workforces in light of their local circumstances and in a way that enables them to meet their priorities and offers value for money for local taxpayers.

Mobile Homes

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has any plans to increase the licensing powers of local authorities in respect of the management of mobile home parks. [118032]

Grant Shapps: The Department has recently consulted on a range of measures to modernise the local authority licensing regime that applies to mobile home sites. These reforms will require primary legislation and we are working with my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Peter Aldous) with a view to including them in his private Member's Mobile Homes Bill.

Non-domestic Rates

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department plans to review the mechanism for determining annual business rates increases; and if he will make a statement. [117488]

Robert Neill: The Government will review the use of the consumer prices index for indirect taxes, including business rates, once our fiscal consolidation plans have been implemented and the duty increases inherited from the previous Government have come to an end.

The Government's commitment to the annual retail prices index cap provides businesses with stability and certainty and means that there has been no real terms increase in business rates since 1990. We have listened to concerns about this year's increase and have given businesses the option of deferring payment of 60% of the retail prices index increase in 2012-13 rates bills until 2013-14 and 2014-15.

We have also doubled the level of small business rate relief in England until 31 March 2013. Over half a million businesses in England are expected to benefit, with approximately a third of a million businesses paying no rates.

We have also given local authorities discretionary powers to grant business rates discounts as they see fit.

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many businesses have taken advantage of the Government's Business Rates Deferral Scheme for 2012; [117544]

(2) how many businesses were eligible to take advantage of the Business Rates Deferral Scheme announced in the 2012 Budget. [117545]

Robert Neill: All ratepayers have the option of taking advantage of the business rates deferral scheme and ratepayers can defer at any time during the 2012-13 billing year provided that they have some of their bill left to pay. We will collect data on both the number of business rates that took advantage of deferring scheme in 2012-13 and the amount of business rates that were deferred at the end of the billing year. We plan to publish these in autumn 2013.

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Planning Permission

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what timetable he has set for his Department's review of neighbourhood planning; [117446]

(2) what key performance indicators his Department plans to use to evaluate neighbourhood planning. [117457]

Greg Clark: In line with the Government's policy of regularly reviewing domestic regulation enacted through secondary legislation, the deadline for the publication of the results of the statutory review is set out in the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

The Government are committed to reviewing and understanding the impacts, outputs and value for money of neighbourhood development plans, neighbourhood development orders and community right to build. We have set out a post-implementation review plan in the impact assessment on Neighbourhood Plans and Community Right to Build. It proposes that the review is undertaken between three and five years following Royal Assent of the Localism Act 2011. The impact assessment, which includes measurable success criteria, can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2012/9780111525050/impacts

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review the effect of recent planning reforms. [117699]

Greg Clark: As I set out in my written ministerial statement of 3 July 2012, Official Report, columns 42-44WS, the National Planning Policy Framework and the Localism Act provide the basis for a radically improved planning system and there is clear evidence that they, and the earlier written ministerial statement on planning for growth, are already delivering results. For example, we are seeing the rate of local plan adoptions rise—37 plans have been adopted in the last 12 months, compared with less than 60 adopted in the six years before the 2010 general election and high levels of approval rates for planning applications. We are committed to undertaking an initial review of the National Planning Policy Framework after the first year of its operation.

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from local authorities on the ability of planning departments to carry out planning enforcement activities. [117975]

Robert Neill: Ministers receive representations from local authorities regarding different aspects of the planning enforcement regime from time to time.

Some local authorities have recently made representations in relation to the issue of 'beds in sheds', both in relation to breaches of planning control and the problem of landlords renting out outbuildings as substandard living accommodation. My Department has consequently held a series of summits with local and central Government on the issue, has allocated £1.8 million of additional funding, for planning and housing enforcement and to assist with re-housing the tenants concerned, to help the

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local authorities which are particularly affected, and has produced best practice guidance to assist local authorities, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

The Localism Act 2011 has increased the powers of local authorities to tackle unauthorised development and the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 has augmented councils' powers to use bye-laws to tackle unauthorised encampments. The Government are reviewing what further steps can be taken to increase local authority powers to tackle unauthorised development and occupation.

Planning Permission: Nature Conservation

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish guidance under the National Planning Policy Framework to planners on how to protect nature improvement areas against environmental damage; and if he will make a statement. [118250]

Greg Clark: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) on 17 May 2012, Official Report, columns 246-47W.

Private Rented Housing: Evictions

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research his Department has undertaken on retaliatory evictions in the private rented sector. [118256]

Grant Shapps: The English Housing Survey carried out by my Department includes research into evictions, including the incidence of retaliatory eviction. The most

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recent data, drawn from the English Housing Survey Households Report for 2010-11, show that in only 9% of cases were tenancies in the private rented sector terminated by the landlord. Of those, numbers of retaliatory evictions were too small to be reported robustly.

Private Rented Housing: London

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent research his Department has undertaken into the operation of the private rented sector for housing in London. [118387]

Grant Shapps: My Department carries out research into the operation of the private rented sector in England through the English Housing Survey of which the most recent iteration was published in July 2012. The survey does not disaggregate data between different localities within England. However, the Department is able to draw on other data sources, such as that produced by the Valuation Office Agency on rents, for more location specific work.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answers of 13 June 2012, Official Report, columns 517-8W and 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 418W, on publications, how much his Department has spent on (a) circulars, (b) publications and (c) consultation documents and since May 2010. [117915]

Robert Neill: The total departmental spend on (a) circulars, (b) publications and (c) consultation documents since May 2010 is shown in the following table. As an indicator, total spending 2009-10 has also been included.

  Spend (£)
 Number of consultations(1)CircularsPublicationsConsultationsAnnual total

1 April 2009 to 31 May 2010

66

1,789,055

1 May 2010 to 31 March 2011

18

1,150

98,849

99,999

1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012

44

54,935

7,309

62,245

1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012

23

14,305

860

15,165

(1)2 July 2012, Official Report, column 418W Notes: 1. Archived data for 2009-10 do not allow us to analyse the spend data into the three categories listed above. 2. This represents spend in the first quarter only and does not represent the level of spend expected in the following quarters. 3. Also note that the Department changed its policy on publication, part way through 2011-12, to self publishing, hence the notable reduction in spend over the three years.

Railways: Planning Policy

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to introduce a planning policy framework to support further private sector investment in rail freight terminals and rail-connected distribution parks, including strategic rail freight interchanges; and what his projected timescale is for any such plans. [117023]

Greg Clark: The National Planning Policy Framework published on 27 March 2012 requires local authorities to work with neighbouring authorities and transport providers to develop strategies for the provision of viable infrastructure necessary to support sustainable development, including large scale facilities such as rail freight interchanges or transport investment necessary to support strategies for the growth of ports, airports or other major generators of travel demand in their areas.

The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), made a statement in November 2011 about the importance of rail freight and the need for a network of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges to support growth and create employment. The Department for Transport is currently undertaking a wide-ranging review of the status and future of the strategic road network. Once this work has

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concluded, the results of this review will be used for the preparation of a new national policy statement for national networks.

Regional Planning and Development

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will encourage local authorities to publish a local equivalent of the National Infrastructure Programme with the aim of improving the viability of local infrastructure projects. [117695]

Greg Clark: The National Planning Policy Framework published on 27 March 2012 requires local planning authorities, through local plans, to plan positively for the development and infrastructure required in the area. The framework also stresses the need for local plans to be deliverable and viable, facilitating development throughout the economic cycle.

Staff

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff of his Department were in the civil service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [116776]

Robert Neill: As at 11 July 2012, we have no staff from the Department for Communities and Local Government in the civil service redeployment pool.

Work Experience

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many interns work in his Department's press office. [117681]

Robert Neill: There are no interns working in the Department's press office.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to answer Questions 111138 and 111139 on troubled families, tabled on 8 June 2012 for answer on 12 June 2012. [117895]

Robert Neill: Questions 111138 and 111139 were answered on 17 July 2012, Official Report, columns 644-45W.

Energy and Climate Change

Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to which registered charities his Department has made payments in the last three years; and what sums over what period have been paid in each case. [118181]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 16W

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not routinely record the charitable status of the organisations with which it transacts. A one-off manual review of supplier listings has identified payments by the Department and its non-departmental public bodies of £9.2 million to 31 registered charities during the period April 2009 to March 2012.

The following table itemises these payments which were made directly by the core Department, the Coal Authority and the Civil Nuclear Police Authority. Neither the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority nor the Committee on Climate Change have identified any payments to registered charities in the period covered by the question.

The charities listed received payment for services provided to the Department. The majority of expenditure was incurred with National Energy Action in respect of fuel poverty and warm homes policies (£4.7 million) and the Construction Industry Training Board (£2.02 million) for Green Deal assessor and installer training.

Registered charities may also have received payments indirectly from the Department via grants disbursed through partner organisations such as the Carbon Trust or the Energy Savings Trust. It would incur disproportionate costs to establish details of such payments.

£
 2009-102010-112011-12Total

Core DECC

    

Barnardo's

56,226

28,548

-14.274

70,500

British Safety Council

2,142

2,142

British Trust For Ornithology (The)

72,370

74,995

34,965

182,330

Centre For Sustainable Energy

229,509

314,618

178,713

722,840

Construction Industry Training Board—Construction Skills

2,018,222

2,018,222

Ellen Macarthur Foundation

500,000

700

500,700

Employers Forum on Age (EFA)

3,272

3,272

Employers Forum on Disability

7,128

7,128

Epilepsy Society

660

660

Forum for the Future

26,500

9,600

500

36,600

Keep Britain Tidy

40,000

29,213

69,213

National Energy Action (NEA)

1,358,941

1,792,694

1,593,327

4,744,962

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

50,000

32,987

82,987

The Centre for Accessible Environments

5,288

6,912

12,200

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK)

816

592

1,408

The Media Trust

1,320

1^320

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People T/A Action on Hearing Loss

1,890

1,890

The University of Edinburgh

8,310

11,787

20,097

The Whitehall and Industry Group

28,319

14,220

37,522

80,061

Wellcome Trust

500,000

500,000

Total Core DECC

2,376,279

2,276,967

4,405,286

9,058,532

     

Civil Nuclear Police Authority

    

British Dyslexia Association

4,944

4,944

Business in the Community

6,000

6,000

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

675

675

North Country Leisure

511

45

556

3 Sep 2012 : Column 17W

Skills for Justice

4,850

4,520

3,594

12,964

St. Andrew's Ambulance Association

211

211

St John Ambulance

8,888

3,882

666

13,436

The UK Association of Suggestion Schemes

1,690

699

2,389

The University of the Highlands and Islands

1,530

1,530

The North Highland College

1,170

175

1,345

Total CNPA

16,598

9,612

17,840

44,050

     

Coal Authority

    

The University of the Highlands and Islands

350

476

429

1,255

The North Highland College

1,350

1,350

The Pariser & Schleider Charitable Trust

55,997

415

12,519

68,931

Total Coal Authority

57,697

891

12,948

71,536

Grand Total

2,450,574

2,287,470

4,436,074

9,174,118

Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2012

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the entry into force of section 16(5) of the Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2012. [118174]

Gregory Barker: The Government published their estimate of the impact of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) on the delivery of glazing measures in its “Final Stage Impact Assessment for the Green Deal and ECO”:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/green-deal/5533-final-stage-impact-assessment-for-the-green-deal-a.pdf

Electricity Generation

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the role of distributed energy generation in reducing national electricity demand. [118422]

Gregory Barker: The Department for Energy and Climate Change publishes annually updated projections of energy demand and supply. The latest is available on the DECC website. These projections include 30TWh of auto generation in 2015 and 40TWh in 2020, including generation that was both used internally within various industries and that which was exported to the distribution system. In addition to this, microgeneration that is eligible for a feed-in tariff is estimated to amount to around 5TWh in 2015 and 12TWh in 2020. This generation will reduce demand on central generation which originates from larger, (primarily) transmission-network connected power stations.

Electricity: Meters

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has put in place measures to ensure that any costs

3 Sep 2012 : Column 18W

incurred by suppliers relating to the early smart meter roll-out are not passed on to consumers. [114023]

Charles Hendry: The Government published a smart meter Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy on 31 May 2012. This document sets out how the Government intends to monitor and report on supplier costs and efficiency savings arising from the smart meter roll-out, including those from early installations. We expect any costs to energy suppliers to be recovered through energy prices, but also the larger amount achieved through efficiency savings would be reflected in prices as energy suppliers are subject to competitive market pressures. Consumers will also make energy savings from the rollout. Overall, and considering both cost and costs savings to energy suppliers, as well as energy savings to consumers, we expect savings on energy bills for the average dual fuel customer of £25 per annum. Annual reporting is expected to start around the end of 2014.

Energy Retail Market

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effect of electricity market reforms on competition in the energy retail market. [118420]

Charles Hendry: The existing large energy companies will have a critical role in delivering the UK's security of supply and decarbonisation objectives. However, they cannot deliver all the investment we need—one of the key aims of electricity market reform is, therefore, to encourage new entrants to the wholesale market and new sources of finance. Wider participation and more diversity are key to a competitive market and we are also keen to see new players in the energy retail market. The Government will act where necessary to tackle any structural barriers to market entry that are not addressed through the actions taken by Ofgem.

Energy Company Obligation

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the annual cost per household of the introduction of the energy company obligation. [117985]

Gregory Barker: The average cost per household of the energy company obligation (ECO) is estimated to be £46 per annum. ECO and previous obligations on energy suppliers that have supported energy efficiency improvements will result in a net reduction in average energy bills by 2020.

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will ensure that energy suppliers recover energy company obligation costs to the benefit of low consumption consumers; and what assessment he has made of the requirement for a further mechanism to ensure this. [118038]

Gregory Barker: We have not specified whether and how the costs of delivering the energy company obligation (ECO) are recovered from consumers, it is an issue for energy suppliers to consider.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 19W

However, unlike previous schemes, obligations under the ECO will be set on the basis of a company's sales volumes (rather than its customer numbers). This reflects the view of many parties in consultation that such an approach is likely to lead to costs being passed on to consumers in a more equitable way, with low consumption consumers paying less.

Energy Supply

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations he has received from energy companies on the likely increase in costs to non-domestic energy customers arising from the prohibition of roll-over contracts. [118120]

Charles Hendry: DECC Ministers and officials receive a number of representations from energy companies about a range of issues.

Ofgem is responsible for the regulation of gas and electricity supply, including supply to the non-domestic sector. The use of a roll-over contract for non-domestic customers ensures there is no disruption to their electricity or gas supplies should they fail to notify their existing supplier that they wish to agree a new contract or switch to another supplier within the time limit set out in the terms of the contract. From January 2010, new rules introduced by Ofgem limit the period of rolled-over contract to 12 months.

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that energy companies make non-domestic customers aware of their contract renewal dates. [118121]

Charles Hendry: Ofgem is responsible for the regulation of gas and electricity supply, including supply to the non-domestic sector. From January 2010, Ofgem has required energy supply companies to provide non-domestic customers with clear and transparent contract terms and conditions, and they must send their customers a reminder 60 days before the end of their contract. The non-domestic customer then has 30 days to notify their supplier if they wish to agree a new contract or switch to another supplier.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of global reserves of (a) oil, (b) natural gas, (c) coal, (d) wind and (e) solar power in planning the UK's future energy security. [118165]

Charles Hendry: We draw on a range of sources in order to improve our understanding of global energy reserves. These include the International Energy Agency, industry, and other research organisations. BP's Statistical Review of World Energy estimates global reserves as (2011 data): oil—1,652,600 million barrels; natural gas—208,400 billion cubic metres; coal—860,938 million tonnes; wind—239,485 megawatts (installed capacity); and solar 69,371 megawatts (installed capacity).

Energy: Conservation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress the UK has made towards meeting its EU energy efficiency target

3 Sep 2012 : Column 20W

to reduce primary energy use by 20 per cent by 2020 compared with business as usual through improvements in energy efficiency. [118311]

Gregory Barker: The target to reduce primary energy consumption by 20% by 2020 relative to business as usual applies to the European Union as a whole. The UK does not currently have a target to reduce primary energy consumption by 20% by 2020 relative to business as usual.

Under article 3 of the energy efficiency directive, the UK is required notify the European Commission of its indicative target for final energy consumption in 2020 by 30 April 2013.

Energy: Meters

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of smart meters on competition and efficiency in the energy market. [118049]

Charles Hendry: The introduction of smart meters should support competition and enhance efficiency in the energy market. Smart meters should facilitate switching between suppliers, through the availability of more accurate and detailed information which will help consumers to seek out better tariff deals; and through the rationalisation of the arrangements for handling the change of supplier process. The availability of more detailed information should also encourage innovation and the entry of energy service companies into the energy market. In addition, smart meters will facilitate more efficient network management, demand shifting and the integration of renewables.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to regulate the installation of smart meters as part of the smart meter roll-out. [118056]

Charles Hendry: The Government are requiring the installation of smart meters by the end of 2019 through an obligation on gas and electricity suppliers. It is establishing a detailed regulatory framework to underpin the roll-out. This includes the development of a minimum technical specification for smart meters, the establishment of a central body to handle communications with smart meters, a consumer engagement strategy, a data access and privacy regime and various consumer protections, including a requirement for an installation Code of Practice.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to ensure transparency from energy companies in the daily management of customer data as a result of the introduction of smart meters. [118206]

Charles Hendry: The Government have recently consulted on proposals which would make suppliers responsible for explaining clearly to their own customers what data will be accessed, for which purposes, and what choices those customers have. The Government has also proposed

3 Sep 2012 : Column 21W

that suppliers should remind their customers annually about the data that is being collected and the choices that the consumer has.

In addition to these proposed requirements, there are general requirements relating to transparency on all data controllers under the Data Protection Act.

The Government are also implementing the midata project, which aims to give individuals more access to, and control over, the data that companies hold on them. The aim is to enable consumers to view, access and use their personal and transaction data in a way that is portable and safe.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department plans to set up a consumer engagement strategy, as part of the digital switchover, ahead of the smart meter installation programme. [118207]

Charles Hendry: The Government believe that an effective strategy for consumer engagement is needed to help deliver the expected benefits from the roll-out of smart meters. We recently consulted on the development of the strategy. The consultation is available at:

www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/cons_smip/cons_smip.aspx

It is now closed and the Government will respond later this year.

The strategy is not part of the digital switchover, but in developing the strategy we have sought to learn from this and other relevant programmes.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to encourage the growth of skilled jobs and apprenticeships linked to the smart meter roll-out. [118208]

Charles Hendry: The introduction of smart metering will bring significant new opportunities for UK businesses and their staff. Energy suppliers and networks, metering service companies, meter manufacturers and telecommunications providers will all be extensively involved. Many of the jobs created will be UK-based. Industry sources estimate that between 4,000 and 5,000 meter installers may be required. This work will be more highly skilled than traditional meter installation, requiring additional training. DECC has been closely involved with the National Skills Academy for Power's (NSAP) development of training courses which will enable individuals to become accredited meter installers. In addition, in July the National Apprenticeship Service approved the Smart Metering Apprenticeship Framework (England and Wales) which complements the existing Smart Metering Scottish Modern Apprenticeship.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average expected life-span will be of a typical energy smart meter. [118234]

Charles Hendry: The impact assessment case assumes an asset life of 15 years. Manufacturers have indicated that in practice asset lives may be greater than this.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 22W

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what discussions his Department has had with (a) property developers, (b) local authorities, (c) voluntary sector organisations and (d) social housing providers on smart meter installation targets in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [118235]

(2) which industrial sectors other than the energy sector his Department has consulted on the planned smart meter roll out. [118249]

Charles Hendry: DECC has consulted, and continues to consult, on all aspects of the smart metering roll-out. In addition, DECC has established a range of consultative and working groups, including a Consumer Advisory Group, in which voluntary sector organisations participate and a number of workshops on consumer engagement to which representatives of these groups were invited. DECC recognises the role that all these groups can play in facilitating the installation of Smart Meters and will look to work more closely with these groups as part of its consumer engagement strategy as rollout progresses. In terms of industrial sectors DECC has engaged in extensive consultation and discussions with the telecommunications industry, which is the non-energy sector most closely involved with the smart metering roll-out.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that the evidence base for his Department's conclusions about the ability of smart meter solutions to reach (a) areas of Great Britain and (b) numbers of consumers is robust. [118253]

Charles Hendry: The Government have developed a robust evidence base for the smart meters programme, which is reflected in regularly updated programme impact assessments.

Communications to and from smart meters will be the responsibility of the new Data Communications Company (DCC). Companies providing communications services to the DCC will have to demonstrate how they will deliver a comprehensive solution across Great Britain. These services are now being procured, and it is anticipated that this process will be finalised in spring 2013.

Energy suppliers are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a smart meter is installed at their customers' premises by the roll-out deadline of the end of 2019. To ensure that energy suppliers have robust plans in place to meet this requirement, suppliers are providing DECC with detailed information about their planned roll-outs over the period to 2019 in terms of timing, area and volume. This process is ongoing and will enable the programme to monitor suppliers' progress in rolling out smart meters to all of their customers in all parts of Great Britain.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) whether his Department has estimated the total cost of the smart meter roll-out to (a) consumers and (b) energy suppliers; [118315]

(2) whether his Department has estimated the average cost to a consumer of the installation of smart meters. [118316]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 23W

Charles Hendry: In April 2012 DECC published updated impact assessments for the rollout of smart meters in the domestic and non-domestic sectors. These estimate total costs of around £ 11.5 billion and total benefits of over £18.6 billion, giving a net benefit of around £7.2 billion. Energy suppliers will directly bear the large majority of the costs of the rollout, but they will also realise operational cost savings, both of which are expected to be passed on to consumers. In the early years of the rollout, as suppliers are responsible for the set-up costs to establish the smart metering system, we expect that suppliers will pass through a net cost to consumers. The impact assessment, published in April 2012, estimates that the bill increase will be most pronounced in 2015, when it is expected that the rollout will increase the average annual bill by £7 per household. As the rollout progresses, suppliers are expected to realise net savings. Overall, considering both costs and cost savings to energy suppliers and energy savings by consumers, we expect the rollout to reduce the average, annual dual fuel bill by £25 by 2020, and by £40 in 2030.

Energy: Prices

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect of recent trends in domestic energy prices on levels of child poverty in (a) summer and (b) winter months. [117156]

Maria Miller: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Child poverty statistics are published annually in the Households Below Average Income series (HBAI). The HBAI publication presents estimates of the number and proportion of children living in households with relative low income, absolute low income and combined low income and material deprivation.

HBAI statistics are based on the Family Resources Survey, which covers a full financial year, and so it is not possible to calculate child poverty levels for winter or summer in isolation.

The latest statistics for each of the measures can be found in the latest HBAI publication available at the following link:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc

The Government have in place a strong package of measures to help consumers with energy bills. Programmes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Warm Front, the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation are helping to make more homes energy efficient. The Warm Home Discount provides £1.1 billion of support up to 2015 and helps 2 million low income and vulnerable households directly with the cost of their bills.

The voluntary agreement announced by the Deputy Prime Minister means suppliers will ensure all consumers have good information on their supplier's best tariff, and collective purchasing schemes can also help consumers secure better deals on their bills.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the potential effect on (a) domestic and (b) industrial fuel bills of the Government's policy on decarbonisation. [117686]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 24W

Gregory Barker [holding answer 17 July 2012]: On 23 November 2011, alongside the Annual Energy Statement, DECC published an assessment of the impact of climate change and energy polices on energy prices and bills for households, medium-sized businesses and large energy intensive users in 2011, 2020 and 2030, available online at:

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

The headline results are presented in the following table. The results for energy intensive industries do not include the impact of the package of measures for energy intensive industries announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement of 29 November 2011, Official Report, columns 799-810. On 12 March, the Government launched a call for evidence on the impact of electricity costs on energy intensive industries in the UK to inform implementation of this package of measures, available online at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/business-sectors/low-carbon-business-opportunities/energy-intensive-industries

A breakdown of the separate gas and electricity bill impacts by individual policies is presented in the set of tables in Annex F (from p. 67) of the aforementioned document. An updated assessment will be published alongside the next Annual Energy Statement later this year.

Estimated impact of energy and climate change policies on average energy (gas plus electricity) bills compared with bills in the absence of policies
£
Real 2010 prices201120202030

Household

   

Bill without policies

1,229

1,379

1,474

Bill with policies

1,249

1,285

1,427

Impact of policies

19 (2%)

-94 (-7%)

-46 (-3%)

    

Medium-sized business user

   

Bill without policies

1,550,000

1,738,000

1,829,000

Bill with policies

1,821,000

2,073,000

2,337,000

Impact of policies

271,000 (18%)

335,000 (19%)

508,000 (28%)

    

Large energy intensive industrial user

   

Bill without policies

8.2 million to 15.6 million

9.3 million to 17.4 million

9.7 million to 18.0 million

Bill with policies

8.4 million to 17.5 million

9.4 million to 20.9 million

10.8 million to 24.1 million

Impact of policies

0.3 million to 1.9 million (3% to 12%)

0.2 million to 3.5 million (2% to 20%)

1.1 million to 6.1 million (115 to 34%)

Source DECC 2011. Figures may not add due to rounding.

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect of energy bill standing charges on (a) market competition and (b) achieving the Government's social and environmental objectives. [118037]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 25W

Charles Hendry: Standing charges reflect the fixed costs, such as network and distribution charges, to the supplier of supplying gas or electricity to a customer. DECC considers these charges alongside other areas impacting on bills, and how this will affect our objectives, as part of our Annual Energy Statement.

Ofgem is currently considering the structure of tariffs as part of its Retail Market Review, which aims to increase competition in the retail energy market.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the Office of Rail Regulation's 13th Periodic Review, what assessment he has made of the effect on the competitiveness of UK industry of higher energy prices. [118218]

Gregory Barker: The Government are aware of the importance of energy prices to UK industry; that is why the Chancellor announced a package of measures in the 29 November 2011 Autumn Statement, Official Report, columns 799-810, worth £250 million over the current spending review period to assist electricity intensive industries. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is considering the results of its recent consultation on track access charges levied on rail freight operators in the next railway funding Control Period from 2014 to 2019; no decisions have yet been made.

Carbon and Renewable Energy

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how the central framework for his Department's long-funded spending will operate in relation to legally-binding targets on carbon and renewable energy with regard to projects coming forward under the support mechanisms contained in the draft Energy Bill. [118423]

Gregory Barker: The Government are fully committed to meeting their legally binding renewable energy target and carbon budgets. The policies within the Levy Control Framework are designed to enable Government to achieve these targets, and the overall levy cap is set—and will continue to be set—consistent with that aim.

Fuel Poverty

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment his Department has made on the uptake of energy efficiency measures by those in fuel poverty. [117986]

Gregory Barker: The Warm Front scheme provides low income vulnerable households, living in energy inefficient properties, with a range of energy efficient heating and insulation measures, helping some of the most vulnerable households to have a warmer, healthier and more energy efficient home. The scheme is a key part of our policies aimed at tackling fuel poverty and has assisted over 2.3 million vulnerable households, across England, since its inception in June 2000.

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target super priority group (CERT SPG) targets vulnerable and low-income consumers considered to be at greatest risk of fuel poverty. The CERT extension impact assessment estimated

3 Sep 2012 : Column 26W

that 275,000 cavity wall and 100,000 loft insulation measures would be installed in SPG households between April 2011 and December 2012.

The Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) targets specified low income areas. Around 30,000 had been treated under the scheme as of December 2011, and the CESP impact assessment made an assumption that up to 90,000 homes would benefit from CESP. The final figure will not be known until early 2013 when obligated parties are required to report final figures to Ofgem.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the written ministerial statement of 15 March 2012, Official Report, column 36WS, on fuel poverty, what recent progress his Department has made on revising its measurement of fuel poverty. [118013]

Gregory Barker: Professor Hills published his final report of his review of fuel poverty in March 2012. Since then the Department has been examining the options that Professor Hills put forward. We intend to publish a consultation on a future definition of fuel poverty later in September and to adopt a new approach to fuel poverty measurement after it has been completed.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 on levels of fuel poverty. [118209]

Gregory Barker: The methodology used for estimating levels of fuel poverty means that the impact of the introduction of universal credit in 2013 will first be assessed in 2015.

We are working to ensure that the introduction of universal credit can be reflected in the Government's suite of policies to tackle fuel poverty. For example, we intend to amend the eligibility criteria for schemes such as the energy company obligation to include universal credit, as well as the current benefits system, to ensure as far as possible that the same types of low income and vulnerable households can be identified and assisted.

Green Deal Scheme

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) if he and his officials will consider any role the Green Deal could play in stimulating the boiler replacement market; [118041]


(2) if he will consider using heating installations as a trigger for an energy efficiency review as part of the Green Deal. [118050]

Gregory Barker: We consider boiler replacements to be an important trigger for conversations about improving the energy efficiency of a property through the Green Deal. We understand that a number of potential Green Deal providers are exploring how to capitalise on this trigger as part of their business models.

In reverse, the Green Deal could help stimulate the boiler replacement market as the cost of boilers could be funded or part-funded using Green Deal finance.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 27W

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on stimulating the UK boiler replacement market through the Green Deal. [118042]

Gregory Barker: I continue to engage colleagues across Government, including those within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, on the opportunities the Green Deal presents for stimulating the energy efficiency market. This includes the suite of measures supported under the Green Deal and those delivered as a result of the Affordable Warmth element of the energy company obligation under which energy suppliers are required to provide heating and insulation measures to low income vulnerable households.

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will meet representatives of the heating industry to discuss the Green Deal and the boiler replacement market. [118051]

Gregory Barker: I can confirm that there is regular contact between the Department and the heating industry. For example, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council are represented on one of the Green Deal advisory forums, which have been in operation since early 2011.

Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the suitability of contracts for difference for medium-scale renewable electricity generators between 5MW and 50MW in capacity. [118421]

Charles Hendry: The feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference (CfD) mechanism has been developed to increase the rate of investment in low carbon generation including medium-scale renewable electricity projects of between 5MW and 50MW. It is anticipated that a wide range of potential investors will be able to participate in the market, as the CfD removes significant risks from qualifying generators as it provides them with greater revenue certainty by reducing wholesale price risk.

During the development of the CfD we have taken into account challenges faced by a range of types of generation. These include concerns raised by some independent generators that there may be difficulties securing long-term contracts for their power. In response, we have issued a Call for Evidence to understand better these issues and whether Government should take additional steps to facilitate these generators’ ability to sell their power.

We will publish further detail of the CfD mechanism and any proposals for improving independent generators' access to the market later in the year.

Renewable Energy: Transport

Sir Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what contingency plans his Department has put in place to reach the 15 per cent renewable energy target by 2020 under the renewable energy directive in the event that renewable transport does not reach its 10 per cent target. [118363]

3 Sep 2012 : Column 28W

Charles Hendry: The Government is committed to meeting the binding target of 15% renewable energy and mandatory sub-target of 10% renewable transport by 2020 and there are a number of ways in which both targets can be met.

We set out potential contingency measures for meeting the UK's renewables targets in the Renewable Energy Roadmap (published July 2011).

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to promote the uptake of the Warm Home Discount. [118054]

Gregory Barker: The Core and Broader Group elements of the warm home discount scheme offer fixed value discounts off eligible customers' energy bills. These were worth £120 in 2011-12 and will be worth £130 in 2012-13.

In terms of promoting uptake for 2012-13, eligibility for the Core Group of the warm home discount scheme is based on a customer or their partner on 21 July 2012 receiving only the guarantee credit element of pension credit or, if they are aged 80 or over receiving the guarantee credit element of pension credit, (even if they get savings credit too). In each case the pension credit recipient or their partner must be named on their electricity bill with one of the participating energy supply companies.

As this elderly group may struggle to claim, the Core Group uses limited data sharing between the energy companies and DWP to let the energy companies know which of their customers is in receipt of this benefit. When a supplier is notified by Government, they can then credit an automatic discount to the customer's account. On this basis, in 2012-13, we expect around 1 million pensioners will receive an automatic discount. Customers who may be eligible for the discount but who cannot be identified by data sharing, will have the chance to claim. Over 85% of those who will receive the discount in 2012-13 are expected to be found automatically.

All relevant pension credit customers who are or may be eligible will receive a letter from Government this winter, letting them know they will receive an automatic discount or that they may need to claim. Information about the scheme is available at:

www.direct.gov/warmhome

but as the Core Group is designed to find customers automatically, Government are not proactively promoting the Core Group to reduce raising the expectations of customers who will not be eligible.

For the Broader Group, energy suppliers are responsible for promoting their own schemes to ensure that they are able to meet their broader group obligations. Information is available via both the:

www.direct.gov/warmhome

and DECC websites on the schemes suppliers have available and links directly to suppliers' application processes. Government also promote the support available through the Broader Group via its network of stakeholders.

3 Sep 2012 : Column 29W

Wind Power

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) onshore and (b) offshore wind projects were connected to the grid in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012 to date; and (A) how many projects and (B) what capacity commenced the planning process in (1) 2007, (2) 2008, (3) 2009, (4) January to May 2010, (5) May to December 2010, (6) 2011 and (7) 2012 to date. [117923]

Charles Hendry [holding answer 17 July 2012]:DECC does not maintain a record of when wind projects are first connected to the grid. However, DECC's Renewable Energy Planning Database (REPD) does record when wind projects become fully operational. The REPD data showing the number of onshore and offshore wind projects that became fully operational in 2010, 2011 and 2012 is set out as follows.

 201020112012  
 ProjectsCapacity (MW)ProjectsCapacity (MW)ProjectsCapacity (MW)Total projectsTotal capacity (MW)

Wind offshore

2

390

1

183.6

2

333.6

5

907.2

Wind onshore

45

561.8

49

508.21

9

250.33

103

1,320.34

Grand total

47

951.8

50

691.81

11

583.93

108

2,227.54

The following table shows the number and installed capacity in megawatts (MW) of operational wind projects in the UK as at May 2012.

Operational wind projects in the UK as at May 2012(1)
TechnologyOperational 2010 RESTATS dataOperational since January 2011

Offshore Round 0

14.0

Offshore round 1

962.4

150.0

Offshore round 2

364.8

367.2

Demonstration projects

Offshore round 3

Offshore round 1 and 2 extensions

Scottish Territorial Waters

Wind offshore total

1,341.2

517.2

Wind onshore

4,035.7

758.5

Total

6,718.1

1,792.9

(1) Source—Restats DECC datasheet May 2012 https://restats.decc.gov.uk/app/reporting/decc/datasheet

The following table shows (A) the number of onshore and offshore wind projects and (B) the capacity for which applications were submitted in (1) 2007, (2) 2008, (3) 2009, (4) January to May 2010, (5) May to December 2010, (6) 2011 and (7) 2012 to date.

Number and installed capacity of applications for UK onshore and offshore wind projects submitted since 2010(1)
 OnshoreOffshore
 NumberMWNumberMW

2007

128

2,145.35

3

618,80

2008

138

2,075.38

2

770.0

2009

172

3,216.23

4

1,426.0

January to May 2010

71

974.07

0

0

June to December 2010

89

944.58

0

0

3 Sep 2012 : Column 30W

2011

302

2,482.15

1

504.0

2012 to date

144

819.38

3

2,297.10

(1) Source—Restats Planning Database Extract July 2012 https://restats.decc.gov.uk/app/reporting/decc/monthlyextract

Cabinet Office

British Nationals Abroad: EU Countries

Lorely Burt: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office with reference to Census data, what estimate he has made of the number of UK citizens living in each EU member state either for part of the year or all year round; and if he will make a statement. [118459]

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:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to respond to your question asking the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to Census data, what estimate he has made of the number of UK citizens living in each EU member state either for part of the year or all year round; and if he will make a statement. (118459)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) does not collect information regarding UK nationals resident or working outside the UK. However, Eurostat publishes figures on population by citizenship for EU countries, these are available at:

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/population/data/database

Olympic Games 2012

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on what dates the Olympic and Paralympic Games Committee has met; and which such meetings were attended by the (a) Prime Minister, (b) Deputy Prime Minister and (c) Secretary of State for the Home Department. [118327]

Mr Maude: Although the Government publish the title, membership and terms of reference of Cabinet committees, it has been the practice of successive Governments not to disclose when they meet or the details of their proceedings, including ministerial attendance.

Population

Lorely Burt: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the non-UK EU population of each nationality in each nation and region of the UK; and if he will make a statement. [118431]

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 respond to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the non-UK EU population of each nationality in each nation and region of the UK; and if he will make a statement (118431).

3 Sep 2012 : Column 31W

The Office for National Statistics collects information on nationality from the Annual Population Survey. These estimates, along with other published Population by Country of Birth and Nationality estimates relate to the 12 month period October 2010 to September 2011. These are the latest estimates available.

The attached tables provide estimates of the number of non-UK EU nationals, split by UK constituent country and region. A copy of these tables has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

The 95% confidence interval refers to the margin of error, and is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample.