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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the European Commission on dates used to calculate future entitlements to direct payments as part of Common Agricultural Policy reform. [120099]

Mr Heath: My predecessor has met with members of the Commission on a number of occasions to discuss this and other areas of concern to the Government, most recently at the Royal Welsh Agricultural show. DEFRA officials are involved in regular working group discussions where all aspects of the future allocation of entitlements are being considered.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect on (a) the level of land banking and (b) access to agricultural land by new entrants and tenant farmers of implementing proposed Common Agricultural Policy reforms that the allocation of entitlements to direct payments should be based on a date in the future. [120100]

Mr Heath: There is the potential for distortions to arise whenever future dates are used as part of qualifying criteria. This is one of the reasons why we are seeking the option to roll over existing entitlements. We also consider that there may be specific circumstances where new entrants might be disadvantaged by the Commission's proposals, particularly in the first year of the scheme and we are working to ensure that member states and regions have the flexibility to address them.

Dangerous Dogs

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to deal with irresponsible dog ownership in the proposed draft bill on antisocial behaviour; [120242]

(2) with reference to Putting victims first: more effective responses to anti-social behaviour, when he expects to announce his plans for dealing with irresponsible dog ownership. [120278]

Mr Heath: The Home Office have proposed changes to the existing antisocial behaviour measures and these proposals include such behaviour where it involves dogs.

DEFRA’s own consultation on proposals to tackle irresponsible ownership of dogs closed on 15 June. We are currently analysing over 27,000 responses.

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An announcement about the way forward will be made in due course once responses have been considered.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take to deal with attacks on guide and other assistance dogs. [120243]

Mr Heath: The Government recently completed a consultation on a package of proposals to tackle irresponsible ownership of dogs. The consultation attracted over 27,000 responses. We are currently analysing the responses before making any announcements about a way forward. The existing laws on dangerous dogs and animal welfare already provide protection for attacks on guide dogs. However, I will give careful consideration to the matter.

Floods: Insurance

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Association of British Insurers on provision of affordable and adequate flood insurance. [120569]

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State and I recently met representatives from the insurance industry regarding the future availability and affordability of home insurance in flood risk areas.

Discussions with the industry continue and further announcements will be made in due course.

Nature Conservation

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what programmes to protect and encourage the breeding of endangered species the Government sponsors. [119720]

Richard Benyon: The Species Recovery Programme, operated by Natural England, provides direct support for the most threatened species of animals, plants and fungi in England. This includes targeted action through status assessments, research to identify causes of decline, research to identify appropriate means of recovery, the testing of recovery solutions and re-introductions.

The Environment Agency makes a significant contribution across England and Wales to the protection of endangered aquatic species (including plants, animals, birds and fish) both through its regulatory role and its positive work in support of environmental improvement. Current breeding projects include the white-clawed crayfish, freshwater pearl mussel and vendace (a freshwater white fish).

Efforts to conserve endangered fish species and to encourage their breeding typically focus on management measures targeted at wild fish populations and the Government support a range of activities, for example, prohibitions on exploitation, fishery technical measures and habitat improvement schemes. Species subject to such measures to allow stocks to rebuild include the angel shark and European eel.

The UK Government also provide support through a number of mechanisms for protecting biodiversity overseas—including through the Darwin Initiative, which

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has been funding projects around the world for the last 20 years. Some projects aim to improve the conservation status of endangered species through breeding programmes or re-introductions. For example, a current project is re-introducing endangered frogs (called mountain chickens) in Montserrat. The Darwin Initiative also supports several projects which are involved in the captive breeding of vultures in India/South Asia. In addition, the Government contribute to various initiatives and organisations that support a range of endangered species, which are assessed on a case-by-case basis, such as the Global Tiger Initiative, projects associated with the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, and the Great Apes Survival Partnership. DEFRA's biodiversity research programme has a number of projects addressing threats to biodiversity in the UK overseas territories. This includes work to improve breeding success of the critically endangered St Helena wirebird.

The Royal Botanic Garden Kew's UK Overseas Territories Programme has received funding from DEFRA, Darwin and the Overseas Territories Environment Programme over the last 10 years to help conserve the unique plants of the UK overseas territories, through seed collection, cultivation at Kew, capacity building in territories, helping establish native species nurseries in territories and ultimately restoring habitats and re-introducing threatened species back into the wild. DEFRA also supports the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership led by the Royal. Botanic Gardens, Kew and involving about 50 countries aiming to conserve 75,000 plant species by 2020.

Water Charges: Voluntary Organisations

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to paragraph 4.2 of his Department's guidance to water and sewerage undertakers in relation to the concessionary scheme for community groups for surface water drainage charges, what assessment he has made of the effect of the concessionary scheme for community groups where water and sewerage undertakers have not identified additional classes of community groups; which water and sewerage undertakers have identified additional classes of charities in community group concessionary schemes for surface water drainage to those listed; and whether he plans to review the scheme. [119640]

Richard Benyon: The Government's guidance provides criteria to help, undertakers determine which community groups should benefit from concessionary schemes for surface water drainage. It states which groups the Government expect undertakers will want to include but makes clear that this is not an exhaustive list. The guidance also proposes that undertakers should take account of the criteria. It requires undertakers to carry out an Impact Assessment and bring forward any scheme in consultation with customers. Therefore, the decision of which groups to include in a scheme is one for the undertaker, in consultation with their customers.

Two companies (United Utilities and Northumbrian Water) have brought forward concessionary schemes for charging for surface water drainage within the guidelines set out by the Government. Neither undertaker has identified additional categories of community groups that were not specified in the guidance.

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It is for the companies themselves to assess and review the effectiveness of their schemes, in line with the Government guidance, which was issued in 2010. There are currently no plans to review the guidance, but it will be reviewed in due course as a matter of policy evaluation.

Scotland

Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he expects to be a member of the proposed Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee. [120466]

Michael Moore: Membership of the Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee has not yet been confirmed. The Cabinet Office will shortly issue a new list of Cabinet Committee membership, which will incorporate changes following the reshuffle

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with (a) Universities Scotland and (b) NUS Scotland on the effect of the Government's immigration reforms on Scottish universities. [120465]

Michael Moore: I meet with members of the higher education sector in Scotland on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues including immigration reform.

Food Banks

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the trend in the number of people using food banks in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [119930]

Michael Moore: These are challenging times economically but we are committed to supporting people with appropriate help to enable them to access employment and to re-balancing the economy to create sustainable jobs. DWP's Work programme and Get Britain Working initiatives are intended to provide people with the necessary skills and experience to help them into long-term jobs that will provide them with security and stability.

Northern Ireland

Corporation Tax

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions her Department has had with HM Treasury and the Northern Ireland Executive on corporation tax; and if she will make a statement. [120186]

Mrs Villiers: Officials have continued work on the issues surrounding the potential devolution of powers to vary the corporation tax rate to the Northern Ireland Assembly since the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy last met in June. I intend to have discussions with ministerial colleagues from HM Treasury and the Northern Ireland Executive in the coming weeks.

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National Crime Agency

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will undertake a comparative assessment of the compatibility of her plans for the National Crime Agency (NCA) and provisions for the NCA contained in the Crime and Courts Bill with the principles and arrangements for accountable policing in Northern Ireland resulting from the Belfast Agreement, the Patten Report and other agreements. [120550]

Mrs Villiers: My Department has worked closely with the Home Office and Northern Ireland Department of Justice to ensure that the principles of the Belfast Agreement and other agreements are reflected in the Crime and Courts Bill. The proposed arrangements achieve this by maintaining the primacy of the Chief Constable for policing in Northern Ireland. They also provide for local accountability, through the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and a relationship with the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will specify pursuant to the contribution of the Minister of State of 18 June 2012, Official Report, HL column 1609, on the Crime and Courts Bill (Lords), what the mix of reserved and devolved activity to be undertaken by the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland will include. [120570]

Mrs Villiers: Areas of devolved responsibility in which the National Crime Agency would undertake activity, in partnership with PSNI, include child exploitation, organised crime and cyber crime. The National Crime Agency will also work on reserved matters, for example money laundering, and other matters, such as human trafficking, some elements of which are excepted.

Home Department

Acid Attacks

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of acid attacks were recorded in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and how many such incidents led to prosecutions. [118865]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. The data series does not hold information on acid attacks.

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre Child Protection Command to be appointed. [118824]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Peter Davies was appointed director designate of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command for the National Crime Agency

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(NCA) in May 2012. CEOP will be one of the NCA's four operational Commands, reflecting the importance of child protection within the agency's work.

Peter Davies will carry out this role in addition to his current responsibilities as chief executive of the CEOP Centre. As director designate, Mr Davies will oversee the smooth transition of CEOP into the NCA, as an integral part of the wider work to establish the agency.

A transition group is in place to ensure performance of CEOP is maintained and enhanced before the NCA becomes fully operational by the end of 2013, subject to the passage of legislation.

Crime

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) assessed on the effect of fantasising on levels of (i) crime and (ii) recidivism. [120088]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 7 September 2012]: The Home Office has not commissioned or assessed any research on the effect of fantasising on levels of crime and recidivism.

Crime Prevention

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with representatives of Twitter and other social media companies about crime prevention; and if she will make a statement. [119568]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 6 September 2012]: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), met with representatives from Twitter following the August 2011 disorder. The Government continue to work closely with representatives from social media, industry and the voluntary sector at the quarterly Board meetings for the UK Council on Child Internet Safety to help protect children online.

Crime: Betting Shops

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of (a) assaults, (b) incidences of criminal damage, (c) robberies and (d) other offences committed in betting shops in the latest period for which figures are available. [119368]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime statistics. The Home Office are unable to provide, from centrally held records, information on offences committed in betting shops.

Crime: Birmingham

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) car thefts, (b) burglaries and (c) violent crimes have been reported in Birmingham in each year since 2007. [119271]

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Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 7 September 2012]: The available information relates to car thefts, burglary and violent crime offences recorded by the police in Birmingham and is given in the following table.

Number of offences recorded by the police in Birmingham for selected offences, financial year since 2006-07
Financial YearTheft or unauthorised taking of motor vehicleBurglaryViolence against the person

2006-07

5,262

14,568

26,280

2007-08

4,829

13,558

23,666

2008-09

4,169

12,313

21,767

2009-10

3,376

11,766

21,647

2010-11

3,302

12,654

18,390

2011-12

2,774

10,937

15,786

Domestic Violence

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce levels of domestic violence; and what assistance is offered to victims of domestic violence. [119522]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government's approach to tackling domestic violence is set out in our updated Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls action plan published on 8 March 2012. Key initiatives include:

provision of £3.3 million per year to fund Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference co-ordinators and Independent Domestic Violence Adviser posts until 2015;

provision of £860,000 a year for national helplines to support the victims of domestic violence;

requiring that multi-agency reviews happen after every domestic homicide, and;

piloting a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme in four police force areas which will test a process for enabling the police to disclose information about previous violent offending by a new or existing partner.

Drugs

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2012, Official Report, column 224W, on drugs: crime, when her Department plans to update its estimate of the number of acquisitive crimes committed that are related to the consumption of illegal drugs; [120479]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2012, Official Report, column 654W, on drugs: misuse, when her Department plans to update its estimate of the size of the illicit drug market in the UK. [120480]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office is currently working to update its estimate of the social and economic cost of organised crime. This will include an update of the estimated size of the illicit drug market in the UK and the estimated proportion of acquisitive crimes committed in relation to the consumption of illegal drugs.

This work is expected to be completed in the autumn of 2012.

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Female Genital Mutilation

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been investigated for carrying out female genital mutilation to date. [118851]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Information on the number of people investigated for carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) is not held centrally.

Offences Against Children: Social Media

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking in response to reports of the use of Twitter by paedophiles; and if she will make a statement. [119567]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 6 September 2012]: Social media providers still have more to do to make their services safer environments for children, but all of the major players are engaged with Governments at UK and/or European level and have agreed to adhere to the EU Safer Social Networking Guidelines. Twitter unfortunately have not taken part in these discussions despite being encouraged to do so by UK Government officials earlier this year. We would urge Twitter to rethink their stance.

The Government are working with the industry through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to agree and put in place better measures to improve children's online safety.

Prostitution

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) arrested on suspicion of committing and (b) subsequently charged with offences relating to prostitution by age, gender and region in each of the last five years. [118785]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sex worker outreach centres there are in England and Wales. [118854]

Mr Jeremy Browne: This information is not held centrally.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sex workers were arrested in the Metropolitan police area in 2011. [118857]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Prostitution: Court Orders

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who is responsible for supervising people sentenced to an engagement and support order under the Policing and Crime Act 2009; and what training is provided to them. [118853]

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Mr Jeremy Browne: The Policing and Crime Act 2009 took steps to improve the safety and support available for individuals involved within prostitution through the introduction of section 17, Engagement and Support Orders. This legislation provides the courts with an alternative to fining those convicted of loitering or soliciting and instead requires attendance at meetings with a court appointed supervisor who has been nominated by local agencies.

The Home Office has issued guidance on ‘Engagement and Support Orders’. Any training is a matter for the local projects.

Sexual Offences: Armed Forces

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of (a) rape and (b) sexual assault were reported to civilian police by members of the armed forces in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [118988]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. The data series does not hold information on offences reported by members of the armed forces.

Stalking

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support she plans to provide to victims of stalking after the implementation of new legislation in this area. [120533]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government are working with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Crown Prosecution Service and Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, to provide guidance and training to better equip agencies so that they can support victims of stalking. We continue to fund the National Stalking Helpline which provides a valuable service to victims.

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to improve communications between her Department and the Department of Health in respect of the psychological effects of stalking on victims. [120534]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office continues to work with a range of partners, including the Department of Health, to ensure that the wider effects of stalking on victims are considered.

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to enable police to search the property of individuals arrested for suspected stalking, to assist evidence gathering. [120535]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government want perpetrators of stalking and harassment to be fully investigated and prosecuted. The new legislation on stalking provides the police with a new power of entry and search to help secure the evidence needed to bring perpetrators of stalking offences to justice.

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Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Office's report, Central Government's implementation of the national Compact. [120562]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We have developed, in consultation with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Compact Voice, an action plan addressing the recommendations in the NAO report. This action plan was agreed with voluntary sector representatives in April and implementation is now under way.

Transport

Biofuels

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the use of biofuels derived from corn; and if he will make a statement. [120105]

Norman Baker: Biofuels supplied in the UK, as reported under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), are made from a number of different feedstocks including agricultural crops such as corn, wastes, residues, ligno-cellulosic and non-food cellulosic materials.

Our policy is that the supply of biofuels in the UK has a role to play in reducing carbon emissions and encouraging economic growth, but biofuels must be genuinely sustainable. Amendments made to the RTFO in December 2011 to transpose the Renewable Energy Directive ensure only biofuels meeting mandatory sustainability criteria benefit from incentives under the RTFO. Those criteria include that biofuels, with some exceptions, must deliver greenhouse gas savings of at least 35 per cent when compared to fossil fuels and that biofuels must not be sourced from areas of high biodiversity, or from high carbon soils (eg rainforests or wetlands).

Chesham

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times (a) he and (b) each member of his ministerial team have visited Chesham and Amersham in an official capacity in the last three years; and what the purpose was of each such visit. [120521]

Norman Baker: Since taking office, the Secretary of State has not visited Chesham and Amersham in an official capacity, and neither have I nor any members of the ministerial team in the last three years.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings have been held by Ministers in his Department with potential investors in the High Speed 2 project; and on what dates those meetings took place. [120516]

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Mr Simon Burns: Since taking up my post, neither I nor my Ministers have had any meeting with potential investors in High Speed 2.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 5 September 2012, Official Report, column 339W, on motor vehicles: registration, if he will make it his policy to commission an estimate of the number of unregistered foreign vehicles in the UK. [120446]

Stephen Hammond: The Department would not make it policy to commission an estimate of the number of foreign vehicles in the UK. This is because there is no central database that records foreign registered vehicles, and so any estimates we could produce would be extremely inaccurate because there are no reliable tracking technologies.

I refer to my answer of 5 September 2012, Official Report, column 340W.

Motorcycles: Driving Tests

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects to conclude his trials of changes to module one of the motorcycle practical test; [120118]

(2) when he expects to begin consulting on changes to module one of the motorcycle practical test. [120119]

Stephen Hammond: The trials are expected to conclude in December 2012. There will be a full public consultation, on any proposals for changing the current motorcycle test, in spring 2013.

Road Traffic Control

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the outcomes were of the consultation on the placing of notices of traffic orders by local authorities in local newspapers; and if he will make a statement. [120373]

Norman Baker: We have had a large response to this consultation and are currently analysing the replies from this public consultation, and I will announce the outcome and way forward later this year.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy Bill

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that all market support mechanisms included in the Government's proposed Energy Bill are transitional. [119015]

Mr Hayes: The electricity market reforms set out in the draft Energy Bill are being developed to be robust to a range of future scenarios, such as developments in technology; future Government objectives; and changes in prices and demand.

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As set out in the electricity market reform (EMR) policy overview:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/policy-legislation/emr/5349-electricity-market-reform-policy-overview.pdf

published alongside the draft Energy Bill in May, EMR provides the process and mechanisms to enable us to make a long-term transition to a market where low carbon generators compete fairly under a robust and stable carbon price.

Further detail on the EMR package, including the contracts for difference feed-in tariff and the capacity mechanism, will be set out later this year.

Energy: Conservation

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will ensure that the Government's proposed Energy Bill includes provision for a strategy to reduce energy demand. [119014]

Mr Hayes: Reducing energy demand is a Government priority. Energy efficiency is key to this and the Government plans to publish a national energy efficiency strategy by the end of the year.

As part of this strategy the Electricity Demand Reduction project is looking specifically at whether additional measures are required to reduce electricity demand. The project's initial assessment suggests significant further potential may exist in this area, and my Department will launch a consultation on policy approaches to unlock this potential later this year.

Energy: Fees and Charges

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the number of households that have been charged termination fees by their energy supplier in respect of terminating a domestic supply contract in each of the last five years; and what the (a) average and (b) total amount paid was in each such year. [120238]

Mr Hayes: DECC does not hold the information requested.

The setting of tariffs, including any termination fees associated with fixed-price deals, is a commercial matter for the companies concerned. Termination fees should reflect charges incurred by a supplier when a consumer decides to break away from the fixed-deal before the end of the offer. Consumers with a fixed-price deal will not have to a pay a termination fee if the reason to break away is due to a price increase and they notify the supplier of their intention to switch before the day the price change takes place.

Energy: Meters

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what estimate he has made of the average annual cost to a domestic consumer of a smart meter; [118822]

(2) what estimate he has made of the average annual rental charge for a smart meter installed in a domestic setting. [118843]

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Mr Hayes: Costs arising from the installation and operation of smart meters will fall to energy suppliers. Energy suppliers will also benefit from operational cost savings. It is expected that energy prices charged to consumers by suppliers will reflect both costs incurred and the benefit of savings. In the early years of the roll-out, 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 roll-out will increase the average annual bill by £7 per household. As the roll-out 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 roll-out to reduce the average, annual dual fuel bill by £25 by 2020, and by £40 in 2030.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the average annual energy saving from installing a smart meter in (a) an average domestic setting, (b) a domestic setting with energy bills of £400 per annum and (c) a domestic setting with energy bills of £500 per annum. [118823]

Mr Hayes: In April 2012 DECC published an updated impact assessment (IA) for the roll-out of smart meters to domestic customers. There is a growing evidence base on the potential energy savings that are achievable from smart metering, and the IA assumptions fall at the lower end of the range of savings that have been observed in recent trials. Our IA does not break down our estimates of reductions in energy consumption between households with energy bills of £400 and households with bills of £500 per annum. However, in the average domestic setting the IA estimates that customers will reduce electricity consumption by 2.8% and gas consumption by 2%. Gas pre-payment customers are expected to reduce their energy consumption by 0.5%.

Energy: Scotland

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations his Department has received from Scottish Executive (a) Ministers and (b) officials on energy prices and the big six since May 2007; and if he will place in the Library copies of all such representations. [120432]

Mr Hayes: DECC Ministers and officials receive a number of representations from other Government Departments and the devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Executive, on a range of issues. Following Cabinet Office guidelines we do not publish details of any such discussions or meetings.

Quarterly lists of DECC Ministers' meetings that involve outside interested parties are published on the DECC website, available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/accesstoinform/registers/ministermtgs/ministermtgs.aspx

I look forward to engaging with my ministerial counterparts in the devolved Administrations.

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EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Aviation

Dame Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much money auctioning allowances for the aviation sector within the EU ETS raised in the latest period for which figures are available. [120622]

Gregory Barker: The auctioning of aviation allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System has not yet commenced in the UK or anywhere in Europe. The Government plan to hold the first UK auctions of these allowances later this year.

Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when state aid clearance for (a) contracts for difference and (b) investment instruments is anticipated; and how this will fit with the timetable for the Energy Bill 2012 and subsequent secondary legislation. [119556]

Mr Hayes: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 10 September 2012, Official Report, column 63W.

Solar Power

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to change the level of subsidy for solar photovoltaics in the next two years. [120605]

Gregory Barker: DECC issued a consultation document on 7 September inviting comments on proposed changes to the level of support for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations under the renewables obligation. The proposals apply to new generation or additional capacity accredited on or after 1 April 2013. The consultation closes on 19 October and the Government intend to publish their decision by the end of November. A copy of the consultation proposals are available on DECC's website at the following location:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/ro_solarpv/ro_solarpv.aspx

Solar PV generation is also supported under the feed-in tariff scheme. In July the Government announced a new policy of degression which adjusts the level of support for this technology in line with falling costs of installation. Further details can be found in the Government Response to the consultation on the comprehensive review of the feed-in tariff scheme phase 2A, on solar PV cost control, available at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/fits_rev_ph2a/fits_rev_ph2a.aspx

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband: Rural Areas

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely economic effect of the superfast broadband rollout in rural areas. [120567]

Mr Vaizey: The impact of broadband on business growth is well documented in publicly available studies. Neither the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and

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Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), nor I have made any new assessment of the impact of broadband roll-out on economic growth or businesses in areas with poor broadband services.

Football

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to regulate the (a) debt and (b) ownership of professional football clubs; whether she will discuss with Supporters Direct any such proposals; and if she will make a statement. [120381]

Hugh Robertson: It is for the football authorities to determine the best way of achieving the right changes in the game, and make improvements that will benefit the long-term interests of grassroots football, professional clubs and the national team.

We are pleased that the football authorities have responded positively to the challenges set by the Government and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and have proposed improvements to the way the sport is governed. However, before any further plans are agreed, including whether legislation is required, the Select Committee must conclude its deliberations and provide a formal response to these proposals.

Museums and Galleries: Yorkshire and the Humber

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many people visited each of the national museums in Yorkshire and the Humber in each year since 1997. [120428]

Mr Vaizey: The following table provides visitor figures for the national museums in Yorkshire and the Humber in each year since 1997. The National Media Museum and the National Railway Museum are both branches of the Science Museum Group (formerly National Museum of Science and Industry).

 National Media Museum(1)National Railway Museum, YorkRoyal Armouries LeedsTotal

1997-98

298,901

420,079

349,000

1,067,980

1998-99

83,613

434,566

296,000

814,179

1999-2000

962,899

467,880

173,500

1,604,279

2000-01

969,822

485,785

185,710

1,641,317

2001-02

823,309

587,862

280,867

1,692,038

2002-03

768,161

767,299

302,527

1,837,987

2003-04

723,273

740,217

277,105

1,740,595

2004-05

658,991

885,406

301,809

1,846,206

2005-06

615,431

744,472

244,469

1,604,372

2006-07

677,029

903,188

225,417

1,805,634

2007-08

737,857

824,106

267,624

1,829,587

2008-09

672,951

782,430

264,973

1,720,354

2009-10

606,837

709,166

269,591

1,585,594

2010-11

497,522

630,396

273,824

1,401,742

2011-12

482,790

717,274

215,135

1,415,199

(1) The National Media Museum was partially closed in 1997-98 and 1998-99 for refurbishment.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 136W

Music: Young People

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to increase the number of young people who play musical instruments. [120267]

Mr Vaizey: The first National Plan for Music Education, launched on 25 November 2011, sets out Government's priorities and support for music education. This plan includes the creation of a national network of music education hubs to support high quality music teaching funded through Arts Council England. The successful hubs were announced by Arts Council England in May. A list of the successful hubs can be found on the following link:

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/xls/MEHsuccessful_applicants_website.xls

Olympic Games 2012: Swindon

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps she has taken to raise participation in events connected with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Swindon. [120493]

Hugh Robertson: The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) established the Nations and Regions Group to ensure UK-wide engagement and to maximise the legacy from London 2012. A sustained programme of proactive marketing and communications activities has generated high levels of interest and engagement in London 2012-related activities across Wiltshire.

This can be seen through 91% of Swindon schools (77) being registered for the Get Set network. Including Lydiard Park Academy, which has worked with primary schools across Swindon to identify over 100 school ambassadors and leaders of London 2012 themed projects. The academy ran an ‘Olympic Roadshow', visiting local primary schools and giving over 2,000 pupils an opportunity to try Olympic and Paralympic sports such as rowing, archery, boccia and goalball. Also, four Wiltshire schools were selected to form the Guard of Honour, lining the route as the athletes made their way through the Olympic Park.

Around 15,000 people were in Swindon town centre to witness the Olympic Torch Relay visit on 23 May, with several more thousand in surrounding communities. Huge crowds were present at Wharf Green where Didier Drogba ran with the flame.

A series of business events ran in the years leading up to the games to raise awareness of contract opportunities and ways to bid. This included an event run in partnership with Coca Cola in June 2012 to highlight the opportunities to benefit from the Olympic Torch Relay's visit to Wiltshire, and a business breakfast run by Wiltshire council in Salisbury on the morning of the Olympic Torch Relay's visit to the town. Swindon-based Barnes Coaches Ltd and Thamesdown Transport Ltd were awarded contracts to supply buses and drivers for the Games Family Bus Services in London.

The Live Site at Swindon's Big Screen, in Wharf Green, attracted thousands to watch the live action (including 1,000 for the Olympic games closing ceremony)

11 Sep 2012 : Column 137W

and many went on to try out a wide range of sports—up to 200 people on each day took part in various free taster sessions, ranging from basketball to boccia and fencing to table tennis. The Big Screen also screened all the live Paralympics coverage and hosted two super Saturdays, which showcased sporting opportunities for budding Paralympians. This included a new initiative called Run With Me, which encourages runners to form friendships with disabled athletes so they can take part together in events ranging from 5 km races to half-marathons.

Swindon council's leisure services ran a host of special offers encouraging usage of their facilities and driving up participation. For example, more than 150 people signed up for an offer which gave access to a wide range of activities over a 20-day period for just £12. The Community Games Tour, which ran during the school summer holidays for children, parents and grandparents to play exercise-related games, also engaged with around 200 people per week.

As part of the UK's bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games we promised to inspire a new generation to play sport. Through Places, People, Play, £135 million has already been committed to support community sport facilities and activity. Sports projects in Wiltshire have already been allocated funding through this programme. Also, over the next four years the new Youth Sport Strategy will invest at least £1 billion of Lottery and Exchequer funding to help ensure young people across England are regularly taking part in sport.

Public Expenditure: Merseyside

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much her Department has spent on (a) sport, (b) music, (c) film, (d) museums and galleries and (d) libraries in (i) Liverpool, Walton constituency and (ii) Merseyside since May 2001; and what estimate her Department has made of the level of such spending in each such category in each of the next three years. [120469]

Hugh Robertson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provides grant in aid funding to public bodies that help deliver our strategic aims and objectives for the arts, media, sport, museums/galleries and libraries. The grant in aid allocated to these bodies since 2001 can be found in the Department's annual reports, and more recently in funding allocation letters, which can be found at the following links:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/about_us/our_annual_report/1052.aspx

http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Annual_Report_and_Accounts_2010_11.pdf

and

http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/9020.aspx

Music, museums/galleries and libraries

Arts Council England (ACE) has provided details of funding they have provided for music and visual arts between the financial years 2001-02 and 2011-12 in the Walton constituency and Merseyside. This can be found in the following table. ACE does not classify galleries

11 Sep 2012 : Column 138W

separately from visual arts, and there was no spending in this period by the Renaissance Museum Programme Funding in these areas.

In October 2011, ACE took over responsibility for supporting and developing libraries as part of the functions they inherited from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Figures are not held by ACE for spending by the MLA on libraries in this period or this area. They will however provide £6m in grants for the arts funding for libraries between September 2012 and March 2015.

£
 Liverpool, WaltonMerseyside

Visual Arts

  

Total funding since 2001

38,964

22,968,205

   

Music

  

Total funding since 2001

231,000

24,594,136

This Department has policy responsibility for public libraries in England, but funding for local public services including public libraries is paid as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement, administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Public library services are delivered by 151 library authorities in England and the amount spent on libraries in each authority is published in the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Annual Public Library Statistics, copies of which are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Sport

Sport England distributes Exchequer and lottery funding to grassroots sport. Funding from 2001 can be found in the following table.

£
Grassroots sportLiverpool, WaltonMerseyside

Total funding since 2001

719,452

18,263,369

UK Sport is responsible for investing Exchequer and national lottery funds in Britain's best Olympic and Paralympic sports and athletes, this is not region specific.

Between 2004 and 2010 Exchequer funding was provided by DCMS towards School Sports Partnerships, which the Department for Education (then Department for Children, Schools and Families) distributed to Liverpool and the Merseyside area.

Film

Prior to 2011, all public funding to the Merseyside area was handled through the now disbanded Regional Screen Agency (RSA), ‘Northwest Vision+Media' (V&M). From 2002, when the V&M was created, to September 2011, V&M delivered approximately £2 million in investment, including lottery awards and spend on services to the film industry, in the Merseyside area. This information is not available by constituency.

In addition, V&M managed the Liverpool Film and TV fund (MFTVF) through which £2 million investment went to businesses and productions in Liverpool.

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Since the abolition of the RSAs in October 2011 investment via Creative England (CE) has amounted to approximately £3,200, including both lottery awards and investment in services to the North West.

The Department cannot provide the levels of funding for the next three years for the categories requested by the hon. Member. However, details of the funding DCMS has allocated to its ALB's until 2014-15 can be found in the funding allocation letters at the above link.

Research

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what her policy is on the publication of research and data commissioned by her Department and the bodies for which she is responsible with or without a charge. [120316]

Hugh Robertson: With regard to data, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) operates on a “presumption to publish” basis outlined in the Cabinet Office's Open Data White Paper. The DCMS's Open Data Strategy affirms that the Department is committed to making data openly available for re-use (subject to confidentiality and legal constraints). This strategy covers DCMS data only; it does not currently extend to the Department’s arm's length bodies (ALBs) or executive agencies, many of which have leading open data initiatives which use a number of models to share data.

Statistical data produced by DCMS are published and made available under the standards of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, which include making statistics available in as much detail as is reliable and practicable, subject to legal and confidentiality constraints. The code also covers the Department's ALBs which publish Official Statistics. The Department's Head of Profession for Statistics is responsible for ensuring ALBs have access to publication guidance and providing advice when needed. Economic and social research is published by the Department under the principles of the Government Social Research Publication Guidance. The first principle states that the products of Government social research will be made publicly available (subject to any ethical and legal constraints). The Department's ALBs are expected to operate under the same principles. ALBs are responsible for the research which they publish and the DCMS Head of Analysis is required to provide advice and guidance when needed.

Tourism

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what estimate her Department has made of the UK's market share of the international tourism industry in each of the last 10 years. [120470]

Hugh Robertson: The following table provides details of the UK's market share of international tourism in the last 10 years. These data were sourced from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and VisitBritain.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 140W

Percentage
 International tourist arrivalsInternational tourism receipts

2011

3.0

2.8

2010

3.0

2.8

2009

3.2

3.0

2008

3.3

3.2

2007

3.4

3.7

2006

3.6

4.0

2005

3.5

3.8

2004

3.4

3.8

2003

3.3

3.7

2002

3.2

3.7

War Memorials

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the current state of preservation of war memorials. [120472]

Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provides funding to ensure war memorials are maintained and conserved to a high standard and to assess what further work is needed to ensure war memorials are kept in a good condition through its own grant scheme and the work of its sponsored bodies English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Imperial War Museum.

There are an estimated 100,000 war memorials in the UK, of which the majority are in England. English Heritage is exploring with partner organisations how the condition of this very large and significant part of the nation's heritage can be assessed in a practical way. Some progress has already been made by War Memorials Trust and the Smartwater Foundation.

The Imperial War Museum's War Memorials Archive (formerly UK National Inventory of War Memorials) is working to compile a record of all UK war memorials and the names commemorated on them. This is to promote their appreciation, use and preservation. Further details are available at:

http://www.ukniwm.org.uk/

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is taking forward the War Memorial Action Group (WMAG). The Membership of the WMAG is comprised of DCMS, funders, heritage organisations and representatives of the local and voluntary sectors. The principal purpose of this group is to review the issues around the recording, understanding, protection and conservation of war memorials and to identify what further work is needed to ensure they are kept in good condition and continue to be a focus for commemoration of those who gave their lives in the service of the country. It has already met and, given the wider interest in war memorials, the Group will regularly report on progress in this area.

Around 1,200 war memorials are listed or scheduled and subject to the protections afforded by those designation regimes. In addition, English Heritage is working in partnership with local authorities, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and concerned local groups on the Heritage Crime Programme. This programme aims to protect vulnerable buildings and sites, including war memorials, from all threats, particularly metal theft and criminal damage.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 141W

The DCMS Memorial Grant Scheme provides grants towards the VAT paid by charities and faith groups on the construction, repair and maintenance of public memorial structures. The scheme has an annual budget of £0.5 million per year for this spending period.

Communities and Local Government

Apprentices

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many apprentices were employed by (a) his Department and (b) its principal contractors in each of the last five years; and what information his Department holds on the number of apprentices employed by local government in that period. [118607]

Brandon Lewis: Twenty one external and four internal apprentices have been employed in the Department for Communities and Local Government over the last five years. External applicants were a mixture of either already in employment or unemployed. They were contracted to work 36 hours per week and placed on an administrative officer salary of £23,218.

The Department does not keep a central record of how many individuals have been employed by local government in that period.

Audit Commission

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he plans to take to ensure consistency in audits following the abolition of the Audit Commission. [119535]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 6 September 2012]: The draft Local Audit Bill includes the creation of a new regulatory framework for local public audit. To ensure that the high standards of auditing continue, the National Audit Office will develop the code of audit practice and supporting guidance that will set out how auditors perform their role. The Financial Reporting Council, as the overall regulator, will be responsible for the oversight of recognised supervisory bodies (professional accountancy bodies) that will supervise the work of auditors and monitor the quality of audits undertaken.

Full details are set out in the Command Paper, available at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/localgovernmentfinance/futurelocalaudit/

Council Tax Benefits

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by what methodology the forecast council tax benefit expenditure for 2013-14 has been established; how it will be updated to reflect recent trends; and if he will make a statement. [118704]

Brandon Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave today (PQ 118709) where the methodology regarding the forecast was given.

The forecasts will next be updated to inform the 2012 Autumn Statement, and will be published shortly afterwards.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 142W

This will take account of all administrative and expenditure outturn data received from local authorities since the Budget 2012 forecast, and will review the key modelling assumptions.

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assumptions his Department has recently employed in forecasting council tax benefit expenditure as part of the process of setting indicative allocations for council tax support; and if he will make a statement. [118709]

Brandon Lewis: Indicative council tax support allocations in 2013-14, published here with methodology:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/2146644

are based on the forecast subsidised council tax benefit expenditure in England in 2013-14. This is calculated by applying England's share of the 2010-11 subsidised expenditure in Great Britain to the forecast subsidised expenditure in Great Britain in 2013-14, both published by the Department for Work and Pensions here:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure

Each local authority's share of the England total is found by applying the billing authority's share of the 2010-11 subsidised council tax benefit expenditure and then the local authority's share of the area band D council tax bill in 2012-13. An adjustment is made if the local authority's budget pressure is greater than 0.860% or less than 0.176%.

The forecast of subsidised expenditure in 2013-14 for Great Britain is built on data about past caseloads and expenditure and uses a number of assumptions from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility to estimate the future number of households who would have received the benefit had it continued, and on average how much benefit each household would have received. The data source underlying the forecasts is the Single Housing Benefit Data Extract—a monthly administrative data return from local authorities, the headline figures from which are published here:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbctb

The forecast is built by estimating the future volumes of a number of subgroups receiving council tax benefit. These subgroups are defined by the other welfare benefits the household receives and assumptions are made around the proportion of each projected benefit population who will also receive council tax benefit. The amount each group receives is uprated using assumptions on future council tax growth published here

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/wordpress/docs/Council-tax-growth-March-12-EFO.pdf

alongside estimates of growth in incomes for those on the council tax benefit taper.

The Department for Work and Pensions intend to publish a document with further details of the forecast methodology and trends by the end of September 2012.

Fire Services

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will list the fire control rooms in England. [119103]

11 Sep 2012 : Column 143W

Brandon Lewis: My Department ended the top down regionalisation of control rooms and does not maintain a list of control rooms. The responsibility for fire control rooms in England now rests with locally accountable fire and rescue authorities.

Fire Stations: Closures

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many fire stations were closed in (a) England and Wales, (b) the East Midlands, (c) Nottinghamshire and (d) Ashfield constituency in each of the last three years. [118994]

Brandon Lewis: Numbers of fire stations by fire and rescue authority are held centrally, while numbers of closures are not. While the Department's responsibility is for England, figures including Wales are shown as requested.

The numbers of fire stations in England and Wales, England only, the East Midlands and Nottinghamshire fire and rescue authority for the last six years are shown in the following table.

Number of fire stations(1) at 31 March
 200720082009201020112012

England and Wales

1599

1595

1596

1593

1583

1572

England

1450

1446

1447

1433

1434

1423

East Midlands fire and rescue authorities

136

136

135

135

135

135

Nottinghamshire fire and rescue authority

25

25

24

24

24

24

(1) Excludes five volunteer stations in England and two volunteer stations in Wales. Source: Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy

Homelessness

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of homeless people in each (a) local authority area and (b) Parliamentary constituency in each of the last 20 years. [120073][Official Report, 17 September 2012, Vol. 550, c. 3MC.]

Mr Prisk: The Department publishes statistics on homelessness for England. Figures for the other UK countries are a matter for the devolved Administrations. I have placed in the Library of the House two tables setting out the numbers of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to ensure that suitable accommodation is available) for each local authority area and for each financial year from 1997-98 to 2011-12. One table covers the period 1997-98 to 2008-09 and the other one covers the period following local government restructuring, from 2009-10 to 2011-12. This information has been collected from local authorities on quarterly P1E returns.

Figures at local authority level for earlier years are not readily available: some may be available from paper returns, but only at disproportionate cost.

Quarterly figures for recent years are also available from the Department's website at:

11 Sep 2012 : Column 144W

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/publicationshomelessness

The available figures for numbers of people estimated or counted as rough sleepers within each local authority area from 1998 to 2011 are published on the Department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/roughsleepingcounts

Please note that the methodology involved was reviewed and changing during 2010, meaning that figures for 2010 and 2011 are not comparable with those for earlier years.

The Department does not collect or publish information on the number of homeless people in individual parliamentary constituencies, except for the few cases where a constituency is coterminous with the area of a local authority, which are covered in the answer above.

Homelessness acceptances remain lower than in 28 of the last 30 years and are still under half the level it reached under the Labour Government (49,000 in 2011 compared with 136,000 in 2003).

We are investing £3,900 million in homelessness prevention over four years 2011-12 to 2014-15). We provided an additional £70 million last year to help local agencies prevent and tackle homelessness.

Housing: Construction

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new homes have been granted planning permission on land owned by the Government since May 2010; and how many of those homes were affordable. [119310]

Nick Boles: DCLG collects information on the number of residential planning approvals granted but it is not possible to determine from this information the number of homes granted permission, nor whether those permissions were on land owned by the Government.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Government has received from the sale of land for building new houses since May 2010. [119311]

Mr Prisk: Specific information about how much the Government has received from the sale of its land for new homes is not collected centrally. My Department's focus is on working with Government Departments to support them in accelerating the release of their surplus land for development. It is for each Department to obtain best value within the current market conditions, as set out in ‘Managing Public Money’ (HM Treasury), whether it be for housing, or other uses. And importantly the proceeds from this can be reinvested, for example in health services.

As part of the public land programme we have identified land with capacity for over 100,000 homes and have committed to use Build Now, Pay Later terms on as much land as possible. On 6 September we announced a package of measures to support growth, including measures that will see land brought to the market more quickly, alongside improving the chances of getting development started.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 145W

Housing: Co-operatives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps he has taken to promote more co-operative housing; and if he will make a statement. [120429]

Mr Prisk: The new neighbourhood planning regime provides an opportunity for housing co-operatives to shape developments in their area. In conjunction with the recently announced support funding for custom-build projects, these proposals should prove an attractive proposition to the co-operative housing sector.

In a bid to ease the regulatory burdens on co-operatives, the Localism Act 2011 exempted houses in multiple occupation that are controlled or managed by a co-operative society from the houses in multiple occupation licensing regime.

The Government and the Homes and Communities Agency are currently engaging with the Mutual Housing Group, which includes the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and other community led housing groups, on their proposals for an investment fund to support development in the sector.

Housing: Sales

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that contracts between sellers and buyers of houses are made binding earlier in the process of house sales; and if he will make a statement. [119753]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 6 September 2012]: Under the current home buying and selling system in England and Wales, properties are sold “subject to contract”, but the transaction is not finalised until contracts are exchanged.

However, it is worth noting that buyers and sellers in England and Wales are free to choose from a range of options that can be used by those seeking more commitment and certainty that their transaction will be completed. These include ‘lock-out’ agreements, where the seller enters a binding agreement not to accept another offer within a certain period; ‘option to purchase’ where the seller grants the buyer a binding option to purchase the property at the agreed price within a set timescale; ‘conditional contracts’, where buyer and seller enter into a contract as soon as terms have been agreed, subject to certain conditions being satisfied; or ‘costs guarantee’, where both buyer and seller agree to pay the other side's costs, if they withdraw from the transaction. There is nothing to stop buyers and sellers agreeing to any of these arrangements on a voluntary basis. They each have their merits, but can be difficult to operate in the English housing market where chains are commonplace and can be long.

I do not think it would be right to make any of these arrangements compulsory for all sales—consumers should be free to consider them on a case by case basis. Given the flexibility of the present system, we have no plans for reform in this area at the present time.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 146W

Licensing

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what permits and licences his Department and its public bodies issue to businesses. [118820]

Brandon Lewis: The Department for Communities and Local Government is able to grant licences to businesses for the re-use of its Crown copyright material, under delegated authority from the Director of the Office of Public Sector Information/Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Otherwise the Department and its public bodies do not issue permits or licences to businesses.

Local Government Finance

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice his Department provides to local authorities on the issuing of local authority bonds. [120296]

Brandon Lewis: Under the prudential system local authorities are able to borrow for capital projects without Government consent, provided that they can afford the borrowing costs. Authorities are free to choose the source of these loans, and may borrow, should they wish to do so, by issuing bonds.

As such the Department for Communities and Local Government does not provide guidance or advice on the issuing or raising of bonds to authorities.

Local Government Finance: Sefton

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what reserves and balances are registered with his Department by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council. [119876]

Brandon Lewis: Provisional outturn information on the reserve levels at 31 March 2012 for Sefton metropolitan borough council is given in the following table:

 £000

Schools reserves level

18,549

Other earmarked financial reserves level

41,497

Unallocated financial reserves level

3,711

Source: Department for Communities and Local Government Revenue Outturn returns.

Parish Councils

Mark Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he has given to granting the power to initiate a community governance review to the charter trustees of towns, without the need to petition 10 per cent of the town's electorate; and if he will make a statement. [118943]

Brandon Lewis: The Government have no plans to grant the power to initiate a community governance review to the charter trustees of towns, without the need to petition the electorate. However the Department for Communities and Local Government is preparing a

11 Sep 2012 : Column 147W

consultation on making it easier to set up new town and parish councils, to which representations on this issue may be submitted. We anticipate that the consultation will be published shortly.

Pay

Mark Pawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 5 September 2011, Official Report, column 10W, on departmental pay, what the estimated saving to the public purse was from lower staff wage costs arising from industrial action by staff in (a) his Department and (b) its arm's length bodies on 10 May 2012. [119171]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The following table sets out the details for Department for Communities and Local Government and those arm's length bodies where staff participated in the industrial action on 10 May 2012.

 Saving (£)

Department for Communities and Local Government

23,228.01

Planning Inspectorate (PINS)

7,100

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

364

Note: Costs are excluding employer's national insurance and pension contributions.

Planning Permission

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average time taken was from receipt of planning application to decision by planning authorities in rural district councils in the latest period for which figures are available. [119223]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The average time taken from receipt of planning application to decision by planning authorities in rural district councils is not centrally available.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average time taken was from receipt of planning application to decision by planning authorities in National Parks in the latest period for which figures are available. [119224]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The average time taken from receipt of planning application to decision by planning authorities in National Parks is not centrally available.

Right to Buy: Advertising

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's budget for advertising and public awareness is in 2011-12; and what proportion of that budget has been spent on promoting the right to buy. [118701]

11 Sep 2012 : Column 148W

Brandon Lewis: The Department's total programme expenditure on marketing and communications for 2011-12 was £1,187,000. The Fire Kills campaign accounted for the majority of this expenditure. A total of £17,728 was spent on right to buy products during 2011-12, mainly comprising new leaflets, summarising the reinvigorated scheme, for local authorities and other social landlords to distribute to potentially eligible tenants, A2 and A3 posters for landlords to display and reprinted application forms. These were available when the reinvigorated scheme was launched, following parliamentary approval, so landlords were able to let their tenants know and respond to any demand for information immediately. We are committed to ensuring that tenants are aware of the increased discount levels and their rights, and to helping them to make well informed decisions.

Social Rented Housing

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total stock of social housing was in (a) each English region and (b) each London local authority in (i) 1982, (ii) 1991, (iii) 2001 and (iv) 2011. [120319]

Mr Prisk: Statistics on the stock of housing in England, split by tenure, are published on the Department for Communities and Local Government website at the following link. Taken together, the housing association and local authority tenures comprise the social rented housing stock.

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

Further detailed breakdowns of these data, including for individual local authorities, can be found in the suite of live tables at the following link:

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

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he has taken to put into practice the recommendations of the National Audit Office's review of Central Government's implementation of the National Compact published in January 2012. [120005]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 7 September 2012]: Following the National Audit Office's report, the Department for Communities and Local Government has:

nominated a Senior Responsible Office for the Compact and a civil society liaison officer responsible for day to day promotion and management of Compact implementation;

detailed within its business plan (published May 2012) specific activities on which it will report on Compact compliance; and

embedded the principles of the Compact within the new finance training on grants which is being rolled out across the Department, and the financial guidance on working with the Voluntary and Community Sector.

Education

Frank Website

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what funding has been allocated to the Frank website for 2012-13; and what his Department has contributed to that allocation. [118877]

11 Sep 2012 : Column 149W

Anna Soubry: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Health.

The Department of Health funds the Frank website and has allocated £250,000 (exclusive of VAT) this financial year to run and develop the website.

GCSE: English Language

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what percentage of schools had a reduction in the proportion of pupils receiving grades A*-C in GCSE English from the previous year in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011; how large these reductions were; and if he will make a statement. [120205]

Elizabeth Truss: The information requested is given in the following tables:

(a) The difference between the percentage of pupils in schools(1) achieving GCSE English(2) grades A* to C in 2009 and 2010. Coverage: England
Percentage point reductionNumber of schoolsPercentage of schools 

More than 10

159

5

1,030 (35%) of schools showed a decrease

10

23

1

(3)

9

52

2

(3)

8

58

2

(3)

7

60

2

(3)

6

83

3

(3)

5

90

3

(3)

4

106

4

(3)

3

101

3

(3)

2

131

4

(3)

1

167

6

(3)

(1) The analysis includes mainstream maintained schools with greater than 10 pupils and open for both years, changes in school status (converting to become a sponsored academy) have not been considered. (2) Some of the larger differences will be due to a change in the qualifications being taken; for example, double award GCSEs which have not been considered. (3) Indicates brace.
(b) The difference between the percentage of pupils in schools(1) achieving GCSE English(2) grades A* to C in 2010 and 2011. Coverage: England
Percentage point reductionNumber of schoolsPercentage of schools 

More than 10

121

4

1,010 (34%) of schools showed a decrease

10

36

1

(3)

9

37

1

(3)

8

50

2

(3)

7

69

2

(3)

6

86

3

(3)

5

81

3

(3)

4

94

3

(3)

3

105

4

(3)

2

141

5

(3)

11 Sep 2012 : Column 150W

1

190

6

(3)

(1) The analysis includes mainstream maintained schools with greater than 10 pupils and open for both years, changes in school status (converting to become a sponsored academy) have not been considered. (2) Some of the larger differences will be due to a change in the qualifications being taken; for example, double award GCSEs which have not been considered. (3) Indicates a brace.

Health

Antidepressants

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients have been prescribed antidepressants in each of the last five years. [119887]

Norman Lamb: I refer the hon. Member to the answer the then Minister of State, my right hon. Friend, the Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns), gave on 11 June 2012, Official Report, columns 118-19W, to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd (Chris Ruane).

Care Homes: Fees and Charges

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what analysis his Department has undertaken into the effect on low income groups of setting the cap on individual contributions to residential end-of-life care at (a) £35,000 and (b) higher than £35,000; [120546]

(2) whether his Department has undertaken any demographic research into the socio-economic groups which would be most affected by setting a cap on individual contributions to residential end-of-life care. [120547]

Norman Lamb: The Department published a progress report on funding reform in July 2012, which contains analysis of the Dilnot Commission proposals for a cap on care costs and of increasing the upper capital limit for means-tested support to £100,000. The report discusses how these proposals would affect different socio-economic groups.

A copy of the progress report has already been placed in the Library.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people from Liverpool, Walton constituency are receiving drug treatment through the NHS. [120382]

Anna Soubry: The information is not collected in the format requested. The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse advise that 4,919 adults received specialist drug treatment in Liverpool in 2010-11. Data are not available by parliamentary constituency area.

11 Sep 2012 : Column 151W

Euthanasia

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on the number of patients who have requested assisted suicide in each of the last five years. [119883]

Anna Soubry: The Department does not hold this information.

Guidance for health care staff who may have to deal with patients requesting help to die is available from the Royal College of Nursing (‘When someone asks for your assistance to die,’ October 2011) and from the British Medical Association (‘Responding to patient requests relating to assisted suicide: guidance for doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,’ July 2010).

Flunitrazepam

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women were admitted to hospital with symptoms related to the drug flunitrazepam in each of the last five years. [119888]

Anna Soubry: Information on the number of women admitted to hospital with symptoms related to flunitrazepam is not available or held centrally.

Health Services: Greater London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) health care assistants were employed by (i) North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, (ii) Hillingdon Hospital and (iii) Charing Cross Hospital on 5 April (A) 2010, (B) 2011 and (C) 2012; and if he will make a statement. [120430]

Dr Poulter: The numbers of national health service hospital and community health services staff in each specified staff group at North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which includes Charing Cross Hospital, as at 30 September in 2009, 2010 and 2011 are shown in the following table. Information for 2012 is not yet available and is due to be published in spring 2013.

Organisation200920102011

Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust

   

Doctors

343

376

388

Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff

791

810

814

Health care assistants

301

266

290

    

North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

   

Doctors

700

746

770

Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff

1,421

1,622

1,615

Health care assistants

307

300

318

11 Sep 2012 : Column 152W

    

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

   

Doctors

1,964

1,704

1,698

Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff

3,190

3,344

3,370

Health care assistants

357

412

452

Notes: 1. Separate figures for Charing Cross Hospital are not centrally held. Instead, figures are given for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which includes Charing Cross Hospital. 2. Healthcare assistants are defined as those staff included in the Non-Medical Workforce Census with the H1 occupation code. Other staff who work in support of doctors and nurses include unqualified nursing staff, support workers and clerical and estates staff and are not included here. Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre Medical and Dental Workforce Census and Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census.