All figures in this answer have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. The data are not subject to audit.

Prisoners' Discharge Grants

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the maximum number of times is that a person eligible to receive a discharge grant from prison has received such a grant in each of the last two years. [119688]

Jeremy Wright: National Offender Management Service policy guidance for the payment to prisoners of discharge grants can be found at annex B of “Prison Service Instruction 72/2011—Discharge”, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library. This states that all eligible prisoners aged 18 or over who have served more than 14 days in custody after receiving a custodial sentence must on release be given a discharge grant of £46 unless certain exclusions apply.

These exclusions include those sentenced prisoners who have served 14 days or less in custody since the date of sentence, those awaiting deportation or removal from the United Kingdom and those recalled from licence to prison for a period of 14 days or less. It is not possible to produce a breakdown of the prisoners who have received such a grant in each of the last two years or how many times each prisoner has received a discharge grant as this information is not recorded centrally.

Prisons: Television

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners who have access to Sky TV in their prison cells. [119695]

Jeremy Wright: “Sky TV” where this refers to a service received from British Sky Broadcasting in return for a subscription is not available in-cell in public sector prisons.

As part of the recent digital switchover each eligible prisoner, located in a public sector prison, has access to nine free-to-view channels in-cell. These are BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky News Sport (E4 in female prisons), ITV3, VIVA and Film 4. Governors have discretion to change any of these channels to other free-to-view channels locally, but will be responsible for any costs incurred and only free-to-view channels may be provided. It is the governor's responsibility to ensure that any channel chosen is suitable for viewing with regard to the population of their prison.

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Prisoners' access to in-cell television is dependent on their status under the Prison Service's Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme (Prison Service Instruction 11/2011 refers, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library). Information relating to the number of prisoners who have access to specific television channels is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information about the number of prisoners held in contracted-out prisons who may have access to Sky television in their cells is not immediately available. I will write to my hon. Friend with this information as soon as it is available, and will place a copy in the House Library.

Sexual Harassment: Employment Tribunals Service

Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many employment tribunals involving allegations of harassment at work of a sexual nature were (a) heard and (b) upheld in each of the last five years. [120552]

Mrs Grant: Information on the number of employment tribunal complaints involving allegations of sexual harassment is not held centrally. It could be collated only by trawling individual tribunal files manually. Accordingly, it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, all complaints of sexual harassment would be categorised by HM Courts and Tribunals Service as falling within the wider sex discrimination jurisdiction. Sexual harassment complaints are therefore a sub-set of sex discrimination complaints, as recorded in the statistics published annually and quarterly by the Ministry of Justice.

The following table shows the number of sex discrimination complaints disposed of at a hearing in each of the last five complete financial years. The data are broken down, showing the volume of complaints successful at final hearing, unsuccessful at final hearing, and dismissed at a preliminary hearing, and the overall total, as well as the percentage of ‘successful’ complaints relative to the overall number of sex discrimination complaints disposed of at a hearing.

Complaints of sex discrimination disposed of at hearing by employment tribunals in each of the last five financial years
 2007-082008-092009-0102010-0112011-012

Successful at final hearing

470

340

340

290

290

Unsuccessful at final hearing

640

600

560

590

590

Dismissed at preliminary hearing

200

210

180

200

190

Total heard

1,310

1,150

1,080

1,080

1,070

Percentage of total as successful (%)

35.88

29.57

31.48

26.85

27.10

Source: Annual employment tribunal statistics. Employment tribunal disposals achieved otherwise than at a hearing are excluded. See published statistical releases for further information: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/tribunals

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Sexual Offences: Lie Detectors

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of the lie detector test used on sex offenders. [119696]

Jeremy Wright: The polygraph, which is often described as a “lie detector”, measures arousal associated with physiological changes of the autonomic nervous system. It is not a detector of lies as such but measures physiological arousal hypothesised to be the product of deception (ie respiration, cardiovascular and sweat responses).

Although current evidence suggests that a polygraph test cannot be relied upon to achieve 100% accuracy, the National Research Council (NRC) review(1) concluded that, in the absence of countermeasures (attempts to interfere with the polygraph test), there was evidence that, for assessing specific historical incidents, the polygraph can obtain levels of accuracy which are well above chance (typically 80-90%).

In accordance with the provisions of sections 28 and 29 of the Offender Management Act 2007 (the 2007 Act), the National Offender Management Service conducted a pilot of mandatory polygraph testing for sexual offenders released on licence into the East and West Midlands regions from 19 January 2009 to 31 March 2012. Results from polygraph testing were used in conjunction with other information to make decisions about managing those sexual offenders.

An independent evaluation of the pilots published on 20 July 2012 concluded that polygraph testing increased the chances that a sexual offender under supervision in the community will reveal information relevant to their management, supervision, treatment, or risk assessment. It also increased the likelihood of preventative actions being taken by Offender Managers to protect the public from harm.

The report is available via the link:

www.justice.gov.uk/publications/research-and-analysis/moj/index.htm

Under the 2007 Act, an affirmative resolution from each House of Parliament is required before mandatory polygraph testing may become compulsory for sexual offenders outside the terms permitted under the pilot.

(1) National Research Council (2003). “The polygraph and lie detection”. Committee to Review the Scientific Evidence on the Polygraph. Washington. DC: The National Academic Press.

Translation Services

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many interpreters employed by Associated Language Solutions have security clearance and police counter-terrorist checks in place. [119583]

Jeremy Wright: Interpreters working in HM Courts and Tribunals must be vetted to the minimum requirement of an Enhanced Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check. In the course of a recent National Audit Office investigation, it became clear that some interpreters on the ALS register had not confirmed their CRB record status.

The Department requires a full audit trail for security checks for all interpreters; therefore, those interpreters who had not supplied documentation were removed

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from the register until such time as an audit trail could be provided. Interpreters with Enhanced CRB checks in place were asked to provide further evidence of this; those without Enhanced CRB status submitted evidence to gain it. We will continue to scrutinise this closely to ensure contractual obligations are met.

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the contract between his Department and Applied Language Solutions specifies the number of interpreters that should have a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting Law or the Metropolitan Police Test. [120191]

Mrs Grant: The Framework Agreement sets out a number of acceptable qualifications, including the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (English Law) and the Metropolitan Police Test. The Framework Agreement does not specify the number of interpreters that should have the Diploma or the Metropolitan Police Test. Provided an interpreter is able to prove they possess the requisite qualifications and vetting, they are able to accept assignments under the Framework.

Unpaid Fines

John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2012, Official Report, column 543W, on unpaid fines, how many financial penalties are outstanding; and how many of those are (a) being paid by deduction from benefits, (b) being paid by attachment of earnings and (c) designated as hard to trace in the latest period for which figures are available. [119572]

Mrs Grant: There were approximately 1,680,000 fines outstanding at the end of March 2012, the latest period for which data are available. Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service do not collect centrally the number being paid by deduction from benefits, being paid by attachment of earnings or designated as hard to trace. We could only obtain this information by manually inspecting each account which would incur disproportionate costs.

The Government take the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and HMCTS are working to ensure that clamping down on fine defaulters is a continued priority nationwide.

Victim Support: North Yorkshire

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what funding was provided to Victim Support in North Yorkshire in each of the last three years. [119523]

Mrs Grant: Victim Support, the national charity for victims and witnesses of crime, is principally funded through a central grant from the Ministry of Justice. It is independent of Government and is responsible for the allocation of funding to its regional services.

The following table shows total grant funding provided by the Ministry of Justice to Victim Support in each of the last three years, and the amount subsequently allocated by Victim Support to its services in North Yorkshire.

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 Total MOJ core grant (£ million)Funding allocated to Victim Support services in North Yorkshire (£)

2009-10

37

411,281

2010-11

45

364,193

2011-12

38

265,024

The figures represent the direct costs of services provided in North Yorkshire. We understand from Victim Support that the drop in funding to North Yorkshire is due to support services now being provided centrally and the Victim Care Unit now operating as a regional service based in West Yorkshire.

Treasury

Youth Unemployment

16. Seema Malhotra: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on fiscal measures to reduce long-term youth unemployment. [120149]

17. Mr McCann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on fiscal measures to reduce long-term youth unemployment. [120150]

19. Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on fiscal measures to reduce long-term youth unemployment. [120152]

Sajid Javid: The Youth Contract was launched in April to help support half a million young people into employment. The Government remain committed to implementation of this programme, and in July this year amended eligibility criteria for wage incentives to allow earlier access to subsidies for young people in 20 local authority areas with high youth unemployment levels.

In addition, the Work programme has been under way since June, delivering personalised support to long-term and vulnerable jobseekers. So far, around 180,000 young people have been supported through this programme.

European Investment Bank

18. Mark Reckless: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contributions the UK (a) has made in the last year and (b) will make in the next year to the European Investment Bank. [120151]

Greg Clark: The UK has made no contributions to the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the past 12 months.

Following the European Council held on 28-29 June, the paid-in capital of the EIB is set to be increased by €10 billion. In line with its 16% shareholding, the UK will contribute €1.6 billion.

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Infrastructure

20. Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect that investment in infrastructure will have on the economy. [120153]

Danny Alexander: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr Jackson) today.

21. Glyn Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps he has taken to support nationally important infrastructure projects. [120154]

Danny Alexander: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Jason McCartney) today.

22. Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress his Department has made on implementation of the national infrastructure plan 2011. [120155]

Danny Alexander: The Government are ensuring that the infrastructure identified in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011 is delivered efficiently and on time. I chair a Cabinet Sub-Committee on infrastructure to provide leadership to this work. The Government have also launched innovative schemes, such as UK Guarantees, to kick-start struggling infrastructure projects.

An update on the progress of the priority infrastructure investments was published alongside this year's Budget and the Treasury will be publishing a further progress update around the time of the autumn statement.

Household Expenditure

23. Gavin Barwell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to help households with their cost of living. [120156]

Danny Alexander: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Gillingham and Rainham (Rehman Chishti), earlier today.

Beer Duty

24. Peter Aldous: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the relative effect of progressive beer duty relief on breweries seeking to maximise export opportunities. [120157]

Sajid Javid: Small Breweries Relief provides a tax relief worth £30 million to over 700 of the UK's smallest brewers. The relief helps to encourage investment in small breweries, promoting growth and increasing diversity in the beer market.

The Government have made no assessment of the effect that Small Breweries Relief may have on export opportunities for small brewers. However, the Treasury keeps all taxes under review and is open to receiving any evidence of the impact of the relief in this area.

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Cost of Credit

25. Neil Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government have taken to reduce the cost of credit to the real economy. [120158]

Greg Clark: The Government and the Bank of England have launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) to reduce funding costs for banks so that they can make loans cheaper and more easily available for households and non-financial businesses in the UK. In addition, 19,000 cheaper bank loans worth £2.6 billion have been offered to smaller businesses under the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, since its launch on 20 March this year.

Churchill Insurance

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Direct Line Group about the effect of the proposed closure of the Churchill call centre in Thornaby-on-Tees on the Tees Valley sub-regional economy. [120434]

Sajid Javid: The Government's shareholding in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is managed on a commercial and arm's-length basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), a company which is wholly owned by the Government.

UKFI's overarching objective is to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder, with due regard to financial stability and acting in a way that promotes competition.

As an engaged shareholder, UKFI works closely with the bank's management to assure themselves of the bank's approach to strategy and to hold management rigorously to account for performance.

However, UKFI's role is to manage the investment, not to manage the bank. The bank retains its own independent board and management team to manage itself commercially without interference from shareholders. The Government are therefore unable to comment on these matters.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Annette Brooke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the classification of financial services compensation scheme funding; and if he will make a statement. [120464]

Greg Clark: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide detail of such discussions.

Financial Services: Advisory Services

Annette Brooke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the burden of regulatory cost for Independent Financial Advisers operating as a one-person business; and if he will make a statement. [120463]

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Sajid Javid: Treasury Ministers receive representations from a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations. Financial Services Regulation is a matter for the Financial Services Authority, an independent non-governmental body.

Succession: EU Action

Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's policy is on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession. [118616]

Jeremy Wright: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

The European Certificate of Succession is part of the recently adopted European Community Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and authentic instruments in matters of succession. This regulation was adopted in July 2012.

The UK is not party to this regulation, a right which it exercised under the UK's Protocol to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As a result, the UK will not be bound by the regulation when it comes into operation, nor does the UK have any intention of being bound by it.

The Government have no current plans to change the law in this area.

VAT: Energy

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the cost to (a) business and (b) household consumers of the levying of VAT on (i) gas and (ii) electricity bills. [120383]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made of the amount of receipts from levying VAT on (i) gas and (ii) electricity consumed by (a) businesses and (b) households.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Business: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses in (a) Birmingham, Ladywood constituency and (b) Birmingham participated in the business mentor scheme in the latest period for which figures are available. [117993]

Michael Fallon: Over 13,000 volunteers have now been recruited through the Get Mentoring scheme, which is led by SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative). More than 9,000 of these volunteers have already completed training—around 10% of whom are based in the west midlands. This estimate is only approximate and based on the location of the workshop they attended so does not include those who have completed their training via online or

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distance learning. We do not currently have data on how many were recruited from Birmingham or Ladywood constituency specifically.

Community Interest Companies

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many community interest companies there were in each (a) local authority area and (b) Parliamentary constituency in each year since 2006. [120045]

Jo Swinson: Companies House cannot provide a breakdown of community interest companies (CICs) by local authority area or parliamentary constituency, as their records are split into area postal codes, and to do so would be at disproportionate cost. Spreadsheets showing the number of CICs registered to each area postal code in each year since 2006 will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Consumers: Loans

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of bill-of-sale lenders who have signed up to abide by his Department's voluntary code of practice; and if his Department will reconsider the option of introducing a mandatory code. [118770]

Jo Swinson: The Government understand the concerns around the use of bills of sale in consumer lending. The Government consulted on whether to ban the use of these types of loans but following a careful consideration of all the evidence, concluded that rather than banning these loans, a package of measures based on an industry Code of Practice was the best way to proceed in this market.

The Consumer Credit Trade Association, the trade association representing the vast majority of logbook loan companies, is responsible for the code. It recently estimated that around 80% of the industry has signed up to the code.

As well as increasing existing consumer protections, the Code is designed to give greater protection to any unsuspecting buyer of a second-hand car.

The Government have no plans to introduce a mandatory code at this time.

Consumers: Protection

Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will review consumer protection rules for the purpose of providing further protection for consumers paying tradespeople in cash. [118667]

Jo Swinson: Consumers are already protected in law against faulty or substandard goods and services when they pay tradesmen for goods or services whether in cash or by other means. Depending on whether the consumer is paying for goods or services, the relevant legislation is the Sale of Goods Act 1979 or the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, respectively.

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The Government are intending to bring forward a Consumer Bill of Rights to simplify and clarify consumer rights when those goods or services are defective so that they are easier for consumers to understand and enforce.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) make it an offence for traders to treat consumers unfairly through misleading actions, misleading omissions or aggressive practices. The Government are also intending to bring forward proposals to give consumers who are victims of these practices clearer private rights of redress.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if he will take steps to ensure that any transitional periods granted to businesses affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will be granted on a case-by-case basis; [118738]


(2) whether his Department plans to offer assistance to firms engaged in the manufacturing and production of replica furniture if they suffer economic disadvantage as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118739]

(3) if he will estimate the number of British businesses likely to be economically (a) advantaged and (b) disadvantaged as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118740]


(4) what the evidential basis is of the statement in his Department's impact assessment report on the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, that the extensive use made by internet importers of the UK as a staging post for EU-wide sales means that it is likely that a very significant part of this claimed loss could be caused by infringers trading in the UK; [118741]

(5) what consultation his Department is conducting on a transitional period for businesses to adapt under the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118742]

(6) if he will conduct an assessment of the recent study by Dr Clare McAndrew of potential effects of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on manufacturers, importers and retailers of replica furniture; and if he will publish the results of that assessment; [118743]

(7) what assessment he has made of potential changes in the level of litigation relating to copyright disputes as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118744]

(8) whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects of the proposed repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on firms currently producing furniture replicas; [118745]

(9) what assessment he has made of the impact assessment report from the Intellectual Property Office on the plans to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118746]

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(10) whether the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will be introduced on the basis of a transitional period to allow firms to adjust; [118747]

(11) what assessment he has made of whether firms are likely to close as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; and how many such closures may take place; [118748]

(12) whether he has made an estimate of additional costs that may be incurred by businesses as a result of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118749]

(13) if he proposes to consult with any of the individuals and businesses likely to be affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118750]

(14) if he will publish the research and statistical basis for the cost and benefit analysis of the plans to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 set out in the impact assessment by the Intellectual Property Office; [118751]

(15) what factors he plans to take into account when deciding what length of transitional periods should be granted to businesses affected by the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118752]

(16) which stakeholders were consulted as part of the impact assessment process for the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118753]

(17) if he will estimate any projected change in tax revenue resulting from the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; [118754]

(18) if he will estimate the likely effect of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on the number of jobs in (a) manufacturers and importers of replica furniture and (b) other associated businesses; [118755]

(19) whether the Intellectual Property Office consulted manufacturers and importers of, and traders in, replicas as part of its impact assessment of the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; and if he will publish any representations made as the result of such consultation; [118756]

(20) whether his Department consulted about the possibility of applying the proposed changes to section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 retrospectively. [118757]

Jo Swinson: As detailed in the impact assessment on copyright protection for designs:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/docs/c/12-866-copyright-protection-designs-impact-assessment

the Government propose to repeal section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“section 52”) in order to clarify and update UK legislation in line with EU law.

The Government did not carry out a formal consultation prior to publishing the impact assessment, but it did take into account representations made to it by manufacturers of classic designs who have said that

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they sustain significant losses as a result of internet sellers who take advantage of the loop hole in the UK legislation to sell unauthorised copies from the far east in the rest of the EU. The Government do not plan to publish these ad hoc representations. It is aware of the work by Dr Clare McAndrew.

The research and statistical basis underlying the cost and benefit analysis for the proposed repeal was set out in the impact assessment and was endorsed by the Regulatory Policy Committee as fit for purpose.

The Government have no current plans to provide further estimates of the impact on jobs or tax receipts on businesses associated with the manufacturing and import of replica furniture. Nor are there any plans to apply the changes retrospectively.

As detailed in the published impact assessment, the number of items which may be affected by the repeal of section 52 is uncertain, but will depend on the exact nature of the transitional provisions, the extent to which the provisions are tailored to individual cases, as well as stock levels, and contractual and licensing arrangements. The repeal may have only limited impact in some sectors, depending on how many rights holders decide to enforce their copyrights and to litigate if necessary, and how far the works concerned are judged to qualify for copyright protection. The Government have no plans to provide direct financial assistance.

The Government will hold a public consultation on the implementation of the transitional provisions. In the meantime, discussions and evidence-gathering with importers, sellers and manufacturers of replica furniture are continuing.

Education: Prisoners

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many prisoners in (a) England and (b) Birmingham have participated in his Department's “Making Prisons Work: Skills for Rehabilitation” scheme since May 2011; and what the cost of this scheme has been. [120236]

Matthew Hancock: ‘Making Prisons Work: Skills for Rehabilitation’, published jointly by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Ministry of Justice in May 2011, set out a new strategy for offender learning and represents a new way of delivering it. The strategy gives prison governors a new, decisive influence on the choice of education provider and the curriculum to be delivered, and renews and refreshes the focus on developing the skills employers want in the areas where prisoners will be released. Its principal impacts will begin to be seen from this summer as providers commence delivery against a new service specification.

The Skills Funding Agency's budget for 2012-13 to deliver learning and careers advice in prisons is £154 million. Skills Funding Agency data show that on 1 June 2012, 28,687(1) prisoners were engaged in learning that it funds, with 318 engaged at HMP Birmingham.

(1) Data exclude HMP Thameside and HMP Oakwood.

Export Controls

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average time taken to award an export licence was in the latest period for which figures are available. [119939]

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Michael Fallon [holding answer 7 September 2012]: The Export Control Organisation (ECO) aims to process 70% of standard individual export licence (SIEL) and standard individual trade control licence (SITCL) applications within 20 working days. For open individual export licence (OIEL) and open individual trade control licence (OITCL) applications, the ECO aims to process 60% of applications within 60 working days.

Median processing times are published as part of the Government's Annual and Quarterly reports on Strategic Export Controls, which are available to view on the Strategic Export Controls Reports and Statistics website at:

https://www.exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk/eng/fox

For the first quarter of 2012, the median processing times for SIELs and SITCLs was 15 days, and for OIELs and OITCLs 54 days.

Information covering 1 April to 30 June 2012 will be published in October 2012.

Higher Education: Admissions

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the number of state school pupils who go on to attend Russell Group universities. [119971]

Mr Willetts: The Government have established a new framework, which places more responsibility on universities and colleges to widen participation. We will ensure that widening participation for students from all backgrounds remains a key strategic objective for all higher education institutions. We believe it is valid and appropriate for institutions to seek to broaden access while maintaining excellence, so long as individuals are considered on their merits, and institutions' procedures are fair, transparent and evidence-based.

All institutions that intend to charge more than the basic £6,000 annual tuition charge have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the independent Director of Fair Access what more they will do to attract students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. A new National Scholarship programme began this year. By 2014, it will provide £150 million to help improve access to higher education amongst the least well off young people and adults. All higher education institutions charging over £6,000 will be required to participate in the programme

We wrote on the 22 May to both the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) asking them to develop a shared strategy for promoting access to higher education and maximising the impact of the spending by Government, HEFCE and institutions. We asked them to consider how total investment might be best targeted to deliver impact. It is vital that all the relevant spending is based on the best possible evidence base and harnessed to drive systematic improvements.

The Government have published a measure of the gap in progression to the most selective higher education institutions by school type. This measure was developed as part of the Government's social mobility strategy.

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India

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to reduce the UK's current account deficit with India. [118892]

Michael Fallon: The UK had a current account surplus of £972 million with India in 2011.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will continue its work to create further improvements in the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the UK and India. UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) India team is the third largest such operation in the world with 86 staff based in nine cities. The team delivers a full programme of activity aimed at supporting UK businesses, particularly from the small and medium- sized enterprise (SME) sector, seeking to do business in India. UKTI also provides financial support (£1 Million P/A) for the UK India Business Council which, alongside UKTI, advises UK businesses on how to succeed in India.

A successful resolution to the ongoing EU-India Free Trade Agreement negotiations will also have a positive effect on our current account with India.

India and China

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress UK Trade and Investment has made in the creation of new posts in (a) India and (b) China. [118894]

Michael Fallon: Over the past two years we have reviewed the deployment of UKTI resources in both India and China and as a result have strengthened our operations in both markets. We now have 88 full-time equivalent staff in India and 97 in China. We will soon be recruiting to fill new senior posts in both markets in order to strengthen further the support we can give to UK businesses in these key high growth markets.

Insolvency

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will commission a detailed study of the lay-by sales scheme in place in New Zealand and the insolvency arrangements relating to pre-payment customers. [120415]

Jo Swinson: We are aware of the protections available to pre-payment customers under New Zealand consumer law, but we have no plans to commit resources to such a study at this time. We fully appreciate the significant impact that an insolvency can have on pre-payment customers and we have been working closely with the pre-payment industry and consumers, particularly those affected by the collapse of Farepak, to explore how they may be better protected in the future through non-regulatory solutions. This work is ongoing.

London Metropolitan University

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings at ministerial level have taken place with the Vice-

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Chancellor or other officials of London Metropolitan University since 2010; and what the nature of those discussions was. [119895]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 7 September 2012]: I have been in regular touch with London Metropolitan University in recent months. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Overseas Trade: Burma

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of trade relations between the UK and Burma; and if he will make a statement. [118689]

Michael Fallon: There has been significant interest in Burma from UK businesses since our policy of discouraging trade was lifted earlier this year in recognition of progress made in Burma. We strongly believe that responsible trade and investment can aid Burma's transition to democracy. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is funding a project which will provide advice on the implementation of the United Nations (UN's) Guiding Principles and will establish a resource centre within Burma to provide advice to embassies and companies on doing business responsibly.

UKTI now has a presence in the market and is able to provide a range of services to UK businesses, including tailored market research to help them plan how to sustainably invest in the market.

Overseas Trade: Environment Protection

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 17 July 2012, on UKTI and ECGD Support for Green Technologies, whether the Export Credits Guarantee Department would be permitted to support export contracts for category A and category B projects as defined by the 2007 OECD Council Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits where emissions during the operations phase are estimated to be above 100,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per annum. [118309]

Jo Swinson: A new OECD Recommendation on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence was adopted by the OECD Council on 28 June 2012 and all new applications for Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) support will be considered under its terms. ECGD would be permitted to support export contracts that fall within the ambit of 2012 OECD Common Approaches, where the environmental, social and human rights impacts of the related project, including carbon dioxide emissions, are addressed in accordance with the relevant international standards, typically those of the World Bank Group.

Regional Growth Fund: Worcestershire

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding has been awarded to businesses in Worcestershire through the Regional Growth Fund to date. [119315]

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Michael Fallon: The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is delivering jobs and leveraging approximately £6 of private investment for every pound Government spends. 13% of successful RGF projects from Rounds 1 and 2 are from the West Midlands; it is an important region which we will continue to support. In Worcestershire, conditional allocations of £20,855,000 have been made from the first two rounds of bidding. Successful bids under Round Three will be announced shortly.

Students: Finance

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many applications for professional and career development loans were received in each academic year since 2001-02. [119901]

Mr Willetts: Data held by the Skills Funding Agency indicate that, from the introduction of professional and career development loans in 2009, the following number of loan applications was received by the participating banks:

Financial yearNumber of applications

2009-10

20,627

2010-11

19,229

2011-12

22,716

In tine with the management of Departmental budgets, data are recorded in financial years, rather than academic years. Data regarding applications for career development loans (up to 2009) were not part of the contractual audit requirements agreed with the banks. Information is therefore not available on the number of loan applications received prior to 2009.

Sunday Trading

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the effect of the recent temporary relaxation of Sunday trading legislation on (a) retail sales and (b) levels of sick leave and other forms of absenteeism. [120412]

Michael Fallon: The suspension of the current Sunday trading regulations applied to England and Wales from 22 July to 9 September.

The Department has requested data on the impact of the suspension, including the impact on sales and employment, from a number of large retailers and will analyse the impact on the retail sales of small retailers using the ONS Retail Sales Index.

The Department has no plans to estimate the impact of the suspension on levels of sick leave or other forms of absenteeism.

Trade Unions

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the number of publicly-funded projects undertaken by firms that engage in blacklisting against trade union members. [119625]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

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My Department does not hold this information centrally.

Unfair Dismissal: Compensation

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what evidence or advice his Department gathered on the potential direct benefits to business prior to taking the decision to consult on introducing compensated no fault dismissals. [120189]

Jo Swinson: The Department has not consulted on introducing compensated no fault dismissal. Instead, we issued a call for evidence as a preliminary stage in our evidence-based approach to this policy. In conjunction with this call for evidence, we published international case studies, which are available online at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/employment-matters/docs/d/12-771-dismissal-for-micro-businesses-case-studies.pdf

By the time the call for evidence closed on 8 June, we had received a wide range of over 250 submissions. We are currently in the process of analysing the evidence, carefully weighing the potential benefits and consequences of no fault dismissal. The Government response will be published shortly.

Work Experience: Minimum Wage

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many complaints his Department's Pay and Work Rights helpline service has received from people who have undertaken unpaid internships and believe they should have been entitled to the minimum wage; and how many such complaints have been resolved in favour of the complainant in the latest period for which figures are available. [118729]

Jo Swinson: Before August 2011, the Government did not collect information on whether or not the complainant was an intern, volunteer or otherwise working for no pay or expenses only. Since then, this information has been recorded. Up to 31 August 2012, 61 complaints have been referred to HMRC that have been identified as potentially being of this nature.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC's) case management system does not differentiate between the outcome for ‘interns' cases' and other cases. We are, therefore, unable to say how many complaints were resolved in favour of the complainant.

International Development

Burma

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department is funding any programmes promoting inter-faith and religious tolerance in Burma. [120453]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not have any specific programmes which promote inter-faith and religious tolerance in Burma. We are working with a range of partners, including faith-based organisations, to support peace and reconciliation in Burma.

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Developing Countries: Business

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the developing world. [119525]

Lynne Featherstone: The Department for International Development (DFID) plans to help unblock commercial lending to over 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa and South Asia over the next seven years.

DFID is working with companies worldwide to find new ways of incorporating small businesses into their international supply chains.

DFID is also supporting legal and regulatory reform, infrastructure development, and establishment of property rights to reduce the cost of doing business in partner developing countries.

Developing Countries: Sanitation

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support her Department has given in each country for aid and development projects relating to water, sanitation and hygiene in the last 12 months; and how much was spent in each country on each such project. [120456]

Lynne Featherstone: Details of the Department for International Development (DFID) bilateral aid expenditure by sector is published in “Statistics on International Development” (SID), which is available online at

www.dfid.gov.uk

The next SID report will be available in October 2012.

The consolidated figures for 2012/13 are not yet available, however, the latest details on each individual project are available on our website at

http://projects.dfid.gov.uk/

Overseas Aid

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Aid Match scheme. [120460]

Mr Duncan: UK Aid Match was launched as a one-year pilot in June 2011. The scheme has been a successful mechanism for backing public choices on the use of aid, by matching their donations to charity appeals, pound for pound. To date 16 organisations have successfully applied to the scheme, with eight appeals completed and eight currently in progress. The money raised will support a wide variety of development projects and programmes, all designed to deliver important, measurable improvements to the lives of some of the world's poorest people.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total value of support provided to charities through the Aid Match scheme was in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) England, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland in the last year for which figures are available. [120461]

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Mr Duncan: The information requested is as follows:

(a) £29,971,539 has been committed under UK Aid Match, to eight completed appeals, since the scheme was launched in June 2011.

The breakdown by nation, based on the location of charity Head Offices, is as follows:

(b) Scotland: £0

(c) England: £29,071,539

(d) Wales: £0

(e) Northern Ireland: £900,000.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the call for applications for the Aid Match scheme will re-open for 2013. [120462]

Mr Duncan: UK Aid Match is expected to re-open for applications in late 2012.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on allegations of use of bird shot by Bahraini police and security forces in towns and villages in Bahrain. [120218]

Alistair Burt: I have seen non-governmental organisation and press reports about the alleged use of ‘bird shot' by the Bahraini police. We have made it clear to the Bahraini Government that we expect them to adhere to international human rights standards at all times. We have also called on the police to exercise all possible restraint in their handling of public order situations.

But, we have also seen an increase in violence directed at the security forces, including the use of Molotov cocktails and nail bombs. We have made it clear that we expect demonstrators to also respect the rule of law. Legitimate and peaceful demonstrations are a welcome part of any society, but violence on the streets is not.

We expect all those who commit human rights violations to be prosecuted. I am pleased that the Bahraini Government have begun this process, but a lot more needs to be done.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made representations to the Bahraini government on the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab. [120219]

Alistair Burt: I am very concerned at the length of the sentence handed down to Nabeel Rajab for charges relating to comments made on social networking sites and for the incitement of illegal rallies.

I have made it clear to the Bahraini authorities that the human and civil rights of peaceful opposition figures must be respected. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and peaceful protests are legitimate parts of any modern democracy.

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Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made representations to the Bahraini government on the case of the medics convicted for their role in the demonstrations in that country in 2011. [120220]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), expressed his concern, and that of the British Government, when the medical staff were convicted last year. We believed the sentences imposed were disproportionate and we believe the trials were flawed.

On appeal, many of the sentences were overturned, which we welcomed. I understand the remaining cases will be heard in October, and that all medical staff are currently on bail.

We have made it clear to the Bahraini Government that the civil rights of peaceful opposition figures, the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly must be respected.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the excessive use of force by Bahraini security forces against protesters with King Hamad of Bahrain on his recent visit to London. [120221]

Alistair Burt: The Prime Minister discussed a wide range of issues with the King of Bahrain, including the internal situation and the Bahraini Government's efforts to implement the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Enquiry. The discussions built on detailed and continuing contact which Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have regularly with the Bahraini authorities on these subjects.

Buildings

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reciprocal arrangements there are between the UK and other nations for the leasing of property for diplomatic purposes. [120499]

Mr Lidington: We have a bilateral agreement with the Russians whereby we provide each other with property in Moscow and in London on a 99-year lease. There are no other formal reciprocal arrangements between the UK and other nations.

Central African Republic

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the welfare of David Simpson held under house arrest in the Central African Republic; and if he will make a statement. [120564]

Mark Simmonds: We are delighted that David Simpson is now back in the UK. Government Ministers and officials have worked hard on his behalf since his arrest. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) raised the case personally with Central African Republic (CAR) Foreign Minister Gambi in August.

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Consular staff visited him regularly and we were in frequent contact with him, his family and with the CAR authorities throughout his detention to monitor his welfare and to urge a swift resolution of the case.

I also refer my hon. Friend to the Foreign Secretary's statement of 8 September 2012.

Gambia

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the government of Gambia on the wellbeing of journalists and activists in The Gambia who are perceived to be opponents of the government; [119871]

(2) what discussions he has had with the government of Gambia on the condition of Ebrima Manneh; [119872]

(3) if he will make representations to the government of Gambia on the detention of journalist Ebrima Manneh. [119873]

Mark Simmonds: Britain is deeply concerned about human rights in The Gambia, including the rights of journalists and, in particular, the absence of full and proper investigation into the disappearance of Ebrima Manneh in 2006.

We have raised these general concerns, as well as more specific concerns about individuals, including Ebrima Manneh, at EU meetings which are held twice a year and co-chaired by our high commissioner in Banjul. The last one was held on 6 June 2012. We have also repeatedly raised the case of Ebrima Manneh—and fellow journalist Deyda Hydara, who was killed in 2004—bilaterally with the Government of The Gambia.

At EU talks in November last year, the Gambian Government agreed to invite the UN Secretary-General to commission an inquiry into the disappearance of Ebrima Manneh and the death of Deyda Hydara. The Government have since done so and the UN Secretary-General has referred both cases to the UN Office of the high commissioner for Human Rights. We continue to follow the inquiry and take an interest in developments.

We are not aware of any journalists under detention or facing prosecution at present, but the high commissioner has raised concerns with the Gambian Government at the sudden closure of Taranga FM Radio Station in August. We remain in close contact with the station manager.

Ramil Safarov

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Hungarian Government on the case of Ramil Safarov. [120223]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government have not held any discussions with the Hungarian authorities on the case of Ramil Safarov. We are, however, following developments closely. We have supported EU and

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Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) statements on the Safarov case. Our main concern is to ensure that tensions between Armenia

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and Azerbaijan are not increased as a result of this incident, and to encourage both sides to exercise restraint to prevent any escalation of the situation.