Northern Ireland

Tribunals: Appeals

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions she has defended appeals against certificates to the tribunal established under section 91 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. [120966]

Mike Penning: No such certificates have been issued since the current Government came into power.

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Transport

A31: Dorset

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the A31 Canford Bottom Junction Improvement Scheme on improving general road safety and reducing traffic (a) in general and (b) during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [121037]

Stephen Hammond: The assessment of the effectiveness of the A31 Canford Bottom junction improvement scheme will be undertaken 12 months after the completion of the scheme under the Post Opening Project Evaluation. This is in line with current practice for all road safety and congestion improvements that the Highways Agency undertakes.

Post Opening Project Evaluation compares the costs, benefits and other impacts predicted at the appraisal (pre-construction) stage with the ‘outturn’ effects (after completion). The effects that were thought to be when we made the decision to build the scheme are compared with what was found to happen after the scheme opened. Details are available on the agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/18348.aspx

The Post Opening Project Evaluation will also analyse the design prediction that the scheme will provide improved journey times for 10 years after opening, before growth in traffic volumes results in an increase in congestion to levels before the improvement. This scheme primarily aimed to increase the capacity and throughput of traffic on the A31 and provide optimal traffic movements to improve journey times at the junction and improve road safety rather than reduce traffic.

During the period of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, no evidence or issues were received by the Highways Agency to raise significant concerns regarding road safety or congestion at the A31 Canford Bottom junction.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the A31 Canford Bottom Junction Improvement scheme on local businesses. [121038]

Stephen Hammond: At the request of local representatives, additional assessments were undertaken to reduce potential impacts of the improvement at the A31 Canford Bottom junction on local businesses, both during the planning of the scheme and during its construction.

Extensive dialogue was undertaken with the local business community through the Wimborne Business Forum, which was convened at the beginning of the project. All members of the business community were invited and regularly attended a monthly forum chaired by the agency. A successful outcome of the forum was the detailed planning of the local road closures, which the agency then announced to all local businesses and the wider community via the agency's website and press releases. No assessment has been or will be made of business impact following the opening of the scheme. The scheme evaluation will be undertaken a minimum of 12 months after its opening but does not include the impact on local businesses. This is known as a Post

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Opening Project Evaluation and compares the scheme costs, benefits and other impacts predicted at the appraisal (pre-construction) stage with the ‘outturn’ effects (after completion). Further details are available on the Highways Agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/18348.aspx

Small business premises are an example of the type of property that can claim compensation under part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973. This compensation can be claimed by those who own and also occupy the property, if certain criteria are met and their property has been reduced in value by more than £50 by physical factors caused by the use of a new or altered road. Further details are available on the Highways Agency website at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/28533.aspx

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the final cost was of the A31 Canford Bottom Junction Improvement scheme; and what assessment he has made of the factors causing a change in costs from the original estimate. [121039]

Stephen Hammond: The final cost of the A31 Canford Bottom Junction Improvement scheme is still to be determined, as there are ongoing negotiations to agree the final account. The current estimate is £10 million. The assessment of the factors causing a change in costs include reducing the time local roads were closed, diversion of uncharted utility services (not belonging to the agency), inclement weather and adverse ground conditions, which were not as predicted.

Airports: Sikhs

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on discussions on the screening of Sikh turbans at European airports. [121097]

Mr Simon Burns: A rigorous and extensive UK trial of an alternative screening process for religious headgear has been ongoing since February 2011. The Department for Transport has updated the European Commission on this through written reports and oral presentations. I am pleased to say that the Commission has agreed (subject to a vote in the relevant regulatory committee) to introduce new regulations permitting member states to use this alternative screening arrangement. The UK trial has also been extended for a further 12 months.

DFT officials continue to remain available to discuss the UK methodology in more detail with other EU member states should they wish to adopt a similar methodology.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are in place to ensure that no fraudulent claims are made in respect of the High Speed 2 extreme hardship fund. [119278]

Mr Simon Burns: All applications to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme are judged against five published criteria and applicants must provide detailed evidence to support their case. This evidence is first assessed by a

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majority independent panel who see all the information and evidence submitted by applicants before making a recommendation to the Department for Transport. The final decision on the outcome of applications is ordinarily made by a senior civil servant in the Department for Transport on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport. This ensures that funding is targeted appropriately.

John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much his Department agreed to pay out from the High Speed 2 extreme hardship fund to date; [119279]

(2) how much had been paid out from the High Speed 2 extreme hardship fund as of 1 June 2012; [119280]

(3) how many applications to the High Speed 2 extreme hardship fund (a) had been concluded and (b) were still to be agreed on the most recent date for which figures are available; [119281]

(4) how many applications have been made to the High Speed 2 extreme hardship fund in respect of High Speed 2 to date. [119282]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd publishes regularly updated figures for the Exceptional Hardship Scheme on its website. These figures can be found at:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/property

and include the information requested.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what major risks to the HS2 project were identified in the Major Projects Authority's report on HS2; and if he will make a statement. [120751]

Mr Simon Burns: The Major Projects Authority report is kept confidential for a period of at least two years to allow free and frank discussion about the project within Government.

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings his Department has had with HS2 to discuss the red-amber warning in the Major Projects Authority's report on HS2; and if he will make a statement. [120752]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has regular meetings with colleagues in HS2 Ltd on a range of topics.

Road Signs and Markings

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on road signs since May 2005. [121071]

Stephen Hammond: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Shipping: Exhaust Emissions

Steve Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on ratification of the International Maritime Organisation MARPOL Annex VI legislation to reduce harmful emissions from ships. [121077]

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Stephen Hammond: The UK has already acceded to the Protocol of 1997 to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973-78, commonly known as MARPOL, which added Annex VI to the Convention.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Office report, “Central Government's implementation of the national Compact”. [120630]

Norman Baker [holding answer 13 September 2012]: Following the 2010 re-launch of the Compact the Department for Transport has reaffirmed its commitment to working collaboratively with the civil society sector, including this in its 2011-2015 Business Plan.

The Department has taken a number of steps to ensure that the Compact is implemented across all areas of our business, including nominating a Senior Responsible Officer and a Civil Society Liaison Officer to promote and manage the process and working with colleagues across Government to share best practice and continue to engage with organisations in the civil society sector as they provide transport services.

The Department has adopted the Cabinet Office's 'Consultation Principles' and guidance, which ensures government departments adhere to the Compact in seeking views about the work they do. Steps have also been taken to ensure that bidders for transport funding are aware of the Compact and the flexibilities it provides for advance payments to civil society organisations.

Travel: Health

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to prioritise health in transport planning and policy in order to encourage people to use active travel rather than travelling by car. [120952]

Norman Baker: Through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) the Government is investing £600 million in sustainable transport. When assessing LSTF bids, we gave additional credit to proposals with positive health outcomes, with the result that almost all of the approved programmes include measures to increase walking and cycling. In addition to the LSTF, this year we are investing a further £45 million to improve local walking and cycling routes, enhance bike and rail facilities and treat cycle safety hotspots. We will consider what more we can do to encourage active travel as part of preparing a new transport strategy for publication by the end of the year.

Treasury

Child Benefit: Northern Ireland

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland (a) Finance and (b) Social Development Minister regarding retaining child benefit as a stand-alone benefit in Northern Ireland. [121033]

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Danny Alexander: 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.

The Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations, available at:

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

Official Engagements

Mr Hain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 81W, on official engagements, if he will list what official engagements he attended on 9 July and will attend on 15 September 2012. [121099]

Sajid Javid: Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

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

As my predecessor set out in her answer of 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 81W, in line with the practice of previous Administrations, details of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's official engagements are not available in advance.

Wales

Organs: Donors

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions (a) he has had and (b) plans to have with the Welsh Government on the introduction of presumed consent for organ donation in Wales. [120604]

Mr David Jones: On 18 June, the Welsh Government published for consultation its draft Assembly Bill and Explanatory Memorandum seeking to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation in Wales. That consultation closed on 10 September and we continue to consider the Welsh Government's proposals carefully.

Discussions between the Department of Health, the Wales Office and the Welsh Government are ongoing at ministerial and official level.

Work and Pensions

Employment: Young People

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) jobs, (b) apprenticeships and (c) work experience placements have been created in (i) the UK, (ii) the west midlands and (iii) Birmingham since the launch of the Youth Jobs Fund; and what the average financial cost was of each position created. [121081]

Esther McVey: There is no Youth Jobs Fund. The Youth Contract, which was launched in April 2012, will provide nearly half a million new opportunities for young people over the next three years.

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Housing Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many non-dependants are exempt from requiring a non-dependant deduction for housing benefit purposes due to being under 25 years old and receiving jobseeker's allowance or employment and support allowance; [120958]

(2) what proportion of under-25s who receive jobseeker's allowance and employment and support allowance and are exempt from non-dependant deductions are under 21 years old. [120959]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not currently available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of extended payments of housing benefit in assisting members of long-term workless households into employment. [120960]

Steve Webb: No assessment has been undertaken. The extended housing benefit scheme was intended to improve work incentives for long-term benefit recipients. The Government are addressing this issue through universal credit which will fundamentally reform support for working-age people, providing greater work incentives and ensuring that work pays.

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 September 2012, Official Report, column 403W, on housing benefit, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) disabled people and (b) foster carers who will be affected by the housing benefit changes regarding under-occupation. [121036]

Steve Webb: DWP has made an additional £30 million available for the discretionary housing payment budget from 2013-14 aimed specifically at two groups: disabled people who live in significantly adapted accommodation and foster carers.

DWP estimates that there are:

(a) Around 35,000 potentially affected claimants who are wheelchair users needing accommodation adapted to their needs. Adaptations for wheelchair users are among the most costly on average;

(b) Fewer than 5,000 potentially affected claimants who are foster carers.

Notes:

(a) Estimate for Great Britain derived from analysis of the 2009-10 English Housing Survey.

(b) Indicative information from a variety of sources including a survey conducted by the Fostering Network in 2010, Department for Education and devolved Administrations, Family Resources Survey.

Occupational Pensions

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effects of his plans for the transfer of small pension pots on (a) women, (b) self-employed people and (c) individuals who join and leave the labour market on a regular basis, such as seasonal workers. [120501]

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Steve Webb: The Department is working with all those with an interest to understand how automatic transfers of pension pots into the new employer's scheme might work. In considering all the issues, it will look at the potential impact that automatic transfers might have on different individuals.

The Impact Assessment published alongside the Government's consultation response indicated it believed there are potentially significant benefits to individuals through consolidation of their pension savings—including through greater engagement, lower charges and higher retirement incomes for members.

On current projections, the Department estimates that, if pots move automatically with individuals when they change jobs, women will see their pension savings spread across fewer schemes, and be even less likely than men to retire with five or more dormant workplace DC pots, and more likely to retire with no dormant DC pots. (See Table 1.)

It is not possible or meaningful to present similar estimates for seasonal workers or self-employed people as most individuals will not remain permanently in these labour market states during their entire working lives.

Table 1: Proportion of individuals retiring between 2050 and 2060 with dormant workplace DC pots
Percentage
  If pots move automatically with individual from job to job
 Based on current policies£2,000 limit£5,000 limit£10,000 limit£20,000 limit

Men

     

No dormant pots

9.4

9.4

9.9

10.8

12.1

One

18.9

21.8

25.9

31.0

40.0

Two

18.0

19.8

24.1

28.0

29.9

Three

16.4

17.8

18.4

17.1

12.8

Four

12.5

12.8

11.3

8.6

3.7

Five or more

24.8

18.4

10.3

4.6

1.7

      

Women

     

No dormant pots

11.2

11.6

12.7

13.9

17.0

One

15.4

19.9

27.0

36.3

47.5

Two

16.9

21.7

26.6

27.8

24.9

Three

16.2

18.7

17.6

14.1

8.1

Four

13.4

12.5

8.7

5.4

2.3

Five or more

26.9

15.6

7.4

2.5

0.2

Notes: 1. Figures based on PENSIM2. 2. Percentages relate to individuals who reach retirement age between 2050 and 2060. 3. Data are column percentages.

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances he would determine that the cost of accommodation in the social rented sector is greater than it is reasonable to meet via the housing cost element of universal credit. [120961]

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Steve Webb: There are currently three different approaches to controlling housing benefit expenditure on rents in the social rented sector. We are still considering a restraint that will be compatible with the broader approach being taken in universal credit.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how support for the cost of temporary accommodation will be provided under universal credit. [121044]

Steve Webb: We will be making an announcement shortly on how support for the cost of temporary accommodation will be provided under universal credit.

Winter Fuel Payments: Liverpool

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners received the

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winter fuel allowance in Liverpool, Walton constituency in each of the last three years. [120957]

Steve Webb: The information is as follows:

Number of winter fuel payment recipients in Liverpool, Walton constituency (last three years for which figures are available)
 Winter fuel payment recipients

2010-11

16,430

2009-10

14,990

2008-09

14,840

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory. 3. Figures from 2010-11 recognise the May 2010 structural changes to the parliamentary constituencies of England and Wales. 4. These figures are for the total number of payments made and will therefore include some claimants who are not yet pension age. 5. The latest figures for winter fuel payments are published at http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=wfp Source: DWP Information Governance and Security.