Secondary Education

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) name, (b) URN, (c) establishment number, (d) establishment type, (e) Government office region, (f) local authority and (g) pupil headcount for year 11 was for each secondary school in England and Wales in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012. [121529]

Mr Laws: The requested information for state-funded secondary schools in England has been placed in the House Libraries.

The Department does not collect information on pupils in Wales. This is a devolved matter for the Welsh Assembly.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 212W

Special Educational Needs

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with local authorities who have reported a decrease in the proportion of children identified as having a special educational need or disability between January 2010 and January 2012 of 10 per cent or more; and what explanations he has received for such decreases; [119989]

(2) what estimate he has made of the average change in the proportion of children identified as having a special educational need or disability in England between January 2010 and January 2012. [119990]

Mr Timpson: It is for schools and local authorities to identify children with special educational needs (SEN). Neither the Secretary of State for Education, Education Ministers nor departmental officials have had formal discussions with local authorities about reductions in the number of children being identified with SEN. Informal discussions about the identification of SEN and disability have arisen with officials when exploring other policy issues.

The Department publishes statistical data on SEN each year:

www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/statistics/allstatistics

The statistics show that the percentage of pupils in England identified as having SEN fell from 21.1% in January 2010 to 19.8% in January 2012, a fall of 1.3 percentage points. At local authority level, percentage point changes ranged from +1.1 to -5.7, with all but 18 authorities showing percentage point decreases.

Schools and local authorities are not required to collect data on disabled children.

Special Educational Needs: Hearing Impairment

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the number of deaf young people needing specialist educational support following the raising of the participation age; and how support for these additional deaf young people will be funded. [119492]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 6 September 2012]:In 2010/11, there were an estimated 2,700 young people of academic age 16/17 who were recorded either as having a statement of SEN, or being in the "School Action Plus" group, in state schools at age 15 due to having a hearing impairment. Of these, only 170 were not in education or training.

The Government are investing £7.5 billion in education and training places for 16 to 18-year-olds to fund a place for every young person who wants one. Local authorities have a duty to support young people to participate in education or training as we raise the age of compulsory participation to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015.

It is the duty of local authorities to support young people with high needs who need specialist provision. With effect from 2013-14 the funding for post-16 high needs provision will be integrated into the Dedicated Schools Grant to help them do this.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 213W

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how funding for specialist resource provisions for (a) deaf children and (b) other children with low incidence needs, will be protected from unpredictable variations from year to year under his school funding reform proposals. [119504]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 6 September 2012]:Under the new funding system specialist providers, including integrated resource units for deaf pupils, will be funded through a combination of £10,000 base funding per place, plus top-up funding directly from the local authority that places each pupil in the provision.

This system will give providers a degree of stability through the base funding, while ensuring that there is a more direct commissioning relationship for top-up funding.

Specialist providers should set their top-up funding levels to reflect the likely occupancy rates of their provision, in the way that non-maintained and independent providers already do.

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how specialist support for deaf children who require occasional or regular specialist educational support from a peripatetic teacher of the deaf will be funded under his proposals for school funding reform. [119505]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 6 September 2012]:The high needs block within the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for local authorities will include funding for specialist support services, including peripatetic teachers of the deaf.

The regulations governing DSG will allow this funding to be retained centrally. It is up to local authorities to agree with their schools forums whether they wish to fund a central service in this way or to delegate part or all of the funding to individual schools.

Sports

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many officials in his Department work on delivering policies for sport as part of education, or any other policies relating to sport; and how much of his Department's budget was spent on supporting this work in the latest period for which figures are available. [120129]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 10 September 2012]: Responsibility for the delivery of physical education.(PE) and sport in schools lies with schools themselves.

Officials within the Department for Education work flexibly across the breadth of policy areas as the need arises and it is not possible to identify at any one time, the number working on PE and sport.

Teachers: Pensions

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the typical annual pension a retired teacher will receive after 30 years service under (a) the current and (b) his proposed teachers' pension arrangements. [114701]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 214W

Mr Laws: A classroom teacher who works full-time for 30 years and progresses to the top of the main pay scale would be entitled to a pension:

(a) in the current scheme of around £18,400 pa.

(b) in the proposed scheme of around £16,500 pa.

The current TPS has a normal pension age of 65, and therefore the example assumes that the teacher started their career at age 35. In the proposed scheme the normal pension age will be the same as the age at which the member is entitled to their state pension. In this example it is assumed the member retires at age 68 and therefore joined the scheme at age 38.

However, if the member joins the new scheme at the same age, it is expected that they would work a further three years than under the current scheme, in which case their pension under the proposed scheme would be £18,100.

The figure quoted for the current scheme is accurate in that the formula used is dependent only on the member's final salary and length of service. The figures for the proposed scheme however will depend on the long range rate of the consumer prices index (CPI) (currently estimated at 2%) over the 30-year period and its relation to the long range rate of earnings increase (currently estimated at 4.25%).

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what comparison he has made of the pension that could be received after 30 years service by a (a) teacher on a typical career path under the current teachers' pension arrangements, (b) teacher on a typical career path under the proposed teachers' pension arrangements and (c) private sector worker on a typical private sector pension whose salary followed the same path as a typical teacher. [114703]

Mr Laws: A comparison between a member of the current NPA 65 scheme and the proposed care scheme has been provided in PQ 114701 answered today. In summary a classroom teacher who works for 30 years would be entitled to a pension:

(a) in the current scheme of around £18,400 pa.

(b) in the proposed scheme of around £16,500 pa.

It is not possible to compare the pension provision in the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) to a typical private sector pension. The pension provisions in the private sector vary according the type of pension and the level of employer contribution. We can however be confident that pension provision in most comparable parts of the private sector is unlikely to be better than that provided in the TPS.

Teachers: Training

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to attract high quality graduates into teaching. [111810]

Mr Laws: We are committed to encouraging the best graduates into teaching. We set out the action we will be taking to attract more of the highest achieving graduates into teaching in ‘Training our next generation of outstanding teachers: Implementation plan’, published in November 2011. This includes offering bursaries of up to £20,000 to top graduates who train to teach, Institute of Physics teacher training scholarships,

15 Oct 2012 : Column 215W

introducing a new employment-based route for high quality career-changers and further expansion of the Teach First programme.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what media or public speaking training Ministers in his Department have received since May 2010. [122076]

Elizabeth Truss: None of the Ministers have received media or public speaking training since May 2010.

Travel

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much he and his private office spent on (a) first, (b) club or business and (c) economy air travel in the last 12 months. [115020]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 3 July 2012]: The Secretary of State for Education and his Private Office have spent a total of £4,500 on business class air travel and £2,350 on economy air travel in the last 12 months up to the end of May 2012. No money has been spent on first class air travel during this period.

Young People: Unemployment

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the number of young people not in employment, education or training in (a) Woking constituency and (b) Surrey. [122007]

Mr Laws: “Building Engagement, Building Futures” set out the Government's strategy to increase the proportion of young people continuing in education or training and address the longstanding challenge of young people who are NEET. This includes raising the age of compulsory participation in education or training to 18 by 2015, transforming the quality of vocational education through our new 16 to 19 study programmes and providing targeted financial support for those young people who need it most. The Department is spending a record £7.5 billion in 2012-13 on education and training so that there are sufficient opportunities for all 16 to 19-year-olds.

The Government have recently put in place a new programme to support 16 to 17-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training and have low or no qualifications, as part of the Youth Contract. Skills Training UK has been appointed to deliver this provision

15 Oct 2012 : Column 216W

across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, working closely with the relevant local authorities to identify young people who would benefit from support. Based upon currently planned performance levels, it is anticipated that the contract for the south east will be worth up to £9.2 million before the end of the contract period—31 March 2016.

Local authorities, such as Surrey county council, have a statutory duty to support all young people to participate in education or training. They are best placed to understand and address the needs of young people who are not in education, employment or training and provide the targeted support that they need. This work can be funded from within the non-ringfenced Early Intervention Grant, and £33.5 million was allocated to Surrey in 2012-13.

Youth Services

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what the percentage change was in outturn spending on local authority youth services in real terms in each local authority in England and Wales between 2010-11 and 2011-12; [121781]

(2) if he will rank each local authority in England and Wales by per capita expenditure on youth services, expressed in real terms, in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [121782]

Mr Timpson: Figures for actual spending by local authority in 2011-12 in England are not available until January 2013. The only figures available for comparison over the period 2010-11 and 2011-12 is on planned expenditure.

Tables have been placed in the House Libraries showing the percentage change for planned expenditure on youth services between 2010-11 and 2011-12 based on the figures provided by English local authorities and the ranking of each English local authority for per capita expenditure on youth services over the same years.

It is the duty of local authorities to secure services which improve and promote the well-being of young people. Local authorities have been reminded of this responsibility in statutory guidance published in June 2012. The guidance explains that it is not for the Government to prescribe which services and activities local authorities should deliver for young people. Local authorities are required to work with agencies such as the voluntary and community sector, health and well-being boards and the police to secure provision for young people. This provision should connect young people with their communities, enabling them to belong and contribute to society.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 217W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 15 October 2012

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax Benefits

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library copies of all the responses to his consultation on council tax benefit. [121240]

Brandon Lewis: My Department is currently considering the responses to the “Localising Support for Council Tax: Funding arrangements” consultation and to the “Localising support for council tax—Council tax base and funding for local precepting authorities” consultation. We are also taking into account representations on the draft regulations and statements of intent, and on any read across to the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2013-14, and considering representations made on these matters in the “Localising support for council tax in England” consultation (a summary of responses is already in the Library of the House). As has been the practice of previous Administrations, we do not publish representations or consultation responses while a consultative process is ongoing.

Empty Property

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many empty homes have been brought back into use since May 2010. [121418]

Mr Foster: Data on the number of empty homes in England are based on council tax data and can be found in live table 615 at:

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

Council tax base data are available from October of each year. Between October 2009 and October 2010, the number of empty homes reduced by 33,000 and between October 2010 and October 2011, the number reduced by 17,000. Over the same period, the number of long-term empty homes, on which new homes bonus is paid, reduced by 16,000 between 2009 and 2010, and reduced by 22,000 between 2010 and 2011.

Empty Property: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the number of empty (a) business and (b) residential properties in (i) Tameside and (ii) Stockport in each year since May 2010. [121856]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 218W

Brandon Lewis: Details of the number of empty (a) hereditaments and (b) domestic dwellings in (i) Tameside and (ii) Stockport in each year since May 2010 are given in the following tables. In the interests of transparency we are also including data back to May 2009.

Empty hereditaments
As at 31 March each yearNumber empty

Tameside

 

2010

1,422

2011

1,465

2012

1,233

  

Stockport

 

2010

2,014

2011

2,134

2012

1,932

Details of the empty hereditaments were supplied by local authorities in England on the annual national non-domestic rates (NNDR3) return and are published on the DCLG website at:

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

Empty domestic dwellings
As at October each yearLong-term empty dwellingsShort-term empty dwellingsTotal empty dwellings

Tameside

   

2009

2,113

2,076

4,189

2010

1,874

1,925

3,799

2011

1,709

1,964

3,673

    

Stockport

   

2009

1,597

2,151

3,748

2010

1,500

1,989

3,489

2011

1,399

1,969

3,368

Details of the empty domestic dwellings were supplied by local authorities in England on the annual council tax base for formula grant purposes return and are published on the DCLG website at

http://www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/localregional/localgovernmentfinance/statistics/counciltaxbase/

Green Belt

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many acres of land (a) were awarded green belt status and (b) had green belt status removed in (i) Kent and (ii) England in each of the last 10 years. [121987]

Nick Boles: Information on how much land was awarded green belt designation or had this designation removed prior to 2007 is not centrally available.

Since 2007, the area of land awarded green belt designation and land having its green belt designation removed in England is (to the nearest 10 hectares):

 AwardedRemoved

2007

1,140

90

2008-09

10

180

2009-10

0

80

2010-11

30

30

15 Oct 2012 : Column 219W

The large area of land awarded green belt status in 2007 is mainly due to Wansbeck, who designated 950 hectares of land as green belt, not previously having any land with green belt status.

No land in Kent has been newly designated as green belt or had its green belt designation removed since 2007.

Honours

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds on the (a) number and (b) level of honours awarded for services to (i) cricket, (ii) football, (iii) rugby union and (iv) tennis in the latest period for which figures are available. [122127]

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

The following honours were awarded for services to cricket, football, rugby union and tennis in the period new year 2010 to birthday 2012:

 CricketFootballRugby unionTennis

BD12

1 British Empire Medal

1 CBE, 3 MBE, 2 British Empire Medal

2 MBE, 3 British Empire Medal

NY12

1 CBE, 1 OBE, 2 MBE

1 OBE, 1 MBE

2 MBE

BD11

2 OBE, 3 MBE

2 MBE

1 OBE, 1 MBE

1 OBE

NY11

3MBE

1 OBE, 6 MBE

1 CBE, 1 OBE

BD10

1 CBE, 3 MBE

1 Knight Bachelor, 1 CBE, 6 MBE

1 OBE, 2 MBE

1 OBE

NY10

3 MBE

2 OBE, 5 MBE

1 Knight Bachelor, 1 MBE

Housing: Greater London

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 14 September 2012, Official Report, column 414W, on housing: Greater London, if he will publish the memorandum of understanding agreed between his Department and the Greater London Authority on the framework for housing matters where there is a shared interest. [121857]

Mr Prisk: A copy of the memorandum of understanding between this Department and the Greater London Authority in relation to housing matters will be placed in the Library of the House.

Chatsworth Gardens

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent representations his Department has received regarding the regeneration of Chatsworth Gardens in Morecambe; and if he will make a statement; [121931]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 220W

(2) what review his Department has made of the Chatsworth Garden redevelopment since May 2010; and what the outcome was. [121932]

Mr Prisk: The Homes and Communities Agency is in regular contact with Lancaster county council about projects including Chatsworth Gardens. No other recent representations have been received and no formal review has been undertaken by the Department.

Internet

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many times the websites howtocorp.com, howtocorphelp.com and warriorforum.com have been accessed by computers at his Department's offices in Eland House since 6 May 2010. [119606]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 6 September 2012]:This information is not held by the Department. However, to assist the hon. Member, I refer him to the recent letter from the permanent secretary to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Steve McCabe), a copy of which I have placed in the Library of the House.

Listed Buildings: VAT

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions his Department has had with HM Treasury on removing full rate VAT on alterations to listed buildings with listed building planning consent; and if he will make a statement. [121950]

Nick Boles: Ministers and officials within the Department for Communities and Local Government regularly meet colleagues from other Departments to discuss a range of matters.

Local Government Finance

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what written representations he has received from local authorities which received transitional funding from 2010 to 2012 on their future financial position; and if he will place copies of all such correspondence in the Library. [121241]

Brandon Lewis: Any representations that we have received and will receive on such matters will be considered and help inform the consultation on the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2013-14. We are happy to receive representations on these matters, but as has been the practice of previous Administrations, we do not publish representations or consultation responses while a consultative process is ongoing.

Non-domestic Rates

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he has given to extending business rate retention to include low-carbon energy projects. [122090]

Brandon Lewis: The Government's proposals for business rates retention will enable local authorities to benefit from the business rates paid by all businesses in their area, including those from low-carbon energy projects.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 221W

In addition, the rates retention proposals have been designed to ensure that the business rates from any new renewable energy projects are not taken into account in the calculation of local/central share payments, top-up or tariff payments, levy payments or subject to any reset. This ensures that the authority keeps all of the business rates from such projects.

Non-domestic Rates: Surrey

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many businesses qualify for small business rate relief in (a) Woking constituency and (b) Surrey. [122008]

Brandon Lewis: The number of hereditaments in receipt of small business rate relief as at 31 December 2010, the latest date for which data are available, in Surrey and Woking local authority areas is shown in the following table. Data on the number of businesses who qualify for small business rate relief are not centrally collected. The data are also not available at constituency level.

 Number of businesses in receipt of small business rate relief as at 31 December 2010

Surrey

6,903

Of which:

 

Woking

432

The data are taken from the National Non-Domestic Rates 1 (NNDRl) Supplementary forms completed annually by billing authorities in England and returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government. The data are publicly available in tables in the Statistics section of the DCLG website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/nondomesticrates201112f

Ministerial Visits: Nottinghamshire

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what ministerial visits to (a) the city of Nottingham and (b) Nottinghamshire have taken place since May 2010. [121769]

Brandon Lewis: The information is as follows:

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government visited the city of Nottingham on 28 April 2011(1) and 5 July 2012.

The then Minister for Decentralisation and Cities, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbrige Wells (Greg Clark) visited the city of Nottingham on 30 August 2011, 9 February 2012 and 19 April 2012(1).

The Under-Secretary of State (Baroness Hanham) visited the city of Nottingham on 23 July 2010.

(1) Political visit, included in the interests of transparency.

Nuclear Power Stations: Construction

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will take steps to ensure that any future policy on business rate retention will include provision for those communities which are affected by a new nuclear development hosted by a neighbouring authority. [122049]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 222W

Brandon Lewis: The Government's proposals for business rates retention are set out in the technical consultation published on 17 July 2012. This can be found at:

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

The Government is considering responses to that consultation, prior to finalising the scheme for introduction in April 2013.

It should be noted that under our retention plans, the local share of business rate revenues will be retained by the billing authority (e.g. a district council) as well as relevant precepting authorities (e.g. a county council and a fire and rescue authority).

We have also invited local authorities to consider adopting a pooling arrangement; this would encourage collaborative working across local authority boundaries, allow the benefit from investment in economic growth to be shared across a wider area, and help local authorities better manage any volatility in income.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will take steps to ensure that any future policy on business rate retention for new nuclear power allows for the community to benefit at the construction phase as well as the operational phases of development. [122092]

Brandon Lewis: Our proposals for business rates retention will enable authorities to benefit from growth in business rates revenues generated in their area. Business rates are due for payment when individual hereditaments are considered to have become fit for beneficial occupation. The question of when that applies will be a matter for the local valuation officer.

Planning Permission

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to require the Planning Inspectorate to take account of emerging local development plans when considering planning appeals in local authority areas where no current plans exist; and if he will make a statement. [121785]

Nick Boles: Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The weight to be given to any other considerations is a matter for the decision-taker in each case. The National Planning Policy Framework notes that decision-takers, including planning inspectors, may also give weight to relevant policies in emerging plans according to the stage of preparation of the emerging plan. The Planning Inspectorate provided guidance to its inspectors on this point following publication of the framework.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if he will make it his policy to instruct the Planning Inspectorate to end its commitment to increase five year land supply targets by 20 per cent where they assess completion rates are too low; [121786]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 223W

(2) if he will make it his policy to assess five year land supplies available in local authority areas on the basis of planning permissions granted by the relevant authority and not completions achieved; and if he will make a statement. [121789]

Nick Boles: Planning plays a key role in ensuring enough land is available to meet local communities’ housing needs. The National Planning Policy Framework, published following consultation in March 2012, sets out that councils should identify a supply of deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years’ worth of housing against their local housing requirements. Sites with planning permission should be included within this supply, unless there is clear evidence that schemes will not be implemented within five years. Where there has been a record of persistent under delivery of housing, councils should include an additional 20% buffer of land (moved forward from later in the plan period) to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned local supply and to ensure choice and competition in the local market for land.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to allow planning authorities to bring forward local development plans to examination in public prior to legal abolition of regional spatial strategies. [121787]

Nick Boles: The National Planning Policy Framework we published in March 2012 provides a strong incentive to update local plans to meet local development needs, including housing. Many authorities are making good progress in putting in place up to date local plans, which are in conformity with the framework.

Councils can bring forward proposals, such as housing targets, which have a local interpretation to them in their plans, based on their own sound evidence base where that is justified by the local circumstances. That evidence base is likely to be more up to date than that included in the regional strategies. Each case will depend on its particular facts.

Regional strategies remain part of the statutory development plan until such time as they are abolished, so a local plan document must be in general conformity with the regional strategy at the stage that the plan is submitted for examination. It is up to each authority to demonstrate to an independent inspector how its plans are in general conformity with regional strategies.

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to instruct the Planning Inspectorate to take account of housing needs assessments conducted on behalf of district councils where they are more recent than the data in the relevant regional spatial strategy; and if he will make a statement. [121788]

Nick Boles: Councils can already bring forward proposals, such as housing targets, which have a local interpretation to them in their plans, based on their own sound evidence base where that is justified by the local circumstances. That evidence base may indeed be more up to date than that included in the regional strategies, and it is for the decision maker to assess each case on its particular facts.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 224W

Regional strategies remain part of the statutory development plan until such time as they are abolished. So, a local plan document must be in general conformity with the regional strategy at the stage that the plan is submitted for examination. It is for the local council submitting the plan to determine how their plan meets the requirements of general conformity.

I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement of the 25 July 2012, Official Report, House of Lords, column WS66-68, on the timetable and plans for the proposed revocation of the regional strategies, subject to due process and consideration.

Procurement

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what expenditure on procurement his Department has contracted to (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in each month since May 2010. [119142]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 5 September 2012]: Since May 2010, DCLG's proportion of procurement spend with small and medium-sized enterprises has steadily increased. From a starting point of 12% in 2010 (based on DCLG Central spend), we have broadened our ambitions and now including our key arm’s length bodies our latest data show that we have reached a figure of 25.9% for a rolling 12 months to August 2012 which meets the Cabinet Office aspiration for all Whitehall Departments.

Cabinet Office publish data on small and medium-sized enterprises spend by Departments. Based on spend within this fiscal year and our performance of 23% for the first quarter, DCLG is placed third within all central Government Departments.

The following table sets out the detailed expenditure on small, medium and large organisations since May 2010 for my Department and its arm’s length bodies where available.

Expenditure (nearest £ million) by business types
 Central departmentArm’s length bodies
 SmallMediumLargeSmall and MediumLarge

Financial year 2010-11

     

May 2010

1.1

(1)-0.4

8.1

June 2010

2.5

1.8

13.2

July 2010

2.1

0.7

14.4

August 2010

1.0

0.7

10.5

September 2010

1.6

0.6

12.3

October 2010

1.7

0.4

9.2

November 2010

0.6

0.5

8.1

December 2010

2.2

(1)-0.1

11.6

January 2011

1.3

0.7

3.1

February 2011

0.5

0.4

6.8

March 2011

1.1

1.1

15.3

Total

15.7

6.9

112.7

19.2

68.4

      

15 Oct 2012 : Column 225W

Financial year 2011-12

     

April 2011

0.5

2.2

23.6

1.0

3.8

May 2011

0.3

0.7

5.6

1.5

4.1

June 2011

0.9

0.3

13.5

1.5

4.5

July 2011

0.3

0.4

4.2

1.8

2.7

August 2011

0.1

0.7

6.2

0.9

4.2

September 2011

1.2

0.8

12.5

4.0

4.6

October 2011

0.2

0.2

9.1

3.8

3.8

November 2011

0.5

1.0

5.6

3.8

5.5

December 2011

1.1

1.0

12.9

4.1

5.1

January 2012

0.19

0.5

6.5

3.9

6.6

February 2012

0.4

0.3

5.5

4.0

4.2

March 2012

1.4

1.4

14.7

8.1

0.5

Total

7.1

9.5

119.9

38.4

49.6

      

Financial year 2012-13

     

April 2012

0.3

0.3

4.2

3.9

8.5

May 2012

0.4

0.6

12.1

3.2

5.9

June 2012

1.4

0.7

8.7

3.4

4.8

July 2012

0.5

0.4

6.2

3.9

4.2

August 2012

0.3

0.5

9.1

5.0

5.5

Total

2.9

2.5

40.3

19.4

28.9

(1) The negative figures are a consequence of cancellation of invoices.

The DCLG Group is making a 44% real terms saving against its running costs over this spending review period by 2014-15. This equates to savings of over £570 million of taxpayers' money by 2014-15, helping tackle the deficit we have inherited from the last Administration.

Notwithstanding these liabilities, as outlined above, the Department has an ambitious Action Plan to increase the proportion of spending going to small and medium-sized enterprises by March 2015. The plan can be found online at:

www.communities.gov.uk/corporate/jobscontracts/procurement/smallmediumenterprises/

Regeneration: Morecambe

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much Lancaster City Council has received from his Department for regeneration in the West End District of Morecambe in each financial year since 1997-98; [121948]

(2) what funding his Department has provided for the regeneration of homes in Morecambe's West End District since May 2010; [121949]

(3) what funding his Department has allocated to Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency since 2010. [121961]

Mr Prisk: The vast majority of our central Government funding to local areas is allocated on the basis of local authority areas, and therefore it cannot be broken down

15 Oct 2012 : Column 226W

to constituency areas. It would be of disproportionate cost to obtain data for funding allocated to this area since 1997.

Government are taking a new approach to regeneration and are working to give communities and local partners the powers, tools and information that they need to address local priorities for regeneration and growth. Examples of these are:

The New Homes Bonus, including for bringing empty homes back into use; local business rate retention; and changes to the Community Infrastructure Levy which ensure local areas will benefit financially from local growth and development. The constituency of Morecambe and Lunesdale is part of the Lancaster district, in the County of Lancashire and they have received New Homes Bonus set out as follows:

Local authorityNHB grant paid in year 1 (2011-12)NHB grant paid in year 2 (2012-13)Total payments in year 2(1)

Lancaster

231,427

230,381

461,807

Lancashire

464,868

566,258

1,031,126

(1) NHB funds reward annual increases in effective housing stock and are paid for six years. The total payment column therefore comprises the total of years 1 and 2 delivery.

The Homes and Communities Agency allocated funds to support Morecambe West End of £132,928 in 2010-11 and £63,949 in 2011-12 for the estate management of the properties. The Homes and Communities Agency also provides specialist expertise and intelligence to help local partners deliver their ambitions.

The West End received £1.9 million under the Empty Homes Cluster Initiative to support the refurbishment and restoration of 114 empty homes.

The Formula Grant for Lancaster was £15.994 million in 2010-11 and £15.124 million in 2011-12.

We are accelerating the release of surplus public sector land and using our innovative Build Now, Pay later model wherever possible, so that housebuilders pay for the land only after homes are built.

Through our new Community Right to reclaim land we are enabling communities to get underused public property back in use.

Lancashire has been allocated £19.4 million from the Growing Places Fund.

Morecambe is one of the Portas Pilots, securing £100,000 to revitalise its high street.

The Housing and Growth statement on 6 September 2012, Official Report, columns 29-34WS, included initiatives which will help Morecambe. An additional £300 million is being made available for the provision of 15,000 additional affordable homes and to bring 5,000 additional homes back into use. The Government will issue debt guarantees worth up to £10 billion to support delivery of both new market rented housing and affordable housing. More details of the scheme will be published in the autumn.

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has undertaken any performance management reviews to consider whether money spent on regeneration in the West End area of Morecambe (a) was spent effectively, (b) was spent on the projects it was allocated to, (c) provided value for money and (d) achieved the aims stated in the applications for funding. [121952]

Mr Prisk: The Department has not undertaken any performance management reviews for this area.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 227W

Regional Development Agencies

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total value of assets was of the regional development agencies sold since 2010. [120921]

Brandon Lewis: The proceeds received for the sale of assets by each of the eight Regional Development Agencies outside London in the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12 were £75.3 million. There have been no further sales in 2012-13.

Assets from the former Agencies transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency in September 2011.

In the 2011-12 financial statements for the Homes and Communities Agency, the total value of disposals attributable to former Agencies’ assets in total was £18.3 million, the majority of which related to land and property asset disposals.

For 2012-13, to the end of August 2012, the total value of disposals attributable to former Regional Development Agencies’ assets was £19.7 million.

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual cost is of current leases held formerly by regional development agencies and not re-assigned to local enterprise partnerships. [120927]

Brandon Lewis: The Homes and Communities Agency’s estimated income based on the transferred Regional Development Agencies’ leases which were in place at 31 March 2012 is £2.9 million per annum.

Regional Planning and Development

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress he is making on the abolition of regional spatial strategies. [121833]

Nick Boles: I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement of 25 July 2012, Official Report,House of Lords, columns WS66-68.

Regional Resilience Forums

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on regional resilience forums and their role in responding to level 1 incidents; and if he will make a statement. [122024]

Brandon Lewis: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 311W.

The Department wrote to local resilience forums and responders in March 2011 to explain that Government supports a flexible, localist and risk based approach to cross-boundary working and relationship building rather than prescribing arrangements based on arbitrary regional boundaries.

Renewable Energy: Norfolk

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the oral answer of 17 September 2012, Official Report, column 634, on waste to energy plants, which statutory

15 Oct 2012 : Column 228W

bodies asked for a call-in of the energy for waste plant in Norfolk; what their reasons were for seeking a call-in of this decision; and what his reasons were for accepting. [R] [121899]

Nick Boles: King's Lynn and West Norfolk borough council and a number of parish councils in the area asked the Secretary of State to call-in the application for various reasons, including public opposition, the validity of the assessment of alternative sites and prematurity in terms of the Development Plan.

Having taken into account all matters raised by the application, including representations made, the Secretary of State decided to call-in the application as it concerns matters that are of substantial regional or national controversy.

I note as a matter of fact that the Department received call-in representations from 23 Members of Parliament and Peers, 48 local parish councils and 5,800 locally signed letters.

Riots Communities and Victims Panel

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 311W, on the Riots Communities and Victims Panel, when he expects to publish the Government’s response to the final report of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel. [121715]

Brandon Lewis: The panel published its final report on 28 March 2012 and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), made a written ministerial statement to Parliament on 13 July 2012, Official Report, columns 74-78WS, in response. That statement set out the measures the Government and other agencies have put in place to rebuild communities following the riots. It also set out the actions that the Government is taking forward to address some of the more entrenched issues highlighted in the panel’s report.

In the written ministerial statement, the Government made the commitment to publish further information on the Government’s response to the panel’s report; this will be published later in the autumn.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what media or public speaking training Ministers in his Department have received since May 2010. [122077]

Brandon Lewis: None. I would add, as outlined in the answer of 30 March 2009, Official Report, column 966W, that Ministers in the last Administration spent at least £2,115 on public speaking training.

Travellers: Caravan Sites

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy that planning permission granted to people on the basis that they are Travellers, is granted subject to a requirement that those people live a travelling lifestyle. [121847]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 229W

Brandon Lewis: Following consultation, the Government published its Planning Policy for Traveller Sites in March 2012. This sets out national policy that must be taken into account when local authorities (and Inspectors) decide relevant applications for planning permission. For the purposes of planning policy “Gypsies and Travellers” means persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family's or dependants' educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily or permanently, but excluding members of an organised group of travelling showpeople or circus people travelling together as such.

Urban Areas: Regeneration

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) advice and (b) resources his Department plans to provide to local authorities on the regeneration of town centres. [121417]

Mr Prisk: The National Planning Policy Framework sets out clear guidance to councils about ensuring town centres are at the heart of their communities, and they should pursue policies to support town centre viability. It makes clear that parking charges should not undermine the vitality of town centres, and applies a strong sequential and impact test for unplanned out of centre development.

“Regeneration to enable growth: A toolkit supporting community-led regeneration” was published in January 2012, and describes how we have put local partners in the lead, providing them with a wide toolkit of powers, flexibilities, options and incentives to help them drive the regeneration of their area, strengthen their local economy, and improve their opportunities.

In July, we published “Re-imagining urban spaces to help revitalise our high streets” aimed at anyone working to improve their high street, town centre or retail area. It is full of case studies describing the many different ways in which under-utilised assets can be used imaginatively to support high streets and town centres—increasing high street vitality, attracting footfall and boosting local economies.

In March this year, the High Street Innovation Fund allocated £100,000 to 100 local authorities across England which encouraged a focus on bringing empty shops back into use. Local areas also have the opportunity to apply for the £1 million Future High Street X-Fund that will reward those who have demonstrated the greatest improvement in their high street.

Government published its response to the Portas review of the High Street “High Streets at the heart of our communities” which encourages local authorities to be the leaders on, and drivers of economic growth and high street improvement, highlighting their new powers to introduce and fund local business rates discounts.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is funding 24 Portas pilot town teams with each of them receiving up to £100,000 to implement their plans to improve their local high streets and town centres. We will use the experience of the pilot towns to create a toolkit to support community-led regeneration.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 230W

We have recently invited those 392 town teams that were not selected to be Portas pilots to register as town team partners and receive £10,000 each. They will also be provided with advice, and supported by the Association of Town Centre Management.

Transport

Airports

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to (a) identify options, within the EU legislative framework, to ensure that slots at congested airports are used in the way most economically beneficial to the UK and (b) optimise the functioning of the secondary trading market for airport slots; and if he will make a statement. [121667]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are currently working together to consider what options are available to ensure that slots at congested airports are used in the most economically beneficial way. The focus of the work is on seeking to optimise the functioning of the secondary trading market for airport slots. We are engaging with key stakeholders and will report on the outcomes of the work in due course.

Aviation: Working Hours

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether the relevant trades unions representing airline pilots in the UK have agreed to the implementation of the new rules on flight time limitations proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency; [121918]

(2) what medical evidence his Department has gathered on the capacity of the new rules on flight time limitations proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency to ensure the same level of safety for the travelling public as the existing Civil Aviation Authority rules; how many additional hours commercial airline pilots may be required to work in any given duty period under the new rules compared to the present system; and what comparative assessment he has made of the new rules and rules governing flight time limitations in the US; [121919]

(3) what steps he plans to take to integrate the European Aviation Standards Agency’s proposals on flight time limitations into UK aviation safety requirements; [121920]

(4) what steps he plans to take to maintain UK standards and protections for airline pilots’ flying time limitations after the implementation of the European Aviation Standards Agency harmonisation proposals; and if he will take an active role in protecting and promoting UK standards on airline pilots’ flying time limitations in the development of European standards; [121921]

(5) what plans he has for implementation of new flight time limitation rules proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency. [121922]

Mr Simon Burns: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is still considering the responses to its consultation on flight time limitations. We do not yet know what the final proposal will contain. We will

15 Oct 2012 : Column 231W

consider our position, taking into account advice from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), once a final set of rules has been proposed.

Voting on the European Commission regulation adopting implementing rules on flight time limitations will be by qualified majority voting; we will not support the proposed rules if the CAA advises that they do not provide an adequate level of protection against fatigue. The rules will be directly applicable in all member states; opt outs from the proposed implementing rules are not permitted by the enabling legislation, adopted in 2008.

The relevant trade unions representing airline pilots in the United Kingdom have responded to EASA’s consultation; we are aware that they have some concerns on the proposals which we have discussed with them on a number of occasions.

The CAA has reviewed the latest draft of the proposals published by EASA on 18 January 2012. The CAA has advised that the package of proposals as currently drafted contains a number of welcome provisions that will deliver a significant improvement in safety across the European Union as a whole. The CAA also considers the package provides a similar level of safety to the rules adopted in the United States and will not lead to any diminution in safety in the UK. I am satisfied with the CAA’s advice which takes into account relevant operational, scientific and medical opinion.

The CAA’s detailed evidence to the Transport Select Committee inquiry on flight time limitations, including comparisons on flight duty periods, and the Government’s Response to the Committee’s report are published on the Parliament website at:

www.parliament.uk

Biofuels

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has discussed the sustainability of biofuels used in transport fuel with the EU Commissioners for Energy and the Environment. [121944]

Norman Baker: Biofuels have a role to play in efforts to tackle climate change. But it is crucial that the sustainability of biofuels is assured and that they deliver true greenhouse gas savings.

Department for Transport ministers and officials have met, and continue to meet, with various stakeholders including representatives of the European Commission, UK and international non-governmental organisations to discuss amongst other things the environmental and social impacts of biofuels policy. At these meetings, we have made clear that the indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts of biofuels must be addressed urgently.

I have personally raised the issue both face to face and in writing with Commissioner Hedegaard.

Bus Services: Finance

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether local authorities pursuing Quality Contracts for bus services will be eligible for funding from the Better Bus Area Fund. [121943]

Norman Baker: The Government's proposals for bus subsidy reform are set out in a consultation document that was published on 13 September. Better Bus Areas will be designated via a competitive process.

I will take a view on the precise matter she raises in the light of consultation responses.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 232W

DVLA: Redundancy

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what costs his Department will incur in respect of redundancy for the 39 DVLA offices that are scheduled to close; and what proportion of such costs will be spent on redundancy for the Preston DVLA office. [122002]

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has made provision in the business case for up to £33 million in redundancy payments for the 39 offices that are scheduled to close. Of this, a provision of £1.2 million is for Preston local office and enforcement centre. The final costs will not be known until the end of next year when we will know which members of staff will be redeployed and which will be taking redundancy.

Heathrow Airport

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consideration the independent commission on aviation chaired by Sir Howard Davies will give to meeting EU air quality standards at Heathrow Airport and the surrounding area; [121727]

(2) what consideration the independent commission on aviation chaired by Sir Howard Davies will give to meeting EU air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide at Heathrow Airport and the surrounding area; [121728]

(3) what consideration the independent commission on aviation chaired by Sir Howard Davies will give to the UK's capacity to meet its obligations under the EU Environmental Noise Directive at Heathrow Airport and the surrounding area. [121729]

Mr Simon Burns: The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, will have the scope to examine all issues relating to airport capacity and connectivity. This will include taking into account environmental considerations, including those relating to noise and air quality.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation would be required to bring into operation a third runway at Heathrow Airport. [121730]

Mr Simon Burns: The coalition's position on a third runway at Heathrow remains as set out in our programme for government and it would not therefore be appropriate for me to speculate about the legislative requirements of a hypothetical situation.

However, I can confirm that the Government believes that maintaining the UK's status as a leading global aviation hub is fundamental to our long term international competitiveness and that we have appointed Sir Howard Davies to chair an independent commission to identify and recommend to Government options for achieving this.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the number of people resident within the boundaries of the 57-decibel contour at Heathrow. [121745]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 233W

Mr Simon Burns: The latest estimate made on behalf of the Department for Transport was provided by the Environmental Research and Consultancy Department (ERCD) of the Civil Aviation Authority for 2011. This showed a total of 243,350 people were enclosed in the 57 dB LAeq 16h contour. The area covered was 108.8 km(2).

Heathrow Airport: Passengers

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) business and (b) tourist passengers arrived at Heathrow on night quota period flights in the latest period for which figures are available. [121668]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department relies on data from the Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Survey to understand the split of passengers between business, tourism and other purposes. The number of passengers surveyed during the night quota period is very small and would not provide a reliable estimate of the total number of business or tourist passengers travelling at that time.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when (a) he and (b) his predecessor last met the Secretary of State for Wales to discuss the route for High Speed 2. [121816]

Mr Simon Burns: There have been no meetings between the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Wales to discuss the route for High Speed 2.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what liaison and consultation his Department has undertaken with the Wales Office on the evaluation of the route for High Speed 2. [121817]

Mr Simon Burns: Officials meet regularly with Departments across Whitehall on all aspects of transport, including High Speed 2.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account his Department took of the European Commission's requirement for transport intermodality in determining the route choice for High Speed 2. [121818]

Mr Simon Burns: The choice of route for High Speed 2 was not specifically influenced by European Commission requirements for transport intermodality, as such decisions are matters for member states.

However, the chosen route is designed to facilitate the use of multiple modes during a single journey and to foster synergies between different modes of transport, including rail and air networks; objectives which are shared with the Commission.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account his Department took of available capacity on the West Coast Main Line when formulating proposals for High Speed 2. [121819]

Mr Simon Burns: Prior to her decisions on high speed rail in January, the then Secretary of State considered a number of strategic alternatives to HS2, and concluded

15 Oct 2012 : Column 234W

that building a new high speed rail line is the best means of meeting the long term capacity challenge on our railways. These alternatives included measures to increase the available capacity of the West Coast Main Line, which only provide a partial, short-term answer to the demand challenges addressed by HS2, while sacrificing the connectivity benefits high speed rail would bring.

London Airports

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the extent of spare capacity at (a) London Oxford and (b) London Southend airports. [121743]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department published an assessment of airport capacity and forecast demand for 31 of the UK's largest airports in “UK Aviation Forecasts, 2011”:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/uk-aviation-forecasts-2011

The Department keeps the list of airports included in the forecasts under review and is actively considering the case for including Southend airport in future forecasts. There are no plans to include Oxford airport at present.

Morecambe and Lunesdale: Funding

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department has allocated to Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency since 2010. [121966]

Norman Baker: It is not possible to break the Department's funding down to constituency level. However, the following table sets out the total funding allocated to Lancashire county council between 2010-11 and 2012-13.

 Funding (£000)

2010-11

(1)43,325

2011-12

29,564

2012-13

(2)29,548

(1) Includes Lancashire county council's allocation of funding provided to local highway authorities in relation to the severe winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11. (2) Includes £909,000 of Local Sustainable Transport Funding. Lancashire county council's full award for this funding is £5 million; the balance will be paid, subject to successful completion of the project, between now and 2015.

Other transport funding is provided by the Department for investment across England, but it is not possible to break this down to either constituency or local authority level. This funding includes, for example, funding given to the Highways Agency for the maintenance and improvement of the Strategic Road Network, and to Network Rail for the maintenance and development of our rail infrastructure.

Motor Vehicles: Disability

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 September 2012, Official Report, column 519W, on motor vehicles: disability, what assessment he has made of the issues arising from the European Commission's roadworthiness proposal. [122112]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 235W

Stephen Hammond: No assessment has been made on the issue of modifications for disabled drivers. Officials will be seeking clarification on the testing of vehicle adaptations as part of the ongoing negotiations on the current Roadworthiness Proposal. The UK will continue to vigorously oppose aspects of this proposal that imply costs for the UK.

Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the effect on (a) life expectancy and (b) premature deaths avoided of action taken to implement (1) the EU Light Duty Vehicles Directive and associated amendments (i) in total and (ii) in each region since it came into force; and if he will make a statement; [121587]

(2) the EU Heavy Duty Vehicles Directive and associated amendments (i) in total and (ii) in each region since it came into force; and if he will make a statement. [121588]

Norman Baker: EU legislation on new vehicle standards has led to significant reductions in emissions of air pollutants, improving air quality and public health. The most recent legislation for light vehicles is Regulation (EU) No 715/2007, as amended. The most recent legislation for heavy vehicles is Regulation (EU) No 595/2009, as amended. Since 1990 emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from road transport as a whole have reduced by 70%, and those of particulate matter (PM10) by 38%.

It is not possible to put a precise figure on the improvement in life expectancy or premature deaths in the UK, or in regions of the UK, resulting from the adoption of new vehicle emission standards. An impact assessment for the new Euro VI emission standard for heavy vehicles can be found at

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/tna/20100927131008/http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/archive/2008/euroviconsultation/ia.pdf

This includes a monetised estimate of the health benefits associated with reductions in air pollution, including impacts on both mortality, and respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions.

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his officials have had with Co-operative Insurance and Insure The Box on smart box technology. [122004]

Stephen Hammond: Departmental officials met with Co-operative Insurance on 9 July to discuss their smart box technology. Additionally, the Department held its first working group meeting with industry, including Co-operative Insurance, to discuss young drivers. Smart box technology formed part of this discussion.

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the Association of British Insurers on how to reduce insurance premiums for motorists. [122050]

15 Oct 2012 : Column 236W

Stephen Hammond: The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport met with representatives from major motor insurers on 14 February 2012 to discuss action that can be taken to reduce the number of claims for whiplash which contribute significantly to the cost of settling motor insurance claims. The Secretary of State chaired a further meeting with the insurance industry on 2 May. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) was present at both meetings.

In addition, the Secretary of State met with ABI on 23 April 2012 for a wider discussion on motor insurance issues.

Ministerial Visits: Nottinghamshire

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what ministerial visits to (a) the City of Nottingham and (b) Nottinghamshire have taken place since May 2010. [121774]

Mr Simon Burns: The following ministerial visits were completed during this period:

(a) City of Nottingham

The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) visited the City of Nottingham on the 24 March 2011, 8 January 2012 and 6 September 2012.

(b) Nottinghamshire

The then Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) visited Newark on the 13 June 2011.

The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) visited Retford on the 8 January 2012.

Passenger Ships: Disabled People

Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether cruise liners are exempt from the requirement of EU Regulation 1177/2010 that disabled people should be able to be accompanied by their carer free of charge when travelling. [121723]

Stephen Hammond: EU Regulation 1177/2010 on maritime passenger rights, which enters into force on 18 December 2012, aims to provide disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility with the same opportunities to travel by water as they have in other transport sectors across the EU.

Where strictly necessary, carriers, travel agents and tour operators may require that a disabled person or person with reduced mobility be accompanied by a companion to assist with personal care.

In these circumstances, a companion is entitled to travel free of charge on a timetabled passenger service such as a ferry. However, no such entitlement applies in relation to cruises. So a companion travelling on a cruise ship would need to be paid for.

Public Transport: ICT

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to utilise (a) smart cards and (b) other new technologies to improve the quality of public transport services. [121704]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport supports the roll-out of smart and integrated ticketing more widely and believes that there are huge potential benefits for passengers, local authorities and operators.

15 Oct 2012 : Column 237W

As per our business plan commitment the Department continues to specify smart ticketing technology in all rail franchises as they are re-let. At the same time the Government has allocated £45 million to support the earlier deployment of smart ticketing equipment in a large number of stations in the south-east by 2014. This will give passengers earlier access to smart products than if we had waited for the start of new franchises to make progress.

For buses the Department continues to encourage the roll-out of smart ticketing through the 8% uplift to the Bus Service Operators' Grant. We have, in addition, allocated £15 million to develop and provide a managed service to further stimulate smart ticketing availability.

Beyond smart cards the Department is very keen to encourage industry to innovate in order to improve the quality of public transport services. Practical steps to encourage innovation include the Department's £17 million support for the establishment of a multi-modal Transport Systems Catapult technology and innovation centre which will provide the location and resources to develop and test new ideas for all modes of transport.

The Government is currently consulting on proposals for reforming Bus Service Operators' Grant. These proposals will see the devolution of a substantial proportion of the grant to local authorities, enabling them to improve bus patronage thereby stimulating the local economy.

The local government measures taken forward with the grant will reflect local bus needs. It is likely that some local transport authorities will use the grant to take forward the type of measures seen in March 2012 when DFT awarded 24 local transport authorities with just under £70 million to develop Better Bus Areas. Many of the successful bids included new technologies to improve the quality of public transport service, including improved traffic management and traffic enforcement systems to help local authorities make the best of existing road infrastructure, real time information, audio-visual equipment, wi-fi on buses, and smart-phone bus apps.

Railway Stations: Greater London

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway stations in Greater London are served by fewer than four trains per hour throughout the day; and which operating company is responsible for each such station. [121645]

Norman Baker: This information is not held by the Department in the format requested. However, this information is available in the public domain and can be found within public timetables on the National Rail website at

www.nationalrail.co.uk

Railways: Greater London

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 16 July 2012, Official Report, columns 113-4WS, whether investment in increased rail capacity for commuters on the most congested routes in London will include the Reading to Waterloo service route. [121661]

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Mr Simon Burns: The Government have specified sufficient peak capacity into London Waterloo to meet the forecast growth in demand up to 2019 and have provided funding for this but it is for the train operating company and Network Rail to determine how this congestion relief will be provided. They are expected to publish their proposals in January 2013.

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 11 September 2012, Official Report, column 130W, on third sector, what discussions he has had with EU counterparts on amending the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation to reduce or eliminate fuels from food feedstocks. [122093]

Norman Baker: Biofuels have a role to play in efforts to tackle climate change, but it is crucial that the sustainability of biofuels is assured and that they deliver true greenhouse gas savings.

The renewable transport fuel obligation is the domestic instrument which implements the EU's biofuel requirements in the United Kingdom. Biofuel sustainability criteria are decided at an EU level, and the UK has pressed to have indirect land use change (ILUC) impacts, including those associated with the use of biofuels produced from food feedstocks, addressed urgently as part of these criteria. Department for Transport Ministers and officials have met, and continue to meet, with various stakeholders including representatives of the European Commission, UK and international non-governmental organisations to discuss the environmental and social impacts of biofuels policy.

Research

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on research and development in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12; and how much he plans to spend in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [121886]

Mr Simon Burns: As reported in Science, Engineering and Technology Indicators (SET Statistics), the Department for Transport's expenditure on research and development was:

 Expenditure (£ million)

2008-09

60

2009-10

68

2010-11

35

Final figures for 2011-12 will be available shortly. Spend in future years will depend on the evidence requirements identified to inform best delivery of policy and operational decision-making.

Shipping

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of UK seafarers were employed on (a) tonnage tax or (b) non-tonnage tax ships in each year since 2001-02. [122061]

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Stephen Hammond: Statistical estimates for the number of UK nationals employed as seafarers are available for years from 2002 onwards. Data for 2012 are not yet available. Tonnage tax companies are required annually to inform the Department of the numbers of UK seafarers employed on their ships. The following table gives an extrapolation of these figures to estimate the percentage of UK seafarers who were employed on tonnage tax ships in each year from 2002 to 2011.

Number of UK seafarers serving on board tonnage tax ships as a percentage of all UK seafarers
 Percentage

2002

21

2003

19

2004

14

2005

19

2006

17

2007

23

2008

23

2009

22

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2010

18

2011

20

Source: UK Seafarer Statistics 2011, DFT and tonnage tax companies.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many UK seafarer (a) ratings and (b) officers there were in each year since 1982. [122062]

Stephen Hammond: Statistical estimates for the number of UK nationals employed as seafarers are available for years from 2002 onwards. Statistical estimates for the number of UK nationals employed as seafarers are not available for years prior to 2002. Data for 2012 are not yet available. The following table gives the number of ratings and the number of officers (certificated and uncertificated) for each of the years from 2002 to 2011.

Number of UK nationals employed as seafarers: 2002-11
Number
 2002200320042005200620072008200920102011

Ratings

9,500

10,500

10,400

9,400

9,800

8,200

9,300

10,400

11,300

11,900

Officers (certificated and uncertificated)

15,200

16,800

16,400

16,200

16,000

13,900

14,200

14,500

14,300

13,300

Total

24,700

27,300

26,800

25,500

25,800

22,000

23,500

24,900

25,600

25,200

Notes: 1. Statistics for ratings and uncertificated officers are based on numbers employed by members of the UK Chamber of Shipping: No adjustment has been made for UK nationals employed by companies which are not members of the UK Chamber of Shipping. 2. Statistics for Certificated Officers are based on certification data supplied by the MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency). Because certificates are valid for five years from the date of validation, for the purposes of these statistics it has been assumed that officers holding certificates retire from service at sea at age 62, and that 16% of other officers with valid certificates are not actively employed at sea at any one time. 3. At any time the number employed will be larger than the number actually serving on ship because of the need to have “relief” employees to cover shore leave. Source: UK Seafarer Statistics 2011, DFT

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many UK seafarer (a) ratings tax and (b) officers served in the merchant navy in each year since 1982. [122063]

Stephen Hammond: The statistics that the Department for Transport has on the number of UK nationals who are seafarers are not broken down by the flag of the vessels on which they serve.

Skipton-Colne Railway Line

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the economic benefits of re-opening the Colne-Skipton railway line. [121801]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport has not made an assessment of the economic benefits arising from the re-opening of the Skipton-Colne line. As this line would primarily meet local travel needs, it is for the local authorities to determine the economic benefits that would arise from its re-opening.

Speed Limits: Cameras

Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on local parish councils in co-operation with their local police constabulary introducing average speed cameras and using proceeds from fines to finance their purchase. [121722]

Stephen Hammond: It is not possible for local parish councils or the police to receive fine revenue from average speed cameras. It is not departmental policy to change from that position.

The coalition agreement included a commitment to ‘stop central government funding for new fixed speed cameras’. This commitment has been delivered.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what media or public speaking training Ministers in his Department have received since May 2010. [122110]

Mr Simon Burns: Ministers in the Department have not received any media or public speaking training since May 2010.

Transport: Exhaust Emissions

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Committee on Climate Change's report, Scope of carbon budgets—Statutory advice on inclusion of international aviation and shipping, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report's recommendations. [121744]

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Norman Baker: The Government is in the process of considering the impacts of the potential inclusion of emissions from international aviation and shipping within the scope of the UK's carbon budgets and targets and takes this issue seriously. As part of this consideration, we are taking into account a range of factors, including the anticipated economic impacts and the level of progress that has been made towards action to tackle emissions from these sectors at the international level.

West Anglia Railway Line

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of likely passenger growth on the West Anglia mainline up to 2016. [121647]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department is in the early stages of re-letting the East Anglia franchise and the modelling for passenger demand has not yet started.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress has been made on investment in infrastructure on the West Anglia Main Line. [121674]

Mr Simon Burns: There are a number of suggested upgrades for the West Anglia Main Line in the High Level Output Specification (HLOS) publication. The Department is waiting to receive Network Rail's view on these upgrades, which is due in January 2013.

West Coast Railway Line

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in his Department are working on the franchise arrangements for the West Coast Main Line; and what has been the cost of negotiations on the new franchise for the West Coast Main Line since 15 August 2012. [121942]

Mr Simon Burns: As of 15 October, a core team of three officials are leading on the franchise arrangements for the West Coast Main Line supported by colleagues from other areas of the Department as required. Negotiations with interested parties regarding the future of the West Coast franchise are still underway, and for this reason the Department is unable to release information about the cost of these negotiations.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Manufacturing Industries

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to improve skills capability for electronics design in engineering and manufacturing; and if he will make a statement. [119964]

Michael Fallon: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and SEMTA, the sector skills council for electronics manufacturing, have given their support to the industry-led initiative, the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), which reaches into schools and universities to raise awareness of the significance and profile of electronics in modern life and in meeting social and technological challenges. It brings together

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companies and universities, and provides undergraduate students with early connections with companies in the sector through sponsorship, mentoring, summer schools and industrial work experience. It seeks to achieve a higher retention rate for UKESF-sponsored students graduating into the electronic design sector.

BIS officials are working closely with electronics sector stakeholders on the ‘Electronic Systems—Challenges and Opportunities’ (ESCO) sector strategy which is focusing on barriers and opportunities for the UK's electronics systems sector and will examine the competitive position of the UK and present information on the size, economic and strategic contribution to the UK economy. The strategy, which is expected to be published in November 2012, includes a workstream looking at the skills and training issues for this sector.

On engineering skills more broadly, Government reforms are developing a demand-led model to help deliver the engineering and technical skills that business needs. We are financing sustained investment in high quality vocational training to boost midrange skills, including record numbers of apprenticeships and creating 33 university technical colleges. The extensive measures we have taken to drive up the quality of apprenticeships will safeguard and improve the learning provided through the apprenticeship programme. We are also rebalancing the apprenticeship programme to offer specific, targeted support to help employers access advanced level and higher apprenticeships, and to develop new higher apprenticeships at level 5 and above. Through the Employer Ownership Pilot, we have taken radical steps to pilot greater employer ownership of vocational training by giving employers the opportunity to take ownership of the skills agenda for their industry or sector.