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Prisoners: Older People

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on meeting the health and social care needs

19 Oct 2012 : Column 494W

of elderly prisoners on their release; and if he will make a statement. [122294]

Mrs Grant: There have been no recent meetings between DH and MOJ Ministers to discuss meeting the health and social care needs of elderly prisoners on their release. However, discussions have been held between the two Departments at official level through the Offender Social Care Implementation Group.

The White Paper on social care "Caring for our future: reforming care and support" published in July 2012 sets out the Government's aim to clarify the responsibility for assessing and providing social care support to offenders in prison. We will develop, with stakeholders, a new framework for the provision of care and support in prisons so it is clear where responsibility lies.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving indeterminate sentences for public protection are aged over 60 years. [122295]

Jeremy Wright: As at 30 June 2012, there were 193 offenders aged over 60 in prison establishments in England and Wales serving indeterminate sentences for public protection.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Prisoners: Per Capita Costs

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) cost per prisoner and (b) cost per place in each prison was in 2011-12. [123598]

Mrs Grant: As part of the Government's Transparency Agenda, the Department publishes full details of outturn expenditure and average cost per prisoner and cost per place for each private and public sector prison in England and Wales after the end of the financial year. The information for financial year 2011-12 is due to be published as an addendum to the National Offender Management Service annual report and accounts on 25 October 2012 and will be available on the Department's website at

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/prisons-and-probation/prison-probation-performance-info

A copy will also be placed in the House Library.

Prisoners: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what treatment is available to prisoners with post-traumatic stress disorder. [122335]

Norman Lamb: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Health.

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, are increasingly able to treat post traumatic stress disorder. IAPT services are increasingly available in prisons and it is intended that they will be available in all prisons by March 2015. In January 2009, the IAPT Programme published best practice guidance, ‘Offenders: Positive Practice Guidance’, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

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Prisoners: Repatriation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with which countries the UK has signed prisoner transfer agreements since May 2010. [122958]

Jeremy Wright: The Government signed a prisoner transfer agreement with Saudi Arabia on 2 January 2012. Prisoner Transfer Agreements with Albania and with the United Arab Emirates have also been concluded and await signature. Furthermore, on 5 December 2011, the Government implemented the EU prisoner transfer agreement (Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA).

Prisoners: Veterans

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether history of military service is automatically recorded when an inmate is received into prison; and how any such service is recorded. [122334]

Jeremy Wright: In cases where a history of military service is disclosed to the Prison Service on reception, this information is recorded on its electronic prisoner database, P-Nomis.

Prisons

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many full-time equivalent employees there were in (a) public and (b) private sector prisons on 30 September 2012. [122945]

Mrs Grant: Figures for 30 September 2012 are currently unavailable for public sector prisons.

The number of full-time equivalent employees in public sector and private sector prisons are set out in the following table as at 31 August:

Full-time equivalent staff as at 31 August 2012
 Number

Public sector prisons

40,369

Private sector prisons

5,978

Public sector staffing figures include all staff directly employed in public sector prisons and area support teams, but not regional services.

Prisons: Capital Investment

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the capital investment budget is for prisons in financial year (a) 2012-13, (b) 2013-14 and (c) 2014-15. [122999]

Mrs Grant: The capital investment budget for prisons in the 2012-13 financial year is £134 million. The budget for future years has not yet been agreed.

Prisons: Private Sector

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons the National Offender Management Service decided not to impose financial penalties on private prisons on each occasion such penalties were found to be applicable in the last five years; and how much revenue was forgone in each such year. [122997]

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Mrs Grant: Performance points are accrued on the occurrence of a custodial service failure which are recorded on a quarterly and annual basis in each contract. Charges are then applied when these total points exceed the relevant performance baseline. Under certain circumstances these charges maybe waived, for example on the basis that the failure could be in part or direct result of an authority/NOMS default.

Information providing a site by site breakdown of charges and reasons related for any mitigation are not routinely collated centrally. Furthermore prior to May 2010 under the previous NOMS structure of regional directors of offender managers (DOMS), decisions on the application or mitigation of points were handled regionally. Therefore the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, the NOMS finance team have recently been working on identifying and collating information with regards to the number of points applied (less any credit/baseline deductions) and the associated charge to the contractor. See following table for a summary for 2010-11 and 2011-12;

 2010-112011-12
PrisonPointsEstimated charge (£)PointsEstimated charge (£)

Altcourse

433

130,000

0

0

Ashfield

140

16,000

130

14,000

Birmingham

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Bronzefield

193

70,000

88

20,000

Doncaster

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Dovegate

0

0

0

0

Forest Bank

0

0

0

0

Lowdham Grange

0

0

152

20,000

Oakwood

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Parc

0

0

0

0

Peterborough

0

0

147

23,000

Rye Hill

747

109,000

1,082

165,000

Thameside

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Wolds

68

5,000

19

1,000

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he has received any reports of instances of private prisons refusing to take new prisoners because of a lockdown caused by staff shortages in the last 12 months for which information is available. [123000]

Mrs Grant: There have been no instances during the last 12 months of a private prison's refusing to take new prisoners because of a lockdown caused by staff shortages.

Probation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many full-time equivalent employees there were at the probation service on 30 September (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [122944]

Jeremy Wright: The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in post in the probation service on 30 September 2010 and 2011 are listed in the following table. Figures for September 2012 are currently unavailable; however the latest published figures to this date (at 30 June 2012) have been provided in the table.

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Probation service staff in post
Probation serviceFTE

2010

19,193.81

2011

18,449.73

2012

17,880.58

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the budget is for the Probation Service in financial year (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [122992]

Mrs Grant: The overall budget allocated to Probation Trusts in 2011-12 was £820 million, and for 2012-13 is £814 million. Figures are rounded to the nearest million. These amounts reflect the total of the contract values agreed with each Probation Trust at the beginning of the financial year. It should be noted that, in addition to these amounts, some funds are held centrally for specific offender related initiatives. These are not embedded in the budget and contract values and therefore excluded from the figures given. Allocated budget amounts may vary throughout the financial year. Probation Trusts may also receive income from elsewhere.

The Department has not set Probation Trust budgets for 2013-14. Budgets will be set as part of the Department's regular annual budget allocation process. Allocations will be made on the basis of need and according to departmental priorities.

Probation: Essex

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 411W, on probation: Essex, for what reasons meetings with hon. Members were arranged; what issues were discussed at each meeting; who was present at each meeting; and if he will make a statement. [122946]

Mrs Grant: The meetings listed in the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 411W, were arranged to introduce the chief executive to local hon. Members and to explain the work of the Probation Trust. Discussion focused on current probation work and the Trust’s contribution to local criminal justice priorities. Most were one-to-one meetings between the chief executive and the hon. Member.


Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 410W, on probation, what specific steps Essex Probation have (a) taken and (b) plan to take in each of the next two years to increase its cost-effectiveness; what meetings officials in his Department have had with Essex Probation about this issue; and if he will make a statement. [122947]

Mrs Grant: Further to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 410W, Essex Probation Trust, as part of its annual business planning process, reviews all areas of expenditure to identify potential for improving cost effectiveness. The review considers cost information generated internally and also from external sources, as well as staff suggestions for improving efficiency and innovation.

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The value of the Trust’s contract with the Secretary of State is agreed each year with the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The contract management team in NOMS is in frequent contact with the Trust to discuss performance, including financial performance, which is measured as part of the contract. The team also has formal quarterly contract review meetings with the Trust.


Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 637W, on probation: Essex, if he will place in the Library a copy of the response to each request to Essex Probation made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 where the request was agreed to and answered in (a) full and (b) part since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [122948]

Mrs Grant: Further to the answer of 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 637W, from 2005 to 2007 the Home Office Open Government Unit responded to all Freedom of Information requests relating to the Essex Probation Board. The Essex Probation Board assumed responsibility for replying to Freedom of Information requests in 2008. The Essex Probation Trust, which came into being on 1 April 2010, is responsible for replying to any Freedom of Information requests addressed to it.

Under the Department’s document retention policy, Freedom of Information replies need be kept for no longer than two years. Information relating to older requests is not available.

I will arrange for the responses for the last two years’ responses to be placed in the Library.


Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 410W, on probation: Essex, what estimate his Department made of the potential cost to the public purse of answering question 107556 in full; and if he will make a statement. [122949]

Mrs Grant: Further to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 410W, on probation: Essex, the Ministry of Justice does not hold the other information requested. To answer the question in full all 35 probation trusts would have had to collate 10 years’ worth of complaint correspondence, much of which may be in hard copy rather than electronic format.

Following collation, this information would need to be compared with local population data for each probation area over the last 10 years. Some of that information is not available in a readily accessible format.

It is difficult to form an accurate estimate of the total cost of such an exercise; however, it clearly exceeds the disproportionate cost threshold.


Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 637W, on Probation: Essex, whether the position of Chief Executive of Essex Probation was advertised; and if he will make a statement. [123031]

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Mrs Grant: Further to the answer of 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 637W, in accordance with general policy on the establishment of Probation Trusts under the Offender Management Act 2007, the position of chief executive of Essex Probation Trust was not advertised.

Mary Archer was the chief officer of the Trust's predecessor body, the Essex Probation Board. She was appointed chief executive by the Secretary of State on 1 April 2010, when the Essex Probation Trust was formed.


Public Expenditure

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer of 8 March 2012, Official Report, columns 853-4W, on public expenditure, what recent progress has been made in saving £1 billion from administration and front line efficiency in his Department; and what progress he expects to make in (a) 2012-13, (b) 2013-14 and (c) 2014-15. [123106]

Mrs Grant: The Department continues to make good progress in delivering the savings required to live within the spending review settlement, including through increased efficiencies in the back office and at the frontline.

Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to prepare for the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. [122345]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice intends to bring the Act fully into force in January 2013. We are currently awaiting detailed guidance from the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group Procurement Policy Team on how the Act will be incorporated in Ministry of Justice procurement processes.

Redundancy

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to page 19 of his Department's Business Plan 2012-15, published on 31 May 2012, what estimate his Department has made of the redundancy costs for the planned reduction in workforce in the current spending review period. [123111]

Mrs Grant: The Department's spending review 2010 implementation requires headcount reduction by 2014-15 through a combination of natural wastage, recruitment freezes and staff exits. We have made good progress so far through strict recruitment controls and restructuring of HQ and across our agencies. The total cost of exit packages in 2011-12 was £133.8 million of which £1.1 million was spent on compulsory redundancies. This information is published on page 106 of the Department's Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12. Please refer to the following link:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/corporate-reports/moj/2012/ministry-of-justice-annual-report-and-accounts-2011-12

Reductions have been achieved through voluntary early departure schemes and redeployment where appropriate. There remains a need to continue making reductions throughout the spending review. As these are developed locally, consideration will be given as to whether the

19 Oct 2012 : Column 500W

reductions can be achieved through natural staff turnover and recruitment controls. Where this is not possible further exit schemes may be appropriate.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what definition his Department uses for (a) reprimand, (b) severe reprimand and (c) demotion under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 where these are handed down as punishments following a military summary hearing; and if he will make a statement. [123066]

Mrs Grant: The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) does not define the terms ‘reprimand’, ‘severe reprimand' and ‘demotion'. These terms originate in the relevant Armed Forces legislation. The Armed Forces Act 2006 governs how these disposals are treated under the ROA.

Where there is doubt over whether a particular disposal falls under a provision of the ROA then determination of this is a matter for the courts. Under current legislation where a disposal is not otherwise dealt within the ROA, then it falls to be considered under the last entry of Table A in section 5(2) which imposes a rehabilitation period of five years.

Unpaid Fines: West Midlands

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many unpaid fines there were in the West Midlands in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the monetary value was of those fines. [123393]

Mrs Grant: For the period April 2012 to June 2012 (latest published data) there were 13,523 (£4,229,890) financial imposition accounts (financial impositions include fines, cost orders, compensation orders and victim surcharge impositions) opened in the West Midlands accounting division area. By the end of June 2012, 2,107 of these accounts were closed, 11,416 (£3,536,870) were either fully or partially outstanding of which 5,574 were compliant with their payment terms.

The total value of all outstanding financial impositions accounts (excluding confiscation orders) in the West Midlands accounting division at the end of June 2012 was £35,256,383. This amount relates to all outstanding accounts regardless of when they were imposed and includes accounts which are compliant with their payment terms.

It is not possible to provide the total number of outstanding fines in the West Midlands area.

Victim Support Schemes

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what steps he is taking to ensure a minimum standard of provision of services for victims and witnesses by police and crime commissioners; [122994]

(2) with reference to his Department's White Paper, Getting it Right for Victims and Witnesses, whether responsibility for victims and witnesses services under

19 Oct 2012 : Column 501W

police and crime commissioners will be

(a)

funded by his Department and

(b)

ring-fenced for delivery of specific services. [122996]

Mrs Grant: Police and crime commissioners should have the widest possible discretion to commission services to meet the needs of victims in their area, and, we believe, not be constrained by minimum standards or entitlements. We will support PCCs by providing them, and service providers, with an outcomes-based commissioning framework.

The majority of the funding PCCs will receive to commission services for victims and witnesses will be provided by the Ministry of Justice. It is not our intention to ring-fence this funding for specific services.

Victims' Commissioner

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the budget was for the Office of Victims’s Commissioner in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13; and how much of that budget was spent in each such year. [122993]

Mrs Grant: The budget and expenditure is set out in the table. There was no Victims' Commissioner in post in 2009-10; in 2011-12 the Office ceased to operate from the end of October 2011 following Louise Casey's resignation,

£
 BudgetExpenditure

2009-10

0

0

2010-11

950,000

939,000

2011-12

1,200,000

585,000

2012-13

0

0

Although no formal budget has been allocated to the Office of the Victims’ Commissioner for 2012-13, the Commissioner will be adequately funded from existing departmental funds once an appointment has been made.

Victims’ Commissioner: Staff

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer of 22 February 2012, Official Report, columns 849-50W, on Victims' Commissioner: manpower, how many full-time equivalent staff worked in the office of the Victims' Commissioner between October 2011 and March 2012. [123107]

Mrs Grant: During October 2011 there were 8.8 full-time equivalent members of staff (excluding the Commissioner herself) in the office of the Victims' Commissioner. The Victims' Commissioner resigned at the end of October 2011 at which point the office ceased to operate.

Work Capability Assessment

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff were employed by the Tribunals Service to deal with appeals relating to the work capability assessment in each month in 2012 to date. [122497]

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Mrs Grant: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) hears appeals against Department for Work and Pensions decisions on entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) (decisions in which the work capability assessment is a key factor) rather than appeals against work capability assessment decisions themselves.

It is not possible to identify how many staff deal specifically with ESA appeals. The following table shows the number of administrative staff employed in relation to the Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) Tribunal as at the end of each month between January and September 2012 (the latest date for which figures have been published). The tribunal hears appeals on a range of benefits, of which ESA is one.

Of the 994 staff in post as at 30 September 2012, 886 were permanent staff and 108 staff were on fixed term contracts. A number of efficiency improvements have been made and continue to be made in the SSCS Tribunal. These enable each member of staff to process more cases.

Social Security and Child Support Tribunal staff numbersJanuary to September 2012
 Number of staff(1)

January

1,002

February

996

March

1,010

April

996

May

(2)996

June

1,001

July

1,007

August

1,007

September

994

(1 )The data are taken from management information. The figures quoted refer to the total number of people employed and includes those who work part-time or on a full-time basis and on temporary or fixed-term contacts. Some of the staff included may work in multi-jurisdictional centres dealing with other work as well as SSCS appeals. Equally some staff working in multi-jurisdictional centres who deal with SSCS appeals may not be included. (2) This figure is different from the figure of 988 given in answer to PQ 115318 on 9 July 2012. The reason for this is that staff have been moved retrospectively into a different budget code.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Aerospace Industry

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what steps his Department is taking to encourage long-term investment in the UK aerospace industry; [122249]

(2) what support his Department is providing to assist the UK aerospace industry to invest in emerging technologies. [122250]

Michael Fallon: We are working closely with business through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), which I chair jointly with Marcus Bryson of GKN Aerospace, to identify the key technologies that will best position the UK aerospace industry to increase its competitiveness, achieve sustainable growth, and encourage long term investment. Following the launch of a ‘Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace’ publication in July, setting out how industry and Government are working together, the way ahead on these issues will be set out in an AGP strategy document which be published in January 2013.

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In the meantime, the Government has already this year agreed to co-invest with business in a wide range of new research and technology projects in aerospace, including emerging technologies:

£28.2 million of government investment allocated to six innovative aerodynamics projects, with a further £20 million added by business;

£20 million for collaborative aerodynamics research projects launched through the Technology Strategy Board with £20 million matched funded by business;

£40 million in a series of projects on low carbon aero engine research, matched by £40 million from business;

£25 million in a series of projects on new manufacturing processes, to be matched by business;

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£15 million joint Government and industry investment awarded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to 11 major business-led R&D projects.

British Antarctic Survey

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the cost was to the public purse of the (a) establishment and (b) work of the British Antarctic Survey in each of the last five years. [123881]

Mr Willetts: The total expenditure (resource and capital) for BAS for the past five years is set out in the table below.

£000
 2007/082008/092009/102010/112011/12

Resource

39,800

38,678

41,142

37,558

38,619

Capital

16,175

5,946

7,978

11,437

7,523

Total Resource and Capital

55,975

44,624

49,120

48,995

46,142

Note:

The terms ‘establishment’ and ‘work of’ do not correspond to categories within NERC’s budget.

Source:

How we spent the Science Budget, NERC Annual Accounts

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) manpower and (b) property establishment are of the British Antarctic Survey. [123882]

Mr Willetts: (a) There are 485 Natural Environment Research Council employees working for BAS.

(b) The Net Book Value (NBV) of BAS property is £140,648,000 (taken from the fixed asset register as at 31 March 2012).

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) objectives and (b) tasks are of the British Antarctic Survey. [123883]

Mr Willetts: (a) The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Mission is to:

Deliver a world-class programme of scientific research, national capability and long-term observations, concentrating on the regional and global role of polar processes in the Earth System.

Through its science and impact, sustain for the UK an active and influential Antarctic regional presence, and a leadership role in Antarctic affairs. BAS provides a focus for national and international cooperation in polar science, and access for scientists to the polar regions.

(b) BAS delivers and co-ordinates major research programmes, including those requiring significant technology or infrastructure. It exploits research outcomes, engages with the public, provides expert independent advice to the British Government and other stakeholders, and helps to discharge the UK's responsibilities under the Antarctic Treaty System and to administer British Antarctic Territory.

Business: Cannock Chase

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support businesses in Cannock Chase constituency. [123830]

Michael Fallon: We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why, in January, the Prime Minister launched “Business in You”, a major campaign to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.

We have introduced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK:

Ensuring SMEs can access the support and advice they need to start and grow

We have changed the way that we help people access the information, guidance and advice they need to start and grow a business. We have put in place a range of services including;

www.gov.uk is the new home for Government services and information online, www.gov.uk has been built to make it simpler, clearer and faster for people to find what they need from Government. To help those that cannot use internet service, we will continue to offer support through the Business Link helpline (on 0845 6009006).

A mentoring portal www.mentorsme.co.uk providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.

A new three year “GrowthAccelerator” programme which will provide high quality coaching support for up to 26,000 SMEs with high growth potential.

Ensuring SMEs can access the finance they need

In July, the Government and Bank of England launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which allows banks and building societies to borrow at cheaper rates from the Bank of England for periods of up to four years. The FLS creates strong incentives for banks to increase lending to UK households and businesses by lowering interest rates and increasing access to credit.

Launched a new £10 million Start-Up Loan Scheme aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds.

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Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. Government will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels that can reach smaller businesses.

Continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over£2 billion of additional lending.

Announced a new £50 million Business Angel Co-Investment Fund to encourage Business Angel investment.

Continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.

Welcomed the report of the industry review of non-bank lending chaired by Tim Breedon and will take forward its recommendations, including encouraging prompt payment by larger firms.

A £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015 which supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment.

Ensuring that regulation supports business growth

Introduced a ‘one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulations which impose costs on businesses can be brought in without regulation of an equivalent value being removed.

In April 2011 the Government introduced a three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation affecting micro businesses and genuine start-ups.

The Red Tape Challenge is tackling the stock of regulation via a comprehensive thematic review which aims to identify regulations that could be removed, simplified or done in a different way.

Addressing the way in which regulation is enforced at the front line through a series of sector-based reviews of enforcement to examine whether national and local regulatory enforcement was being undertaken and placing the minimum necessary burden on business.

To reduce barriers to businesses taking on new staff Government has announced significant deregulation of employment law, including increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years from 6 April 2012.

Encouraging exporting SMEs

Government will spend £35 million to double, from 25,000 to 50,000, the number of SMEs that UKTI supports a year by 2015. Many components of the UKTI product are aimed at SMEs:

Passport to Export is a trade development programme offering new and inexperienced exporters help and support to build the capability to start exporting proactively and make their first visit to an export market. Launched in 2001, it has helped around 14,000 SMEs as of January 2012.

Gateway to Global Growth offers experienced SME exporters the opportunity to increase their exporting skills and awareness of what is on offer from UKTI and private sector suppliers. The aim is to help them enter more difficult markets or expand in existing ones.

Market Visit Support provides assistance to new to export and/or new to market SMEs visiting overseas markets, individually or in groups as part of their trade development process.

Budget 2012 set out an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 through additional measures including expanding the overseas role of UK Export Finance to enable it to develop finance packages that could help UK exporters secure opportunities identified through UK Trade & Investment's High Value Opportunities programme.

Local Business Support

The “Local Growth” White Paper set out Government's vision for a localised approach to rebalancing the economy, with key private and public sector partners coming

19 Oct 2012 : Column 506W

together to drive growth and create employment across functional economic areas. Since then, 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England have formed and are now working to ensure that local economies can support existing businesses, enterprise and long-term growth. Cannock Chase benefits from being part of two LEP areas: Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP. Both have set up specific services to support business development in their areas. For example, businesses in Cannock Chase can benefit from a dedicated helpline set up by the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP (0300 111 8002), who have also responded to significant demand by holding a series of well attended ‘Access to Finance’ events. The “Business Hub”, led by Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP provides another useful source of support to local SMEs and larger organisations in the area

http://centreofenterprise.com/

Business: Government Assistance

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with major lenders on loans to young entrepreneurs, particularly those who are not in education, employment or training to establish credit for new, small and medium-sized enterprises. [122341]

Michael Fallon: Ministers hold regular discussions with lenders about how this scheme, and other lending programmes, can be best utilised by the major banks, to support businesses including start-ups.

The Government is engaged in the pilot of a major programme to support young entrepreneurs, regardless of background, in accessing start-up finance where access to traditional lending is limited. This programme has an allocation of £10 million for the remainder of this year, with a further £30 million and £42 million earmarked for future years.

This programme is being delivered by a new company under the leadership of James Caan, which in turn is working with delivery partners. These partners include CDFIs, banks and other lenders and the company is in discussions across the credit market to ensure lending capacity is in place.

As well as Start-Up Loans, Government has the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme in place to support lending to businesses without sufficient track-record or collateral.

Business: Pendle

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to support small and medium-sized businesses in Pendle constituency. [122253]

Michael Fallon: We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why in January the Prime Minister launched ‘Business in You’, a major campaign, to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.

19 Oct 2012 : Column 507W

We have introduced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK:

Ensuring SMES can access the support and advice they need to start and grow

We have changed the way that we help people access the information, guidance and advice they need to start and grow a business. We have put in place a range of services including:

All Government support and advice available on

www.businesslink.gov.uk

Later this month, we will transfer this to a new website:

www.gov.uk

which will provide users with simpler information that is easier and faster to access. To help those that cannot use internet service, we will continue to offer support through the Business Link helpline on 0845 600 9006.

A mentoring portal www.mentorsme.co.uk providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.

A new three year Growth Accelerator programme which will provide high quality coaching support for up to 26,000 SMEs with high growth potential.

Ensuring businesses can access the finance they need

In July, the Government and Bank of England launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which allows banks and building societies to borrow at cheaper rates from the Bank of England for periods of up to four years. The FLS creates strong incentives for banks to increase lending to UK households and businesses by lowering interest rates and increasing access to credit.

Launched a new £10 million Start-Up Loan Scheme aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds.

Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. Government will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels that can reach smaller businesses.

Continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over£2 billion of additional lending.

Announced a new £50 million Business Angel Co-Investment Fund to encourage Business Angel investment.

Continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.

Welcomed the report of the industry review of non-bank lending chaired by Tim Breedon and will take forward its recommendations, including encouraging prompt payment by larger firms.

A £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015 which supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment.

Ensuring that regulation supports business growth

Introduced a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no new regulations which impose costs on businesses can be brought in without regulation of an equivalent value being removed.

In April 2011 the Government introduced a three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation affecting micro businesses and genuine start-ups.

The Red Tape Challenge is tackling the stock of regulation via a comprehensive thematic review which aims to identify regulations that could be removed, simplified or done in a different way.

Addressing the way in which regulation is enforced at the front line through a series of sector-based reviews of enforcement to examine whether national and local regulatory enforcement was being undertaken and placing the minimum necessary burden on business.

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To reduce barriers to businesses taking on new staff Government has announced significant deregulation of employment law, including increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years from 6 April 2012.

Encouraging exporting SMEs

Government will spend £35 million to double, from 25,000 to 50,000, the number of SMEs that UKTI supports a year by 2015. Many components of the UKTI product are aimed at SMEs:

Passport to Export is a trade development programme offering new and inexperienced exporters help and support to build the capability to start exporting proactively and make their first visit to an export market. Launched in 2001, it has helped around 14,000 SMEs as of January 2012.

Gateway to Global Growth offers experienced SME exporters the opportunity to increase their exporting skills and awareness of what is on offer from UKTI and private sector suppliers. The aim is to help them enter more difficult markets or expand in existing ones.

Market Visit Support provides assistance to new to export and/or new to market SMEs visiting overseas markets, individually or in groups as part of their trade development process.

Budget 2012 set out an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 through additional measures including expanding the overseas role of UK Export Finance to enable it to develop finance packages that could help UK exporters secure opportunities identified through UK Trade and Investment's High Value Opportunities programme.

Local Business Support

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire (REGEN) is using £7.5 million regional growth fund funding to help SMEs create 3,000 jobs within an array of industries across Lancashire. They are calling the programme the Accelerating Business Growth programme which is a competitive grant scheme that helps fund business growth projects across Lancashire including Pendle. Currently 100 companies in Lancashire have expressed an interest in the programme. The current figures for Pendle are:

11 Expressions of Interest, seven successful at EOI stage and progressed to Full Application, one awaiting assessment.

12% of all Expressions of Interest come from Pendle companies.

Lancashire Business Hub has been created to ensure that businesses across Lancashire have access to the full range of national and local support. Co-ordinated by the LEP, which acts as the accountable body, the Growth Hub offers access to funding, mentoring and other business advice.

Business: Staffordshire

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of access to credit for businesses in (a) Cannock Chase constituency and (b) Staffordshire in each of the last two years. [123955]

Michael Fallon: The Government have a range of schemes in place to support small businesses access credit across the country, such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) and the Funding for Lending scheme launched by the Bank of England in July. To deliver value for money and ease of access for business they are predominantly delivered at a national level.

Since the launch of Enterprise Finance Guarantee, 32 EFG-backed loans worth £2.66 million have been utilised by companies in Cannock Chase, and 313 loans worth over £30 million by companies in Staffordshire.

19 Oct 2012 : Column 509W

In addition, the Black Country Reinvestment Society (Community Development Finance Institution) has been accredited to provide EFG loans to viable businesses based in Staffordshire.

British Bankers Association (BBA) data show that £412 million of new loans were extended to small and medium sized businesses in the first quarter of this year, the latest period for which figures are available.

Combined Heat and Power: Taxation

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect on refineries and petrochemical plants of the withdrawal of levy exemption certificates in 2013. [122875]

Sajid Javid: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

The impacts of removing the exemption are set out in the Tax Information and Impact Note published at Budget 2012. This can be found on the HMRC website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/tiin-0700.pdf

This Government is committed to creating an environment that supports manufacturing within the UK and continues to incentivise Combined Heat and Power (CHP) overall through public subsidy. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is looking at alternative ways to address barriers to investment in good-quality CHP plants.

Conditions of Employment

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has received representations from the International Labour Organisation on the potential effects on growth and labour market participation of his proposals to permit workers to trade employment rights for shares in the company for which they work. [122980]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not received any representations from the International Labour Organisation on this issue.

Construction: Pendle

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to support the construction industry in Pendle constituency; and if he will make a statement. [122252]

Michael Fallon: The Government is actively working to help all construction firms including those in Pendle.

Returning the UK to sustainable and balanced growth is a key priority for the Government and construction has a central role to play in this. Working closely with the construction industry, we are therefore:

Removing barriers to growth by tackling the planning system, the burden of regulation and access to finance. The Government is also looking at a number of other issues which may constrain the industry's ability to respond to future growth such as a lack of skills.

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Stimulating infrastructure development and improvement. The National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) sets out the overarching view of our forthcoming infrastructure needs. It contains major spending commitments to improve our transport and broadband networks as well as steps to attract major new private sector investment. It has identified a pipeline of over 500 projects, including the top 40 priority infrastructure investments that are critical for growth.

Ensuring Government plays a full role as a key customer of the industry. The public sector accounts for about 30% of the construction industry's output.

Looking for new opportunities and identifying how they can best be exploited including realising the opportunities of the developing green economy, overseas markets and more effective use of ICT through Building Information Management (BIM).

Stimulating the house building industry. We are committed to seeing a major increase in the supply of new homes where they are needed and wanted. Our housing strategy, ‘Laying the Foundations—A Housing Strategy for England’, published last November, announced an ambitious package of measures to increase significantly the supply of affordable homes. This includes £1.34 billion to support developers and local partners in investing in new homes and infrastructure through the £570 million Get Britain Building investment fund which will unlock stalled housing sites and enable the building of up to 16,000 new homes and the £770 million Growing Places Fund which is allowing local enterprise partnerships to invest in infrastructure that will help to create new homes and jobs.

On 6 September we announced a further major housing and planning package, which includes £780 million to unlock 70,000 new homes and create 140,000 new jobs plus a £10 billion guarantee to support investment in new homes.

Construction: Sunderland

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to support the construction industry in Sunderland. [123824]

Michael Fallon: The Government is actively working to help construction firms including those in Sunderland.

Returning the UK to sustainable and balanced growth is a key priority for the Government and construction has a central role to play in this. Working closely with the construction industry, we are therefore:

Removing barriers to growth—by tackling the planning system, the burden of regulation and access to finance. The Government is also looking at a number of other issues which may constrain the industry's ability to respond to future growth such as a lack of skills.

Stimulating infrastructure development and improvement—The National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) sets out the overarching view of our forthcoming infrastructure needs. It contains major spending commitments to improve our transport and broadband networks as well as steps to attract major new private sector investment. It has identified a pipeline of over 500 projects, including the top 40 priority infrastructure investments that are critical for growth.

Ensuring Government plays a full role as a key customer of the industry—The Public Sector accounts for about 30% of the construction industry's output.

Looking for new opportunities and identifying how they can best be exploited including realising the opportunities of the developing green economy, overseas markets and more effective use of ICT through Building Information Management (BIM).

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Stimulating the house building industry—We are committed to seeing a major increase in the supply of new homes where they are needed and wanted. Our Housing Strategy, 'Laying the Foundations - A Housing Strategy for England', published last November, announced an ambitious package of measures to increase significantly the supply of affordable homes.

This includes £1.34 billion to support developers and local partners in investing in new homes and infrastructure through the £570 million Get Britain Building investment fund, which will unlock stalled housing sites and enable the building of up to 16,000 new homes and the £770 million Growing Places Fund, which is allowing Local Enterprise Partnerships to invest in infrastructure that will help to create new homes and jobs. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Sunderland, has been allocated £25 million from the Growing Places Fund.

On 6 September we announced a further major housing and planning package, which includes £780 million to

19 Oct 2012 : Column 512W

unlock 70,000 new homes and create 140,000 new jobs plus a £10 billion guarantee to support investment in new homes.

Higher Education: Admissions

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many UK-based students entered university courses in each academic year since 2006 in (a) the west midlands and (b) England. [122747]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 October 2012]: The latest available information on UK-domiciled entrants to (a) west midlands (region) and (b) English higher education institutions is shown in the following table for the academic years 2006/07 to 2010/11. Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2013.

UK-domiciled-entrants(2) by level of study English higher education institutions academic years 2006/07 to 2010/11
 All English HEIsWest midlands HEIs
Academic yearPostgraduateUndergraduateTotalPostgraduateUndergraduateTotal

2006/07

152,330

579,435

731,765

12,895

53,270

66,165

2007/08

149,795

590,805

740,600

12,550

56,840

69,390

2008/09

164,695

628.915

793,610

13,470

57,730

71,200

2009/10

176,675

635,935

812,610

14,445

61,275

75,720

2010/11

171,210

599,130

770,340

15,105

61,325

76,430

(1) Domicile refers to a student's permanent or home address prior to entry to their course. (2) Covers students in their first year of study. Note: Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of pupils in (a) Ashfield, (b) Nottinghamshire, (c) the East Midlands and (d) England and Wales went on to higher education in each of the last five years. [123551]

Mr Willetts: The estimated proportions of maintained schools pupils who progressed to higher education by age 19 are shown in the following table.

Estimated proportions of maintained schools pupils who progressed to higher education by age 19 in the academic year given UK higher education institutions and English further education institutions
Percentage
 2005/062006/072007/082008/092009/10

Nottinghamshire

n/a

28

27

29

29

East Midlands

n/a

30

30

31

32

England

30

31

31

33

34

n/a = Not available Source: Matched data from the DFE National Pupil Database, the HESA Student Record and the SFA ILR

Figures below national level are not available before 2006/07. BIS does not hold comparable data for Wales. Robust figures by parliamentary constituency are not available from this source.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) recently produced analysis of young participation rates in higher education for small areas over a five-year span. HEFCE estimates the average progression rate by age 19 for Ashfield parliamentary constituency to be 21% from 2005/06 to 2009/10. HEFCE figures are not comparable with those produced by BIS above as they use different methodology. HEFCE figures use population estimates while the BIS figures use matched data covering maintained schools pupils.

Information on progression of pupils to higher education is available from the BIS Widening Participation statistical release of August 2012.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/higher-education/official-statistics-releases/widening-participation-in-higher-education/widening-participation-in-higher-education-2012

The HEFCE report on young participation is available from the following link:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2012/201226/#d.en.75676

Detailed information is available at the following link:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/wp/ourresearch/polar/polar3data/

Loans: Interest Charges

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of marketing techniques employed by providers of very high interest loans. [120671]

Jo Swinson: The Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) review of high-cost credit in 2009/10 assessed the provision of very high interest loans and the Consumer Credit and Personal Insolvency Review (CCPIR) in 2010/11

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subsequently sought views on the OFTs recommendations. In launching the CCPIR call for evidence, the Government were particularly concerned about the way in which some forms of credit were marketed. The Government's response in November 2011 made clear that we recognised the widespread concerns about the high cost credit market and, as a result, we have been taking forward a number of legislative and non-legislative interventions, including:

Agreement with the payday lending trade bodies to improve their codes of practice to deliver enhanced consumer protections and increased transparency;

The OFT’s investigations into regulatory compliance by the payday lending industry and into lenders' misuse of Continuous Payment Authority when recovering loan repayment;

Announcement to give the OFT the power to suspend consumer credit licences with immediate effect where there is evidence of serious consumer detriment;

Research commissioned from the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre to assess the impact of a total cost of credit cap in the high cost credit market, which will help inform our policy thinking in this area; and

A further investment of £38 million announced by the Department of Work and Pensions to expand the credit union network and therefore improve access to credit union loans which can provide a real alternative to high cost credit.

London Metropolitan University

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of recent events concerning London Metropolitan University; and whether his Department expects this to affect future applications from international students. [122377]

Mr Willetts: The Government's priority was to ensure legitimate overseas students affected by the decision to revoke London Metropolitan University's highly trusted status were given the support required to continue their studies.

The Government established a taskforce, led by the Higher Education Council for England (HEFCE), to work with London Metropolitan University to support appropriately qualified legitimate students to find another institution to continue their studies in the UK. The Government also created an emergency fund of up to £2 million to allow affected students to claim back fees for reapplying for visas and discretionary payments to cover, for example, lost deposits on accommodation due to having to move somewhere else to study. Following the recent decision of the High Court, legitimate non-EU students are able to remain at London Metropolitan University until their course has ended or the end of the academic year, whichever is sooner.

Our universities are among the best in the world and remain a top class destination for international students. It is too early to say what impact, if any, the revocation decision might have on future applications. Education exports are a key part of our new industrial strategy.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 September 2012, Official Report, column 518W, on London Metropolitan University, whether he has received a detailed assessment from (a) the Higher Education Funding Council for England or (b) London Metropolitan

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University on the financial implications for London Metropolitan University of losing its Highly Trusted Sponsor status and its Tier 4 sponsor licence. [122688]

Mr Willetts: It is still too early to assess the detailed financial impact of the UK Border Agency revocation. The recent High Court ruling has allowed a significant number of students the opportunity to continue their studies at London Metropolitan University until the end of their courses or the end of the academic year, whichever is the sooner. All students have been offered the opportunity and support to transfer to another institution. We will not know until later in the recruitment cycle how many chose to do what.

The university is developing detailed financial plans for 2012-13 and beyond. These plans will be shared with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) when it is feasible to assess the overall financial impact on the institution. HEFCE continues to monitor the short and medium term sustainability of the institution and has been provided with assurances that there are no immediate concerns.

Manufacturing Advice Service

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills since the launch of the Manufacturing Advice Service (MAS) in January 2012, how many jobs have been (a) created and (b) safeguarded as a result; and what assessment he has made of MAS's contribution to economic growth. [123889]

Michael Fallon: 755 business improvement consultancy projects have been completed between the launch of the new national Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in January and 30 September 2012. The businesses receiving this support have forecast that up to 2,571 jobs could be created, 7,270 safeguarded and £234.19 million generated in economic growth (Gross Value Added) within 12 months following the intervention. The job creation figures will be verified by MAS next year and an evaluation will be undertaken to assess the additionality of MAS support.

Minimum Wage

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of seafarers earning the national minimum wage who were subject to an accommodation offset in each year since 1998. [121650]

Jo Swinson: I refer the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran to the answer I gave on 15 October 2012, Official Report, column 253W.

Morecambe and Lunesdale: Funding

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has allocated to Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency since 2010. [121958]

Jo Swinson: The Department does not hold details of funding allocated to each individual constituency and unfortunately the information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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New Businesses

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of business start-ups in each constituent part of the UK since May 2012. [123828]

Michael Fallon: The latest available official data on the number of business start-ups in the constituent parts of the UK relates to 2010. See:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/2010/index.html

Data for 2011 will be published by the Office for National Statistics in December 2012.

Regional Growth Fund

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what consideration he has given to increasing the Regional Growth Fund allocation to banks who have successfully lent their existing allocation to small and medium-sized businesses. [122558]

Michael Fallon: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and the wider ministerial panel considered a range of bids from a number of organisations that were submitted in Regional Growth Fund (RGF) Round 3. Details of bidders selected to go forward for due diligence and contracting were made public earlier today.

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the Regional Growth Fund on bank lending to small and medium-sized businesses. [122559]

Michael Fallon: The Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.4 billion fund intended to support projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth that can create additional, sustainable private sector employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities which were dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity. It is not focused specifically on supporting bank lending, and the majority of funding is disbursed as equity-like grant funding.

However, under the scheme in Rounds 1 and 2, two banks have agreed to help distribute the RGF to help SMEs who would not be able to access the RGF directly. For example, over 700 such companies have been supported with grants allowing them to leverage almost £140 million of bank lending and so buy assets and support the employment of 8,679 people.

Reserve Forces

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many reservists are employed by his Department. [122382]

Jo Swinson: The HR System in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not hold this information. Therefore it is not known how many reservists are employed in the Department.

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Students: Loans

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has met representatives of the New College of the Humanities to discuss whether their students can receive loans from the Student Loans Company; and if he will make a statement. [123258]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 18 October 2012]: I have not met representatives of the New College of the Humanities to discuss whether their students can receive loans from the Student Loans Company.

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Office report, Central Government's implementation of the national Compact. [120628]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 13 September 2012]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) views the Compact with great importance and is committed to implementing the NAO's recommendations.

To this end BIS works closely with the third sector and maintains regular consultative dialogue with the third sector National Learning Alliance (TSNLA) to ensure that Third Sector interests are taken into account appropriately and systematically.

Earlier in 2012 BIS commissioned research from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) to identify what barriers stand in the way of achieving Government's ambitions for the third sector. This research will culminate in November 2012 in implementation strategies for the sector and support bodies to take forward.

Supported by TSNLA, LSIS works closely with the third sector to enable access to their services by third sector providers. In June 2012 the NIACE grant letter 2012-13 was updated to include a commitment to supporting the third sector achieve its potential in the delivery of learning and skills.

In the consumer-focused voluntary sector, BIS sponsors both Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland—the umbrella bodies for the Citizens Advice service across England and Wales and in Scotland. BIS provides core grant in aid funding to both charities under schedule 274 of the Enterprise Act. This funding enables the two bodies to provide essential central services to their customers namely the network of Citizens Advice Bureaux. In return, the services also to provide central Government with real-time data on the issues facing the public on a wide number of social policy issues.

UK Research Partnership Investment Fund

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many bids he has received to the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund to date; how many have been unsuccessful; and from what region each successful and unsuccessful bid came; [123634]

(2) by what date he expects successful bidders to receive allocated funds under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund; and what deadline he has set in relation to that process; [123635]

19 Oct 2012 : Column 517W

(3) on what date Higher Education Funding Council for England began carrying out due diligence on bids taken forward under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund; [123636]

(4) with reference to his announcement that bidding for funds under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund has re-opened, when bidding is expected to close. [123637]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 18 October 2012]:In October, the Government announced additional funding of £200 million for the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), to add to £100 million provided in Budget 2012, to enable universities to lever in private sector and charity co-investment into long-term strategic research partnerships. This will further enhance the facilities for world class university research and help build strategic partnerships between universities, businesses and charities across the UK, supporting long-term economic growth.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), working with counterparts in the devolved Administrations, is responsible for managing the fund, including developing detailed arrangements for a competitive process, for project assessment and all decisions on project selection. The fund is available for large capital research projects, and will provide between £10 million and £35 million to projects which secure at least twice that amount in private or charitable co-investment. Proposals have been assessed by an independent Assessment Panel, chaired by Peter Saraga, against published criteria including value for money and the how much they build on existing strong research capability, regardless of specific geographic location.

HEFCE issued a call for expressions of interest in the fund in May 2012 to all higher education institutions across the UK. Full details are available at

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2012/201212/

These were considered by the independent assessment panel in June, and a number were invited to submit full proposals over the summer. On receipt of the full proposals by 23 August, HEFCE initiated a process of detailed appraisal, including assessment by the assessment panel and related due diligence.

HEFCE will announce a full list of successful projects shortly and will include information on the number of bids received and their geographical breakdown. After reflecting further on the first bidding round, HEFCE will announce a further call for new and reworked proposals in due course. In accordance with normal HEFCE funding arrangements, successful projects will draw down their allocation from HEFCE as relevant project expenditure is incurred over the remainder of the spending review.

US Securities and Exchange Commission

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effects (a) in the UK and (b) internationally of the US Securities and Exchange Commission rule-making on project level reporting in the extractive industries under section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. [123486]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 18 October 2012]: The rules introduced by the Securities and Exchange Commission are an important step in the creation of a

19 Oct 2012 : Column 518W

global standard for transparency in the extractive industries. They provide a benchmark against which efforts to agree strong EU transparency laws will be measured. The Securities and Exchange Commission has included an economic analysis of its new rules within its ‘Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers, Final Rule’, published on 22 August 2012. Details can be found at:

www.sec.gov/rules/final/2012/34-67717.pdf

Vocational Training

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to promote re-skilling initiatives in the UK. [123827]

Matthew Hancock: The Government are clear that in order for the UK to compete globally, we must have a world-class skills base across all sectors. Employers and professional representative bodies are best placed to know what skills their sectors need and to deliver these to the British workforce. This demand-led model was given life by the publication of “Skills for Sustainable Growth” in November 2010. “New Challenges New Chances”, published in December 2011, reaffirmed our approach and set out Government's plans for skills to 2015. We launched the Employer Ownership Pilot in November 2011 as a further step to achieving business ownership of the skills agenda. It is giving employers direct access to up to £250 million of public investment for training and apprenticeships over the next two years. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), recently announced the first successful bids from the first round of the pilot—34 bids will be supported by an expected £67 million of public investment, backed by £98 million of employer investment.

We are continuing the important work to improve and expand apprenticeships, particularly at Levels 3 and 4, to ensure that businesses have the skills required to compete, and that individuals have opportunities to re-skill throughout their careers. £25 million from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund has been allocated to 30 projects which will provide over 25,000 new Higher Apprenticeship places over the next three years. The new Higher Apprenticeships will be available in sectors including renewable energy, advanced engineering, insurance, space, retail and hospitality.

To help create apprenticeship opportunities, and to promote the programme amongst smaller employers, in April this year Government introduced incentive payments of £1,500 for smaller employers who take on young apprentices aged 16-24. The total number of incentive places available in 2012/13 is 40,000.

Energy and Climate Change

Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2012

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the reason was for the time taken for the entry into force of the Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2012. [123628]

19 Oct 2012 : Column 519W

Gregory Barker: A technical issue came to light over the summer around the application of “in-use factors” in ECO. In-use factors adjust the carbon scores for each energy efficiency measure to reflect its likely real-world, rather than theoretical, performance.

In modelling the expected outputs for ECO, and setting the proposed legal targets for the scheme, the inclusion of “in-use” factors was assumed. However, the secondary legislation giving effect to the Green Deal and ECO policies did not in every relevant instance incorporate the provisions necessary to ensure that in use factors are applied.

As this would have created uncertainty for parties such as those who are obligated under the scheme, DECC launched a short consultation on 30 August with a view to correcting this anomaly and providing the clarity that is needed. This consultation has now closed and DECC proposes to bring a revised Order back to the House at the earliest opportunity, with a view to its coming into force by 1 January 2013.

We do not expect this to make much, if any, practical difference to delivery on the ground. Households will continue to benefit from energy efficiency and heating measures delivered under existing schemes such as Warm Front and CERT and we intend to include a provision in the amended Order that will allow energy companies to carry forward ECO activity delivered from 1 October and score it against their ECO targets.

E-mail

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what guidance his Department has issued to (a) Ministers, (b) officials and (c) special advisers on the use of personal e-mails for official departmental business. [121333]

Gregory Barker: Ministers, SPADs and DECC officials are all informed on appointment that non-DECC e-mail accounts should not be used for official departmental business. Ministers also have a personal DECC account which is separate from their shared office mailbox and allows them to communicate by Blackberry. Guidance has been issued for their use.

Energy: Meters

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what recent discussions he has had with energy companies on using the universal credit system to allow pre-paid meter customers to move onto credit meters; [122882]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with energy companies on allowing pre-paid meter customers to move onto credit meters. [122883]

Gregory Barker: DECC Ministers and officials have had a number of discussions with energy suppliers on a range of issues.

Ofgem is responsible for regulating gas and electricity markets, including the rules that govern switching energy supplier. Prepayment meter customers who are not in debt may switch payment method or supplier at anytime. From 1 November, under the Debt Assignment Protocol, the six big suppliers have agreed with Ofgem to increase the limit that a prepayment meter customer with a debt can switch supplier from £200 to £500.

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It would be for Ofgem to consider whether further regulatory protection is required, such as the introduction of an universal credit system to enable prepayment. customers in debt to switch to another payment method.

Energy: Prices

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the merits of reducing energy tariffs for people who live in housing that cannot take advantage of energy efficiency measures. [122719]

Gregory Barker: Setting of tariffs is a commercial matter for the companies concerned.

The energy company obligation requires energy suppliers to provide extra help for those most in need and for properties that are harder to treat.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to limit gas and electricity price rises. [123165]

Gregory Barker: Gas and electricity prices for households consumers are a commercial matter for the companies concerned, who are regulated by Ofgem.

DECC is already taking a number of steps to help consumers, particularly the vulnerable, with their energy bills. Programmes such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Warm Front, Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation will make homes more energy efficient. In addition, the Warm Home Discount provides £1.1 billion of support up to 2015 to help 2 million low income and vulnerable households annually.

As recently announced by the Prime Minister, DECC will also bring forward legislation to help consumers get the lowest tariff for them.

Energy: Storage

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what support his Department provides to projects for liquid air energy storage. [123626]

Gregory Barker: On 19 October 2012, DECC launched two new innovation support competitions for energy storage research and development. Both competitions (outlined as follows) are open to any type of energy storage technology—including liquid air energy storage—which could address grid-scale storage and balancing needs in the UK electricity transmission or distribution networks.

DECC's energy storage competitions have been launched in recognition of the potential role for energy storage in enabling low carbon technologies and supporting security of supply, as highlighted in the Electricity Network and Storage Technology Innovation Needs Assessment summary report published recently by the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG).

The Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition, with a budget of up to £17 million, will offer organisations the opportunity to secure contracts to develop and demonstrate pre-commercial innovative

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energy storage technologies which can address grid-scale storage needs for the UK electricity network in the run up to 2020 and beyond.

DECC's Energy Storage Component Research and Feasibility Study Competition, with a budget of up to £3 million, will offer grant funding on a competitive basis to develop components or materials used for energy storage systems or to develop feasibility studies to further explore how storage systems work and how they can be used in the UK electricity network.

Further details of the DECC energy storage competitions, including the key dates and eligibility and selection criteria, can be found at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/funding/funding_ops/innovation/innov_fund/storage/storage.aspx

Fuel Poverty

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the number of children under five years old living in fuel poverty. [122706]

Gregory Barker: Fuel poverty is measured at a household rather than an individual level. In 2010, the latest year for which data are available, 271,000 households containing a child under five were estimated to be in fuel poverty. This equates to 9.6% of households containing a child under five.

We are committed to helping low income, vulnerable households heat their homes affordably. Households with young children and in receipt of qualifying benefits may be able to access assistance to improve the energy efficiency of their home through the Warm Front scheme. In addition, a discount may be available on their energy bill through the Warm Home Discount Broader Group.

Heating: Renewable Energy

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department is developing guidance on the EU draft directive requiring all towns to have a heat plan by the end of 2013 to cover utilisation of waste heat. [123414]

Gregory Barker: Article 14 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive requires member states to conduct a detailed assessment of the national potential for district heating and cooling, including mapping heating and cooling demand and supply points by 31 December 2015. This Article also requires that, when authorising new or substantially refurbished installations, member states shall ensure that a cost benefit assessment is conducted considering the case for recovering industrial waste heat for use in district heating. The directive does not require individual towns to develop heat plans and will not start to take effect until 2014.

As the directive has not yet been published our plans for its transposition are at an early stage. Transposition of the cost benefit assessment requirements appears to lend itself best to implementation via the Environmental Permitting regime, which would be likely to include development of guidance for applicants for permits. The Government envisages consulting on transposing regulations and draft guidance in mid 2013.

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DECC published “The Future of Heating: A strategic framework for low carbon heat in the UK” in March 2012:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/meeting-energy-demand/heat/4805-future-heating-strategic-framework.pdf

Alongside this, the Department published a national heat map which maps heat demand in industry and public, commercial and residential buildings, as well as indicating the location of powerplant and combined heat and power schemes as potential sources of heat:

http://ceo.decc.gov.uk/nationalheatmap/

We are now developing a heat policy publication for March 2013, building on this earlier work. This will cover the utilisation of waste heat and optimal levels of district heating in the UK.

Low Carbon Networks Fund

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the source of funding for the Low Carbon Networks Fund is. [122269]

Gregory Barker: The majority of funding for the Low Carbon Networks Fund is secured through Distribution Use of System charges which form part of consumer energy bills.

Transport

Bus Services

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what subsidies, grants or loans are available to bus service operators; and when such funds first became available; [124037]

(2) when the reduction in the Bus Service Operators Grant will come into effect; and when this was formally communicated to bus service operators. [124038]

Norman Baker: Bus subsidy arrangements within Wales are a devolved matter for the Welsh Assembly Government.

Bus Services: Rural Areas

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the provision of rural bus services; and if he will make a statement. [123962]

Norman Baker: Statistics on the levels of bus services in all areas of England are available on the Department for Transport's website at

www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/series/buses/

Outside London, the provision of bus and community transport services in any area is a matter for commercial operators and for local authorities.

However, it has long been clear that for some isolated communities traditional public transport is not a cost- effective option. In such circumstances, the Government supports, where achievable, the establishment of community bus services or other more flexible forms of transport.

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In recognition of the important role they play in delivering local services, I have provided a total of £20 million across two rounds of our Supporting Community Transport Fund between 2010-11 and 2011-12. This funding has been distributed to 76 local transport authorities (councils and passenger transport executives) to support the establishment and development of more community transport links to employment and services in rural areas.

Great Western Main Line

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of demand for direct non-stop services between Cardiff and London Paddington following completed electrification of the Great Western Mainline; and if he will make a statement. [122877]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government have not made any assessment of demand for non-stop services between Cardiff and London Paddington.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions representatives of the Government have had with overseas investors on the potential funding of the HS2 project; and which such investors have been approached about such funding. [122832]

Mr Simon Burns: UK Infrastructure is attractive to potential investors, and therefore it is to be expected that the Government would receive inquiries about future opportunities during other routine discussions. My Department has made it clear that we will explore the scope for third party funding and financing, but we are not currently at a stage in the process where we would seek to take forward detailed discussions with potential investors.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet representatives of HS2 Action Alliance within the next four weeks to discuss the HS2 project. [122833]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Action Alliance wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), on his appointment setting out their concerns about HS2. I recently wrote to the group clarifying the Government's position on some of those concerns though on the group's specific request for a meeting, due to other pressures, it is not possible to meet at the current time. However the Department will continue to engage with the group and provide the information the group is seeking wherever possible.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library all correspondence, emails and documents concerning financial matters and expenditure on HS2 exchanged between HS2 Ltd and all Government Departments and Ministers to date. [122935]

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Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd is a company established by the government to develop and deliver a new national high speed rail network. As such, HS2 Ltd regularly exchanges information on a range of issues, including financial matters, with Government Departments and Ministers.

Extensive information on the company's finances and expenditure is in the public domain. The company's annual accounts are published on its website at

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

The Department for Transport publishes monthly files of payment transactions in accordance with the Prime Minister's requirements on transparency and subsequent HM Treasury guidance. This information includes HS2 Ltd and is available at

http://data.gov.uk/dataset/financial-transactions-data-dft

HM Coastguard: Risk Management

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the system of risk management used by HM Coastguard was last reviewed. [122602]

Stephen Hammond: The system of risk management used by HM Coastguard is kept under continuous review.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the risk management systems of HM Coastguard will be reviewed following the closure of Forth Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre. [122603]

Stephen Hammond: HM Coastguard will continue to keep its risk management systems under review.

Liverpool Port

Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what terms Liverpool city council has repaid £8.8 million to operate turnaround calls at Liverpool International Cruise Terminal. [123954]

Stephen Hammond: This sum was paid in full on 26 September 2012 as two capital elements: £7.0 million to the Homes and Communities Agency (in respect of grant paid by the North West Development Agency); and £1.8 million to the Department for Communities and Local Government (in respect of other grants).

Motorways: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any plans to provide funding for a dual carriageway between Newcastle and the border with Scotland. [122597]

Stephen Hammond: The Department has no current plans to develop or fund dual carriageway proposals between Newcastle and the border with Scotland within this spending review period.

In preparing for future investment decisions, the Department will be considering the current and future forecast performance of the strategic road network to identify and prioritise the scale of identified problems.

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Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the likely carbon emission reductions arising from the introduction of the renewable transport fuel obligation. [122960]

Norman Baker: The renewable transport fuel obligation (RTFO) has been in operation since April 2008 and the RTFO Administrator reports, among other things, on the performance of biofuels supplied in the UK in respect of annual greenhouse gas emissions savings. Statistics are available via the Department for Transport's website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/series/biofuels

Verified data for obligation years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 suggest that 46%, 51% and 57% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuels were achieved respectively in those obligation years. Unverified data for obligation year 2011-12 suggest that 62% greenhouse gas savings would be achieved in respect of fuel reported to the RTFO Administrator between April and December 2011. These figures exclude emissions from indirect land use changes. Verified data for obligation year 2011-12 will be available in due course.

Rescue Services: Scotland

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects equipment at Shetland Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre and Aberdeen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to be upgraded. [122600]

Stephen Hammond: The equipment at Aberdeen and Shetland MRCCs will not need to be upgraded until migration to the national network.

In respect of the interim arrangements prior to the implementation of the new national network, there is no requirement to change to equipment at either of these MRCCs. However the connectivity of remote radio sites from Aberdeen into Shetland will be altered in order to better balance the radio resources between these two centres.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in staffing levels at Aberdeen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on levels of service. [122601]

Stephen Hammond: HM Coastguard keeps staffing levels for all Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres under continuous review. Plans are in place to ensure that staffing levels continue to be sufficient at Aberdeen MRCC to maintain levels of service.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what investment has been made in equipment at Shetland Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre and Aberdeen Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre following the closure of Forth Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre. [122604]

Stephen Hammond: There has been no requirement to change equipment at either of these MRCCs; HM Coastguard is utilising existing ‘Quadrant' technology.

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However the connectivity of remote radio sites from Aberdeen into Shetland will be altered in order to better balance the radio resources between these two centres. Additionally one Automated Identification System terminal, used for Vessel Traffic Monitoring (VTM) is being migrated to Shetland from Forth MRCC to provide enhanced operational resilience.