Forests

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his Department's budget for forestry research was in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much he has allocated for that budget in each year of the current spending review period; [126346]

(2) what his Department's budget for plant health research was in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how much he has allocated for that budget in each year of the current spending review period. [126347]

Mr Heath [holding answer 2 November 2012]: DEFRA funding for forestry research and plant health research is set out in the table. Against a background of efficiencies being made in base budgets for Forest Research and FERA, in which frontline expenditure has been protected, the Government has recognised the importance of this area by making available an additional £8 million to fund the Tree Health and Biosecurity Action Plan over the next four years. The THBAP funding covers both tree and plant health research. This investment has leveraged at least a further £4 million in additional funding from Research Councils, which is not reflected in the spending totals listed.

The figures for 2014-15 are provisional planning assumptions. Ministers are currently exploring what can be done to strengthen further the resources in this area.

 2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-152015-16

Tree Health Action Plan

0

0

2

2

2

2

FC Forest Research

11

10.6

9.9

8.9

8.2

8 Nov 2012 : Column 727W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 728W

FC Plant Research

1.4

1.7

2

2.3

2.1

Fera Plant

0.667

2

1.65

1.45

1.285

Total

13.067

14.3

15.55

14.65

13.585

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research projects on the Public Forest Estate have been funded by his Department since May 2010; and what proportion of this funding has been spent on researching the benefits of commercial forestry. [126492]

Mr Heath: Forest Research, an Agency of the Forestry Commission, carries out a wide range of projects of benefit to all aspects of forestry, including commercial forestry. It carries out these projects in a range of locations, including on the public forest estate. The cross cutting nature of its research work means that a breakdown of which projects have been carried out in full, or in part, on the public forest estate in connection to the benefits of commercial forestry is not recorded centrally. Details of the Forest Research's wide ranging activities can be found on its website at:

www.forestry.gov.uk/fr/research

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority; and if he will make a statement. [127253]

Mr Heath: The Gangmasters Licensing Authority's (GLA) effectiveness and efficiency is measured by its performance against targets. The GLA's Annual Report and Accounts for 2011-12 (ISBN: 9780102979756) provide more information.

The GLA was considered under the employment theme of the Government's Red Tape Challenge and the Ministerial Star Chamber has endorsed the need for the GLA to enforce protections for vulnerable workers, subject to better targeting of non-compliant operators and reducing burdens on the compliant. The GLA will continue to be monitored under the Government's ongoing reviews of public bodies and enforcement agencies.

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the job description, experience, specifications and appointments process are for the chief executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority; and if he will make a statement. [127254]

Mr Heath: The Gangmasters (Licensing Authority) Regulations 2005 set down that the appointment of the chief executive is the responsibility of the GLA board and is made with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

An open competition for the post of chief executive has recently been carried out. The job description and person specification for the role is set out in detail in the job information pack which I have arranged to be placed in the Library of the House. This document was made available to all applicants during the recent recruitment exercise.

A new chief executive officer will take up post in January 2013.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times staff of his Department have met representatives of the Macquarie Group in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the subject was of each meeting. [127378]

Richard Benyon: Neither the permanent secretary nor current directors-general of core DEFRA have met representatives of the Macquarie Group since April 2012. Information about other staff or relating to the period before April 2012 would incur disproportionate cost.

Plants: EU Law

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what amendments he is intending to propose to the European plant health regime. [127158]

Mr Heath [holding answer 7 November 2012]: The UK was instrumental in securing a review of the EU plant health regime which has remained largely unchanged since its introduction at the start of the Single Market. In partnership with key stakeholders the UK has been active in influencing the Commission's approach with key objectives being:

Faster decision making as plant health risks change and new pests arrive.

Better risk targeting and a shift of inspection effort from plant produce to plants and propagating material (including addressing threats from new and emerging trades).

More co-operation between plant health inspectorates across the EU.

The Commission's formal proposals for a new plant health law are expected early next year.

Oysters: Colchester

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to announce his Department's decision on protected geographic indication (PGI) status for the Colchester oyster; on what date the application for PGI status was made; and if he will make a statement. [127572]

Mr Heath: The application to register the Colchester Native Oyster as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) was received in 2005. It was then the subject of a consultation in order to allow interested parties the opportunity to object to the application. A number of objections were received during the consultation process.

8 Nov 2012 : Column 729W

Officials subsequently met with representatives of the applicant group to discuss the objections and outstanding points relating to the product specification for the application. Following on from this, further information relating to the geographical area and other aspects of the application was sought from the applicant group which, despite reminders from officials, was not forthcoming.

Therefore, it has not been possible to complete our assessment of the validity of the application for PGI status for the Colchester Native Oyster. The scheme is a voluntary one and so it is for the producers to decide whether they wish to pursue the application. Should they wish to do this then officials would be happy to meet with them to discuss the outstanding points which need to be resolved. This should then enable the application to be completed and a decision to be taken on its eligibility.

Turtles: Cayman Islands

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Cayman Islands Government about the future viability of the Cayman Turtle Farm following its assessed risk-weight in the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [127164]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA has had no discussions with the Cayman Islands Government about the future viability of the Cayman Turtle Farm. This is a matter for the Cayman Islands Government.

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the competence of the team managing the Cayman Turtle Farm; and if he will make a statement. [127343]

Richard Benyon: This Department has made no assessment of the competence of staff managing the Cayman Turtle Farm. Management of the farm is a matter for the Cayman Islands Government.

Communities and Local Government

Construction: Industrial Health and Safety

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what checks he plans to put in place to ensure that building work allowed under his proposed changes to permitted development rights is carried out in accordance with rules on construction site safety and noise; [126650]

(2) what consideration he has given to introducing protections for the amenity of neighbours as part of his proposed changes to permitted development rights. [126651]

Nick Boles: My Department will be publishing a consultation document setting out full details of our proposals to extend permitted development rights for

8 Nov 2012 : Column 730W

homeowners and businesses shortly. It is intended that existing safeguards to ensure the amenity of neighbouring properties would remain, and protection under other regimes such as building regulations and the Party Wall Act would still apply. Councils' environmental health powers, such as over noise nuisance, will also be unaffected.

Council Tax

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 19 October 2012, Official Report, column 452W, on local government finance, whether the council tax freeze grant for 2013-14 will be funded (a) from an additional allocation of money from the Exchequer to his Department, (b) from the Local Government Finance Settlement for that year or (c) from another source. [127564]

Brandon Lewis: The Government's press notice of 8 October sets out the details of the scheme:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_89_12.htm

Growth and Infrastructure Bill

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to his contribution of 5 November 2012, where in clause 7 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill it states that the provisions of the clause exclusively relate to broadband infrastructure. [127477]

Nick Boles: As Ministers stated during the 2nd Reading debate on 5 November 2012, Official Report, columns 599 and 691, the provisions in the Bill relate to facilitating the provision of broadband infrastructure through street cabinets and telegraph poles.

The provisions in clause 7 of the Bill amend the electronic communications code under the Communications Act 2003. Those sections on the electronic communications code are phrased in a technology-neutral way, as technological neutrality is a fundamental principle of the European regulatory framework for communications, to ensure effective and fair competition in the Single Market. However, the practical and intended effect of the clause 7 changes will be to make it easier to provide fixed broadband in rural areas.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State explained in his speech, in the 1980s, telecommunications deregulation opened up the market to satellite television. We want to do the same for 21st century broadband infrastructure, and tackle the ‘digital divide’ that is socially and economically harmful to rural Britain.

For the avoidance of doubt, clause 7 of the Growth Bill makes no change to the planning regime for mobile phone masts, which governs their location and siting. Planning is a separate consent regime from the electronic communications code, and planning is governed by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, by associated secondary legislation through the General Permitted Development Order 2005 and by planning policy guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework.

8 Nov 2012 : Column 731W

Meetings: Media

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which proprietors, editors and senior executives of (a) newspapers and (b) other media organisations he has met since 1 July 2012. [127522]

Brandon Lewis: Details of ministerial meetings with newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives, are published on a quarterly basis. Details of meetings for the period from July to September 2012 will be published in due course.

National Parks

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation he has with National Parks Authorities on communications equipment and planning prior to the publication of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. [127587]

Nick Boles: This Department has regular engagement with National Park Authorities on matters of mutual interest, such as planning policy, as do the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We will continue to engage with National Park Authorities and local authorities on the implementation of the broadband support package announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on 7 September.

Planning Permission

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the resources that will be required by the Planning Inspectorate to deal with responsibilities set out in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill in respect of (a) the extension of the 2008 Planning Act Major Infrastructure Regime, (b) review or removal of affordable housing requirements within section 106 agreements and (c) the designation and de-designation of failing local authorities. [127195]

Nick Boles: Detailed policy development for the Growth and Infrastructure Bill is being worked on by DCLG. Full details of the procedures the Planning Inspectorate will undertake to carry out its responsibilities under the Bill are currently being worked on by the inspectorate to ensure that developing policy is complied with. Final resource estimates will be produced when policy is finalised.

Planning: Hackney

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice he received from (a) his officials and (b) the Planning

8 Nov 2012 : Column 732W

Inspectorate before naming Hackney as the worst planning authority. [127585]

Nick Boles: I refer the right hon. Member to the written ministerial correction made on 6 November 2012, Official Report, column 5MC.

More broadly, the Government intends to consult shortly on its proposed approach to working with the very worst performing local planning authorities to improve the service they offer to applicants and local residents. This will include consulting on the precise criteria to use when identifying the worst performers, as well as taking into account locally-agreed Planning Performance Agreements.

Planning is an administrative process involving quasi-judicial decisions, and it is unfair for state bodies to fail to follow minimum standards of due process when regulating and restricting private property rights.

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what basis he determined that Hackney is the worst planning authority. [127586]

Nick Boles: I refer the right hon. Member to the written ministerial correction made on 6 November 2012, Official Report, column 5MC.

The example cited should have been the London borough of Haringey not the London borough of Hackney; this was a simple misreading, and Ministers would like to apologise to Hackney for that oversight.

Notwithstanding, Haringey has the worst performance for deciding major planning applications in England over the last two years (March 2010 to March 2012), with only 17% of major applications determined on time. This is one such metric that Ministers will be considering as part of the consultation process referred to in the Second Reading debate.

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for how many and what proportion of days, on average, staff of his Department at each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in each of the last five years. [127184]

Brandon Lewis: Average working days lost due to sickness absence are calculated quarterly in line with Cabinet Office instructions.

For the 12 months ending 30 June 2012, the Department for Communities and Local Government had an average working days lost figure of 6.3 which is below the civil service average.

The average working days lost figures for the 12 month period ending 31 March, as submitted to Cabinet Office, split by civil service grade for each of the last five years is as follows:

Number
Civil service gradeMarch 2008March 2009March 2010March 2011March 2012

Administrative Grades

10.1

8.0

12.5

14.8

12.1

8 Nov 2012 : Column 733W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 734W

Executive Officer

8.9

7.8

6.8

9.1

9.3

Higher Executive Officer

5.4

4.7

4.2

5.9

6.5

Senior Executive Officer

6.0

5.1

5.1

5.6

6.2

Grade 7

3.2

4.1

3.1

3.9

4.1

Grade 6

0.9

1.6

1.7

3.4

2.0

Senior Civil Service

1.7

2.1

1.0

3.3

2.9

Overall

5.3

5.3

4.9

6.4

6.7

The proportion of total days lost by civil service grade at each of these periods is as follows:

 
Percentage
Civil service gradeMarch 2008March 2009March 2010March 2011March 2012

Administrative Grades

25

22

25

22

28

Executive Officer

28

27

21

21

22

Higher Executive Officer

22

21

21

23

22

Senior Executive Officer

11

11

14

13

12

Grade 7

9

13

15

15

12

Grade 6

1

2

2

3

3

Senior Civil Service

3

4

1

3

2

Overall

100

100

100

100

100

Note: The proportions above have been rounded to the nearest whole number, therefore they may not add up to exactly 100%.

The Department is committed to the wellbeing of its staff and offers a number of services to assist in minimising staff absences:

A self-test stress indicator tool for line managers, to help them identify the skills they need to tackle workplace stress in their team, has been developed by the Health and Safety Executive, in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Investors in People.

Intranet information pages to inform staff on ways in which they can actively seek to maximise their physical and mental health.

Access to a 24 hour Employee Assistance helpline which offers advice and support for all staff to deal with sick absence.

We are also finalising and, by the end of the year, will have introduced a comprehensive policy for managing long term sickness absence which we consider will significantly improve the management and resolution of such cases.

Slovak Roma

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what statistics he (a) holds and (b) has submitted to the European Commission on the number and distribution of Slovak Roma in England; and what discussions the Government has had with the European Commission in relation to future budgetary requirements to support dealing with the challenge of, and funding programmes related to, the incidence of Slovak Roma in the English regions. [126926]

Mr Foster: The Department for Communities and Local Government holds no statistics on the numbers of Slovak Roma, or Roma generally, in England. The Government has not held any specific discussions with the European Commission on budgetary requirements to support the integration of Roma in England. However, the UK is playing an active role in discussions at EU level with the European Commission and other member states on issues relating to Roma integration in the European Union, including general funding pressures.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Trade Treaty

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has made on negotiations at the UN General Assembly on an Arms Trade Treaty; what the Government's objectives for the conference in March 2013 will be on the content and signatories of the Treaty; and if he will make a statement. [127374]

Alistair Burt: The UK is committed to securing a robust and effective Arms Trade Treaty that enjoys the support of the widest possible range of states, and to continuing its leading role in the UN process. The UK co-authored a UN Resolution that sets the timing and modalities for a further conference to finalise work on the Treaty in March 2013. Having been passed by a vote at the UN's First Committee on 7 November, it will be considered by the UN General Assembly later this year.

Discussions are continuing and it is therefore not appropriate for me to elaborate on the UK's negotiating positions ahead of a possible conference next year. 'We will continue to work with the international community, civil society and the UK defence industry to secure a high standard Treaty with the broad support of the UN Membership.

8 Nov 2012 : Column 735W

Bahrain

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful expression; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect on human rights of the Bahrain government's ban on gatherings. [127372]

Alistair Burt: I issued a statement on behalf of the UK condemning the Bahraini Government's ban on public demonstrations. We understand the Bahraini Government's concerns about maintaining law and order, especially when faced with increasingly violent protests, but a blanket ban of this nature is excessive. Our ambassador in Manama has regular discussions with the Bahraini Government and raises a wide range of issues, including human rights and civil liberties, such as the right to peaceful protest.

British Council

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the British Council's budget for youth volunteering was in each of the last five years. [126994]

Mr Swire: The British Council is a charity and executive non-departmental public body and has provided the following information.

The British Council's work in English, education and society and the arts around the world encompasses an array of programmes many of which include an element of youth volunteering as part of their broader objectives. Two youth volunteering projects the British Council have been engaged with in the past five years are the Global Xchange and the EU-funded Youth in Action programme.

Global Xchange was a seven-year youth volunteering programme run in partnership by the British Council and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) from 2005-12. The Global Xchange programme came to an end in March 2012. Data for the British Council's contribution to the Global Xchange budget for the period 2007-08 to 2011-12 is provided in the following table:

 Budget (£)

2007-08

740,579

2008-09

1,660,152

2009-10

4,097,116

2010-11

1,883,438

2011-12

162,295

The British Council manages the European Union funded Youth in Action programme for young people from the UK on behalf of the Department for Education. Youth in Action includes the European Voluntary Service (EVS). Data for the EVS budget for the period 2007 to 2011 is provided in the following table:

 Budget (€)

2007

2,695,635

2008

2,607,624

8 Nov 2012 : Column 736W

2009

2,710,799

2010

2,942,867

2011

2,536,331

The International Citizen Service (ICS) is a new partnership between the Department for International Development and the VSO that builds upon the success of Global Xchange. Further information on ICS is available on the VSO website:

http://www.vso.org.uk/partnerships/dfid/ics.asp

British Indian Ocean Territory

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, columns 174-5W, on British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), whether the five Diplomatic Service officers who work in his Department and form the BIOT Administration are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. [127215]

Mark Simmonds: The five officers who work in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and who also form part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) Government are not all Diplomatic Service Officers. One is a Home Civil Service Officer.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). specific individuals are not subject to the FOIA or EIRs. The FOIA and EIRs apply to public authorities.

The FCO is a public authority for the purposes of the FOIA and EIRs. As such, information held by the FCO is subject to the FOIA and EIRs. The Overseas Territories of the UK are constitutionally separate to the UK. They are not subject to the FOIA or the EIRs. nor are the Governments of the Overseas Territories public authorities for the purposes of the FOIA or EIRs. As such, information held by the BIOT Government is not subject to the FOIA and EIRs.

Cayman Islands

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any provisions have been placed on any money given or loaned to the Cayman Islands in the last five years; and whether there were any projects or facilities that were specifically included or excluded in these provisions. [127163]

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has funded a range of specific projects in the Cayman Islands in the past five years to support our criminal justice strategy, promote good governance and protect the Islands’ environmental biodiversity. Political conditionality has not been attached to these projects. The FCO has not lent money or provided aid to the Cayman Islands Government.

Full details of the projects supported can be found on our website at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/freedom-of-information/released-documents/releases-2012

8 Nov 2012 : Column 737W

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the competence of the team managing the Cayman Turtle Farm; and if he will make a statement. [127344]

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made no assessment of the competence of staff managing the Cayman Turtle Farm. Management of the farm is a matter for the Cayman Islands Government.

We are aware that the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has conducted an investigation into the Turtle Farm, and that it has recently made its findings public. The British Government place great importance on conserving the biodiversity of the Overseas Territories and takes seriously reports of animal cruelty throughout the world. We understand the farm has carried out a review of its operations and found no basis for WSPA's allegations. The farm itself has ordered that an independent assessment take place in December. We encourage WSPA, the management of the farm and the Cayman Islands Government to continue to engage constructively.

Falkland Islands

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what involvement his Department will have with the independence referendum to be held in the Falkland Islands in 2013; and if he will make a statement. [126916]

Mr Swire: The British Government unreservedly supports the decision by the Falkland Islands Government to hold a referendum on whether or not they wish the Islands to retain their current political status as a UK Overseas Territory. The organisation and execution of the referendum is a matter for the Falkland Islands Government, though the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stands ready to give advice and assistance in line with HMG's wider constitutional responsibilities. The FCO will also support the Falkland Islanders in communicating the result of the referendum to their neighbours in the region and to encourage the international community to recognise and respect the Islanders' decision and their rights to self determination.

Gambia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department are currently stationed in the Gambia. [126884]

Mark Simmonds: Around 30 staff work at our high commission in Banjul. This includes UK-based civil servants and staff employed locally.

Iran

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times Ministers in his Department have made official visits to Iran in the last 30 years. [126807]

8 Nov 2012 : Column 738W

Alistair Burt: There have been a number of ministerial visits to Iran over the last 30 years including seven from Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers. The last visit by a UK Minister was in 2005. There have been no ministerial visits since then because of the state of the bilateral relationship and Iran's refusal to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme.

Kashmir

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in implementing UN Security Council Resolution 47 concerning the dispute over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. [126949]

Alistair Burt: The long-standing position of the UK is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We welcome the renewed engagement between India and Pakistan and the constructive steps taken to improve the bilateral relationship. This is a positive development for regional security and prosperity. However, the scope and pace of this dialogue is for them both to agree so that they can build confidence to enable discussion on a range of issues.

Mali

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular assistance he is providing for UK nationals in Mali. [126857]

Mark Simmonds: Our ability to deliver full consular service remains severely reduced. We advise against all travel to Mali. Any British nationals who choose to remain in Mali or visit against our advice should contact the British embassy in Dakar if they require emergency consular assistance.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK citizens have requested consular assistance in Mali in the last three months. [126871]

Mark Simmonds: One UK citizen has requested consular assistance in Mali in the last three months.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the conflict in northern Mali; and if he will make a statement. [126875]

Mark Simmonds: Our ambassador in Bamako reports regularly on the developing situation in Mali. The EU is also providing reporting and analysis for discussion between member states. We are also in regular contact with other international partners, including the US, African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to share information and analysis.

Although the UK remains concerned about the situation in Mali, we welcome the recent efforts of the UN, AU, EU and ECOWAS to address the situation. The meeting of the Support and Follow-up Group on the Crisis in Mali on 19 October, attended by the Prime Minister's

8 Nov 2012 : Column 739W

envoy and special representative to the Sahel, helped to provide a framework of action for the Malian authorities to restore Mali's territorial integrity, produce a legitimate government, address the humanitarian situation and provide a credible mediation process.

Maqbool Butt

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Indian government on the return of the mortal remains of Maqbool Butt to his family. [126899]

Alistair Burt: We have made no representations to the Indian government on this issue. Any decision about the transfer of Mr Maqbool Butt's remains is for the Indian authorities to discuss with Mr Butt's family.

Syria

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on seeking a peaceful resolution to the situation in Syria. [127382]

Alistair Burt: The Prime Minister discussed the situation in Syria on his recent trip to the middle east. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and I both discuss Syria on a regular basis with our international counterparts. The Secretary of State will attend the EU-Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting on 13 November where Syria will be a major topic of discussion and I have recently returned from Qatar where I had meetings with opposition groups and international partners attending the Doha conference. In our contacts we discuss the need for a peaceful end to the violence and progress on political transition.

Vietnam

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the trial and conviction of Tran Vu Anh Binh and Vo Minh Tri in Vietnam; and if he will make representations to the government of Vietnam on the right to freedom of expression. [127373]

Mr Swire: Through the EU we continue to engage with the Vietnamese authorities on a list of persons and detainees of concern, which includes Tran Vu Anh Binh and Vo Minh Tri, to seek information about the welfare of the detainees and to request their immediate release. The EU Delegation in Vietnam attended the trial of Tran Vu Anh Binh and Vo Minh Tri on behalf of member states. Our ambassador also raises human rights issues with the Vietnamese Government bilaterally and human rights are integral to our Strategic Partnership with Vietnam.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many written parliamentary questions to his Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b)

8 Nov 2012 : Column 740W

between six and 10 working days and

(c)

after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127269]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) received 1,125 questions in the House of Commons for ordinary written answer from 1 November 2011 to 30 September 2012. A total of 1,089 (96.8%) of these were answered within five working days; 28 were answered between six and 10 working days (2.5%); eight (0.7%) were answered after 10 working days.

For named day PQs, the FCO received 358 PQs in this period, all of which were answered within five working days.

In the House of Lords in the same period, the FCO received 980 written questions. The FCO answered 160 (16.3%) of these within five working days; 744 (75.9%) were answered between six and 10 working days; 76 (7.8%) were answered after 10 working

days.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the committee at the end of the current session. Statistics relating to performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary session are available on the Parliament website as follows:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/procedure/P35_Memorandum_Leader_of_the_House_ Monitoring_PQs.pdf

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to his Department received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127270]

Mr Lidington: A holding response is sent to a named day parliamentary question when it is not possible to answer on the day specified by the MP. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office received 358 named day parliamentary questions between 1 November 2011 and 30 September 2012, of which six (1.7%) received holding responses.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the committee at the end of the current session. Statistics relating to performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary session are available on the Parliament website as follows:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/procedure/P35_Memorandum_Leader_of_the_House_ Monitoring_PQs.pdf

Justice

Driving Offences

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many drivers have been disqualified from driving in each of the last 10 years; [126373]

(2) how many disqualified drivers have been ordered to retake their driving test in each of the last 10 years; and for what offences such retests were ordered. [126392]

8 Nov 2012 : Column 741W

Jeremy Wright: The number of drivers disqualified from driving and the number of those disqualified drivers ordered to retake their driving test, by offence

8 Nov 2012 : Column 742W

group, at all courts in England and Wales, from 2002 to 2011, can be viewed in the following table:

Number of drivers disqualified from driving at all courts and number disqualified who are ordered to retake their driving test, by offence group, in England and Wales, 2002-11(1,)()(2)
YearOffence groupTotal disqualifications imposedDisqualifications in which driving test requirement imposed(3)

2002

Accident offences

833

16

 

Careless driving

1,742

153

 

Causing death or bodily harm

256

119

 

Dangerous driving

4,318

2,997

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

79,848

601

 

Driving licence related offences

16,368

264

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

6

1

 

Lighting offences

2

1

 

Load offences

4

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

92

1

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

194

1

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

20

2

 

Neglect of traffic directions

187

4

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

4

 

Offences peculiar to motor cycles

1

 

Speed limit offences

9,316

16

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

3,906

536

 

Vehicle insurance offences

46,468

154

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

86

1

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

1

1

 

Vehicle test offences

24

1

 

Total persons

163,676

4,869

    

2003

Accident offences

882

24

 

Careless driving

1,705

158

 

Causing death or bodily harm

302

281

 

Dangerous driving

5,212

5,157

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

81,476

506

 

Driving licence related offences

19,191

301

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

4

 

Lighting offences

1

 

Load offences

3

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

164

9

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

18

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

21

 

Neglect of traffic directions

226

4

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

2

 

Speed limit offences

10,297

23

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

3,378

607

 

Vehicle insurance offences

47,095

153

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

78

1

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

2

 

Vehicle test offences

15

 

Total persons

170,072

7,224

    

2004

Accident offences

930

25

 

Careless driving

1,923

165

 

Causing death or bodily harm

318

308

 

Dangerous driving

5,209

5,202

8 Nov 2012 : Column 743W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 744W

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

85,315

501

 

Driving licence related offences

19,829

334

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

12

 

Load offences

4

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

216

3

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

14

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

38

 

Neglect of traffic directions

345

8

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

2

 

Offences peculiar to motor cycles

1

 

Speed limit offences

10,044

17

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

3,011

534

 

Vehicle insurance offences

44,378

226

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

126

3

 

Vehicle test offences

12

 

Total persons

171,727

7,326

    

2005

Accident offences

890

23

 

Careless driving

1,866

124

 

Causing death or bodily harm

335

323

 

Dangerous driving

4,433

4,432

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

82,099

509

 

Driving licence related offences

17,580

374

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

16

5

 

Lighting offences

1

 

Load offences

3

1

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

292

6

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

28

1

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

31

 

Neglect of traffic directions

589

11

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

8

1

 

Speed limit offences

10,344

27

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

2,547

524

 

Vehicle insurance offences

37,240

280

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

127

4

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

2

 

Vehicle test offences

9

 

Work record and employment offences

1

 

Total persons

158,441

6,645

    

2006

Accident offences

778

21

 

Careless driving

1,852

147

 

Causing death or bodily harm

299

289

 

Dangerous driving

4,038

4,035

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

82,861

577

 

Driving licence related offences

15,573

274

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

26

4

 

Lighting offences

1

 

Load offences

6

1

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

305

6

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

24

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

27

8 Nov 2012 : Column 745W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 746W

 

Neglect of traffic directions

946

15

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

2

1

 

Speed limit offences

9,295

52

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

2,443

447

 

Vehicle insurance offences

32,024

258

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

134

3

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

4

 

Vehicle test offences

11

 

Total persons

150,649

6,130

    

2007

Accident offences

788

15

 

Careless driving

2,057

168

 

Causing death or bodily harm

315

300

 

Dangerous driving

3,960

3,958

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

79,807

460

 

Driving licence related offences

12,941

219

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

14

1

 

Load offences

17

1

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

392

9

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

25

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

33

 

Neglect of traffic directions

840

7

 

Speed limit offences

8,150

42

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

2,413

408

 

Vehicle insurance offences

24,056

166

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

121

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

4

 

Vehicle test offences

7

 

Total persons

135,940

5,754

    

2008

Accident offences

567

24

 

Careless driving

1,697

156

 

Causing death or bodily harm

276

269

 

Dangerous driving

3,358

3,353

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

71,132

452

 

Driving licence related offences

10,428

232

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

10

 

Load offences

11

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

477

18

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

12

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

22

 

Neglect of traffic directions

326

11

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

2

 

Offences peculiar to motor cycles

1

 

Speed limit offences

6,666

71

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

1,799

384

 

Vehicle insurance offences

15,623

318

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

98

1

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

3

 

Vehicle test offences

6

2

 

Work record and employment offences

1

 

Total persons

112,515

5,291

8 Nov 2012 : Column 747W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 748W

2009

Accident offences

691

29

 

Careless driving

1,751

145

 

Causing death or bodily harm

342

286

 

Dangerous driving

3,117

2,945

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

68,881

414

 

Driving licence related offences

9,117

207

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

11

 

Load offences

2

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

174

2

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

18

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

23

 

Neglect of traffic directions

236

1

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

4

 

Offences peculiar to motor cycles

1

 

Speed limit offences

6,344

19

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

1,523

375

 

Vehicle insurance offences

11,468

64

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

109

 

Vehicle test offences

2

 

Total persons

103,814

4,487

    

2010

Accident offences

573

23

 

Careless driving

1,325

105

 

Causing death or bodily harm

398

261

 

Dangerous driving

2,859

2,859

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

53,390

330

 

Driving licence related offences

7,152

156

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

2

 

Load offences

10

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

301

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

15

1

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

19

 

Neglect of traffic directions

267

2

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

1

 

Speed limit offences

9,706

30

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

1,055

229

 

Vehicle insurance offences

7,882

49

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

99

 

Vehicle test offences

1

 

Work record and employment offences

2

 

Total persons

85,057

4,045

    

2011

Accident offences

536

16

 

Careless driving

1,153

76

 

Causing death or bodily harm

352

218

 

Dangerous driving

2,553

2,553

 

Driving etc. after consuming alcohol or taking drugs

50,546

312

 

Driving licence related offences

6,070

128

 

Fraud, forgery etc. associated with vehicle or driver records

6

 

Load offences

10

 

Miscellaneous motoring offences

225

 

Motorway offences (other than speeding)

4

8 Nov 2012 : Column 749W

8 Nov 2012 : Column 750W

 

Neglect of pedestrian rights

15

 

Neglect of traffic directions

182

3

 

Obstruction, waiting and parking offences

3

 

Speed limit offences

8,859

24

 

Unauthorised taking or theft of motor vehicle

1,080

242

 

Vehicle insurance offences

6,736

29

 

Vehicle or part in dangerous or defective condition

95

1

 

Vehicle registration and excise licence offences

1

 

Vehicle test offences

4

 

Work record and employment offences

2

 

Total persons

78,432

3,602

(1) Excludes persons disqualified by magistrates courts under section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (penalty point system). (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Included in “Total disqualifications imposed”. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Offenders: Housing

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many and what proportion of people placed into housing by the Probation Service were placed in housing in each of the principal seaside towns in each of the last five years; [127147]

(2) how many and what proportion of people placed into housing by the Prison Service were placed in each of the principal seaside towns in each of the last five years. [127148]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice does not collect information centrally about where offenders from each of the probation trusts and prisons in England and Wales are housed on release from custody or under the terms of community orders. This information could be obtained only by searching the records of each probation trust and prison and is likely to exceed cost limits.

If an offender is subject to a post-custodial licence or has a residence requirement as part of a community order, probation trusts have the power to assess an address as not suitable if there is evidence that the offender returning or moving to the address would increase the risk which he poses or would undermine the objectives of his supervision. An offender on licence who moved without the consent of his offender manager would be in breach of his licence and can be returned to custody; an offender subject to a residence requirement as part of a community order may be returned to court for breaching that requirement.

Approved premises are used to supervise certain high risk of harm offenders on release from custody, as they provide enhanced supervision by means of rules of residence and curfews. There are 100 approved premises in England and Wales.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many foreign nationals were held in each prison in England and Wales on 30 September 2012; [127134]


(2) how many foreign nationals were held in prisons in England and Wales in May 2010. [127135]

Jeremy Wright: The following table includes the number of foreign national prisoners held in each prison in England and Wales, as at 30 September 2012. These figures are published quarterly in table 1.5 of the “Offender Management Statistics Quarterly Bulletin” available at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/statistics-and-data/prisons-and-probation/oms-quarterly.htm

As at 31 May 2010, there were 11,153 foreign national prisoners held in prison establishments in England and Wales.

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.

Table 1.5: Population in prison by sex, establishment and nationality status, 30 September 2012, England and Wales
EstablishmentBritish nationalsForeign nationalsNationality not recordedTotal population

Males

    

Altcourse

1,114

35

26

1,175

Ashfield

173

31

2

206

Aylesbury

346

67

1

414

Bedford

364

88

24

476

Belmarsh

598

192

40

830

Birmingham

1,193

217

28

1,438

Blantyre House

120

2

0

122

Blundeston

449

43

3

495

Brinsford

395

47

82

524

Bristol

533

72

4

609

Brixton

565

93

6

664

Buckley Hall

416

6

1

423

Bullingdon

917

139

9

1,065

Bullwood Hall

2

220

0

222

Bure

452

63

0

515

Canterbury

6

280

3

289

Cardiff

732

41

15

788

Channings Wood

678

36

4

718

8 Nov 2012 : Column 751W

Chelmsford

544

92

10

646

Coldingley

465

34

11

510

Cookham Wood

79

16

25

120

Dartmoor

617

25

1

643

Deerbolt

370

9

1

380

Doncaster

1,026

107

2

1,135

Dorchester

220

22

4

246

Dovegate

905

64

131

1,100

Durham

702

35

132

869

Elmley (Sheppey cluster)

948

157

14

1,119

Erlestoke

478

12

1

491

Everthorpe

645

17

6

668

Exeter

481

20

1

502

Featherstone

637

45

3

685

Feltham

500

142

10

652

Ford

483

18

11

512

Forest Bank

1,236

69

37

1,342

Frankland

738

59

7

804

Full Sutton

536

66

1

603

Garth

775

61

0

836

Gartree

574

114

13

701

Glen Parva

567

66

0

633

Gloucester

261

24

2

287

Grendon/Spring Hill

521

19

1

541

Guys Marsh

449

56

3

508

Haverigg

608

33

2

643

Hewell(1)

1,029

163

6

1,198

High Down

801

179

71

1,051

Highpoint (North and South)

1,070

167

20

1,257

Hindley

229

6

0

235

Hollesley Bay

369

8

0

377

Holme House

989

56

29

1,074

Hull

814

47

7

868

Huntercombe

43

381

0

424

Isis(2)

472

90

12

574

Isle of Wight(3)

1,393

191

7

1,591

Kennet

337

3

0

340

Kingston

181

23

0

204

Kirkham

613

7

0

620

Kirklevington Grange

266

0

14

280

Lancaster Farms

489

22

1

512

Leeds

964

104

2

1,070

Leicester

258

65

11

334

Lewes

509

74

17

600

Leyhill

492

27

0

519

Lincoln

592

75

11

678

Lindholme

795

62

8

865

Littlehey

936

188

8

1,132

Liverpool

1,130

63

9

1,202

Long Lartin

519

89

6

614

Lowdham Grange

795

117

1

913

Maidstone

412

170

10

592

Manchester

986

115

24

1,125

Moorland / Hatfield

1,036

180

6

1,222

Mount

660

91

1

752

North Sea Camp

404

8

0

412

Northallerton

232

3

0

235

Northumberland(4)

1,055

6

88

1,149

Norwich

605

113

1

719

Nottingham

947

110

5

1,062

Onley

605

20

2

627

8 Nov 2012 : Column 752W

Oakwood

841

72

1

914

Parc

1,363

65

18

1,446

Pentonville

824

356

37

1,217

Peterborough(5)

447

98

6

551

Portland

487

32

1

520

Preston

663

23

18

704

Ranby

911

124

21

1,056

Reading

191

20

4

215

Risley

871

188

2

1,061

Rochester

577

60

11

648

Rye Hill

513

101

1

615

Shepton Mallet

172

17

0

189

Shrewsbury

314

16

1

331

Stafford

692

38

2

732

Standford Hill (Sheppey cluster)

423

32

6

461

Stocken

817

7

11

835

Stoke Heath

612

26

4

642

Sudbury

540

21

12

573

Swaleside (Sheppey cluster)

868

213

11

1,092

Swansea

332

32

55

419

Swinfen Hall

584

46

4

634

Thameside

472

169

194

835

Thorn Cross

286

5

0

291

Usk/Prescoed

432

18

9

459

Verne

361

231

5

597

Wakefield

661

64

14

739

Wandsworth

608

496

89

1,193

Warren Hill

106

21

1

128

Wayland

986

16

4

1,006

Wealstun

798

9

2

809

Wellingborough

158

16

1

175

Werrington

105

13

15

133

Wetherby

263

15

2

280

Whatton

799

34

5

838

Whitemoor

337

109

2

448

Winchester

575

58

27

660

Wolds

335

13

0

348

Woodhill

631

105

9

745

Wormwood Scrubs

703

412

110

1,225

Wymott

1,097

64

0

1,161

Total male (excluding NOMS IRCs)

70,200

9,532

1,769

81,501

     

Females

    

Askham Grange

114

4

0

118

Bronzefield

378

121

2

501

Downview

233

90

5

328

Drake Hall

248

50

3

301

East Sutton Park

94

1

0

95

Eastwood Park

282

25

0

307

Foston Hall

265

25

2

292

Holloway

343

151

28

522

Low Newton

244

9

0

253

New Hall

337

27

5

369

Peterborough(5)

275

48

10

333

Send

247

30

0

277

Styal

391

35

1

427

Total female (excluding NOMS IRCs)

3,451

616

56

4,123

8 Nov 2012 : Column 753W

NOMS Operated Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs)

    

Dover IRC

0

295

7

302

Haslar IRC

0

136

13

149

Morton Hall IRC(6)

0

372

10

382

Total IRCs

0

803

30

833

     

All establishments

73,651

10,951

1,855

86,457

(1) HMP Hewell was created by an amalgamation of the three former prisons, Blakenhurst, Brockhill and Hewell Grange, on 25 June 2008; as of the 30 September 2011 the Brockhill site closed. (2) HMP & YOI Isis, which opened on 28 July 2010, is sited within the perimeter wall of HMP Belmarsh. (3) HMP Isle of Wight was created by an amalgamation of the three former prisons, Albany, Camp Hill and Parkhurst on 1 April 2009. (4) HMP Northumberland is the new name for Acklington and Castington. (5) Peterborough is a dual purpose prison for men and women. (6) On 13 January 2011 the Secretary of State for Justice announced that HMP Morton Hall, will close (having previously been a female prison) and then re-open as an Immigration Removal Centre, holding immigration detainees on behalf of UKBA. On 16 May Morton Hall began operating as an Immigration Removal Centre.