Third Sector

Chris White: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent progress has been made on the review of barriers to social investment; and if he will make a statement. [126471]

Sajid Javid: The Treasury is conducting an internal review of the financial barriers to social enterprise, as announced at Budget 2012. The review will report to Ministers in due course.

Universal Credit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers had enrolled on real time information for universal credit by 6 November 2012. [127810]

Mr Gauke: At 6 November 2012, around 6,000 PAYE schemes were submitting real time information (RTI) covering around 2.1 million individual employment records.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 786W

Mr Byrne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of (a) employers and (b) employees enrolled on real time information for universal credit in (i) April 2013, (ii) October 2013, (iii) January 2014, (iv) April 2014 and (v) January 2015. [127811]

Mr Gauke: There are approximately 39 million individuals with an active PAYE employment record, including 10 million receiving pension income, administered through 2.1 million PAYE schemes in the UK.

Under real time information (RTI) employers and pension providers will send HMRC PAYE information each time they pay their employees or pensioners. RTI for universal credit claimants will be used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to adjust their awards.

Most employers, who are not participating in the 2012-13 RTI pilot, will join the RTI system in April 2013. And HMRC expect the vast majority of employers to be operating PAYE in real time by the end of October 2013.

They estimate that up to 8,000 PAYE schemes will not start reporting PAYE in real time until April 2014. These schemes will mainly be Care and Support employers and employers who operate particular non-standard PAYE schemes.

The DWP timetable for universal credit is for new claimants to be able to make claims for universal credit from October 2013.

HMRC do not know how many of the 8,000 schemes that may not have joined RTI between October 2013 and April 2014 will have employees claiming universal credit but the number of individuals affected is expected to be very small.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many written parliamentary questions to his Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127285]

(2) 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. [127286]

Sajid Javid: 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 at:

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

9 Nov 2012 : Column 787W

Communities and Local Government

Housing: Construction

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of whether housebuilding is being held back by (a) building regulations, (b) the planning system and (c) the availability of finance; and if he will make a statement. [127239]

Mr Prisk: The Housing Strategy published in November 2011 identified a range of barriers to house building. The impact of these factors will vary from scheme to scheme. We are putting in place measures which reflect this diversity of local circumstances, for example through our review of building regulations and housing standards, flexibility to renegotiate planning obligations where these are making a site unviable, access to development finance through the Get Britain Building fund, or investment in infrastructure through the Growing Places fund. The housing and growth package announced in September strengthens this ability to provide a package of measures and support which meets the needs of specific sites, including finance support through the £10 billion housing debt guarantee.

Planning Permission

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's answer to question 10 of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee's evidence session on 15 October 2012, if he will publish the evidence base used to judge that too little land has been brought forward for development in England. [127121]

Nick Boles: At the Select Committee, I stated that, in the past, too little land had been brought forward for development.

As an illustration, a survey by the Planning Inspectorate under the last administration of 337 local planning authorities was only able to identify 81 local authorities as clearly having a five-year housing land supply (DCLG, “Five-year housing land supply coverage in England”, March 2010, p.5).

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's answer to question 112 of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee's evidence session on 15 October 2012, who has responsibility for use class orders within his Department. [127122]

Nick Boles: The consultation on "New opportunities for sustainable development and growth through the reuse of existing buildings" was published on 3 July 2012, and the general stance that my Department is taking on change of use was outlined in the answer of 17 July 2012, Official Report, column 648W.

Since my appointment on 5 September, I have been the Minister with responsibility for planning, including reform of change of use and permitted development rights.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 788W

I work closely with ministerial colleagues in the Department on related public policy issues; for example, the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis), has policy responsibility for community pubs.

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 304W, on housing: construction, what proportion of the 75,000 stalled sites are stalled due to section 106 agreements; and what proportion of such sites are stalled due to section 106 agreements relating to affordable housing. [127124]

Mr Prisk: As I said in my answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 304W, to the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), Glenigan's independent estimates are that 75,000 housing units are currently stalled due to sites being commercially unviable. More detailed information on individual sites is not centrally held.

Regional Spatial Strategies

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he expects the regional spatial strategy for the East of England to be abolished. [127764]

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

We are making good progress. The report for the East of England was published for public consultation between 25 July and 20 September. Reports for Yorkshire and Humber, South East, East Midlands and North East have also been published for public consultation, and further consultations will follow over the coming weeks.

Service Charges

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what safeguards he has put in place to ensure that lessees do not pay excessive and disproportionate managing agent fees. [127850]

Mr Foster: The law provides leaseholders with a number of rights and protections where service charges and the management of their property are concerned, including fees payable towards the costs of management.

For example, where leaseholders do not believe that the charges they are being asked to pay are reasonable they may be able to apply to an independent Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to challenge the reasonableness of the charges.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 789W

Free initial advice about all of the rights and protections available to leaseholders is available from the Leasehold Advisory Service.

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration he has given to requiring all property managers and block management agents to become members of a governing body. [127853]

Mr Foster: A large number of property managers and managing agents in the residential leasehold sector already belong to bodies or associations offering voluntary regulation. These include bodies such as the Association of Residential Managing Agents, the Association of Retirement Housing Managers and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and ensure that their members have the right protections in place and operate to certain standards. They also have redress systems if something goes wrong.

In view of this, the moves towards stronger self-regulation by some leading trade associations in the field, and the need for these managers to comply with two Codes of Management Practice approved by the Secretary of State, the Government do not believe that the time is right for Government-imposed regulation of the sector which would run the risk of increasing burdens and costs.

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the ease with which owners and lessees are able to set up right to manage companies. [127851]

Mr Foster: No recent assessment has been made about the operation of the right to manage legislation, and there are no current plans to do so, although the Government welcome suggestions on improvements to residential leasehold, including the right to manage.

Energy and Climate Change

Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the oral answer of 1 November 2012, Official Report, columns 371-2, on feed-in tariff, what his Department's central forecast is for the level of solar photovoltaic generating capacity that will be installed by 2020. [127698]

Gregory Barker: The latest analysis in the impact assessment which accompanied the Government Response to Phase 2A of the Comprehensive Review of the FITs scheme demonstrates that under the central scenario, 11.9 GW of PV would be installed under the FITs scheme by end of financial year 2020-21; the upper scenario is 21.100 GW by end of financial year 2020-21. Projections of future PV deployment are extremely uncertain, and will depend on future movements in factors such as solar module prices.

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Cabinet Office

Freedom of Information

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the cost of (a) external legal advice, (b) advice from the Treasury Solicitor's Department and (c) civil service time incurred in dealing with Freedom of Information Act 2000 request EA/2011/0185. [126428]

Mr Maude [holding answer 2 November 2012]: This case has not yet concluded and there is insufficient information on which to base an estimate.

Vacancies

Mike Freer: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his Department's vacancy rate was in 2011-12; and what vacancy rate has been assumed for 2012-13. [125657]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office does not retain records on the number of open vacancies on particular dates. However, the Department maintains a deliberately high level of turnover as part of its resourcing model, ensuring that it can bring in the best talent from other Government Departments and more widely to ensure that it has the skills and experience it needs to address changing priorities.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Trees: Diseases

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the devolved Administrations on the issue of Chalara fraxinea; and if he will make a statement. [127150]

Mr Heath: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), chaired a cross Government meeting on Friday 2 November to which Ministers from the devolved Administrations were invited. A Minister from the Scottish Government joined the meeting while the other devolved Administrations were represented by senior officials. There will be a second such meeting later this week to which Ministers from the devolved Administrations have again been invited.

We have been in daily contact with the devolved Administrations regarding this issue.

Plastic Bags

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his policy is on the introduction of a single use carrier bags charge in England. [127151]

Richard Benyon: We are monitoring developments in other parts of the UK, including the results from the introduction of the charging scheme in Wales, together with Northern Ireland's plan to launch a charge from April 2013. We are also interested in the outcome of the Scottish consultation on a charge.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 791W

Transport

Driving Under Influence

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers involved in accidents in the UK were found to have a blood alcohol content of between 0 mg/100 ml and 80 mg/100 ml in each of the last 10 years. [126109]

Stephen Hammond: The estimated number and proportion of drivers and riders under the legal alcohol limit (0 to 80 mg/100 ml of blood) involved in a road traffic accident in Great Britain 2001-10 was:

 Proportion of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood) (%)Number of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood)(1)

2001

82

135,700

2002

81

130,700

2003

81

127,500

2004

79

119,700

2005

79

118,200

2006

78

111,700

2007

82

111,200

2008

81

102,300

2009

80

96,100

2010

83

92,800

(1) Figures rounded to nearest 100, since these are estimates Note: We do not hold figures for Northern Ireland.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on how many drivers involved in accidents registered a blood alcohol content of between 50 and 80 mg in the latest period for which figures are available. [126110]

Stephen Hammond: The number of drivers and riders involved in an accident in Great Britain for 2010 that were between 50-80 mg/100 ml of blood-alcohol level was approximately 1,100 (rounded to the nearest 100).

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the use of alcohol interlocks in public vehicles. [126112]

Stephen Hammond: An alcohol interlock prevents a person starting a vehicle if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath.

Operators of public vehicles may choose to use alcohol interlocks to improve safety. However, the Department has no plans to make their use mandatory in public vehicles.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were killed in crashes involving drink drivers in (a) Humberside and (b) north Lincolnshire in the last 10 years. [126113]

Stephen Hammond: The numbers of fatalities in drink drive accidents are not published below regional level.

The estimated numbers of fatalities in drink drive accidents in the Yorkshire and the Humber region in the years 2001-10 were:

9 Nov 2012 : Column 792W

 Number of fatalities

2001

40

2002

50

2003

60

2004

70

2005

60

2006

50

2007

50

2008

20

2009

30

2010

20

The estimates are derived from matching of police and coroners data on drink drive accidents. Various factors (e.g. hit and run accidents, non-matching records) mean that this dataset is generally incomplete. Estimates derived from it are rounded to the nearest 10 in view of this uncertainty. Region-level estimates for 2011 are not yet available.

Driving: Eyesight

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to introduce new measures to ensure a minimum requirement for regular eyesight tests at the point of driver licence renewal. [127434]

Stephen Hammond: There are no plans to introduce formal eyesight testing linked to driving licence renewal. The Department reviewed the vision arrangements for drivers as part of the implementation of EC Directive 2009/113/EC. The law requires all drivers of motor vehicles to ensure that they are able to meet the appropriate vision standards while driving.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has made an assessment of the effects of compliance with EC directives 2009/113/EC and 2006/126/EC, on the number of road traffic crashes. [127438]

Stephen Hammond: No specific assessment has been completed on the effect of compliance on the number of road traffic accidents. An impact assessment has been completed on the medical aspects of the directive which will be published alongside the legislation changes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government (a) have taken and (b) plan to take to ensure compliance with EC directives (i) 2009/113/EC and (ii) 2006/126/EC concerning driver eyesight. [127439]

Stephen Hammond: The driver eyesight standards contained in the European Commission directives need to be in place by 19 January 2013. The domestic legislative changes are expected to be introduced early in 2013. Administrative procedures are already in place to ensure that all driver licence applicants meet the minimum eyesight standards required by the directive.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps have been taken by his Department to raise public awareness of the dangers of driving with poor eyesight. [127440]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 793W

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport's THINK! road safety campaign has issued a public information film called “Transport Café” that raises awareness of the need for good eyesight and the necessity to read number plates from a distance. In the last financial year “Transport Café” achieved £203,651 worth of airtime value with a spread of coverage across BBC1, CH5 and other digital channels such as the British Forces Broadcasting Service. The film can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ5Z9nCk40M&list =PL6B70BFE9089C1028&index=16&feature=plpp_video

In addition, DFT provide information for the public on Gov.uk about the standards of eyesight for driving and what to do if you have a problem:

https://www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules

Driving: Licensing

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published in May 2011, what progress has been made on the development of the new post-test qualification for newly qualified drivers. [127435]

Stephen Hammond: Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the Government. We are considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test and are currently working with young people, the insurance industry and other key partners to identify what more can be done to ensure that newly-qualified drivers are properly prepared and drive safely.

Driving: Older People

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities have developed educational interventions to help older drivers assess their appropriateness to continue driving and to help them consider alternatives to the use of the car; what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of such interventions; and if he will undertake a national audit to make such interventions available nationally. [127441]

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not hold this information.

However, the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published on 11 May 2011, says that

“we would like to work with the voluntary sector representing the elderly and the training industry to develop further training schemes for older drivers.”

We do not have any plans to undertake a national audit to make educational interventions available nationally; it is for local authorities to decide whether or not they undertake such interventions with older drivers.

Helicopters: Safety

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent discussions he has had on safety standards in the helicopter fleet servicing the UK offshore oil and gas sector with the (a) Civil Aviation Authority and (b) European Aviation Safety Agency; and if he will make a statement; [127775]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 794W

(2) what assessment he has made of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch's initial findings from the investigation into the causes of the emergency ditching of a Super Puma EC225 in the North Sea on 22 October 2012; and if he will make a statement; [127776]

(3) what recent discussion on safety standards in the helicopter fleet servicing the UK offshore oil and gas sector he has had with representatives from (a) the Civil Aviation Authority, (b) the European Aviation Safety Agency, (c) trade unions and (d) offshore oil and gas companies; and if he will make a statement. [127834]

Mr Simon Burns: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has overall responsibility for assuring the continuing airworthiness of these helicopters. EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on 25 October following the ditching of a Super Puma EC225 in the North Sea on 22 October. As a precautionary measure, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued an operational directive on 25 October to prevent helicopters covered by the EASA directive from operating commercial flights over areas of open sea until further notice. The CAA is liaising closely with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) over its ongoing investigation and has had several recent meetings with the AAIB, EASA and other interested parties.

London Midland: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the continuation review for the London Midland franchise will (a) begin and (b) conclude; and whether the performance of Govia will be taken into account in that review. [126644]

Norman Baker [holding answer 5 November 2012]: As determined by criteria in the franchise agreement let by the previous Government, London Midland's Continuation Review Period ran from June 2011 to June 2012. The terms of the franchise agreement mean that the only criteria used to determine the outcome were those relating to London Midland. Accordingly, no wider factors relating to the owning group, Govia, can be taken into account.

Transport: Exhaust Emissions

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what analysis his Department has conducted (a) independently and (b) in conjunction with other Government Departments of the cost of inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions in carbon budgets. [125765]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has been working closely with, and will continue to work closely with, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and other Whitehall Departments to analyse the difference in the costs between inclusion and exclusion of international aviation and shipping emissions in the UK's 2050 carbon target and carbon budgets. The Government will consider this, and other relevant factors, carefully in advance of making a decision on this matter later this year.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 795W

New analysis published by the Committee on Climate Change in April 2012 estimated the overall costs of meeting the UK's 2050 carbon target (including international aviation and shipping emissions) to be towards the low end of their previous estimate of 1% to 2% of GDP in 2050. Preliminary internal cross-Departmental analysis estimated that the resource costs in 2050 of meeting a 2050 target that included emissions from international aviation and shipping would be around 0.1-0.4 percentage points of GDP higher than the cost of meeting a 2050 target that excluded those emissions.

House of Commons Commission

Fire Prevention

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment he has made of the cost of the online fire safety training available to (a) hon. Members, (b) their staff and (c) staff of the House; and what proportion of each such group completed such training in the latest period for which figures are available. [127216]

John Thurso: The development and hosting costs of the online fire safety training, available to Members, their staff and House staff, apportioned to the House of Commons were £19,800 and formed part of the 2009-10 budget. This equates to a cost of £2.30 per head for the period up to a planned upgrade of the training in 2013-14.

The proportions of Members, their staff and House staff who undertook the online training in the first six months of 2012-13 were:

 Percentage trainedNumber trained

Members

0.5

3

Members' staff

2.8

52

House staff (including PICT)

35

714

In addition, classroom-based fire safety training has been provided to an additional 147 House staff in the period making the proportion of House staff receiving training in this period 42%.

If the hon. Member has further concerns on this matter, the Head of Fire Safety and Environment would be happy to discuss them with him.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what assessment he has made of the effect of the medium-term financial plan and savings programme on fire safety improvements planned for the Palace of Westminster. [127217]

John Thurso: The draft medium-term financial plan for 2013-14 to 2016-17 includes £20 million of capital expenditure on fire safety improvement works on the Parliamentary Estate. It will not be possible to split out costs for the Palace of Westminster until the review of fire risk assessments and project scoping exercises are

9 Nov 2012 : Column 796W

completed in the fourth quarter of this financial year, although the majority of improvement works are required in the Palace.

The fire safety improvements works over the period covered by the plan focus on life-safety improvements to high risk areas, including but not limited to the Palace basement, plant rooms and roof spaces, Westminster Hall and Elizabeth Tower and improvements to the fire engineering infrastructure, disabled egress arrangements and fire safety signage.

If the hon. Member has further concerns on this matter, the Head of Fire Safety and Environment would be happy to discuss them with him.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what sanctions exist in respect of (a) hon. Members, (b) their staff and (c) staff of the House who fail to complete the online fire safety training course. [127218]

John Thurso: In line with the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 the Administration requires House staff, as direct employees, to undertake regular (annual) fire safety training. This is required training for House staff and failure to complete could lead to disciplinary procedures through the line management chain.

The House Administration is not able to impose sanctions on other occupants of the Estate such as Members and their staff, as they are not employees. The Administration fulfils its obligations for provision of fire safety training to occupants of the estate not employed by the House by making quick and convenient fire safety training readily available and promoting the uptake of the training through regular messages in Member-facing publications and on the intranet. As employers of their staff, individual Members have a duty to ensure that they are properly trained, are aware of the fire safety requirements on the Estate, and comply with the instructions of Fire Officers and Fire Marshals.

If the hon. Member has further concerns on this matter, the Head of Fire Safety and Environment would be happy to discuss them with him.

Table Office

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many full-time Clerks have been employed in the Table Office in each year for which figures are available. [127219]

John Thurso: The Table Office came into existence during the 1939-45 war and was certainly an established phenomenon by the time the House returned to the rebuilt Commons Chamber in 1951. There appear to have been four full-time Clerks employed in the Table Office from the time it became formally established. The number of full-time Clerks was increased to five in 2002 in response to a growing number of PQs tabled. In October 2006 the Office's staff of Clerks was increased to six. Since that date the number has fluctuated between five and six full-time equivalents, rising to a peak of 6.3 full-time equivalents between March and June 2012.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 797W

Some regular additional assistance in the evenings is provided to the Office by Clerks assigned to posts in the Committee Office.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) how many written parliamentary questions were tabled each day in March (a) 2009 and (b) 2012; [127220]

(2) how many written parliamentary questions to the House of Commons Commission received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127293]

(3) how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to the House of Commons Commission received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127294]

John Thurso: The number of written parliamentary questions tabled to the House of Commons Commission each day in March 2009 and March 2012 is shown in the following table:

Number of written PQs tabled each day
 Number

2009

 

2 March

1

3 March

11

4 March

1

9 March

1

11 March

1

16 March

5

17 March

1

20 March

3

23 March

1

24 March

6

25 March

1

26 March

1

30 March

1

31 March

1

Total

(1)35

  

2012

 

1 March

7

6 March

3

7 March

1

8 March

1

14 March

1

20 March

1

22 March

1

Total

15

(1) Includes one written question transferred from the Leader and excludes one which was transferred to the Leader.

In the year to 2 November 2012 there were 99 written parliamentary questions tabled to the House of Commons Commission. A detailed analysis of when these were answered is not readily available, but in all but 19 cases questions were answered either on the named day or within five sitting days. In those 19 cases, a letter was sent to the Member concerned to apologise for the delay.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 798W

Deputy Prime Minister

Lobbying

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to publish his White Paper on a statutory register of lobbyists. [127162]

Miss Chloe Smith: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 331W, to the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy).

Health

Cancer

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of gene expression profiling in the diagnosis for patients with cancer of unknown primary. [127187]

Anna Soubry: Genetic expression profiling of cancer of unknown primary is still at the research stage and not yet routinely available on the national health service. Tests are available for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, KRAS for colorectal cancer, KIT and Platelet Derived Growth Factor Receptor Agonist for Gastrointestinal cancer, and Her2 for breast cancer.

Catering

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on refreshments since May 2010. [127106]

Dr Poulter: Since May 2010 the Department has spent the following on refreshments in each financial year:

Financial year£

2010-11 (from May 2010)

620,760.29

2011-12

452,893.27

2012-13 (April-October)

232,220.30

These costs include the provision of refreshments for external meetings and visitors hosted in the Department's buildings. Departmental policy is not to provide refreshments for internal meetings.

Since May 2012 Connecting for Health has spent £46,682.47.

Corporate Hospitality

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions Ministers in his Department have accepted corporate hospitality since May 2010. [127847]

Dr Poulter: Details of ministerial hospitality received are published quarterly in arrears on the Department's website at:

http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/category/transparency/ministerial-gifts-hospitality/

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Doctors: Working Hours

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effects of the European working time directive on the (a) well-being of NHS patients and (b) training of junior doctors. [127771]

Dr Poulter: The care of patients in the modern health service is by multidisciplinary clinical teams with strong innovative, senior clinical leadership. Good teams are the safest way to care for patients; ensuring that care is continuous cannot be the responsibility of just one member of the team.

It is the responsibility of individual national health service trusts to assess the effects the directive is having on patients and staff in their trust. However, the Government recognise the difficulties caused by the working time directive. The review by Sir John Temple reported on the directive's impact on doctors' training.

In response to this review and the Collins' report ‘Foundation for Excellence’, Medical Education England are implementing a programme—Better Training, Better Care—to improve the quality of training and improved patient outcomes, safety and experience.

Sir John Temple also reported that the requirements of the junior doctors' contract and the directive differ and that this reduces flexibility. As a result the NHS Employers organisation was commissioned to make recommendations for reappraising the contract. The report's recommendations are being considering carefully.

Driving Under Influence

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost to the NHS was of incidents involving drink drivers in the last year for which figures are available. [126111]

Anna Soubry: The Department does not hold data centrally that would enable it to make an estimate of the cost to the national health service of incidents involving drink drivers.

We are aware of a published study, ‘The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006-7 NHS costs’, published in the Journal of Public Health May 2011, which estimated the cost to the NHS in the United Kingdom of alcohol attributable motor vehicle accidents to be at £238 million in 2006-07.

Eyesight: Testing

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests. [127204]

Dr Poulter: The Government recognise that regular sight tests are an important measure in preventing avoidable sight loss.

Free national health services sight tests are available to many people, including children, people aged 60 and over, people on benefits and those people at particular risk of developing eye disease. The uptake of NHS sight

9 Nov 2012 : Column 800W

tests is increasing. In 2011-12, there were 12.3 million NHS sight tests, an increase of 367,000 (3.1%) compared with the previous year.

Information about the extensive arrangements for providing help with NHS optical services and other health costs is published in leaflet HC11 “Are you entitled to help with health costs?”.

The Department has worked, and continues to work with NHS Choices on the development of articles and videos to raise the profile of visual health and promote the importance of regular sight tests.

Local health commissioners can also promote eye health, if they consider that to be needed locally.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will conduct an analysis of whether eye tests should be included in standard health check-ups performed by GPs. [127205]

Dr Poulter: The Government recognise that regular sight tests are an important measure in preventing avoidable sight loss.

A substantial proportion of the population is eligible for free national health service sight tests. These are provided as part of the broad range of NHS primary care services through contracts with primary care optical providers, with clinical work undertaken by ophthalmic practitioners, the most appropriate clinical group to provide this service.

Those eligible for free sight tests include children, people aged 60 and over, people on benefits and those people at particular risk of developing eye disease. The uptake of NHS sight tests is increasing. In 2011-12, there were 12.3 million NHS sight tests, an increase of 367,000 (3.1%) compared with the previous year.

We have no plans to change these arrangements for delivering NHS sight tests.

Homeopathy

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that patient access to homeopathic medicines will not be affected by the consolidation of regulations referring to section 10 of the Medicines Act 1968. [127119]

Dr Poulter: The Medicines Act 1968 and the some 200 statutory instruments which made up the fragmented United Kingdom medicines legislation for medicines have been consolidated into one set of regulations: the Human Medicines Regulations 2012. This came into force on 14 August 2012. Section 10 of the Medicines Act 1968 was not consolidated—nor was it intended as part of the consolidation exercise to change the legislative provisions governing the sale and supply of homeopathic medicines. Any change to these provisions which move them away from the current position would need detailed assessment and consideration.

NHS: Drugs

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the costs to the NHS of returned medicines. [127751]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 801W

Dr Poulter: Research commissioned by the Department to determine the scale, causes and costs of waste medicines in England estimated that the gross cost of unused prescription medicines in primary and community care in the national health service in England in 2009 was £300 million a year and that up to £150 million of this was avoidable. The annual waste figure includes an estimated £100 million of medicines returned to community pharmacies over the course of the year and the associated disposal costs incurred by primary care organisations.

The research report, “Evaluation of the Scale, Causes and Costs of Waste Medicines”, was published in November 2010 by the York Health Economics Consortium and the School of Pharmacy at the University of London.

NHS: Finance

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total accumulated deficit of NHS trusts is. [127605]

Dr Poulter: The national health service has a “break-even duty” to ensure that its expenditure does not exceed its income taking one year with another. The aggregate value of the cumulative deficits reported by NHS trusts at the end of the 2011-12 financial year for the purposes of this duty was £738 million.

The aggregate value of the cumulative surpluses reported by NHS trusts at the end of the 2011-12 financial year for the purposes of this duty was £761 million. This resulted in an overall net cumulative break-even position of £23 million across all NHS trusts.

NHS foundation trusts are not subject to the same statutory break-even duty, and do not, therefore, have cumulative or historic debt.

NHS: Private Finance Initiative

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost was to NHS trusts of repaying private finance initiative debts in 2011-12; [127757]

(2) how much private finance initiative debt is owed by the NHS. [127817]

Dr Poulter: The cost of private finance initiative (PFI) payments to national health service bodies (NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and primary care trusts) in 2011-12 was £1.6 billion.

Information on the estimated annual revenue payments for the lifetime of each NHS PFI contract signed between 1997 and May 2010 can be found on the Treasury's website at:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pfi_current_projects_list_ march_2012.xls

These are the latest estimates collected from each Department for end of March 2012; the health sector schemes are clearly marked "Department of Health" and then "DH-Acute (i.e. Hospitals)". The initial capital cost of each scheme is shown in column R and the annual revenue payment in the columns headed “Unitary Charge Payment”.

The Treasury table shows that for the 102 NHS PFI schemes that have been signed, the estimated total revenue payments over the lifetime of their contracts is £77.3 billion. The revenue payment figures include not just the financing costs for initial construction but also

9 Nov 2012 : Column 802W

the costs of all the other services such as building maintenance and support services (cleaning, catering, portering, etc.) provided over the lifetime of the contract. The payments are subject to meeting agreed performance and quality standards and include an annual uprate assumption for inflation of 2.5%.

NHS: Procurement

Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what functions are being outsourced by the NHS to India; [127689]

(2) what his policy is on the outsourcing of NHS back-office functions; [127690]

(3) which NHS trusts have outsourced back-office functions in each of the last five years. [127691]

Dr Poulter: The Department does not hold information on what functions are being performed in India under contracts with individual national health service trusts and other local NHS bodies.

The Department does not have a role in the decision making by NHS trusts to use private sector or other providers to deliver non-clinical NHS services. The Department is committed to an effective and open market in the provision of high quality non-clinical support services where such decisions deliver optimal value for money for NHS bodies.

Nurses: Vacancies

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate his Department has made of (a) NHS nursing vacancies and (b) expected nursing vacancies in the NHS over the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [127805]

Dr Poulter: The information requested on the current number of national health service nursing vacancies is not collected centrally. Additionally, no estimate has been made of the expected number of nurse vacancies over the next 12 months.

It is for local employers to ensure that there are sufficient staff available to provide high quality health care for patients.

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health 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. [127178]

Dr Poulter: The information about absence from work in the core Department, covering the number of working days and the average working days lost (AWDL), broken down by grade, for each of the last five years, is presented in the following table. This is based on data submitted to Cabinet Office as part of routine reporting.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 803W

9 Nov 2012 : Column 804W

 Financial year
 2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12
GradeTotal daysAWDLTotal daysAWDLTotal daysAWDLTotal daysAWDLTotal daysAWDL

Administrative Officer

1,307.7

10.4

1,377.8

10.1

1,771.1

7.4

1,138.6

9.8

964.6

8.9

Executive Officer

3,833.3

9.5

3,600

9.3

4,856.3

7.6

3,204.2

7.3

2,467

6.7

Higher Executive Officer

1,957

6.6

1,685.4

5.4

2,648.2

5.7

1,662.5

4.5

1,659.8

4.8

Senior Executive Officer

2,049.2

4.8

2,345.6

5.4

3,139

4.4

2,518.8

4.9

2,101.2

4.3

Grade 7

1,770.5

3.7

1,755

3.6

2,511.9

3.9

1,760.5

3.2

1,468.6

2.9

Grade 6

689.3

2.6

673.2

2.3

1,304.3

2.9

1,226.1

3.6

587.1

1.9

Senior Civil Service

495.3

1.8

505.5

1.8

673.8

1.7

618.9

2.4

282.1

1.2

Total

12,102.3

5.3

11,942.5

5.1

16,904.6

4.7

12,129.6

4.7

9,530.4

4.0

The Department has one of the lowest rates across Whitehall for the number of average working days lost per year. For the year 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 the average working days lost for the core Department was 4.0.

Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to respond to the e-petition on The Oliver King Foundation—SADS. [127743]

Anna Soubry: The Department is currently collating information so that it can provide a full response in the near future.

Visual Impairment

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward a national scheme to address the optical health issues outlined in the Optical Confederation's Glaucoma Referral Refinement and Primary Eye Care Acute Referral Scheme on a national scale. [127582]

Dr Poulter: Our view is that local health communities are best placed to decide how to develop eye care services and improve visual health in ways that reflect local needs and circumstances. Currently primary care trusts perform this role.

From April 2013; Primary Ophthalmic Services (the NHS sight testing service and optical voucher scheme) will become the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will take over the commissioning of most services, including ophthalmic services in secondary care, and be able to commission eye care services in primary care over and above the NHS sight testing service.

Given their overview of local health needs, we consider CCGs to be best placed to judge which services over and above the sight testing service should be commissioned.

Northern Ireland

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for how many and what proportion of days, on average, staff of her Department at each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in each of the last five years. [127174]

Mike Penning: Comparable figures for my Department as it is now configured are not available for the years preceding the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010. Between April 2010-March 2011 and April 2011-March 2012, the figures for home civil servants employed by my Department are as follows:

1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011
 Staff in the gradeAverage days absent

AA

14

6.2

AO

20

1

EO

22

10.4

HEO

23

22.3

SEO

6

0

Grade A

18

27.8

SCS

6

0

1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012
 Staff in the gradeAverage days absent

AA

7

19.7

AO

7

12.7

EO

27

12.8

HEO

26

1.4

SEO

8

0.25

Grade A

16

25.7

SCS

6

0.33

The absence figures for the EO, HEO and A grades in both years include staff who were absent for most of this period on long term sick leave.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many written parliamentary questions to her Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127279]

(2) how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to her Department received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127280]

Mike Penning: For the period 1 November 2011 to 31 October 2012, the Northern Ireland Office received 280 ordinary written parliamentary questions. All of these were answered substantively. The timeframe for responses was as follows:

(a) 264

(b) 14

(c) 2

9 Nov 2012 : Column 805W

For the same period, my Department answered 103 named day parliamentary questions, of which 6 (6%) received a holding reply.

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

Women and Equalities

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities (1) how many written parliamentary questions to the Government Equalities Office received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127291]

(2) how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to the Government Equalities Office received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127292]

Maria Miller: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was part of the Home Office until September 2012, when it became part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Information requested for GEO up to September 2012 is included in the response to questions 127273 and 127274 to the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Information from September 2012 onwards is included in the response to questions 127261 and 127262 to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Defence

Afghanistan

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of his Department's policies on the cultivation and production of heroin and cannabis in Afghanistan since 2001. [126729]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 6 November 2012]: The Secretary of State for Defence strongly supports the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who lead on UK counter-narcotics policy in Afghanistan.

We recognise the threat that narcotics pose to the stability of Afghanistan and support the Afghan Government in implementing its National Drug Control Strategy. It is difficult to assess the overall levels of progress, but together with international partners, the UK is pursuing a comprehensive approach to tackling the Afghan drugs trade.

NATO

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress there has been on

9 Nov 2012 : Column 806W

NATO's Smart Defence initiative; and if he will make a statement. [127608]

Dr Murrison: NATO Defence Ministers were briefed on recent progress on NATO's Smart Defence initiative at their October 2012 meeting. There are currently 24 projects with lead nations or lead bodies identified, an increase from 22 at the time of the Chicago summit. In addition, there are another 56 possible Smart Defence proposals. Work to associate NATO's partner nations with Smart Defence has yet to begin in earnest.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent progress has been made on NATO's Connected Forces initiative; [127609]

(2) if he will list the (a) agreed and (b) planned projects that will form part of NATO's Connected Forces initiative. [127809]

Dr Murrison: NATO is developing the detail of the Connected Forces initiative which essentially will comprise proposals to expand education and training, increase exercises and make better use of technology. A detailed report with recommendations will be presented to Defence Ministers at the NATO Defence Ministerial on 21 and 22 February 2013 in accordance with the timelines agreed at NATO.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) agreed and (b) planned projects that will form part of NATO's Smart Defence initiative. [127808]

Dr Murrison: The NATO list of agreed and planned projects is owned by NATO. The UK has already announced that it will lead on the Immersive Training Environments project and the Theatre Opening Capability project that form part of the Smart Defence initiative.

Wales

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales 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. [127170]

Stephen Crabb: Due to technical difficulties, the Ministry of Justice (which collates Wales Office data on ill-health absences) is unable at present to provide us with this information. I am advised that those difficulties should be resolved within the next few weeks, at which time I shall write to the hon. Member, and place a copy of the letter in the House of Commons Library.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many written parliamentary questions to his Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127287]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 807W

(2) 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. [127288]

Stephen Crabb: For the period 1 November 2011 to 31 October 2012, the Wales Office received 344 ordinary written parliamentary questions. All of these were answered substantively, and are broken down as follows:

(a): 322

(b): 22

(c): Nil.

For the same period, my Department received and answered 47 named day parliamentary questions, of which two (4%) received a holding reply.

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 at:

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

Work and Pensions

Employment and Support Allowance

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people with (a) fluctuating conditions and (b) mental ill-health have been successful in their appeal for employment and support allowance at tribunal. [126340]

Mr Hoban: Information on ESA appeal outcomes by International Classification of Diseases (2010) Condition Groups, which includes “Mental and Behavioural Disorders”, has already been published. The figures can be found in table 2 at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/ESA_Appeal_Outcomes.xls

The background information can be found at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/ESA_Appeal_Outcomes.pdf

Information on people with “fluctuating conditions” is not available.

Employment Schemes: Young People

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many enquiries his Department has received from employers regarding the Youth Contract wage incentive in (a) April, (b) May, (c) June, (d) July, (e) August, (f) September and (g) October 2012. [127762]

Mr Hoban: The Department monitors the number of calls received from employers interested in the Youth Contract but we do not break the information down into wage incentive or any other elements of the Youth Contract. Therefore we do not have the information requested.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 808W

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent issuing wage incentives under the Youth Contract. [127763]

Mr Hoban: In most cases the wage incentives element of the Youth Contract are paid after a young person has been in work continuously for 26 weeks. The first set of Official Statistics on the wage incentive should be available from early 2013. The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefits

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the latest audited figures for (a) correctly paid housing benefit and (b) correctly paid council tax benefit were for each local authority. [125859]

Steve Webb: The Department for Work and Pensions subsidises local authorities' expenditure on housing and council tax benefits. The latest year for which we have audited expenditure is 2010-11. A table showing the amount of correctly paid housing and council tax benefits for each local authority for 2010-11 will be placed in the Library.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for which offences jobseeker's allowance claimants have faced sanctions since 6 May 2010. [127748]

Mr Hoban: Since May 2010, two types of sanctions applied to jobseeker's allowance claimants: fixed and variable sanctions.

The reasons for variable sanctions can be found at:

http://83.244.183.180/sanction/sanction/LIVE/dec_var_dec/d_indate/q_2gp/dct_gp/a_stock_r_d_indate_c_q_2gp_p_dct_ gp_adverse_apr12.html

The reasons for fixed sanctions can be found at:

http://83.244.183.180/sanction/sanction/LIVE/dec_fix_dec/d_indate/q_2gp/dct_gp/a_stock_r_d_indate_c_q_2gp_p_ dct_gp_adverse_apr12.html

From 22 October 2012, a revised jobseekers' allowance sanctions regime was introduced. The regime is designed to provide greater clarity about the consequences of not meeting requirements and more robust sanctions for repeated non engagement. The requirements placed on claimants will not change but the duration of sanctions have changed.

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average jobseeker's allowance payment made to claimants was in the latest period for which figures are available. [127813]

Mr Hoban: Statistics on jobseeker's allowance by weekly average amount payable are available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html

9 Nov 2012 : Column 809W

Guidance for users is available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/tabtools/guidance.pdf

New Enterprise Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many participants in the Work programme have started their own business following referral to the new enterprise allowance scheme; [127759]

(2) how many participants in the Work programme have been referred to the new enterprise allowance scheme since its inception. [127760]

Mr Hoban: The new enterprise allowance (NEA) is not available to Work programme participants.

The NEA helps unemployed people who want to start their own business. It is a voluntary scheme available to people aged 18 and over who are claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) from day one of their claim. Eligibility for the NEA ends once a claimant has been referred to the Work programme. However, Work programme providers are free to design and offer support to best suit individual and local needs, including self-employment support.

Social Security Benefits: Disqualification

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his Department's response to question 7 of the Freedom of Information request 2012-3773, how much his Department would have paid out in employment benefits to claimants subject to sanctions had such sanctions not been applied. [127747]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the number of local authority staff who will be required to underpin the delivery of universal credit. [127761]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 810W

Mr Hoban: DWP is working closely with the Local Government Association, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Welsh Local Government Association, and the local government sector more widely to consider the implications of universal credit delivery on local authorities. It is right that we carefully work together with local authorities to ensure that we fully understand the implications for local authority staff of universal credit delivery. The learning from the local authority led pilots and the direct payment projects already under way, and pathfinder activity from April 2013, will contribute to our analysis. We will confirm further details as this work develops.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the impact assessment for universal credit of October 2011, what the (a) marginal deduction rates and (b) participation tax rates for universal credit recipients are for each income band of £1,000 in the income range of £1,000 to £60,000 as a result of policy decisions taken prior to 31 October 2012. [127875]

Mr Hoban: There is not one (a) marginal deduction rate and (b) participation tax rate for recipients of universal credit in each income band.

The income of a household does not directly determine their MDR and PTR. Two households with identical income but with different circumstances could have a different MDR and PTR.

Under universal credit, an individual earning less than their earnings disregard will have an MDR of zero. For an individual on the UC taper and not paying tax and national insurance they will face an MDR of 65%. For an individual receiving UC and paying tax and national insurance the MDR is approximately 76%.

A PTR is a measure of the incentive to start work; it calculates the proportion of earnings kept by an individual when they move into work. The level of the PTR is affected by not only how much they earn but also by the characteristics of the household and the level of their earnings disregard.

The following table, which was published at Budget 2012, gives examples of MDRs and PTRs for individuals with different characteristics:

Budget 2012: Table B.2: Illustrative participation tax rates (PTRs) and marginal deduction rates (MDRs) for example individuals
 2014-15 including universal credit
 At 10 hoursAt 35 hours
 PTRMDRPTRMDR

Lone parent, one child

0

0

46

76

First earner in couple, no children

24

65

56

76

First earner in couple, two children

7

65

51

76

Second earner in couple, no children. First earner working 10 hours

65

65

68

76

Second earner in couple, two children. First earner working 10 hours

65

65

68

76

Single, under 25, no children

50

65

64

76

Note: Analysis assumes no council tax benefit entitlement and excludes child care costs. Further details of the assumptions underpinning the estimates in this table can be found in the Data Sources document. Source: HM Treasury estimates

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Table 4 of the universal credit impact assessment, what the average loss of entitlement per week will be for households who work full time and only receive tax credits and will have a lower entitlement under universal credit. [127876]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 811W

Mr Hoban: The impact assessment states that in Great Britain around 1.1 million households working full-time and entitled to tax credits only will have lower entitlements under universal credit. The average loss of entitlement is estimated to be around £24 per week (2011-12 prices).

However it is important to recognise that a package of transitional protection is being developed in order to ensure that there will be no cash losers as a direct result of the move to universal credit where circumstances remain the same.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Table 4 of the universal credit impact assessment, how many households working full time and receiving tax credits will have a lower entitlement under universal credit in each income band of £1,000. [127877]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available at this level of detail.

The impact assessment states that in Great Britain around 1.1 million households working full time and entitled to tax credits only will have lower entitlements under universal credit.

However it is important to recognise that a package of transitional protection is being developed in order to ensure that there will be no cash losers as a direct result of the move to universal credit where circumstances remain the same.

International Development

Argentina

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development for what reason the Government has adopted a policy of abstaining on Inter-American Development Bank loans to Argentina. [127230]

Mr Duncan: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 16 April 2012, Official Report, column 233W.

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the Government voted on the proposed September 2012 loan to Argentina from the Inter-American Development Bank; and what reports she has received on the voting patterns of the UK's major diplomatic partners on this issue. [127231]

Mr Duncan: The UK abstained at the Committee of the Whole of the Board of Executive Directors at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) for three loans to Argentina during September.

The minutes of the Committee of the Whole, which reflect abstentions and votes against any project, are made public only after 10 years.

Catering

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department has spent on refreshments since May 2010. [127099]

9 Nov 2012 : Column 812W

Mr Duncan: DFID has two headquarter sites based in East Kilbride and London. The amount spent via our United Kingdom contracted catering suppliers for both sites from May 2010 until the end of October 2012 was £170,162. This compares to £355,059 over the preceding two financial years from April 2008 to March 2010.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many written parliamentary questions to her Department received a substantive answer (a) within five working days, (b) between six and 10 working days and (c) after more than 10 working days in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [127275]

(2) how many and what proportion of written parliamentary questions to her Department received holding responses in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [127276]

Mr Duncan: In the 12-month period ending 2 November 2012, DFID received 957 ordinary written questions, of which 909 (95%) were answered within five sitting days. The remaining 48 questions were answered within 10 sitting days.

In the 12-month period ending 2 November 2012, DFID received 273 Named Day, of which 248 (91%) were answered by the named day.

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

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Papua New Guinea

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of human rights in Papua New Guinea. [127139]

Mr Swire: Papua New Guinea has constitutional protection for human rights and has ratified a range of related UN conventions. However implementation of these is hampered by lack of capacity and co-ordination within government. Recent visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Violence against Women and Torture raise areas of concern and recommendations for change. The UN Universal Periodic Review of Papua New Guinea's human rights took place in May 2011. At the UPR, the only recommendation not accepted by the PNG Government was to abolish the death penalty, although PNG did agree to keep this under review. Gender equality remains a key challenge for PNG, particularly domestic violence.

9 Nov 2012 : Column 813W

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote human rights in Papua New Guinea. [127140]

Mr Swire: We co-ordinate closely with regional partners, including Australia and New Zealand, on how best to support the PNG Government in improving human rights. We have raised the recommendations of UN Special Rapporteurs and the UN Universal Periodic Review with the PNG Government and will continue to do so, as part of our regular dialogue on governance and human rights issues in particular in regards to gender based violence.

We also work closely with the Commonwealth Secretariat, which has offered support to PNG both with judicial capacity building, legislation and human rights training for police; as well as reinforcing the Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers. PNG also benefits from the Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility (CPGF) and has been participating in capacity development interventions focused on UPR preparation and follow-up implementation.

The UK has engaged on gender issues by funding local organisations which seek to empower women in business and organisations which provide shelter and counselling to victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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. [127179]

Alistair Burt: The number of days taken as a result of ill health, short-and long-term, certified and uncertified absences, and the average working days lost (AWDL) by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK based staff at each pay grade in each of the last five years is provided in the following tables:

 1 October 2007 to 30 September 20081 October 2008 to 30 September 2009
GradeTotalAWDLTotalAWDL

A1

1,755

11

1,362

11.3

A2

7,476

6.9

8,480

9.5

B3

8,785

5

6,280

4.8

C4

6,713

3.3

7,330

4.2

C5

660

4.6

201

2.3

D6

2,711

3.1

2,599

3.4

D7

295

0.8

420

1.3

SMS

429

1

274

0.8

Unknown(1)

Total

28,824

4.2

26,946

4.8

 1 October 2009 to 30 September 20101 October 2010 to 30 September 2011
GradeTotalAWDLTotalAWDL

Al

964

8.6

1,378

18.2

A2

5,733

7.6

4,105

5

B3

5,321

4.5

5,730

4.6

C4

2,879

3

3,418

3.2

C5

1,524

3.7

1,712

4

D6

2,139

3.2

1,698

2.4

9 Nov 2012 : Column 814W

D7

631

2

917

2.7

SMS

167

0.5

257

0.6

Unknown(1)

186

214

2

Total

19,544

4.1

19,429

3.7

1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012
GradeTotalAWDL

Al

1,012

24.4

A2

5,488

7

B3

5,510

4.8

C4

2,774

2.6

C5

1,534

3.6

D6

1,231

1.8

D7

339

1

SMS

318

0.8

Unknown(1)

156

0.9

Total

18,362

3.6

(1) Officers for whom grade field was not completed when absence was reported.

Figures prior to 1 October 2009 include FCO Services and Wilton Park both executive agencies of the FCO. Data for FCO only staff were not available prior to this date.

The total number of working days lost through short- and long-term sick absence, certified and uncertified for the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, are published in the FCO Annual Departmental Report (HC59).

Culture, Media and Sport

Sickness Absence

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the rate of employee absence was in her Department in each month since May 2010. [123108]

Maria Miller: This information is not held in the manner requested. However, the following table shows the proportion of days, on average, staff in each pay grade were absent as a result of ill health in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

For 2011-12 the civil service-wide sickness rate was 7.6 average working days lost.

Civil service pay grade2010-112011-12

SCS

1.7

1.2

A(U)

1.9

1.3

A

2.6

3.7

B

3.7

4.0

C

8.6

6.1

D

15.1

11.2

Total

4.9

4.2

This Department is committed to the health and welfare of its staff, helping staff to stay healthy and reducing the need for sick leave. Support is provided to staff returning from long-term sick leave, referring them to Occupational Health to advise on how best to facilitate a return to work and offering access to an Employee Assistance Programme for independent advice and support.