Police: Surveillance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2012, Official Report, column 38W, on police: surveillance, whether it is Government policy that it is not acceptable for undercover police to engage in sexual activity with members of the public and that this is not authorised conduct; [131490]

(2) with reference to the contribution by the then Minister of State at the Home Department on 13 June 2012, Official Report, column 104WH, what the reasons are for any change in Government policy on undercover policing since June 2012; and if she will make a statement. [131608]

Damian Green: There has been no change in the Government's policy on undercover policing. The then Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert), made our position clear in the Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate on 13 June 2012, Official Report, column 104WH.

We are working with the police and others to implement the recommendations of the independent HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report earlier this year into the use of long-term undercover officers. As for inappropriate sexual conduct, when police officers conduct themselves in ways that breach their own professional standards then this is a matter for the police in accordance with their professional standards.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 207W

Smuggling: Tobacco

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many boats were intercepted smuggling tobacco into the UK in the last year for which figures are available. [132019]

Mr Harper: In the year up to the end of October 2012, Border Force Cutters seized tobacco and tobacco products from 39 vessels of all types.


Culture, Media and Sport

Public Appointments

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when her Department last assessed (a) the utility and (b) the value of psychometric testing in its recruitment and selection of candidates for public appointments on advisory boards. [132779]

Mr Vaizey: The Department has not carried out an assessment of psychometric testing for ministerial public appointments.

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department's policy is on the payment of travel expenses to candidates in respect of their attendance at assessment centres and interviews when pursuing applications for selection to a public appointment. [132780]

Mr Vaizey: The Department's policy is to reimburse reasonable costs, if claimed by candidates who have attended an interview for a ministerial public appointment.

Justice

Abu Qatada

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has spent on legal aid in respect of Abu Qatada. [131875]

Jeremy Wright: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is the body with operational responsibility for legal aid in England and Wales. The LSC has not received final claims from Abu Qatada's solicitors, but has confirmed that it had provided £515,778 in legal aid funding to Abu Qatada as of 5 December 2012.

Claims Management Services

Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether his proposal to extend the jurisdiction of the Office for Legal Complaints to cover complaints against claims management companies will apply from April 2013; [133110]

(2) what assessment he has made of the likelihood of any consumer detriment of delaying the extension of the Office for Legal Complaints jurisdiction to cover complaints against claims management companies beyond April 2013. [133055]

Mrs Grant: The Government announced in August 2012 that the Legal Ombudsman will assume responsibility for claims management complaints handling in 2013. It has been, and still is, our intention that these arrangements will be in place by the end of 2013 when all the necessary operational, financial and regulatory arrangements are in place.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 208W

Until those arrangements are in place, the current complaints handling system for claims management companies will remain in operation and consumers can continue to lodge complaints with the Claims Management Services Regulator. There is no delay nor is there any increased consumer detriment.

Courts: Interpreters

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many spot checks have been performed by his Department's procurement specialists on Capita's interpreter verification and vetting procedures; and what other steps he has put in place to ensure that those procedures are (a) sufficiently rigorous and (b) applied consistently; [132484]

(2) how many Capita interpreters are currently assessed on Tier (a) 1, (b) 2 and (c) 3; and how many Tier 3 interpreters have been deployed in courtrooms or tribunals since January 2012; [132485]

(3) what changes he has made to his Department's services procurement process as a result of the findings of the National Audit Office's report on the Ministry of Justice's language services contract published in September 2012. [132644]

Mrs Grant: The Department has undertaken three sample audits. On each occasion a random sample of 30 interpreters has their qualifications and vetting documentation physically checked, in accordance with the tier to which the interpreter is currently assigned. This is in addition to the spot checking of management information. There will be a further sample audit in December.

The number of interpreters available in each tier is set out as follows, as at 29 October 2012. This was confirmed by Capita during its evidence to the Public Accounts Committee:

TierNumber of interpretersNumber of languages covered

Tier l

677

1332

Tier 2

303

640

Tier 3

132

281

Tier 3 interpreters constitute 11.7% of the total. It should also be noted that the final decision on the use of a Tier 3 interpreter is for the judge hearing the particular case where it is being considered. Currently tier 3 interpreters are used in approximately 2% of cases.

The Ministry of Justice carries out due diligence on all commercial bodies with which it contracts. We have noted the NAO’s comments and we will look to learn from them in future exercises of this nature.

Courts: Middlesbrough

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many cases have been dealt with by East Middlesbrough Community Justice Court in each year since its inception; [131839]

(2) how many cases were heard by Teesside Youth Court in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012 to date. [131885]

11 Dec 2012 : Column 209W

Mrs Grant: The Ministry of Justice holds statistical information in relation to the number of cases dealt with in magistrates courts at individual local justice area level. Both East Middlesbrough Community Justice Court and Teesside Youth Court operate within Teesside Magistrates Court and their case data are therefore captured as a part of Teesside Magistrates Court data. The following table presents figures for the number of criminal cases dealt with in Teesside Magistrates Court between 2009 and the second quarter of 2012. The data collection system for magistrates courts changed in 2008, so comparable data are only available from 2009 onwards.

Completed criminal proceeded in magistrates courts, England and Wales, 2009-12
 Number of proceedings in Teesside Magistrates Court(1)Total number of proceedings

2009

20,688

1,912,632

2010

18,582

1,797,359

2011

18,332

1,734,579

2012(2)

9,348

837,932

(1) Both East Middlesbrough Community Justice Court and Teesside Youth Court are located within Teesside Magistrates Court and there are no data available for each specific court. (2 )Provisional figures and subject to change. Figures are only available from January to June 2012. Full details for 2012 will be published in June 2013. Source: Completed Proceedings, HM Court and Tribunals Service Performance Database (OPT)

Fraud: Shares

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of the money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has been recovered following the discovery of (a) boiler room and (b) recovery room scams since implementation of that Act. [133097]

Mrs Grant: Both the HM Courts and Tribunals Service and other Government databases hold information by category, the most relevant of which does not allow the identification of offences at the level requested.

Magistrates: Tees Valley

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates who currently sit at Teesside Magistrates' Court are (a) male, (b) female, (c) black, Asian and minority ethnic, (d) disabled and (e) aged under 35 years old. [131886]

Mrs Grant: There are 265 magistrates sitting at Teesside Magistrates Court. The following table shows the number of those magistrates falling within each of the categories specified in the question:

 NumberPercentage

Male

132

49.8

Female

133

50.2

BAME(1)

14

5.2

Declared disability

12

4.5

Aged under 35

7

2.6

(1) Black, Asian and minority ethnic

11 Dec 2012 : Column 210W

Police and Crime Commissioners

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff of his Department were working on the analysis of powers, funding and responsibilities for police and crime commissioners on (a) 1 September 2012, (b) 1 October 2012 and (c) 1 November 2012. [131505]

Damian Green: On the dates specified the core Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) team consisted of seven members. This team also worked on other aspects such as parliamentary work, correspondence and ministerial support. A separate team leading on Police and Crime Panels and PCC partners (i.e. councils and Criminal Justice Bodies) had five members on the dates specified.

Reoffenders

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness in reducing reoffending of anger management programmes for offenders on supervision. [131807]

Jeremy Wright: The two main programmes that have been provided to date to offenders on community sentences are CALM and ART. Evaluations of both programmes have been undertaken both by NOMS and by independent researchers, and have consistently found reductions in reoffending. The impact is considerably greater for those offenders who complete the entire programme. Anger management is built into many other programmes for offenders and is also addressed where required within structured supervision sessions.

CALM—Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage it—is delivered in both prison and the community. A study of the equivalent Anger and Emotion Management Programme in Canada found that the three-year reoffending rate for programme participants was under 10% compared to a rate approaching 30% for the comparison group. Substantial reductions in both general and violent reoffending were observed, but only for higher-risk offenders who completed the programme. Consistent with our knowledge that low-risk offenders do not benefit from intensive interventions, low-risk offenders did not reoffend less after completing the programme. At the three-year follow-up, there were clear differences in both general and violent recidivism between treatment completers, non-completers and the untreated comparison group.

ART—Aggression Replacement Training—is delivered in a number of probation trusts. An unpublished internal study in England and Wales in 2000 found a one-year reconviction rate for ART completers of 20.4%, compared to 34.5% for an untreated control group. An independent published study in 2008 carried out by the university of Leicester found that after a 10-month follow up period 39% of offenders who completed ART had reoffended, compared to 51% of untreated offenders.

A Home Office study in 2007, which combined CALM and ART, found that attending an anger management programme led to an overall reduction of almost nine percentage points from the predicted reoffending rate. For those who completed the programme, the reduction was much greater—over 14 percentage points.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 211W

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the reoffending rate is for offenders sentenced to intensive alternatives to custody in the pilot areas in the latest period for which figures are available; [131810]

(2) what comparative assessment he has made of the reoffending rate for intensive alternatives to custody pilots and that for similar offenders who received custodial sentences of less than 12 months in the latest period for which figures are available. [131811]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) proven reoffending data do not identify offenders subject to Intensive Alternatives to Custody (IAC). However, the MOJ has published an initial analysis to compare reoffending rates for offenders receiving IAC with a well-matched control group of offenders who received other court orders in 2009 and offenders from short custodial sentences who were discharged in 2009.

The one-year proven reoffending rate of a matched group of offenders was 54.8% for the IAC compared to 50.0% for court orders. There was no statistically significant difference between IAC and other court orders in terms of impact on reoffending.

The one-year proven reoffending rate of a matched group of offenders was 56.1% for the IAC compared to 63.6% for short-term custody. This indicates a lower level of reoffending in the IAC group compared with a

11 Dec 2012 : Column 212W

well-matched short custodial group—an estimated 7.5 percentage points over the 12 month follow up period. This difference was statistically significant at the 10% level. This gives an indication that those on IAC orders (as with other community orders) had lower reoffending rates than those receiving short-term custody.

This research is available on the MOJ website, located on the following webpage:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/research-and-analysis/moj-research/iac-impact-evaluation-research-summary.pdf

Sentencing

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many (a) violent criminals and (b) sex offenders have received indeterminate sentences for public protection in each of the last 15 years; [132288]

(2) for what offences an indeterminate sentence for public protection has been given in each of the last six years. [132290]

Jeremy Wright: The sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) was created by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and implemented for offences committed after 4 April 2005. Offenders given imprisonment for public protection at all courts by offence group in England and Wales, from 2005 to 2011, can be viewed in the following table:

Offenders given imprisonment for public protection at all courts by offence group, England and Wales, 2005-11(1, 2)
Offence group2005(3)200620072008200920102011

Violence against the person

137

544

644

614

357

394

281

Sexual offences

48

328

400

375

298

328

300

Burglary

12

31

37

31

25

30

25

Robbery

164

355

406

320

213

162

133

Theft and handling of stolen goods

1

7

3

2

3

2

Fraud and forgery

1

Criminal damage

32

86

86

78

54

44

48

Drug offences

2

3

3

1

Other indictable offences

30

95

127

115

54

57

30

Indictable motoring offences

1

Total

426

1,447

1,707

1,538

1,001

1,019

819

"-" Nil (1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (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) Imprisonment for public protection became available from April 2005. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Young Offender Institutions

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff have been subject to disciplinary procedures following complaints by young people detained in (a) young offender institutions and (b) secure training centres in each of the last three years; of those, how many procedures have resulted in formal sanctions or disciplinary action being taken; and how many actions related to issues arising from incidents of restraint for each. [132939]

Jeremy Wright: The National Offender Management Service holds high level information centrally on staff who have been subject to disciplinary procedures. However, it is not possible to extract detailed information for any disciplinary procedures resulting from complaints from young people detained in either young offender institutions or secure training centres. Nor is it possible to identify any disciplinary sanctions given to staff working in the young people's estate in general.

Work and Pensions

Copper

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Health and Safety Executive's recommendation on the use of copper for

11 Dec 2012 : Column 213W

the control and treatment of Legionella, as set out in its Accepted Code of Practice L8, is still current. [133195]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive does not recommend any particular control methods for the treatment of legionella in water systems.

The HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L8, which is still current and valid, provides guidance on a number of treatment programmes to control legionella in water systems, including advice on how to treat water in hot and cold water systems, using ionisation methods (i.e. the electrolytic generation of copper and silver ions). The ACOP is clear that there are a number of legionella management systems available and that the duty holder is responsible for selecting the system appropriate for their given situation.

The ACOP (L8) is currently being reviewed as part of a wider review of HSE’s ACOPs and the revised version will need to reflect the impact of decisions made in Europe around the use of copper for the control of legionella in water systems.

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will apply for a UK derogation, on the grounds of essential use, from the ban on the supply of copper as a biocide under the EU Biocides Products Regulation. [133196]

Mr Hoban: Yes, the Health and Safety Executive is currently planning to apply to the European Commission on behalf of the UK for an essential use derogation to allow continued supply and use of copper-based water disinfection systems for Legionella control. If granted, supply and use could continue for an interim period while those supplying such systems prepare their case to support their products under the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC).

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will direct the Health and Safety

11 Dec 2012 : Column 214W

Executive to submit an application for the UK to derogate from the ban on the supply of copper as a biocide under the EU Biocides Products Regulation to prevent the ban coming into effect on 1 February 2013. [133197]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is currently planning to apply to the European Commission for an essential use derogation to allow continued supply and use of copper-based water disinfection systems for Legionella control. If granted, supply and use could continue for an interim period while those supplying such systems prepare their case to support their products under the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC).

However the timing of securing any such derogation is dependent on the European Commission's processes. HSE will thus, in parallel, work with suppliers and users to discuss whether, and what, contingency arrangements may be required if a derogation is not in place by 1 February 2013.

Incapacity Benefit

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how many claimants of incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance the primary diagnosis included alcohol abuse, drug abuse or obesity in each financial year between 1997-98 and 2009-10; what the total cost of those benefits was in each year; and how many people with such a primary diagnosis had been claiming those benefits for five years or more. [130572]

Mr Hoban: The specific information requested is not readily available prior to 2001, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The following tables give the most readily available information from 2001 to 2010. Caseload at the end of February of each year is given as representative of the financial year:

Incapacity benefit (IB)/severe disablement allowance (SDA) caseload (in payment): Primary health condition by duration of current claim: February 2001 to February 2010
Primary health condition by duration of current claim—caseload in payment
 AlcoholismDrug abuseObesity
As at February each yearTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and over

2001

16,220

9,870

6,350

7,310

5,600

1,710

960

430

520

2002

17,000

9,850

7,150

8,490

6,420

2,070

980

410

570

2003

17,660

9,730

7,930

9,420

6,940

2,480

980

370

610

2004

18,570

10,080

8,490

9,850

7,030

2,820

990

370

620

2005

19,140

10,170

8,970

10,020

6,840

3,190

990

370

620

2006

19,450

9,990

9,460

10,100

6,420

3,680

990

370

620

2007

20,010

10,210

9,800

10,100

5,910

4,190

1,030

410

620

2008

20,470

10,490

9,990

10,350

5,780

4,570

1,060

410

650

2009

19,700

9,590

10,120

9,760

4,940

4,820

1,060

410

650

2010

17,330

7,140

10,190

8,620

3,580

5,040

950

300

650

Source: DWP accounting and statistical data.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 215W

11 Dec 2012 : Column 216W

Incapacity benefit (IB)/severe disablement allowance (SDA) caseload (credits only cases): Primary health condition by duration of current claim: February 2001 to February 2010
Primary health condition by duration of current claim—caseload in payment
 AlcoholismDrug abuseObesity
As at February each yearTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and over

2001

21,830

15,540

6,290

27,710

23,250

4,450

670

440

220

2002

23,490

15,800

7,700

30,890

25,100

5,790

710

440

270

2003

25,200

15,830

9,370

33,810

26,410

7,400

740

410

330

2004

26,760

16,030

10,730

35,660

26,770

8,890

790

430

360

2005

28,330

16,480

11,840

37,640

27,260

10,380

830

430

400

2006

29,510

16,500

13,010

38,440

26,600

11,830

890

430

460

2007

30,970

17,100

13,870

39,330

26,150

13,180

930

460

470

2008

32,600

18,190

14,410

40,940

26,520

14,420

990

480

510

2009

31,550

16,700

14,850

37,130

21,680

15,440

1,040

500

540

2010

27,420

12,050

15,370

31,220

14,640

16,580

950

390

560

Source: DWP accounting and statistical data.
Incapacity benefit (IB)/severe disablement allowance (SDA) expenditure: Primary health condition by duration of current claim: February 2001 to February 2010
£ million
Primary health condition by duration of current claim—annual expenditure
 Alcohol abuseDrug abuseObesity
As at February each yearTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and overTotalUnder 5 years5 years and over

2001

58

35

23

24

18

5

4

2

2

2002

62

35

27

27

20

7

4

2

2

2003

67

36

30

33

24

9

4

1

2

2004

69

36

33

37

26

10

4

1

3

2005

74

38

36

40

28

12

4

1

3

2006

78

39

39

42

28

14

4

1

3

2007

83

41

43

44

27

17

4

2

3

2008

87

42

45

45

26

20

5

2

3

2009

87

42

45

46

24

21

5

2

3

2010

83

39

45

43

21

22

4

2

3

Notes: 1. Expenditure is estimated using the relevant average weekly payment of incapacity benefit (IB) or severe disablement allowance (SDA). 2. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 3. Expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £ million. 4. Credits only cases are those where the claimant is not entitled to receive any incapacity benefit (IB) but receives a credit towards their national insurance. 5. Primary health condition: Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. 6. To qualify for incapacity benefit (IB), claimants have to undertake an assessment of incapacity for work called a personal capability assessment. The medical condition recorded on the claim form does not itself confer entitlement to IB/SDA. 7. Medical condition is based on evidence provided at the start of the claim and may not represent a claimant's most recent medical condition. Where someone has more than one diagnosis or disabling condition, only the predominant one is currently recorded. 8. Incapacity Benefit was replaced by employment support allowance (ESA) for new claims from October 2008. Source: DWP accounting and statistical data.

Northern Ireland

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many full-time equivalent staff were employed on consultancy contracts in her Department on the latest date for which figures are available; how many such staff were employed on the same date 12 months ago; and if she will make a statement. [132213]

Mike Penning: My Department did not employ any staff on consultancy contracts on 30 November 2012, the latest date for which figures are available, and no such staff were employed on the same date in 2011.

Employment

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many people who work in the Republic of Ireland live in Northern Ireland; [131988]

(2) how many people who work in Northern Ireland live in the Republic of Ireland. [131989]

Mike Penning: My Department does not keep these statistics. My hon. Friend might wish to contact the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency to see if it holds the information he requires.

ICT: Theft

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen from her Department in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [132187]

Mike Penning: No computers, mobile telephones, Blackberrys or other items of IT equipment were reported lost or stolen from my Department during 2010-11 or 2011-12.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 217W

Pay

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was paid in (a) year-end and (b) in-year bonuses to officials in her Department in each of the last two years. [132857]

Mike Penning: During the reporting year 2010-11, a total of £22,200 was paid to officials in my Department in respect of performance related pay at the end of the reporting year; and £13,650 was paid during the course of the year under the Reward and Recognition scheme. The corresponding figures for the reporting year 2011-12, were £15,100 and £11,775 respectively.

Senior Civil Servants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what proportion of senior civil servants have left (a) her Department and (b) each of the public bodies for which she is responsible since May 2010; what the rate of turnover of senior civil servants has been in (i) her Department and (ii) each such body since May 2010; and if she will make a statement. [132167]

Mike Penning: Since May 2010, 11 senior civil servants left the Northern Ireland Office and its public bodies. Of these, four retired; two returned to their parent organisation as their period of secondment/loan to the NIO came to an end; two began secondment/loan with other organisations; one left at the end of a fixed term contract; and two transferred to the Northern Ireland civil service. The monthly breakdown is as follows:

May 2010: One retired; one went on loan to another Government Department;

June 2010: One left at the end of their fixed term contract;

June 2011: One went on loan to another Government Department;

September 2011: One left at the end of their secondment;

October 2011: One left at the end of their loan;

November 2011: One retired;

December 2011: One retired;

March 2012: One retired at end of loan period;

September 2012: Two, already on secondment, left the Department when they opted to transfer to the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

In 2010, there were 13 senior civil servants in the NIO. The rate of turnover at that time would be calculated at 23%. In 2011, there were 11 senior civil servants in the NIO. The rate of turnover at that time would be calculated at 45%. As of 30 November 2012, we have employed 13 senior civil servants in the NIO. The rate of turnover at that time would be calculated at 23%.

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2012, Official Report, column 804W, on sick leave, what assessment she has made of the difference in the proportion of working days lost due to ill health between officers at AA grade and at SCS grade; and what assessment she has made of the use of mindfulness-based therapies in reducing the proportion of working days lost in her Department. [132705]

11 Dec 2012 : Column 218W

Mike Penning: Each occurrence of sick leave in my Department is managed on a case-by-case basis in line with existing policies and procedures. No specific assessment has been made of the difference in the proportion of working days lost due to ill health between officers at AA grade and at SCS grade, or of the use of mindfulness-based therapies.

Staff Surveys

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will place in the Library a copy of the results of her Department's most recent staff survey; which organisation carried out the survey; and what the cost of the survey was. [132101]

Mike Penning: The Civil Service People Survey, coordinated by the Cabinet Office, took place in October 2012. Departments are due to publish their results by 31 January 2013. A copy of the results for my Department will be placed in the Library at that time.

The survey was delivered for the three Territorial Offices (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) by the Ministry of Justice, which provided a generic version of the survey in order to keep costs to a minimum. While the costs of the 2012 survey are not yet available, the total cost of the survey for the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices in 2011 was £4,073 (excluding VAT).

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

African Union

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Chairman of the African Union. [132007]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), wrote to congratulate Dr Zuma on her recent appointment to the position of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson. The Minister for Africa briefly met Dr Zuma at the UN General Assembly in September before she took up her position and plans to attend the AU Summit in January. In addition, UK officials have engaged with Dr Zuma on a number of occasions when she has met AU Partners or UN Security Council members on key African issues.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to address the African Union. [132226]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), wrote to congratulate Dr Zuma on her recent appointment to the position of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson. The Minister for Africa plans to attend the AU summit in January. In addition, UK officials have engaged with Dr Zuma on a number of occasions when she has met AU Partners or UN Security Council members on key African issues.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 219W

British Indian Ocean Territory

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on the maintenance of UK assets on the British Indian Ocean Territory in each of the last three financial years, by sector. [132011]

Mark Simmonds: The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) Administration spent £11,330.33 in financial year 2011-12, £8,137.04 in financial year 2010-11 and £6,230.59 in financial year 2009-10 on the maintenance of UK assets in BIOT. All costs relate to the maintenance of official vehicles in the territory.

Counter-terrorism

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding from his Department's counter-terrorism programme has been spent in each country in the last year. [131766]

Alistair Burt: Our overseas counter-terrorism (CT) priorities are driven by a comprehensive analysis across Government of the threat to the UK and our interests. We are rigorous in ensuring that our CT priorities and projects reflect current analysis of the threat. This means our spending, and our intensive diplomatic efforts, are concentrated in countries and regions such as Pakistan, Afghanistan. Yemen, Somalia and East Africa. The CT programme budget for financial year 2012-13 is £36 million. Given the sensitive nature of our CT activities, however, we cannot provide details of actual spend on activity in particular countries.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo's mandate; and if he will make a statement. [131907]

Mark Simmonds: The UK fully supports the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO), the primary objective of which is to protect civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are discussing in New York how we can ensure MONUSCO has what it needs to continue to protect civilians and to assist in bringing about an end to the current crisis.

Diplomatic Service

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to increase the number of honorary consul-generals in those countries where there is no permanent UK diplomatic representation. [131804]

Mark Simmonds: We regularly review the services offered by our global network to ensure they continue to meet our customer and business needs. This includes reviewing how we deliver on the key aspects of our work overseas, and the resources required to do so. We

11 Dec 2012 : Column 220W

introduce new resources whenever there is a business need to do so. be that in the form of permanent staff or honorary consuls.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many (a) A and (b) B grade staff of his Department he plans to employ in overseas UK missions from 2013 onwards; [131841]

(2) by what proportion he plans to reduce the number of A and B grade staff of his Department based overseas from 2012; [131842]

(3) how many (a) A and (b) B grade staff of his Department have been deployed overseas in UK missions in each year since 2010. [131891]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is changing the way we support the work of our diplomats in our overseas missions. In the majority of places overseas, we will no longer require UK-based staff to perform administrative activity. As a result, some of these positions will be localised; some will be abolished because we will do things differently; and some of them will be reconfigured into other jobs.

The FCO had the following number of A and B staff serving overseas:

565 on 31 March 2010

509 on 31 March 2011

469 on 31 March 2012

354 of these positions are in scope for the band A and B programme. We aim to reduce the number of A and B positions, in scope for the A and B programme, by 85%. By 2015, there will be approximately 50 positions remaining.

EU Internal Trade

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK's priorities are for the completion of the single market. [133003]

Mr Lidington: The UK, along with likeminded member states, is taking a lead to drive forward work on deepening the single market. This includes pushing for completion of the single market in digital, services and energy. For example, we are supporting the proposals on the digital single market in the Commission's recent Single Market Act II, but are also looking to go beyond them where we can.

This also means improving the operation of the single market by reducing the regulatory budget. We have secured agreement that there will be an assumption that micro businesses will be exempt from EU regulations and, most recently, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has, along with 12 member states’ Ministers, proposed a 10-point plan to deliver smarter regulation in the EU.

The Government are firmly committed to expanding opportunities for UK businesses through free trade agreements. Such an agreement is now in place with South Korea, negotiations are ongoing with Canada, the Philippines and other countries, and just last month the EU agreed a negotiating mandate for discussions with Japan.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 221W

Israel

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect of an EU trade boycott on Israel. [132239]

Alistair Burt: The British Government have made their position on boycotts and sanctions clear. We do not believe that imposing sanctions on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would be productive. However, we will continue to make our views on the full range of issues absolutely clear to Israel.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy not to recall the ambassador to Israel. [132821]

Alistair Burt: We have not recalled the UK's ambassador to Israel. However, I formally summoned the Israeli ambassador to the UK on 3 December to convey the depth of our concern about the Israeli Government's decision to build 3,000 new housing units in east Jerusalem and the west bank, to unfreeze planning in E1 area and to withhold tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority. We have called on the Israeli Government to reverse these decisions.

Any decision about any other measures the UK might take will depend on the outcome of our discussions with the Israeli Government and with international partners including the US and EU.

Mali

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the African Union's Economic Community of West African States plan in northern Mali; and if he will make a statement. [132006]

Mark Simmonds: We received a copy of the joint Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)/African Union (AU) Strategic Concept on 10 October. The Strategic Concept provides a framework for further regional action in Mali. It outlines proposals for supporting the Malian armed forces in returning Northern Mali to Government control and combating terrorist and affiliated groups through training and other forms of assistance. It also underlines the importance of a complementary political track in Mali to support reunification.

We are considering what support we can offer to ECOWAS and AU efforts in Mali, in conjunction with international partners and through the EU and UN. The UN Secretary-General's Report on the Sahel, which should guide the UN response to the Strategic Concept, will be discussed by the Security Council in New York on 10 December.

Middle East

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he has given to the proposed conference on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone. [131767]

11 Dec 2012 : Column 222W

Alistair Burt: The Government have taken their role as co-convenor of the Conference on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone very seriously. We have provided support to the work of the facilitator Finnish Under Secretary Laajava, with whom UK Ministers have met on a number of occasions to discuss progress. Officials have travelled to the region, and our embassies have worked to promote constructive engagement. We have funded and participated in a series of related civil society organised events over the past two years.

Sir Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether Israel can occupy Gaza and the west bank indefinitely or whether there will come a time when they become part of de jure Israel. [132089]

Alistair Burt: Gaza and the west bank were not lawfully part of the state of Israel at its creation or at any point thereafter, and we consider that the level of control that Israel retains over the territories amounts to occupation under international law. The Supreme Court of Israel has found that the west bank is held in belligerent occupation, by Israel, and, furthermore, the International Court of Justice has held that the west bank and East Jerusalem are occupied territories, to which the Fourth Geneva convention applies. UN Security Council Resolution 242 stresses

“the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security”.

The continued occupation of Gaza and the west bank is not sustainable. We continue to press for-an urgent return to credible negotiations in order to secure a two state solution. This is the only way to deliver a lasting peace.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the level of Iranian involvement in the provision of advanced weaponry to Hamas. [132237]

Alistair Burt: Iran does provide support, including weaponry, to militant groups such as Hamas. Such support is unacceptable and in direct contravention of the UN embargo on the export of weapons by Iran (UN Security Council Resolution 1747). Iran's support to these groups directly undermines prospects for peace in the region and further undermines the Iranian Government's claim to the international community, and their own people, that they support stability in the middle east.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the steps taken by the Israeli Prime Minister to initiate a series of confidence building measures on the position of the Palestinian Authority. [132238]

Alistair Burt: We have urged both sides to engage in negotiations for a two state solution and avoid any actions that undermine the peace process. We have made clear to the Israeli Government we would not support any actions which sidelined President Abbas or risked the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. In this

11 Dec 2012 : Column 223W

regard, we have condemned the Israeli Government's decisions to build 3,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the west bank, to unfreeze planning in the area known as E1 and to withhold tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority. We have called on the Israeli Government to reverse these decisions. I formally summoned the Israeli ambassador to the UK to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 3 December, to make our concerns known.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Palestinian Authority to return to direct peace talks with the Israeli Government without preconditions. [132240]

Alistair Burt: This is a point that we have underlined to the Palestinian Authority on a regular basis. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), also discussed these issues with President Abbas in advance of the recent Palestinian resolution at the UN General Assembly on 29 November.

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of civilian casualties on both sides of the recent hostilities between Israel and Gaza. [132969]

Alistair Burt: We received regular reports from our missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem during the recent Gaza conflict drawing on local reporting and wide- ranging contacts. We understand that 158 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.

Omar al-Bashir

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the International Criminal Court arrest warrant of Omar al-Bashir; and if he will make a statement. [132221]

Mark Simmonds: We continue to make clear to the Government of Sudan and the international community that we expect compliance with the arrest warrants for all those indicted by the International Criminal Court, and that equally we expect other Governments who are parties to the Rome Statute to stand by their legal obligations as we do. In common with other EU countries, we have a policy of avoiding any official contacts with those indicted by the International Criminal Court, unless such contact is essential.

Overseas Workers

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which countries staff of his Department are permanently based. [132911]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has employees permanently based in 160 countries and overseas territories. These are as follows:

Afghanistan

Albania

Algeria

11 Dec 2012 : Column 224W

Angola

Anguilla

Argentina

Armenia

Ascension

Australia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Bermuda

Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana

Brazil

British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Bulgaria

Burma

Cambodia

Cameroon

Canada

Cayman Islands

Chile

China

Colombia

Congo, Republic of the

Congo, The Democratic Republic of the

Costa Rica

Cote d'Ivoire

Croatia

Cuba

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

El Salvador

Eritrea

Estonia

Ethiopia

Falklands

Fiji

Finland

France

Gambia

Georgia

Germany

Ghana

Gibraltar

Greece

Guatemala

Guinea

Guyana

11 Dec 2012 : Column 225W

Holy See

Hungary

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Iraq

Ireland

Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kosovo

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Laos

Latvia

Lebanon

Liberia

Libya

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malawi

Malaysia

Mali

Malta

Mauritius

Mexico

Moldova

Mongolia

Montenegro

Montserrat

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Nepal

Netherlands

New Zealand

Nigeria

North Korea

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Philippines

Pitcairn

Poland

Portugal

Qatar

Romania

Russia

Rwanda

Saint Lucia

11 Dec 2012 : Column 226W

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

South Africa

South Korea

South Sudan

Spain

Sri Lanka

St Helena

Sudan

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

Tajikistan

Tanzania

Thailand

Trinidad and Tobago

Tristan da Cunha

Tunisia

Turks and Caicos

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United States of America

Uruguay

Uzbekistan

Venezuela

Vietnam

Yemen

Zambia

Zimbabwe.

Three new embassies in the following countries are expected to open spring 2013:

Haiti, Paraguay and Somalia.

Embassies in Syria and Iran are closed at present.

Pay

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's annual spending was on salaries and bonuses for staff as a (a) net amount and (b) percentage of the total in each of the last five years. [132152]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) annual spend on salaries as reported in its annual report and accounts in each of the last five years was:

 £

2007/08

390,497,000

2008/09

368,712,000

11 Dec 2012 : Column 227W

2009/10

386,713,000

2010/11

390,809,000

2011/12

379,941,000

These figures include the costs of salaries for all UK- based staff including those employed at Wilton Park Executive Agency and all locally engaged staff directly employed by embassies and high commissions overseas. The amount spent on performance-related payments (bonuses) to UK based staff has been deducted from these figures. It is not possible to split the figures into separate amounts or identify performance-related payments made to locally engaged staff due to disproportionate cost.

The amounts spent on performance-related payments in each of the last five years was:

 £

2007/08

7,746,152

2008/09

7,571,836

2009/10

6,815,907

2010/11

6,417,883

2011/12

6,241,528

These figures are for UK based staff including the Wilton Park Executive Agency.

The spend on salaries as a percentage of net operating cost in each of the last five years was:

 Percentage

2007/08

20.1

2008/09

17.1

2009/10

16.5

2010/11

17.1

2011/12

16.7

The spend on performance-related payments as a percentage of net operating cost in each of the last five years was:

 Percentage

2007/08

0.0040

2008/09

0.0035

2009/10

0.0029

2010/11

0.0028

2011/12

0.0028

Sudan

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the relationship between Sudan and the UK; and if he will make a statement. [132004]

Mark Simmonds: The UK wishes to see Sudan develop into a stable, democratic and prosperous nation, that addresses the needs of all its citizens, and lives in peace with its neighbours. The UK's relationship with Sudan is based on the pursuit of these objectives. To this end, we will continue to encourage Sudan to address the causes of the conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan

11 Dec 2012 : Column 228W

and Blue Nile and to start a process of national reform, taking into account the needs and aspirations of all of the people living within its borders, and from all religious backgrounds, within an open and democratic framework.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the (a) status and (b) progress of the civil recovery programme in the Turks and Caicos Islands. [132003]

Mark Simmonds: The civil recovery team, provided by Edwards Wildman Palmer UK LLP, are supporting the work of the Turks and Caicos Islands Attorney-General.

The civil recovery team continues to recover property and redress loses arising from corruption. Some 52 separate recoveries of Crown Land totalling 2,447 acres have now been made, and financial settlements totalling US$16 million have been reached.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with businesses in Turks and Caicos on the introduction of VAT in that country. [132009]

Mark Simmonds: During my recent visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands on 26-28 November, I met a number of businesses and business organisations. At many of my meetings, VAT was one of the topics discussed.

Decisions on the implementation of VAT are a matter for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. My answer of 19 November 2012, Official Report, column C277-78W, to the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr Donohoe), sets out the British Government's position.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the funding of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team in Turks and Caicos; and if he will make a statement. [132010]

Mark Simmonds: It is the responsibility of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to fund the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team.

In his reply of 25 April 2012, Official Report, column 945-46W, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) made reference to the grants made exceptionally by the British Government in financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12 to assist the Turks and Caicos Islands Government with the costs of the criminal investigation and associated prosecutions.

The Governor made a statement on 29 October on the continuing work on the civil and criminal processes:

www.turksandcaicosislands.fco.gov.uk/en/news/?view=PressS&id=827913882

in which he pointed to a planned decline in staffing levels in the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team and a consequent reduction in costs.

We would expect future costs to be met by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 229W

Western Sahara

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Moroccan ambassador on Western Sahara; and if he will make a statement. [132155]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has not made any representations to the Moroccan ambassador on Western Sahara. However, Ministers in this Government and our ambassador in Rabat regularly discuss Western Sahara with the Moroccan authorities: I discussed Western Sahara with Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, Youssef Amrani, when I visited Rabat between 26 and 28 June.

This Government strongly support UN-led efforts to encourage Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree a long-lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote good governance in the self-declared sovereign state of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. [132223]

Alistair Burt: Western Sahara is a disputed territory and the UK regards its status as undetermined. The UK's focus is on supporting UN-led efforts to encourage Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree a long-lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. This mandate will support the promotion of good governance in the territory.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to visit the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. [132224]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has no plans currently to visit the territory of Western Sahara. Officials from the British embassy in Rabat visit Western Sahara on a regular basis, most recently in October, to discuss human rights concerns, including with the local authorities.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the UK's relationship with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; and if he will make a statement. [132225]

Alistair Burt: The British Government do not have direct contact with the Polisario Front. They strongly support UN-led efforts to encourage the parties to the negotiations, Morocco and the Polisario Front, to agree a long-lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

11 Dec 2012 : Column 230W

Deputy Prime Minister

Sickness Absence

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average number of working days lost per person through ill health was in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last five years. [132532]

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

Analysis of the average working days lost for the Cabinet Office and its agencies is published on a quarterly basis on the Cabinet Office website at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/absence-data

Aggregated figures for the whole civil service are published on the civil service website at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/improving/health-and-wellbeing/sickness-absence

Business, Innovation and Skills

Advantage West Midlands

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the cost of transferring ownership of Bilston Urban Village in Wolverhampton from Advantage West Midlands to the Housing and Communities Agency. [133158]

Mr Prisk: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The site was transferred under a statutory transfer scheme signed in August 2011 which, under machinery of government transfer processes, means that the Homes and Communities Agency took over the full responsibility for the site from Advantage West Midlands as if the Homes and Communities Agency had been the owners of the asset since its acquisition. There were, therefore, no stamp duty, legal or other transaction costs incurred by the Homes and Communities Agency or Advantage West Midlands in this transfer.

The budget for the project was transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency and no additional costs were incurred by the agency that would not have been the liability of Advantage West Midlands at the time of transfer.

I also refer the hon. Member to my answers of 6 December 2012, Official Report, columns 891-92W, on how the new stewardship arrangements are delivering value for money for taxpayers and meeting the legal commitments we have inherited from the last Administration.

Apprentices: East of England

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeship places there were in (a) Southend, (b) Essex and (c) Hertfordshire in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012 to date. [130974]

11 Dec 2012 : Column 231W

Matthew Hancock: The following table shows the number of apprenticeship programme starts in Southend on Sea, Essex and Hertfordshire local education authorities. Final data are shown for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 academic years and provisional data are shown for the 2011/12 academic year.

Provisional data for the 2011/12 academic year provide an early view of performance and will change as further data returns are received from further education colleges and providers. They should not be directly compared with final year data from previous years. Figures for 2011/12 will be finalised in January 2013.

Apprenticeship programme starts in Southend on Sea, Essex and Hertfordshire local education authorities, 2009/10 to 2011/12 (Provisional)
 2009/10 (final)2010/11 (final)2011/12 (provisional)

Southend on Sea

640

1,150

1,170

Essex

6,410

10,930

11,590

Hertfordshire

3,320

6,440

6,670

Notes: 1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Geographic breakdowns are based upon the home postcode of the learner. 3. Figures are based on the geographic boundaries as of May 2010. 4. Provisional data for 2011/12 should not be directly compared with data for earlier years. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by geography is published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 11 October 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statistical firstrelease/sfr_current http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/ statistical firstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship _sfr_supplementary_tables/

Arms Trade: Exports

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which countries the UK has sold defence equipment to in each financial year since 2000-01 by value. [132654]

Michael Fallon: Information on arms export licences to all countries is published in the Annual and Quarterly Reports on Strategic Export Controls. These reports contain detailed information on export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination, including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. They are available to view at:

https://www.exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk/eng/fox/sdb/SDBHOME

Currently this includes information up to 30 June 2012. Information covering 1 July to 30 September 2012 will be published in January 2013 and information covering 1 October 2012 to 31 December 2012 will be published in April 2013.

Business: Loans

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he made of changes in the rate of net lending to businesses in the last year. [133102]

Michael Fallon: Business lending comes from a variety of sources, including providers of asset, invoice and

11 Dec 2012 : Column 232W

trade finance, bank lending, overdrafts and trade credit. Many of these sources are informal and unregulated and Government do not produce aggregate statistics on their entirety.

Data publicly available from the Bank of England specifically on lending by Monetary Financial Institutions show that the monthly growth rate of net lending (excluding securitisations) to non-financial corporations varied over the last year as follows:

 Percentage

November 2011

0.3

December 2011

-1.7

January 2012

0.6

February 2012

-0.2

March 2012

-0.1

April 2012

-0.3

May 2012

-0.7

June 2012

-0.2

July 2012

-0.4

August 2012

-0.2

September 2012

0.0

October 2012

0.0

  

12 month growth rate as at October 2012

-2.8

To incentivise banks and building societies to boost their lending to UK households and non-financial companies, the Bank and HM Treasury launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) on 13 July. FLS provides funding to banks and building societies for an extended period, at below current elevated market rates, with both the price and quantity of funding provided linked to their performance in lending to the UK non-financial sector.

Charities

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding his Department allocated to (a) Centrepoint, (b) Crisis, (c) Skill Force and (d) Shelter in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [132459]

Jo Swinson: Core BIS has not paid any amounts to (a) Centrepoint, (b) Crisis, (c) Skill Force and (d) Shelter in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13 (up to the end of November 2012).

Consultants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many full-time equivalent staff were employed on consultancy contracts in his Department on the latest date for which figures are available; how many such staff were employed on the same date 12 months ago; and if he will make a statement. [132219]

Jo Swinson: This information is not held centrally within the Department and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.