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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 December 2012

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service

Philip Davies: To ask the Attorney-General what estimate he has made of the number of cases which were due to be committed to the Crown Court but which were not sent by magistrates' courts as a result of identifiable failings by the Crown Prosecution Service in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [133127]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) records indicate that between November 2011 and October 2012, there were 59,634 committals for trial of which 1,299 (2%) were discharged by the magistrates’ court. Of these 1,299 committals, 263 (0.4%) were recorded as “CPS not ready—adjournment refused”, however, it is not recorded whether this was occasioned by an “identifiable failing” of the CPS or some other person or organisation. Such data could not be reasonably obtained locally or nationally other than by undertaking a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost. All discharged committals are reviewed locally and consideration is given to subsequently recharging of the defendant.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General how many Crown Prosecution Service staff trained as (a) barristers and (b) solicitors were available to lead prosecutions of criminal cases at London courts in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (ii) 2012-13 to date; and if he will make a statement. [133164]

The Solicitor-General: The following table gives the numbers of barristers and solicitors (expressed in full-time equivalent) employed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) London. The figures are for each full financial year for the period 2010 to 2012, and for the period 1 April 2012 to 30 November 2012. The full range of cases in the magistrates and Crown Courts are prosecuted by barristers and solicitors employed by CPS London, according to their level of skill and experience.

PeriodBarristersSolicitorsTotal

2010-11

166.4

260.7

427.1

2011-12

168.5

236.8

405.3

1 April 2012-30 November 2012

137.6

210.8

348.4

Philip Davies: To ask the Attorney-General in what proportion of cases in magistrates' courts prosecutors for the Crown Prosecution Service have been in court without (a) the full case file and (b) any case file at all in each of the last three years. [133187]

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The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains no central record of the number of cases in magistrates’ courts where prosecutors for the CPS have been in court without a full case file. Such data could not be reasonably obtained locally or nationally other than by undertaking a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files at a disproportionate cost.

Philip Davies: To ask the Attorney-General what estimate he has made of the proportion of trials that do not take place in magistrates' courts as a result of identifiable failings by the Crown Prosecution Service; and if he will make a statement. [133188]

The Solicitor-General: Although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains no central record of the proportion of trials that do not take place in magistrates’ courts, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service does hold data which are shared with the CPS.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as part of its regular local performance management arrangements, reviews the data along with other users of the criminal justice system, identifying trials that are cracked or ineffective for reasons associated with the prosecution to ensure that lessons are learned.

The available data do not however identify how many of these trials do not take place because of ''identifiable failings of the CPS", as opposed to failings of any other organisation or individual or other factor. Such data could not be reasonably obtained locally or nationally other than by reviewing individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.

EU Law

Priti Patel: To ask the Attorney-General (1) which EU directives his Department transposed in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012 to date; which EU directives his Department expects to transpose in (i) 2013 and (ii) future years; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each such directive to the (A) public purse and (B) private sector; [133685]

(2) which regulations his Department introduced as a result of EU legislation in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012 to date; which regulations his Department expects to implement as a result of EU legislation in (i) 2013 and (ii) the next two years; and what estimate he has made of the cost of each such regulation to the (A) public purse and (B) private sector. [133686]

The Solicitor-General: None.

LIBOR

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how much additional funding the Serious Fraud Office has received to carry out its investigation into the manipulation of LIBOR rates. [133385]

The Solicitor-General: The Treasury has undertaken in principle to make additional funds available to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to cover the costs of the LIBOR investigation to the extent that they cannot be met from the SFO's existing budget. The undertaking is for up to £3.5 million for each of the next three years to be available. The SFO has not yet received any of this

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additional funding but will be finalising requirements for 2012-13 as part of the supplementary estimate process.

Proceeds of Crime

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how much of its annual budget the Serious Fraud Office has spent on tracing and recovering the proceeds of crime in each of the last five years. [133353]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) established a dedicated Proceeds of Crime Unit in May 2009, therefore it is not possible to give details of the spend on proceeds of crime work prior to that date.

 Proceeds of Crime Unit budget (£ million)Proportion of SFO budget (%)

2009-10

1.42

3

2010-11

1.39

3

2011-12

1.27

4

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what the total value was of the proceeds of crime retained by the Crown Prosecution Service under the ARIS incentive scheme in each of the last three years; and what proportion of the annual budget this formed in each case. [133386]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service has retained the following amounts under the ARIS incentive scheme in the last three years:

 £

2009-10

13,673,000

2010-11

14,718,000

2011-12

14,905,000

In proportion to the Crown Prosecution Service's gross resource departmental expenditure limit, these sums constitute the following percentages:

 %

2009-10

1.81

2010-11

2.06

2011-12

2.21

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what the total value was of the proceeds of crime retained by the Serious Fraud Office under the ARIS incentive scheme in each of the last three years; and what proportion of the annual budget this formed in each case. [133387]

The Solicitor-General: The information requested is provided in the following table.

 Value of 'ARIS' receipts (£ million)Proportion of SFO budget (%)

2009-10

2.98

6.8

2010-11

3.74

9.1

2011-12

6.65

18.6

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Redundancy Pay

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General when his Department convened negotiations on the redundancy terms of its former Chief Executive, Phillippa Williamson, and its former Chief Operating Officer, Christian Bailes. [133384]

The Solicitor-General: As the Attorney-General indicated in his written ministerial statement on 4 December 2012, Official Report, column 51WS, the former Director of the Serious Fraud Office did not advise the law officers of his intention to enter into redundancy agreements with the former chief executive or chief operating officer. The new director, David Green QC, learned of the agreements in May of this year and immediately notified the Attorney-General's office.

Serious Fraud Office

John McDonnell: To ask the Attorney-General (1) what the details were of severance payments made to outgoing Serious Fraud Office staff including fixed term contract staff, by grade, in each of the last four quarters; [133105]

(2) how many staff at the Serious Fraud Office on fixed term contracts that left or had their contracts terminated received a severance payment in the last four quarters; and what the total amount paid out was; [133106]

(3) on what date the severance payment and ex-gratia payment to the former chief executive of the Serious Fraud Office was made. [133108]

The Solicitor-General: Details of all severance payments made by the Serious Fraud Office since May 2010 were published in the written ministerial statement made by the Attorney-General on 4 December 2012, Official Report, column 51WS.

The payment for loss of office referred to in the written statement was made to an individual on a fixed term contract and was made in the second quarter of this financial year.

As set out in the SFO's annual accounts for 2011-12, the former chief executive's redundancy costs were accrued into that financial year as the decision and agreement were both made in that financial year and her departure followed soon after it ended. The SFO made a payment of £407,245 to her My Civil Service Pension scheme on 18 May 2012 to cover all additional pension costs arising from early departure. The ex-gratia payment of £15,000 was made on 19 April 2012, and the compensation in lieu of notice of £36,360 was paid on 30 April 2012.

John McDonnell: To ask the Attorney-General what the details were of all bonus payments or ex-gratia payments made to senior civil servants at the Serious Fraud Office, including fixed term contract staff, in each of the last four quarters. [133107]

The Solicitor-General: Four senior civil servants (SCS), including one individual working at SCS level on a fixed term contract, received bonus payments in April 2012. The total value of all the payments was £38,000. The largest payment was for £12,500.

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Two senior civil servants received ex-gratia payments in the first quarter of this financial year at a total cost of £30,000 to £35,000.

John McDonnell: To ask the Attorney-General how many personal assistants are allocated to senior civil servant grade staff at the Serious Fraud Office. [133109]

The Solicitor-General: Five. In addition, two other individuals carry out some personal assistant responsibilities as part of their roles.

Prime Minister

Senior Civil Servants

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons he declined to accept the recommendation of the selection panel that Mr David Kennedy be appointed to the post of Permanent Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. [133397]

Mr Meacher: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons he vetoed the appointment of Mr David Kennedy as Permanent Secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. [133478]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger), on 10 December 2012, Official Report, column 17W, and to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk (Mr Yeo), during my appearance at the Liaison Committee on 11 December 2012.

Transport

Driving: Licensing

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving licences were revoked due to problems being reported with vision in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [133276]

Stephen Hammond: In 2010, 4,906 car and motorcycle licences were revoked or applications refused because the applicant failed to meet the vision standards. Some 493 lorry/bus diving licence applicants were also revoked or applications refused during this period for this reason.

In 2011, the corresponding figures were 5,285 and 685.

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving licence renewal reminder letters were sent out in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [133277]

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency issued 4,946,504 renewal reminders in 2010 and 5,413,677 in 2011.

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of drivers who reported problems with vision had their driving licences revoked in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [133278]

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Stephen Hammond: Licensing decisions take into account single and multiple medical conditions.

In 2010, 4,940 car/motorcycle licences were revoked or refused where a visual condition was one of multiple conditions notified. 493 bus/lorry licences were revoked, and or refused. In the same period 4,895 car/motorcycle licences and 495 lorry/bus licences were revoked or refused because of a failure to meet the vision standards alone.

In 2011, 5,271 car/motorcycle licences were revoked or refused where a visual condition was one of multiple conditions notified. 662 bus/lorry licences were revoked, and or refused. In the same period 5,250 car/motorcycle licences and 658 lorry/bus licences were revoked or refused because of a failure to meet the vision standards alone.

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average time taken between report and revocation was for drivers reporting a problem with their vision who had their driving licences revoked in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [133279]

Stephen Hammond: The information requested is not held. However, the Secretary of State for Transport has published targets for consideration of notifications of changed medical circumstances. These are:

(1) to complete 88% of medical applications, where sufficient medical information is provided with the initial application, within 15 days; and

(2) to complete 85% of medical applications, where further information is required, within 90 days.

Pay

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was paid in (a) year end and (b) in-year bonuses to officials in his Department in each of the last two years. [132866]

Norman Baker: The amount paid in (a) year end and (b) in year non-consolidated performance payments to officials in the Department for Transport and its executive agencies in each of the last two years is shown in the table below.

 2010/112011/12

In Year payments

£219,778

£275,958

End Year payments

£10,385,288

£10,976,402

The figures for 2009/10 are also provided, by way of comparison:

2009/10

£360,444;

£10,887,973.

The amount of bonus paid in 2011/12 has increased because DSA paid their group incentive scheme bonus for the first time in 3 years.

Severn River Crossing

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which body is responsible for (a) the maintenance and (b) assessing the maintenance requirements of the Severn river crossings. [132405]

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Stephen Hammond: The Severn crossings are run by a private concessionaire, Severn River Crossings plc (SRC). During the current concession period the private concessionaire is responsible for the maintenance of the crossings in accordance with the concession agreement.

Transport

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the level of identifiable expenditure per head on transport in (a) the north- west, (b) England and (c) the UK in each of the next three years. [133375]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not made any estimate of the likely level of expenditure in these regions for future years. While we have an overall estimate of the Department's expenditure in each year up to 2014/15, it is not allocated on a regional basis for future years because this is dependent individual spending decisions.

The overall budget is published in the Departments Business Plan which is updated annually and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3367/dft-2012-business-plan.pdf

In addition, the Autumn Statement 2012 announced a further £1 billion of capital within the spending review period. The North West will benefit from a proportion of the £333 million for highways maintenance and can also put forward proposals for the £170 million local pinchpoint fund.

As announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, funding allocations for 2015/16 will be announced in the Spending Round in the first half of next year.

Transport: Standards

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the amount lost by UK businesses as a result of (a) road traffic delays, (b) train delays and (c) airport delays in each of the last 10 years; and what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on steps to address the cost to business of transport delays. [133377]

Norman Baker: The 2006 Eddington Study estimated that in 2003 the direct cost to businesses in England from lost time caused by road congestion was £7 billion in 2002 prices, equivalent to around £9 billion in 2012 prices (page 34).

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/transportstrategy/eddingtonstudy/researchannexes/researchannexesvolume3/transportdemand.pdf

There have not been any estimates of the specific cost to business for national airport delays. However, in

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December 2008, the Civil Aviation Authority published a report on runway resilience and delay. It found (page 22) that in 2007 delay at Heathrow cost £433 million. Around 42% represented a direct cost to airlines. Around half of the total cost was a cost to passengers, including business passengers, in the form of lost time.

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/589/ICF_runway_resilience_final_report_16Feb09.pdf

There have not been any estimates of the specific cost to business for national rail delays.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with a range of interested parties, including Ministerial colleagues, on what steps the Government might take to address delays across all modes of transport.

Health

Asthma: Drugs

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the cost of drugs such as the Omalizumab form of Xolair; and what steps his Department has taken to ensure this treatment will remain available. [133178]

Norman Lamb: We have received a small number of representations from hon. Members and members of the public about the availability of Omalizumab (Xolair) since 1 January 2012.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently reviewing its existing technology appraisal guidance on the use of Omalizumab in the treatment of severe persistent allergic asthma in children aged six and over and adults. NICE issued an initial draft of its revised guidance for consultation on 9 November 2012 which does not recommend the drug for use on the national health service. Until NICE publishes its final revised guidance, its current guidance on Omalizumab, which recommends the drug's use in certain circumstances, stands.

Cancer

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in each strategic health authority area have received treatment through the Cancer Drugs Fund to date. [133495]

Norman Lamb: Information on the number of patients who have had cancer drugs funded by strategic health authorities under the interim cancer drugs funding arrangements in 2010-11 (from October 2010 to the end of March 2011) and under the Cancer Drugs Fund (from April 2011 to the end of October 2012) is shown in the table.

Strategic health authorityNumber of patients funded 2010-11(1)Number of patients funded in 2011-12Number of patients funded from April 2012 to end October 2012Total number of patients funded since October 2010(1)

North East

420

696

252

1,368

North West

266

1,044

2,307

3,617

Yorkshire and the Humber

178

809

977

1,964

East Midlands

178

871

459

1,508

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West Midlands

292

1,658

957

2,907

East of England

246

1,486

1,297

3,029

London

443

1,364

1,010

2,817

South East Coast

306

1,241

788

2,335

South Central

290

1,170

1,753

3,213

South West

161

1,459

1,528

3,148

Total

2,780

11,798

11,328

25,906

(1) Some individual patients may be double-counted where a patient has received more than one drug treatment through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Diabetes

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that care commissioning groups and local authorities are able to record and collect accurate data on the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in their local area. [133166]

Anna Soubry: Public Health England will as of 1 April 2013, assume responsibility for all public health observatories in England. Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory will continue to lead on diabetes and has published a diabetes prevalence model, which can be accessed by all local authorities in England.

Data on incidence of Type 2 diabetes are collected by the National Diabetes Audit and via the Quality and Outcomes Framework and published annually.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Quality Standard for Diabetes, whether any assessment has been made of the proportion of men with Type 2 diabetes who have been asked about sexual dysfunction in their annual assessment; and what steps he is taking to ensure compliance with the standard in this regard. [133167]

Anna Soubry: Erectile dysfunction is covered in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Clinical Guidelines for Type 2 diabetes. In this guideline it is recommended that health care professionals review the issue of erectile dysfunction annually and that they provide assessment and education for men with erectile dysfunction to address contributory factors and discuss treatment options.

Currently data are not collected on the incidence of erectile dysfunction in Type 2 diabetics or the compliance of health care professionals with the clinical guideline. However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recently consulted on two potential new indicators for diabetes which would collect this data, and they are currently being considered for inclusion in the 2013-14 Quality and Outcomes Framework.

General Practitioners: Greater London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints he has received on waiting times to see a GP in each primary care trust area in London in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [133147]

Dr Poulter: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Heart Diseases

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he plans to promote shared decision making for people with atrial fibrillation; and if he will make a statement. [133161]

Dr Poulter: As part of the Right Care programme of work on shared decision making, the Department has commissioned the development of a Patient Decision Aid on stroke prevention for atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. It is expected to be made available in early 2013.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that care commissioning groups and local authorities are able to record and collect accurate data on the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in their local area. [133165]

Anna Soubry: The Government's mandate to the NHS commissioning board includes an objective to reduce premature mortality, including from cardiovascular disease. The NHS outcomes framework will be used to measure progress. It is for the NHS commissioning board to make decisions on how it will hold clinical commissioning groups to account for their performance and it will be publishing details on its proposed approach in due course.

Local authorities (LAs) will wish to understand how cardiovascular disease affects their local population to support their prevention and early diagnosis activities. It will be for LAs to decide, in collaboration with their local health community, what is the best information to use to achieve this.

NHS: Drugs

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department takes to ensure value for money in the purchasing of drugs by the NHS. [133227]

Norman Lamb: There are a number of systems in place to ensure, in the main, that the national health service obtains the best value from the purchasing of medicines. These include:

the reimbursement arrangements for the majority of medicines dispensed in primary care, which create an incentive for dispensing contractors to procure medicines in a manner that is cost-effective for the NHS; and the 2009 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), which controls the price of branded medicines supplied to the NHS through the regulation of profits that companies can make on sales;

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the competitive tendering for selected medicines by the Department's Commercial Medicines Unit on behalf of NHS secondary care providers in England. Generic products (the minority of products by value, but the greater part by volume) are tendered through a national programme. The majority of patent-protected products covered by the PPRS (the minority of products by volume, but the greater part by value) are tendered at a regional level which allows for aggregation of spend to achieve value for money, reduce replication and assure a quality supply chain through to the patient.

Norovirus

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to cope with the recent increase in cases of norovirus. [132994]

Anna Soubry: “Guidelines for the management of norovirus outbreaks in acute and community health and social care settings” were published by the Health Protection Agency in November 2011. The guidance emphasises the importance of including outbreaks of norovirus as part of winter preparedness planning.

A copy of the guidelines has been placed in the Library and is available at:

www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1317131647275

Phenytoin

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the increase in the cost of the drug phenytoin. [133226]

Norman Lamb: We have received a number of representations from hon. Members, representative groups, colleagues in the national health service and the manufacturer about the recent increase in the price of phenytoin capsules, following the acquisition of the marketing authorisation by Flynn Pharma Ltd from Pfizer and the effects on NHS budgets.

South London Healthcare NHS Trust

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost to the trust special administrator for South London Healthcare (a) is to date and (b) will be upon completion of his work; [133088]


(2) what consultants and outside contractors are supporting the work of trust special administrators; on which strands of work such consultants and outside contractors are engaged; and how much such consultants and outside contractors have cost to date. [133089]

Anna Soubry: Expenditure for this administration is expected to be small compared to the cost savings and service quality improvements that are expected to follow in the future. At the time this administration was enacted in July, South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) was spending around £1 million per week more than it had. This means that vital resources are being diverted away from other parts of the national health service. The size of the financial challenge is significant. In 2011-12, SLHT incurred the largest financial deficit across all NHS providers nationally, at over £65 million. Since its formation in 2009, the trust has generated a

13 Dec 2012 : Column 416W

total financial deficit of £154 million and is forecast to have an accumulated deficit of £207 million by the end of March 2013.

To date, the budget that has been agreed by the Department for the Trust Special Administrator (TSA) to operate the unsustainable NHS providers regime at SLHT is £4 million. An additional £1 million has recently been agreed. The total budget comprises:

£1 million paid to fund the office of the TSA, including personnel to support the TSA on communications and engagement, strategy and clinical leadership;

£3 million for consultancy spend, of which £2 million has been paid to McKinsey as lead-contractor, with Deloitte and PA Consulting Group as sub-contractors. They are engaged in detailed strategic, financial and programme management support work for the TSA; and

£1 million set aside for contingency purposes.

Thalidomide

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what progress the Government have made on their determination on whether to extend the health grant to thalidomide survivors into a long-term grant; [133532]

(2) what recent discussions (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have had with representatives of the Thalidomide Trust on the potential extension of the health grant made to thalidomide survivors. [133533]

Norman Lamb: I met with the hon. Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke), chair of the all party parliamentary group, along with members of the Thalidomide Trust and the National Advisory Council, on 6 November. I have subsequently written to the trust updating them on our progress.

An announcement on future funding for thalidomide survivors will be made shortly.

Defence

Afghanistan

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he proposes that the cost of any UK military presence in Afghanistan post 2014 should be met by the Treasury Reserve or by his Department's core budget. [132655]

Mr Robathan: The MOD expects that the net additional costs of military operations will continue to be met by the Treasury Reserve.

BAE Systems

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of BAE Systems's quality assurance procedures for equipment purchased by the Royal Navy. [133230]

Mr Dunne: In procuring equipment for the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) mandates a series of defence standards, both for the quality management systems employed by industry and for product quality. Robust processes are built into procurement contracts,

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covering both design and build to ensure that industry meets the MOD's exacting quality standards. This includes the internationally recognised standard ISO 9001, to which BAE Systems is registered and certified. The MOD monitors contractors' performance against those standards through a comprehensive system of surveillance, including intervention where necessary. Individual project teams are supported in their surveillance activities by the Defence Quality Assurance Field Force.

Challenger Tanks

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost will be of the Life Extension Programme for the Challenger 2 Tank. [133236]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 807W.

Devolution

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responsibilities the Minister for the Armed Forces has for liaison with the devolved Administrations. [132358]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 10 December 2012]: Defence is a reserved matter and the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for representing the interests of Scotland within the UK Government. However, all Defence Ministers liaise with the devolved Administrations on issues that require their support, such as the delivery of the military covenant.

HMS Astute

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of corrosion and flooding on HMS Astute. [133228]

Mr Dunne: All Royal Navy submarines undergo extensive preservation work during build to ensure that the risk of corrosion is minimised. After this has been completed each submarine is subject to a continuous, thorough corrosion assessment through its life. Some limited corrosion was found on certain areas on HMS Astute, but action is being taken to resolve this; neither the safety nor the operational effectiveness of the submarine has been or will be compromised.

Protection against flooding is paramount on submarines, and is a priority during all stages of design and build. All Royal Navy submarines are required to hold a Naval Authority certificate for submarine watertight integrity. Certification signifies that the Ministry of Defence's Naval Authority considers that all foreseeable watertight integrity hazards have been identified and mitigated to levels that are as low as reasonably practicable and either broadly acceptable or tolerable, given any operating limitations or restrictions.

HMS Astute, like all Royal Navy submarines, has been designed so that the risk of flooding is minimised, and that, in the event of any flooding occurring, the crew is able to take action to mitigate its impact. HMS Astute has been issued with a full Naval Authority certificate for submarine watertight integrity.

13 Dec 2012 : Column 418W

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the suitability of the pressurised water reactor 2's ability to power HMS Astute to its top speed. [133229]

Mr Dunne: Pressurised water reactor 2 is fully able to power HMS Astute, and all other Astute class submarines, at their designed top speed.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what correspondence he has had with BAE Systems on the faults found in sea trials for HMS Astute; and if he will make a statement. [133231]

Mr Dunne: Ministry of Defence officials work closely with personnel from BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines on all aspects of sea trials for HMS Astute. This includes correspondence on a range of issues, including on the identification and rectification of faults and other problems that arise as is particularly to be expected with a first of class submarine, these being the main purpose for conducting sea trials.

Joint Exercises

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what type of training took place during Exercise Prairie Thunder; what the cost was of that exercise; and how many personnel from (a) the US, (b) the UK and (c) Canada participated in the exercise. [132832]

Mr Robathan: Exercise Prairie Thunder is a 28-day exercise comprising live firing and tactical simulation across 2,700 square kilometres of Canadian prairie. Each exercise trains up to 1,800 personnel at a cost of £32.4 million. Four Prairie Thunder exercises are run each year.

The current training year has seen the participation of 25 US personnel on Prairie Thunder 3, and approximately 100 Canadian Forces personnel on Prairie Thunder 4. The remaining personnel trained have all been UK forces.

The involvement of both US and Canadian troops on Exercise Prairie Thunder is seen as particularly beneficial, allowing all nations to exercise in a multi-national environment. The inclusion of Canadian troops on Exercise Prairie Thunder is part of a reciprocal agreement in which the UK sends a light role company on Exercise Maple Lion (A Canadian Army exercise). The US inclusion meant that US helicopters were used as an integral part of a challenging exercise for which they did not charge for flying hours. In return, the UK provided fuel, food and accommodation.

Libya

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which costs of Operation Ellamy were met from the Treasury Reserve and which were met from the core budget of his Department. [132579]

Mr Robathan: The Treasury Reserve bears all those costs incurred by the Department which would not otherwise have been incurred. This includes: costs of additional fuel and munitions; extra maintenance requirements; spares; the deployment and recovery of

13 Dec 2012 : Column 419W

equipment and personnel from theatre including accommodation; operational allowances and theatre-specific training.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s core budget meets the costs of the base salaries of the service personnel and civilians involved in the operation; a base level of equipment usage, such as that which occurs during standard training; and the procurement costs of equipment which will stay with the MOD after the operation. The MOD does not calculate these costs for individual operations.

Military Alliances

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with which countries the UK has bilateral defence (a) agreements and (b) treaties; and if he will publish each such agreement and treaty. [132478]

Dr Murrison: The UK has signed, completed and ratified when necessary, bilateral defence agreements and treaties with the following countries:

Argentina

Bahamas

Belgium

Botswana

Brazil

Brunei

Canada

Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

Cyprus

France

Germany

Guyana

India

Iraq

Kenya

Republic of Korea

Malaysia

Malta

Mauritius

The Netherlands

New Zealand

Nigeria

Norway

Poland

Singapore

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Tonga

“Transjordan” (Jordan)

Ukraine

United States of America

USSR (Russia)

Yugoslavia

No formal distinction is made between treaties and agreements, which are both regarded as legally binding under international law. Not all defence treaties with the countries listed remain in force. This list also excludes those countries with which the UK has signed defence agreements and treaties that have not completed formal ratification and are therefore not yet in force.

13 Dec 2012 : Column 420W

Bilateral defence treaties signed since world war two that were subject to formal ratification have been laid before Parliament under the Ponsonby Rule, and since 2010, in accordance with the provisions of part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Records of all treaties and formal agreements signed by the United Kingdom are retained by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and original signed treaties binding on the United Kingdom are held in the National Archives.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with which countries the UK has a memorandum of understanding; and if he will publish each such memorandum. [132586]

Dr Murrison: The UK has signed defence memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the following countries:

Afghanistan

Albania

Algeria

Argentina

Armenia

Australia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Bermuda

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana

Brazil

Brunei

Bulgaria

Canada

Cape Verde Islands

Chile

China

Colombia

Croatia

Curacao

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Egypt

Estonia

Falkland Islands

Fiji

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

India

Indonesia

13 Dec 2012 : Column 421W

Iraq

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kosovo

Kuwait

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Lebanon

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

Malawi

Malaysia

Mali

Mauritania

Moldova

Mongolia

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Nepal

The Netherlands

New Zealand

Nigeria

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Palestine

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Portugal

Qatar

Republic of Congo

Republic of Korea

Romania

Russia

Rwanda

Saudi Arabia

Senegal

Serbia

Siena Leone

Singapore

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

Thailand

13 Dec 2012 : Column 422W

The Gambia

Tonga

Turkey

Turkmenistan

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United States of America

Uzbekistan

Vietnam.

These memoranda cover a wide range of defence co-operation activities. Not all MOUs with listed countries are currently in effect.

I am withholding copies of each MOU as their disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and other states.

Military Attachés

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which countries the UK has a defence attaché. [132587]

Dr Murrison: The Ministry of Defence has defence attachés and advisers currently in 72 countries—these are:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria Hub (covering Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Slovenia, Slovakia and Switzerland), Bahrain, Baltic States (Estonia), Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland (non-resident, accredited from London), Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal (non-resident, accredited from London), Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia (based in Kenya), South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America (with a further attaché to the UK Mission to UN New York), Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Between them, the attachés and advisers provide a further 84 countries with defence attaché or adviser services via the process of non-resident accreditation (NRA). The NRA countries are:

Albania, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Austrian hub, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cape Verdi Islands, Cayman Islands, Congo, Cuba, Curacao, Dili, Djibouti, Dominica, East Timor, Eritrea, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Puerto Rico, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, Seychelles, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

Paper

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what amount was spent by his Department on copier paper in each of the last three years; and what assessment he has made of the value for money obtained by his Department when purchasing copier paper. [133154]

13 Dec 2012 : Column 423W

Mr Dunne: Since 1 October 2011, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has met its requirements for paper through a Central Government Office Supplies Contract (GOSC) managed by HM Revenue and Customs. Data for years 2009-10 and 2010-11 are no longer held by the MOD. Under the GOSC, from 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2012, the latest period for which data are available, MOD expenditure on paper was £2.78 million, excluding VAT. Use of the GOSC is mandated across all central Government Departments and the expectation is that over time the economies of scale afforded by this centralised arrangement will offer better value for money than previous MOD specific contractual arrangements.

Porton Down: Animal Experiments

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many project licences granted under the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 have been granted for procedures currently being carried out at the Porton Down facility; and what the severity level for each project is. [130796]

Mr Dunne: At the present time, there are a total of 21 active project licences in operation at Dstl Porton Down. The overall severity band for these licences varies according to the nature of the work, but can be summarised as follows:

 Number

Unclassified

4

Mild

3

Moderate

6

Substantial

8

Dstl operates in strict accordance with the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. All the research projects that involve animals are licensed by the Home Office. As part of the licensing process, the researchers have to convince the Home Office that the work is required, that the results cannot be obtained without the use of animals, and that every step has been taken to minimise pain and suffering to the animals involved.

The Home Office, its inspectors and its independent Animal Procedures Committee (APC) make both announced and unannounced visits several times a year to ensure compliance with these guidelines. The MOD's Animal Welfare Advisory Council (AWAC) was dissolved as it duplicated this work.

USA

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on foreign military sales

13 Dec 2012 : Column 424W

contracts procured by the British defence staff in the US in each of the last five years. [131576]

Mr Dunne: Foreign military sales (FMS) is the process for foreign Governments and international organisations to purchase military articles and services from the US Government. The total value of committed funds under FMS during the past five years is $3,510,397,215. The yearly breakdown is as follows:

 Total cost (US Dollars)

2007

334,104,516

2008

949,564,775

2009

183,602,390

2010

1,189,515,596

2011

487,114,494

2012

366,495,444

Grand total

3,510,397,215

Work and Pensions

Child: Protection

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the household benefit cap on child protection. [133452]

Esther McVey: The Department does not collect the information on which households are subject to a child protection order so we cannot identify how many households would be subject to a benefit cap.

Under the Children Act 1989, each local authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in its area. The benefit cap will have a number of impacts on local authorities but it will not change in any way their responsibilities for child protection, including their duty to keep close track of children at risk.

Crisis Loans: Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many crisis loans were awarded in Scotland in each of the last five years; for what purposes such loans were given; and what the total monetary value was in each such year. [133389]

Steve Webb: Table 1 gives the number of crisis loans awarded by application reason in Scotland in each of the last five full accounting years (2007-08 to 2011-12) and the current accounting year to date (April 2012 to November 2012).

Table 1: Number of crisis loan initial awards in Scotland by application reason, 2007-08 to 2011-12 and April to November 2012
Application reason2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122011-12 YTD

Leaving care—not entitled to IS/JSA (IB)

3,670

3,590

2,490

1,160

620

280

Leaving care—rent in advance

80

120

90

70

60

30

Disaster, e.g. fire, flood, explosion, chemical leaks etc.

1,990

2,420

3,540

2,260

1,160

420

Emergency travelling expenses

160

140

670

240

310

140

13 Dec 2012 : Column 425W

13 Dec 2012 : Column 426W

Lost or stolen money/giro

28,370

33,980

45,580

34,100

31,600

15,330

Alignment (period before first payday)

117,880

123,350

153,800

143,330

122,810

75,450

Capital not realisable

13,050

20,600

39,780

33,600

23,390

14,050

Reconnection of fuel supply

680

790

590

250

160

110

Homeless—securing accommodation

250

310

390

520

320

230

Benefit spent—living expenses required

49,920

61,390

108,670

94,330

84,340

47,540

Items, JSA sanctions and JSA disallowances

22,900

23,850

33,760

34,410

6,660

2,370

Total

238,900

270,500

389,400

344,300

271,400

155,900

Source: Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information.

Table 2 contains figures on gross crisis loan expenditure for Scotland by application reason for the same periods as Table 1.

Table 2: Crisis loan gross expenditure in Scotland by application reason, 2007-08 to 2011-12, and April to November 2012
£
Application reason2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122011-12 YTD

Leaving care—not entitled to IS/JSA (IB)

114,290

118,420

149,650

76,510

37,390

15,740

Leaving care—rent in advance

3,300

4,580

7,420

10,290

9,780

4,040

Disaster, e.g. fire, flood, explosion, chemical leaks etc.

98,590

118,240

211,190

132,750

62,420

25,730

Emergency travelling expenses

6,200

6,350

29,230

16,640

13,340

7,760

Lost or stolen money/giro

1,778,380

2,115,050

2,792,760

2,255,610

1,923,540

914,790

Alignment (period before first payday)

6,834,420

7,275,260

9,981,690

9,532,240

7,556,760

. 4,339,260

Capital not realisable

670,160

1,037,900

2,179,120

1,930,540

1,283,970

787,420

Reconnection of fuel supply

24,660

29,270

30,390

18,270

10,750

5,980

Homeless—securing accommodation

44,930

56,440

130,690

224,220

131,200

121,680

Benefit spent—living expenses required

2,423,420

3,080,060

5,321,050

4,850,450

3,983,880

2,281,870

Items, JSA sanctions and JSA disallowances

6,735,660

7,541,600

10,367,800

9,915,600

1,118,100

289,400

Total

18,734,000

21,383,200

31,201,000

28,963,100

16,131,200

8,793,700

Notes: 1. The information provided is management information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official / National Statistics but in this case we only have Management Information available from the Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System (PBMIS). It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics and there are some issues with the data; for example, these amounts do not include expenditure on applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the social fund computer system. 2. All initial awards are rounded to nearest 10. 3. The initial awards figures do not include awards made on review or reconsideration. 4. All gross expenditure is rounded to the nearest £100. 5. Figures may not sum due to rounding. 6. The gross expenditure figures do include expenditure from awards made on review or reconsideration. The gross expenditure for each category should not be divided by the number of awards in each category, as this will give incorrect figures on average awards for each application reason. Source: Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund Policy, budget and management information.

Departmental Responsibilities

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contribution his Department is making to the Government's ambition of Britain being the most open, transparent country in the world. [133479]

Steve Webb: The Department is committed to transparency and published its Open Data Strategy in June alongside details of the new transparency measures it will deliver over the next two years. DWP has also updated and significantly expanded its transparency website. See:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/about-dwp/what-we-do/transparency/

In November the Department launched new on-line software called Stat-Xplore using housing benefit data. This will allow the citizen to create their own statistical tabulations based on the Department's rich sources of customer data. It provides more data at a more granular level with enhanced visualisation. Claimants' privacy will be protected by sophisticated disclosure control

13 Dec 2012 : Column 427W

mechanisms. It will cover most existing benefits and pensions and over time will include statistics on universal credit and personal independence payments. See:

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

The Demographics User Group, which represents the interests of a range of commercial users of Government datasets in the UK, recently presented its annual award for ‘Better information in Government’ to the Department. See the related press release at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2012/oct-2012/dwp105-12.shtml

Employment Schemes

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the technical operation of the Universal Jobmatch website launched in November 2012. [133540]

Mr Hoban: Monster Worldwide Ltd, a market leader in the recruitment sector, was appointed to manage the delivery of Universal Jobmatch to the DWP, bringing proven practices and technologies, and procuring existing recruitment solutions rather than utilising existing DWP IT suppliers and contracts. The procurement was via OJEU and, as such, was open to fair and even competition using a selection process which focused on the bidders’ technical capabilities.

The Department has undertaken appropriate testing of the online job posting and matching service, Universal Jobmatch, including: user acceptance testing; accessibility testing; customer experience reviews; and field acceptance tests.

Monster Worldwide Ltd, the supplier appointed to manage the delivery of Universal Jobmatch to the DWP, continues to undertake code reviews to ensure it meets, and continues to meet, the Department's security requirements.

The service is actively managed through contractual arrangements between the Department and our suppliers.

DWP have ensured that departmental IT can operate and interact effectively with the Universal Jobmatch solution and that the financial benefits of moving from a complex, multi-system platform to a managed service solution can be realised. All critical departmental IT systems and services impacted by Universal Jobmatch have been fully tested according to existing DWP enterprise test practices.

Employment: Disability

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of disabled people in employment in (a) Brighton and Hove and (b) nationally; what assessment he has made of whether disabled people in work face extra costs (i) in the home as a result of being in employment and (ii) in and to do with the workplace above those covered by the Access to Work scheme; if he will make it his policy to provide support for working disabled people who are found to be fully fit for work but who are at a disadvantage in the workplace as a result of impairments or health conditions; and if he will make a statement. [132847]

13 Dec 2012 : Column 428W

Mr Hoban: Latest figures from the Annual Population Survey (July 2011 to June 2012) show that there are 13,000 disabled people in employment in the Brighton and Hove local authority and 3,072,600 disabled individuals in employment nationally.

We know that disabled people can face extra costs in work, whether they are working from home or going out to work. These extra costs could include specialist aids and equipment or help travelling to work. Employers have a duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. Access to Work provides individuals and their employers with support with the extra costs that are over and above that which is a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act and there is no upper limit to the value of support that Access to Work can provide.

We are committed to ensuring that all disabled people have the opportunities, chances and support that they need to get a job and remain in employment and there is a range of provision to help them, including Access to Work, Work Choice and residential training colleges. In addition, Jobcentre Plus Disability Employment Advisers can provide support and advice for disabled people who need help finding and retaining employment. They can refer individuals to specialist programmes, advocate with employers on the individual's behalf, and help employers to explore job solutions such as the restructuring of a job's tasks/environment or the provision/change of equipment.

Employment: Discrimination

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the current extent of racial discrimination in the UK labour market; and if he will make a statement. [133443]

Mr Hoban: No assessment has been made. We have flexible employment support to ensure that individuals get the support they need to find work, and legislation to protect people from discrimination at recruitment and in employment.

Farms: Accidents

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many accidents have been recorded on farms in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [132991]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive holds details of injuries to workers (employees and the self-employed) and members of the public on farms reported to it under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

The data for fatal injuries are regarded as reliable but the data for non-fatal injuries (major injuries and injuries causing over three days incapacitation) are subject to significant under-reporting by the farming sector and should be treated with caution.

Details of the number of work-related injuries to workers and members of the public in agriculture (which includes crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities) in Great Britain reported to HSE in each of the last three years are set out in the following table:

13 Dec 2012 : Column 429W

13 Dec 2012 : Column 430W

RIDDOR reported work related injuries in agriculture over the last three years
 Workers(1)Members of the public
 Severity of injurySeverity of injury
 FatalNon-fatal majorOver- 3-dayAll reported injuriesFatalNon-fatalAll reported injuries

2011-12(2)

27

356

534

917

6

85

91

2010-11

30

374

516

893

7

56

63

2009-10

35

459

615

1,109

5

69

74

(1) The category “Worker” includes employees and the self-employed. (2) The data for 2011-12 are treated as provisional until April 2013. Notes: 1. Over-three-day injuries to members of the public are not reportable under RiDDOR. 2. Figure for Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales.

Farms: Safety

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how health and safety guidance is communicated to farms; and if he will make a statement. [132992]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publishes a wide range of health and safety guidance on managing risks in agriculture to farms. The guidance aims to help farmers understand what they have to do to comply with the law and is communicated through a number of media including:

Hard copy publications and topic based information sheets (priced and unpriced)

The agriculture pages on the HSE website

An agriculture specific e-Bulletin published every two months. It has over 14,000 subscribers and gives topical/seasonal health and safety advice to farmers

An annual programme of Safety and Health Awareness Days for farmers which provide practical demonstrations on how to manage everyday risks on farms to targeted, invited audiences. Each event can reach 300 farmers

Attendance at a number of technical shows

Visual media such as topic based DVDs/VCRs etc.

National, regional and local TV and radio, including BBC TV's Countryfile and Radio 4's Farming Today; and

National, local and trade press including Farmers Weekly and Farmers Guardian.

HSE also supports stakeholders in developing advice and guidance on managing health and safety in agriculture which it distributes to members. Industry stakeholders include representative organisations, trade associations and bodies and the trade unions; some of whom are members of the industry-led Industry Safety Partnerships in England and Wales. The guidance is generally topic based and is available to members and others in hard copy form and on their respective websites, and includes targeted literature, health and safety related articles in the trade press and training events for members.

Food Banks: Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been referred to food banks by job centre staff in Scotland in 2012 to date. [133388]

Mr Hoban: DWP, through Jobcentre Plus, operates a food bank referral service. This is a simple signposting process which builds on the Jobcentre Plus standard practice of holding, locally, the details of organisations to which we signpost claimants who tell us they are in financial difficulty. Jobcentre Plus will only signpost claimants when it can offer no more help.

DWP/Jobcentre Plus do not collate or hold numbers of food bank referrals or the reasons why individuals are referred. Jobcentre Plus is not the only routeway for individuals to get referred to a foodbank.

Housing Benefit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of in-work families affected by the uprating of the applicable amount for housing benefit by one per cent and the resulting savings to the Exchequer, for each of the next four years. [133558]

Steve Webb: Assessments of impacts will accompany the uprating order for 2013 and the forthcoming Uprating Bill.

ICT: Theft

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen from his Department in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [132182]

Mr Hoban: The information that is available is provided in the following table. Details provided in respect of 2012 cover the year up to the beginning of November 2012.

 (a) Computers(b) Mobile telephones(c) BlackBerry devices(d) Other items

2010

46

30

20

20

2011

56

25

6

10

2012

17

20

8

3

The Department requires all portable computer media to be encrypted, so as to protect the data contained on that media.

Where theft is involved, necessary investigations are conducted, involving the police as appropriate.

The Department takes its statutory responsibilities to protect data and assets extremely seriously; however the above figures need to be viewed in the context of the number of computer users.

13 Dec 2012 : Column 431W

Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether individuals in receipt of income from mortgage payment protection policies are eligible to claim support for mortgage interest. [133496]

Mr Hoban: Yes. People in receipt of income from mortgage payment protection policies can claim support for mortgage interest as part of income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or pension credit. However, there are rules that govern the treatment of income from such policies in these income-related benefits. Generally all income is taken into account when assessing an income-related benefit unless certain disregards apply.

Where income from mortgage payment protection policies is used to pay a homeowner's mortgage liabilities it would be inappropriate for those same housing cost liabilities to be met through state benefits as this would amount to double provision. The benefit rules ensure that public and private provision does not overlap and that tax payers are not subsidising housing cost liabilities which are being met by other means.

New Enterprise Allowance: Greater Manchester

Mr Nuttall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Bury North constituency and (b) Greater Manchester are in receipt of enterprise allowance. [133500]

Mr Hoban: We have published data on the number of new enterprise allowance (NEA) mentor starts and weekly allowance starts by local authority area which can be found at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/Table_1_NEA_starts_by_Local_Authority.xls

The table shows that in Bury there were 60 mentor starts and 30 weekly allowance starts for the period April 2011 up to and including May 2012. In Manchester, there were 190 mentor starts and 100 weekly allowance starts over the same period.

Parking

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what contracts for providing car park management services to his Department are held by private companies; [132553]

(2) what the total value is of contracts between his Department and private companies for car park management services in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) South Lanarkshire local authority area. [132554]

Mr Hoban: The Department leases back fully serviced accommodation for most of its estate from its private sector partner Telereal Trillium under a private finance initiative (PFI) known as the PRIME Contract. For each site, the Department pays a unitary charge known as the facility price, which is all-inclusive of rent, business rates, and all services provided. This charge would also include the control, security and management of any car parking facilities that are connected with each site.

13 Dec 2012 : Column 432W

As the facilities price is a holistic charging mechanism, it is not possible to break the costs down into individual elements for each service provided.

Pension, Disability and Carers Service

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many calls made to the Pension Service in the east of England (a) met an engaged tone, (b) were received and (c) were handled by an adviser in each of the last three years, by call centre; and what area within the east of England is served by each such call centre. [132841]

Mr Hoban: Figures for east of England cannot be provided in isolation, as each pension centre receives calls from different areas of the United Kingdom. The Pensions Service does not record the geographic location of individual calls made to its centres.

Personal Independence Payments

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long is the average period in days between an initial application for a personal independence payment and the determination of an appeal against refusal of that application, by region. [133373]

Esther McVey: Personal independence payment will be introduced from April 2013. At present there are no estimates of the duration from an initial application for personal independence payment to the outcome of an appeal.

Once personal independence payment is introduced the programme will be monitoring and evaluating any appeal activity and the clearance times.

Redundancy: Disability

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement by the Minister for Disabled People of 6 December 2012, Official Report, columns 84-6WS, on disability employment, (1) what support will be given to disabled people who face compulsory redundancy; [133444]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure the 682 disabled people who are at risk of compulsory redundancy can find employment; [133445]

(3) how many of the 682 disabled people who are at risk of compulsory redundancy he expects to find new employment through Government programmes; [133446]

(4) what steps his Department is taking to support disabled people into work. [133447]

Esther McVey: Disabled Remploy employees who become redundant as a consequence of the decision announced by the Remploy Board on 6 December can benefit from a package of support that we have provided exclusively for them.

£8 million has been made available to fund the delivery of a Personal Help and Support Package across Great Britain to support individuals for up to 18 months following redundancy to make the transition from working

13 Dec 2012 : Column 433W

at Remploy to mainstream employment, and 148 former Remploy employees have already moved into alternative employment.

The support available includes help from a personal case worker with one-on-one sessions, access to a personal budget and existing back-to-work support.

We have also set up a Community Support Fund to provide grants to local disability organisations to help with that transition.

Help with finding suitable alternative employment will also be available from Remploy's Employment Services.

Disabled people who leave Remploy can of course be eligible for help from our existing specialist disability employment programmes, including Work Choice and Access to Work, which are also available for other groups of disabled people who need support in the workplace.

We have recently made Access to Work available for disabled people undertaking work experience as part of the Youth Contract, which will help many young disabled people take their first significant step towards the labour market.

We have also made Access to Work available to disabled people interested in starting their own business through the new enterprise allowance scheme in Merseyside from 3 December. Subject to effective operation in Merseyside we will roll this out nationally in the new year.

We have started a targeted communications plan which aims to ensure that greater numbers of disabled people who could benefit from the programme know about it.

We have protected the £320 million annual budget for our disability employment programmes and within this budget we are re-allocating £15 million to Access to Work with the sole purpose of supporting disabled people into work.

Social Security Benefits

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance he has issued to local authorities on incorrect benefit payments and application of the household benefit cap. [133424]

Mr Hoban: The detailed design and guidance will be provided to local authorities (LAs) in the new year to allow all relevant staff to be trained in time for implementation of the benefit cap. We are working closely with LAs on this.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for East Ham (Stephen Timms) of 29 November 2012, Official Report, column 489W, on social security benefits: Greater London, if he will prepare and publish an updated impact assessment for the household benefit cap. [133548]

Mr Hoban: There are no immediate plans to update the benefit cap impact assessment following the recent announcement to disregard housing costs for supported exempt accommodation.

Figures approved by the Office for Budget Responsibility estimate that this change will reduce the total amount of households affected by the cap by around 2,000 to

13 Dec 2012 : Column 434W

54,000 and reduce the savings by around £10 million to £265 million. This estimate is on a consistent basis to the existing impact assessment published 16 July 2012:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/benefit-cap-wr2011-ia.pdf

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to combat (a) benefit fraud by claimants who have multiple identities and (b) other benefit fraud. [131999]

Mr Hoban: The information is as follows:

(a) The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) takes the threat of identity fraud very seriously and, as a result, we have robust checks in place to protect the benefit system against such fraud. Instances of multiple identities are very rare; this is because an individual has to prove their identity at the start of a claim to benefit and in any ongoing contact with the Department.

(b) Fraud in the benefit system is a serious problem, which is currently costing the taxpayer £1.9 billion a year in benefit and tax credit fraud. This is why the plans outlined in our fraud and error strategy, which was refreshed in a joint report with HMRC and the Cabinet Office in February 2012, and measures in the Welfare Reform Act are necessary and show that the Government are absolutely committed to combating the level of fraud in the benefit system.

These plans include delivering an Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS), a hub system for collecting and analysing claimant information and applying fraud and error prevention filters. The Department is also developing the Single Fraud Investigation Service (SFIS) with HMRC and local authorities, joining expertise and efforts in investigating fraud with pilots having started in four areas. We are also working with partners on the Mobile Regional Taskforce (MRT) pilots focusing on intelligence-led campaigns in high fraud risk areas. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 provides the Department with tougher powers to punish and deter welfare cheats. A tougher minimum administrative penalty was introduced in May 2012 and from 1 October a new civil penalty came into force for claimant error.

With the introduction of universal credit in 2013, the benefits system will also be made simpler and, as far as possible, the opportunities for fraud to enter our systems will be greatly reduced.