Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the application of the new burdens doctrine to the introduction of the household benefit cap. [134744]

Mr Hoban: In line with the Government's New Burdens Doctrine, the Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government have agreed the process for assessing new administrative burdens on local authorities arising from our welfare reforms, including any that might arise from the introduction of the benefit cap.

Officials in my Department have been working closely with the New Burdens team in DCLG and HM Treasury to develop the assessments.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of detected benefit fraud was in each of the last four years; and if he will estimate what the level of undetected fraud was in each of those years. [135925]

Mr Hoban: The value of detected benefit fraud for each of the last four years is as follows:

Current classification fraud
Financial yearValue of new debt (£ million)

2008-09

75

2009-10

75

2010-11

89

2011-12

52

Total

290

Source: Debt Accounting. This does not form official statistics but is derived from Management Information.

These figures do not include detected housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud identified by local authorities. That information is not available.

The Department is unable to provide an estimate for the level of undetected fraud for each of these years. Although we do produce estimates of the total amount of fraud overpaid each year, the statistics for detected fraud use a stricter definition of fraud which means that the two sets of figures are not comparable.

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been (a) investigated and (b) prosecuted for benefit fraud in each of the last five years. [136106]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the number of investigations closed for the last four years (1 April to 31 March) for fraud against benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and investigated by the Department's Fraud Investigation Service (FIS).

 Number

2008-09

128,513

2009-10

150,146

2010-11

154,819

2011-12

165,387

The information in the format above is not available for the fiscal year 2007-08.

The following table shows the number of convictions for each year requested of those cases investigated by the FIS.

 Number

2007-08

7,745

2008-09

6,700

2009-10

7,040

2010-11

8,598

2011-12

9,861

Social Security Benefits: Overpayments

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the amount of overpayments made owing to official error for each social security benefit paid by his Department in each of the last four years. [135918]

Mr Hoban: The latest estimate of the amounts of overpayments made owing to official error for each social security benefit paid by the Department is shown in the following table:

 2008-092009-102010-112011-12
 Expend. (£billion)Official error (£million)Expend. (£billion)Official error (£million)Expend.billion)Official error (£million)Expend. (£billion)Official error (£million)

Income support

8.8

130

8.5

120

7.9

50

7.2

50

18 Jan 2013 : Column 973W

18 Jan 2013 : Column 974W

Jobseeker’s allowance

2.9

70

4.8

80

4.5

100

5.0

50

Pension credit

7.8

160

8.2

190

8.3

160

8.2

170

Housing benefit

17.1

100

20.0

140

21.4

90

22.8

130

Incapacity benefit

6.6

120

6.2

100

5.6

70

5.0

60

Disability living allowance

10.6

80

11.5

90

12.0

90

12.6

100

State pension

61.6

30

66.9

40

69.8

30

74.2

60

Carer’s allowance

1.4

10

1.5

10

1.6

10

1.8

10

Interdependencies(1)

0.0

20

0.0

20

0.0

20

0.0

20

Others(2,3)

19.0

130

20.4

170

22.2

150

22.5

150

Total

135.7

0.8

148.0

1.0

153.4

0.8

159.2

0.8

(1) Interdependencies is an estimate of the knock-on effects of disability living allowance (DLA) overpayments on caring and disability premiums on income-related benefits, which depend on the rate of DLA in payment. (2) Social fund (SF) estimates are included in the “Others” category. SF official error estimates are derived from a continuous measurement exercise which covered the period April 2011 to March 2012. It is estimated that 4.0% of expenditure was overpaid due to official error corresponding to £8.7 million of net 2011-12 expenditure (which was in total £220 million). The confidence intervals surrounding this estimate were [3.2%-4.7%] or [£7 million to £10 million]. (3) “Others” includes council tax benefit and unreviewed benefits (unreviewed benefits are Christmas bonus, employment support allowance, maternity allowance, statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, industrial disablement benefit, industrial death benefit, other industrial injuries benefits, attendance allowance, specialised vehicle allowance, winter fuel payments, social fund, discretionary housing payments, over-75 TV licence, job grant, new deals, small benefits, new enterprise allowance, severe disability allowance, cold weather payments, widow's benefit/bereavement benefit, return-to-work credit, in-work credit and state pension transfers). These benefits have never been subject to a specific review as they tend to have relatively low expenditure, which means that it is not cost-effective to undertake a review. For these benefits the estimates are based on assumptions about the likely level of error. Notes:1. Expenditure rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion. 2. Official error rounded to the nearest £l0 million. 3. Estimates may not sum due to rounding. Source: DWP National Statistics: Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: 2011/12 Estimates released 29 November.

Temporary Accommodation

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when full details of the temporary accommodation subsidy regime, which will begin in April 2013, will be announced. [138005]

Steve Webb: There will be no changes to how the temporary accommodation subsidy regime operates from April 2013. The current rules that govern how much subsidy is payable in temporary accommodation cases will continue in housing benefit until cases migrate to universal credit.

On 24 October 2012 the Department for Work and Pensions published the G10/2012 Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit Bulletin which gave full details on how the temporary accommodation subsidy regime will continue to operate from April 2013.

Universal Credit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of how many people will be lifted out of poverty by universal credit. [135546]

Mr Hoban: I refer the right hon. Member to the written answer the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey), gave my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore), on 15 January 2013, Official Report, columns 715-17W.

John Glen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the draft Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment and Working-age Benefits (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2012, when his Department plans to provide a definition in law of the term vulnerable tenant for the purposes of determining eligibility for direct payments to landlords of the housing element of universal credit. [136335]

Steve Webb: We are not seeking to provide a definition in law of ‘vulnerable tenants’ for the purposes of administering UC. Any attempt to do so would risk some people with needs failing outside of any definitions and thus not receiving the help that they may need. We accept that for a minority of claimants alternative payment arrangements may be required and this may include the payment of their housing costs (rent) direct to the landlord. This alternative payment arrangement will be considered on a case by case basis and assessed on their individual merits, and would be time-limited and delivered in conjunction with appropriate budgeting support to ensure claimants make a successful transition over time to monthly budgeting wherever possible.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the preparedness of the computer system that will administer universal credit; and if he will make a statement. [136343]

Mr Hoban: The IT System to support Phase 1 (Pathfinder) in April 2013 has entered its final stages of integration testing, which ensures all of the key elements of the IT work together.

Given the significant amount of tests which need to be run, and with limited time remaining to complete those tests, Ministers are receiving regular and comprehensive updates on progress.

Preparations for implementing the IT service are well under way and are following tried and tested DWP processes.

18 Jan 2013 : Column 975W

We remain confident that we will have sufficient IT testing complete to allow us to go live with our limited pathfinder service in April 2013.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 471W, on universal credit, which organisation or organisations he intends will look at new claimants' identity verification documents; and if he will make a statement. [138172]

Mr Hoban: In the early stages of the introduction of universal credit, the Department's staff will look at identity verification documents for new claimants.

Cabinet Office

Employment

Stephen Timms: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many (a) white people and (b) people from all other ethnic groups are (i) in the workforce and (ii) unemployed. [138003]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many (a) white people (b) people from all other ethnic groups are (i) in the workforce and (ii) unemployed. 138003

The table provided shows the information requested. Estimates of economic activity by ethnicity are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. Indications of the quality of the estimates provided are given in the table.

People aged 16 and over in the labour force by ethnic group: Three month period July to September 2012: United Kingdom, not seasonally adjusted
Thousand
 White(1)All other ethnic groups(2)Total(3)

Employed

*26,619

*3,065

*29,692

Unemployed

*2,134

**467

*2,601

Total in the labour force(4)

*28,753

*3,532

*32,293

(1) White includes respondents in England, Wales and Scotland identifying themselves as ‘White-Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ and respondents in Scotland identifying themselves as ‘White-Polish’. (2) Includes respondents in Northern Ireland identifying themselves as ‘Irish Traveller’ and respondents in all UK countries identifying themselves as ‘Arab’, mixed/multiple ethnic groups, Indian. Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, black/African/Caribbean/black British and other ethnic groups. (3) Includes people who have not stated their ethnic group. (4) Also referred to as the total number of people who are ‘economically active’; that is, the number in employment plus those unemployed. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key: * 0 = CV<5%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV <10%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV <20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV ? 20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes Source: Labour Force Survey

Stephen Timms: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office for what reason people seeking employment whose job search support is contracted out to private

18 Jan 2013 : Column 976W

or voluntary providers are classified as in employment in the labour market statistics; and if he will make a statement. [138017]

Mr Hurd: The information requested fails within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking the Minister for what reason people seeking employment whose job search support is contracted out to private or voluntary providers are classified as in employment in the labour market statistics; and if he will make a statement. (138017)

Estimates of the number of people on government supported training and employment programmes, who are classified as in employment, are derived from the Labour Force Survey. The classification is based on the information reported by respondents regarding the type of programme they are on and their activity in the survey reference week whilst on that programme. The definition of employment is consistent with the International Labour Organisation definition which includes people on government programmes if they are contributing to producing output.

Participants who report that their activity consisted of any form of work, work experience or work-related training are classified as in employment. Participants who report other kinds of activity are mainly classified as either unemployed or economically inactive, depending on the extent of their job search activity and availability for work.

A small number of participants are classified as being in employment because they report having done paid work in addition to being on the programme.

Mr David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many people were employed in (a) part-time and (b) full-time work in (i) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (ii) East Yorkshire and (iii) the UK in (A) 2009, (B) 2010, (C) 2011 and (D) 2012. [138290]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), i have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people were employed in (a) part-time and (b) full-time work in (i) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (ii) East Yorkshire and (iii) the UK in (A) 2009, (B) 2010, (C) 2011 and (D) 2012. (138290)

The ONS compiles Labour Market Statistics for areas below the UK following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions using the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The table shows the number of people who were employed full-time or part-time according to survey responses during the 12 month period ending September 2012, the latest available period, and the 12 month periods ending in December from 2009 to 2011.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. A guide to the quality of the estimates is given in the table.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

18 Jan 2013 : Column 977W

18 Jan 2013 : Column 978W

Number of people employed full-time or part time
Thousand
 Haltemprice and HowdenEast Riding of YorkshireUnited Kingdom
12 months endingFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-timeFull-timePart-time

December 2009

26

13

112

48

21,141

7,601

December 2010

29

14

112

46

21,033

7,752

December 2011

30

11

115

45

21,090

7,811

September 2012(1)

**33

***15

**110

**49

*21,151

*7,917

(1) Coefficients of Variation have been calculated for the latest period as an indication of the quality of the estimates. See Guide to Quality below. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key: * 0 = CV<5%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV <10%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV <20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV ? 20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes Source: Annual Population Survey

Employment: Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of people in Scotland in each (a) age group and (b) administrative location who have no experience of full or part-time work. [138008]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for the number of people in Scotland in each (a) age group and (b) administrative location who have no experience of full or part-time work. (138008)

ONS compiles Labour Market Statistics for areas below the UK following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions using the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The tables show estimates of the number of people who have never had a paid job or place on a government work scheme, based on survey responses during the period October 2011 to September 2012.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. A guide to the quality of the estimates is given in the tables.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number of people in Scotland who have never worked(1) by age group, October 2011 to September 2012
AgedThousand(2)

16 to 64

*261

16 to 17

*81

18 to 24

*121

25 to 34

**30

35 to 49

***19

50 to 64

***9

65 and older

***9

(1) Number of people, according to survey responses during the period October 2011 to September 2012, who had never been in a paid job or scheme. (2) Coefficients of Variation have been calculated as an indication of the quality of the estimates. See Guide to Quality below. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of %. We would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key: * 0 = CV<5%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV <10%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV <20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV =20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes CV = Coefficient of Variation Source: Annual Population Survey
Table 2: Number of people in Scotland who have never worked(1) by local authority, October 2011 to September 2012
 Thousand(2)

Aberdeen City

***10

Aberdeenshire

****—

Angus

***5

Argyll and Bute

***3

Clackmannanshire

****—

Dumfries and Galloway

***6

Dundee City

***10

East Ayrshire

***6

East Dunbartonshire

***6

18 Jan 2013 : Column 979W

18 Jan 2013 : Column 980W

East Lothian

***5

East Renfrewshire

***5

Edinburgh, City of

***41

Na h-Eileanan an Iar

****—

Falkirk

***5

Fife

***14

Glasgow City

***55

Highland

***5

Inverclyde

***4

Midlothian

****—

Moray

***3

North Ayrshire

***7

North Lanarkshire

***14

Orkney Islands

****—

Perth and Kinross

***5

Renfrewshire

***8

Scottish Borders

***5

Shetland Islands

****—

South Ayrshire

***5

South Lanarkshire

***12

Stirling

***6

West Dunbartonshire

***4

West Lothian

***6

(1) Number of people, according to survey responses during the period October 2011 to September 2012, who had never been in a paid job or scheme. (2) Coefficients of Variation have been calculated as an indication of the quality of the estimates. See Guide to Quality below. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of %. We would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key: * 0 = CV<5%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV <10%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV <20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV =20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes CV = Coefficient of Variation Source: Annual Population Survey

Internet

Mr David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate he has made of the number of people with access to the internet in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (b) East Yorkshire and (c) England. [138291]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated 16 January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what estimate has been made of the number of people with access to the Internet in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (b) East Yorkshire and (c) England. (138291)

Estimates of internet use by adults aged 16 years and over are published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics and are available on our website. These estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and have United Kingdom (UK) coverage. The latest available estimate (in respect of 2012 Q3) of the number of adults who have ever used the Internet in East Riding of Yorkshire is 241,000. The estimate for England is 36.1 million. Estimates at parliamentary constituency level are not available.

Estimates of household Internet access are published on an annual basis by the Office for National Statistics and are also available on our website. These estimates are derived from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. The latest available estimate (in respect of 2012) of the number of households in Yorkshire and The Humber with access to the Internet is 1.8 million. The estimate for England is 18.2 million. It is not possible, from this survey, to produce accurate estimates of household Internet access at a lower level of geography than region.

Job Creation: East Yorkshire

Mr David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the number of jobs created in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency and (b) East Yorkshire that have been either (i) part-time or (ii) temporary contracts since May 2010. [138289]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for the number of jobs created in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency and (b) East Yorkshire that have been either (i) part-time or (ii) temporary contracts since May 2010. (138289)

ONS compiles Labour Market Statistics following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions for areas smaller than the UK from the Annual Population Survey. (APS).

Information regarding jobs created is not available. As an alternative we have provided seasonally adjusted estimates of the number of people who were employed part-time or employed in jobs that were not permanent according to survey responses during the 12 month periods ending June 2010, the survey period closest to May 2010, and June 2012, along with the net change

18 Jan 2013 : Column 981W

between these two periods. This net change provides a reasonable approximation of the number of jobs created since May 2010.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and claimant count are available on the NOMIS website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number of people employed part-time(1)
Thousand
 Level 
 12 months ending 
 June 2010June 2012Change between 12 month periods ending June 2010 and June 2012

Haltemprice and Howden

15

13

-1

East Riding of Yorkshire

48

47

-1

(1) Part-time in main job. Note: All estimates are independently rounded. Source: Annual Population Survey

Treasury

Infrastructure

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 310W, on infrastructure, what the nature of the risk is which requires that information cannot be disclosed to Parliament on the projects which have been guaranteed under the UK Guarantee Scheme. [138178]

Sajid Javid: A robust assessment, approvals process and negotiations are under way on the most effective form of guarantee for the prequalified projects.

Disclosing information at this stage will present a risk to the Government's negotiating position resulting in less effective application of public resources.

No project has been guaranteed under the UK Guarantee Scheme at this stage.

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 310W, on infrastructure, what information is reported to Parliament, and where, on the extent of public funds committed to infrastructure projects guaranteed under the UK Guarantee Scheme. [138179]

Sajid Javid: HM Treasury will adhere to the reporting requirements under section 16 of the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Act 2012.

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 310W, on infrastructure, who the potential participants are in negotiations who would potentially be advantaged to the detriment of the Government by the release of information on infrastructure projects guaranteed under the UK Guarantee Scheme. [138180]

Sajid Javid: The form and terms of a guarantee provided to a project will be determined on a case-by-case basis following a robust assessment and approvals process.

18 Jan 2013 : Column 982W

Disclosure of commercial positions that the Government have previously agreed will undermine future negotiations and result in less effective use of public funds.

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 310W, on infrastructure, what the nature of the prejudice to the process of ongoing policy formulation is that would arise from the release of information on projects guaranteed under the UK Guarantee Scheme. [138181]

Sajid Javid: Infrastructure projects being considered for guarantees under the UK Guarantees Scheme are commercially confidential and exempt from disclosures. Releasing confidential information will not only breach disclosure agreements but will also negatively impact relations with key industry stakeholders who contribute to policy formulation.

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 310W, on infrastructure, whether (a) the National Audit Office, (b) the Public Accounts Committee and (c) the Treasury Office have access on request to information on the nature of liabilities to public funds accepted under the UK Guarantee Scheme. [138182]

Sajid Javid: After the signing of each guarantee (the point at which the contingent liability will be deemed to have been assumed), Treasury will notify Parliament in the form of a written ministerial statement. The information on total contingent liability will be declared in the Whole of the Government Accounts.

Clothing: Industry

Dr Huppert: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many employers in the fashion industry were prosecuted for not paying interns in 2012; [137891]

(2) how many employers in the fashion industry were warned for non-payment of the minimum wage in 2012; [137892]

(3) what estimate he has made of how many employers in the fashion industry that were warned for non-payment of the minimum wage in 2012 now pay their interns. [137893]

Sajid Javid: There have been no prosecutions, in 2012, of employers in the fashion industry for criminal offences related to the national minimum wage.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not record specific data on the fashion industry, as a trade sector, and therefore cannot estimate how many interns are now being paid as a consequence of HMRC interventions.

Emigration

Nick de Bois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the UK economy of emigration from the UK by those aged (a) 15 to 24, (b) 25 to 44, (c) 45 to 60 and (d) 60 plus; and if he will make a statement. [137862]

18 Jan 2013 : Column 983W

Sajid Javid: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produce estimates of migration by age on an annual basis. These estimates of emigration show that in 2011 86,000 persons aged 15-24, 201,000 aged 25-44, 38,000 aged 45-59/64 and 9,000 aged 60/65 and over emigrated from the UK. For all age groups emigration from the UK was less than immigration to the UK resulting in positive net migration into the UK for all age groups (table 1).

Table 1: International migration
Thousand
Age groupEmigration from UKImmigration to UKNet migration

15-24

86

243

+158

25-44

201

245

+44

45-59/64

38

40

+2

60/65+

9

11

+2

Source: ONS.

EU Budget

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the net per capita abatement derived from the EU budget by taxpayers in (a) the UK, (b) England and (c) Scotland in the financial year (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [138124]

Greg Clark: The Exchequer makes all UK contributions, less the abatement, to the EU budget. UK contributions are not divisible across EU budget headings and are not attributed to devolved Administrations.

Details of the UK's contributions to the EU since 1995—including gross and net contributions, receipts and the abatement—are published in the annual European Union Finances documents (European Community Finances before 2010). The current and past editions of these documents, from 2000 to 2012, are available in the House Library and on the Treasury's public website:

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

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the receipts in cash terms and per capita to (a) the UK and (b) Scotland from EU structural and agricultural funds in the financial year (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12; and if he will estimate future fund receipts for (A) 2012-13, (B) 2013-14 and (C) 2014-15 in the next two financial years. [138125]

Greg Clark: Details of UK public sector receipts for the years 2009-10 to 2011-12 can be found in Table 3E, page 18, of European Union Finances 2012 (Cm 8405), a copy of which can be found in the House Library or at:

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

Forecasts for UK public sector receipts from 2012-13 to 2016-17 can be found in Table 3F of the same document.

Detailed data on Scotland's receipts from the EU budget are not centrally held.

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate (a) the gross contributions, (b) gross contributions less the UK abatement, (c) gross contributions less the public sector receipts, (d) net contributions and (e) net per capita contributions

18 Jan 2013 : Column 984W

made towards the EU budget by (i) the UK, (ii) England, (iii) Scotland with an applicable per capita portion of the abatement and (iv) Scotland without an applicable per capita portion of the abatement in the financial year (A) 2009-10, (B) 2010-11 and (C) 2011-12; and if he will estimate future fund contributions for (1) 2012-13, (2) 2013-14 and (3) 2014-15. [138126]

Greg Clark: The Exchequer makes all UK contributions minus the abatement to the EU Budget. UK contributions are not divisible across EU budget headings and are not attributed to devolved Administrations.

Details of UK contributions and public sector receipts for the years 2009-10 to 2011-12 can be found in Table 3C, page 17, of European Union Finances 2012 (Cm 8405), a copy of which can be found in the House Library or at:

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

The Office for Budget Responsibility's latest forecast of UK contributions to the EU Budget over the period 2012-13 to 2017-18 was published in December 2012 and can be found in Table 2.19 of Economic and fiscal outlook supplementary fiscal tables at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-december-2012/

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the net contribution to the EU budget made by taxpayers in Scotland (a) with the UK abatement and (b) in the event that the UK abatement was to be disapplied. [138127]

Greg Clark: The Exchequer makes all UK contributions minus the abatement to the EU Budget. UK contributions are not divisible across EU budget headings and are not attributed to devolved Administrations.

Details of UK net contributions to the EU Budget over the period 2006-07 to 2011-12 can be found in Table 3C, page 17, of European Union Finances 2012 (Cm 8405), a copy of which can be found in the House Library or at:

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

The Office for Budget Responsibility's latest forecast of UK contributions to the EU Budget over the period 2012-13 to 2017-18 was published in December 2012 and can be found in Table 2.19 of Economic and fiscal outlook supplementary fiscal tables at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-december-2012/

National Insurance Credits

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will review the procedure for triggering national insurance pension credits through the child benefit application process for parents who are affected by the higher income child benefit charge; and if he will make a statement; [138165]

(2) when he plans to commence the provision of information on the process for applying for national insurance pension credits for new parents in bounty packs given following the birth of a child; and if he will make a statement. [138166]

18 Jan 2013 : Column 985W

Sajid Javid: National Insurance credits which protect a person's future entitlement to basic state pension and the state second pension will remain available for those claiming child benefit for a child under 12.

Parents and carers who get national insurance credits linked to them claiming child benefit will not lose them on the basis of their household income even if they choose not to receive the actual payments or their partner has to pay the new tax charge.

The introduction of the tax charge will not affect a person's right to claim child benefit.

Parents and carers have two options to safeguard their state pension, which is made clear on the new child benefit claim form and accompanying notes made available in the Bounty Packs from November 2012:

they can claim child benefit, receive the payments and, if liable, they or their partner can pay the new tax charge; or

they can claim child benefit to establish entitlement to the credits but choose not to receive the actual payments; this means that neither they nor their partner will be liable to pay the new tax charge.

HMRC has also at the same time, introduced in the Bounty Pack, a flyer explaining about the new tax charge and what people should do to protect their state pension.

Clear guidance is also available on the HMRC website accessible at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefitcharge

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of new parents who will not have been informed about the continuing need to apply for child benefit in order to receive national insurance pension credits even when such parents are subject to the higher income child benefit charge. [138270]

Sajid Javid: New parents receive a child benefit claim form in the Bounty packs provided by their midwife, which includes information about the high income child benefit charge. The new form with this information has been in Bounty packs since November 2012. In addition, HM Revenue and Customs has included a flyer explaining how the high income child benefit charge works and what people should do to protect their state pension.

HM Revenue and Customs estimates that there will be no impact on the take-up of national insurance credits following the introduction of the high income child benefit charge, even where people choose to stop payment of child benefit.

Occupied Territories

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent actions his Department has taken to comply with the European Council conclusion of 16 June 2005 on the abolition of financial and tax incentives, subsidies and exemptions to organisations benefiting Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and their inhabitants; and if he will make a statement. [136462]

Sajid Javid: This is a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which advises that the European Council conclusion of 16 June 2005 called on Israel to

18 Jan 2013 : Column 986W

halt settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the abolition of financial and tax incentives and direct and indirect subsidies, and the withdrawal of exemptions benefiting the settlements and their inhabitants. This conclusion did not place obligations upon individual EU member states, but rather, confirmed Europe's political commitment to the resolution of the middle east conflict. It also exhorted all parties to the middle east peace process to continue to take positive steps to ensure peace, and comply with obligations under international law. The British Government's position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. The UK routinely condemns decisions taken to build settlement units, calling for these decisions to be reversed, and for Israel to cease all settlement activity.

Pensions: Tax Allowances

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much pension tax relief in the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax has cost the Exchequer following claims by people in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) each nation and administrative region of the United Kingdom and (c) each parliamentary constituency; and how many people have claimed each such rate of relief in each such area in each of the last three financial years; [137560]

(2) if he will estimate how many people in each parliamentary constituency receive pension tax relief at the rate of 50 per cent on their pension savings; and what the total liability to the Exchequer of the cost of this relief is in each such constituency; [137566]

(3) if he will make an assessment of the difference in the level of tax receipts foregone by providing pension tax relief at the rate of 50 per cent for higher rate taxpayers and limiting that relief to 20 per cent for all taxpayers in each (a) region and nation and (b) parliamentary constituency; [137865]

(4) what estimate he has made of the number of recipients, and the cost to the Exchequer in each case, of providing tax relief on pension contributions at the (a) basic rate, (b) higher rate and (c) additional rate of income tax in each of the last three financial years; and what that forecast is for each financial year until 2015-16. [138582]

Sajid Javid: Estimates of the total tax cost of pension relief can be found in Table PEN6 on the HMRC website at the following link:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/pen6.xls

Estimates of the number of people receiving income tax deductions for pension contributions and the value of deductions by different income distributions can be found in Table 3.8 on the HMRC website at the following link:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/personal-incomes/tables3-1_3-10.pdf

Estimates of the number of people receiving relief on pension contributions and the value of contributions by region and parliamentary constituency are not available.

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Public Finance: Voluntary Contributions

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there is a process by which taxpayers can make voluntary financial donations to the Exchequer. [137853]

Sajid Javid: From time to time, members of the public make voluntary financial donations to the Exchequer. The majority of these donations to the Treasury has been in the form of a cheque made payable to ‘The Accountant—Her Majesty's Treasury’.

Other Government Departments receive similar donations as well.

Public Houses: Greater Manchester

Hazel Blears: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many public houses closed in (a) Salford and Eccles constituency and (b) Greater Manchester in 2011-12. [137895]

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

My Department does not hold this information.

Taxation: Self-assessment

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many income tax payers (a) were owed by the Exchequer and (b) owed to the Exchequer following receipt of self-assessment tax returns in each of the last five years; [137479]

(2) how much in total was refunded to income tax payers following receipt of self-assessment tax returns in each of the last five years. [137480]

Mr Gauke: Self Assessment is not exclusive to income tax payers and covers a variety of incomes, capital gains, allowances and reliefs. Information related solely to those who pay or who are due a repayment in respect of income tax following submission of a Self Assessment tax return is available only at a disproportionate cost.

Working Tax Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of (a) all working age households and (b) households with children were in receipt of tax credits in each of the last five years. [138171]

Sajid Javid: This information is not yet available for 2011-12. The proportion of (a) all working age households and (b) households with children in receipt of tax credits in the preceding four years is available, and is provided in the following table.

Percentage
 Proportion of working age families in receipt of tax creditsProportion of families with children in receipt of tax credits

2010-11

26

74

2009-10

26

75

2008-09

25

76

2007-08

25

76

Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 1%.

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Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeships have been created in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (b) East Yorkshire and (c) England since the start of the Government's apprenticeship scheme. [138288]

Matthew Hancock: Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by geography is published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR):

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/87E140BF-810D-4C48-A5C1-9C8B84B46117/0/October2012_Apprenticeship_Starts.xls

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

Apprentices: Birmingham

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeship places in Birmingham Hall Green constituency there were in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012 to date. [138590]

Matthew Hancock: Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by geography are published in supplementary tables to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR), last published on 11 October 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/87E140BF-810D-4C48-A5C1-9C8B84B46117/0/October2012_Apprenticeship_Starts.xls

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

Clothing: Industry

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department is taking steps to prevent unpaid internships in the fashion industry. [137894]

Jo Swinson: As part of a targeted enforcement campaign aimed at interns in the fashion sector, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been working with key stakeholders such as the British Fashion Council to raise awareness of when interns are entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW). We have also been working with Intern Aware to promote the Pay and Work Rights Helpline and calls from interns who are working for nothing or for “expenses only” are being fast-tracked to HMRC enforcement officers for investigation.

Interns who are concerned that they are entitled to the NMW but are not being paid it should make a confidential complaint by calling the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.

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Conditions of Employment

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent analysis his Department has carried out on the use of zero hour contracts; and if he will make a statement. [137661]

Jo Swinson: The Office for National Statistics collects data on types of flexible working including zero hour contracts as part of the Labour Force Survey. In the second quarter of 2012, there were 117,000 people on zero hours contracts. This is in comparison to 106,000 in the second quarter of 2011. However, in both cases zero hours contract employees make up around 0.5% of the total in employment.

The Government want to ensure that the UK retains a flexible labour market that gives choice to businesses and people in the type of contract they want to use. Zero hour contracts are just one type of contract that is used in the labour market, others include: part-time, fixed-term, permanent or full-time.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will introduce measures to ensure a minimum hours threshold for employment contracts. [137662]

Jo Swinson: In the UK labour market, both individuals and employers are free to decide the amount of hours that are needed for a specific job. The Government consider that the minimum number of hours a person works is best decided in the contract between the person and their employer so that it suits the needs of the company and the person.

Credit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 578W, on credit: interest rate, what regulatory powers are available to stop an over-concentration of pay day loan companies, betting shops, pawn brokers and cash converters in communities. [138128]

Jo Swinson: The Government keep under review the various forms of regulation that exist to ensure public protection in relation to these types of activities, but we are not aware of conclusive evidence to suggest that the number of such businesses in an area increases any risks to the public. Local authorities also have the power to remove permitted development rights where they allow for change of use through an article 4 direction.

Investment

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the £775 million set aside for investment by his Department in the period April 2012 to March 2013 has been (a) allocated and (b) provided to successful recipients to spend; and if he will list those projects selected for investment. [138280]

Michael Fallon: The Government have allocated £3 billion of funding for use by the UK Green Investment Bank in making investments in green infrastructure. An initial

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£775 million of this allocated funding became available from April 2012. A further £1 billion will become available from April 2013 and £1.225 billion will be available from April 2014. To date, transactions have been signed, and commitments made for £406 million. These transactions are as follows:

£80 million: allocated to two fund managers; Foresight (£50 million) and Greensphere (£30 million) to invest in smaller waste projects.

£100 million: allocated to two fund managers; Equitix (£50 million) and Sustainable Capital Development Limited (£50 million) to invest in smaller non-domestic energy efficiency projects.

£45.6 million: senior debt to Walney Offshore Wind Farm, located off Cumbria.

£100 million: senior debt to Drax Power Station in Selby to convert units from coal to biomass.

£50 million: allocated to another energy efficiency fund—details to be announced soon.

£30.4 million: senior debt to finance the construction of a waste treatment plant at Wakefield, Yorkshire.

As is usual with investment in infrastructure, there will be a lag between commitments and actual disbursements as funds are disbursed as required to meet construction costs. Construction activity can take up to three years. To date some £48.06 million has been disbursed.

Meetings

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138066]

(2) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138074]

(3) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138082]

(4) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138090]

(5) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Dell CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138098]

(6) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138106]

Jo Swinson: Details of meetings the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has had with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills/series/bis-quarterly-publications-april-to-june-2012#this-series

Officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills meet frequently with representatives from companies across all business sectors. Information on the number of meetings held with these companies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Music: Shops

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support high street music retailers. [138287]

Michael Fallon: The structure of retail in the UK is rapidly changing, with businesses responding to the way consumers want to shop. UK consumers are extremely savvy and now have many choices as to where and how to shop. Music retail is one area where this is particularly apparent. Over three quarters of music and video sales were online in 2012. Customers are also choosing to download or stream music instead of buying CDs.

I am obviously aware of the disappointing news about HMV. Administration is a worrying time for employees, their families, and for localities. In the event of redundancies, support is available from Jobcentre Plus. Its Rapid Response Service aims to address the impact of job losses on workers and on the local community by helping people move into new jobs as quickly as possible without the need to claim welfare benefits.

The Government do however recognise the vital role retail plays in national and local economies. This was why it was chosen to be one of the first sectors to be the subject of a Growth Review, and was the first theme chosen for the Red Tape Challenge. These initiatives identified a number of barriers to successful retail performance and growth, which Government is addressing.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has been working closely with industry to develop the BIS Retail Strategy (BRS). The strategy focuses on where there is potential for government to support retail growth in the short term at international, European, national and local levels.

We will be working closely with the first Retail Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Pathfinder to identify what can be done at local level to support retail; making the regulatory environment less burdensome by improving the enforcement regime; and developing a new approach to supporting the most successful retailers to invest overseas.

The Government also recognise the importance of the high street, and published its response to the Mary Portas Review last year. We have accepted nearly all of Mary's recommendations (27 out of 28) and will be going even further by offering a “Portas-Plus” package, designed to revive ailing high streets.

We have also delivered a number of measures to support high streets, which include:

Doubling small business rate relief (extended by a year in the autumn statement), and making it easier for small firms to claim. Over half a million businesses in England are expected to benefit, with about one third of a million businesses paying no rates.

Focusing retail development in town centres and making it easier to convert empty offices into residential use.

Allowing councils to provide more town centre parking spaces.

Smaller retailers, including those in the music sector are also able to benefit from the same range of support offered by BIS to help other small and medium businesses to start and thrive: enabling better access to both debt and equity finance; reducing red tape; enabling SMEs to access more easily public procurement opportunities; and making sure that the support we provide SMEs is delivered in the most effective and efficient way possible.

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Post Offices: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the effect on rural post offices of the awarding of the DVLA Front Office Counter Service contract to the Post Office. [137874]

Jo Swinson: The DVLA Front Office Counter Service contract requires Post Office Ltd to provide access to most DVLA services from approximately 4,600 post office branches, while also ensuring that up to 99.9% of the population live within three miles of a post office branch offering DVLA services in urban areas and 93.3% within five miles in rural areas. As a result there will be a large number of branches in rural areas that will offer these services. Driving licence renewals will be available in a smaller subset of the network.

Post Offices: Photographs

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what representations he has received on whether there has been loss of revenue for sub-post offices resulting from the loss of handling and delivering printed ID pictures; [137871]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of Cogent equipment installation at post offices to take digital photos for driving licences on the private sector photographic industry. [137872]

Jo Swinson: The DVLA announced on 13 November 2012 that it was awarding its Front Office Counter Services contract to Post Office Ltd. Winning this contract provides a major source of revenue for the Post Office. This followed a full procurement process, in line with EU regulations. However, it has been awarded on a non-exclusive basis to ensure competition can continue.

The DVLA is currently in discussion with the wider high street photography sector to explore how the sector can use the non-exclusive nature of the contract to continue to create further innovative solutions for service delivery. Any proposals will be judged against the need to fulfil DVLA requirements on Department for Business, Innovation and Skills quality and security, customer service quality in terms of convenience and overall cost, and compliance with the Government's digital strategy.

Cogent equipment installed in around 750 post offices can be used by customers wishing to renew a driving licence. It is important to note that 10-year renewals were introduced in 2008, leading to the requirement for approximately 2.3 million additional photographs per year. Customers' decisions on where to source these photographs—be that using Cogent equipment in a post office, a high street photographer, or an alternative source—will be driven by personal preference, cost, and convenience.

Customers are also able to apply online to renew the photograph on their driving licence if they have a recent valid UK passport. In addition customers may, if they wish, still apply by post using their own printed ID photographs.

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Procurement

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 584W, on procurement, which organisations were awarded research contracts that were not competitively tendered by his Department in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012. [137832]

Jo Swinson: The organisations which were awarded research contracts that were not competitively tendered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012 are as follows:

(a) 2011

Mu Ventures Ltd

Ctrl Shift

Aston University

JERA

Gaynor Whyles

Word of Mouth Research Ltd

University of Greenwich

Michael Reilly

Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge

Birbeck—University of London

Michael Spackman

London Economics

(b) 2012

Oxford Economics

Michael Reilly

RM Data Solutions

Stuart Fraser, Warwick Business School

Ipsos Mori

Michael Spackman

CASS

IFF Research

UEA Consulting Ltd (Original PO set up for University of East Anglia)

RM Data Solutions

London Economics

CEPR

I-Graduate

Element Energy

National Inst of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

K-Matrix

S. Wood

Technology and Innovation Centres

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many catapult centres are currently open for business; how many further catapult centres he expects to be open for business by the end of 2013; and by what date he expects each of the latter to be open for business. [137818]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 January 2013]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is currently implementing a network of seven Catapult Technology and Innovation Centres through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

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The development of these centres goes through a number of stages which can be summarised into the three phases below:

1. Start-up—The Catapult exists as an entity independent of the TSB.

2. Open for business—The Catapult has capacity to engage directly with customers and stakeholders.

3. Long-term framework in place—The Catapult has a long-term funding agreement with the TSB based on a long-term business plan.

At present four Catapults are at Phase 2. It is anticipated that the fifth and sixth centres will reach this stage in March 2013 and the final centre will reach this stage by the end of June 2013.

International Development

East Africa

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to her answer of 13 December 2012, Official Report, column 446W, on Rwanda, if she will provide further details on the options her Department is considering to help the poorest in Uganda and Rwanda following her recent decision to suspend budget support to those countries. [137458]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government do not publish advice to Ministers. We are monitoring the situation in Rwanda closely and will make further announcements in due course.

Government Procurement Card

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) staff and (b) special advisers in her Department have use of a Government Procurement Card. [137259]

Mr Duncan: DFID currently has 83 Government Procurement Card holders. All are DFID staff, and none are special advisers.

DFID's Government Procurement Cards are for business use only and represent a cost effective way for DFID to procure low value goods and services. Card holders are not permitted to use the cards for personal expenses.

Procurement

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will provide a list of all contracts with suppliers and consultants held by her Department which are valued over £350,000. [137856]

Mr Duncan: In line with the UK Government's Transparency Agenda DFID publishes all contracts let in the UK with a contract value in excess of £10,000 on Contracts Finder that can be accessed from the DFID Portal at:

www.dfid.gov.uk/Work-with-us/DFID-portal/

following the contracts finder link.

Information published includes details of successful suppliers, contract values and the services being provided under the scope of the contract.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether Land Rover components supplied from the UK have been used in the manufacture or maintenance of Otokar armoured patrol vehicles used by the Bahraini military or security forces; and if he will make a statement. [137420]

Alistair Burt: Not all Land Rover parts require an export licence so making such an assessment is impractical.

No licence applications from Land Rover have been received for the export of components to the Turkish manufacturer Otokar for ultimate end use on armoured patrol vehicles in Bahrain.

All export licences are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria governing arms exports, in light of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application and depending on end use.

Burundi

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the return of Burundian refugees from Tanzania. [137572]

Mark Simmonds: The British ambassador and his staff have visited the refugee camps in Burundi on a number of occasions, most recently on 7-8 January. They did so in support of a Department for International Development funded project for the return of 34,000 refugees from Tanzania and to monitor the refugees' reintegration. We believe the key challenges faced by the refugees and the Burundian Government are education (many have been educated in English and now are returning to a French system); jobs; access to health care; and access to land.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of UK relations with Burundi. [137575]

Mark Simmonds: The Burundian Foreign Minister met with the Senior Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi, and senior officials on 17 January 2013. The friendly discussions covered a range of issues including Burundi's support for AMISOM and peacekeeping, Somalia, the situation in Mali, human rights in Burundi, UK Development funding and transitional justice.

Government Procurement Card

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) staff and (b) special advisers in his Department have use of a Government Procurement Card. [137267]

Mr Lidington: A total of 2,662 staff at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in both UK and overseas, have use of a Government Procurement Card (GPC). Special advisers do not have use of these cards.

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Monthly spending on GPCs is reviewed and approved by a designated ‘approver’, in accordance with Cabinet Office policy. In this way, all cards are monitored for inappropriate spend and misuse.

Mali

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Mali; and if he will make a statement. [137587]

Mark Simmonds: The UK is deeply concerned about recent developments in Mali. The recent advances made by rebel Islamist groups extend their reach and threaten the stability of Mali and the wider region. These developments show the need to make urgent progress in implementing UN Security Council Resolutions on Mali and of ensuring that military intervention is reinforced by an inclusive political process that leads to elections and a return to full civilian rule.

We support the French in preventing al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's (AQIM) recent aggression against the Government of Mali. AQIM are a threat to the region and to the Government of Mali. As President Hollande has said and the Prime Minister has re-affirmed, if left unchecked, AQIM could threaten the west more directly.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce the risk of violence against women arising from the conflict in Northern Mali. [137675]

Mark Simmonds: Mali is a rapidly developing situation and we are engaging with regional partners and the UN regarding the protection of civilians, including women. In our position as a permanent Security Council member we strongly supported UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2085, which clearly expressed the responsibilities of all parties involved in the crisis for the protection of civilians and the primacy of international law. Further to this, the Resolution called for military forces in Mali to take into account UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions on women, peace and security. Resolution 2085 also strongly condemns all human rights abuses including those involving violence against civilians, notably women and children. We will continue to uphold our commitments under both UNSCR 2085 and 1325 and work with regional and international partners to minimise the risk to all civilians.

Middle East

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure the protection of Christians in the Middle East. [137406]

Alistair Burt: We deplore all discrimination against religious minorities and constraints on their freedom to practise their faith. We regularly urge all Governments in the Middle East and North Africa to ensure the protection of all minorities, including Christians. I meet regularly to discuss issues relating to Christians in the Middle East with NGOs and Christian figures from the region.

18 Jan 2013 : Column 997W

The UK continues to urge the Syrian National Coalition to ensure substantive participation from minority communities, including Christians, consistent with the Coalition's inclusive and democratic aims. Protection of religious minorities in Egypt is also a priority. In his meeting with President Mursi on 26 September 2012, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of ensuring that the rights of all minorities would be protected. We have also urged that respect for minority rights be enshrined in the new Constitution. I have done so in my contact with the Egyptian authorities and have held discussions with religious groups, including during my visit to Egypt this month.

During the visit to the UK of President Marzouki of Tunisia and Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda party, in November 2012 to receive the Chatham House prize, my discussions reflected on their work in Tunisia to achieve an inclusive constitution and commitment to universal rights.

Middle East and North Africa

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department follows a uniform approach with other EU member states when issuing travel advice and travel warnings for countries in the middle east and north Africa. [137990]

Mark Simmonds: There is no uniform approach among EU member states regarding travel advice. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) travel advice provides information and advice to help British nationals stay safe abroad. The safety of British nationals is our main concern. Each EU member state issues its own travel advice according to the risks applicable to its own nationals. The FCO does, however, regularly exchange information with EU partners about travel advice and other consular matters.

Nigeria

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Nigerian High Commission on attacks from Niger and Chad. [138244]

Mark Simmonds: I met the Nigerian High Commissioner in London on 6 December 2012. We discussed a range of issues including the security situation in Northern Nigeria.

Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja meet their Nigerian counterparts regularly to discuss security issues including possible cross-border threats.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Nigeria on assistance to churches in that country to help stop the attacks from Boko Haram. [138530]

Mark Simmonds: Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja meet their Nigerian counterparts regularly to discuss security issues including recent attacks on places of worship. The UK has a strong relationship on counter terrorism policy with Nigeria and funds a number of programmes in Nigeria to tackle the underlying causes of conflict.

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Nuclear Disarmament

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Coalition Agreement: Programme for Government, in what ways his Department has pressed for continued progress on multilateral nuclear disarmament; and if he will set out the occasions on which British nuclear weapons have been incorporated into multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations since May 2010. [137413]

Alistair Burt: The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reaffirmed the Government's commitment to maintaining the minimum credible nuclear deterrent and announced that we will reduce the UK's number of operationally available warheads; reduce our overall nuclear weapons stockpile; and reduce the number of warheads on board our nuclear deterrent submarines.

In order for the UK to offer to include its small number of nuclear weapons in multilateral disarmament negotiations there would first need to be further reductions in the much larger nuclear weapons stockpiles held by other states and greater assurances that no new major threats will emerge that could threaten the UK or its vital interests. The UK is focussed on building the international environment that will make this possible.

We have maintained our strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Action Plan agreed by all NPT signatories at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. In 2009, the UK instigated the first meeting of the P5 nuclear-weapons states to discuss our disarmament commitments. This has been followed by frequent P5 dialogues, including a UK-hosted meeting to discuss progress with the groundbreaking UK-Norway Initiative on the dismantlement verification in April 2012. Discussions among P5 partners and others continue across a wide range of disarmament issues. The UK has long been a strong and vocal advocate of entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and continues to provide expert support to the Treaty's verification regime. We also continue to press for negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.

Press: Subscriptions

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on newspapers and periodicals in 2011-12. [137273]

Mr Lidington: In financial year 2011-12, total global spend recorded for Publications and Library and Information Services, which includes newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines as well as electronic subscriptions, was £2 million, down by 9% from £2.2 million in 2010-11, a figure which I gave on 25 October 2011, Official Report, column 181W. These amounts cover spend across all of the UK's embassies and diplomatic posts overseas, as well as all the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's departments in London. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to seek savings including by partnering with other Government Departments to obtain best value when purchasing these goods and services.

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Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how often his Department produces a staff magazine. [137311]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not produced a staff magazine since May 2010.

There is a ‘Communities and Social’ page on our intranet (FCONet) which contains items of news sent in by members of staff.

We make use of other channels to communicate regularly with staff on corporate issues, including FCONet, the weekly FCO Bulletin, messages from members of the board and all-staff meetings.

Particular business areas produce their own electronic regular bulletins and newsletters on work-related issues for specific sections of staff.

South Sudan

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the November 2011 report from Médecins Sans Frontières, what reports he has received of ongoing violence in Jonglei State, South Sudan; and what contribution the Government is making to supporting peace in that state. [137542]

Mark Simmonds: We are aware of Médecins Sans Frontières' report on Jonglei, and are deeply concerned at the human rights abuses it details. We continue to be concerned about the conflict in Jonglei—the incidences of violence, the humanitarian needs, and the implications for health care. Our support through the UN mission in South Sudan is helping to build the capacity of the South Sudanese security forces so that the Government is better equipped to assume its primary responsibility for the protection of civilians.

We welcome assurances by the Government of South Sudan that protection of civilians is the top priority for the South Sudanese security services in Jonglei, and continue to remind the Government at every opportunity of its human rights obligations. We are providing support to peace-building efforts in Jonglei and neighbouring states, and improving state-level capacity to respond rapidly to outbreaks of violence. We are also calling on political and community leaders for calm, and encouraging a strong South Sudan National Police Service deployment to restore security in Jonglei.

Sri Lanka

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to combat human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. [138170]

Alistair Burt: The British Government regularly urge the Sri Lankan Government to improve the human rights situation, to investigate reports of infringements of human rights and prosecute those responsible. We seek to promote progress on human rights through direct lobbying, working with international partners, and funding human rights projects.

We pressed for and welcomed the Sri Lanka resolution agreed at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in March 2012. The resolution underlines the importance that Governments across the world attach to supporting

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lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. We also supported the EU position over removal of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus as a means to press the Sri Lankan Government to meet their human rights obligations. The British Government most recently raised human rights concerns internationally during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka at the HRC in November 2012. We look forward with interest to the ‘Report of the Working Group’ from Sri Lanka's UPR, which we expect to be formally adopted in March 2013.

On 11 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement expressing our deep concern on the recent impeachment of the Chief Justice in Sri Lanka, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-deeply-concerned-by-move-to-impeach-sri-lankan-chief-justice

Together with international partners, we will continue to use every opportunity to raise human rights concerns with the Sri Lankan Government, including my visit in the coming weeks.

Sudan

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the comments of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Director of Operations to the UN Security Council on 8 January 2013 for help in reaching people affected by the humanitarian crisis in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces; and if he will make a statement. [137223]

Mark Simmonds: We share the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ directors’ concern at the humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, which is liable to worsen unless substantial assistance reaches those affected very soon. We will work with Security Council members to continue to press both parties for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will allow full humanitarian access without delay.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the closure of the Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development, the Sudanese Studies Centre, the Arry Organisation for Human Rights and the Hela Help Organisation in Sudan. [137543]

Mark Simmonds: We are very concerned by the recent closures of four non-governmental organisations, and the reported harassment of their staff and confiscation of their property. Working closely with our EU partners, we are making clear our concern to the Government of Sudan, and will encourage them to reconsider their decision and to allow the organisations to re-open. We urge the Government of Sudan to promote an environment where civil society can exist freely and contribute to a national dialogue process that meets the needs and aspirations of all its citizens.

Travel Information

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when issuing travel advice and travel warnings for a country on the FCO website, what distinction his Department makes between safer and more dangerous regions. [138156]

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Mark Simmonds: The purpose of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice is to help British nationals make better informed choices about foreign travel. The safety of British nationals is our main concern, but the decision on whether or not to travel rests with the individual. Our travel advice is based on information from various sources including our embassies overseas. We only advise against all or all but essential travel if we consider the risk to British nationals has become unacceptably high. In the case of threats from terrorism this is defined specifically as instances where the threat is sufficiently specific, large-scale or endemic to affect British nationals severely.

Uganda

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Ugandan and Congolese counterparts on the threat from the Kony organisation. [138245]

Mark Simmonds: In my most recent meetings with Ugandan and Congolese Ministers in November 2012 I stressed the importance of finding a sustainable resolution to the continued instability in the region. It is clear that the LRA remains part of the threat to regional stability.

We have consistently promoted a co-ordinated international approach to defeating the LRA and are particularly active in leading this work in the UN Security Council. We are encouraging affected countries to convene a high-level meeting inter alia to discuss how to bring Joseph Kony to justice.

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Yemen

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has had discussions with interested parties on a possible resumption of direct flights between the UK and Yemen. [137332]

Alistair Burt: UK officials are discussing with members of the Yemeni Government the question of resuming direct flights. The British Government continue to work with Yemen to improve its overall aviation security, following the installation of UK-supplied security equipment at Sana'a International Airport and the provision of related training.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to reintroduce consular services in Yemen. [137335]

Alistair Burt: I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 1025W. The British embassy in Sana'a continues to offer a limited consular service to British nationals in Yemen given the range of security challenges within the country. Any decision to provide a fuller range of consular services will be judged against the security implications for staff serving at our embassy in Sana'a, and will be fully reflected in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice which can be found on our website and, at the present time, advises against all travel to Yemen.