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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 24 January 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Business: Loans

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the level of bank lending to small and medium-sized businesses; and if he will make a statement. [139192]

Jo Swinson: The most recent Bank of England data(1) show that net lending to small and medium-sized businesses continued to fall in 2012, with £9.1 billion of gross lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but £10.5 billion of repayments in Q3 2012. The SME Finance Monitor shows that success rates for loan and overdraft applications is around 66%, and many businesses report they are discouraged from applying for finance. Government have responded with a range of initiatives to help boost SMEs' confidence and unlock external finance, including the appeals process whereby businesses can challenge declines, and putting in place greater transparency. BIS Ministers continue to frequently raise these issues directly with all the major banks.

However, the Government recognise that there is still more to be done. This is why the Government have announced plans to create a new business bank to help address the long-term problems around the effective and efficient provision of finance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

(1 )Bank of England: Trends in Lending, published January 2013.

Business: Regulation

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission on the burden of regulation on micro-businesses; and what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses and micro-enterprises. [138898]

Michael Fallon: I discussed the need to reduce the burden of EU regulation with the European Commission on visits to Brussels in October and again in December 2012. I emphasised that the Commission needs to make further concrete proposals to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, especially for small and micro-businesses. I also held a meeting this week with senior Commission officials to discuss these issues.

We work closely with a strong network of EU counterparts on this issue. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable) agreed a “Ten Point Plan for EU Smart Regulation”(1) with Ministers from 12 other

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EU member states in November, calling for further measures to reduce burdensome EU regulations for small businesses.

The Government are holding the Commission to account on its existing commitment to reduce regulatory burdens for small businesses and micro-enterprises. We have for example achieved agreement in Brussels to exempt up to 1.4 million of the smallest UK businesses from certain EU accounting rules.

(1) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/10-point-plan-for-eu-smart-regulation

EU External Trade: USA

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what input the UK is having into the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth. [138899]

Michael Fallon: The EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG) is led by the EU Trade Commissioner and the US Trade Representative (USTR). UK input is predominantly through formal EU-level discussions in the European Council, the Council of Ministers and the Trade Policy Committee, and through bilateral discussions with DG Trade and USTR's office. UK business has also fed into the European Commission's public consultations on EU-US trade relations, the results of which will be used to shape the EU's position ahead of any EU-US negotiations. The Government have been urging the HLWG to make ambitious recommendations to the EU and the USA on liberalising trade between the two economies.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the UK economy of the standardisation of EU and US regulation being discussed by the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth. [138900]

Michael Fallon: BIS has been looking closely at all the relevant analysis of the benefits of trade liberalisation between the EU and the USA; however, analysis of this particular aspect of trade liberalisation is limited. Studies suggest that liberalisation of non-tariff measures combined with regulatory convergence should provide significant benefits. For example, analysis by the research and consultancy company Ecorys of a 50% elimination of non-tariff measures and regulatory convergence showed potential benefits of 0.7% of GDP for the EU and 0.3% of GDP for the US. The impacts on the UK economy would likely be similar to these EU-level estimates.

Further UK-specific analysis planned by BIS will take a similar approach, assessing the potential combined impact of liberalisation of non-tariff measures and regulatory convergence.

EU Grants and Loans: Wales

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will discuss the effect of repatriation of EU structural funds with the Welsh Government. [138214]

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Michael Fallon: The Government are committed to help shape the future of an open, flexible and adaptable European Union. We are not setting out specific proposals at this early stage.

Motor Vehicles: Import Duties

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether there was any agreement at the recent Doha trade talks relating to tariffs on the sale of cars. [139126]

Michael Fallon: The Doha trade round Negotiating Group on (non-agricultural) Market Access met on 29 November 2012 to elect a new chairman and to hear his thoughts on progressing the negotiations. There was no discussion on the issue of tariffs on the sale of cars.

Natural Environment Research Council

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff are employed by the National Environment Research Council. [138413]

Mr Willetts: As at 31 December 2012, the number of staff employed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is shown in the following table:

 Number of staff(1)

Swindon office

294

Research Centres:

 

British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

548

British Geological Survey (BGS)

712

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)

470

National Oceanography Centre (NOC)

490

Other

75

Total

2,589

(1) These figures are headcount rather than FTEs (full-time equivalent).

Offshore Industry

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made an assessment of the Norwegian Local Content Policy linked to its oil and gas policy; and if he will assess the effects of such policies on Norway's employment base. [138664]

Michael Fallon: The Government intend to publish, with industry, an oil and gas industry strategy in late March. The relationship with Norway is an important one in the North Sea and the strategy will be informed by work which Norway undertakes to support its supply chain. A May 2012 Harvard Business School report entitled “Norway: Oil and Gas Cluster” stated that the Norwegian oil and gas supply chain employed 114,000 people. Although the Norwegian Government own 67% of Statoil, which is the dominant player in the Norwegian sector accounting for 70% of production, protectionist measures were phased out in 1994 when Norway entered into a free trade agreement with the EU.

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Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of procurement contracts offered by his Department has been advertised on the Contracts Finder website since that website's inception. [138858]

Jo Swinson: BIS and its agencies do not hold a central contracts database to be able to undertake a complete analysis of all procurement contracts compared to what has been advertised on Contracts Finder. An exercise is under way to create a central database and in the interim we have provided the following information relating to the period August to December 2012.

 NumberPercentage

Total contracts entered into

72

Non-relevant contracts

35

49

Total relevant contracts

37

51

Total relevant contracts advertised on Contracts Finder

37

100

BIS complies with the requirement to publish all relevant contracts in excess of £10,000 on Contracts Finder. Latest figures show 215 relevant contracts (100%) have been advertised on the Contracts Finder website since its inception on 1 January 2011.

Regulation

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2012, Official Report, column 988W, on regulation, what recent discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on including European legislation in the quarterly statements on regulation that are published by Government Departments. [138885]

Michael Fallon: The Statement of New Regulation, published twice a year, provides a list of all regulatory measures with an impact on business that are scheduled to be introduced over the following six months. It also provides a commentary on the actions the Government are taking in relation to European and domestic regulation.

To increase transparency, from December 2012 the Statement has been expanded to include all measures that implement European legislation with an impact on business. This is helping business to prepare to the regulatory changes arising from European legislation.

The latest Statement includes 57 EU measures that are due to come into force between January and June 2013. It is available in the Library of the House and on the Government website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fifth-statement-of-new-regulation-sonr

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by his Department (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session. [139282]

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Jo Swinson: The Department has answered all ordinary written questions (due for answer by 21 January 2013). There have been no questions that took more than 30 days to answer.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Departments' performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the Committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Cabinet Office

Booktrust

Mr David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what discussions (a) he, (b) other Ministers in his Department and (c) officials of his Department had with the Department for Education in 2012 on funding for Booktrust; [139258]

(2) which Ministers of his Department oversaw or contributed to his Department's decision on Government funding for Booktrust between 2013 and 2015. [139259]

Mr Hurd: The decision to award grant funding to Booktrust for 2013-15 was taken by the my the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), on the basis of advice from Department for Education officials.

Employment

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of people (a) in Woking constituency and (b) nationally were employed in the

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(i) private, (ii) public and (iii) third sector in each of the last five years. [138749]

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:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking, what proportion of people (a) in Woking constituency and (b) nationally were employed in the (i) private, (ii) public and (iii) third sector in each of the last five years. (138749)

Employment statistics for local areas are calculated from the Annual Population Survey (APS). Estimates of people employed in the third sector are currently not available from APS. Individuals employed in voluntary organisations, charities and trusts are included in private sector estimates.

Individuals in the APS are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the survey. In the APS the distinction between public and private sector is based on respondents' views about the organisation for which they work. The public sector estimates provided do not correspond to official Public Sector Employment estimates. Those are derived directly from employers and are based on National Accounts definition and are not available for areas smaller than regions.

The tables show the number and percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years, who were employed in the public or private sector along with those who were unemployed or inactive, resident in Woking parliamentary constituency and the UK. These estimates are compiled from APS interviews held during the period October 2011 to September 2012, the latest period available, and the 12 month periods ending in December from 2008 to 2011. It should also be noted that the estimates also include people who were employed but have not provided enough information to be accurately included in either the public or private sectors.

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

Table 1: Percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years employed in the public, private sectors(1)
Percentage
 WokingUK
 Employed Employed 
 PublicPrivateUnknown(2)Unemployed or inactivePublicPrivateUnknown(2)Unemployed or inactive

12 months ending:

        

December 2008

20.3

58.1

0.0

21.6

17.4

54.2

0.5

27.9

December 2009

18.4

59.0

0.0

22.6

17.7

52.6

0.4

29.3

December 2010

16.9

58.2

0.0

24.8

17.7

52.1

0.5

29.7

December 2011

18.7

58.5

0.0

22.8

17.0

52.6

0.5

29.9

September 2012

16.7

61.7

0.0

21.6

16.7

53.1

0.6

29.6

(1) Individuals in the APS are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the survey. (2 )People who were employed but have not provided enough information to be accurately included in either the public or private sectors. Source: Annual Population Survey.

Non-departmental Public Bodies

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office with reference to his Department's report, Public Bodies 2012 published in December 2012, what timetable he has established for the next stage of any quango reform. [138902]

Mr Hurd: The Government are now more than half way through their programme to reform public bodies, having reduced the total number by more than 220. By 2015 we will have reduced the number of public bodies by approximately 300. Departments report that they are on track to reduce the administrative cost of public bodies by at least £2.6 billion by 2015.

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The Government have also introduced a programme of triennial reviews which will continue to challenge whether the functions of each non-departmental public body need exist, or need to continue at arm's length from Government, and will also examine their corporate governance. The bodies that are subject to review in the current financial year were confirmed in the recently published report Public Bodies 2012.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which local authorities were using Contracts Finder on the latest date for which information is available. [138907]

Miss Chloe Smith: Over 300 local authorities have registered on Contracts Finder. This is five times as many as when my hon. Friend asked the same question in September 2011.

A complete list of all buyers who are registered can be found here:

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/public_files/Reports/NotSet/List_of_buying_organisations.csv

Communities and Local Government

Artworks

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has leased out any works of art held by the Department but not currently on display. [137751]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 17 January 2013]: Artworks are overseen and owned by the Government Art Collection.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 776W, on the steps the Collection is taking to increase public access and generate an income stream from licensing.

Aviation

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many air miles were accumulated by each Minister in his Department in 2012; how such air miles were used; and whether such air miles were donated to charity. [137101]

Brandon Lewis: Air miles are not accrued under the Department's contract with Redfern, which provides travel services to the Department. All departmental travel should be booked through this contract.

All ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code. In respect of staff travel, the Department's terms and conditions of employment state that

“benefits accrued as a result of official travel (for instance ‘Air Miles’) must not be used for personal travel but (staff) are encouraged to use them to offset the cost of future official journeys”.

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Community Development: Environment Protection

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make an assessment of how (a) the Localism Act 2011 and (b) other Government enabling legislation passed in this Parliament has contributed to (i) community-supported agriculture, (ii) community renewable energy projects and (iii) other community-based projects which contribute to carbon reduction, since 2011; and if he will make a statement. [137126]

Mr Foster: Aside from the general facilitation of community activities, there are no specific provisions in the Localism Act 2011 on (i) community-supported agriculture, (ii) community renewable energy projects and (iii) other community-based projects which contribute to carbon reduction. The Department, therefore, has no plans to assess the contribution made to these objectives.

The nature of locally driven initiatives means that there are a number of individual case studies which can act as inspiration to other communities. One of these local initiatives is Capital Growth which reached its target of 2,012 new community food growing spaces for London by the end of 2012, covering an estimated 124 acres of previously disused land. The project is an excellent example of people coming together to improve their communities and quality of life through growing food. While legislation can make these initiatives possible it is the hard work and personal commitment of the people involved which deserves recognition.

In October 2012 my Department launched the Community Shares Unit to enable growth and the use of community investment to develop community-based projects. There has been an increased use of the community share model to set up and run community renewable energy projects and community supported agriculture. One example is the Bath West Community Energy, who raise funding to bring alternative source of energy to their community. Bath West Community Energy has raised £722,000 through a community share offer. This in turn has helped them secure £1 million loan finance to fund 12 of their projects. This enabled the installation of solar, photovoltaic, hydro and wind technologies in local schools and homes. The Community Shares Unit will promote and support greater use of this model to develop and run a variety of community-led projects.

Funding from £10 million Local Energy Assessment Fund helped provide some information for neighbourhood plans. Loan funding from the forthcoming Rural Communities Renewable Energy Fund could also help strengthen communities' capacity to take advantage of local opportunities.

Fireworks

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review his Department's guidelines on fireworks and their display to assess levels of compliance with the existing arrangements and to identify if any streamlining of enforcement procedures is necessary. [137830]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

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Guidance on the safe use of fireworks and fireworks displays is available on this Department's website and also that of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). BIS currently has no plans to review its guidance.

There are no regulations which make provision for fireworks displays per se and there is no licensing requirement purely for public firework displays. There may be requirements by local authorities for firework displays to be regulated under licensing regulations for public entertainment, for example where alcohol or music is also present. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have policy responsibility for public entertainment licensing requirements.

Most public firework displays will involve a work activity and therefore be subject to the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act which is enforced by HSE or the relevant local authority.

The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 prohibit the supply of display fireworks to anyone other than a ‘person with specialist knowledge'. This requirement is enforced by local authorities trading standards and we do not intend to review it at this time.

Housing: Copeland

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) new houses and (b) affordable houses were built in Copeland constituency in 2012. [139046]

Mr Prisk: Data on house building by local authority district can be found in live table 253 at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building

Statistics on affordable housing supply by local authority district are available in tables 1008 and 1011, at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

Data are collected only at local authority district level and are not available by parliamentary constituency.

Local Government Finance

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what value of local government settlement per dwelling is given by his Department to each local authority in England. [136991]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 14 January 2013]: A table showing provisional spending power per dwelling for all local authorities in England in 2013-14 has been placed in the Library of the House.

Local Government Finance: Birmingham

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the taxation policies of Birmingham city council. [136867]

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Brandon Lewis: The Government have made no such assessment, but collect data about council tax levels and business rates from local authorities and publishes them on the Government website.

Local taxation policies are a matter for individual local authorities. However, the Government hope that authorities will seek to protect hard-pressed local tax payers. For example, the Government hope that authorities will accept the £450 million of funding to help local government in England freeze council tax in 2013-14 (comprising £225 million in both financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15).

For those authorities that choose not to freeze in 2013-14, the Government have proposed council tax referendum principles. In the case of Birmingham city council the principle is 2%. If an authority raises its relevant basic amount of council tax by more than the level of the principles, it will be subject to a binding local referendum.

Having taken account of any representations, the principles will be put to the House of Commons for approval at the time of the final local government finance settlement in February.

Local Government: Business

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department provides to local authorities to encourage them to strengthen their relationship with representatives of local small and medium-sized businesses. [138152]

Mr Prisk: The information is as follows:

Procurement

We have encouraged local authorities to recognise that small and medium enterprises are capable of delivering significant value for money and councils should take particular care to ensure they are not excluded from the procurement process.

The Code of Recommended Practice for Local Authorities on Data Transparency seeks to encourage councils to open up their procurement functions by publishing details of their contracts and tenders to businesses and to the community and social enterprise sector. This will enable a wider range of potential suppliers, particularly small and medium enterprises, to identify and tender for local authority projects.

The Cabinet Office has also produced procurement policy guidance for public authorities—including councils—on the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. My Department's best value guidance to local authorities also recommends that councils consult small businesses when carrying out their functions.

Small shops

The Government's response to the Portas Review also included a programme of work and a series of recommendations to local authorities on supporting local shops, many of which are small and medium enterprises.

Business rates

The Localism Act 2011 has made it easier for small firms to claim small business rate relief, and we have encouraged local billing authorities to ensure that eligible firms are claiming such rate relief.

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Culture, Media and Sport

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department's top three policy implementation (a) successes and (b) failures have been since May 2010. [138371]

Hugh Robertson: The policy implementation priorities of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport can be found in the Department's Structural Reform Plan, progress against which is reported on the Government's business plan website:

http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/business-plan

A broader look at implementation progress can be found in the Government's Mid-Term Review document:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

published on 7 January 2013 and the Programme for Government Update:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/programme-for-government-update/

published on 9 January 2013.

Human Rights: Religion

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total legal costs to the Government have been of opposing the appeals at the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of Eweida and others to date. [138325]

Mrs Grant [holding answer 21 January 2013]: These cases were brought against the UK Government and it was only right that the Government defended them. It would have been wrong to settle the cases out of court, at great expense to the taxpayer, when we had a strong prospect of success.

The costs of work carried out by the Government's own legal services cannot be broken down in respect of individual legal cases in the way requested. However, the cost of instructing external legal advisers to defend litigation against the United Kingdom in respect of the four Christian applications to the European Court of Human Rights is approximately £37,000.

National Lottery

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on Camelot's intention to reduce the percentage of money that it pays for good causes from 28 per cent to 27 per cent; and if she will make a statement. [138757]

Hugh Robertson: Subject to propriety and player protection, the Government's policy is to maximise the amount that the national lottery raises for good causes. The percentage of sales income that each national lottery game returns to good causes have never been set by Government in legislation, but has historically been at around 28% averaged across all national lottery products. The precise percentage breakdown of how much is returned to good causes varies depending on the game, the channel it is being sold through, the level

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of sales and the period of the licence that has been reached. For some games, increasing the amount available for prizes helps to maximise sales and increase the actual amount of money available to good causes, even if this represents a slight decrease in the amount taken from each pound.

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) whether she was consulted over changes to the Lotto announced by Camelot; and if she will make a statement; [138758]

(2) what discussions she has had with Camelot regarding the changes to the Lotto announced by Camelot; and if she will make a statement; [138759]

(3) what discussions she has had about the possible reduction in Lotto ticket sales as a result of doubling the cost of purchasing six numbers; and if she will make a statement. [138761]

Hugh Robertson: It is the responsibility of the National Lottery Commission the independent regulator to approve any new game or changes to existing games before they go on sale. The NLC need to be satisfied that any game in the national lottery portfolio is being run fairly, that players are protected and subject to those considerations that the game will raise as much money as possible for good causes. These decisions are rightly taken at arm's length from Government and I have not had any discussions with Camelot about their proposals, although I was kept informed of developments by my officials.

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she will take if the changes to the Lotto announced by Camelot result in less money being available for distribution to good causes; and if she will make a statement. [138760]

Hugh Robertson: The National Lottery Commission (the Commission) will have been satisfied that Camelot's proposed changes to the existing lotto game will be likely to generate additional money for good causes. The Commission would expect Camelot to have rigorous arrangements for tracking the performance of games (including the new lotto) and would require Camelot to take corrective action where a game underperforms so that returns to good causes are maximised.

Senior Civil Servants

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many and what proportion of officials of the three most senior grades in her Department have (a) resigned, (b) taken voluntary early retirement, (c) left the Department for alternative employment, (d) been dismissed, (e) taken long-term sick leave and (f) taken administrative leave since May 2010. [139213]

Hugh Robertson: The following table shows the total number of officials of the three most senior grades in her Department who have (a) resigned, (b) taken voluntary early retirement, (c) left the Department for alternative employment, (d) been dismissed, (e) taken long-term sick leave and (f) taken administrative leave since May 2010.

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 Number

Number of resignation

1

Number of voluntary early retirement

6

Been dismissed

0

Left the Department for alternative employment

8

Taken long term sick leave

0

Taken administrative leave

0

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by her Department (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session; [139290]

(2) how many and what proportion of questions for written answer on a named day by her Department (a) received a substantive answer after the named day and (b) have not received a substantive answer in this Session. [139289]

Hugh Robertson: The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Departments' performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Defence

Ammunition: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what munitions dumping sites were used in Scotland prior to the signing of the OPSAR Convention; and what amount of each type of munitions was dumped at those sites. [138943]

Mr Francois: Ministry of Defence (MOD) information on munitions disposed of at sea in the British Isles, including the waters off Scotland, has been placed in the public domain. It can be accessed at the following internet address:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121203135425/http:/www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/HealthandSafetyPublications/DSEA/DisposalOfMunitionsAtSea.htm

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the environmental effects of historic dumping of munitions in (a) Scotland's exclusive economic zone and (b) the UK continental shelf that is in Scottish waters. [138944]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has two studies covering the scope of this question.

The first report was undertaken by the then Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department, titled “Surveys of the Beaufort Dyke Explosives Disposal Site”, and published in November 1996. This was a

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comprehensive report of the UK's main munitions dumping site located off Scotland. The MOD's former Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) undertook the chemical analysis of seabed sediments and of fish samples as part of the study.

The report concluded:

“The results of the explosive and propellant residue and heavy metal analyses indicate that munitions dumping operations after both World Wars have not resulted in chemical contamination of the surface seabed sediments or the edible flesh of commercially exploited fish and shellfish species”.

The report can be found at the following link:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/uploads/documents/frsr1596.pdf

A second study was commissioned in 2005 by the MOD. Imperial College London were commissioned to undertake an independent study entitled: “Munitions Dumped at Sea: A Literature Review”. A copy of the report can be found at the following link.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121203135425/http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/77CEDBCA-813A-4A6C-8E59-16B9E260E27A/0/ic_munitions_seabed_rep.pdf

The purpose of this study was to provide a

“review of the relevant published studies and other relevant information on the current scientific opinion on munitions (both conventional and chemical) that have been disposed of by dumping on the sea bed”.

The MOD continues to monitor international work to help inform our policy in this area; this includes the Helsinki Commission's work in the relatively shallow Baltic Sea.

Armed Forces: Discharges

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what criteria serving personnel may be discharged from the armed forces on the grounds of retrospective medical discharge; [138553]

(2) what (a) external advice his Department has sought and (b) meetings his Department has held with other Government Departments on the criteria for retrospective medical discharge from the armed forces. [138555]

Mr Francois: Retrospective medical discharge is not a recognised term in the Ministry of Defence. Any discharge upon medical grounds is exactly that. However, on entering military service, where stringent medical observations are made during training, it is sometimes revealed that there is a pre-existing medical condition which may not be known to the individual. These conditions may be treatable but some may be chronic.

In the case of a recruit undergoing training who is found to be unfit for service due to a medical condition which existed prior to enlistment and has so materially worsened that it renders that person unfit to continue training, the individual will be discharged from the service on medical grounds.

All cases referred for discharge are taken upon their merits. There may be periods of back-classing, rehabilitation and leave to enable treatment or recovery from such a condition. However, for example, in the naval service there is an absolute upper limit of 12 months from recruitment as a window where this method of termination of employment on health grounds can be used.

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The criteria applied are the same as those that would be applied at a pre-entry medical to determine fitness for entry into the services. In developing the acceptance and rejection criteria for specific medical conditions at entry to the services advice is taken from external civilian consultant advisors, defence consultant advisers and service/civilian consultants with a specialist interest in the condition or practice covering that condition.

Armed Forces: Housing Benefit

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are claiming housing benefit. [138274]

Mr Francois [holding answer 18 January 2013]:This information is not held.

The claiming of benefits is a private matter on which the Ministry of Defence has no requirement to collect information. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as the Department responsible for housing benefit, has no datasets available which would allow analysis of the specific occupation of housing benefit claimants. Where it is the case that policy with respect to a benefit potentially affects members of the armed forces, regular or reserve, the Department will discuss this with DWP as necessary.

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason army personnel were not permitted to voluntarily reduce their end of engagement date to align with their immediate pension point as was permitted by other services' redundancy schemes. [138580]

Mr Francois [holding answer 23 January 2013]: There is no connection between the arrangements under which some members of the armed forces can bring forward their end of engagement date to align with their immediate pension point (IPP), and the tri-service redundancy scheme.

Control of an individual's commission and engagement length is part of single service Terms of Service (ToS) and is one mechanism used to control manpower numbers to deliver the required structure to deliver operational capability. By necessity, these ToS vary from service to service making direct comparison impractical.

Since the 1970s, under RAF ToS, Air Force officers promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader and above, and therefore offered service to the age of 55, are allowed to declare in advance that they will retire at their Immediate Pension Point (IPP) on compulsory pension terms. No one has been permitted to exercise this option after being selected for redundancy.

The naval service and Army ToS do not offer this commitment to their personnel.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2013, Official Report, column 36W, on armed forces: sexual offences, if he will propose to the Secretary of State for the Home Department an amendment to Home Office circular

24 Jan 2013 : Column 388W

028/2008 to require that all reports of

(a)

sexual assault,

(b)

rape and assault by penetration made by serving armed forces personnel to civilian police forces are recorded; and if he will make a statement. [137330]

Mr Francois: All reports made by serving armed forces personnel to the civilian police about criminal activity, including sexual assault, rape and assault by penetration are recorded as a matter of police procedure. There is therefore no need to amend the Home Office circular.

Chief of Defence Materiel

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on his Department's accounts for 2011-12, what the reasons are for the time taken to gain approval from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the remuneration package of the Chief Defence Materiel. [133155]

Mr Francois: In July 2010, approval for the salary and bonus package of the Chief of Defence Materiel (CDM) was obtained. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has not questioned that. However, the C&AG has viewed the payments made by the Department for CDM's accommodation while working away from his permanent place of work as being "remuneration" and therefore outside the scope of the package approved by HM Treasury.

The Department is working on how the situation can be regularised.

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to update assumptions on the future cost of fuel for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. [137972]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence will next revisit its assessment of the future cost of fuel for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft in the first quarter of financial year 2013-14.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2013, Official Report, column 891W, on future strategic tanker aircraft, whether the FSTA consortium holds a monopoly on air-to-air refuelling for the duration of the contract; and whether a fee would be payable to the consortium should a variation or alternative method of air-to-air refuelling be made outside the consortium. [139169]

Mr Dunne: Under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft contract, which expires in 2035, Air Tanker Ltd will provide an air-to-air refuelling service sufficient to meet planned RAF requirements. The RAF is also able to utilise air-to-air refuelling provided by other nations, by commercial providers or another Ministry of Defence owned aircraft, but may be required to make payments to Air Tanker if it does. Liability for payment would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

24 Jan 2013 : Column 389W

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent reports he has received on the safety of the F-35 fuel tank. [139123]

Mr Dunne: As part of its ongoing procurement programme and the Development Test programme, the UK receives constant updates on the safety of the F-35 fuel tank design. With personnel embedded within the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme, this is part of the daily work.

All aircraft variants of F-35 are currently within the Development Test phase of the overall programme. The aim of the Development Test phase is to reveal issues through testing so that solutions can be developed in order to deliver a capable aircraft to the armed forces.

The JSF programme is currently carrying out tests on the effects of lightning on the F-35 fuel tank to ensure the aircraft is appropriately equipped to fly in all weathers.

Mali

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will permit the use of C17 aircraft to transport humanitarian supplies to Mali when not required for military purposes. [138461]

Mr Robathan: C17 aircraft are currently being used to transport equipment for the French-led operation in Mali and will not be required to deliver humanitarian aid or equipment.

I am advised that the UN and other aid agencies have satisfactory assets in-country to cover current humanitarian assistance needs. The UK has not been requested to provide direct in-kind asset support. Currently the UN and a few selected agencies are carrying out needs assessment in affected areas to determine the level and type of assistance required.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department plans to provide military assistance in Mali through the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles in that country. [139195]

Mr Robathan: There are currently no plans for the UK to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to Mali.

Persian Gulf

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Naval submarines are currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf; and for what purpose each such submarine is deployed. [138848]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 23 January 2012]: Submarines are deployed periodically to the region in support of Operation KIPION. I am withholding any further information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Procurement

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many research contracts commissioned by his Department were not subject to a tendering process in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [135971]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 390W

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence's commercial policy is to operate a tendering process for contracts, including those commissioning research. Information on any exceptions to tendering is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of procurement contracts offered by his Department has been advertised on the Contracts Finder website since that website's inception. [138863]

Mr Dunne: Contracts Finder was launched in January 2011. Since then the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has issued 2,089 contracting opportunities over £10,000. Of these, 1468 (70%) have been included on Contracts Finder. Of the balance of 621 contracting opportunities that were not published on Contracts Finder, 460 (or 22% of the total number of contracting opportunities issued) were exempt from publication because they are categorised as warlike stores and 161 (or 8%) were exempt from publication because of security issues.

Russia

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions Royal Air Force aircraft have been launched to monitor Russian aircraft approaching UK airspace in each of the last three years; and where each such flight was (a) directed and (b) scrambled from. [138942]

Mr Robathan: Royal Air Force quick reaction alert (QRA) aircraft are based at RAF Leuchars and RAF Coningsby. The number of days on which QRA aircraft have launched in response to Russian military aviation that approached or entered the NATO air policing area for which the UK has responsibility in the each of the last three years is contained in the following table. The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace at all times. Not every launch resulted in an interception as some incidents were resolved prior to interception.

 Number of days QRA launched in response to Russian military aviation

2010

11

2011

10

2012

8

I am withholding where each such flight was directed and scrambled from as deterrence is a principal function of QRA and QRA is in turn an integral part of the air defence of the UK. The disclosure of information that might compromise the QRA deterrent capability would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Shipping

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to reinstate the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's (RFA) role in strategic sealift; and if he will make it his policy to reinstate that role for the RFA. [135784]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 391W

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence's strategic sealift is subject to a contractual agreement with a shipping provider. There are no plans to change this arrangement at this time.

World War I: Anniversaries

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps he is taking to encourage greater archive accessibility at military museums in the lead-up to the centenary of the First World War; [131991]

(2) what steps he is taking to encourage co-operation between national and local military museums in the lead-up to the centenary of the First World War. [131992]

Dr Murrison: The information requested will take time to collate. I will write to my hon. Friend in due course.

Substantive answer from Dr Murrison to Andrew Rosindell:

I undertook to write to you in response to your parliamentary question on 20 December 2012 (Official Report, column 909W) regarding cooperation between national and local military museums, and the accessibility of archives in the lead-up to the centenary of the First World War. Naturally I take a particular interest in this issue as the Prime Minister's WW1 Centenary representative.

Co-operation between Museums

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) works closely with the other National military museums on a wide range of issues. On WW1, the NMRN are working with the Hampshire network of museums and has regional partnerships in the north east, in Scotland and in Northern Ireland, all of which have a WW1 dimension. There has been a great deal of support for the NMRN's new 20th century galleries and for saving HMS Caroline, the last survivor of the Battle of Jutland.

The National Army Museum (NAM) is developing a comprehensive programme of activity to commemorate the First World War centenary, working in partnership with museums across the country. In April 2012 NAM appointed its first Regimental Liaison Officer to provide dedicated support and greater collaboration between the NAM, the country's 136 Regimental Museums, the Ministry of Defence and the Army Museums Ogilby Trust (AMOT). This role will oversee a programme of guest exhibitions in 2014 focusing on First World War recruitment, showcased at six regimental museums spread across the country.

In addition to this the NAM will be increasing its outgoing loans programme by 20% in conjunction with the anniversary offering local and regimental museums the opportunity to contextualise their own collections with items from that of NAM.

The RAF Museum works with the Imperial War Museum to coordinate exhibits, events and commemorations and assists other museums with advice, images, artefacts and information. It is also contributing to a new web portal owned by the Imperial War Museum, for sharing research, collections and stories.

The Imperial War Museum itself has been leading on a commemoration of 1914-1918 project with many Regimental Museums and the Army over the past two years.

Access to Museum Archives

The Imperial War Museum is encouraging all museums, including regimental, to digitise their archives to allow accessibility through the Europeana web portal. The aim is to create a cultural heritage that is accessible to all and with a lasting legacy beyond the Centenary.

The archives of NMRN are open at all of its sites every weekday. Of material held by NMRN at Portsmouth, 75 per cent is available on-line. Subject to funding, NMRN plan to consolidate the bulk of their archives in a single location over the next three years.

24 Jan 2013 : Column 392W

The NAM is to undertake a programme of digitisation, making available tens of thousands of service records and archives relating to the disbanded British and Irish regiments, a large percentage of which cover the period of the First World War. The Museum is also seeking to put the Soldiers effects records from WW1 onto the web, allowing families to trace next of kin details of soldiers who were killed during the war. These digitisation projects will complement the thousands of records already available on the NAM website.

The Royal Air Force Museum has extensive archive collections, available in the reading room at its Hendon site. As part of its plans to mark the centenary of the First World War the Museum is digitising WW1 casualty records relating to personnel of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force and the register of personnel who transferred to the newly-formed RAF in April 1918.

I hope you find this useful.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to answer PQ 133155, tabled on 6 December 2012 for answer on 10 December 2012. [138709]

Mr Francois [holding answer 22 January 2013]: I answered the hon. Member today.

Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made on agreeing the levels of fines for non-registration on the voting register; and if he will make a statement. [138195]

Miss Chloe Smith: It is not currently an offence not to be registered to vote, and this will not change under individual electoral registration. There will continue to be a criminal offence for non-disclosure of information requested by an electoral registration officer (for example non-return of the annual canvass form). This carries a maximum penalty of £1,000. The Electoral Registration and Administration Bill introduces a civil penalty that may be imposed on a person who fails to make an application to register when required to do so.

The Government have stated their intention that the penalty be akin to the level of a parking fine. The details of the process and level of the civil penalty will be finalised shortly.

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect of plans to introduce Individual Electoral Registration on the level of electoral registration in rural communities. [139051]

Miss Chloe Smith: No assessment has been undertaken on the specific effect in rural communities, but the Government have carried out a detailed programme of research to inform the decision making on the implementation of individual electoral registration.

We have funded the Electoral Commission to publish an updated study on the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register to understand the scale of the challenge; we have funded an independent academic to carry out a literature review of all available research into electoral registration; and we have commissioned a

24 Jan 2013 : Column 393W

qualitative study which explored the barriers to registration for those groups missing from the register under the current system, and those most at risk during the transition to IER.

Education

16-19 Bursary Fund

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 14 September 2012, Official Report, column 419W, on 16-19 Bursary Fund, on what date he plans to make publicly available local level data on Bursary Fund payments and education maintenance allowance transitional arrangements for 2011-12. [138691]

Matthew Hancock: I have asked the Education Funding Agency for the information the hon. Member has requested, and I will write to him when I receive it. I will also arrange for the letter and the data to be placed in the House Libraries. The data will include the value of EMA transitional payments made to students in each local authority and the value of bursary allocations made to providers in each local authority in 2011/12 to help them meet the needs of students. The actual value of bursary payments made by providers to students is not collected.

Children: Day Care

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consultations his Department has conducted amongst childcare providers on the potential deregulation of the childcare system. [138509]

Elizabeth Truss: We will shortly publish plans to raise the quality of childcare and give parents more choice. In developing our plans, Ministers and officials have had a number of discussions with a range of early years and child care organisations and other interested parties to help develop proposals for improving the quality of child care. They have also spoken to Government Ministers, officials and child care sector representatives in other countries, including France, Germany and the Netherlands. There was also a call for evidence from the child care commission, which received 326 written responses.

Children: Mental Health

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what facilities his Department makes available online to help children and young people cope with (a) stress, (b) mental illness and (c) bullying and cyber-bullying. [138586]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 394W

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education does not itself provide online facilities to help children and young people cope with stress, mental illness, bullying and cyber-bullying.

There is a range of provision that children and young people, their families and supporting professionals can access when they need support to cope with stress or mental illness. We work closely with charities; in the period 2011 to 2015 we have granted the NSPCC £11.2 million to support Childline and the NSPCC Helpline. We also work with the Department of Health on their Improving Access for Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, which is transforming existing mental health services for children and young people across England.

Schools can be a key point for support and are well placed to target resources appropriately. It is important that children who are experiencing problems can share them with someone they trust, and school-based counselling with an appropriately trained professional is one of the most prevalent forms of psychological therapy for young people in the UK.

We have sent a strong message to schools that they should take firm action against all forms of bullying and prevent it from occurring in the first place. We believe that schools are best placed to support victims of bullying, and our advice provides them with effective strategies they can adopt to tackle and prevent bullying.

Specialist organisations such as Beatbullying, and Childnet International provide schools and pupils with excellent advice and support on cyber-bullying. We have also strengthened teachers' powers to search pupils, including a specific power to tackle cyber-bullying, whereby inappropriate images on electronic devices, including mobile phones, can be deleted.

Children: Social Services

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of children who have been removed by social services have been (a) returned to their parents with additional support, (b) placed permanently in the care of another family member and (c) placed for adoption in the last 10 years. [138226]

Mr Timpson: Information on the number of children who have been taken into care in the last 10 years and the proportion who have since ceased to be looked after due to:

(a) returning home to live with parents, relatives or other person with parental responsibility (this excludes cases where a residence order or special guardianship order has been granted). Information on numbers where additional support is provided is not available;

(b) the granting of a residence order,

(c) the granting of a special guardianship order, and

(d) the child being adopted

is shown in the following table:

Number of children taken into care, with the proportion of these children who have ceased care due to returning to parents, granting of a residence order or special guardianship order and who have been adopted plus the proportion who are still placed for adoption at 31 March 2012(1,2)
Years ending 31 March 2003 to 2012
Coverage: England
 20032004200520062007200820092010(4)2011(4)2012(4)

Number of children taken into care

7,970

7,560

7,750

7,710

7,720

7,440

8,180

9,580

9,560

10,100

24 Jan 2013 : Column 395W

24 Jan 2013 : Column 396W

Percentage of whom ceased care and returned to parents or other person with parental responsibility(3)

34

35

33

31

30

30

31

30

26

17

Percentage of whom ceased care due to a residence order being granted(3)

1

2

5

7

7

7

7

6

6

1

Percentage of whom ceased care due to a special guardianship order being granted(3)

2

2

3

6

8

8

8

8

7

1

Percentage of whom were adopted(3)

22

23

21

21

21

20

17

10

3

(7)

Percentage still placed for adoption at 31 March 2012(5)

0

(6)

(6)

(7)

(7)

1

2

5

5

(7)

(1) Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number. (2) Children who were taken into care are children who started to be looked after under a care order, police protection, an emergency protection order or under a child assessment order. (3) A child may cease to be looked after several years after being taken into care, the figures show the year the child was taken into care rather than the year they ceased to be looked after. (4) Due to the time period involved in adoptions the proportion of children taken into care in 2012 or 2011 who have been placed or adopted will be low. (5) The percentage of children taken into care in year whose period of care continues and are placed for adoption at 31 March 2012. (6) Figures not shown in order to protect confidentiality. (7) Negligible. Percentage below 0.5% Note: This table shows the reasons why a child ceased to be looked after by the year in which they were taken into care; a child who was taken into care may have ceased to be looked after in any future year. Source: SSDA 903

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his Department's top three policy implementation (a) successes and (b) failures have been since May 2010. [138369]

Elizabeth Truss: The policy implementation priorities of the Department for Education can be found in the Department's Structural Reform Plan, progress against which is reported on the Government's business plan website:

http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/business-plan

A broader look at implementation progress can be found in the Government's Mid-Term Review document:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

published on 7 January 2013 and the Programme for Government Update:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/programme-for-government-update/

published on 9 January 2013.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when each of his ministerial team meetings have taken place since May 2010. [138774]

Elizabeth Truss: During the parliamentary term, the Ministers and the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), meet twice a week. These meetings are cancelled on rare occasions due to diary commitments, but this is uncommon. To confirm the exact dates of meetings would incur disproportionate costs.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on how many occasions he has met (a) civil servants and (b) other Ministers in his Department since May 2010. [138809]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 22 January 2013]: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) meets with the whole ministerial team twice a week and with officials in his Department frequently. To gather the exact number of times the Secretary of State has met Ministers and officials would incur disproportionate costs.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his personal involvement is in authorising releases of responses to requests to his Department under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [139039]

Elizabeth Truss: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), or another DFE Minister is consulted in appropriate cases as a qualified person under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Ministers are not otherwise routinely involved in authorising releases of responses to FOI requests.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department has spent on legal advice relating to compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each month since September 2011. [106505]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 397W

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 14 May 2012]: The Department has, between September 2011 and May 2012, spent £20,228.56 on external legal advice and litigation services relating to two FOIA Decision Notices issued by the Information Commissioner's Office in 2011 or earlier, and a further £1,575 on general FOIA advice from counsel. These break down as follows:

 Departmental spend (£)

November 2011

104.70

March 2012

20,123.86

Total

20,228.56

The costs of internal legal advice on FOIA matters are not held in such a way that they can be separately identified.

GCSE

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of pupils in each mainstream secondary school who did not have statements of special educational needs achieved (a) five A* to C GCSE grades including English and mathematics but excluding equivalents, (b) five A* to C GCSE and equivalent grades including English and mathematics, (c) no GCSEs at A* to C grade excluding equivalents, (d) no GCSE and equivalent grades at A* to C, (e) A* to C grades in

24 Jan 2013 : Column 398W

English GCSE,

(f)

A* to C in mathematics GCSE and

(g)

A* to C in both English and mathematics GCSE in the latest year for which figures are available. [136139]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 10 January 2013]: The table providing school level information for pupils who did not have a statement of special educational needs for the GCSE attainment indicators requested has been placed in the House Libraries.

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of pupils in each ethnic group and each school in the UK who did not have statements of special educational needs and who were (a) eligible and (b) not eligible for free school meals did not achieve an A* to C grade in (i) English GCSE, (ii) mathematics GCSE and (iii) English and mathematics GSCE in the most recent year for which figures are available. [136141]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 10 January 2013]The tables provided give national figures by ethnic group. The Department for Education only holds this information for schools in England.

Pupils' attainment by free school meal eligibility is not available at school level. Providing attainment figures at school level for ethnic groupings other than white would require significant suppression and this information could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

National performance of pupils(1 )with no statements of special educational needs(2) and eligible for free school meals not attaining A* to C in English and/or mathematics at the end of Key Stage 4
Year: 2010/11 (final data)
Coverage: England (state-funded mainstream schools only)(3)
 Total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 without a statement of SEN and eligible for free school mealsPupils who have not achieved GCSE English at A*-CPupils who have not achieved GCSE maths at A'-CPupils who have not achieved both GCSE English and maths at A*-C
Ethnic groupNumberNumberPercentage(4)NumberPercentage(4)NumberPercentage(4)

While

49,258

26,932

54.7

29,482

59.9

33,190

67.4

Mixed

3,520

1,480

42.0

1,776

50.5

2,020

57.4

Asian

9,956

3,699

37.2

3,905

39.2

4,784

48.1

Black

7,471

3,025

40.5

3,308

44.3

3,986

53.4

Chinese

156

35

22.4

17

10.9

38

24.4

Other

2,078

853

41.0

792

38.1

1,034

49.8

Unclassified

864

441

51.0

476

55.1

533

61.7

(1) Includes attempts and achievements by these pupils in previous academic years. (2) Pupils with no statement of SEN include: School Action, School Action+, no identified SEN and unclassified pupils. (3) State-funded mainstream schools include the following mainstream school types: LA maintained schools, CTCs, academies and free schools. (4) Percentage is calculated as a percentage of the total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 without a statement of SEN and eligible for free school meals. Source: 2011 Secondary School Performance Tables data (post-errata)
National performance of pupils(1) with no statements of special educational needs(2) and not eligible for free school meals not attaining A* to C in English and/or mathematics at the end of Key Stags 4
Year: 2010/11 (final data)
Coverage: England (state-funded mainstream schools only)(3)
 Total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 without a statement of SEN not eligible for free school meals(4)Pupils who have not achieved GCSE English at A-CPupils who have not achieved GCSE maths at A*-CPupils who have not achieved both GCSE English and maths at A*-C
Ethnic groupNumberNumberPercentage(5)NumberPercentage(5)NumberPercentage(5)

White

397,092

100,569

25.3

118,475

29.8

142,902

36.0

Mixed

14,564

3,323

22.8

4,247

29.2

5,048

34.7

Asian

32,164

7,957

24.7

7,886

24.5

10,484

32.6

Black

17,135

4,500

26.3

5,563

32.5

6,672

38.9

Chinese

2,110

380

18.0

125

5.9

418

19.8

Other

4,590

1,635

35.6

1,444

31.5

1,939

42.2

24 Jan 2013 : Column 399W

24 Jan 2013 : Column 400W

Unclassified

4,652

1,229

26.4

1,454

31.3

1,739

37.4

(1) Includes attempts and achievements by these pupils in previous academic years. (2) Pupils with no statement of SEN include: School Action, School Action+, no identified SEN and unclassified pupils. (3) State-funded mainstream schools include the following mainstream school types: LA maintained schools, CTCs, academies and free schools. (4) Those not eligible for free school meals (FSM) includes those pupils with status unclassified. FSM eligibility is taken as that given in the spring school census. (5) Percentage is calculated as a percentage of the total number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 without a statement of SEN and not eligible for free school meals. Source: 2011 Secondary School Performance Tables data (post-errata)

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which (a) groups and (b) hon. Members he and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Childcare has met to discuss personal, social, health and economic education in the last three months. [138432]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 21 January 2013]: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), has not met any groups or hon. Members to discuss Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education in the last three months.

In the last three months I have met the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), and the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Thomas Docherty) to discuss issues related to PSHE. I have also met representatives of the Brain Tumour Charity and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Pupils: Study Leave

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his Department's policy is on study leave in the lead up to end of year examinations at 16. [138713]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 23 January 2013]: The Department for Education has no policy on study leave in the lead up to end of year examinations at 16. This is a matter for schools to consider.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what guidance his Department gives to schools with respect to providing study leave for students taking end of year examinations at 16. [138714]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 23 January 2013]: The Department for Education gives no guidance to schools with respect to providing study leave for students taking end of year examinations at 16. This is a matter for schools.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effects of study leave in the weeks leading up to end of year examinations at 16 on students’ examination performance. [138715]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 23 January 2013]: This Government have made no assessment of the effects of study leave in the weeks leading up to end of year examinations at 16 on students' examination performance. This is a matter for schools.

Schools: Sports

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to provide support for long-term sports funding in schools in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Dudley. [138483]

Mr Timpson: All schools in England, including those in the west midlands and Dudley, are funded to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils, and PE is part of that. We are exploring a range of measures with other Government Departments to improve school sport and we will make an announcement shortly.

Special Educational Needs

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how his Department plans to improve outcomes for children with special educational needs in (a) Hendon, (b) London and (c) England. [137850]

Mr Timpson: The Government are committed to improving the way in which children and young people who have special educational needs (SEN) or who are disabled are identified, assessed, and supported. Our proposed legislative reforms will improve the system for 0 to 25-year-olds by giving parents and young people more control and focusing on the outcomes that they want. Local authorities will provide clear information about local services for all children and young people with additional needs. Education, health and care services will jointly commission services to meet the needs of children and young people. We will introduce a new integrated assessment and plan, the Educational Health and Care Plan, which will replace Learning Difficulty Assessments and Statements of SEN—retaining all the protections provided by Statements—but will better reflect the child's or young person's plans for the future as well as their current needs and there will be a stronger focus on preparing for adulthood.

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We are testing these new approaches to improve choice and control and improved outcomes for families and young people in twenty pathfinders involving 31 local areas. In London, this involves Bromley with Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham, putting families and young people at the centre. Last year, I announced an 18-month extension of the pathfinder programme, to September 2014. Learning from the pathfinders has informed development of the Children and Families Bill and will continue to feed into development of regulations and guidance.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will introduce a national framework for local offers in the forthcoming Children and Families Bill; and what accountability measures he plans to introduce to evaluate any local offers. [138789]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 22 January 2013]: The Government published draft legislative provisions for special educational needs in September 2012, including proposals for local authorities in England to publish a local offer of services for children and young people with special educational needs, including those who are disabled. The local offer would set out what families can expect from local services across education, health and social care and the eligibility criteria for accessing those services where appropriate.

Local authorities would be required to involve local children, young people and families in developing their local offer to ensure that their needs and aspirations are taken into account. Detailed requirements for the local offer will be set out in regulations. These requirements will be informed by the learning and effective practice developed by the pathfinders.

Local authorities would be required to keep their local offer under review. This would enable the local authority to ensure their local offer continued to meet the needs of local children and young people with special educational needs and their parents.

Each service would be accountable for delivering what is set out in the local offer and if families are unhappy with what they receive or what is available they would be able to take this up with those services. The local offer would give details of how to complain about provision and about rights of appeal.

If a local authority did not meet its statutory obligations in respect of the local offer a complaint could be made to the Local Government Ombudsman and if necessary to the Secretary of State for Education.

The Education Select Committee published the report of its pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft special educational needs provisions on 18 December 2012. The Government will give careful consideration to the Committee's report and publish its response in due course. It will also take the Committee's report into consideration when framing legislation on children and families for introduction to Parliament.

Electoral Commission Committee

Individual Voter Registration: Scotland

9. Ann McKechin: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral

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Commission has made of the likely effects of individual voter registration in Scotland on the capacity of electoral registration officers. [139099]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission recognises that the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) presents challenges for Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) across Great Britain. EROs in Scotland must also prepare for the planned independence referendum in 2014.

The Commission will publish guidance for EROs in Scotland on how best to manage these challenges, and will revise its performance standards to monitor EROs' preparedness for IER during this period.

Energy and Climate Change

Electricity

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the assumption in the analysis supporting the Electricity Market Reform consultation proposals that a reduction in earnings at risk will lead to an equal increase in the level of debt that can be raised, whether his Department is still working under this assumption. [139038]

Mr Hayes: The analysis presented alongside the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) consultation document in December 2010 was conducted by Redpoint Energy(1). The methodology used to assess the impact of EMR on project financing, and in particular the relationship between ‘earnings at risk’ and project gearing, was set out in “Electricity Market Reform: analysis of policy options—report by Redpoint Energy”(2).

For the analysis in the most recently published EMR Impact Assessment (January 2013(3)), hurdle rates are based on data from Oxera(4) (2011) and Arup(5) (2011).

Hurdle rate reductions used in this latest EMR modelling are derived from DECCs Dynamic Dispatch Model (DDM), in conjunction with Oxera's maximum possible hurdle rate reductions. This process is described in detail in footnote 34 of the latest EMR Impact Assessment (January 2013). The updated methodology makes no assumption regarding the relationship between earnings at risk and project gearing, or debt, levels.

(1)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/up1oads/attachment_data/file/42636/1041-electricity-market-reform-condoc.pdf

(2)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42638/1043-emr-analysis-policy-options.pdf

(3)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42843/3237-cons-ro-banding-arup-report.pdf

(4)

http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/Renewables%20Review/Oxera%20low%20carbon%20discount%20rates%20180411.pdf

(5)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42843/3237-cons-ro-banding-arup-report.pdf

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Energy: Meters

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how he plans to ensure that savings made by suppliers from the smart metering roll-out programme are passed on to consumers. [139181]

Mr Hayes: The Government will be requiring energy suppliers to give us the information we need to be able to track and report on the progress of the roll-out, including the costs of the programme and the efficiency savings that are being realised. Given the competitive pressures in the retail market and the action Government and Ofgem are taking to promote competition, we expect suppliers to pass through both the costs and efficiency savings from smart metering to customers.

Projections of impacts on the annual energy bill for an average dual fuel household suggest an annual saving of £40 by 2030 (this includes direct consumer energy savings). By robustly tracking both costs and benefits the Government expect to be able to review those projections as the programme advances. We will intervene where necessary to ensure the programme is delivered successfully and in line with consumers' interests.

Fuel Poverty

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the number of households in each parliamentary constituency living in fuel poverty. [139348]

Gregory Barker: Estimates of fuel poverty in each parliamentary constituency in 2010 are published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fuel-poverty-2010-sub-regional-data

Estimates for 2011 will be published on 16 May 2013.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when his Department expects to publish its annual report on Fuel Poverty Statistics 2013. [139458]

Gregory Barker: The next annual statistics published on fuel poverty will be published on 16 May 2013 and will cover data for 2011. Like all the Department's National Statistics, release dates are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/about/statistics

Levy Control Framework

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which policy instruments will be eligible to draw on the budget managed under the Levy Control Framework to 2020; and what their projected share of the Levy Control Framework budget will be in (a) 2015-16 and (b) 2020-21. [139463]

Gregory Barker: The existing Levy Control Framework covers the renewables obligation, small scale feed-in tariffs and warm home discount.

The provisional Levy Control Framework for low carbon electricity policies that was agreed in late 2012 for the period 2015-16 to 2020-21 includes the renewables

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obligation, small scale feed-in tariffs and contracts for difference. It could also include any electricity demand reduction initiatives.

The warm home discount was not a part of the provisional Levy Control Framework and its future funding will be decided at the spending review.

The profile of the Levy Control Framework is still being agreed, after which we will be able to determine the projected shares of the three policies (renewables obligation, small scale feed-in tariffs and contracts for difference).

Petroleum Act 1998

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2013, Official Report, column 917W, on the Petroleum Act 1998, for what reasons the information requested is commercially sensitive. [139168]

Mr Hayes: Naming organisations whose S29 Notices are under review could lead to conjecture (possibly erroneous) about the financial capacity of those involved. This could have a detrimental impact on an organisation's ability to conduct business activities, enter into contractual arrangements and secure financing.

Renewable Energy

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has made an assessment of the ability of independent renewable generators to secure a reasonable value for their output in the event that the Government were to remove the requirement on suppliers to secure increasing proportions of the power they supply from renewable sources. [139022]

Mr Hayes: We recognise the important contribution that independent renewable generators make and will continue to make to investment in renewable generation, and their importance to diversity and innovation in electricity supply.

The Government's proposals to introduce Feed-In-Tariffs with Contract for Difference (CfDs) remove key risks and offer a number of improvements over the current system of support for renewables investment. Most notably they effectively remove price risk from generators, which is likely to simplify the contracts that many independent renewables enter into in order to sell their power, as these contracts (Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs) would not need to manage these price risks. This should also result in greater competition in the PPA market.

Reflecting the importance of independent generators, the Government undertook a review of the market for PPAs during 2012, and announced in November that we will work with market participants to smooth the transition to the CfD arrangements, will include powers in the Energy Bill that would give the Secretary of State the power to intervene if the market does not adequately support independent generators, and that we will continue to explore regulatory options to ensure that the Government can act if necessary.