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Wind Power

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) how many responses were received to the Onshore Wind Call for Evidence run by his Department which closed on 15 November 2012; [138913]

(2) when he expects to publish his response to the Onshore Wind Call for Evidence which closed on 15 November 2012. [138914]

Mr Hayes: The onshore wind call for evidence was issued in two parts. Part A sought information on community engagement and benefits with a view to examining how communities can have more of a say over, and receive greater economic and wider social benefits from, hosting onshore wind farms. Part B requested latest information on onshore wind costs. This will update the evidence received through the Renewables Obligation Banding Review, to confirm that onshore wind tariffs from April 2014 are correct.

DECC received 1,111 responses to Part A from individuals and a range of organisations, including community groups, local authorities and parish councils, environmental non-governmental organisations, academic institutes and the onshore wind industry. 21 separate responses were received to Part B from the onshore wind industry and other organisations.

We are currently analysing all of the replies and intend to publish an interim Government response to Part A in the spring and a final report on both Part A and Part B in the summer.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of (a) the EU wind-power target for the UK by 2020 and (b) whether that target can be met through applications for turbines which are already approved. [138915]

Mr Hayes: The 2009 renewable energy directive sets a target for the UK to achieve 15% of its energy consumption for heat, electricity and transport from renewable sources by 2020. Achieving this target will reduce reliance on overseas fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and bring jobs and economic growth.

The Renewable Energy Roadmap sets out the amount of onshore wind we anticipate needing to meet the 2020 target. This is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/68637/7382-uk-renewable-energy-roadmap-update.pdf

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Farming: New Entrants

13. Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage new entrants into farming. [139075]

Mr Heath: The Government recognise that a sustainable and productive agri-food sector, capable of grasping the future challenges of achieving food security, will need a skilled and entrepreneurial work force.

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With this in mind, DEFRA has begun working jointly with industry on a ‘Future of Farming' review. Together we will be investigating the issues people face when beginning a career in agriculture and how they can be supported in the early years of their career.

Processed Food

14. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to review the content of beefburgers and other processed food; and if he will make a statement. [139076]

Mr Heath: The Food Standards Agency is continuing its investigation into horse and pig DNA in beef products and is urgently working with the food industry. It has set out some specific actions it is taking forward with other Government Departments, local authorities and the food industry.

We are reviewing the compositional regulations covering beef burgers and other foods in light of the changing regulatory regime on food labelling. These will be consulted on in due course.

Broadband: Rural Areas

15. David Rutley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to improve broadband provision in rural areas. [139077]

Mr Paterson: It is our absolute priority to achieve our target of providing 90% of premises with superfast broadband by 2015 to boost the rural economy. I raised the roll-out of the £530 million rural broadband programme in Cabinet last week and the Prime Minister chaired a meeting on it this week.

Remaining premises will have a minimum standard broadband of two megabits-a-second. Our £20 million Rural Community Broadband Fund helps extend superfast broadband in the remotest locations.

Aviation

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. [137085]

Richard Benyon: Any air miles accrued by core DEFRA in respect of Ministers' and officials' travel are used by the Department towards the cost of official travel.

Carbon

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he has on the level of carbon consumption in the UK in (a) 1990, (b) 2005 and (c) 2010. [138174]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA publishes data for the UK national carbon footprint. The carbon footprint refers to emissions associated with UK residents' spending on goods and services wherever in the world these emissions arise along the supply chain, and those directly generated by UK households through private motoring etc.

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The emissions described are often referred to as “consumption emissions” to distinguish them from estimates relating to the emissions produced within a country's territory or economic sphere.

The most recent statistics were published on 13 December 2012 and cover 1993 to 2010. They show that the UK's carbon dioxide footprint reached a peak in 2004 at 852 metric tonnes (mt) CO2 and since then has fallen 15% to 722 mt CO2, with a notably large dip occurring in 2009.

The UK carbon footprint figures were 661 mt CO2 in 1993, 838 mt CO2 in 2005, and 722 mt CO2 in 2010. We do not have reliable estimates for 1990. The figures quoted are available on DEFRA's website.

Cats: Conservation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of his Department's contribution to saving (a) snow leopards and (b) tigers in the wild. [138001]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA has made no recent assessment of its contribution towards the conservation of snow leopards or tigers in the wild. However, we are committed to the conservation of the world's wildlife, including Asian big cats, and are active participants leading work through fora such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Global Tiger Initiative and Global Tiger Forum to secure their long-term survival.

Data Protection

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many occasions each Minister in his Department carried classified documents on public transport in the last 12 months for which information is available. [137106]

Richard Benyon: This information is not held. Ministers handle official information in accordance with Government guidance.

Fisheries: Morecambe Bay

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on bringing forward a Morecambe Bay Hybrid Fishery Order; and if he will make a statement. [138560]

Richard Benyon: We are currently drafting the Morecambe Hybrid Order. We expect the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority to consult on this in the coming months.


Floods: Insurance

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the contribution by his predecessor of 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 30 on flooding, when he intends to publish plans for the future of flood insurance; [138782]

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(2) what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with colleagues in the (i) Cabinet Office and (ii) HM Treasury to discuss the future of flood insurance in the last 12 months; [138806]

(3) on how many occasions (a) he or (b) Ministers in his Department have met the Association of British Insurers in the last 12 months. [138807]

Richard Benyon: Constructive discussions continue between Government and the Association of British Insurers and others about the future of flood insurance. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and I have also met regularly with Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and other Ministers over the last 12 months to discuss this subject. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of such meetings.

We need a solution that ensures affordable insurance bills for those at flood risk but does not place unsustainable costs on wider policyholders and the taxpayer. A range of options are on the table and no final decisions have been taken.

I will endeavour to provide a further public update at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

Metals

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the resource risks to businesses from the security of supply of metals used in clean energy and military technologies. [136782]

Richard Benyon: The Government published their assessment of the nature of resource risks to UK businesses in the March 2012 Resource Security Action Plan.

The Government are not sought to provide a list of materials critical to the UK economy. Criticality of a particular material will depend on a range of factors and will change over time; therefore we encourage individual businesses and sectors to assess their own risks.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a research programme on the resilience of military equipment to materials security. This includes a recent scoping study aimed at demonstrating a methodology for identifying how resource security might be assessed to understand the potential effects on military capability, together with a case study on clean energy technologies for military applications.

The Government are committed to providing business with better information to enable them to make judgments on risks, and the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network is currently developing a ‘Resources Dashboard’ for this purpose. The MOD has also published guidance on the Acquisition Operating Framework internet site on managing the risk of materials security.

National Wildlife Crime Unit

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2013, Official Report, column 679W, on National Wildlife Crime Unit, what meetings he or Ministers in his Department have had with

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(a)

ministerial colleagues in the Home Department,

(b)

the Scottish Government and

(c)

the Welsh Government on the National Wildlife Crime Unit in the last 12 months. [138726]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA Ministers have not held meetings on the National Wildlife Crime Unit with ministerial counterparts in the Scottish Government or the Welsh Government. Ministers have had discussions, in the normal course of business, with Home Office Ministers.

Nature Conservation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the UK's contribution to stopping the trade in endangered species. [137997]

Richard Benyon: The Government do not aim to prohibit all trade in endangered species. Rather, we are keen to ensure that where trade in endangered species is carried out, it is done so sustainably. We do this through membership of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Under CITES, the UK works with 176 other countries to monitor and restrict international trade in endangered species to ensure their long-term survival. Where trade in a particular species is unsustainable, or there is evidence that endangered species are being taken from the wild illegally, we shall not hesitate to support appropriate international action. An example of this is the current ban on trade in ivory.

Neonicotinoids

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to protect agriculture, bees and wildlife from the effects of neonicotinoids; and if he will make a statement. [138463]

Richard Benyon: Pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides, are tightly regulated in the UK in accordance with EU pesticides legislation and a code of practice is in place on how and when they are used to minimise the impact on bees. All pesticide users must comply with all the conditions of a product's authorisation, which will include limitations on the use to a specific situation(s)/crop(s) along with application rates and timings.

The Government have taken research on effects on bees seriously and has not assumed that the existing controls are sufficient. We have carried out our own research into the impact of neonicotinoids on bees and are waiting for the results of work including a field study on bumble bees. This research will be reviewed by the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides and their advice on the evidence will be considered by the Government. If it is concluded that restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids are necessary, they will be brought in.

UK experts are also participating in work in Europe to develop the risk assessment process for bees and to update the evaluations of neonicotinoids.

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Poultry: Animal Welfare

Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that EU member states which are not compliant with the Welfare of Laying Hens directive are referred to the European Court of Justice; [137671]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of laying hens across the EU in conditions not compliant with the EU Welfare of Laying Hens directive; [137672]

(2) which EU member states were not compliant with the EU Welfare of Laying Hens directive on 1 January 2013. [137673]

Mr Heath: The details of which member states remain non-compliant with the conventional cage ban and the number of hens still being kept in conventional cages across the EU have not been formally released by the European Commission. However, I can say that only two member states remained non-compliant at the end of 2012.

The European Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with EU law and they are taking action against those member states which are not delivering on their animal welfare obligations.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and I met with Commissioner Borg on 17 January and raised our concerns about this issue with him.

Procurement

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many procurement officers are currently employed by his Department; [135678]

(2) how many civil servants in his Department regularly deal with procurement services; [135679]

(3) how many procurement officers in his Department have relevant procurement qualifications. [135680]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA currently employs 38 civil servants who are procurement officers. These staff provide professional sourcing and contract support to their customers across core DEFRA and three of its arm’s length bodies, namely the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the Marine Management Organisation. They also manage major ICT contracts across a wider area of the DEFRA network:

There is no central record of how many staff regularly deal with procurement services.

Core DEFRA have seven procurement officers who are qualified to CIPS level 4, and 11 procurement officers who are qualified to MCIPS level 6. A training programme is in place in the central procurement function to bring the remaining procurement officers up to a minimum of CIPS level 4. Rigorous systems are also in place to ensure an effective service which continues to meet the CIPS Gold standard.

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Redundancy Pay

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total amount of redundancy pay paid to civil servants in his Department was in each month from July to December 2012. [135226]

Richard Benyon: The total amounts paid to staff leaving core DEFRA on voluntary exit schemes, in each month from July to December 2012, are set out in the following table. There were no compulsory redundancies in this period.

 Amount paid (£)

July

373,811

August

19,766

September

314,987

October

372,519

November

226,686

December

110,449

Schmallenberg Virus

Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Schmallenberg virus on the livestock industry. [137718]

Mr Heath: Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is not a notifiable disease and, as such, reporting of cases is voluntary. During the UK's 2012 lambing season the impact on infected farms of proportion of lambs affected was approximately 2% to 5%. A European Food Safety Authority report based on information from all affected member states and published in November 2012 indicates the maximum proportion of SBV confirmed sheep flocks per region is 6.6%. Economic assessments for infection in UK flocks in 2011, in counties from the midlands south, estimate that losses at twice this level would cost the industry approximately £1 million per annum. This is less than the economic impact of other common industry diseases such as foot rot.

The new season of lambing has just started and may continue until early May depending on flock type so there are many ewes still to produce lambs. There are anecdotal reports of up to 40% of lambs affected in around 30 flocks. This has mostly been in the western fringes of where it is known that SBV infection occurred in 2011. These are areas at greatest risk of infection from early spread in 2012. Many early lambing flocks have synchronised mating periods, which means that the ewes are all within a few days of the same stage of pregnancy and so a large proportion of the flock is vulnerable if SBV arrives on farm at the critical time in pregnancy when infection results in malformed offspring. AHVLA is supporting the National Sheep Association in collecting data on the effect of SBV in this lambing period.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to address the spread of the Schmallenberg virus at a (a) UK and (b) EU level. [138294]

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Mr Heath: Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is a new virus first found in Germany and the Netherlands in late 2011 and in the UK in January 2012. It is not notifiable in Europe and so reporting by farmers and vets is voluntary. Surveillance testing and reporting across the EU has found that SBV has spread rapidly and is now present in many member states. Our own surveillance reporting over the summer and autumn 2012 has found SBV in all rural counties in England.

SBV is a vector borne disease and has been found in midges. Effective midge control is very difficult, and livestock movement controls would provide ineffective control of disease spread. A number of companies are currently developing a vaccine against SBV which would require authorisation by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) if efficacy and safety can be proven prior to it being available on the market. It will be a decision for farmers to make, supported by their vet and considering their management practices if use of a vaccine will benefit their livestock. Immunity, natural or vaccination, will protect against infection the following year.

DEFRA officials have been collaborating closely with European colleagues to understand how the virus works and spreads. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regularly collates and publishes data on SBV in the EU on behalf of the Commission and DEFRA is playing an active role in providing knowledge and expertise into this process.

Trees

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research his Department has commissioned into pests and diseases that affect Sitka Spruce. [136711]

Mr Heath: The Forestry Commission leads on research into pests and diseases that may affect Sitka spruce, on behalf of DEFRA.

Sitka spruce is the most prevalent and commercially valuable species in British forests. The Forestry Commission has carried out research on a number of insect pests since the 1930s. These include the green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum), the European spruce sawfly (Gilpinia hercyniae) and the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis). A management support system for the pine weevil has been developed through research, which is now being used to avoid significant financial losses in young trees.

In the 1980s an outbreak of the great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans) posed a major threat to Britain's spruce forests. Research discovered a natural predator beetle which is now routinely used as part of normal forest management to control this beetle when new outbreaks are found.

There have been relatively few diseases affecting Sitka spruce but research has been undertaken into a number of important pathogens, such as conifer butt rot (Heterobasidium annosum), honey fungus (Armillaria mellea), group dying of conifers (Rhizina undulata) and more recently the susceptibility of the species to Phytophthora ramorum and Dothistroma needle blight.

Native and non-native pests of other tree species have occasionally switched hosts, or have the potential to switch hosts, and cause damage to Sitka spruce (e.g. winter

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moth (Operophtera brumata) and pine-tree lappet moth (Dendrolimus pini). There are a number of other potential pests and diseases in Europe and North America that could cause serious damage to Sitka spruce if they were introduced into the UK, such as spruce budworm (Chorsitoneura spp.), the eight toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) and Sitka spruce weevil (Pissodes strobii). Research continues to be carried out by the Forestry Commission on pests and diseases present in the UK and our scientists maintain contacts with their counterparts abroad to keep abreast of other possible threats.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to make a decision on the Yorkshire Dales National Park extension. [139069]

Richard Benyon: Natural England's proposed extensions to both the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks will shortly be the subject of a public inquiry. In total over 3,000 objections, representations and expressions of support were received to Natural England's proposals, including objections by several local authorities with land in the proposed areas. It is a statutory requirement to hold a public inquiry if at least one local authority raises an objection to its respective Variation Order.

Once the necessary practical arrangements are finalised, I will issue a written ministerial statement to announce the inquiry. The inquiry manager will then contact all those who made comments on the Variation Orders, inviting them to attend a pre-inquiry meeting.

Following the inquiry the inspector will make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as to whether he believes the proposed additions meet the designation criteria as set out in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The Secretary of State will then need to take a quasi-judicial decision as to whether the case for designation has been made and he will then either confirm (with or without modifications) or reject the Variation Orders.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the progress of reforms in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [139054]

Alistair Burt: Our ambassador in Bahrain and his team are in regular contact with the Bahraini Minister for Justice, who leads the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Follow Up Unit. The unit published a report at the end of last year which detailed progress made since the BICI recommendations in November 2011. Progress has been made in certain areas, but there is still more work to be done and we call on the authorities to show a renewed sense of energy in taking this work forward. I welcome the Bahraini Government's announcement to resume political discussions. I encourage all sides to play a constructive role in an inclusive process.

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Bangladesh

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to support the Government of Bangladesh to pursue those accused of war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. [138741]

Alistair Burt: The British Government support the principle of war crimes trials and the desire of the Government of Bangladesh to hold to account those who may be guilty of crimes committed during the 1971 war. With EU partners, we continue to make clear our strong opposition to the application of the death penalty in all circumstances.

We note that the International Crimes Tribunal reached its first judgment in the trial of Abul Kalam Azad on 21 January. Defendants should be given a fair trial, including the right to conduct a proper defence, and trials should be open and transparent. We have called on the Government of Bangladesh, publicly and privately, to ensure that trials meet appropriate international standards.

Noting the concerns expressed by some human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and legal professionals about the tribunal's proceedings, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi hoped that the tribunal would address the concerns and ensure the continued integrity and independence of the legal process in Bangladesh. Baroness Warsi also raised the issue of the war crimes trials with Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr Dipu Moni, in December. Officials both in London and our high commission in Dhaka continue to monitor the trials carefully.

Burma

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the prospects for constitutional reform in Burma; and what support the UK is offering to this process. [138772]

Mr Swire: Our embassy facilitated a visit by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in August 2012. The focus of the visit was, inter alia, to examine the functioning of the judicial system and analyse the international and domestic legal norms applicable to the judicial system, including the 2008 constitution.

The IBAHRI report of December 2012 produced as a result of that visit, “The Rule of Law in Myanmar: Challenges and Prospects”, includes a number of recommendations, including those that relate to addressing provisions of the constitution.

Our embassy in Rangoon has undertaken to circulate a Burmese language version of the report in Burma, particularly to those Government interlocutors with whom the delegation met, with a view to supporting the IBAHRI’s proposed next steps.

Ultimately any decision to revise the 2008 constitution is a decision for the people of Burma. We would consider any requests for support in that endeavour.

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Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of legislative reform in Burma; and what support the Government is offering to the process of legislative reform. [138773]

Mr Swire: The legislation reform seen over the last 18 months indicates the Burmese Government's willingness to reform in some areas. However, the last 18 months also reveal a gap between this willingness to reform and Burma's institutional capacity to do so.

In response to a request from Aung San Suu Kyi, the British Government have been supporting capacity-building of the Burmese Parliament. In July 2012, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy carried out a scoping visit. The foundation plans to support the administration of public financial scrutiny by sharing good practice from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

In December 2012, a cross-party delegation of three Burmese MPs from the Draft Bills Committee visited London to spend time in the House of Commons and House of Lords and learn about the drafting and debating of British law.

This work will be built upon in 2013 in conjunction with the Department for International Development and civil society partners, identifying areas which are priorities for the Burmese Parliament and its supporting institutions.

Chile

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the present state of political, cultural, trade and military relations with Chile; and if he will make a statement. [138668]

Mr Swire: The UK has an excellent relationship with Chile. Chile shares many of the UK's values and we co-operate well on a range of issues of mutual interest, including science and innovation, education, defence, trade and investment. We have a number of formal political dialogues, including on foreign policy and defence. In November 2012, President Sebastian Piñera of Chile visited the UK—his second visit to the UK during his presidency.

Cultural and education links are also growing, with the Chilean Culture and Education Ministers visiting the UK in 2012. During his November visit, President Piñera and the Prime Minister announced a year of UK-Chile collaboration on science, innovation and education. The UK is already the top destination for Chilean Government-sponsored post-graduate students outside Chile, and the British Council has recently won a contract to deliver English language training to 60,000 Chilean workers.

Trade relations continue to thrive. Chile is the UK’s third largest trading partner in Latin America, with British exports of goods and services exceeding £1 billion last year. London was privileged to host Chile Day in September 2012. This was a major investment event which saw Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín bring a delegation of over 200 Chilean business people to the UK.

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Defence relations are also strong. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Security Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison), visited Chile in December 2012 for the Exponaval trade fair, and a high level Chilean delegation will visit the UK for defence talks in May.

This month, the Minister without Portfolio, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), and I will attend the EU-CELAC summit in Santiago which is being chaired by Chile.


China

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any reports that the Chinese Government may close its re-education through labour camps; and if he will make a statement. [138763]

Mr Swire: I strongly support the abolition of the re-education through labour (RTL) system as part of China's progress towards full ratification and implementation of the terms of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. We will continue to raise our concerns about RTL with the Chinese authorities, including at the next UK-China Human Rights Dialogue.

On 7 January 2013, Chinese online media reported that Meng Jianzhu. Secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission of the Communist Party of China, had announced in a closed meeting with the National Political and Legal Work Conference that the Government would

“stop using the re-education through labour (RTL) system within a year, following approval by the National People's Congress of the proposed reforms”.

Xinhua, the official state news agency, subsequently reported that the Government would “advance reforms” to RTL in 2013.

While the exact nature of the Chinese Government's plan for RTL is as yet unclear, we are encouraged by the decision to reform the system. The reform of RTL is an important opportunity for the Chinese Government to make real progress in addressing the alleged abuses associated with RTL, and would be a significant step towards an improved rule of law.

Colombia

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the present state of political, cultural, trade and military relations with Colombia; and if he will make a statement. [138667]

Mr Swire: The UK and Colombia work closely together on a wide range of areas including climate change and energy, economic development and trade, drugs and international crime, human rights, defence and governance.

Our embassy and the British Council in Bogota work closely with local organisations to promote British cultural and sporting events. Last year the embassy took part in numerous joint activities with the Colombian Olympic and Paralympic Committees to promote the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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UK exports to Colombia increased by 45% in 2011. The UK is the second largest foreign direct investor in Colombia and we are on target to achieve our goal of doubling two-way trade by 2015. We look forward to strengthening our economic ties through the upcoming EU-Andean Free Trade agreement. This represents an important opportunity for UK companies to develop stronger commercial relations with Colombia.

We are deepening our defence and security co-operation with Colombia. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Security Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison), held the Inaugural Strategic Defence Dialogue with his Colombian counterpart on board HMS Dauntless on 12 September 2012. The visit showcased the capabilities of Britain's defence and security industry.

Indonesia

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the present state of political, cultural, trade and military relations with Indonesia; and if he will make a statement. [138669]

Mr Swire: Our relations with Indonesia are close and growing stronger following the successful state visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudboyono in October 2012. The President's state visit built on the momentum from the Prime Minister's visit to Jakarta and South East Asia in April 2012. The Prime Minister's visit saw the re-launch of the UK-Indonesia Partnership Forum which formalises our joint commitment to increased co-operation across a wide range of areas including: trade and investment, where we have committed to a doubling of trade between our two countries by 2015; education; climate change; global foreign policy and international security.

A key outcome of our bilateral trade talks held immediately before the state visit was the formation of a ‘2030 Trade and Investment Vision Group’ to report to Ministers on where we want our trade and investment relationship to be in 2030, and the action required to get there. My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham), the Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Indonesia, made his first visit to Indonesia on 7-8 January.

Our defence relationship is strong: we signed a Defence Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the state visit and the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), visited Jakarta on 15 January.

Our cultural ties are close: the British Council and Department for Culture, Media and Sport worked closely with their Indonesian counterparts during the lead up to the state visit to sign an MoU on future Creative Industry co-operation.

Iran

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much financial support the UK provided to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime for counter-narcotics projects in Iran in each year from 2000 to 2012; and if he will make a statement. [138705]

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Mr Jeremy Browne: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

The Government have not provided financial support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for counter-narcotics projects in Iran since 2007. Information on support provided prior to 2007 is not readily available or held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Given support has not been provided for over five years, a statement is not considered necessary.

Japan

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the present state of political, cultural, trade and military relations with Japan; and if he will make a statement. [138665]

Mr Swire: The UK's political, cultural, trade and military relationship with Japan is in excellent health. Last year saw an unprecedented level of engagement between our two countries. There was a successful visit to Japan by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in April 2012 and the inaugural UK-Japan Strategic Dialogue took place in November 2012 in London. The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), spoke by telephone to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida soon after the Japanese elections. The tempo of engagement in 2013 will remain high. I visited Japan from 14 to 16 January 2013 for early discussions with the new Government in Tokyo.

2012 saw major investments by Japanese companies in the UK, including Toyota's November announcement of a £100 million investment in their Burnaston plant and Nissan's announcement in December of a £250 million investment in their plant in Sunderland. We remain strong advocates of the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement with negotiations set to be launched later this year.

Our defence relationship has also strengthened, since the signature of a Defence Cooperation Agreement endorsed by our respective Prime Ministers in April, and signed by our respective Defence Ministers in June 2012. This relationship was discussed further at the political/military talks in Tokyo that I opened earlier this month.

2012 was also a year of rich and varied cultural exchange between the UK and Japan. In April, to mark Shakespeare's birthday, the British Library's first folio was displayed at our embassy and generated a good deal of media interest. Gagaku was performed at the Edinburgh Festival by musicians of the Imperial Household in Tokyo. In November 2012, Anthony Gormley was awarded the renowned Obayashi Prize and created the new sculpture in Hayama.

Mali

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the deployment of French unmanned aerial vehicles in Mali. [138816]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 419W

Mark Simmonds: We support the French intervention in Mali. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific operational details of the French intervention in support of the Government of Mali, including the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Private Education

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department were in receipt of continuity of education allowance in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12; and what the cost to his Department was of providing this allowance for staff based (i) in the UK and (ii) overseas in each such year. [139164]

Alistair Burt: Members of the diplomatic service must be prepared to serve anywhere in the world at any time during their career, sometimes at very short notice. Those who are parents are legally obliged to ensure that their children receive a full-time education. Where staff cannot or choose not to take their children overseas, we contribute towards the costs of boarding school education in the UK for children up to the age of 18, provided that officers meet specific eligibility criteria. This enables the children to have stability and continuity of education, which is particularly important for secondary school age children. We provide financial support to all diplomatic staff, irrespective of grade, who serve overseas, to help enable them to meet this requirement.

The cost to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of continuity of education allowance (CEA) for children of FCO staff attending school in the UK was as follows:

Financial yearTotal cost (£)Paid for staff in UKPaid for staff overseasNumber of staff claimants

2009-10

13,329,851

7,487,435

5,843,415

339

2010-11

13,067,398

7,219,993

5,847,405

340

2011-12

15,448,371

To be advised

To be advised

456

The figures for 2011-12 are not comparable with earlier years. Costs vary year on year according to the numbers and ages of children at school, and the location of staff claimants. Additionally the FCO has changed the way it records its management information so that other partners in Government are now included in the overall figures. We are unable currently to provide a breakdown of expenditure on CEA in 2011-12 between staff in the UK and overseas. I will write separately to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter on record in the Library of the House

UK Membership of EU

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what specific exercises his Department has undertaken in assessing the risk to UK business and inward investment of the Government announcing its intention to renegotiate the UK's membership of the EU. [137663]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 420W

Mr Lidington [holding answer 17 January 2013]: The Government continue to engage actively with our European partners and play a leading role in a wide range of EU business, as membership of the EU is in the UK national interest.

The UK benefits from membership of the EU, including from the unrestricted access for UK businesses to a single market of around 500 million customers, which was worth £11 trillion in 2011; and from securing greater market access for the UK at a global level where, for example, it plays a leading role in EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations with third party nations.

Health

Abortion

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which medical evidence he used to support a 12-week limit on abortions. [138767]

Anna Soubry: The Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), expressed his personal views on abortion time-limits. It is accepted parliamentary practice that proposals for changes in the law on abortion come from backbench Members and that decisions are made on the basis of free votes.

Action on Smoking and Health

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department gave to Action on Smoking and Health in 2011-12; and how such spending he anticipates making in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14. [138925]

Anna Soubry: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has received funding of £150,000 in 2011-12 and £150,000 in 2012-13 through the Department's “Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations”. The grants were awarded for work to support delivery of the Tobacco Control Plan for England.

The Department has received a Section 64 grant application from ASH for 2013-14, which it is currently considering.

Dementia

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the levels of dementia research funding beyond the announced figure of £66 million; and how the figure of £66 million for dementia research funding was determined. [138935]

Dr Poulter: In March 2012, the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia announced that the combined value of the Department's National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council funding for research into dementia will increase from £26.6 million in 2009-10 to an estimated £66.3 million in 2014-15. This figure was determined on the basis of profiled spend from contractual commitments and the likely additional requirement to support the actions outlined in the Prime Minister's

24 Jan 2013 : Column 421W

challenge, assuming receipt of appropriate, high quality bids in response to funding opportunities.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will investigate the reasons for the disparity in dementia diagnosis rates across England and publish recommendations to attain a measure of uniformity in (a) diagnosis procedures and (b) availability of those tests across England; [138936]

(2) if he will consider advocating dementia testing for susceptible age groups as part of routine health check ups. [138937]

Norman Lamb: Improving diagnosis rates for dementia is a priority for the Government and we want to see both an increase in the overall rate and a reduction in the current regional variation.

Dementia has been prioritised by both the Department through the NHS Mandate and by the NHS Commissioning Board through their planning guidance and we expect clinical commissioning groups to make measurable progress in ensuring timely diagnosis.

From April 2013, local authorities will be mandated to offer NHS Health Checks to everyone eligible every five years, and to raise awareness of dementia and the existence of memory services for those aged 65-74.

Dementia: Wales

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he plans to hold with the Welsh Government to extend the dementia friends initiative to Wales. [138685]

Norman Lamb: England's National Clinical Director for Dementia will be meeting representatives from all the devolved Administrations to ensure that they are able to be kept fully up to date of all aspects of the Prime Minister's challenge on dementia, and also to share good practice between different countries in the United Kingdom.

Diabetes: Woking

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to support the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in Woking constituency. [138717]

Anna Soubry: Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight and physical inactivity. The Government are committed to tackling excess weight and obesity, and have published “Healthy Lives, Health People: A call to action on obesity in England”, which sets out our commitment to key programmes, such as Change4Life, and the NHS Health Check. A copy has already been placed in the Library.

The Government have recently launched the Change4Life Be Food Smart campaign to give people information about the foods they eat, and help them make healthier choices.

The Government are also continuing to fund and support the full rollout of the NHS Health Check programme, which includes assessing the risk of diabetes for people aged 40-74 and supporting them in managing or reducing that risk. From April this year the NHS Healthcheck programme will be mandated to local

24 Jan 2013 : Column 422W

authorities to secure local delivery of the risk assessment element of the programme. Economic modelling has shown the potential for the programme to prevent over 4,000 people a year from developing diabetes and to detect over 20,000 cases of diabetes and kidney disease earlier.

The Health Checks programme in Surrey has specifically targeted people at a greater risk of diabetes and has done projects with black and minority ethnic groups in the Woking area led by Dr Munira Mohammed from Sheerwater Health Centre. Across the north west of Surrey, including Woking, carers have also been offered health checks following the carer's health needs assessment that identified poor health outcomes for them.

Outreach health checks in shopping centres have also been available to the general population.

Eating Disorders: Diabetes

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people with diabetes were admitted to hospital with complications arising from disordered eating in each year since 2005. [138928]

Anna Soubry: It is not possible to identify admissions to hospital with complications arising from ‘disordered eating’. It is possible to identify admissions with a diagnosis of both diabetes and an eating disorder.

The table lists the count of finished admission episodes (FAEs) with a diagnosis (primary or secondary) of diabetes and with a diagnosis (primary or secondary) of an eating disorder, for the period 2005-06 to 2011-12. These data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted on more than one occasion.

 FAEs

2005-06

155

2006-07

180

2007-08

195

2008-09

226

2009-10

285

2010-11

299

2011-12

354

FAE is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FAEs are counted against the year in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether guidelines are currently issued to GPs for diabetic patients who have shown symptoms of disordered eating. [138919]

Anna Soubry: Diagnosis and management of type 1 diabetes in children, young people and adults published by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises health professionals to be aware that children and young people with diabetes type 1 have an increased risk of eating disorders. NICE in its guidance on the management of eating disorders, advises that children with sub-optimal management of their diabetes should

24 Jan 2013 : Column 423W

be screened for eating disorders and that those type 1 diabetics who present with an eating disorder should receive “intensive regular physical monitoring”.

Food Standards Agency

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the budget was for the Food Standards Agency in 2011-12; and what the budget is for (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14. [138672]

Anna Soubry: The Food Standards Agency UK total budgets for the three years are as follows:

Budget£ million

2011-12

145

2012-13

141

2013-14

135

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staffing posts have been deleted at the Food Standards Agency since May 2010. [138673]

Anna Soubry: The Food Standards Agency UK budgeted posts for full and part-time permanently employed staff as at May 2010 was 1,627 and the budgeted posts as at December 2012 is 1,415, a reduction of 212.

This reduction includes the transfer of 109 posts to other Government Departments, with the balance being achieved through restructuring and efficiency gains.

General Social Care Council

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the total cost to the public purse was of closing down the General Social Care Council. [138766]

Dr Poulter: The final set of accounts from the General Social Care Council show that the total cost to the public purse of closing down the council was £3.5 million, of which £0.7 million arose in 2011-12 and £2.8 million in 2012-13. In addition, there is a cost of £13.5 million in 2012-13, which was the settlement of the pension liability for the staff of the General Social Care Council.

On the assumption that the costs of the General Social Care Council would remain broadly similar, the Department estimates that the closure of the General Social Care Council will bring savings to the public purse of £13.5 million each year.

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many social workers were registered with the General Social Care Council at the beginning of the last financial year; and how many social workers are currently registered with the Health Care Professionals Council. [138768]

Norman Lamb: Figures available in the General Social Care Council's Annual Report and Accounts for the financial year 2010-11 and financial year 2011-12 show that:

at the beginning of the financial year 2011-12 the number of social workers in England registered with the General Social Care Council was 86,319; and

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at the beginning of the financial year 2012-13 the number of social workers in England registered with the General Social Care Council was 87,246.

As of 18 January 2013, there were 81,559 social workers in England registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effect on (a) full and (b) part-time staff in the social work sector of higher charges for professional registration as part of the shift from the General Social Care Council to Health Care Professionals Council; and if he will make a statement. [138769]

Dr Poulter: Anyone in full-time or part-time practice as a social worker in England, or using the protected title of ‘social worker’, must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. The fee that the Health and Care Professions Council charges is to cover the cost of regulation and this is the same whether the social worker is working full-time or part-time.

The Government transferred regulation to the Health and Care Professions Council on 1 August 2012. The General Social Care Council had been heavily subsidised by the taxpayer as the £30 fee paid to the council did not cover the full costs of regulation.

The registration fee charged by the Health and Care Professions Council is £152 for two years (£76 for each year). This is the lowest fee levied on any of the regulated health and care professions.

The Health and Care Professions Council has worked very closely with employers throughout the transitional process to ensure that those currently employed as social workers have been able to register with the Health and Care Professions Council with ease, and has taken the following steps to make the increase in fees more manageable for social workers:

allowing social workers a four months period of grace from 1 August 2012 until the final date for fees payment;

allowing payment to be spread over two years by four instalments; and

keeping the fee at the current rate throughout this financial year.

Health Services

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on national specialised commissions teams on a per capita basis in (a) the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA), (b) Yorkshire and Humber SHA and (c) Greater London. [138895]

Anna Soubry: The funding of specialised commissioning groups is a matter for primary care trusts and so the information requested is not held by the Department. My hon. Friend may wish to consider writing to the relevant strategic health authorities for this information.

Heart Diseases: Children

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from clinicians in Yorkshire and the Humber on the decision to close the children's heart surgery unit at Leeds Children's Hospital. [138896]

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Anna Soubry: We understand that a letter setting out the concerns of clinicians in Yorkshire and the Humber has been sent to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) who we have asked to conduct a review of the Safe and Sustainable programme as a result of three referrals from overview and scrutiny committees.

Given that this is a national health service review independent of Government, the involvement of the IRP, and the legal proceedings that are under way, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

Lead: Health Hazards

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned on the effects on human health of exposure to lead in the UK; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the reports of any such studies. [139193]

Dr Poulter: The Department has not commissioned research on the effects on human health of exposure to lead in the United Kingdom.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is undertaking a three-year surveillance of blood lead levels in children in collaboration with the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit. This study is funded through grant in aid. Further information about the study is available on the HPA website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/chemicals/slic

Mental Health Services: Surrey

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding has been allocated for mental health provision in (a) Woking constituency and (b) Surrey in each of the last three years. [138716]

Norman Lamb: Information is not available in the format requested. Funding for national health service services is currently allocated to primary care trusts (PCTs). PCTs commission services to meet the healthcare needs of their local populations, taking account of national and local priorities. From 2013-14, the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for the allocation of resources to clinical commissioning groups.

The following table shows the reported spend for adult mental health services in Surrey by PCT. Data are not available by constituency. Woking falls within Surrey PCT.

Surrey PCT
 £000

2009-10

64,686.19

2010-11

66,562.09

2011-12

88,227.25

Notes: 1. The report, which is conducted independently by Mental Health Strategies, is commissioned annually by the Department and published on the Department's website. 2. The survey is non-mandatory and includes some estimated data. 3. Data cover services provided for working age adults (age 18-65). Source: 2011-12 National Survey of Investment in Mental Health Services, Mental Health Strategies (2012)

24 Jan 2013 : Column 426W

NHS Commissioning Board

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what date he scrutinised and approved the salaries of the new appointments of the (a) Chief Executive, (b) Non-Executive Chairman and (c) national directors on the Executive Board of the NHS Commissioning Board. [138718]

Anna Soubry: The then Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), considered and approved the salary proposals for the posts of:

(a) the chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board on 17 November 2011;

(b) the non-executive chairman of the NHS Commissioning Board on 5 September 2011; and

(c)the national directors on the executive board of the NHS Commissioning Board on 17 November 2011.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will direct Walsall Healthcare NHS to send a reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North of 1 November 2012 to the chief executive of the Black Country Cluster, who stated that the matter of infant mortality in Walsall was a matter for Walsall Healthcare NHS who would be replying directly; and if he will make arrangements for replies from Walsall Healthcare NHS to be sent more promptly in the future. [139055]

Dr Poulter: This is a matter for the national health service locally.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has made to the European Commission on the legality and proportionality of minimum unit pricing for alcohol; and what plans she has to make further representations to the Commission on this matter. [138326]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 21 January 2013]: On 28 November 2012, the Government launched a consultation on key policies within the Alcohol Strategy, including seeking views on a proposed minimum unit price of 45p. The Government are discussing this issue with the EU Commission in parallel to the consultation. The Government will maintain their dialogue with the EU Commission as it moves forwards with the consultation.

The Government have also worked closely with the Scottish Government to respond to the questions and issues raised by the European Commission and a number of member states who gave opinions on their legislation. A response has now been sent to the Commission.

Association of Chief Police Officers

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had on the future of the Association of Chief Police Officers. [138882]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 427W

Damian Green: Home Office Ministers have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with the Association of Chief Police Officers on the implementation of that body's Review of Off-Payroll Appointments and Future Governance published in July 2012. [138883]

Damian Green: Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of international partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Asylum

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the length of time asylum seekers are in receipt of support under section 95 of the Asylum Act 1999. [134478]

Mr Harper [holding answer 19 December 2012]: Asylum seekers who are recognised as refugees usually receive section 95 support for short periods of time because they are able to access the full UK benefits system after they receive the positive decision. Failed asylum seekers continue to be supported if they have children. This means that they stay on support for longer periods if their departure from the United Kingdom has to be enforced.

Asylum: Appeals

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the legal costs incurred by her Department defending section 4 support appeals in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [134969]

Mr Harper [holding answer 7 January 2013]: Section 4 support appeals are managed by the UK Border Agency (the Agency). Information about the Agency's overall litigation expenditure is contained in its annual Resource Accounts. However, the Agency does not record litigation expenditure in the format which would enable it to answer this question and to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

Asylum: North East

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties have been imposed on G4S following their failure to meet their original target date for moving asylum seekers to new accommodation in the Yorkshire and Humber and North East regions. [138133]

24 Jan 2013 : Column 428W

Mr Harper: The volume of people involved—and the requirement to ensure their continued welfare—meant that the original transition timetable agreed between all parties was no longer feasible. The UK Border Agency worked in partnership with local authorities to reach an agreement over an appropriate extension to allow G4S to complete transition. This transition was completed within the agreed short term extension and no penalties were imposed upon G4S.

Cannabis: Wales

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cannabis warnings have been issued to juveniles in North Wales in each of the last 10 years. [139110]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office. While the series includes data on the number of offences detected by means of a cannabis warning, no information is held on the age of the offender.

Correspondence

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the average length of time taken by her Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members. [138998]

Mr Harper: The Home Office replied to 8,436 pieces of ministerial correspondence in the period from 1 December 2011 to 30 November 2012 at an average of 14 days taken per reply.

Deportation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2012, Official Report, column 778W, on immigration controls, (1) how many foreign nationals subject to deportation orders have been awaiting deportation for (a) one month or less, (b) between one and three months, (c) between three and six months, (d) between six and nine months, (e) between one and two years, (f) between two and three years, (g) between three and four years, (h) between four and five years, (i) between five and six years, (j) between six and seven years, (k) between seven and eight years, (l) between eight and nine years, (m) between nine and 10 years and (n) more than 10 years; [136052]

(2) how many foreign nationals subject to deportation orders are prevented from being deported due to their (a) identity or (b) nationality being unknown. [136053]

Mr Harper: The following table shows the number of foreign nationals subject to deportation orders who are awaiting deportation for the periods requested as at 24 September 2012. The total figure quoted of 3,133 relates to foreign nationals who have passed their Early Removal Scheme date or Earliest Release date.

Time categoryTotal

1 month or less

96

24 Jan 2013 : Column 429W

1-3 months

174

3-6 months

225

6-9 months

187

9-12 months

155

1-2 years

540

2-3 years

398

3-4 years

399

4-5 years

350

5-6 years

249

6-7 years

176

7-8 years

97

8-9 years

45

9-10 years

17

10+ years

25

Total

3,133

Despite the best efforts of the UK Border Agency, deportation of foreign national offenders can be delayed in many ways. Deportation can be delayed through the use of judicial challenges or by the individual's failure to comply with the re-documentation process. This can lengthen the period of time an individual spends in immigration detention.

As at 24 September 2012 there are 64 foreign nationals subject to deportation orders who are prevented from being deported due to their identity or nationality being unknown.

Entry Clearances

Meg Hillier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many family visitor visa applications there were in each of the last five years; how many were refused in each year; and of those refused how many were allowed on appeal in each year. [137879]

Mr Harper: The data on the number of applications and refusals are available from the UK Border Agency management information and are provided in the following table.

Visit—family visit
 ApplicationsRefusals

2008

414,708

114,913

2009

426,785

112,419

2010

423,047

89,341

2011

444,373

85,151

2012(1)

315,458

66,534

(1) 2012 figures are for applications received up to September 2012.

These data are based on internal UK Border Agency management Information. It is provisional and subject to change.

The data on allowed appeals as provided in the following table are available from published statistics.

First-tier tribunal (immigration and asylum chamber): Family visit visa statistics
Time periodAllowed

2008

23,200

2009

26,300

2010

25,600

2011

16,800

January-September 2012

7,900

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Figures in the tables have been rounded independently. The following convention has been used: values of 1,000 and over are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to ensure that rugby league players are given fair consideration when applying for visas and work permits. [138688]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency has a category specifically for sports people under paragraph 245HB of the immigration rules. Sports people apply for leave to enter under tier 2 of the points based system. In order to obtain entry clearance as a tier 2 (sportsperson) the applicant would have to meet the requirements of paragraph 245HB of the immigration rules. There is no differentiation between rugby league players and other sports people. All applications are treated in accordance with the immigration rules and decisions are made based on the individual merits of the application not their sports background.

Foreign Workers

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will introduce a national register scheme for foreign workers. [138648]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency is implementing a requirement for nationals from outside the European economic area granted permission to remain in the UK for more than six months to enrol for a biometric residence permit. The permit contains biographical details about the migrant, together with their immigration status and entitlements, including to work and duration of permitted stay, while they are in the UK.

Human Trafficking: Children

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her Department's plans are to fulfil its obligations to appoint guardians to child victims of trafficking under Article 14(2) and Article 16(3) of the EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims. [138827]

Mr Harper: The Government believe the UK is already compliant with this measure in the directive. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that they safeguard and promote the welfare of all children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004, regardless of their immigration status or nationality. In addition to a social worker and independent reviewing officer, a looked after child also has access to an independent advocate. Under these arrangements, looked after children are provided with access to all their needs be they in relation to education, accommodation, psychological or health needs.

Immigrants: Detainees

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many detainees (a) were and (b) were not released from detention following

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submission of a report to UK Border Agency under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 in each year for which figures are available; [137251]

(2) how many reports have legal and healthcare teams submitted to UK Border Agency under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 in each year for which figures are available. [137252]

Mr Harper: Reports made under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 may be made only by the medical practitioners at immigration removal centres.

Management information for the administration of reports submitted under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 is available for the period 1 January 2012 to 30 September 2012. This information does not form part of published statistics and is not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics publications. It is provisional and subject to change.

Records prior to this period were locally held manual records for administrative purposes and are not available.

2012Total

Rule 35 Reports

983

Detention Maintained

909

Detainee Released

74

Immigration

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the Government to achieve its target of reducing net annual immigration to below 100,000 people. [138649]

Mr Harper: The Government's policy is to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament. Net migration fell by a quarter from 242,000 for year ending March 2011 to 183,000 for year ending March 2012, which shows we are bringing immigration back under control.

Our tough new policies are taking effect and this marks a significant step towards bringing net migration down to sustainable levels and restoring public confidence in the system.

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many Ethiopian immigrants her Department estimates will arrive in the UK in each of the next five years; [138650]

(2) how many Iraqi immigrants her Department estimates will arrive in the UK in each of the next five years; [138651]

(3) how many Nigerian immigrants her Department estimates will arrive in the UK in each of the next five years. [138652]

Mr Harper: The Home Office does not routinely produce forecasts or estimates of future levels of migration from individual countries. It would be difficult to produce reliable forecasts to estimate the likely levels of immigration from Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria, as migration levels are complicated by a broad variety of factors.

However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces estimates of future population available as population projections. Although these projections are

24 Jan 2013 : Column 432W

not broken down by nationality, they provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population based on recent demographic trends. These projections are available from the ONS website at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl= Population+Projections

Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when a final decision will be made by the UK Border Agency on the application for leave to remain made by a constituent of the hon. Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Mr Rasheed Naeem-Walker. [138653]

Mr Harper: I will write to my hon. Friend separately on this individual case.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 3 December 2012 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr Peter Solaja. [138821]

Mr Harper: I have written to the right hon. Member separately on this individual case.

Offences Against Children: Wales

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 783W, on offences against children: Wales, what the anticipated cost is of Operation Pallial; what the contribution is of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and other police forces; and what the estimated cost is to North Wales police. [138630]

Damian Green [holding answer 22 January 2013]:I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 783W, which sets out the current position. Costs will be kept under review as the operation progresses.

Passports

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will make it her policy that the Yeovil Passport Application Interview Office should be open for more than two days per week; [138786]

(2) what action the Identity and Passport Service has taken to ensure that potential users of the interview office in Yeovil are made aware that the office is only open two days per week and that telephone enquiries made to the office are only accepted on the days that the office is open; [138787]

(3) how many passport application interviews were carried out at the Yeovil passport interview office between 1 August and 31 December 2012; and what the current waiting list backlog is; [138745]

(4) what the approximate waiting time between an application for an appointment and an appointment being granted is at the passport interview office in Yeovil. [138747]

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Mr Harper [holding answer 22 January 2013]: The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has no plans to increase the number of days that the Yeovil Passport Application Interview Office opens. The decision to open the Yeovil office for two days is based on operational requirements and the needs to balance the need of our customers with the cost to the passport fee payer.

All IPS customer messages advise customers to visit GOV.UK for specific office opening times and information or to contact our national Adviceline. GOV.UK allows customers to search by their postcode and offers the nearest office locations, listing opening times for each office. For Yeovil, the opening times are Wednesday and Thursday 8.45 am to 5.30 pm.

Telephone inquiries are not received by or transferred to any customer service office or flexible site, including Yeovil. Customer inquiries are taken by our national Adviceline, who will answer the majority of queries, only transferring complex cases, which they are unable to answer, to a local IPS customer inquiry centre in the application processing centre where the passport application is being processed.

422 interviews were carried out at the Yeovil passport interview office between the week ending 5 August and the week ending 30 December 2012. 78 customers have appointments booked in the Yeovil office over the next four weeks.

The current waiting time for an appointment is 20 days and as at 18 January the next available appointment is 7 February. IPS always advises customers not to book travel unless they have a valid passport.

Police ICT Company

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) cost of establishing the proposed police IT company and (b) number of staff employed was as at 15 January 2013. [138402]

Damian Green: It is not possible to provide the cost of establishing the Police ICT Company as the work is still underway.

The interim form of the company is not yet operational therefore no staff are employed by the company.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who the members and chair are of the police IT board; and what its proposed capital and resource budget is in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15. [138404]

Damian Green: The current directors of the Police IT Board are:

Helen Kilpatrick—Home Office

Stephen Webb—Home Office

Nick Gargan—Home Office (on secondment to HMIC)

Simon Parr—Chair of Operational Requirements Board

Ailsa Beaton—Chair of ACPO Information Management Business Area

David Riddle—Chair of Ministry of Defence Police Committee

Simon Duckworth—Chair of Association of Police and Crime Commissioners

Malcolm Cornberg—Serious Organised Crime Agency

Stephen Greenhalgh—Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime

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Millie Banerjee (Chair of British Transport Police Authority).

We are currently developing the company business plan to determine capital and resource requirements for the new business for approval by the company board.

Police: Professional Organisations

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made on the formation of a new police professional body. [138881]

Damian Green: Since I last updated the House on progress in October, the College of Policing has become operational. Staff and budgets transferred into the college from its predecessor organisation on 1 December and the college has begun to provide services to police forces.

House of Commons Commission

Cleaning Services

Lisa Nandy: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) what the minimum wage paid by the (a) Commission and (b) its outside cleaning contractor is to cleaning staff who work on the Parliamentary Estate; [138878]

(2) what the value is of the contract awarded by the Commission for the cleaning of hon. Members' offices on the Parliamentary Estate in areas other than the Palace of Westminster; [138879]

(3) what estimate he has made of the level of reduction in cleaning staff numbers as a result of the business improvement plan. [138880]

John Thurso: Cleaning staff employed by the House earn at least £8.70 per hour (£15,387 full-time equivalent per annum calculated on the basis of net hours worked). The wages paid to the staff of the cleaning contractor are, of course, a matter for their employer. However, I understand that the basic pay rate for these cleaners is currently £8.30 per hour and that the contractor plans to increase this to £8.55 from 1 April 2013 in line with the London living wage.

The current cleaning contract covers all areas of the Parliamentary Estate except for hon. Members' offices and a small number of other areas.

The business improvement plan for cleaning (which was endorsed by the Commission in December 2012) is now concentrating on in-house cleaning resources in the heritage areas of the Palace of Westminster, where our staff can develop expertise in cleaning areas that are part of the World Heritage Site. Some areas, including some Members' offices, which were previously cleaned by the in-house team are being handed over to the contractor as part of this process. The transfer process began on 31 December and will be completed by 1 April.

We expect that this exercise will provide clearer oversight and accountability. It should initially be cost neutral, but result in reduced costs when the contract is re-tendered this summer.

Following the Department of Facilities Business Improvement Plan implementation, the number of cleaners directly employed by the House will reduce from 45 to

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30 (22.9 to 15.9 full-time equivalents, as these staff work part time). This will be achieved by releasing staff when they come to the end of their fixed term contracts.

The Director of Accommodation and Logistics Services would be happy to discuss these matters further with the hon. Member.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the House authorities have taken to encourage early tabling of written parliamentary questions to assist the Table Office with its daily workload. [139232]

John Thurso: The Procedure Committee proposed a cut-off time for e-tabling in its Third Report of 2008-09, on the grounds that

“action must be taken to smooth the workload of the Table Office and ensure that each and every question receives the most thorough consideration”.

This proposal was agreed by the House, and there is a cut-off of 6.30 pm (or the rising of the House if earlier) on Mondays to Wednesdays. This has helped smooth the workflow in the Table Office.

I have invited the Principal Clerk of the Table Office to consider what other steps could be taken to encourage the tabling of questions earlier in the day. He would be happy to discuss this issue further with the hon. Gentleman.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) how many and what proportion of questions for written answer on a named day by the House of Commons Commission (a) received a substantive answer after the named day and (b) have not received a substantive answer in this Session; [139309]

(2) how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by the House of Commons Commission (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session. [139310]

John Thurso: Of the 21 questions tabled to the House of Commons Commission between 9 May 2012 and 18 January 2013 for written answer on a named day, all received a substantive answer, of which six were provided after the named day.

Of the 42 questions tabled to the House of Commons Commission between 9 May 2012 and 18 January 2013 for ordinary written answer, 39 were answered within 30 days. Three questions tabled on 18 January will be answered shortly.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Supply Estimates

Helen Goodman: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, for what reasons the Independent Parliamentary Standards

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Authority (IPSA) has requested a supplementary estimate for 2012-13; and what decision the Speaker's Committee for IPSA has reached in relation to that request. [139143]

Mr Charles Walker: IPSA has not requested any additional funding. It has requested a supplementary estimate for the following reasons:

(a) to enable IPSA to retain rental income from the subletting of half of its office space and to include this rental income of £56,000 in the Estimate for subhead B (IPSA operations);

(b) to establish a new subhead D to hold £365,000 costs arising from additional work on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and from the Information Commissioner's Office decision notice that IPSA should release receipts for MPs' expenses; and

(c) to transfer £365,000 from subhead A, where forecasts indicate it will not be required to support MPs' pay, staffing and expenses, to fund the additional and previously unforeseen costs in the new subhead D.

The Committee has approved the draft supplementary estimate without modification, in line with the advice provided to it under statute by HM Treasury. The draft supplementary estimate will be laid before the House in February.

International Development

Developing Countries: Children

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment her Department has made of the incidence of child labour in developing countries. [139198]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development has not carried out independent assessments of the global incidence of child labour. We do however work with organisations, such as the International Labour Organisation who produce a quadrennial global report on child labour.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department works with UK multinational companies to reduce the incidence of child labour in developing countries. [139261]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development provides support to voluntary mechanisms such as the UK's Ethical Trading Initiative and Fairtrade International to help UK businesses, some of which are multinational companies, to reduce the incidence of child labour in developing countries. Businesses that sign up to these initiatives are committed to take action if they learn that child labour is used in their supply chains.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking together with international partners to reduce the incidence of child labour in developing countries. [139262]

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Mr Duncan: Child labour is unacceptable and the coalition Government are committed to tackling it. The UK provides significant support to UNICEF, which is mandated to promote the protection and rights of the child, to meet children's basic needs and expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. The UK Government are also working with other governments, international organisations and civil society organisations to remove children from labour. For example, by working with Anti-Slavery International, the UK Government are helping to remove 24,000 children from begging and put them into school.

Human Trafficking

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects targeting human trafficking her Department is supporting; in which countries; and what funding commitment her Department has made to each such project. [138697]

Mr Duncan: DFID is currently supporting a regional anti-trafficking project in South Asia, focusing on India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The funding commitment is £3 million for 2012-15. DFID also currently supports Anti-Slavery International's global anti-trafficking project that has a funding commitment of £1,435,049 for 2008-13.

Private Education

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in her Department were in receipt of continuity of education allowance in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12; and what the cost to her Department was of providing this allowance for staff based (i) in the UK and (ii) overseas in each such year. [139167]

Mr Duncan: DFID reimburses employees on overseas postings for private schooling overseas or boarding school fees in the UK for their children, within financial ceilings.

The terms and conditions of employment in DFID are set in order to recruit, motivate and retain staff who are skilled and equipped to meet DFID's objectives. Those with children have a legal obligation as parents to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the age of five, and they pay UK tax wherever they work. Most parents prefer to take their children with them, but in some countries they are not permitted to do so, either for health or security reasons. Continuity of education is also an important factor, particularly at secondary level.

The information provided is based on centrally held information relating to education continuity payments to Home Civil Service (HCS) staff and does not include school fees paid locally.

The amount spent on education allowance by DFID and the number of HCS staff who have benefited from education continuity payments is provided in the following table:

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 2009-102010-112011-12

Total number of employees

48

47

42

    

Employees in UK (£)

127,909

96,374

141,609

Employees overseas (£)

1,190,901

964,932

889,141

Cost (£)

1,318,810

1,061,306

1,030,750

Procurement

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what criteria her Department will use to assess the performance of its suppliers against its Statement of Priorities and Expectations for Suppliers; and how frequently such assessments are to be made. [139263]

Mr Duncan: The clear expectation is that suppliers will not only sign up to the DFID Statement of Priorities and Expectations, but will also set out—in writing—exactly how they will make sure they deliver on their commitments. Failure to do so could be taken into account by DFID through the tendering process.

We receive feedback from our country offices all over the world on supplier behaviour and performance. We will monitor supplier commitment to the code and discuss this regularly with them.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development with reference to section 1(d) in her Department's Statement of Priorities and Expectations for Suppliers, what definition of fair but not excessive rewards her Department uses. [139264]

Mr Duncan: Any such assessment takes into account risk and reward but given the context of DFID's work, expectations are for substantially lower margins than standard industries.

This is part of the ongoing process of working with suppliers individually and collectively to get value for money, as under the previous Government, no strategic value for money review of suppliers had taken place.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) 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; [139311]

(2) 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. [139312]

Mr Duncan: From the beginning of this parliamentary Session (9 May 2012 to 22 January 2013), DFID has answered 181 of its 188 (96.3%) named day parliamentary questions (PQs) on time and the remaining 7 (3.7%) within two sitting days. DFID has provided a substantive answer to all named day PQs during this parliamentary

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Session. DFID has also answered 99% of all ordinary written PQs within five sitting days, with none answered after 30 days.

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.

Justice

Constituencies

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of using the Census population figures at the time of their update as the basis for the boundary review. [138426]

Miss Chloe Smith: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The electoral register has been the basis for parliamentary boundary reviews since the creation of the independent Boundary Commissions. The Government do not believe that using population figures derived from census data would provide a better basis for a boundary review than using the annually updated electoral register.

The national census data provide a benchmark for the population estimates. However, as the ONS recognises, it is difficult to measure objectively the quality of the estimates due to the range of information used in the construction of them. Importantly, the national census only takes place every 10 years. Also, the population figures will include persons who are not eligible to register to vote, for example on grounds of citizenship or age.