25 Jan 2013 : Column 457W

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 25 January 2013

Attorney-General

Fraud and Tax Evasion: Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many corporate prosecutions for fraud and tax evasion the Crown Prosecution Service has carried out in each year since 2010; and how many such prosecutions resulted in a conviction. [139546]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service does not hold data centrally related to whether a prosecution concerned a company or an individual. Such data could not be reasonably obtained locally or nationally other than by a manual exercise at disproportionate cost.

Fraud: VAT

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions for VAT fraud the Crown Prosecution Service has carried out in each year since 2010; and how many such prosecutions resulted in a conviction. [139545]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes offences involving VAT fraud investigated by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The CPS holds data related to tax evasions of all kinds, and information related specifically to VAT frauds could not be reasonably obtained other than by undertaking a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.

The number of prosecutions and convictions for tax evasion offences of all kinds since 2010 is shown in the following table:

 Defendants prosecutedConvictions

2010-11

247

190

2011-12

699

565

2012-13

441

349

These figures represent defendants prosecuted by the CPS where the most serious offence category recorded at the time the case was completed was categorised as an identifiably tax or excise evasion-type offence.

Minimum Wage: Prosecutions

Chris Bryant: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions were successfully carried out for failure to abide by national minimum wage legislation in each year since 2008. [139574]

The Attorney-General: Based on information provided by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has responsibility for enforcing the law in relation to the national minimum wage (NMW), prosecutions brought

25 Jan 2013 : Column 458W

by the former Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office resulted in four convictions in 2008, one in 2009 and one in 2010.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Attorney-General what proportion of procurement contracts offered by the Law Officers' Departments has been advertised on the Contracts Finder website since that website's inception. [138859]

The Attorney-General: In line with Government procurement policy, the Law Officer's Departments procure the majority of their requirements through pre-existing departmental or pan-Government agreements. Contract opportunities which are in excess of £10,000 and that cannot be met through these agreements are offered through the Contracts Finder website.

The SFO has advertised one contract opportunity on the Contracts Finder website of an estimated 20 potential contract opportunities since January 2011. The SFO does not maintain a register of contracts below £10,000 in value and is therefore not able to calculate the exact proportion of total opportunities that this represents.

The SFO is currently reviewing the services available under the Contracts Finder website with a view to using it more extensively for advertising contract opportunities and for publishing awards including those made under existing framework agreements.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department, Attorney-General's Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate have offered five contract opportunities via this website, which represents 100% of applicable contracts.

Details of a further 24 contracts that were only open to companies that had been awarded a place on a pre-existing departmental or pan-Government framework agreement, have also been published on the Contract Finder website.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has offered six contracts via the Contracts Finder website since January 2011. Details of a total of 23 contracts tendered (offered) or awarded by the CPS have been published. This is a proportion of 26%. The remainder of the contracts that have been let have been through cross-Government procurement arrangements.

In accordance with the requirement to publish information on the Contracts Finder website, the CPS only offers contract opportunities via the website that are not covered by a pre-existing CPS or pan-Government agreements and are in excess of £10.000. They are therefore unable to calculate the total proportion of contract opportunities which are offered via the Contracts Finder website.

Rape: Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many rape trials the Crown Prosecution Service has prosecuted in each of the last three years; and how many such prosecutions were conducted either wholly or in part by prosecutors who are not specialist rape prosecutors. [139548]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of case outcomes of defendants prosecuted for offences of rape by way of a monitoring flag, applied to the case record on the Case

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Management System (CMS). Contested hearings (or trials) arise where the defendant either enters not guilty pleas to all charges or where a mixture of guilty and not guilty pleas has been entered, and where these pleas are not acceptable to the Crown. The following table represents the number of defendants, in each of the last three years, where a contested outcome has been recorded, inclusive of cases where defendants have entered a mixture of guilty and not guilty pleas.

 Number of defendants

2009-10

1,647

2010-11

1,906

2011-12

1,855

It is not possible to ascertain how many of these contested proceedings were conducted either wholly or in part by non-specialist rape prosecutors without examining individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.

The CPS defines rape as any offence from the following list:

Section 1 Sexual Offences Act 1956;

Section 5 Sexual Offences Act 1956;

Section 1 Sexual Offences Act 2003;

Section 5 Sexual Offences Act 2003;

Section 30(3) Sexual Offences Act 2003;

An attempt to commit any of the above offences under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981;

Incitement or conspiracy to commit any of the above offences.

It is not possible to disaggregate figures to show separately the volume and outcome of proceedings for each individual offence on this list. A single defendant may be charged with more than one offence.

Serious Fraud Office: Autonomy

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether Autonomy has entered into any contracts with the Serious Fraud Office at any time since 2010. [139547]

The Solicitor-General: A number of law enforcement agencies including the SFO use Autonomy software and have entered into contracts with Autonomy Systems Ltd.

The SFO entered into a contract with Autonomy Systems Ltd on 1 June 2009 for an initial period of five years extendable by a further two years. This was extended in June 2011.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Attorney-General (1) how many and what proportion of questions tabled for written answer on a named day by the Law Officers' Departments (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session; [139279]

(2) how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by the Law Officers' Departments (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session. [139280]

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The Solicitor-General: To date only five (3.5%) ordinary questions tabled to the Attorney-General's Office during the current Session have taken more than five sitting days to answer. All of these five questions were answered within 30 days.

One (1.5%) question tabled to the Attorney-General for named day answer during the current Session received a substantive answer three days after the named day. All of the remaining questions have been answered on the named day.

As of 23 January we had two ordinary written questions and six named day questions due for answer. None of these is overdue.

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.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Business: Audit

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had on simplifying the audit requirements on small and medium-sized companies. [138886]

Jo Swinson: In October 2011 the Department consulted on proposals to reduce auditing requirements for small companies and subsidiaries. From that time until the changes were made in October 2012 my officials regularly discussed the proposals with representatives of preparers, users and auditors of company accounts.

At EU level we continue to discuss audit requirements for medium-sized companies, pressing for a more proportionate regime.

Clothing: Fire Prevention

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on trading regulations concerned with making children's clothing fire retardant. [139533]

Jo Swinson: I have received no recent representations regarding making children's clothing fire retardant.

Schools: Snow and Ice

Iain Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of employee working hours lost when a school has to close due to inclement weather. [139867]

Jo Swinson: The Department has made no such estimates.

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Senior Civil Servants

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of officials of the three most senior grades in his Department have (a) resigned, (b) taken voluntary early retirement, (c) left the Department for alternative employment, (d) been dismissed, (e) taken long-term sick leave and (f) taken administrative leave since May 2010. [139209]

Jo Swinson: Since May 2010 the numbers of senior civil servants from core BIS who have (a) resigned, (b) taken voluntary early retirement, (c) left the Department for alternative employment, (d) been dismissed, (e) taken long-term sick leave and (f) taken administrative leave are as follows:

 Number

(a)

16

(b)

32

(c)

(1)

(d)

0

(e)

(2)4

(f)

0

(1) BIS does not centrally collect details of the future plans of staff who leave. (2 )Defined as over 30 working days lost.

Shipping: Foreign Workers

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of rates of pay for non-UK seafarer ratings and officers employed on UK-registered vessels; and what proportion of such seafarers are working for rates of pay below the national minimum wage. [139159]

Jo Swinson: The Department does not hold this information.

The minimum wage expressly applies to seafarers working on a UK-registered vessel, unless either their employment is wholly outside the UK or they are not ordinarily resident in the UK. In addition, case law has established the principle that a person with a sufficiently strong connection to the UK can take advantage of UK employment rights such as the minimum wage. Each case has to be considered on its individual facts.

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

Tour de France

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department plans to give to businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber to ensure they maximise the benefits from hosting the Tour de France in 2014. [138884]

Michael Fallon: I am delighted that Yorkshire has been selected to host the first two stages of Tour de France 2014.

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I am keen for BIS to help secure and sustain the benefits of this success which, I understand, could have an economic legacy of around £100 million. BIS officials, working with businesses, intermediary organisations and Local Enterprise Partnerships, will ensure the business support services and investment programmes of the Department help deliver this legacy. We will also learn from the outstanding UKTI experience during the Olympics.

Cabinet Office

Business

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many small and medium-sized business product surgeries have taken place in (a) North Yorkshire, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England to date. [138905]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Cabinet Office introduced product surgeries to give procurers an opportunity to see what SMEs can offer before launching a procurement exercise. In the “One Year On” report published in March 2012, eight Departments had been involved in six surgeries. We encourage Departments to consider using product surgeries as part of their pre-procurement engagement with the market but we do not collect or hold further information on the number of product surgeries or where they are held.

Civil Service: Reform

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress he is making on reform of the civil service. [138901]

Mr Maude: The Civil Service Reform Plan, published on 19 June 2012, sets out a series of specific and practical actions that will enable the civil service to meet current and future challenges. It is the first steps in an ongoing programme of reform.

Since the publication, progress at implementing the actions has been mixed. The pace of reform must accelerate over this year. Last year the Government published digital strategies, outlining the first wave of public services to become "digital-by-default". Our Next Generation Shared Services Strategy outlines how we will share corporate services across Government.

We have also taken steps to increase the accountability of the civil service. In December, the objectives of permanent secretaries were published online for the first time ever including information on their operational and commercial experience. And to ensure the civil service has the very best talent working for it we recently announced the introduction of a new Fast Track Apprentice Scheme.

Conditions of Employment

Ann McKechin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of staff in No. 10 Downing street work (a) part-time, (b) in a job-share or (c) in another flexible working arrangement. [139377]

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Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office, including 10 Downing street, currently employs 7% of all staff on a part-time basis.

Details of staff working in job-share or other flexible working arrangements are not collected centrally.

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many (a) consultations and (b) policy reviews each Department has held since May 2010. [139249]

Mr Letwin: Information about the number of policy reviews is not held centrally. The number of consultations held between January 2012 and the start of December 2012 has been collected by Cabinet Office—460 were held by Government in that time period. Similar figures are not held for 2010 and 2011.

Employment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many and what proportion of people were

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employed in the

(a)

private and

(b)

public sector in each constituency in each of the last 15 years. [139277]

Mr Hurd: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 372W.

Health

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the average measure of well-being was for each sex of each ethnic group in the latest period for which figures are available. [139242]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director-General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question.

ONS has not currently published an analysis of ethnic group by sex; however, we are currently undertaking this type of analysis and plan to publish by April 2013. An analysis of subjective well-being by ethnic group was published in July 2012, please see following table:

Average (mean) life satisfaction, worthwhile, happy yesterday and anxious yesterday ratings(1): by ethnic group(2), April 2011 to March 2012(3, 4). United Kingdom
 Average (mean)(5)
 Life satisfactionWorthwhileHappy yesterdayAnxious yesterday

White

7.4

7.7

7.3

3.1

Gypsy, Traveller/Irish Traveller(6, 7)

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups

7.1

7.5

7.1

3.4

Indian

7.5

7.6

7.4

3.4

Pakistani

7.2

7.4

7.1

3.5

Bangladeshi

7.0

7.3

7.1

3.6

Chinese

7.4

7.4

7.3

3.3

Any other Asian background

7.4

7.6

7.4

3.4

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British(8)

6.7

7.4

6.9

3.4

Arab

7.1

7.4

7.1

3.7

Other ethnic group

7.2

7.4

7.2

3.4

(1) Adults aged 16 and over were asked ‘Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?’, ‘Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?’, ‘Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?’ and ‘Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?’ where nought is ‘not at all’ and 10 is ‘completely’. (2) There are some differences in the way ethnic group data is collected and the terminology used across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. (3) Non-respondents not included. (4) These first annual estimates of subjective well-being are considered to be experimental published at an early stage to involve users in their development and to allow feedback from users. (5) Sample too small for reliable estimate. (6) There are differences in data collection across the UK, however responses from GB and Northern Ireland have been combined to produce a UK estimate. Note that 'Roma' responses are not included within this group. (7) In Scotland, the ‘African’ category is collected and presented separately to ‘Caribbean’ or ‘Black’, however under the harmonised UK output, these two categories are output as Black/African/Caribbean/Black British. The African categories used in Scotland could potentially capture ‘White/Asian/Other African’ in addition to ‘Black’ identities. Source: April 2011 to March 2012, Annual Population Survey Subjective Well-being Experimental dataset, ONS

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether he has made an assessment of the effect of (a) marriage, (b) religion and spirituality, (c) employment, (d) perceived health, (e) quality of government and (f) social relations on levels of happiness. [139266]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director-General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of (a) marriage, (b) religion and spirituality, (c) employment, (d) perceived health, (e) quality of government and (f) social relations on levels of happiness. (139266)

Subjective well-being estimates are available from the Annual Population Survey subjective well-being dataset for April 2011 to March 2012. The following table provides estimates from the question 'how happy did you feel yesterday?' by marital status, economic activity and self-reported health.

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Happy yesterday(1,2) by self-reported health, marital status(3) and economic activity, April 2011 to March 2012(4,5), United Kingdom
  Percentage in each category on 11 point scale
  Very low (0 to 4)Low (5 and 6)Medium (7 and 8)High (9 and 10)

Economic Activity

In employment

9.1

18.3

42.8

29.9

 

Unemployed

17.5

22.1

35.3

25.1

 

Economically inactive

12.6

17.0

34.6

35.7

      

Self-reported Health

Very good

6.3

14.2

40.7

38.9

 

Good

9.2

18.5

42.2

30.0

 

Fair

15.4

23.1

36.0

25.5

 

Bad

31.2

24.8

26.4

17.6

 

Very bad

48.4

19.7

17.4

14.4

      

Marital Status

Married/Civil partnership

7.9

15.9

40.3

35.9

 

Cohabiting

10.5

18.9

41.1

29.5

 

Single

13.2

20.1

39.5

27.2

 

Widowed

12.7

19.1

34.8

33.3

 

Divorced, separated or former civil partner

17.4

20.7

35.6

26.3

(1) Adults aged 16 and over were asked 'Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?' where nought is 'not at all' and 10 is 'completely'. (2) 'Married' includes people in Civil Partnerships, '.Cohabiting' includes same sex couples (but not in a Civil Partnership), 'Widowed' includes surviving civil partners and 'Divorced' includes people who are separated and separated/dissolved Civil Partnerships. (3) Non-respondents not included. (4) These first annual estimates of subjective well-being are considered to be experimental, published at an early stage to involve users in their development and to allow feedback from users. Source: April 2011 to March 2012, Annual Population Survey Subjective Well-being Experimental dataset, ONS

ONS has not made any assessment of subjective well-being and religion and spirituality, quality of Government, or social relations.

Internet

Andrew Percy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate he has made of the number of people with access to the internet in (a) Brigg and Goole constituency, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England. [139616]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated 23 January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what estimate has been made of the number of people with access to the Internet in (a) Brigg and Goole constituency, (b) Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) England. 139616

Estimates of Internet use by adults aged 16 years and over are published quarterly by the Office for National Statistics and are available on our website. These estimates are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and have United Kingdom (UK) coverage. The latest available estimate (in respect of 2012 Q3) of

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the number of adults who have ever used the Internet in Yorkshire and the Humber is 3.6 million. The estimate for England is 36.1 million. Estimates at parliamentary constituency level are not available.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress his Department has made in eliminating pre-qualification questionnaires for procurements with a value of under £100,000. [138903]

Miss Chloe Smith: Before 2010 pre-qualification questionnaires and other unnecessary bureaucracy made it harder for small companies to win business with Government. This Government are determined to address this and create a level playing field for businesses of all sizes. Since May 2010 the Government have eliminated the use of pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) for procurements below the EU threshold of approximately £100,000 in 15 central Government Departments, including the Cabinet Office.

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many procurement contracts his Department has awarded to small businesses since May 2010. [138904]

Miss Chloe Smith: Since January 2011, the Cabinet Office has published its contracts above the value of £10,000 on the Contracts Finder website:

www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Up to December 2012, 850 of these contracts have been awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Previously, information on contracts awarded to SMEs was not routinely monitored.

The spend with SMEs is published in the Cabinet Office Quarterly Data Summaries on the Department's website:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/business-plan-quarterly-data-summary

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans his Department has to make Contracts Finder more accessible for small service businesses. [138906]

Miss Chloe Smith: In October 2012, we transferred Contracts Finder from the BusinessLink service to become part of GOV.UK. We are keen to further develop the site's functionality and accessibility to improve the service for all suppliers. In particular, we recognise that the search function can be improved and we will be addressing this.

Julian Smith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress he has made on encouraging small businesses to bid for Government contracts. [138908]

Miss Chloe Smith: Direct spend with SMEs across Government has increased. An additional £1.5 billion has gone to SMEs in 2011-12 (compared to 2009-10) at a time when overall spending has declined.

All Departments are in the process of putting in place plans to deliver an increase in their spend with SMEs and the Prime Minister has asked the Minister

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for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), to rigorously examine them and report back to him on progress on our aspiration of 25% of central Government procurement spend being with SMEs by the end of this Parliament.

That's why we will continue to make the way we do business more competitive, more transparent, better value and far simpler than before.

Church Commissioners

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, how many and what proportion of questions for written answer on a named day by the Church Commissioners (a) received a substantive answer after the named day and (b) have not received a substantive answer in this Session. [139285]

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners so far in this Session 2012-13 have answered all written answers by the specified named day.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by the Church Commissioners (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session. [139286]

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners so far in this Session 2012-13 have answered all ordinary written answers within the specified period.

Communities and Local Government

Building Regulations

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what benchmarks he has set to monitor the success of the amended Part G building regulations; [139617]

(2) if he plans to extend building regulations under Part G3 of the building regulations to require the continued maintenance of hot water systems in all buildings; [139618]

(3) who is responsible for the enforcement of the amended Part G building regulations; and what assessment he has made of the monitoring of adherence to the amended Part G building regulations; [139619]

(4) whether he plans to extend the existing G3 building regulations to cover all bathroom refurbishments where baths have been replaced. [139638]

Mr Foster: The amendments to Part G and the associated statutory guidance in Approved Document G were introduced in 2010. The changes included a limit on the temperature of water delivered to baths in new homes.

The Department is planning a post-implementation review of Part G which will consider its impact and effectiveness. The benchmarks used in the review will

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include the requirements and performance criteria given in Part G and Approved Document G. There are no plans to amend the current requirements until after that review has been completed.

The responsibility for compliance with Building Regulations, including Part G requirements, falls on the person carrying out the work. Where it is found to be non-compliant by a building control body (local authority or private sector approved inspector) a local authority has the power to take formal enforcement action in appropriate cases.

Housing Benefit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the potential effect of the introduction of size criteria in the social rented sector on population density in seaside towns with large numbers of houses in multiple occupation. [139234]

Mr Prisk: As the Department responsible for housing benefit, the Department for Work and Pensions has published an impact assessment on the social sector size criteria on its website.

Local Government Finance

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the like-for-like percentage change in formula funding was between 2012-13 and the provisional allocations for 2013-14 for (a) rural upper tier authorities, (b) urban upper tier authorities, (c) all rural authorities and (d) all urban authorities. [137887]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 18 January 2013]: My Department does not publish such figures by both rural classification and local government tier.

Details of the provisional settlement formula funding figures by local authority can be found at:

www.local.communities.gov.uk/finance/1314/settle.htm

Culture, Media and Sport

Direct Selling

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consideration she has given to taking steps to improve the clarity of responsibility between the Information Commission Office and Ofcom with regards to nuisance telephone calls. [137491]

Mr Vaizey: In July, I met the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Ofcom and Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and pressed for improved clarity and awareness about their respective roles, in relation to the receipt of unsolicited nuisance marketing calls. Consequently, ICO and Ofcom (and TPS) have significantly improved their available advice through improved website pages, including whom to contact when making a complaint. Also, Ofcom has improved and clarified information that is provided to consumers online at:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/telecoms/privacy

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and its Consumer Guide signposts the correct place to make a complaint about a range of nuisance calls:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2012/10/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages

Furthermore, as part of the Department's Communications Review, we also sought views from consumers and business about their concerns in relation to nuisance calls, texts and emails. We are carefully considering responses and will be making known our views through the White Paper, which may follow later this year.

Metropolitan Police

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding her Department allocated to the Metropolitan Police in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; how much she plans to allocate in future years; and if she will make a statement. [139421]

Hugh Robertson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has made no allocation of funding to the Metropolitan police in 2010-11, 2011-12 or 2012-13 and has no plans in place, at present, to allocate funds in future years.

Sports: Facilities

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding is available to allow (a) community sports groups and (b) school groups to travel to specialist facilities. [138993]

Hugh Robertson: The information is as follows:

(a) Sport England does not directly fund travel costs; however, individual clubs may set aside funding for this specific purpose.

(b) Sport England does not provide funding for this.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding is available for the creation of specialist sports facilities in England and Wales. [138994]

Hugh Robertson: In England, Sport England’s Places, People, Play Legacy programme is investing £30 million over the next three years to support innovative, large-scale, multi-sport facilities' projects through its Iconic Facilities scheme. Thirteen Iconic projects have been supported to date with potential investment of £20 million.

Sport is a devolved matter and the Welsh Government are the appropriate body to provide information regarding facilities in Wales.

Defence

Apache Helicopter

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of upgrading an Apache AH64D helicopter to the new variant AH64E; and if he will make a statement. [139104]

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Mr Dunne: The Attack Helicopter Capability Sustainment Programme is currently in its concept phase. All viable options to maintain operational attack helicopter capability are being investigated. Potential costs are not yet clear and no decisions have been made.

Defence: Procurement

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the total cost of the Network Enabled Airspace Defence and Surveillance project. [139028]

Mr Dunne: We do not routinely publish costs for projects which have not passed their main investment decision. I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

European Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service date is of the Future Capabilities Programme for the Tranche 2 Typhoon. [139029]

Mr Dunne: The in-service date for the Future Capabilities Programme for Tranche 2 Typhoon is December 2013.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of recent reports of (a) high temperatures on the horizontal tail surfaces at high altitude, (b) problems with transonic wing roll-off, (c) poor image quality in helmet-mounted displays at night, including green glow, and (d) delays in software delivery in the F-35B joint strike fighter programme; [138143]

(2) what assessment he has made of recent reports of significantly degraded performance in (a) accelerating to Mach speed and (b) the ability to sustain high G force turns by the F-35B aircraft. [138145]

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

In each case, issues reported have been investigated and solutions are being developed.

Parking

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what contracts for providing car park management services to his Department are held by private companies; [132551]

(2) what the total value is of any contracts between his Department and private companies for car park management services in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) South Lanarkshire local authority area. [132552]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence does not hold any contracts with private companies for the provision of car park management services.

25 Jan 2013 : Column 471W

Private Education

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. [139165]

Mr Francois [holding answer 24 January 2013]: The purpose of continuity of education allowance (CEA) is to allow the children of service personnel to achieve a stable education against a background of parental postings both at home and overseas.

The amount paid to service personnel based in the UK and overseas for financial years 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 can be found in the following table:

Financial yearNumber of personnel receiving CEAAmount paid to personnel in UK (£ million)Amount paid to personnel overseas (£ million)

2009-10

6,020

90.9

20.4

2010-11

6,090

94.6

20.2

2011-12

5,680

89.4

21.5

Elements of CEA are subject to a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Settlement Agreement with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes. Therefore, in addition to the money paid to individuals, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) also makes payments to HMRC for tax and national insurance (NI) following the grossing up of CEA. The amounts paid for financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11 can be found in the following table:

Financial yearTax and NI Costs(1) (£ million)

2009-10

65.6

2010-11

(2)83.4

2011-12

78.5

(1) Costs for tax and NI quoted are for all personnel, irrespective of location. (2) The significant increase in tax and NI costs are due to a variety of factors including an increase in the value of the PAYE Settlement with HMRC and changes in Tax Bands.

Shipping

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent review has been undertaken of the Royal Navy's strategic need for (a) roll-on roll-off shipping, (b) merchant vessels and (c) merchant seafarers; and if he will make a statement; [135779]

(2) what his policy is on the Royal Navy's strategic need for merchant ships; and how many vessels meeting that strategic need will entail chartering in each of the next 10 years; [135780]

(3) what recent review has been undertaken of the effects of employment trends in the Merchant Navy on the Royal Navy's strategic capabilities; and if he will make a statement; [135782]

(4) what the reasons were for the decision to reduce the strategic sealift roll-on roll-off fleet. [135785]

Mr Dunne: The review of the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) strategic sealift requirement, conducted in 2011, concluded that for the movement of cargo by sea,

25 Jan 2013 : Column 472W

strategic support is primarily provided through the private finance initiative (PFI) strategic sealift service, and that better value for money would be achieved if the number of vessels contracted as part of this PFI was reduced from six to four. The PFI strategic sealift service now comprises four British flagged roll-on roll-off vessels used for MOD business, manned by British mercantile marine officers and crews. If required, additional sealift capacity is chartered by means of competitive tenders.

No review has been undertaken on the effects of employment trends in the Merchant Navy on the Royal Navy's strategic capabilities and there are no plans to do so.

Education

Schools: Sports

Dame Tessa Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he expects the Ofsted report into school sports to be published. [138141]

Mr Laws: This question is a matter for Ofsted. HM chief inspector; Sir Michael Wilshaw, has written to the hon. Member, and a copy of his response has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Sir Michael Wilshaw, dated 16 January 2013:

Your recent Parliamentary question has been passed to me, as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for response.

I expect that Ofsted’s report, Physical education in schools 2008-12, will be published in February 2013. It will focus on the quality of physical education in schools.

A copy of this reply has been sent to David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, and will be placed in the library of both Houses.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) when he plans to respond to question 109998 tabled on 23 May 2012; [138825]

(2) when he plans to respond to question 106505 tabled on 9 May 2012. [138826]

Elizabeth Truss: The questions referred to by the hon. Member have now been answered.

PQ 109998 was answered on 23 January 2013, Official Report, column 325W.

PQ 106505 was answered on 24 January 2013, Official Report, column 397W.

Energy and Climate Change

Biomass: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Scottish Government on the Scottish Government's decision to use planning regulations to reduce the effect of large biomass co- firing and coal conversion on domestic wood suppliers and users; and if he will make a statement. [139630]

25 Jan 2013 : Column 473W

Mr Hayes: DECC Ministers meet regularly with Ministers in the Scottish Government to discuss a range of issues. As has been the case with successive Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Electricity Market Reform

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) upon what assumptions the modelling scenario in his Department's consultation on electricity market reform were based; [139021]

(2) whether, in developing its consultation on electricity market reform, his Department gave consideration to any assumptions other than that there would be no short-term impact on investment following a major change of electricity market arrangements; [139025]

(3) whether, in its consultation on electricity market reform, his Department gave consideration to modelling of the Contracts for Difference on assumptions other than that there are liquid markets and perfect competition. [139026]

Mr Hayes: The analysis of the impact of Electricity Market Reform (EMR) is based on a range of assumptions—such as demand profiles, fossil fuel prices and hurdle rate reductions. These are set out in Annex A on pages 54 to 60 of the January 2013 EMR impact assessment accompanying the Energy Bill, which is available at the following website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/66037/7468-contracts-for-difference-energy-bill-2012.pdf

Hurdle rate reductions used in this latest EMR modelling are derived from my Department's Dynamic Dispatch Model, in conjunction with Oxera's maximum possible hurdle rate reductions (2011):

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

Previous analysis presented alongside the EMR consultation document in December 2010 was conducted by Redpoint Energy and can be found at the following address:

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

This sets out the assumptions and modelling that was used for the purposes of the consultation.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether, in its consultation on electricity market reform, his Department has made an assessment of successful auctions with multiple bidders that have delivered sustained deployment of renewables over the long term as an alternative to its suggested model of Contracts for Difference. [139024]

Mr Hayes: DECC officials have reviewed the effectiveness of competitive processes in other countries for awarding contracts for the deployment of electricity generating plant, including specifically for low-carbon plant.

DECC has commissioned advice from an expert at Oxford university on designing auctions for deploying low-carbon electricity generation. In addition, DECC

25 Jan 2013 : Column 474W

has looked at other auction processes for conventional electricity generating plant, including commissioning advice from international consultants and academics.

Green Deal Scheme

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to his Department's press notice 2012/128 of 19 October 2012, on local energy bills, from which departmental budget the funding for (a) Green Deal pioneer projects and (b) Cheap Energy Together was allocated. [139461]

Gregory Barker: Where underspends are forecast, DECC has internal processes for re-allocating budget to support departmental priorities.

The Green Deal is a priority programme and DECC's work with seven core cities had already demonstrated the effectiveness of funding to local authorities to trial aspects of the Green Deal. It was therefore agreed to allocate additional funding to other councils through the Green Deal Pioneer Places competition to support early take-up.

The Cheaper Energy Together scheme was introduced to test and pilot schemes to enable consumers, particularly the most vulnerable, to obtain a better deal on energy bills.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which Minister approved the award of the Green Deal communications contract to Freud PR. [140024]

Gregory Barker: I approved the recommendation to appoint Freud Communications, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), based on their score from the tender process conducted via the Government Procurement Service Framework Public Relations RM1712 LOT 1.

Insulation

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of insulation installations which have been (a) placed on hold and (b) cancelled in Wales since the ending of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Test and Community Energy Saving Programme on 31 December 2012. [139665]

Gregory Barker: The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving programme (CESP) are administered by Ofgem and delivery of measures under the schemes was a matter for the obligated companies concerned. DECC does not have access to any data on measures which companies may have planned to install under CERT and CESP, but which could not be completed by the end of the schemes.

Obligated companies are also able to offer a range of insulation measures, usually at a subsidised rate or for free, under the new Energy Company Obligation and have been able to do so since 1 October 2012.

25 Jan 2013 : Column 475W

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many times in the last (a) six and (b) 12 months he has met representatives of the insulation industry. [139667]

Gregory Barker: All meetings between external organisations and DECC Ministers are published on a quarterly basis on the DECC section of the:

www.Gov.uk

website and are available for download at this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?keywords=&publication_filter_option=transparency- data&topics%5B%5D=all&departments%5B%5D=department-of-energy-climate-change&direction=after&date=2011-03-01

Renewable Energy

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has commissioned or evaluated on the effectiveness of existing electricity market auctions with multiple bidders in delivering sustained deployment of renewables over the long-term. [139023]

Mr Hayes: DECC officials have reviewed the effectiveness of competitive processes in other countries for awarding contracts for the deployment of electricity generating plant, including specifically for low-carbon plant.

DECC has commissioned advice from an expert at Oxford university on designing auctions for deploying low-carbon electricity generation. In addition, DECC has looked at other auction processes for conventional electricity generating plant, including commissioning advice from international consultants and academics.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bees

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with external organisations on bee health. [136913]

Mr Heath: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), has not met with any outside bodies on bee health issues. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my noble Friend, Lord de Mauley—whose portfolio includes bee health—attended the launch of the Bee Farmers Association's apprenticeship scheme on 23 January.

Bees: Insecticides

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department is carrying out research into the potential harmful effects of using neonicotinoid insecticides in farming and horticulture on (a) bee colonies and (b) the overall bee population. [138924]

Richard Benyon: We take this issue very seriously and have funded a range of work to address gaps in knowledge. We continue to fund a number of research projects on

25 Jan 2013 : Column 476W

the potential impacts of pesticides on bees and other pollinators which will enable us to develop the way these risks are assessed and regulated. Most recently, projects have been commissioned to follow up academic studies on potential impacts on bumblebees. In addition DEFRA contributes to the insect pollinators initiative, which supports research into the main threats to insect pollinators.

Dairy Farming

Heather Wheeler: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress his Department has made on the implementation of the voluntary code of best practice for the dairy industry. [138765]

Mr Heath: The industry code of practice has been agreed and published and is ready to use following months of hard work on all sides. The Government are encouraging dairy farmers and processors to press ahead so that they can start to see the many beneficial terms of the code translated into milk supply contracts.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the state of dairy farming in the UK. [138888]

Mr Heath: 2012 was a difficult year for many people in the dairy industry. However, farm-gate prices have started to improve and the new code of practice on contracts between farmers and processors provides a major opportunity for improved partnership working to overcome challenges and develop the industry's potential.

DEFRA is currently consulting on new rules which could allow English dairy farmers to come together and form producer organisations to sell their combined milk to processing companies rather than negotiate as individuals. This will mean that alongside the industry code of practice, producers could have more influence over contractual terms, conditions and prices. A new £5 million dairy fund, offered through the Rural Development Programme for England, will allow farmers to apply for grants to help them co-operate and take advantage of market opportunities.

The UK currently imports £1.2 billion more dairy produce than it exports, and there is huge potential for growth in domestic and export markets. We are working with the dairy industry and officials at UKTI to explore the potential for developing new markets, including plans for an exports summit.

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made by his Department in discussions over a voluntary code of practice on contractual relationships between dairy processors and producers. [138889]

Mr Heath: The industry code of practice has been agreed and published is ready to use following months of hard work on all sides. The Government are encouraging dairy farmers and processors to press ahead so that they can start to see the many beneficial terms of the code translated into milk supply contracts.

25 Jan 2013 : Column 477W

Farming Regulation Task Force

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the implementation of the Farming Regulation Task Force which reported in May 2011. [138890]

Mr Heath: DEFRA is a deregulatory minded Department. Good progress is being made to reduce regulatory burdens on farmers through our response to the Farming Regulation Task Force where, amongst other initiatives, we are working to reduce the burden of on-farm inspections and paperwork. Costs to farmers of complying with regulations are falling; since 2011 for every £1 of new compliance costs, we are removing over £13 of inefficient compliance costs.

Food Composition

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many officials of his Department work on monitoring food composition; and how many did so in 2010. [138779]

Mr Heath: The Food Standards Agency, and not DEFRA, has responsibility within central Government for food law enforcement, which includes the routine monitoring of foodstuffs to ensure compliance with the legislation on food quality, composition and standards.

However, the administration of a food authenticity research programme that funds the development of methods to detect food mis-labelling and food fraud was an area of responsibility that transferred from the Food Standards Agency to DEFRA in July 2010 under the Machinery of Government changes. Three posts were transferred from the agency to DEFRA as a result of that change. The methods developed under the food authenticity research programme are used by trading standards officers and public analysts in official control laboratories in carrying out their enforcement duties.

National Parks

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding his Department provided for the National Parks Sustainable Development Fund in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [137635]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 17 January 2013]: As part of the 2010 corporate spending review, Ministers agreed that the Sustainable Development Fund, previously set at £200,000 per national park authority per year since 2002-03, would no longer be ring-fenced.

Since 2010-11, this increased flexibility has allowed each national park authority to determine individually how much of its budget to commit to the fund. Ministers fully expect each national park authority to continue to run some form of Sustainable Development Fund grant scheme.

Public Expenditure

Mr Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to his Department's Business Plan 2011-15 what payments

25 Jan 2013 : Column 478W

were made by his Department to organisations as part of achieving Priority 3: Support a strong and sustainable green economy in each year since 2008-09. [135141]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 7 January 2013]: The information is not available for 2008-09 and 2009-10 and it would incur disproportionate cost to identify payments to organisations made by core DEFRA as part of achieving Priority 3: Support a strong and sustainable green economy, as this covers 700 budget lines.

Slaughterhouses

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horses were brought to slaughter at UK abattoirs in each of the last four years. [139526]

Mr Heath: The number of solipeds/equidae slaughtered at approved red meat establishments in the United Kingdom in each of the last four years is given in the following table:

 Number slaughtered

2009

5,100

2010

8,854

2011

9,011

2012

9,405

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bangladesh

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the effect of the ongoing trials for alleged war crimes related to the 1971 Bangladeshi independence war on the political situation in that country. [139361]

Alistair Burt: The British Government support the desire of the Government of Bangladesh to hold to account those who may be guilty of crimes committed during the 1971 war and the principle of war crimes trials. We note that the International Crimes Tribunal reached its first judgment in the trial of Abul Kalam Azad on 21 January. With EU partners, we continue to make clear our strong opposition to the application of the death penalty in all circumstances.

International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and legal professionals have expressed concerns over the judicial proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal. Noting these concerns the Senior Minister of State, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi, has stated that she hoped that the tribunal would address the concerns and ensure the continued integrity and independence of the legal process in Bangladesh. We have called on the Government of Bangladesh, publicly and privately, to ensure that trials meet appropriate international standards. The Senior Minister of State

25 Jan 2013 : Column 479W

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.

We note reports of protests relating to the war crimes Trials. All citizens have a right to hold the Government to account including through legitimate and peaceful protests. However, violence and vandalism have no place in legitimate protests. I hope that the citizens of Bangladesh choose to raise their concerns or grievances through peaceful means.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of religious extremism in Bangladesh. [139363]

Alistair Burt: We are concerned about reports of attacks on religious communities in Bangladesh. We strongly condemn such incidents of violence and discrimination on individuals or groups because of their religion.

Religious freedom and the promotion of human rights are at the heart of this Government's foreign policy. We raise our concerns both bilaterally and through the EU. The Senior Minister of State, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi, raised our concerns in December with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dipu Moni.

The British Government are committed to assisting in efforts to combat extremism. As part of our commitment, we work with Governments in the region to reduce the risk from terrorism and religious extremists.

Banks: EU Action

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the views of the (a) French and (b) German Governments on the (i) establishment of a European banking union and (ii) role of the UK in such a development. [138675]

Greg Clark: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

I refer the hon. Member to the Government's Explanatory Memorandum on European Union Documents No. 13682/12,13683/12 and 12854/12 on the Commission's proposal for a single supervisory mechanism and a communication on the road map towards banking union, along with the Government's impact assessment of those proposals.

Negotiations between the Council of Ministers and European Parliament on the first element of the banking union—the single supervision mechanism—are currently under way, and it would be inappropriate for the Government to comment on the views of other member states while this process is ongoing.

China

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 China; and if he will make a statement. [138837]

25 Jan 2013 : Column 480W

Mr Swire: Our relations with China are broad and increasing in areas of mutual interest: from climate change and financial services, to health care and the arts. At the political level, we have established a set of high-level dialogues between our respective leaders, including the UK-China Summit, our Economic and Financial Dialogue, the Strategic Dialogue discussing foreign policy, and the new People-to-People dialogue discussing culture, sport, media and education. In recognition of the importance of the UK-China relationship, China has been prioritised as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's network shift announced in 2011. We have already started adding around 60 extra staff to our China network and plan to open an additional consulate.

Trade and investment between our countries is growing. Last year bilateral trade stood at over $70 billion and there were new Chinese investments into the UK worth several billion pounds. Cultural links are deepening. The biggest ever British festival in China, UKNow, provided a showcase in China for the best of British art, music and drama. We are also welcoming more Chinese tourists to the UK, and over 500,000 British nationals now travel to China every year.

While there is broad co-operation, the UK and China do not agree on everything. We have differing views on issues such as Syria and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which we raise during our bilateral discussions. We continue to raise our concerns over human rights with the Chinese authorities during high-level discussions such as the annual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. It is in both countries' interest to have a strong, frank and open partnership where differences can be discussed. We look forward to working with China's new leaders to develop a dialogue that is reflective of our growing shared interests.

Costa Rica

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 Costa Rica; and if he will make a statement. [138836]

Mr Swire: The UK and Costa Rica have strong ties and shared values that make us natural partners across a range of issues. We work closely in multilateral fora on climate change and improving human rights. Our work is focused on helping British companies take advantage of the commercial opportunities in Costa Rica across a range of sectors, as well as providing technical support to the Costa Rican Government in a range of areas, including helping to deliver stronger legislation to deal with child pornography. Costa Rica does not have an army, so we have no defence relations.

Mexico

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 Mexico; and if he will make a statement. [138838]

Mr Swire: The UK and Mexico have established an excellent bilateral relationship. Mexico is a strong ally of the UK in Latin America and shares many of our

25 Jan 2013 : Column 481W

values, including on free trade, international security and climate change. With its growing economy, stable business environment and free market approach, it is able to play a key trade and investment role as a destination for our exports and a source of foreign investment. Our close relationship allows us to discuss a wide range of issues and has enabled us to second UK officials to the Mexican Government on both G20 and climate change work over the past two years. We also co-operate closely on issues such as energy, security, human rights and education, and last year helped to establish Memoranda of Understanding in tourism and health between the appropriate bodies.

Most recently, we welcomed Mexico's new President, Enrique Peña Nieto, to the UK in October, ahead of his inauguration.

Pakistan

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 775W, on Pakistan, on how many occasions in each of the last 10 years the Government have sought assurances from Pakistan that UK co-operation in counternarcotics operations would not lead to prosecutions resulting in the death penalty; what form have any assurances received taken; and if he has made any assessment of whether these assurances have subsequently been respected by the Government of Pakistan. [139621]

Alistair Burt: We are currently compiling information to answer the hon. Member’s question. I will write separately to the hon. Member and place a copy of my response in the Library of the House.

Panama

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 Panama; and if he will make a statement. [138835]

Mr Swire: The UK and Panama have a strong bilateral relationship. We co-operate closely on issues such as trade and investment, where our work is focused on helping British companies tap into the opportunities offered by an economy that grew at 11% in 2012. We work with the Panamanian Government to tackle organised crime, in support of the region's security strategy. Earlier this month, for example, our embassy in Panama City hosted a regional conference on fighting financial crime and terrorist funding. We also co-operate on issues such as multilateral foreign policy and education.

Our close co-operation was cemented by a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in November 2012 during my visit to Panama, which commits both countries to annual high-level talks.

Procurement

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of procurement contracts offered by his Department has been advertised on the Contracts Finder website since that website's inception. [138867]

25 Jan 2013 : Column 482W

Mr Lidington: The Department operates both in the UK and across a network of over 260 overseas posts. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has devolved procurement authorities and therefore to gather the total number of contracts could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Since the inception of Contracts Finder in January 2011, the FCO has published 16.4% of our contracts awarded in the UK.

Syria

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends to ask the United Nations Security Council for the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria. [138815]

Alistair Burt: The United Kingdom is not at present seeking the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria, though all options remain on the table.

Our goal remains ensuring full UN Security Council backing for Joint Special Envoy Brahimi and his efforts to fulfil UN efforts on political transition.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of questions for written answer on a named day by his Department (a) received a substantive answer after the named day and (b) have not received a substantive answer in this Session. [139301]

Mr Lidington: Between May and December 2012 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office received 326 questions for answer on a named day. One substantive answer was provided after the named day, which represents 0.3% of all named day questions received during this period. No named day PQs went unanswered.

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 Department's performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of questions tabled for ordinary written answer by his Department (a) were answered after 30 days and (b) have not been answered in this Session. [139302]

Mr Lidington: Between May and December 2012, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) received 1041 questions for ordinary written answer. One question received a written answer after 30 days, which represents 0.1% of all parliamentary questions received during this period. No questions went unanswered.

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

25 Jan 2013 : Column 483W

Departments' performance for the 2010-12 parliamentary session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Zimbabwe

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it remains the Government's policy to maintain sanctions on the President of Zimbabwe and certain Zanu-PF members. [139180]

Mark Simmonds: Discussions are under way in advance of the annual renewal of the restrictive measures, which will take place in February. In July 2012, EU member states agreed that if there is a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum, then the EU should respond with suspension of the majority of targeted measures. Throughout discussions, the UK position will continue to be guided by the principle that we should respond to concrete progress on the ground, and that all existing sanctions on Zimbabwean individuals should be reviewed to ensure they continue to meet the legal criteria for restrictive measures under the EU regime.

We believe that President Mugabe himself continues to meet the criteria for restrictive measures set out in EU law and that the situation in Zimbabwe has not improved sufficiently to warrant any discussion of the suspension of measures against him. Ultimately consensus must be reached among the 27 member states.

Health

Bread: Salt

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of average levels of salt in bread sold in the UK in the last five years. [139245]

Anna Soubry: According to data collected for the Department in early 2011, the average level of salt in bread was estimated to be 1.0 gram salt /100g. This concurs with data provided to the Department by the Federation of Bakers, the trade body representing bread manufacturers, and meets the current responsibility deal salt reduction target for bread.

Members of the Federation of Bakers supply 80% of the United Kingdom's bread and estimate they have reduced the amount of salt in plant-baked bread by 23% over the last decade, and by around a 10% reduction in the last three years.

Doctors: Standards

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors that failed their fitness to practise assessment in each of the last five years in England and Wales (a) were trained in a foreign country or (b) possess a foreign qualification. [139481]

Dr Poulter: The General Medical Council is the independent regulator for doctors in the United Kingdom. Its statutory purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

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The Department does not hold statistics relating to General Medical Council fitness to practise hearings. However, officials have contacted the General Medical Council and the following information has been provided.

The following table shows statistics for the number of doctors who have received sanctions from the General Medical Council. This is categorised into those who received their Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) from a country in the European economic area (EEA), and International Medical Graduates who received their PMQ outside of the EEA. These statistics are for the whole of UK and for the past three years. The General Medical Council is not able to provide this information for just England and Wales or in this format for the years prior to 2009.

How many overseas qualified doctors were found to be impaired in the UK? (Including undertakings but excluding warnings and voluntary erasure)
 EEAIMGTotal

2011

   

Undertakings (CE)

18

46

64

Erasure

16

29

45

Suspension

14

42

56

Conditions

3

9

12

Undertakings (panel)

0

0

0

Impairment (NFA)

0

1

1

Total

51

127

178

    

2010

   

Undertakings (CE)

13

25

38

Erasure

13

36

49

Suspension

13

51

64

Conditions

7

16

23

Undertakings (panel)

1

2

3

Impairment (NFA)

0

2

2

Total

47

132

179

    

2009

   

Undertakings (CE)

9

26

35

Erasure

9

32

41

Suspension

6

39

45

Conditions

6

18

24

Undertakings (panel)

0

1

1

Impairment (NFA)

0

4

4

Total

30

120

150

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many doctors underwent a fitness to practise hearing in each of the last five years in England and Wales; and how many such doctors failed the assessment. [139482]

25 Jan 2013 : Column 485W

Dr Poulter: The General Medical Council is the independent regulator for doctors in the United Kingdom. Its statutory purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

The Department does not hold statistics relating to General Medical Council fitness to practise hearings. However, officials have contacted the General Medical Council and the following information has been provided.

The following table shows how many doctors in the UK were referred to a fitness to practise hearing in the last five years.

 Number of doctors in the UK referred to a fitness to practise hearing

2011

212

2010

314

2009

319

2008

359

2007

196

The following table shows how many doctors were found impaired (including undertakings but excluding warnings, reprimands, and voluntary erasure) in the UK.

 Number of doctors found impaired in the UK

2011

185

2010

225

2009

200

2008

154

2007

211

Doctors who were referred to a fitness to practise panel in a certain year may not be the same doctors that were found impaired by a fitness to practise panel that same year due to the time difference between referral to a panel and the panel outcome.

General Practitioners

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether local area teams will be responsible for the accreditation of GPs with a special interest from April 2013; and if he will make a statement; [139518]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential role of local area teams in accrediting GPs with a special interest; and if he will make a statement. [139519]

Dr Poulter: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 7 January 2013, Official Report, column 102W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford). The current framework for accreditation and re-accreditation is under review. We are considering a number of options, including a role for area teams of the NHS Commissioning Board. Decisions on arrangements from April 2013 will be announced in due course.

Health and Care Professions Council

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has any contingency arrangements in place to support the operation of the

25 Jan 2013 : Column 486W

Health and Care Professions Council if insufficient funding is derived from fees levied on health care professionals. [139341]

Dr Poulter: We are not aware of any concerns that the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has insufficient funds to cover its costs.

The HCPC is financially independent of Government and pays for the costs of its regulatory functions through fees charged to it registrants.

The audited annual accounts of the HCPC, which are required to be laid in Parliament, indicate that in 2011-12 it had a net operating surplus of £97,000. A copy of the accounts can be found at:

www.hpc-uk.org/assets/documents/10003B8AHPCannualreport2011-12.pdf

Health Services: Rural Areas

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how servicing sparsely populated rural communities is being reflected in his Department's formula. [138897]

Dr Poulter: The Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), a specialist group commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), has looked at the issue of the additional cost of delivering services in rural sparsely populated communities repeatedly.

Other than a small adjustment for emergency ambulance costs, ACRA has never been able to identify evidence that would allow it to quantify the size of an adjustment for sparsely populated rural communities. The funding formula already takes into account that rural areas typically have more elderly populations and age is the prime determinant of need for health care services.

However, the recommendations published on 10 January, highlight the potential of a new community services dataset, currently under development, to give the first truly evidence-based insight into the impact of sparsity on the provision of health care.

The NHS Commissioning Board is responsible for allocations to clinical commissioning groups from April 2013.

Lead: Health Hazards

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department issues on the human health effects of exposure to lead; and if he will make a statement. [139568]

Anna Soubry: The Department has not issued guidance on the human health effects of lead. The Health Protection Agency has issued guidance in the form of a Lead Action Card which is available at:

www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1274092896741

Further information on lead incidents is also available at:

www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListDate/Page/1274087220619

25 Jan 2013 : Column 487W

Medicine: Education

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many UK medical students are predicted to graduate in 2013. [139203]

Dr Poulter: This information is not held by the Department. However, data from the UK Foundation Programme Office, which manages recruitment to the programme, show that 7,808 students have applied to the foundation programme from United Kingdom medical schools. The final number progressing to the Foundation programme will depend on the numbers passing final examinations and those withdrawing their applications. Recruitment to the foundation programme is UK-wide and consequently is the responsibility of the four UK Health Departments.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many foundation year places for medical graduates there will be in 2013. [139204]

Dr Poulter: 7,540 foundation programme places were originally planned for 2013 across the United Kingdom, but we are in the process of planning, with Health Education England and the other UK Health Departments, additional posts should they be required, so that all UK medical graduates receive a place on a UK foundation programme.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what options are available to medical graduates who do not receive a place on a foundation training programme; [139205]

(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Scunthorpe of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 621W, on medicine: education, what steps he plans to take to ensure that all medical students graduating in 2013 will receive a place on a foundation training programme in 2013. [139206]

Dr Poulter: We are committed to ensuring that all graduates in the United Kingdom receive a place on a foundation training programme in 2013. Recruitment to the foundation programme is UK-wide and consequently is the responsibility of the four UK Health Departments. We are in the process of planning, with Health Education England and the other UK Health Departments, additional posts should they be required.

NHS Commissioning Board

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how (a) the NHS Commissioning Board and (b) Clinical Commissioning Groups will be held accountable for implementation of the NHS Mandate commitment to offer everyone with a long-term condition a care plan; [138921]

(2) how the implementation of the NHS Mandate commitment to offer everyone with a long-term condition a care plan by (a) the NHS Commissioning Board and (b) Clinical Commissioning Groups will be measured. [138922]

25 Jan 2013 : Column 488W

Dr Poulter: The mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) sets out the Government's ambitions for the health service for the next two years, which includes an objective around offering care plans for those with long-term conditions. The NHS CB is legally required to seek to achieve the objectives in this document.

It is for the Board to decide how it will carry this out; the Government will hold it to account for the outcomes they achieve.

The mandate is one part of a wider cycle of accountability for the NHS CB. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Act) makes clear that:

The Board must publish a business plan each year, setting out how it intends to carry out its functions and deliver the objectives and requirements in the mandate.

The Secretary of State must keep the Board's performance under review, including how it is performing against the mandate.

The Board must publish a report at the end of each year saying how it has performed.

The Secretary of State must then publish an assessment of the Board's performance.

Besides these legal requirements, there will be an ongoing sponsorship relationship between the Department and the Board, which will be outlined in a framework agreement. In particular, the Secretary of State will hold regular formal accountability meetings with the Chair of the Board and the minutes of these meetings will be published.

The NHS CB will in turn hold clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to account. The Board has recently published a Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set which will drive up quality and provide transparency and accountability about the quality of services that CCGs commission for their patients.

While the Board will be expected to give CCGs freedom to commission services tailored to the needs of their local population, CCGs will be accountable to the NHS Commissioning Board through an annual performance assessment. This will, in addition to reviewing progress against the Outcomes Indicator Set, assess how well the CCG has met its financial duties and other statutory duties, including its duty to act consistently with the mandate. This will provide a direct line of accountability back to the expectations set out in the mandate. The Board must publish a report annually summarising the results of all its performance assessments of CCGs.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the development of commissioning policies and service specifications by the NHS Commissioning Board, (1) what consideration he has given to the NHS constitution and patient rights of access to treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and treatment choice; [138951]

(2) what consideration he has given to guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; [138952]

(3) what consideration he has given to its statutory duty to promote innovation and research. [138953]

Dr Poulter: The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Act) places a duty on the National Health Service Commissioning Board (NHS CB) to promote innovation and research and to have regard to National Institute

25 Jan 2013 : Column 489W

for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Quality Standards. In addition, the NHS Constitution sets out patients' right to drugs and treatments that have been approved by NICE if they are clinically appropriate for the individual. The Act also places duties on the NHS CB to promote the NHS Constitution. In future, rights in the NHS Constitution will be underpinned by Regulations made under the Act.

Alongside the statutory duty on the NHS CB to promote innovation and research, the Act allows for regulations to require specified public bodies to have regard to NICE advice or guidance.

The Secretary of State will hold the NHS CB to account for fulfilling its statutory duties. However, it is for the NHS CB to develop its commissioning policies and service specifications.

The NHS CB has also issued planning guidance for clinical commissioning groups—Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013-14. This outlines the incentives and levers that will be used to improve services from April 2013, the first year of the new national health service, where improvement is driven by clinical commissioners. The guidance is published alongside financial allocations to clinical commissioning groups and is accompanied by other documents intended to help local clinicians deliver more responsive health services, focused on improving outcomes for patients, addressing local priorities and meeting the rights people have under the NHS Constitution.