5 Feb 2013 : Column 117W

5 Feb 2013 : Column 117W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the importance of local government support to the arts. [141394]

Mr Vaizey: Ministers within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regularly meet colleagues from the Department for Communities and Local Government to discuss a range of matters.

Broadband

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans her Department has to stimulate broadband take-up by small businesses and encourage innovation by such businesses via the use of broadband. [140555]

Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is working with local authorities as part of their local broadband plans to help them provide support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to exploit the global opportunities offered by the internet. My Department is also working with the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure this activity is integrated with the Government's wider support for SMEs and its broader Information Economy Strategy, currently under development. DCMS is also working closely with the Federation of Small Businesses to ensure SMEs recognise the benefits of faster broadband.

Broadband: Wales

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what plans she is making to upgrade those four per cent of Welsh households who will not be getting superfast broadband by 2015; [141807]

(2) with reference to her agreement with BT to upgrade 96 per cent of the households in Wales to superfast broadband by 2015, which areas of (a) Wales and (b) Arfon constituency have already been upgraded; which areas will be upgraded and when that upgrade will take place; and which areas will not be upgraded by 2015. [141808]

Mr Vaizey: The UK Government have allocated £56.9 million to help stimulate investment in Wales. The Welsh Government are leading on deployment of broadband in Wales and are responsible for the decisions with respect to which areas receive investment. All premises will have at least standard broadband with

5 Feb 2013 : Column 118W

speeds of 2 megabits per second or more if they are not provided with access to superfast broadband. The Welsh Government are also responsible for collecting data on roll-out progress. DCMS will collate data from all projects to monitor progress, but does not currently have any data from the Welsh Government on progress in Wales to date. Further information can be accessed at:

http://www.superfast-wales.com/

Olympic Games 2012: Tickets

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 January 2013 on Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tickets), which Government Ministers received complimentary tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. [141203]

Hugh Robertson: The full list of those who received Government tickets to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games can be found at:

http://www.culture.gov.uk/publications/9672.aspx

Travel and Subsistence Payments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many senior officials in her Department (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices. [141076]

Hugh Robertson: None of the Department's senior officials had or have had such terms of employment specified in their contracts during 2012-13.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many senior officials in her Department's arm's-length bodies (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm's-length body; [141077]

(2) how many senior officials of her Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141079]

Hugh Robertson: The Department does not hold this information centrally.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many chairs in her Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141078]

Hugh Robertson: The Department does not hold this information centrally.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 119W

In appointing chairs or members to the Boards of the Department arm's length bodies (ALB) we make it clear, in the terms and conditions of appointment, that it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they pay the correct tax. Responsibility for making payments in respect of travel and subsistence to chairs or members is for the individual ALB.

Video Games: Taxation

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment her Department has made of the competitiveness of tax arrangements for UK video games companies. [137848]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

As announced at Budget 2012, the Government will introduce a new corporation tax relief to support companies developing video games, alongside tax reliefs for the production of animation and high-end television. These new creative sector tax reliefs will be available from April 2013, subject to State aid approval.

The autumn statement of 5 December 2012, Official Report, columns 871-882, confirmed that the video games tax relief will operate according to the successful model of the existing film tax relief. Eligible companies will be able to apply for a payable tax credit worth up to 25% of qualifying development costs, which will ensure that the relief is among the most generous in the world.

Further information on the proposed design and operation of the new creative sector tax reliefs, including the video games tax relief, is available on the HM Treasury website at:

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

Home Department

Crime Prevention: Females

George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps she has taken to prevent women from getting involved in crime. [140792]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office does not have a specific programme to prevent women, or people of any gender, getting involved in crime. We do, however, respond to particular issues as they arise. For example, our work on Ending Gang and Youth Violence includes commitments to support gang-associated women and girls.

Crime: Merseyside

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes were committed in (a) Liverpool, Walton, (b) Liverpool and (c) Merseyside using a (i) firearm, (ii) knife and (iii) physical weapon of any description in the latest period for which figures are available. [141803]

Damian Green: The available information relates to crimes recorded by the police in Merseyside. Firearms and knife crime data are only collected at police force

5 Feb 2013 : Column 120W

area level and so data are not available for Liverpool Walton and Liverpool. The Home Office does not collect any data on offences using physical weapons.

The latest available firearms data is for 2010-11 and shows that there were 226 firearms offences (excluding air weapons) recorded in Merseyside. Data for 2011-12 will be published by the Office for National Statistics on 7 February 2013.

Latest data for knife crime relates to 2011-12 and shows that there were 599 offences recorded by the police in Merseyside that involved a knife or sharp instrument. This figure only includes the offences of attempted murder, threats to kill, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm, robbery, rape and sexual assaults.

Driving Under Influence

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people in the UK have (a) been blood tested for drink driving, (b) failed a blood test for drink driving and (c) failed a blood test for drink driving and been more than twice over the legal limit in each year since 2000; [140930]

(2) how many people in the UK have (a) been urine tested for drink driving, (b) failed a urine test for drink driving and (c) failed a urine test for drink driving and been more than twice over the legal limit in each year since 2000. [140931]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Entry Clearances

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time taken was for the UK Border Agency to process visa applications in each of the last five years. [141304]

Mr Harper: The following table shows the average time taken to process visas in each of the last five years. This data relate to all visas processed, and are expressed in working days excluding weekends and public holidays.

Processing times are calculated from the day of biometric enrolment to the day the decision is dispatched to the customer.

 Working days

2008

7.1

2009

8.3

2010

8.6

2011

8.0

2012

8.2

This data is based on internal UK Border Agency Management Information. It is provisional and subject to change.

Entry Clearances: China

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost is of a visa for a visitor from China to (a) the UK and (b) the EU Schengen area. [141777]

5 Feb 2013 : Column 121W

Mr Harper: The cost to purchase a visa for a visitor from China to the UK is £78 for a visa that allows multiple entries within a six month period and is biometrically secure. The visa is priced below the cost of production (£140) to ensure the fee remains internationally competitive and to support the UK tourism industry and wider economy.

The cost to purchase a visa for a visitor from China to the EU Schengen area is €60 (about £50) for a single entry visa, valid for 90 days. However in China there is an additional mandatory service charge for a French or German Schengen visa of 195 RMB (about £19.50). Information is not held on the production cost of a visa to the EU Schengen area.

Human Trafficking

Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which local authority areas victims of human trafficking in England and Wales were discovered prior to their referral to the Salvation Army victim support scheme in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [141303]

Mr Harper: Data on the location of the local authority where victims of human trafficking have been found are not routinely recorded.

As set out in the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group report on human trafficking, published on 18 October 2012, the Government are focusing on improving its collection of data on human trafficking victims to strengthen the UK's response to this crime.

Human Trafficking: Children

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to rehabilitate children who have been trafficked into the UK. [141511]

Mr Harper: The Government are fully committed to safeguarding victims of child trafficking.

Where a child has been trafficked and is identified as a child in need, the local authority must carry out an assessment to establish the child's support needs. Where a child is likely to suffer, or is suffering, significant harm, the local authority must investigate under section 47 (child protection) and provide the necessary support services. Those that come into care, and this includes unaccompanied migrant children, receive the full range of support and care that all looked after children are entitled to. A social worker must assess the needs of each child and draw up a care plan which sets out how the authority intends to respond to the full range of the child's needs. This includes access to health, education, psychological support and appropriate and safe accommodation.

Ibrahim Magag

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been involved in the search for Ibrahim Magag; and how much the investigation has cost to date. [141679]

James Brokenshire: We do not routinely comment on ongoing police investigations.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 122W

Immigrants: English Language

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK Border Agency-approved English language tests were (a) taken and (b) passed in (i) the UK, (ii) England and (iii) Walsall South constituency in the latest period for which figures are available. [141329]

Mr Harper: English language testing services are offered by independent organisations, which are not part of the UK Border Agency. The UK Border Agency does not have access to information about the providers' services, test volumes or candidate details.

Immigration

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish any reports that she has received containing estimates of the number of Romanians and Bulgarians who may enter the UK after 31 December 2013. [140558]

Mr Harper: The Home Office is not aware of any Government report which estimates such numbers, and has not commissioned estimates of this sort. The Government accept the view of the independent Migration Advisory Committee that to produce such estimates “would not be sensible, or helpful to policymakers.” Rather than produce speculative forecasts, the Government's priority is to cut out abuse of free movement and address pull factors such as access to benefits and public services. The Home Office is working closely with other Government Departments on these issues.

Members: Correspondence

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to provide a substantive reply to the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish on the case of his constituent Mr Neville Wayne Malcolm, Home Office reference M1033831. [141440]

Mr Harper [holding answer 4 February 2013]:The UK Border Agency replied to the hon. Member on 31 January 2013 and I replied to the hon. Member on 4 February 2013.

National Fraud Intelligence Bureau

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau's charity resource desk; and what future plans she has for that unit. [141385]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 4 February 2013]:The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in the City of London police has gathered evidence on the national patterns associated with criminal activity around charity bag theft and fraud. It has also issued police forces with information and guidance about crime related to charity bag collections. The Government continue to work with law enforcement agencies and the charities sector to ensure that intelligence on charity crime can be linked into the wider intelligence picture on organised crime so as to improve enforcement activity at a national level.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 123W

Parenting Contracts

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many parenting contracts were issued between their introduction and May 2010; and how many parenting contracts were issued in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [141119]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 1 February 2013]:

These data are not collected centrally.

Passports

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports have been destroyed following confiscation by door staff in the night time economy in each police force area in each year since 2010; what the age group of the holder of each confiscated passport was; and if she will make a statement. [141334]

Mr Harper: In 2010, almost 55,000 passports were returned to the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). In 2011 the figure was around 60,000 and in 2012, 53,000. Information is not collected centrally on the reasons for the return of the passport or the source from which these passports are returned. Information on the age group of the holders of the passports returned from a particular source is not available.

Romania and Bulgaria

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times she has visited (a) Romania and (b) Bulgaria; and how many meetings she has had with (i) Romanian and (ii) Bulgarian Ministers on immigration issues. [141041]

Mr Harper: Home Office Ministers have meetings with a wide variety of national and 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.

Attorney-General

Autonomy

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether any agencies under his superintendency (a) have active contracts and (b) had contracts at any stage since 2010 with Autonomy Systems Ltd. [141528]

The Solicitor-General: Apart from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) none of the Law Officers' Departments have had any contracts with Autonomy Systems Ltd since 2010.

The SFO entered into a contract with Autonomy Systems Limited on 19 June 2009 for an initial period of five years extendable by a further two years, this was extended in June 2011.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 124W

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what the value is of the Serious Fraud Office's contract with Autonomy Systems Ltd. [141530]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office's contract with Autonomy Systems Limited was awarded on 19 June 2009 for an initial period of five years, extendable by a further two years. In June 2011, the additional two years were taken up and an amendment was made for support, maintenance and licence options, resulting in a contract value of £4,648,689 to June 2016, or £664,098 per annum. Additional services, procured under this contract to date, amount to £144,450.

Serious Fraud Office

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether Serious Fraud Office staff are instructed to record time spent on individual cases on a timesheet. [141529]

The Solicitor-General: In September 2011, the Serious Fraud Office introduced a system for staff to record time spent on different areas of work. However, the system was not fully utilised until November 2012.

Travel and Subsistence Payments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Attorney-General how many senior officials in the Law Officers' Departments (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices. [141064]

The Solicitor-General: No officials at the Serious Fraud Office currently have such arrangements. However, one official did have such an arrangement for a short period in the early part of 2012-13.

No officials in the remaining Law Officers' Departments are employed under such arrangements.

House of Commons Commission

All-party Groups

James Duddridge: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) how many people who are listed as providing secretariat support to an All-Party Parliamentary Group have parliamentary security passes; [140852]

(2) how many people who do not work for an hon. Member or a Member of the House of Lords and who are listed as providing secretariat support to an all-party parliamentary group have parliamentary security passes. [140853]

John Thurso: As of 30 January 2013 there were 81 holders of parliamentary passes for those providing secretariat support to an All-Party Parliamentary Group.

We do not record if staff of Members of either House do additional work for an APPG.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 125W

Communities and Local Government

Community Infrastructure Levy

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance he has given to local authorities on requiring up-front payment of the community infrastructure levy by people seeking to build individual buildings. [140906]

Nick Boles: We have produced guidance on the general collection and enforcement of the levy. That guidance clearly illustrates that charging authorities are able to accept payments in instalments, at amounts and intervals of their choice, but that such a policy should be consistent and transparent and published on their website.

We are currently reviewing what further steps can be taken to ensure that self-build and genuine small-scale development is not adversely affected by the introduction of the levy.

Council Tax

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of (a) the number of local authorities in England that will use the council tax localisation transition grant and (b) the amount of that grant that will be taken up. [141783]

Brandon Lewis: The two week period for local authorities to submit their claims for their allocation of the transition grant opened on 31 January 2013. Local authorities have until 15 February to submit their claims. We will publish figures on take up in due course.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 6 December 2012, Official Report, columns 71-2WS, on planning administration, if he will publish the analysis used to calculate the costs imposed on the planning system by the need for Environmental Impact Assessment of projects; [141031]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the environmental costs avoided by the need for Environmental Impact Assessment of projects; [141032]

(3) what analysis his Department has undertaken or plans to undertake into the effect of the European Commission's proposals for review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive; and if he will publish such analysis. [141033]

Nick Boles: The European Commission published an impact assessment of the costs and benefits of the European directive on environmental impact assessment, including the effects of various options for change, alongside its proposal to review the directive in October 2012, This identifies that environmental impact assessment can impose significant costs and delays to the planning system, and supports the findings of earlier research in the UK.

We are consulting widely to understand more fully the implications of the proposal to amend the directive for the UK and are preparing our own impact assessment. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 126W

Fire Services

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the number of firefighters' jobs that will be lost as a consequence of recent and planned reductions in spending; and if he will make a statement; [141758]

(2) what assessment he has made of the assertion by the Fire Brigades Union that about 70 fire stations face closure and that others will be downgraded as a consequence of planned reductions in spending; [141760]

(3) what assessment he has made of the assertion by the Fire Brigades Union that recent and planned reductions in spending on fire services will lead to loss of life. [141761]

Brandon Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 8 January 2013, Official Report, column 248W.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential effect of reductions in fire service budgets on (a) fire prevention, (b) intervention in flooding, (c) resilience to other threats and emergencies and (d) rescues at fires; and if he will make a statement. [141759]

Brandon Lewis: These are matters for each fire and rescue authority which must produce regularly, and consult on, an integrated risk management plan. The plan must identify the risks facing local communities and detail how the fire and rescue authority will allocate its resources to mitigate them effectively. People will have opportunities to make their voices heard on such issues.

Specific national resilience funding, including funding for high volume pumps used in flood response, is currently delivered through specific grants, and has not been affected by the formula grant changes.

As I outlined in my statement of 17 December 2012, Official Report, columns 69-70WS, there is significant scope for fire and rescue authorities to make sensible savings, such as through reforms to flexible staffing and crewing arrangements, better procurement, shared services, collaboration with emergency services and other organisations on service delivery and estates, sickness management, sharing of senior staff, locally led mergers and operational collaborations, new fire-fighting technology, preventative approaches and working with local businesses.

Food Banks

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which Ministers in his Department have visited food banks since their appointment to the Department; which food banks were visited; on what dates such visits took place; and whether Ministers donated any food to these food banks. [141085]

Brandon Lewis: Ministers in my Department meet with a wide range of organisations and individuals, visiting a variety of locations across the country. Ministers’ engagements are announced as and when appropriate.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 127W

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what facilities there are within his Department for his staff and Ministers to donate to food banks. [141088]

Brandon Lewis: Although there are currently no facilities within my Department, there is a food bank run by Westminster Chapel near my Department's building in Victoria.

http://www.westminsterchapel.org.uk/ministries/foodbank.php

My Department's reception has a Diverted Giving Gift Box which enables staff and visitors to support a local homelessness day centre. We also operate a Give As You Earn Scheme to allow charitable donations via the payroll.

Fracking

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2013, Official Report, column 299W, on fracking, if he will consider amending the (a) National Planning Policy Framework and (b) National Policy Statement for Energy to increase the weight to be attached to local acceptance by the decision-maker in a planning application or the appeal relating to a fracking rig installation. [141013]

Nick Boles: Applications for shale gas extraction are dealt with under the town and country planning legislation, not the Planning Act 2008. The National Planning Policy Statements for Energy only relate to major energy projects under the 2008 Act.

As I indicated in my previous answer, local representations are fully taken into account at all stages. The weight to be attached to the material planning considerations in those representations should be based on the individual circumstances of the application or the appeal.

Locally elected councils should also use local plans to shape and deliver development, and should fully involve local residents in drawing up those plans.

Housing

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2012, Official Report, column 698W, how local authorities which have exhausted the physical supply of land within their boundaries should meet housing demand in the event of irreconcilable disagreement between themselves and neighbouring authorities. [140320]

Nick Boles: The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that the local plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure needs, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development. It will be for the relevant local planning authorities to set out the evidence in support of their proposed housing policies when their plans are examined by an independent inspector.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 128W

Mobile Homes

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the siting of social housing development within the boundaries of park home sites populated by retired and disabled people. [140849]

Mr Prisk: In relation to planning permission, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 504W.

Social Rented Housing

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many home swaps have taken place under the home swap scheme involving a property in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) England since October 2011. [141629]

Mr Prisk: I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave on 29 January 2013, Official Report, column 701W, to the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint).

Social Rented Housing: North West

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the number of vacant one and two bedroom properties owned by each (a) housing association and (b) local authority in the North West; [141330]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of one and two bedroom properties owned by each (a) housing association and (b) local authority in the North West. [141331]

Mr Prisk: Information is collected about dwelling stock and vacant properties owned by both private registered providers (housing associations) and local authorities. However, although dwelling stock numbers are broken down by number of bedrooms possessed by the property, vacant property numbers are not.

Statistics on the number of one and two bedroom properties and the total number of vacant properties owned by private registered providers can be found in the full data spreadsheet accompanying the Statistical Data Release published by the Homes and Communities Agency, which is available at the following link:

http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/news/statistical-data-return

These data are available both by provider and by the local authority district in which the property is located. Vacant properties are classified as vacant for six weeks or less, vacant for between six weeks and six months, and vacant for over six months.

Statistics on the total number of local authority-owned one and two bedroom properties for each local authority district in 2011-12 are published in the statistical dataset accompanying the Department's Local Authority Housing Statistics release, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/local-authority-housing-statistics-data-returns-for-2011-to-2012

5 Feb 2013 : Column 129W

Statistics on the total number of vacant local authority-owned properties for each local authority district in 2011-12 are published in the Department's live table 615, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants

Vacant property statistics include both vacant properties available for letting and vacant properties not available for letting.

Swimming Pools and Gyms

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) swimming pools and (b) gymnasiums have (i) closed and (ii) opened in each local authority since May 2010. [141628]

Brandon Lewis: The information requested is not held centrally.

Temporary Accommodation: Children

Gavin Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many children have been registered as living in temporary accommodation in each local authority area in each year between 1997 and 2010; and what the cost to the Exchequer has been of such arrangements in each such year. [140831]

Mr Prisk: A table has been placed in the Library of the House, showing the numbers of children or expected children in households in temporary accommodation within each local authority area at 30 June each year from 2004 to 2010 inclusive. They are taken from quarterly P1E (homelessness) returns submitted by local authorities, on which such figures were not collected before June 2004.

Comparable information on the costs to the Exchequer is not available.

We are determined to tackle the problem of homeless families. So, from 9 November, local authorities have had new powers under the Localism Act to use good-quality private rented sector accommodation to end the main homelessness duty. Families will no longer need to be placed in temporary accommodation while they wait for social housing to become available.

At the same time, we have also put in place extra protection for the most vulnerable. The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 helps to prevent the use of temporary accommodation long distances from families' previous homes and communities.

For households already in temporary accommodation the local authority has a duty (under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996) to find that family settled accommodation. Local authorities should continue to work with these households to discuss alternative housing options as they become available.

Urban Areas

Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy, redacted where necessary to

5 Feb 2013 : Column 130W

preserve commercial confidentiality, of the contract between the Association of Town Centre Management and his Department to deliver town team support. [141604]

Mr Prisk: The Department had a grant funding agreement worth up to £280,335 with the Association of Town Centre Management that ran until 31 January 2013. I will arrange for a copy of the funding agreement and prospectus to be deposited in the Library of the House.

Scotland

Travel and Subsistence Payments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many senior officials in his Department (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices. [141153]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office do not employ any senior officials whose terms of employment specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many senior officials in his Department's arm's-length bodies (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm's-length body. [141167]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office's only arm’s length body is the Boundary Commission for Scotland. It does not employ any senior officials whose terms of employment specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm’s length body.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many chairs in his Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141181]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office's only arm’s length body is the Boundary Commission for Scotland. The chairman of the Boundary Commission for Scotland is the Speaker of the House of Commons, but he does not take part in the Commission's meetings. Meetings are chaired by the deputy chairman who is a Court of Session judge. He is not paid a fee for attending meetings, but is eligible to claim actual travel expenses for attendance at Commission meetings. When he makes such a claim, he is reimbursed on the basis that he is exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of those expenses.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 131W

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many senior officials of his Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141195]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office's only arm’s length body is the Boundary Commission for Scotland. It does not pay any senior officials on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm’s length body.

UK Membership of EU

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he had discussions relating to a European Union referendum with the Scottish Government prior to 22 January 2013. [141021]

David Mundell: No such discussions have taken place.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Ash Dieback Disease

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research his Department is (a) undertaking and (b) aware of into finding an effective treatment for chalara fraxinea; [140793]

(2) what assessment he has made of the efficacy of CuPC33 as a treatment to address (a) fungal and (b) bacterial diseases in trees; and what assessment he has made of its potential as a defence against chalara fraxinea. [140794]

Mr Heath: The experience in other European countries where chalara fraxinea is present and our knowledge of the biology of the pathogen indicate that fungicides are unlikely to be effective at eliminating the disease from already infected trees. The pathogen is present in inaccessible areas of the tree and it is also difficult to apply fungicides effectively to large trees. Fungicides may however have a role in particular situations such as the protection of young trees in nurseries and protection of specimen trees or trees of special conservation value.

A number of companies have contacted DEFRA and its agencies with products which they suggest may be helpful in preventing the disease. The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) is assessing a number of such products: DEFRA has asked Fera to write a research proposal to test the most promising of the products that have been proposed. The products are being shortlisted on the basis of evidence presented by the proposers together with an assessment by Government scientists of their likely efficacy and safety for human health and the environment.

The Chemical Regulation Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive granted an experimental licence for field trials in respect of CuPC33 during 2012. We have been advised that trials have commenced against the fungal pathogen “Phytophthora ramorum” and the bacterium “Pseudomonas Syringae” (bleeding canker

5 Feb 2013 : Column 132W

of horse chestnuts). These are pathogens that are not closely related to and which have a very different biology to “Chalara fraxinea”. We have seen no evidence from laboratory or field studies that CuPC33 is effective against “Chalara fraxinea” or other species with a similar lifecycle.

Beef: Horse Meat

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he was informed about the presence of horsemeat in beefburgers. [140611]

Mr Heath: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on the 28 January 2013, Official Report, column 589W.

Bees: Pesticides

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answers of 28 January 2013, Official Report, column 590W and of 29 January 2013, Official Report, column 756W, on bees: insecticides, how many research projects the Government fund; what the details are of the research projects the Government fund on the potential effects of pesticides on bees and other pollinators; and if he will make a statement. [141806]

Mr Heath: DEFRA has funded research in this area over a number of years. Details on all commissioned projects can be found on the science and research projects search page of the DEFRA website.

The following DEFRA funded research projects have recently been completed on the potential effects of pesticides on bees and other pollinators:

PS2366 “Assessing the impact of guttation on non-target arthropods, design

of extended laboratory and field studies”.

PS2368 “Potential impact of synergism between systemic seed treatments and sprayed fungicides in crops”.

The following projects are currently under way:

PS2371 “Effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies under field conditions”.

PS2370 “Interpretation of pesticide residues in honeybees”.

PS2374 “RFID assessment of the effects of pesticides on foraging bees”.

The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) is examining historic trends in neonicotinoid usage and honey bee health.

A further two projects are being commissioned. One is a three year study to quantify the actual exposure of wild bumble bees to sub-lethal doses of neonicotinoid insecticides in JJK landscapes (PS2372). The other will evaluate procedures to improve the estimates of exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoid insecticides (PS2376).

There is a further project led by Dr Chris Connolly within the Insect Pollinators Initiative (which is part funded by DEFRA), which has included research on pesticides. This is “An investigation into the synergistic impact of sub lethal exposure to industrial chemicals on the learning capacity and performance of bees”.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 133W

Energy: Waste

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of rising waste export volumes on the UK's energy from waste policy. [141216]

Richard Benyon: The export for energy recovery of waste pre-treated to give a refuse derived fuel can have advantages over managing it within the UK, for example if the alternative UK treatment route is more costly or more harmful environmentally. On the other hand, the energy recovered from exported waste is a lost resource to the UK. The Government are discussing with the waste industry the barriers to our domestic energy from waste sector competing effectively for waste derived fuels.

Horse Passports

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the way in which the current horse registration system deals with potential food safety issues. [139860]

Mr Heath: Horse passports contain details of an equine animal's identity and food chain status, including details of veterinary medicines administered and its eligibility for slaughter for human consumption.

Horses: Imports

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horses were imported from Ireland in each of the last four years. [139690]

Mr Heath: Horses moving between EU member states are normally required to be pre-notified to competent authorities and to be accompanied by a health certificate. However, as the United Kingdom, Ireland and France share the same level of equine health, all three countries have for many years operated a derogation (the Tripartite Agreement) permitted by the EU. This removes a considerable economic and administrative burden from our equine industry.

The following table, based on VAT returns, shows the number of horses imported into the UK from the Republic of Ireland over the previous four years.

 Number of live horses

2008

2,088

2009

14,203

2010

2,109

2011

5,330

January - November 2012

2,077

Horses: Slaughterhouses

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horses sent to slaughter for pet food tested positive for

5 Feb 2013 : Column 134W

phenylbutazone in

(a)

2009-10,

(b)

2010-11 and

(c)

2011-12. [140424]

Mr Heath: No horses were sent specifically to slaughter for pet food in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. Horses that have been treated with phenylbutazone (‘bute’) are not allowed to enter the food chain or to be used for pet food. There are rigorous controls in place to prevent horsemeat from animals treated with ‘bute’ entering the food chain and these also apply for meat supplied for use in pet food.

Landfill

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of (a) furniture, (b) plastics, (c) textiles, (d) garden waste, (e) glass and (f) disposable nappies going to landfill; and what estimate he has made of the reduction in such disposals in the last year for which figures are available. [140198]

Richard Benyon: The Government's 2011 Review of Waste Policy in England sets out actions that will contribute to reducing the volume of waste going to landfill. Landfill should be the last resort for most waste. The UK also has to meet EU landfill directive targets to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill. We met the 2010 target and are on track to meet the 2013 one.

Landfill tax remains a key driver to divert waste from landfill. This tax, which is currently £64 per tonne in 2012-13, will rise by £8 every year to £80 per tonne in 2014-15. There will be a minimum floor under that level of tax until at least 2020.

In addition, the Waste Prevention Programme for England, which is due at the end of this year, will outline actions to be undertaken by a variety of organisations to increase the amount of items that are reused and reduce the quantity of waste produced. We are also working with the food industry to reduce packaging waste, including plastics and glass, through the Courtauld Commitment Hospitality and Food Service Agreement.

The last year for which figures on compositional analysis of residual waste to landfill are available is 2007. These figures are shown in the following table:

 Tonnes

Total waste arising

27,437,000

Furniture

3,000

Plastics

3,709,000

Textiles

1,010,000

Garden waste

1,707,000

Glass

1,339,000

Nappies

1,202,000

Total mixed waste to landfill has declined from 27.4 million tonnes to 17.3 million tonnes between 2007 and 2011, a drop of 37%. Data are not available for specific waste streams, but a further compositional survey was conducted in 2010-11 and the data are currently being analysed.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 135W

Pate de Foie Gras

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has recently had discussions with the Scottish Government regarding the import and sale of foie gras. [141717]

Mr Heath: There have been no recent discussions on this issue.

Pesticides: Scotland

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department has provided to the Scottish Government on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. [139256]

Richard Benyon: Officials from DEFRA have kept officials of the Scottish Government, the other Devolved Administrations and interested UK Departments, up to date with the work we have been taking forward. DEFRA and the Scottish Government are both among the bodies advised by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and so share the same independent scientific advice on neonicotinoids.

Plastic Bags

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what comparative assessment he has made of different potential measures to reduce the distribution of single-use carrier bags; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of placing a requirement on businesses to charge for plastic carrier bags. [140573]

Richard Benyon: We are currently assessing various measures to reduce the distribution of single use carrier bags. This includes monitoring the results of the single-use carrier bag charging scheme in Wales, Northern Ireland's plan to launch a charge from April 2013, and the outcome of the Scottish consultation on a charge. However, we recognise the pressures on household budgets at this time; levying even a small charge may not be the best option.

Slaughterhouses

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK abattoirs are licensed to slaughter horses. [139523]

Mr Heath: Seven abattoirs are currently approved for the slaughter of horses in the United Kingdom as follows:

Establishment numberEstablishment nameCounty

4140

G & GB Hewitt Ltd

Cheshire

4185

High Peak Meat Exports Ltd

Cheshire

2163

Peter Boddy

West Yorkshire

8231

Stillmans (Somerset) Ltd

Somerset

9080

Oakdale

County Armagh

2295

Bowood Farms Ltd

North Yorkshire

8070

Philip Hayman

Devon

5 Feb 2013 : Column 136W

A complete list of all approved slaughterhouses is available at:

http://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/sectorrules/meatplantsprems/meatpremlicence

This list is updated monthly to reflect new or amended approvals. Approval cannot be taken as an indication that the establishment is currently slaughtering all the species for which it is approved.

Deputy Prime Minister

Primary Elections

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent progress he has made on his proposal to fund 200 all-postal primaries in this Parliament. [141315]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Government had been considering the implications of the parliamentary boundary review for the proposal to fund all-postal primaries. Given Parliament's recent decision to move the next review of constituency boundaries from 2013 to 2018, the Government will reflect on the policy and announce its intentions in due course.

Trident

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many meetings the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has had in the course of the Trident Alternatives Review. [141561]

Danny Alexander [holding answer 4 February 2013]:I have been asked to reply as the Minister responsible for the Trident Alternatives Review.

Since assuming oversight of the review in September 2012, I have had six meetings with officials leading the review, as well as other meetings with relevant bodies, and visits to the Ministry of Defence, the Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Aldermaston, and Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde.

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which discussions the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has had with international parties regarding the UK designing a new nuclear warhead. [141793]

Danny Alexander: I have been asked to reply as the Minister responsible for the Trident Alternatives Review.

None.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy: Billing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to limit energy contract roll-over for micro-businesses to 30 days; if he will make representations to Ofgem on (a) energy contract roll-over for micro-businesses and (b) the practice of out-of-contract rates; and if he will make a statement. [141734]

5 Feb 2013 : Column 137W

Gregory Barker: It is for the independent regulator Ofgem to consider whether the existing licence condition governing the use of roll over contracts offers adequate protection to micro business customers. Ofgem are committed to review the rollover contract arrangements, which will take account of out-of-contract rates, immediately after they have concluded their consultation on retail market review. It is important that Ofgem review the full costs and benefits before proposing any changes. I will write to Ofgem to express my support.

Fuel Poverty: Wales

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of households in (a) Wales and (b) Islwyn constituency which are classified as fuel poor. [141527]

Gregory Barker: In 2008, the latest year for which data is available, 332,000 households in Wales were estimated to be in fuel poverty. Projections for 2009 and 2010 estimate 368,000 and 332,000 fuel poor households respectively.

The Welsh Government do not produce data for lower geographical areas in Wales.

Green Deal Scheme

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has had any discussions with journalists at the (a) Daily Telegraph, (b) Daily Mail, (c) Daily Mirror, (d) Guardian, (e) Times and (f) Financial Times about using part of the Green Deal communications campaign in their publication. [141801]

Gregory Barker: In terms of paid-for communications for the Green Deal, DECC negotiate with the national press through the cross-government media buying agency M4C.

Multinational Companies

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will list the multinational companies with which Ministers in his Department are buddied in the strategic relations initiative announced in July 2011; and how many times each Minister has met his allotted company. [141448]

Gregory Barker: This is a United Kingdom Trade and Industry (UKTI) initiative. The full list of companies is available here:

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/203560.html

All Ministers meetings with external organisations are published quarterly on the Gov.uk website which you can access using the following hyperlink.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?departments%5B%5D=department-of-energy-climate-change&publicationtype=transparency-data

Radioactive Waste: Cumbria

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the potential effects on the safety of the local population of the establishment of an underground nuclear waste storage facility in Cumbria. [141225]

5 Feb 2013 : Column 138W

Mr Hayes: The Government's Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process is a staged approach to implementing the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. The current site selection process for a geological disposal facility has been brought to a close in west Cumbria following the decision by Cumbria County Council not to participate further in the process.

Safety is paramount in geological disposal. The independent regulators will only allow a geological disposal facility to be built or operated at a particular site if they are satisfied that it will meet their stringent safety requirements. This will require the development of a robust safety case.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has already prepared a generic disposal system safety case. This has been reviewed by the regulators who found no specific issues that would prevent a site specific safety case, capable of meeting transport, operational and environmental regulatory requirements, being made for a geological disposal facility in the future.

The work to identify and assess potential sites will include wide ranging safety assessments which become progressively more detailed as the process moves through the stages of the MRWS White Paper to develop a dedicated safety case for a chosen site.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the potential effect on wildlife of storing nuclear waste in Cumbria. [141287]

Mr Hayes: Operators are required to assess the potential impacts of their permitted radioactive discharges on wildlife species. This includes routine discharges, following treatment, arising from the storage of radioactive waste, for example from ventilation plant or routine purging of water from storage ponds. These assessments are done to demonstrate that the impact of discharges during normal operation of storage plant will not exceed internationally derived radiation guidelines. The assessments are also done to check that wildlife species are protected under legislation related to conservation. The strict permitting of the radioactive discharges from waste storage at Sellafield has taken account of such assessments.

Transport

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which parliamentary constituencies and postcode areas the proposed High Speed 2 line will pass through as part of phase 2 of the project. [140789]

Mr Simon Burns: Phase Two of HS2 will pass through the following constituencies on the West Midlands to Leeds leg:

North Warwickshire; Tamworth; North West Leicestershire; Rushcliffe; Erewash; Broxtowe; Nottingham North; Sherwood; Ashfield; Bolsover; Chesterfield; North East Derbyshire; Sheffield South East; Rother Valley; Rotherham; Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough; Penistone and Stocksbridge; Wentworth and Dearne; Barnsley East; Barnsley Central; Hemsworth; Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford; Morley and Outwood; Elmet and Rothwell; Leeds Central; Leeds East; Selby and Ainsty.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 139W

And through the following constituencies on the West Midlands to Manchester leg:

Lichfield; Stafford; Stone; Crewe and Nantwich; Eddisbury; Tatton; Wythenshaw and Sale East; Altrincham and Sale West; Manchester Withington; Manchester Gorton; Manchester Central; Warrington South; Warrington North; Stretford and Urmston; Leigh; Makerfield.

Information on the postcode areas are listed as follows:

B76-79

CV9

CW1-3, CW10, CW5, CW7, CW9

DE12, DE13, DE55, DE7 ,DE73, DE74

LE65, LE67

LS1, LS10, LS11, LS15, LS24-LS26

M1.M12-14, M20, M22, M23

NG10, NG11, NG15-17, NG6, NG8, NG9

S13, S20, S21, S26, S35, S43-45, S5, S60-62, S70-72, S74, S9

ST15, ST18, ST21, ST5

WA13-16, WA3

WF1-4, WF6

WN2t WN4

WS13,WS15

Y023

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the economic benefits are of phase 2 of High Speed 2 to constituents in Stone; [140939]

(2) whether his Department has assessed the economic effect of Phase 2 of High Speed 2 on the Staffordshire area; and if he will make a statement. [140946]

Mr Simon Burns: Phase Two of High Speed 2 will transform journey times, capacity and connectivity between major cities of the north, midlands and London enabling northern regions to fulfil their economic potential. Journey time improvements will be possible from new classic-compatible high speed trains serving Cumbria, while the Staffordshire area, including Stone, will continue to benefit from the high speed services delivered by Phase One of the scheme. HS2 will also free up space for additional commuter, regional and freight services on the west coast mainline offering more opportunity for services to meet local needs. Latest estimates published in August 2012 suggest HS2 will deliver net benefits of £64 billion including over £15 billion in wider economic impacts. If local areas seize the opportunity offered by HS2 these benefits could be greater. HS2 Ltd will undertake further work to assess the sub-national, regional and local economic impacts of HS2.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the estimated effect on land and property values of High Speed 2. [140941]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government have used various modelling assumptions in order to develop HS2 property compensation policy. It would not be in the public interest to provide details of key modelling assumptions and related outputs, because such details are likely to be misrepresented and to mislead prospective property buyers. This would risk undermining local property markets and creating unnecessary property blight.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 140W

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) with reference to the compensation arrangements set up for phase 2 of High Speed 2, on what basis his Department will be compensating those affected; on what timescale; and based on what valuations such compensation will be paid; [140942]

(2) when he will run a public consultation exercise on the compensation provisions and Exceptional Hardship scheme for those living on or near to the proposed route for Phase 2 of the High Speed 2; [140951]

(3) what compensation will be available to deal with unforeseen circumstances of High Speed 2 affecting (a) businesses, (b) farming businesses and (c) residents in the vicinity. [140968]

Mr Simon Burns: A public consultation on the proposed exceptional hardship scheme (EHS) for Phase Two of HS2 has now begun. It will run until 29 April 2013. The consultation document can be found on HS2 Ltd's website at

http://www.hs2.org.uk/have-your-say/consultations/phase-two


Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the contractors who gave advice to his Department on the proposals for Phase 2 of High Speed 2 obtained access to the land from landowners. [140943]

Mr Simon Burns: Contractors only used publically accessible land when undertaking any external visits to proposed line of route options.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) top and (b) average speed projected for trains on the High Speed 2 Birmingham to Manchester route from Streethay to Hough will be. [140949]

Mr Simon Burns: The route from Streethay to Hough has been timetabled to operate at 200 miles per hour (320 kph) but would be capable of reaching a maximum operating speed of 225 miles per hour (360 kph). The design of the route through the entirety of this area would be capable of up to 250 miles per hour (400 kph).

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the public sector jobs created to promote High Speed 2. [140953]

Mr Simon Burns: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 21 January 2013, Official Report, columns 61-62W.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) existing purchases of properties accepted on to the High Speed 2 Exceptional Hardship scheme have been completed and (b) projected purchases of properties will be accepted onto the High Speed 2 Exceptional Hardship scheme. [140954]

Mr Simon Burns: On 30 January 2013, the number of purchases completed through the Exceptional Hardship scheme was 65.

The Government have used various modelling assumptions in order to assess HS2 property compensation policy options against each other on a consistent basis.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 141W

It would not be in the public interest to provide details of key modelling assumptions and related outputs, because such details are likely to be misrepresented and to mislead prospective property buyers. This would risk undermining local property markets and creating unnecessary property blight.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the expenditure on the voluntary purchase zone as part of the proposed compensation scheme for High Speed 2 on the route sections running from Streethay to Hough. [140957]

5 Feb 2013 : Column 142W

Mr Simon Burns: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 1 February 2013, Official Report, column 1010W.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding (a) his Department and (b) other Departments have allocated to planning and preparation for High Speed 2 to 2015; how much of this funding has been spent; and on what activities such funding has been spent. [140963]

Mr Simon Burns: The funding allocated for preparation and planning of HS2 by the Department for Transport and High Speed Two Ltd and actual spend by those bodies to date is provided in the following table.

£ million
 Pre 2011-122012-132013-142014-15
TotalBudgetActualBudgetActualBudgetActualBudgetActual

Resource(1)

76.8

59.5

169.3

(2)120.6

151.2

213.1

Capital(4)

105.0

29.8

137.5

(3)24.7

132.5

132.5

(1) Includes programme and administration spend. (2) Actual spend to date: April-December 2012. (3) Actual spend to date: April-December 2012. (4) Includes spending on the Exceptional Hardship and Property Compensation schemes.

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of those parts of Phase 2 of High Speed 2 on proposals relating to Stone constituency, what consultation took place and on what basis those carrying out those investigations formed their judgements. [140965]

Mr Simon Burns: In developing its route and station options, HS2 Ltd carried out confidential engagement with delivery partners around station locations. The engagement undertaken is set out in published reports. The consultation on the Secretary of State for Transport's preferred route will start later this year.

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the projected (a) top and (b) average speed is for trains on the High Speed 2 extension to Leeds passing Hockley and Stonydelph in Tamworth. [141767]

Mr Simon Burns: The High Speed 2 extension to Leeds passing Hockley and Stonydelph in Tamworth has been timetabled to operate at 206.25 miles per hour (330 kph) but would be capable of reaching a maximum operating speed of 225 miles per hour (360 kph). The design of the route through the entirety of this area would be capable of up to 250 miles per hour (400 kph).

Overtime

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) average cost per member of staff and (b) total cost was of overtime payments in (i) his Department and (ii) each of its arm's length bodies in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12 and (C) 2012-13 to date. [141486]

Norman Baker: The average cost per member of staff and the total cost of overtime payments in the Department for Transport and each of its arm's length bodies is shown in the table below.

 Average cost per member of staffTotal cost of overtime payments
 Department for TransportArms Length BodiesDepartment for TransportArms Length Bodies

2010/11

£1,116.87

£275.58

£16,727,916.87

£870,258.37

2011/12

£1,176.11

£432.06

£16,753,046.47

£835,448.51

2012/YTD

£850.18

£214.54

£10,327,467.06

£651,172.00

Public Transport: Disability

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with which external organisations he has consulted and what recent representations he has received on access to transport for blind, partially-sighted and disabled people to inform the high level output statement for control period 5. [141582]

Norman Baker: The High Level Output Statement includes £100 million to extend the Access for All programme until 2019 from its scheduled close in 2015. Officials have met with Network Rail, the Association of Train Operating Companies as well as some individual operators to discuss details of how the funding will be allocated and the future governance of the programme. It has also been discussed at meetings attended by representatives of the Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee, Passenger Focus, Welsh Assembly Government and Transport Scotland. These discussions are ongoing.

A number of representations have also been received from Members of Parliament and private individuals suggesting stations for the programme. Nominated stations will be considered along with other currently inaccessible stations across the country.

Shipping

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government are making for ensuring that Maritime Labour Certificates and

5 Feb 2013 : Column 143W

Declarations of Maritime Labour Compliance issued to UK-registered ships will be recognised and accepted in the ports of other ratifying states prior to the official date of entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention in the UK. [141749]

Stephen Hammond: The UK supported adoption by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control of Resolution XVII of the 94th Maritime Labour Conference concerning the practical implementation of the issue of certificates on entry into force. The resolution urges port states to take a lenient view of ships which do not have Maritime Labour Certificates, but otherwise comply with convention standards, for 12 months after the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 comes into force.

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Government's timetable is for bringing forward legislative proposals to bring Merchant Shipping UK legislation into line with the International Labour Organisation Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC); and when he plans to ratify the MLC. [141751]

Stephen Hammond: The Government are working towards making the necessary changes to bring UK legislation into line with the convention so as to permit the convention to be ratified by the UK.

It is the Government's intention that these changes will be made before the convention enters into force on 20 August 2013.

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the UK Chamber of Shipping, the Merchant Navy Officers' Union, Nautilus International and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers on ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention. [141752]

Stephen Hammond: The UK Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have raised the question of UK ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) with the Department on a number of occasions since 2009. In particular, they have written the following letters to Government stressing the importance to the UK shipping industry of prompt ratification of the MLC by the UK.

DateCorrespondence

September 2010

Joint letter from social partners (British Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and RMT) to Mike Penning, Shipping Minister

6 August 2012

Copy of joint letter from social partners (British Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and RMT) to Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise

21 August 2012

Copy of joint letter from social partners (British Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and RMT) to Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise, on the occasion of the 30th country ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention 2006

5 December 2012

Copy of Chamber of Shipping letter to Mark Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise

5 Feb 2013 : Column 144W

Travel and Subsistence Payments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior officials in his Department (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices. [141154]

Norman Baker: The Department has no senior servants with their main place of employment as their home address, nor whom would be eligible to claim travel from their home address to their place of work.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior officials in his Department's arm's-length bodies (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm's-length body. [141168]

Norman Baker: There are 5 senior officials in the Department's arm's length bodies who have terms of employment during 2012-13 that specify their main place of employment as their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm's-length body.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many chairs in his Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141182]

Norman Baker: None of the chairs in the Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many senior officials of his Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141196]

Norman Baker: There is one senior official in the Department's arm's-length bodies who is paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body.

Northern Ireland

National Crime Agency

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans she has to discuss with the Minister of Justice in the Northern Ireland Executive the role of the National Crime Agency; and if she will make a statement. [141784]

5 Feb 2013 : Column 145W

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers), has spoken regularly to the Minister of Justice about the National Crime Agency, most recently on 29 January 2013. She will continue to work with him to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland benefit as much as possible from the creation of the National Crime Agency.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions she plans to have with the Home Secretary on the role of the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland. [141785]

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers), is in close touch with the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), about her plans for the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland. She will be working with her to ensure that the Crime and Courts Bill reflects the expressed wishes of the Northern Ireland Executive and provides the best possible protection for the people of Northern Ireland.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on achieving a legislative consent motion with respect to the operation of the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland. [141786]

Mike Penning: The Northern Ireland Executive has not agreed to pursue a legislative consent motion for the National Crime Agency. It is regrettable that despite significant changes and consultation, all parties were not able to give their support.

Plants

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much her Department has spent on indoor and outdoor plants and trees since her appointment. [139948]

Mike Penning: The Northern Ireland Office has spent £289.42 on indoor and outdoor plants and trees since the appointment of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers). The expenditure relates primarily to upkeep at Hillsborough Castle which is owned by my Department.

Travel and Subsistence Payments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior officials in her Department (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting departmental offices. [141152]

Mike Penning: No senior officials in my Department have or have had during 2012-13 terms of employment which specify that their main place of employment is their home address.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 146W

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior officials in her Department's arm's-length bodies (a) have and (b) have had during 2012-13 terms of employment that specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm's-length body. [141166]

Mike Penning: No senior officials in the Northern Ireland Office's arm’s length bodies have terms of employment which specify that their main place of employment is their home address and that they are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses for visiting the offices of the arm’s length body.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many chairs in her Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141180]

Mike Penning: No chairmen of the Northern Ireland Office's arm’s length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the main offices of the arm’s length body.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior officials of her Department's arm's-length bodies are paid on the basis that they are exempt from personally meeting any tax liability in respect of travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the offices of the arm's-length body. [141194]

Mike Penning: No senior officials in the Northern Ireland Office's arms length bodies are paid travel and subsistence payments for attending meetings at the main offices of the arms length body.

Treasury

Child Benefit

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of taxpayers affected by the changes in child benefit entitlement on 7 January 2013 who have annual incomes of (a) between £50,000 and £60,000 and (b) above £60,000 in each (i) nation and region of the UK and (ii) parliamentary constituency; and what the average change in annual income was in each case. [138584]

Mr Gauke: An individual's entitlement to child benefit is not affected by the introduction of the high income child benefit charge. Entitlement to child benefit will remain even if an individual decides to stop receiving child benefit as a result of the charge.

(a) HMRC estimates that approximately 300,000 households affected by the high income child benefit charge contain at least one individual with an income of between £50,000 and £60,000 per annum in England.

5 Feb 2013 : Column 147W

Information for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the regions and parliamentary constituencies is not available due to the small sample size.

(b) HMRC estimates that approximately 700,000 households affected by the high income child benefit charge contain at least one individual with an income of above £60,000 per annum in England. Of these, around 200,000 are estimated to be resident in the London region, and a further 200,000 are estimated to be resident in the south east region. Information for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the remaining English regions and parliamentary constituencies is not available due to the small sample size.

HMRC estimates that the total number of households affected by the high income child benefit charge in Scotland in 2012-13 is 100,000 though this cannot be broken down by income level due to the small sample size.

All figures are rounded to the nearest 100,000.

Public Sector: East Midlands

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount spent on redundancy payments made to former public sector employees in (a) Nottingham and (b) the East Midlands since May 2010. [141580]

Danny Alexander: The Treasury does not hold this information.

Revenue and Customs

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many occasions the chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs has had meetings with (a) Ministers, (b) Shadow Ministers and (c) hon. Members in each of the last five years. [141605]

Mr Gauke: The chief executive of HM Revenue and Customs has meetings and discussions with a wide variety of authorities 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 and discussions.

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of letters to

5 Feb 2013 : Column 148W

HM Revenue and Customs remained unanswered in each quarter of the last three years. [141799]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not count letters separately from other incoming post such as certain forms, faxes and e-mail.

The number and proportion of post items (including letters) to HMRC from customers which remained unanswered at the end of each quarter for the last three years is as follows:

Quarter endedPost unanswered at quarter endPercentage of post received unanswered at quarter end

December 2012

320,033

8

September 2012

456,885

10

June 2012

550,109

11

March 2012

785,394

14

December 2011

686,685

12

September 2011

664,981

11

June 2011

1,042,704

16

March 2011

1,034,397

19

December 2010

915,813

18

September 2010

1,488,668

27

June 2010

1,493,804

25

March 2010

1,322,901

25

December 2009

947,753

20

The 320,033 items of post on hand in HMRC at the end of December 2012 represents approximately one week’s receipts.

Revenue and Customs: Telephone Services

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many and what proportion of telephone calls were answered by HM Revenue and Customs in less than (a) five minutes, (b) 10 minutes, (c) 15 minutes and (d) 20 minutes in each quarter of the last three years; [141804]

(2) how many and what proportion of telephone calls to HM Revenue and Customs went unanswered in each quarter of the last three years. [141805]

Mr Gauke: The data requested on calls answered within five to 20 minutes prior to Quarter 3 (Q3) 2011 are unobtainable in the timescales requested. Details of the calls answered within five to 20 minutes from Q3 2011 are as follows:

 Volume and percentage of calls answered within a five minute queueVolume and percentage of calls answered within a 10 minute queueVolume and percentage of calls answered within a 15 minute queueVolume and percentage of calls answered within a 20 minute queue
 PercentageVolumePercentageVolumePercentageVolumePercentageVolume

2010-11

        

Q3

75

7,350,560

91

8,966,098

98

9,650,607

99.8

9,786,150

Q4

61

7,203,300

74

8,712,684

89

10,423,853

97

11,386,265

         

2011-12

        

Q1

56

6,390,178

77

8,875,295

92

10,531,911

98

11,199,023

Q2

62

7,369,507

80

9,447,813

93

11,080,673

98

11,662,934

Q3

76

6,663,073

89

7,821,216

95

8,379,921

98

8,643,964

5 Feb 2013 : Column 149W

5 Feb 2013 : Column 150W

Q4

66

7,112,310

78

8,461,378

87

9,390,464

94

10,151,717

         

2012-13

        

Q1

53

5,517,990

71

7,383,111

86

8,921,719

93

9,747,838

Q2

62

6,859,129

77

8,519,548

90

9,963,570

97

10,768,261

Q3

91

7,786,781

96

8,247,165

99

8,457,628

99.7

8,532,059

Details of the proportion of telephone calls unanswered in each quarter over the last three years are as follows:

 Volume of call attemptsVolume of calls not handledPercentage of calls not handled

2009-10

22,539,900

6,288,068

27.9

Q4

   
    

2010-11

   

Q1

37,358,964

21,356,222

57.2

Q2

46,195,346

30,504,415

66.0

Q3

15,932,586

4,039,789

25.4

Q4

22,059,072

7,277,770

33.0

2010-11

121,545,968

63,178,196

52.0

    

2011-12

   

Q1

21,780,515

6,433,464

29.5

Q2

21,829,999

5,805,134

26.6

Q3

14,968,539

2,740,020

•18.3

Q4

19,983,417

5,152,453

25.8

2011-12

78,562,470

20,131,071

25.6

    

2012-13

   

Q1

22,126,296

7,282,743

32.9

Q2

23,829,789

8,590,951

36.1

Q3

12,349,247

793,328

6.4

2012-13 year to date

58,305,332

16,667,022

28.6

HMRC has been formally reporting on call waiting distributions since April 2012. Complete data for earlier months are not always available and cannot be easily recreated. The tables are based on all data available, but will not be consistent with previously reported data on average speed of answer.