17 Apr 2013 : Column 391W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bovine Tuberculosis

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effects on the incidence of bovine TB of measures introduced in January 2013 to improve the testing regime and restrict cattle movements; and what assessment his Department has made of the level of compliance of English farms with those measures. [151080]

Mr Heath: It is too early to assess the effectiveness of bovine TB measures introduced in January 2013, and of the level of compliance on English farms.

Circuses: Animal Welfare

Mr Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects any draft legislation to ban wild animals performing in circuses to be published. [150085]

Mr Heath: The draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was published on 16 April 2013. Copies of the draft Bill are available in the Vote Office.

Floods: Insurance

Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his discussions with the Association of British Insurers on the affordability of insurance in flood-affected areas will conclude; and if he will make a statement. [147579]

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Richard Benyon: I refer my hon. Friend to my previous answer of 24 January 2013, Official Report, column 408W.

Food and Environment Research Agency

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff are employed by the Food and Environment Research Agency in Cumbria; and what proportion of those staff are paid at or above the relevant level of the living wage. [151593]

Richard Benyon: Fera employs one member of staff based in the Cumbria region. This member of staff is paid above the Living Wage Foundation's living wage.

Horsemeat

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) monetary value and (b) weight is of horsemeat slaughtered in each of the last four months for which figures are available. [151296]

Mr Heath: DEFRA does not collect this information. The Food Standards Agency collects information on throughput in terms of number of animals slaughtered but not on weight or monetary value.

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the contribution of the horse meat slaughtering industry to the UK economy. [145334]

Mr Heath: No estimate has been made of the value of the horsemeat industry to the UK economy, there are four abattoirs in Great Britain approved to slaughter horses. Some 9,405 horses were slaughtered in the UK for human consumption in 2012. The main destination for horsemeat exports is France.

UK exports of meat from horses, asses, mules or hinnies
Year20082009201020112012

Value (£000)

1,886

3,718

4,879

3,890

4,008

Volume (Tonnes)

999

1,956

2,827

2,192

2,233

Source: H M Revenue and Customs—Data prepared by Trade Statistics, Analysis and Evidence Team, DEFRA 2012 data is subject to amendments

Pets: Sales

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will bring forward legislative proposals on the advertising, sale and supply of pets; [151184]

(2) what discussions he had with charities and other organisations regarding the sale of pets online; [151185]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the online sale of pets on animal welfare. [151186]

Mr Heath: There is already legislation in place that regulates the selling of pet animals which is enforced by local authorities and there are no proposals to review these controls. DEFRA officials are in regular contact with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG—a group of animal welfare, animal keeping and veterinary organisations) about developing best practice to advertise and sell pets online. We have not carried out an assessment of the effects of online sales of pets on animal welfare.

Timber: EU Law

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what penalties are in place for infringements of the EU Illegal Timber (Due Diligence) Regulation. [151215]

Mr Heath: Powers to enforce the EU Timber Regulation in the UK are provided for in a Statutory Instrument: the Timber and Timber Products (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2013. A description of the penalties can be

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found in the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Statutory Instrument, on the legislation.gov.uk website at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/233/memorandum/contents

I have also placed a copy in the House Library and set out the relevant paragraph below:

“7.4 In its Coalition programme for government, the Government committed to making the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence. The Timber and Timber Products (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2013 provide for new criminal offences for: placing illegally harvested timber or timber products on the EU market; failure to exercise due diligence when placing timber or timber products on the EU market, and failure to maintain and regularly evaluate the due diligence system used. The maximum penalty for these offences is two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Further offences provided for are: failure by those placing timber or timber products on the market or those trading in such products to keep and make available specified information; failure to comply with a formal notice to improve issued by the enforcement body, and the obstruction of inspectors. The maximum penalty for these offences is a fine of up to level five on the standard scale (currently £5000). Related enforcement powers of entry, inspection, and seizure of illegally harvested timber are also provided for in the Regulations.”

Transport

Kirknewton Station

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that proposals by Network Rail to install replacement full-width manually-controlled barriers with obstacle detection safeguard railway safety, pedestrian safety and timely access to the platforms of Kirknewton Station, West Lothian at peak times. [151528]

Mr Simon Burns: The impact of Network Rail's proposals on the safety and convenience of all users of Kirknewton level crossing will be fully considered before a new Level Crossing Order is issued for the site.

Recruitment

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what amount his Department spent on advertising job vacancies in each year from 2005 to 2009. [150685]

Norman Baker: This response covers six of the Department for Transport's Executive Agencies:

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Highways Agency

Vehicle Certification Agency

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Government Car & Despatch Agency

Vehicle & Operator Services Agency

The central Department and the Driving Standards Agency are unable to provide the requested data due to disproportionate cost:

YearTotal

2005

£1,047,149.92

2006

£1,362,917.58

2007

£1,556,473.71

2008

£2,204,508.64

2009

£445,243.25

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Scotland

Government Procurement Card

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland with reference to the Freedom of Information request made to his Department on 23 January 2013 and responded to on 3 April 2013 on Government Procurement Cards, what was purchased from United Airlines for £263.17. [151208]

David Mundell: The hon. Member refers to a Freedom of Information request received on 22 January, responded to on 23 January 2013, and published on the Scotland Office website on 3 April 2013.

The purchase made from United Airlines for £263.17 was for an upgrade to the Scotland Office special adviser's flight from Scotland to the United States. The purpose was to allow the special adviser to work with the Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), on a speech to be delivered the following day at Georgetown university. The speech was made during the course of a diplomatic and trade mission to the United States and Canada.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland with reference to the Freedom of Information request responded to by his Department on 23 January 2013 and published on 4 April 2013, on Government Procurement Cards, what was purchased from Air Canada at a value of £16. [151298]

David Mundell: The purchase made from Air Canada for £16 was a routine baggage charge levied on a flight from Washington DC to Ottawa for the special adviser to the Secretary of State for Scotland. This purchase was made during the course of a diplomatic and trade mission to the United States and Canada.

Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what criteria are used in (a) his Department and (b) each public body for which he is responsible to determine which officials receive bonus payments. [151139]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not employ staff directly. All staff that join the Office do so on an assignment, secondment or loan agreement from other Government bodies but principally from the Scottish Government or the Ministry of Justice. The Scotland Office follows the policies and criteria set by the officials' parent body when awarding bonuses.

The only public body that the Scotland Office is responsible for is the Boundary Commission for Scotland. The Boundary Commission for Scotland does not employ staff directly. All staff that join the Boundary Commission do so on assignment, secondment or loan agreement from the Scottish Government. The Boundary Commission follows the policies and criteria set by the Scottish Government.

Public Expenditure

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the estimated underspend by his Department was in each year since 2007-08. [150241]

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David Mundell: The underspend by the Scotland Office and the Office of the Advocate-General since 2007-08 is as follows:

 £000

2007-08

140

2008-09

469

2009-10

497

2010-11

201

2011-12

786

The Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate underspend in 2011-12 is mainly attributable to the potential calls on reserves being either resolved or less than had earlier been anticipated, together with planned efficiencies within the Offices.

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the reasons were for his Department's underspend in 2012-13. [150242]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office accounts for 2012-13 have not yet been finalised and audited and therefore information on the Department's underspend is not available.

Visits Abroad

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many overseas visits have been made by Ministers of his Department to support trade and investment in each year since 2010. [150344]

David Mundell: Scotland Office Ministers have made eight overseas visits to support trade and investment, the details of which are shown in the following table:

 VisitMinister

2011

USA

David Mundell

2011

Brussels

Michael Moore

2011

Brazil

Michael Moore

2012

USA

David Mundell

2012

Brussels

Michael Moore

2012

USA/Canada

Michael Moore

2013

Malawi

David Mundell

2013

Brazil

Michael Moore

Home Department

Asylum: Eritrea

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applications have been made by citizens of Eritrea in each of the last three years; what the outcome was of such applications; and how many such applicants have since been returned to Eritrea. [150987]

Mr Harper [holding answer 15 April 2013]: The following table shows the number of asylum applications received from Eritrea, what the outcome was of such applications and how many of those applicants have been removed for the years 2009 to 2011, as at May

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2012 when the statistics were compiled. It is not possible to determine from these data the country the asylum applicant was removed to.

Figures relate to main applicants only.

Outcome analysis of asylum applications for Eritrea, as at May 2012
Year of application:200920102011

Total main applicants

1,333

703

797

Total initial decisions

1,229

675

722

Granted asylum

618

414

530

Granted HP/DL

54

35

18

Refused asylum, HP or DL

557

226

174

Applications withdrawn

56

15

11

Cases with decision not known

48

13

64

Appeals lodged

284

132

124

Allowed appeals

121

61

60

Dismissed appeals

145

63

53

Appeals withdrawn

10

5

6

Appeals with outcome not known

8

3

5

Total fresh claims

25

5

1

Enforced removals

248

83

38

Notified voluntary departures

0

0

1

Assisted voluntary returns

3

0

0

Other voluntary departures

1

2

0

Estimated final outcomes: Grants of asylum

738

474

590

Estimated final outcomes: Grants of HP/DL

55

36

18

Estimated final outcomes: Refused asylum, HP or DL or withdrawn

484

177

120

Estimated final outcomes: Cases with decision not known

56

16

69

Notes: 1. Year relates to the period in which the application was made; the actual initial decision and/or appeal may have occurred in a different year. 2. Discretionary leave (DL) may be considered for an individual who is not accepted as being in need of international protection (i.e. asylum or humanitarian protection (HP)) but who is able to demonstrate particularly compelling reasons why removal would not be appropriate. Discretionary Leave is normally granted for a period of three years. Further leave may be granted, subject to a review of the individual’s circumstances. Humanitarian protection (HP) is leave granted to a person who is not a refugee under the refugee convention but who would, if removed, face in the country of return a real risk to life or person arising from the death penalty; unlawful killing; torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or serious and individual threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict. If a person has been refused asylum they may still be considered for this status. Humanitarian protection is normally granted for a period of three years, after which the person can apply for indefinite leave to remain. A person who is granted humanitarian protection is allowed to work and has access to public funds. 3. ‘Cases with decision not known’ and ‘Appeals with decision not known’ reflect that no confirmation of a decision on the case/appeal had been received when the statistics were compiled on 7 May 2012. 4. Appeals do not include outcomes of cases reconsidered prior to appeal. Excludes cases which were successful after appeal to the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

Figures for 2012 will be published in the Immigration Statistics April-June 2013 release on 29 August 2013.

The data presented above, the outcome analysis of asylum applications, are published in table as.06 (Asylum data tables Volume 2) of Immigration Statistics. The latest release Immigration Statistics October-December 2012 is available in the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q4-2012/

Data on the number of Eritreans who have claimed asylum at some point and have had an enforced removal or who have departed voluntarily by destination (Home, EU country or elsewhere) are available from table rv.05 (Removals and voluntary departure tables Volume 3) of Immigration Statistics. These data are presented on the

17 Apr 2013 : Column 397W

date of departure, so do not necessarily relate to the year of asylum application. The table is published in the release noted above.

Computers

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) desktop computers, (b) laptop computers and (c) tablet devices her Department has purchased in the last two years. [151339]

James Brokenshire: In the last two years, the Home Office and its agencies have purchased the following: (a) 3,975 desktop computers, (b) 3,723 laptop computers and (c) 68 tablet devices.

Entry Clearances

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government is taking to monitor the regional effect of the new family migration rules which came into force in July 2012. [151287]

Mr Harper: We will monitor the impact of the new family migration rules. The Migration Advisory Committee,

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in providing advice on the level of the minimum income threshold for the sponsorship of a family migrant, discussed whether the minimum income threshold should vary by region, but advised that there was no clear case for this approach.

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many successful family visa applications were accepted from (a) Bradford, (b) Yorkshire and Humber, (c) London and (d) the UK between July 2010 and July 2011; [151290]

(2) how many successful family visa applications were accepted from (a) Bradford, (b) Yorkshire and Humber, (c) London and (d) the UK between July 2011 and July 2012; [151288]

(3) how many successful visa applications under the new family migration rules have been accepted from (a) Bradford, (b) Yorkshire and Humber, (c) London and (d) the UK since July 2012. [151289]

Mr Harper: Entry clearance visa applications are made from outside the UK. The available information relates to the total number of visas issued and does not provide a breakdown by the location of the visa applicant's sponsor. The numbers issued are given in the following table:

Entry clearance visas issued by category
 201020112012
CategoryQ1Q2Q3Q4Q1Q2Q3Q4Q1Q2Q3Q4

Total family route

12,968

12,587

13,720

14,438

12,023

10,005

13,163

10,532

10,885

10,703

10,030

9,307

Of which:

            

Family route: Partner

9,080

8,939

9,571

10,824

8,555

7,041

9,870

8,030

8,021

7,986

7,636

6,800

Family route: Partner (for settlement)

674

495

529

354

309

392

397

238

318

306

241

233

Family route: Child

23

30

29

25

21

33

26

17

19

11

26

22

Family route: Child (for settlement)

1,248

1,446

1,579

1,318

1,340

1,088

1,220

948

1,106

1,117

934

848

Family route: Other

1,091

1,075

1,367

1,354

1,324

920

1,131

931

922

871

791

1,127

Family route: Other (for settlement)

852

602

645

563

474

531

519

368

499

412

402

277

Source: Immigration Statistics, October-December 2012, table be.04.q

Mobile Phones

Jenny Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to her Department; how much was paid under the contract in the last year for which figures are available; how many individual services are covered by the contract; when the contract was awarded; when the contract will next be renewed; and for how long. [151710]

James Brokenshire: Vodafone holds the only contract to provide mobile telephony to the Home Office and the UK Border Agency (UKBA). The Home Office and UKBA spent £1.6 million under this contract in 2011-12.

The current contract started on 30 June 2011 and expires on 29 June 2015. The Home Office will re-tender for these services and decide the duration of the next contract closer to the expiration of the current contract.

The individual services that Vodafone provide under this contract are listed as follows:

Provision of mobile telephones.

Provision of BlackBerries.

Provision of mobile broadband devices for use in laptops.

Provision of signal booster devices.

Provision of ad hoc texting services on request.

Provision of hand held scanners that operate via Vodafone SIM cards.

Provision of connections and routers that support the hand held scanners.

Provision of Asset Management Services.

Provision of a Vodafone Onsite staff member based at GPS Service Operations, Newport.

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Jenny Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to the Identity and Passport Service; how much was paid under the contract in the last year for which figures are available; how many individual services are covered by the contract; when the contract was awarded; when the contract will next be renewed; and for how long. [151711]

James Brokenshire: Vodafone holds the only contract to provide mobile telephony to the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). IPS spent £79,000 under this contract in 2011-12.

The current contract started on 30 June 2011 and expires on 29 June 2015. The Home Office will re-tender for these services and decide the duration of the next contract closer to the expiration of the current contract.

The individual services that Vodafone provide under this contract are listed as follows:

Provision of mobile telephones.

Provision of BlackBerries.

Provision of mobile broadband devices for use in laptops.

Provision of signal booster devices.

Provision of ad hoc texting services on request.

Provision of hand held scanners that operate via Vodafone SIM cards.

Provision of connections and routers that support the hand held scanners.

Provision of Asset Management Services.

Provision of a Vodafone Onsite staff member based at GPS Service Operations, Newport.

Police ICT Company

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the minimum number is of Police and Crime Commissioners that her Department has calculated as being needed to sign up to (a) make the Police ICT Company operationally viable and (b) Police ICT Company to achieve savings on current police ICT spend. [151686]

Damian Green: There is no definitive number of Police and Crime Commissioners required to make the company viable. However, forces will need to become members in order to receive the full benefits the Company is being developed to deliver.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much (a) staff costs, (b) infrastructure costs, (c) training costs, (d) consultant costs and (e) any other costs her Department incurred to April 2013 in taking on police ICT functions in the interim ICT company before the Police ICT Company is operational. [151687]

Damian Green: Costs for the transition of police ICT functions into the Home Office were covered by the re-allocation of existing National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) budgets into the department in 2012-13 and included £358,000 additional infrastructure costs met from within existing budgets.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by which date the Board of the Police ICT Company is scheduled to sign off the Police

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ICT Company business plan; and what discussions she has had with the Police ICT Company Board about the date at which that Company will become fully operational. [151688]

Damian Green: The board of directors is scheduled to review the business plan in the summer of 2013 and will consider phasing for the commencement of operations at that point.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which consultants have been used in the process of developing the Police ICT Company to April 2013; and at what cost. [151689]

Damian Green: As at April 2013 commercial and legal advice, supporting products and services to develop Police ICT Company has been provided to the Home Office by legal advisers Addleshaw Goddard, Morrison and Foerster, Willis, and commercial advisers PA Consulting, Gartner, PWC and individuals including Jonathan Swift QC. The costs of those services to April 2013 are £1.8 million since 2011.

Police: Finance

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the response by the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice to the debate in Westminster Hall on Police (Surrey) of 3 July 2012, Official Report, columns 240-2WH, what conclusions she has reached on changing or removing the damping mechanism for police force funding. [151530]

Damian Green: I have decided to apply damping so that every police force area will face the same percentage reduction in core central Government funding in 2013-14 and 2014-15. In making this decision, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), and I have carefully considered responses to the June 2012 informal consultation on damping.

Many of the responses to this informal consultation stressed the need to undertake a full review of the Police Allocation Formula before changing damping policy given that damping and the formula are inextricably linked. That is why we have decided to continue current damping arrangements and why the Secretary of State will be commissioning a fundamental review of the formula in due course.

Rape: Southwark

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission on Southwark Sapphire Unit's local practices for the reporting and investigation of sexual offences, how many women came forward to the police between July 2008 and September 2009 to report a rape but whose claim was subsequently not recorded by the police. [151445]

Damian Green: The Home Office does not centrally collect information on how many people have come forward to the police to report a crime. When the police receive a report or allegation of a crime, they will follow

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the guidance in the Home Office Counting Rules in deciding whether to record a crime. The police notify the Home Office on how many crimes they have recorded and these data form the basis of police recorded crime statistics published by the Office for National Statistics.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has welcomed the findings of the Independent Police Complaints Commission report and accepts that mistakes were made and that the way in which victims were treated was wholly unacceptable. The MPS has already acted to improve its focus on victim care and investigation standards.

Sexual Offences: Southwark

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sexual offences committed in the London Borough of Southwark in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010, (e) 2011 and (f) 2012 resulted in convictions. [151463]

Mr Jeremy Browne: It is not possible to link crimes recorded by the police from the data that the Home Office holds with the convictions data that the Ministry of Justice holds.

Additionally, the data that the Ministry of Justice holds does not include the location of the offence and it is therefore not possible to provide the number of convictions for sexual offences which took place within the London Borough of Southwark.

House of Commons Commission

Recall of Parliament

John Healey: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the total cost to the House of Commons Service was of recalling Parliament on 10 April 2013. [151282]

John Thurso: The cost to the House of Commons Service of recalling Parliament for a day is marginal as most operating costs are fixed for the year as a whole and are unaffected by the number and distribution of sitting days. Final costs will not be known until all relevant claims have been agreed, but from previous experience the additional costs are expected to be around £20,000.

Energy and Climate Change

Combined Heat and Power

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with representatives of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) sector regarding changes in investor confidence in the light of the consultation on retrospectively changing Renewable Obligation Certificate banding for CHP plants. [151618]

Gregory Barker: The recently closed consultation on revisions to the CHP Quality Assurance programme proposed to amend the requirements for a scheme to

17 Apr 2013 : Column 402W

qualify as ‘Good Quality CHP’. The electrical efficiencies of some renewable powerplant are substantially higher than those assumed when the current requirements were developed. As a result some powerplant are able to qualify as Good Quality CHP, and hence receive the CHP uplift available through the renewables obligation, despite supplying only minimal quantities of heat. The proposed amended requirements would ensure that only plant which supply a significant quantity of heat fully qualify as Good Quality CHP, hence ensuring that the additional support available for CHP delivers value for money. The consultation does not have any impact on ROC banding for plant which meet the definition of Good Quality CHP.

Initial responses from stakeholders expressed concerns at the lack of “grandfathering” of current requirements for existing plants. For this reason, DECC issued supplementary consultation questions on 21 January seeking stakeholders views on an alternative approach, which would involve grandfathering of the current requirements for some existing plant. I have had no discussions with representatives from the combined heat and power sector on this issue. The Department has received a small amount of correspondence on the subject and officials have met a number of CHP stakeholders to discuss it. In addition, 47 stakeholders have provided their views via formal responses to the consultation. Officials are currently analysing these responses.

Energy: Competition

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 10 September 2012, Official Report, column 62W, on energy, what estimate his Department has made of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index for (a) the domestic electricity market and (b) the domestic gas market. [151649]

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

DECC publish estimates of Herfindahl-Hirschman Indices for the domestic electricity and gas markets in charts 7.4 and 7.8 respectively of UK Energy Sector Indicators, produced in October each year and available on the DECC website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-energy-sector-indicators-2012

Latest data for 2011 show the index for electricity was 1,632 in 2011, with the index for gas at 2,224.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what volume of clean development mechanism permits remain outstanding to UK companies under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; and what volume of such permits are currently outstanding in the EU. [151420]

Gregory Barker: Eligible certified emissions reductions (CERs) and emissions reduction units (ERUs) can be used for compliance in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), subject to a limit. This limit is cumulative across Phase II (2008-12) and Phase III (2013-20) of the EU ETS and will be defined in a forthcoming European

17 Apr 2013 : Column 403W

Commission regulation on international credit entitlement. Therefore it is not possible at this stage to provide figures on the volume of outstanding clean development mechanism or joint implementation units that can be surrendered in the EU ETS.

Information is available on the number of units surrendered so far. In the years 2008 to 2011, 30,271,290 CERs and 3,234,025 ERUs were surrendered for compliance purposes by UK EU ETS operators, with 456,104,840 CERs and 99,216,180 ERUs surrendered by all ETS operators across the EU(1). Figures for 2012 will be available shortly after the compliance deadline of 30 April.

(1) European Commission published EU ETS cumulative compliance data 2008 to 2011:

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/registry/documentation_en.htm

Hinkley Point C Power Station

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether the Government notified (a) the Republic of Ireland, (b) Austria and (c) other European states of the proposal for a new nuclear power facility at Hinkley Point for which he granted planning permission on 19 March 2013; when and by what means any such notification occurred; and if he will make a statement. [151690]

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

The Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, concluded that the proposed development is not likely to have a significant impact on the environment of another European state(1). Notwithstanding this, any interested state had the opportunity to make representations on the application for development consent. The Austrian Government chose to do so.

(1) Available at:

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/EN010001/2.%20Post-Submission/EIA/Regulation%2024/120522_EN010001_%20 Hinkley_Transboundary% 20Screening.doc.pdf

Insulation: Prices

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of recent trends in the retail price of loft insulation; and if he will make a statement. [151594]

Gregory Barker: The Department has not made an assessment of the retail price of loft insulation. The price of loft insulation is determined by the market.

Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what criteria are used in (a) his Department and (b) each public body for which he is responsible to determine which officials receive bonus payments. [151131]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change currently awards non-consolidated end of year performance awards and in year special awards.

17 Apr 2013 : Column 404W

The Department uses non-consolidated performance related payments to help drive high performance as they:

encourage continuous high attainment because the payments are dependent upon continuing strong performance

prevent a permanent rise in salary and an increase in pension on the basis of one off performances while still allowing good performance to be rewarded

have no long term costs, in particular it does not increase future pension payments

focus the work of employees more directly on the priority goals of the organisation

motivate employees by linking an element of compensation to the achievement of objectives rather than offering payment for time served

target money at those who make the biggest contribution.

The criteria used for the award of end of year non-consolidated performance awards are determined each year in the annual pay settlement and relate to the end year appraisal ratings of staff in the previous performance year which are independently moderated.

Non-consolidated in-year special awards are used to reward staff for exceptional pieces of work or taking on additional responsibilities during the performance year.

The Coal Authority use criteria linked directly to the performance of the public body, teams and the individual so as to retain and attract staff.

The Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Civil Nuclear Police Authority use different criteria both performance related for civilian and constabulary staff. Details of these criteria will be placed in the House Library.

The Committee on Climate Change pay non-consolidated performance awards that relate to the end year appraisal ratings of staff for the performance year. These ratings are independently moderated. Non-consolidated in-year special awards are used to reward staff for exceptional pieces of work during the performance year.

The contract of employment for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority staff includes a commitment to permit staff to partake in a performance related pay scheme, which is based on a combination of corporate targets (50%) and individual performance (50%).

Both corporate and personal targets are set and aligned with actions to deliver the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's mission. A rigorous review of the achievement of the corporate targets are audited by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's sponsoring department—Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Treasury

Child Care Vouchers: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether the tax-free childcare measures announced in the 2013 Budget will be accessible to people living in Scotland; [151643]

(2) whether the childcare voucher scheme will be accessible to people living in Scotland; [151644]

(3) whether the tax-free childcare measures announced in Budget 2013 will be accessible to people living in Scotland. [151499]

17 Apr 2013 : Column 405W

Sajid Javid: On 20 March 2013 the Government announced that they would provide support to working families through the creation of a new Tax-Free Childcare Scheme.

For every 80p eligible families pay in, the Government will put in 20p up to the annual limit on costs for each child. Parents will be able to use the vouchers for any Ofsted regulated child care in England and the equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Corporation Tax

Dr McCrea: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reasons are for time taken in devolving corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly. [150270]

Mr Gauke: The Government recognise that many people are keen to see a decision on the devolution of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland made quickly. However, the issues involved are complex and a decision cannot be rushed.

The Prime Minister has set out a decision on Corporation Tax that will be made in the autumn of 2014.

Home Care Services: Pay

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints his Department has received in the last 12 months about non-compliance with the minimum wage and health care companies not paying for travel between care appointments. [151459]

Mr Gauke: HMRC recognises that non-payment of travelling time in the care sector can occur. However, it does not specifically record data using that descriptor. For the financial year 2012-13, HMRC received 19 complaints about possible non-compliance with minimum wage from workers in the domiciliary care sector.

Income Tax: Shipley

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Financial Statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 424 and the Budget 2013 Red Book, how many people in Shipley constituency were paying top rate income tax in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and how many such people will be paying that top rate in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [151005]

Mr Gauke: Data on the number of additional rate tax payers at parliamentary constituency levels are not published.

Population projections at constituency level would not be reliable or statistically robust.

Minimum Wage: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers in (a) Scotland and (b) Airdrie and Shotts constituency received a warning for non-payment of the minimum wage in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [150465]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not maintain statistics by reference to constituency. The minimum wage compliance

17 Apr 2013 : Column 406W

team in Scotland issued a Notice of Underpayment to 85 employers in the period from 1 March 2012 to 28 February 2013.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Pamela Nash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether an individual (a) living in England seeking to purchase a property in Scotland and (b) living in Scotland seeking to purchase a property in England can apply to the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme; [151483]

(2) if the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will be available to people living in Scotland. [151493]

Sajid Javid: Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee will be available on homes across the UK, including in Scotland.

Non-Domestic Rates: Third Sector

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give consideration to changing the rules about business rate discounts for charitable and non-profit organisations to offer a 100 per cent discount through Government funding in order to prevent local councils being forced to reject applications for discretionary rates due to council budget restraints. [151645]

Mr Gauke: The Government have no plans to change the rules about business rates reliefs for charitable and non-profit organisations to provide for a mandatory 100% discount, though all aspects of the tax system are kept under review.

Revenue and Customs: Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people worked in customer services at HM Revenue and Customs in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [150946]

Mr Gauke: The majority of HMRC staff in Northern Ireland (circa 1,700 full time equivalents) have an element of customer service within their job role. A fuller response to this question would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

Revenue and Customs: Southend On Sea

James Duddridge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) full-time, (b) part-time and (c) full-time equivalent staff are employed by HM Revenue and Customs in Southend-on-Sea. [150507]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs employs a total of 1,486 staff in Southend-on-Sea. The breakdown of full-time, part-time and full-time equivalent staff is set out in the following table:

 HeadcountFTE

Full-time

1,011

1,011

Part-time

475

300.67

Total

1,486

1,311.67

17 Apr 2013 : Column 407W

Revenue and Customs: Telephone Services

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to improve the efficacy of HM Revenue and Customs' telephone services following the closure of enquiry centres. [151468]

Mr Gauke: Over the last five months HMRC has answered on average over 90% of all calls and plans to invest further in its Contact Centres in 2013-14 to maintain this performance.

HMRC has also introduced a more flexible resourcing model, to better manage busy periods by deploying extra resource to deal with short-term increases in demand. In early summer 2013, HMRC is introducing speech recognition technology to its Helplines, allowing customers to access the correct service by what they say rather than using key pad options.

Between 3 June and 31 October 2013, HMRC is piloting a new service in the north-east of England for customers who need extra help. As part of that pilot, the inquiry centres in the north east will close on 3 June 2013. The pilot will be used to gather more information and ensure that the service given is as good as it can be. A decision on whether or not to close the remaining inquiry centres and roll out the new service nationwide will be made in January 2014.

Sterling: Devaluation

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the devaluation of sterling against the dollar and the euro since May 2010. [151491]

Sajid Javid: The Government's macroeconomic framework includes an independent Monetary Policy Committee responsible for monetary policy that seeks

17 Apr 2013 : Column 408W

to deliver price stability through an inflation target of 2% as measured by the 12-month increase in the consumer prices index.

Under this framework sterling is determined by market forces. A wide variety of factors affect the value of any exchange rate. These include economic fundamentals, the direction in which interest rates are expected to move in the future, and general sentiment in markets.

Tax Allowances

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on revenue to the Exchequer of introducing a flat rate of income tax and national insurance at 25 per cent with a personal allowance of £13,000. [150962]

Mr Gauke: Reliable estimates of changes of this scale require detailed analysis of complex, uncertain, behavioural effects. These estimates are not available.

VAT: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many value added tax registrations there were in each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) ward in Scotland in each deprivation decile in each year since 2007. [150568]

Mr Gauke: No estimate is available for the number of VAT registrations in each parliamentary constituency or electoral ward in Scotland for each of the deprivation deciles since 2007.

The Office for National Statistics series “UK Business: Activity, Size and Location”, gives the number of VAT registered businesses up to and including 2007. In 2008, this was combined to give the total number of businesses registered for either VAT and/or PAYE for each parliamentary constituency in Scotland. This is given in the following table.

Changes between the years reflect the net number of new VAT and/or PAYE registrations and de-registrations.

Number of enterprises at the end of March in each year parliamentary constituency
 VAT-based enterprisesVAT and/or PAYE based enterprises
 200720082009201020112012

Aberdeen North

1,560

1,975

2,005

1,935

1,985

2,195

Aberdeen South

3,020

3,900

4,005

4,060

4,245

4,535

Airdrie and Shotts

1,250

1,525

1,525

1,515

1,480

1,550

Angus

2,285

2,770

2,755

2,730

2,750

2,830

Argyll and Bute

3,210

3,770

3,735

3,635

3,615

3,695

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

2,065

2,485

2,470

2,395

2,410

2,440

Banff and Buchan

3,480

4,165

4,200

4,195

4,240

4,370

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

3,565

4,000

3,925

3,855

3,860

3,925

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

2,365

2,765

2,815

2,785

2,810

2,960

Central Ayrshire

1,575

1,880

1,920

1,885

1,850

1,935

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

1,415

1,775

1,760

1,685

1,705

1,775

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

1,155

1,410

1,445

1,440

1,455

1,535

Dumfries and Galloway

3,420

3,915

3,865

3,790

3,750

3,775

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

3,220

3,645

3,645

3,570

3,545

3,615

Dundee East

1,195

1,555

1,530

1,540

1,520

1,585

Dundee West

1,455

1,825

1,805

1,780

1,755

1,800

Dunfermline and West Fife

1,525

1,930

1,975

1,945

1,950

2,075

East Dunbartonshire

1,560

1,990

2,030

2.020

2,015

2,125

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

1,915

2,320

2,360

2,300

2,285

2,335

East Lothian

2,070

2,475

2,510

2,515

2,505

2,630

East Renfrewshire

1,610

2,035

2,040

2,065

2,060

2,175

17 Apr 2013 : Column 409W

17 Apr 2013 : Column 410W

Edinburgh East

1,970

2,450

2,455

2,410

2,400

2,530

Edinburgh North and Leith

4,370

5,670

5,565

5,440

5,440

5,765

Edinburgh South

1,390

1,800

1,815

1,810

1,845

1,965

Edinburgh South West

1,640

2,145

2,205

2,190

2,220

2,365

Edinburgh West

1,570

2,075

2,070

2,090

2,180

2,280

Falkirk

1,665

2,115

2,120

2,130

2,145

2,205

Glasgow Central

5,060

6,130

6,105

6,155

6,065

6,275

Glasgow East

1,005

1,255

1,245

1,295

1,295

1,395

Glasgow North

1,275

1,750

1,770

1,715

1,730

1,800

Glasgow North East

835

1,110

1,100

1,080

1,095

1,185

Glasgow North West

865

1,195

1,205

1,190

1,205

1,280

Glasgow South

1,140

1,460

1,500

1,480

1,480

1,585

Glasgow South West

870

1,100

1,095

1,100

1,110

1,165

Glenrothes

1,145

1,425

1,445

1,440

1,400

1,430

Gordon

3,530

4,360

4,450

4,490

4,565

4.825

Inverclyde

1,075

1,420

1,400

1,395

1,370

1,460

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey

2,780

3,395

3,425

3,410

3,375

3,460

Kilmarnock and Loudoun

1,920

2,265

2,215

2,195

2,170

2,235

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath

1,465

1,890

1,900

1,920

1,910

1,990

Lanark and Hamilton East

2,205

2,725

2,750

2,730

2,700

2,775

Linlithgow and East Falkirk

1,915

2,390

2,375

2,355

2,320

2,425

Livingston

1,755

2,185

2,175

2,135

2,115

2,200

Midlothian

1,555

1,885

1,865

1,860

1,875

1,920

Moray

2,380

2,855

2,875

2,865

2,835

2,895

Motherwell and Wishaw

1,205

1,455

1,405

1,370

1,400

1,470

Na h-Eileanan an lar

890

1,040

1,055

1,020

995

1,040

North Ayrshire and Arran

1,715

2,100

2,095

2,025

1,970

2,050

North East Fife

2,075

2,480

2,480

2,435

2,420

2,460

Ochil and South Perthshire

2,645

3,175

3,180

3,110

3,095

3,175

Orkney and Shetland

2,490

2,695

2,625

2,650

2,640

2,705

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

1,605

2,060

2,095

2,095

2,100

2,160

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

1,355

1,710

1,695

1,720

1,690

1,740

Perth and North Perthshire

2,825

3,320

3,305

3,295

3,240

3,340

Ross, Skye and Lochaber

2,945

3,435

3,435

3,400

3,395

3,485

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

1,370

1,675

1,660

1,685

1,645

1,745

Stirling

2,815

3,445

3,445

3,380

3,415

3,490

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

3,485

4,315

4,425

4,465

4,580

4,835

West Dunbartonshire

1,100

1,435

1,425

1,415

1,415

1,490

Total

118,820

145,500

145,770

144,585

144,635

150,455

Defence

Armed Forces: Pay

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2013, Official Report, column 929W, on Armed Forces: pay, if he will provide the information by rank as originally asked. [151448]

Mr Francois: A broad estimate of the impact on specific ranks is set out in the following table. An accurate estimate could be made only at disproportionate cost.

£ million
 Medical officer/Dental officer and 2*+ (senior salaries review body)Officers up to 1*(AFPRB Report)Other ranks (AFPRB Report)

Estimated total cost

1

9

26

Rank

 

Brigadier

0.2

Colonel

0.6

Lt Colonel

1.7

Major

3.0

Captain

2.8

Lt and below

0.7

Warrant Officer

2.6

Staff Sergeant

2.9

17 Apr 2013 : Column 411W

17 Apr 2013 : Column 412W

Sergeant

4.4

Corporal

3.1

Lance Corporal

6.0

Private

7.0

Defence Suppliers Forum

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff) of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 437W, on the Defence Suppliers Forum, which members of the Defence Suppliers Forum have received more than one invitation to attend in the last 12 months; and how many meetings of the Forum there have been in that period. [151011]

Mr Dunne: The Defence Suppliers Forum met on three occasions in the last 12 months. Representatives of the following organisations have attended on more than one occasion:

Babcock International Group

BAE Systems

EADS UK

Finmeccanica UK

General Dynamics UK

Hewlett-Packard UK

Lockheed Martin UK

QinetiQ

Rolls-Royce

Serco UK

Thales UK.

In addition, a representative from Aspire Defence has attended all three meetings in support of a particular agenda item.

Two representatives from the Defence Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Forum are invited to each DSF on a rotational basis. However, no SME Forum member have been invited to attend more than one DSF during the period requested.

Germany

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-8, on Army basing plan, what recent assessment he has made of the future of Normandy Barracks in Sennelager, Germany; and what assessment he has made of its cost implications to the UK. [151529]

Mr Francois: As announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 845, Normandy Barracks in Sennelager is not expected to be handed back to the German authorities before 2017.

Negotiations are still ongoing for the final, one off settlement for the release of accommodation and estate to the German authorities.

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-8, on Army basing plan, what (a) redundancy package and (b) employment re-training programmes he plans to offer to ex-service and civilian personnel who are under contract to his Department in Germany. [151537]

Mr Francois: There are a number of measures in place to support those personnel affected by the drawdown of troops in Germany, depending on the terms and conditions and circumstances of those involved.

The Army employs some 3,400 personnel through the local labour market in Germany. These staff will be managed in accordance with local procedures in consultation with the German authorities. This includes either a lump-sum redundancy pay-out, or ‘bridging payments’ if their new job pays less, and re-training packages made available under the auspices of the Federal Employment Agency.

All UK based civil servants returning to the UK as part of the drawdown will be managed in accordance with departmental procedures which include providing assistance in finding alternative employment through the Department's redeployment pool for any that are declared surplus.

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-8, on Army basing plan, what financial assistance he plans to offer to ex-service and civilian personnel based in Germany who are under contract to his Department for the purpose of obtaining housing in the UK. [151538]

Mr Francois: There are no plans to offer financial assistance to obtain housing in the UK beyond the usual reimbursement for the cost of relocation.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated within the Joint Equipment Plan for the procurement of 48 Joint Strike Fighters (B). [151490]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the National Audit Office Major Projects Report Volume II, published on 10 January 2013, which includes details of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Programme. To protect the Ministry of Defence's commercial position, budgeted costs for procurement are not published in advance of main investment decision points, which for the JSF programme will not be before the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Military Aid: Helicopters

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions there has been a request for military aid to the civil authorities that involved a helicopter from (a) RAF Lossiemouth and (b) HMS Gannet in each of the last five years; and what the nature was of each such request. [151001]

17 Apr 2013 : Column 413W

Mr Robathan: The majority of requests have been for military Search and Rescue (SAR). Military Search and Rescue (SAR) statistics are published on annual and quarterly basis by the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) organisation. Copies of the 2012 figures (published on 31 January 2013), which also includes yearly figures from 2003, are available in the Library of the House.

There were also two call outs which were not for Search and Rescue:

DateRequesting organisationRAF Lossiemouth/HMS GannetSummary

17 April 2009

Strathclyde Police

HMS Gannet

Five police officers were transported from HMS Gannet to the Isle of Cumbrae.

22 March 2013

Belfast Coastguard

HMS Gannet

Assistance with moving emergency services personnel, provisions and persons cut off by snow on Arran (Blackwaterfoot).

Military Bases: Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) sustainability appraisal for the development of the estate at RAF Lossiemouth, (b) sustainability appraisal for the delivery of an Adaptable Force Brigade Scotland, (c) updated sustainability appraisal for the Base Optimisation Programme in Scotland and (d) updated sustainable development action plan for the overarching Base Optimisation Programme. [151002]

Mr Robathan: I am withholding the information requested as it relates to the formulation of Government policy.

Type 26 Frigates

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated within the joint equipment plan to procure the 13 Type 26 frigates. [151437]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the National Audit Office Major Projects Report Volume II, published on 10 January 2013, which includes details of the Type 26 Programme. To protect the Ministry of Defence's commercial position, budgeted costs for procurement are not published in advance of the main investment decision point, which for Type 26 is expected in the middle of the decade.

Communities and Local Government

Berkeley Group

Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), (b) Berkeley Homes and (c) PRUPIM over the definition of affordable homes in the sale by Berkeley Group

17 Apr 2013 : Column 414W

Holdings to PRUPIM of a residential portfolio which was partially funded by the HCA; [151440]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the sale by Berkeley Group Holdings to PRUPIM of a residential portfolio partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency represents best value; [151441]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effect the sale by Berkeley Group Holdings to PRUPIM of a £105.4 million residential portfolio made up of 534 rental properties partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency will have on the total amount of affordable housing provided by the Kidbrooke regeneration scheme. [151671]

Mr Prisk: There were no affordable housing units in this residential portfolio sale by Berkeley Group holdings to PRUPIM. All 534 properties involved in the sale were private rented units. There is thus no impact on the amount of affordable housing in the Kidbrooke regeneration scheme. An independent valuation assessment confirmed that the sale of the portfolio was at market value and that therefore the Homes and Communities Agency's share of the return in respect of its Kickstart investment represented value for money to the public purse.

Council Tax

Sir Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's consultation on technical reforms of council tax, when he expects to publish the results of the Government's further review of how annexes for family homes can be supported. [151670]

Brandon Lewis: The Government are undertaking a broad review of how annexes for family homes can be supported and will set out its plans in due course.

Councillors

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance is given to councillors who are also council taxpayers to declare an interest when setting the budget. [151663]

Brandon Lewis: I have been clear that any payment of, or liability to pay, council tax does not create a disclosable pecuniary interest as defined in the national rules. My Department has updated its plain English guide “Openness and transparency on personal interests: a guide for councillors” to cover this issue.

I have placed a copy of the guide in the Library of the House and it is available for on my Department's website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/153759/Openness_and_transparency_on_personal_interest_-_a_guide_for_councillors.pdf