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State Retirement Pensions

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to ensure that people who contract out of additional elements of the state pension are not left worse off in retirement as a result of doing so. [155831]

Steve Webb: Occupational pension schemes that were contracted out of the state additional pension on a defined benefit (DB) basis between 1978 and 1997 are required to provide a scheme pension. That pension, as a minimum, must be a pension broadly equivalent to the state earnings-related pension scheme (SERPS), so should not leave those people worse off in retirement as a result of being contracted out.

The requirements for contracting out on a DB basis were changed in April 1997, and schemes now have to satisfy an overall test, which was designed broadly to match the 1997 value of the state earning-related pension scheme (SERPS). This meant that the scheme pension must be broadly equivalent to or better than a pension based on 1/80th x average earnings in the last three years x years of service with a normal pension age of 65. From 1997, no state additional pension was earned if a person contracted out on a DB basis. But when the second state pension (S2P) was introduced in 2002, it became possible for a low to moderate earner to earn some state additional pension. Again, those who contracted out on a DB basis after 1997 should not be worse off in retirement as a result of doing so. Contracting out will cease for DB in 2016.

Under contracting out on a defined contribution basis, which was abolished in April 2012, the contracting-out rebate rates (the reduction in the amount of national insurance paid by the individual and an age-related rebate paid to the scheme at the end of the tax year) were recommended and set based on the Government Actuary's best estimates about the expected cost of replacing the state additional pension given up through contracting-out. There was always a known risk that the reality would turn out to be different from the assumptions, and individuals chose to enter these terms on a voluntary basis accepting that risk. The Government do not plan to take any steps to adjust the state pension to take account of any worse than expected investment outcomes.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the decile amounts of the deduction from state pension made in respect of periods of contracted-out employment for (a) men and (b) women reaching state pension age in (i) the latest year for which figures are available and (ii) each of the previous five years. [156154]

Steve Webb: Comprehensive information about the amounts of the deduction from state pension made in respect of periods of contracted out employment are not readily available from administrative data within the timescales available.

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The Department will publish this information in an ad hoc publication before summer recess.

To estimate deductions in respect of periods of contracted-out employment for the purposes of the state pension reform the Department uses Pensim2 data. This is not a suitable data source for providing historical information.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 510W, on state retirement pensions, what proportion of people would receive an amount greater than £144 per week net of any deduction made in respect of periods of contracted-out employment should the current system remain in place. [156155]

Steve Webb: State pension outcomes under the current two-tier system vary widely. By contrast, under single tier the large majority of pensioners in the medium term could expect to retire on the full weekly amount of single-tier pension.

The Department's modelling suggests that if the current system were to remain in place, around 35% of people reaching state pension age in between 2016-17 and 2036-37 would receive more than the illustrative £144 per week single-tier amount.

Under the proposed single-tier pension, around 70% of people reaching state pension age between 2016-17 and 2036-37 would receive an amount equal to or greater than the full single-tier amount.

Source:

DWP modelling based on PENSIM2

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Text Box 2.2 of his Department's White Paper, The single-tier pension, CM 8528, when his Department's population projections will be published. [156157]

Steve Webb: The Department for Work and Pensions does not publish population projections. The expenditure projections referred to in the White Paper, “The single-tier pension: a simple foundation for saving” were published on 18 January.

They are available on the Department's website at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2013/ltp_pensioners.pdf

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Chart 2.4 of his Department's White Paper, The single-tier pension, CM 8528, if he will provide the figures used to produce that chart. [156158]

Steve Webb: The information is in the following table. Note that the estimates have been updated to reflect a 2016 start date for the single-tier pension and are consistent with chart 6.1 of the revised impact assessment, available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/197841/single-tier-ia-april-2013.pdf

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Percentage of GDP spent on pensioner benefits under current pension system and under the single-tier pension
 Current systemSingle tier

2012

6.9

2013

6.9

2014

6.8

2015

6.7

2016

6.6

6.6

2017

6.4

6.4

2018

6.3

6.3

2019

6.2

6.2

2020

6.0

6.0

2021

6.1

6.1

2022

6.2

6.1

2023

6.2

6.2

2024

6.3

6.3

2025

6.4

6.4

2026

6.4

6.4

2027

6.3

6.3

2028

6.3

6.3

2029

6.4

6.4

2030

6.5

6.6

2031

6.7

6.7

2032

6.8

6.8

2033

6.9

6.9

2034

7.0

7.0

2035

7.1

7.1

2036

7.2

7.2

2037

7.3

7.3

2038

7.4

7.4

2039

7.5

7.5

2040

7.5

7.5

2041

7.5

7.5

2042

7.6

7.5

2043

7.6

7.5

2044

7.5

7.5

2045

7.4

7.3

2046

7.3

7.3

2047

7.4

7.3

2048

7.4

7.3

2049

7.5

7.4

2050

7.5

7.4

2051

7.6

7.5

2052

7.7

7.5

2053

7.8

7.6

2054

7.9

7.7

2055

8.0

7.8

2056

8.1

7.8

2057

8.2

7.9

2058

8.3

8.0

2059

8.4

8.1

2060

8.5

8.1

Notes: 1. Pensioner benefit expenditure includes state pension, pension credit, housing benefit, localised council tax support, attendance allowance, disability living allowance, winter fuel payments, over-75 TV licences and Christmas bonus. 2. Expenditure is for Great Britain, plus overseas state pension excluding Northern Ireland, and is presented as a percentage of UK GDP.

Termination of Employment

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in his Department have resigned in the last year for which figures are available; and how many resigned citing ethical reasons for leaving. [155551]

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Mr Hoban: Within the fiscal year 2012-13 1,783 employees resigned from the Department, this represents approximately 1.7% of our total work force employed during this time. This figure includes Child Maintenance Group who joined the Department in August 2012. Information on resignations citing ethical reasons is not collected.

Training

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training staff in his Department have received in (a) enthusiasm and (b) other personal aptitudes. [156066]

Mr Hoban: The Department does not train staff in the subjects the hon. Member has inquired about.

Unemployment

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will undertake an assessment of the potential effect on unemployment in the event that the UK were to exit the European Union. [156363]

Mr Hoban: I have no plans to conduct such an assessment.

Universal Credit

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial assistance his Department will make available to those receiving universal credit who do not budget effectively and run out of their credit money before the next payment is due. [155399]

Mr Hoban: A range of budgeting advances are available to universal credit claimants dependant on individual circumstances. These can be for up to 50% of the award of benefit. Funding for providing support in a crisis will continue after implementation of universal credit and, where appropriate, DWP will signpost claimants to other financial support, including that provided by local authorities and devolved Administrations.

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has estimated the number of benefit claimants without bank accounts who will receive universal credit. [155756]

Steve Webb: No formal estimate has been made of the number of claimants without bank accounts who will receive universal credit.

DWP currently issues payments to around 800,000 working age claimants through methods of payment other than a bank account, such as the Post Office Card account or Simple Payment.

Many of these claimants already have access to a bank account; others will be offered support to access suitable financial products and money advice before migrating to universal credit.

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to assist universal credit claimants who do not currently have bank accounts. [155757]

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Steve Webb: The majority of claimants already use a bank or building society account to manage their money and will continue to be paid in this way under universal credit. Some claimants do not currently use a bank account and we are working with the advice sector to ensure that claimants have appropriate support to help them access and utilise appropriate financial services.

We are also looking to support the development of accounts with built-in budgeting features, such as ‘jam jar’ accounts. We are consulting with financial providers across the private, social and third sectors, and considering the best ways to make these types of products more widely available.

Where a claimant is unable to access any other form of banking solution, we will have the ability to make universal credit payments into a Post Office card account or by Simple Payment.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have successfully claimed universal credit in the pathfinder to date. [156614]

Mr Hoban: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply I provided him with on 13 May 2013, Official Report, column 69W, on how many people have claimed universal credit in the pathfinder to date. The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity. We intend to publish official statistics on pathfinder areas in autumn 2013.

We expect around 7,000 claims to be processed in pathfinders.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the net savings to his Department in the event that the winter fuel allowance was to be withdrawn from those pensioners currently eligible to pay income tax at the (a) higher rate of 40 per cent and (b) additional rate of 45 per cent. [156272]

Steve Webb: The estimates in the table are based on Department for Work and Pensions expenditure forecasts combined with information on the tax paid by older people from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Survey of Personal Incomes.

AME savings from withdrawing the winter fuel payment from different categories of taxpayers
 £ million

(a) Higher rate taxpayers (40%)

100

(b) Additional rate taxpayers (45%)

5

Total

105

The table provides estimates of the expenditure associated with winter fuel payments, for higher and additional rate taxpayers, assuming the payment rate of £200 for people that have reached women's state pension age and are under 80, and £300 for people aged 80 or over. The figures are expressed in cash terms and rounded to the nearest £5 million.

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Work Programme

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of Work programme participants who will not have found sustainable work after completion of their two-year Work programme in (a) Wales and (b) the UK in the six months from June 2013. [156549]

Mr Hoban: The number of Work programme participants that have found sustainable work and qualified for a job outcome provider payment forms a part of the Work programme official statistics. We are unable to provide estimates of those that have not found sustainable work without compromising the integrity of the statistical release.

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has for Work programme participants who have not found sustainable work after completion of that programme. [156550]

Mr Hoban: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave previously to the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) on 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 206W.

Work Programme: Powys

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the Government's Work programme, how many referrals have been made to the scheme in Powys to date; and how many such referrals have found employment as a result of being on the scheme. [156300]

Mr Hoban: Information on the number of people that have been placed in to employment from the Work programme is not available.

Statistics on the number of Work programme referrals and job outcomes by local authority can be found in the employment programmes section at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool

Guidance for users is available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/tabtools/guidance.pdf

Follow the instructions to create the required tables:

(1) In the Employment Programmes section select ‘Click here for statistics regarding the Work Programme’.

(2) In the Benefit/Scheme section select ‘Work Programme: Cumulative figures’.

(3) In the Analysis drop-down menu select either ‘Referrals (Thousands)’ or ‘Job Outcomes (Thousands)’.

(4) In the Row drop-down menu select local authority.

(5) In the Column drop-down menu select from a range of different variables for a cross-tabulation.

(6) In the Subset drop-down menu there are a number of different variables available. If no subset is required, select ‘NONE’.

(7) In the Date drop-down menu select the latest available date. For Work Programme data the latest available information is at July 2012.

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International Development

Developing Countries: Disability

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government are taking to ensure that a post-2015 development framework is inclusive of people with disability. [156547]

Justine Greening: The Prime Minister has been clear that we need to build on the Millennium Development Goals to reach the marginalised and most vulnerable—including people with disabilities, and has been working with the international community to shape a Post-2015 agenda that will deliver for people with disabilities, including in key areas such as education.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether she plans to represent the Government at the UN High Level Meeting on disability and development on 23 September 2013. [156548]

Justine Greening: The UK Government will be represented at the UN High Level Meeting on disability and development in September. The exact plans for who will represent the UK at the meeting have yet to be decided.

Developing Countries: HIV Infection

Pauline Latham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what initiatives she is supporting to streamline the licensing of new HIV medicines in developing countries. [156620]

Lynne Featherstone: The UK Government support efforts to agree licenses with holders of patents for HIV medicines to help the development of new generic medicines and formulations. For example, the Medicines Patent Pool aims to enhance access to HIV medicines by simplifying the licensing process, providing manufacturers with a one-stop-shop for licences for patents that may be required to produce a new generic.

The UK Government also support efforts to strengthen processes for authorising and assuring the quality of HIV medicines in developing countries. This includes the Prequalification Programme managed by the World Health Organisation that verifies that HIV medicines (and other health commodities) meet quality standards.

Developing Countries: Poliomyelitis

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) other EU bodies about funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative; and if she will make a statement. [156501]

Lynne Featherstone: DFID has regular contact with the European Commission (EC) about funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). We are working on this issue with other polio partners including the GPEI's spearheading partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and those member states that support polio eradication.

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ICT

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen from her Department and non-departmental bodies in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if she will make a statement. [156430]

Mr Duncan: DFID's central accounting records show the following items have been reported as lost or stolen within the requested period.

 Number of items reported in:
Items2010-112011-122012-13

Laptops

14

17

11

Mobile Telephones

1

3

14

BlackBerry

1

8

15” Monitor

1

Memory sticks

2

2

5

No items have been reported for the Department's non departmental bodies.

Overseas Aid

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the potential role of UK business in helping her Department achieve its objectives overseas; and what steps her Department has taken to assist UK businesses overseas in achieving these objectives. [155894]

Justine Greening: We know that business, including UK business, has a crucial role to play in generating growth in developing countries by providing workers with jobs, poorer consumers with affordable and better quality goods and services, and governments with taxes that allow them to provide for their citizens' basic needs. UK companies have become highly competitive in the international development market, and have won a large percentage of DFID's competitively-tendered, centrally-procured contracts.

Following my speech at the London Stock Exchange, DFID is working with the Confederation of British Industry to develop a Business Engagement Strategy to enhance the scope for business, including UK business, to contribute to DFID's economic development agenda. We are also working across Whitehall to better coordinate trade and investment in the countries we work in.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Clothing

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible have made a claim for evening dress allowance in each of the last five years; and what the total cost of such claims has been. [155449]

Alistair Burt: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not pay an allowance for evening wear. The FCO will reimburse staff for the actual cost of hiring

21 May 2013 : Column 679W

formal clothing required when working at official evening functions, such as the Queen's Annual Evening Reception for the Diplomatic Corps, or State occasions.

Our accounting systems do not allow us to separate the costs spent on clothing from other expenditure and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. This is also true for FCO Services and other Non-Departmental Public Bodies.

Israel

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to intervene more directly to deal with cases of administrative detention in Israel. [156576]

Alistair Burt: We remain concerned about Israel's extensive use of administrative detention which, according to international law, should be used only when security makes this absolutely necessary rather than as routine practice, and as a preventive rather than a punitive measure. We have raised this with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels.

We will continue to do so until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.

Palestinians

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he had with representatives of the Palestinian Authority on payments made to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons in the last 12 months. [156465]

Alistair Burt: The Department for International Development continues to have regular discussions with the Palestinian Authority (PA) on this issue, and encourage the PA to ensure that payments to Palestinian prisoners and their families are transparent, needs-based and affordable.

Most recently, the Minister of State, Department for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr Duncan), discussed this issue with caretaker Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad during his visit to the region in April. The Head of the Department for International Development Palestinian Programme also met the PA Minister of Detainees to discuss this issue on May 7.

The caretaker Palestinian Prime Minister has made clear, both in public and to British Government officials, that payments to prisoners in Israeli jails are made at the request of the Israeli Authorities to meet basic living conditions.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of the West Bank covered by agreed Israeli master plans. [156616]

Alistair Burt: Of the West Bank, over 60% is Area C, exclusively controlled by Israel and including a significant part of the West Bank's agricultural and grazing land as well as being essential for the development of the main Palestinian population centres. Israeli-agreed master plans are not required for Areas A and B.

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Of Area C, less than 1% of Area C has been planned for Palestinian development by the Israeli Civil Administration. According to the United Nations, more than 70% of the land in Area C has been allocated to Israeli settlements or the Israeli military and is unavailable for Palestinian use.

Israeli planning permission is required for building any structures 20cm above or below ground in Area C. According to Israeli Government statistics, four of 444 Palestinian applications for building permits were approved in 2010. Palestinian properties built without permission are susceptible to demolition by the Israeli authorities.

In order to support development of Palestinian communities in Area C, the UK, together with others in the international community, have funded the development and submission of ‘masterplans’ for a number of Palestinian communities in Area C. It is important to note that these plans do not address agricultural or grazing land.

There are currently 32 such masterplans progressing through the Israeli planning system and in December 2012, five of these were considered to have met the required technical standard by the Israeli Civil Administration. The 32 masterplans cover 0.38% of the West Bank or 0.6% of Area C.

We continue to urge Israel to ease the restrictions in place in Area C and to fulfil its obligation under the Oslo agreement to transfer authority over Area C to the Palestinian authority.

Regulation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what processes his Department has put in place to (a) monitor, (b) collate cost information on, (c) review and (d) respond to requests to amend or revoke regulations introduced by his Department. [155795]

(2) what the title was of each set of regulations introduced by his Department in each month since May 2010; and which of those regulations have been (a) subject to the (i) “one in one out” and (ii) “one in two out” procedure and (b) (i) revoked and (ii) amended. [155817]

(3) if he will provide the estimated cost of each regulation introduced by his Department since May 2010; and what the estimated benefits of each regulation (a) amended and (b) revoked were. [155961]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office(FCO) has not introduced any regulations since May 2010, within the scope of the “one in one out” and “one in two out” procedures. Most secondary legislation introduced by the FCO takes the form of Orders in Council rather than regulations and typically deals with matters such as the implementation of UN and EU sanctions and in the UK Overseas Territories (UK OT) and UK OT constitutional matters. Other FCO secondary legislation concerns either consular matters or the implementation of the UK's international obligations, for example in the fields of privileges and immunities of international organisations, international criminal law or the specification of EU treaties. These instruments do not regulate or impose costs on civil society organisations or business in the UK.

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Shaker Aamer

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Prime Minister will discuss with the US President the diplomatic efforts to release Mr Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay. [155646]

Alistair Burt: The UK Government continue to make clear to the US that we want Mr Aamer released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency. The US Secretaries of Defense and State have the authority to affect Mr Aamer's release and return. Our efforts have therefore focussed on these departments as the most relevant parties. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised Mr Aamer's case numerous times with Secretary Clinton, and reiterated the British Government's commitment to securing his release and return on two separate occasions to her successor, Secretary Kerry, in May. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence also raised Mr Aamer's case with his US counterpart earlier this month. I raised Mr Aamer's case with US Deputy Secretary of State Burns during a visit to Washington in April, and senior officials continue to meet their US counterparts for discussions about Mr Aamer.

Training

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible enrolled in publicly-funded training courses in each of the last five years; what the total cost has been of such courses; and what the monetary value was of the 10 highest training course fees in each such year. [155429]

Alistair Burt: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Wages Board

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2013, Official Report, column 610W, on Agricultural Wages Board, how many hours it took officials to scan and publish a summary of responses to the consultation on his Department's website; and what estimate he made of the length of time that it would have taken officials to scan and publish each response to the consultation online. [155210]

Mr Heath [holding answer 15 May 2013]:The summary of responses to the consultation on the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) was produced as a normal part of any consultation process. We do not have records of how long the analysis and drafting process took.

It is not possible to accurately estimate the length of time it would take officials to scan and publish online each response to this consultation, as the wider process would incorporate time to label, file and index responses in a way that would be meaningful and usable for customers.

21 May 2013 : Column 682W

Agricultural Wages Board: Clwyd

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board on people in Clwyd South constituency. [155976]

Mr Heath: There has not been any assessment of the regional impact of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board on agricultural worker's wages.

We have been quite clear that there is considerable uncertainty about the impact on workers' wages. The reality will depend on demand, which evidence shows is increasing, and how farmers use the increased flexibility.

Many workers are already paid above the agricultural minimum wage for their grade, so the removal of the Agricultural Wages Board will probably not affect their wages. Moreover, the underlying market conditions suggest that farmers will need to offer competitive packages to attract and retain skilled and qualified staff.

Workers with existing contracts at the time of abolition will retain entitlement to the terms of that employment until the contract either comes to an end or is varied by agreement between the worker and the employer.

All workers will be protected by the national minimum wage.

Agriculture: Pay

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to monitor effects of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board on wages in the agricultural sector. [154196]

Mr Heath: DEFRA collects a range of statistics in the agricultural sector, including information about agricultural employment, and will continue to do so after the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. Moreover, the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) run by the Office for National Statistics provides data on wage levels in agriculture and allows direct comparison with other sectors.

Agriculture: Rain

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect farmers from the economic consequences of the anticipated high levels of rainfall in summer 2013. [155609]

Mr Heath: Following the recent adverse weather, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs hosted a meeting of industry representatives, farming charities and banks to highlight the financial impact this exceptional weather is having on farm businesses and to see what more can be done to support farmers who are struggling financially. The meeting was very constructive; the Government acknowledged the strength of support for farmers from the banking sector and the same representatives will meet again in July. In the meantime, we have set up a working group to look at identifying risks and improving resilience of the farming industry.

21 May 2013 : Column 683W

DEFRA is investing £533 million in 2013-14 in flood and coastal erosion risk management through the Environment Agency. This will be spent on maintaining and improving defences and reducing the risk of flooding to home and commercial assets including farmland.

The Environment Agency's (EA's) ongoing asset maintenance programme provides substantial benefits for agricultural land by reducing the risk of flooding from main rivers and the sea. More than 98% of EA maintained flood defence assets, protecting high consequence systems, are in the required target condition. These high consequence systems help protect approximately 50% of the agricultural land in England that is at risk of flooding from main rivers and the sea, including the vast majority of the most productive Grade 1 and 2 land. The other 50% of agricultural land at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea is protected by defences in what the EA describe as low and medium consequence systems, where more than 95% of agency-managed assets are in target condition. Farmland will also benefit from capital improvement projects. For example, in 2011-12 DEFRA funded projects provided an improved standard of flood protection to more than 180,000 acres of farm land.

Anaerobic Digestion

Sir James Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the amount of land dedicated to growing crops for crop-only anaerobic digestion plants which have been granted feed-in tariffs. [156016]

Mr Heath: There are currently only six crop anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the UK, requiring crops grown on roughly 3,300 ha of land. This is less than 0.02% of the available agricultural land in the UK.

Other AD plants may use crops as part of a crop/waste mix although the split between the amounts of crops/waste used may vary from week to week.

Biofuels

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to prevent the development of biofuels competing with food production. [156583]

Mr Heath: The Government believe that food production must remain the primary goal of agriculture and the production of biofuel must not undermine food security, in the UK or internationally. Modelling analysis published as part of the Bioenergy Strategy suggests that increased EU demand for biofuels has led to global crop prices being around 3% to 5% higher than they would otherwise have been and that this would correspond to only a modest rise in food prices, since crops represent a small share of the cost of food production. As set out in that strategy, it is nevertheless essential that we continue to monitor the volume and all types of bioenergy demand and their links with food prices and production. To this end, we will continue to work with the European Commission in its ongoing evaluation of the economic, social and environmental impacts of the EU’s biofuels policies.

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Bovine Tuberculosis

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of testing arrangements for tuberculosis in cattle; and what steps he is taking to improve those arrangements. [155285]

Mr Heath [holding answer 15 May 2013]: The Government are committed to ensuring we have a comprehensive and balanced package of measures to tackle TB, with eradication as our ultimate long-term goal. We already have a robust set of measures in place to tackle transmission between cattle—including compulsory testing, slaughter of infected animals and movement restrictions on infected herds.

Surveillance testing is assessed annually to review the adequateness of testing frequency. Latest changes were introduced in January 2013 when large parts of England moved to annual testing and radial testing around breakdowns. This was introduced in the low risk areas, to ensure that the disease does not establish in clean areas.

Underpinning the successful delivery of the Eradication Programme is the role of the farming industry and individual farmers, working in partnership with vets, Government and others. Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) manages the regulation that sets TB test controls to defined policy requirements. Recent changes have been made to further enhance veterinary TB test quality assurance controls, strengthening procedural instructions and sanctions to meet European standards of governance.

DEFRA is currently undertaking a review of the use of the interferon gamma blood test, which is used to supplement the skin test for bovine TB under certain circumstances. The outcome of this review will be published later in the year.

DEFRA has also recently commissioned a research project to assess slaughterhouse surveillance which forms an important part of cattle controls.

Bread and Flour Regulations 1998

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the costings contained in the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 Consultation Impact Assessment, what the costs would be to the (a) quarrying, (b) manufacture and (c) distribution industries of his proposals. [155047]

Mr Heath: During DEFRA's recent consultation on the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, representations were received from operators within the industries referred to by the hon. Member. These built upon the information contained in the impact assessment on the costs of the various options to each of the sectors concerned. The Government are committed to ensuring that any policy decisions on the future of those regulations will take into account the effects on those industries, as well as health impacts and the interests of consumers. The Government intend to announce our decision before the summer recess.

21 May 2013 : Column 685W

Clothing

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible have made a claim for evening dress allowance in each of the last five years; and what the total cost of such claims has been. [155448]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA and its non-departmental public bodies do not provide staff with an evening dress allowance and has not done so in the past five years.

Dogs

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage responsible dog ownership. [156091]

Mr Heath: The Government are introducing a range of measures to tackle irresponsible ownership of dogs. The measures include: extending the criminal offence of allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control to all places, including inside the dog owner's home; requiring all dogs to be microchipped from April 2016; and powers to enable local authorities and police to respond to instances of antisocial behaviour that involves a dog before the situation becomes dangerous.

Flood Control

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of adding agricultural production to the considerations used by the Environment Agency when planning flood protection work. [154373]

Richard Benyon: The potential impact of flooding on agricultural production is already used by the Environment Agency when planning flood protection work. The case for maintaining or improving defences of agricultural land is assessed in a similar way to other assets, based on potential damages avoided to agricultural land, crops and productivity, together with impacts on infrastructure and other assets which play a role in growing food and making it available to consumers. DEFRA's policy statement on the appraisal of flood and erosion risk management underlines the need to value agricultural land and the damages that could be caused by flooding and erosion. DEFRA provided specific guidance in 2008 based on HM Treasury Green Book appraisal principles.

Agriculture continues to be a major beneficiary of the Environment Agency's flood risk management work. Capital projects completed during 2011-12 provided an improved standard of flood protection for more than 74,000 hectares of farm land. The Environment Agency's ongoing asset maintenance programme also continues to provide substantial benefits for agriculture by reducing the risk of flooding from main rivers and the sea.

More than 98% of Environment Agency maintained flood defences protecting high consequence systems are in the required target condition. These systems help protect approximately 50% of the agricultural land in

21 May 2013 : Column 686W

England that is at risk of flooding from main rivers and the sea, including the vast majority of the most productive, Grade 1 and 2 land. Estimated average annual damages avoided to agriculture in these areas is £73 million. The other 50% of agricultural land at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea is protected by defences in what the Environment Agency describes as low and medium consequence systems, where more than 95% of Environment Agency managed assets are in target condition and the estimated average damages avoided to agriculture are in the order of £47 million per year.

Food: Production

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department holds on the proportion of the EU's food requirement that was produced within the EU in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [R] [155834]

Mr Heath: The estimated EU food production to supply ratio is calculated to be approximately 90% in each of these years.

This estimate is calculated as production divided by consumption, based on the farm gate value of production and net of exports and imports. This calculation is based on highly aggregated EU-level data supplied by Eurostat, which make it difficult to be precise about the estimate. The ratio is not an appropriate measure of “food security” since it fails to account for many dimensions of this complex issue.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Wheat

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost is of the additional autumn sown trial of GM wheat at Rothamsted Research, reference 11/R8/01; and how it will be funded. [156263]

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

I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave on 18 April 2013, Official Report, columns 529-30W.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which UK supermarkets were invited to his Department's stakeholder meeting to discuss F Gas Regulation in March 2013. [156627]

Richard Benyon: All UK supermarkets were invited, either directly or through invitations to industry representative bodies, to attend the open stakeholder meeting held in London on 4 March to discuss the European Commission's proposal for a new regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Horse Racing

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will estimate the number of racehorses killed outright or destroyed on UK racecourses or shortly afterwards due

21 May 2013 : Column 687W

to injury sustained in

(a)

flat,

(b)

all weather and

(c)

national hunt racing in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012; [155475]

(2) if he will make an estimate of the number of racehorses killed outright or destroyed due to training injuries in the UK in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [155476]

21 May 2013 : Column 688W

Mr Heath [holding answer 16 May 2013]: These data are not held by Government. However, statistical data on numbers of horse fatalities at racecourses are held by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The BHA have supplied the following data:

 Flat turfAll weatherNational hunt
 Number of fatalitiesPercentage of runnersNumber of fatalitiesPercentage of runnersNumber of fatalitiesPercentage of runners

2010

31

0.08

27

0.13

167

0.53

2011

21

0.05

15

0.07

145

0.42

2012

33

0.09

21

0.09

157

0.50

The above figures are not Government statistics but provided by the BHA, as required by their rules on horse racing. The BHA do not hold statistics on numbers of race horse fatalities during training because their rules do not require it.

Horses: Exports

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what systems and checks are in place to prevent the export of horses for slaughter from the UK. [156334]

Mr Heath [holding answer 20 May 2013]:Banning the export of live horses would be illegal and undermine the principle of the free movement of goods enshrined in the treaty on the functioning of the European Union. There are therefore no systems or checks in place to prevent this activity.

However, the Government will continue to ensure that the requirements of the welfare in transport legislation (EU Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005) will be applied robustly to all long distance transporters of horses operating within the UK. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency undertakes risk based inspections of consignments of horses both at premises of origin, in the form of supervised loadings, and at ports. Furthermore, local authority trading standards departments, who are the agents responsible for enforcement of the welfare in transport legislation, will investigate any claims that horses are being transported in contravention of the regulation.

Hydrofluorocarbons

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with UK retailers to discuss how to reduce the hydrofluorocarbon emissions emanating from their sector. [156570]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA officials continue to have regular dialogue with UK food retailers and the British Retail Consortium to discuss steps they are taking to address their use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. Furthermore, as part of the implementation of the fluorinated greenhouse gases regulatory framework, there have been concentrated efforts to work with the large food retailers, which are major users of HFCs, to address their HFC emissions and reduce leakage rates.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of proposals put forward in the EU Council to reduce the UK's greenhouse gas emissions emanating from hydrofluorocarbons. [156571]

Richard Benyon: We are carefully considering the European Commission's (EC) proposal to assess the potential benefits and impacts, taking into account the extensive impact assessment that accompanies it. The EC has acknowledged that further analysis of the impacts is needed for some elements of the proposal, which it is now undertaking.

We are also carrying out our own analyses of the potential impacts for the UK. In broad terms our early analyses indicate that some technical adjustments will be needed to the EC's proposal to enable it to be fully implemented. However, there is some way still to go in discussion of the EC's proposal before a final agreement can be reached. Our ongoing assessment work will continue to inform that process.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will support an EU ban on the use of HFCs in commercial refrigeration equipment. [156625]

Richard Benyon: We would carefully consider proposals for bans on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) on a case-by-case basis. Support for any specific ban would depend on the date it took effect, taking into account the availability and technical feasibility of alternatives, together with the financial and environmental costs, and the benefits of replacing HFC refrigerants across the range of systems concerned.

Packaging

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to reduce the environmental effects of packaging of products in the food and drink sector. [156045]

Richard Benyon: Significant achievements on packaging in the food and drink sector have been made during the first two phases of the Courtauld Commitment, the voluntary responsibility deal with food retailers and manufacturers. To date, 2.3 million tonnes of waste have successfully been prevented by Courtauld signatories and consumers.

21 May 2013 : Column 689W

A third phase of the Courtauld Commitment was launched on 9 May. This latest phase, which runs until December 2015, aims to prevent a further 1.1 million tonnes of waste. It has attracted 45 signatories, including all major grocery retailers and many household brands and manufacturers. This shows the grocery industry's commitment to reducing food and drink waste, for the benefit of both the environment and the economy.

There are now limited opportunities for more substantial reductions without resulting in product damage due to under-packaging. Our analysis shows that without Courtauld 3 there could have been a 3% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from food packaging as sales volumes increase. The environmental impact of food waste due to under-packaging is greater than the packaging itself.

Under Courtauld 3 there will be greater focus on designing packaging for recycling and increasing recycled content, where appropriate. Examples are designing and labelling packaging to make it easier for consumers to recycle, by specifying recycled content where appropriate, and continuing to optimise packaging while ensuring there is no compromise on product protection.

The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, a voluntary agreement between the UK, devolved Administrations and the hospitality and food service sector (which includes restaurants, hotels, caterers and pubs) also aims to reduce food and packaging waste.

155 companies have signed up to two targets under the agreement. The first of these is to reduce food and associated packaging waste arising by 5% by the end of 2015. This is against a 2012 baseline and will be measured by CO2 equivalent emissions. The second is to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, composted or sent to anaerobic digestion to at least 70% by the end of 2015.

The Government have also set higher packaging recycling targets for business for 2013-17.

Refrigeration

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will consider bringing forward proposals to establish a standard code for refrigeration, processing and air conditioning; and if he will make a statement. [155197]

Richard Benyon: We are unsure which code is being referred to, or what the meaning of “processing” is in the context of refrigeration and air conditioning. If the hon. Member would be so kind as to provide us with more detail, we will endeavour to provide a substantive response.

Refrigerators: Pollution Control

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department is giving to the Consumer Goods Forum initiative to phase out fluorine in refrigeration units. [156569]

Richard Benyon: We are aware of the Consumer Goods Forum's commitment to start phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in new refrigeration

21 May 2013 : Column 690W

equipment from 2015. It is encouraging to hear that large consumer goods manufacturers and retailers are taking steps to address their use of HFC refrigerants and are looking for ways to introduce alternative systems to replace HFCs. Officials have met with members of the Consumer Goods Forum to discuss the initiative and understand more about the strategies they are adopting to achieve their objectives. We believe this is a useful example of how voluntary agreements can help deliver a reduction in HFC use in certain refrigeration systems.

Slaughterhouses: Animal Welfare

Sir James Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to improve the welfare of animals slaughtered without stunning. [156020]

Mr Heath: The Government would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter but recognises the right of members of religious communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs. The Government have therefore confirmed that we do not intend to ban religious slaughter without stunning at this stage. Nonetheless, we intend to continue discussions on possible further improvements in animal welfare with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities once the new EU Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing has been implemented.

Wheat

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department is providing to scientists working on developing new wheat varieties. [156099]

Mr Heath: DEFRA provides support for the development of new crop varieties at a pre-competitive level through a number of mechanisms.

The Wheat Genetic Improvement Network has been funded through a number of sequential projects. These aim to generate pre-breeding materials carrying novel/enhanced environmental and other sustainability traits for the UK breeding industry. It is managed by a team including representatives of the key UK research groups and commercial breeding companies.

Breeding materials, knowledge, tools and technologies from the network are actively shared across the scientific and commercial breeding communities. These are used in other research funded by DEFRA, industry and the research councils. This network ensures that the material is exploited as widely as possible and commercialised for use on farm.

DEFRA also provides support for industry-led research (including genetic improvement) through the Sustainable Agri-Food Innovation Platform. This is in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Scottish Government.

21 May 2013 : Column 691W

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will provide funding for the National Institute for Agricultural Botany to develop a new form of high-yield wheat. [156100]

Mr Heath: DEFRA is currently providing funding to the National Institute for Agricultural Botany as part of a project looking at new wheat root ideotypes for yield performance in reduced input agriculture.

DEFRA research is commissioned in response to policy need. The majority of this research is let through open competition to which interested institutions including the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB) can apply.

NIAB currently has a programme of research on wheat improvement with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board and the breeding industry.

Home Department

Action Fraud

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of police

21 May 2013 : Column 692W

constabularies in England have established formal links with Action Fraud; [155394]

(2) which police constabularies have not yet established formal links with Action Fraud. [155395]

Mr Jeremy Browne: All police constabularies (Forces) in England have established formal links with Action Fraud.

Buildings

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total running costs were for each building used, owned or rented in central London by her Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each of the last three financial years. [154230]

James Brokenshire: The running costs of Home Office buildings including its agencies and non-departmental public bodies net of income received from other Departments are set out in the following table. Retention of offices in central London is kept under continuous review and substantial savings of £13.2 million per annum are expected in 2014.

Property namePost codeTenure type2010-112011-122012-13Notes

10 Victoria Street

SW1

MOTO(1)

1,057,261

Vacated 1 October 2010

2 Marsham Street

SW1

Leasehold

39,117,587

44,339,851

(2)53,049,866

 

Allington Towers

SW1

Leasehold

6,069,797

627,408

Vacated 28 September 2011

Angel Square

EC1

Leasehold

1,373,958

1,333,694

1,296,831

 

Becket House

SE1

Leasehold

1,892,773

2,143,722

2,304636

 

Communications House

EC1

Leasehold

1,140,372

367,311

134,255

Vacated 23 June 2012

Counting House

SE1

Leasehold

657,366

745,460

791,585

 

Fleet Street

EC4

Leasehold

1,413,153

1,511,160

1,490,658

 

Globe House

SW1

Leasehold

6,035,430

6,062,288

5,863,618

 

Hannibal House

SE1

Leasehold

1,129,735

282,434

Vacated 30 June 2011

High Holborn

WC1

Leasehold

4,055,120

4,137,353

4,498,774

 

New Kings Beam House

SE1

Leasehold

3,173,000

2,379,750

Vacated 22 December 2011

       

Total(3)

  

67,115,552

63,930,431

69,430,223

 
(1) The Home Office occupied space in 10 Victoria Street under a MOTO (Memorandum of Terms of Occupation) with BIS. (2) The Department's savings will increase by £13.2 million per annum when DCLG relocate to 2 Marsham Street in 2014, which will replace the income lost from other users that vacated in 2011 and 2012. (3) The table does not include details of four buildings on security grounds.

21 May 2013 : Column 693W

Domestic Violence

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many victimless prosecutions in cases of domestic violence have been conducted by each police force in each year since 2005; and if she will make a statement. [155232]

Jeremy Wright: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the court proceedings database does not include the circumstances behind each case beyond the description provided in the statute. It is not possible to separately identify from this centrally held information prosecutions for domestic violence from other offences of assault, Information is not collated centrally on victims of alleged offences proceeded against, aside from the information provided by the statute under which proceedings are brought.

Drugs and Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education about support to families of drugs and alcohol users. [156553]

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

Europol and Eurojust

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times European countries have made requests for cooperation from the UK via (a) Europol and (b) Eurojust in each of the last 10 years. [156392]

James Brokenshire: The number of requests made in the years for which figures are available is as follows:

 EuropolEurojust

2003

(1)

37

2004

(1)

65

2005

(1)

82

2006

(1)

111

2007

(1)

170

2008

(1)

182

2009

3,995

224

2010

2,719

201

2011

3,449

197

2012

3,845

190

(1 )Figures not available

Illegal Immigrants

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of people without the right to remain in the country for each year since 2005. [156646]

21 May 2013 : Column 694W

Mr Harper: The clandestine nature of irregular migration and the lack of a common definition mean that it is difficult to produce estimates on the number of people without a right to remain in the UK.

In the last decade there have been two estimates of the illegal migrant population in the UK, giving central estimates of 430,000 (range 310,000 to 570,000) in 2001 (Woodbridge, J. ‘Sizing the Unauthorised (Illegal) Migrant Population in the United Kingdom in 2001’. Online Report 29/05, Home Office, London, 2005) and 618,000 (range 417,000 to 863,000) in 2007 (Gordon I., K. Scanlon, T. Travers, and C. Whitehead, ‘Economic Impact on London and the UK of an Earned Regularisation of Irregular Migrants in the UK’. GLA Economics, Greater London Authority, London, 2009.).

The 2012 European Migration Network report ‘Practical Measures for Reducing Irregular Migration’ (Toms and Thorpe, 2012):

http://emn.intrasoft-intl.com/Downloads/download .do;jsessionid=BB91F016906F64A5AD8BD0C1D8BA 1586?fileID=2909

sets out the current UK evidence on the illegal migrant population.

Immigration Controls

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for sponsor licences have been received in each of the last 24 months. [156560]

Mr Harper: The following table lists the number of sponsor licence applications received each month from 1 May 2011 to 30 April 2013:

 Total applications received

2011

 

May

744

June

835

July

786

August

812

September

799

October

755

November

751

December

605

  

2012

 

January

699

February

743

March

750

April

569

May

651

June

548

July

631

August

682

September

669

October

750

November

686

December

530

  

2013

 

January

762

February

628

March

697

21 May 2013 : Column 695W

April

718

Notes: 1. The figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. 2. Figure relates to sponsorship licence applications from employers and educational institutions. 3. Figure relates to applications logged in the period from 1 May 2011 to 30 April 2012. 4. Figures may include additional sub tier applications from employers and educational institutions seeking to extend the remit of existing licences.

Misuse of Drugs Ministerial Group

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had as part of the Interministerial Group on Drugs with stakeholders; how many meetings the Interministerial Group on Drugs has had in each of the last 12 months; and if she will publish details of such meetings. [156647]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of international partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of these meetings are passed to the Cabinet Office on a quarterly basis and are subsequently published on the Cabinet Office website.

Police National Computer

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether police information notices are recorded on the police national computer; and if she will make a statement. [156239]

Damian Green: Police information notices are not recorded on the police national computer. There is currently no national policy for recording them.

Police: Recruitment

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice she has given to police authorities on the employment in civilian roles of former police officers. [156486]

Damian Green: The Home Office has not provided any guidance on the employment of former police officers in civilian roles. This is a local matter for Police and Crime Commissioners and chief constables as the employers of police staff.

Surveillance

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases powers under the Regulations of Powers Act 2000 have been used for investigating non-serious crimes in each year since 2000; and what definition her Department uses for a serious crime under the Act. [156315]

James Brokenshire: The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’) defines ‘serious crime' in section 81(3) as an offence which if committed by

21 May 2013 : Column 696W

someone aged 21 or over with no previous convictions would reasonably attract a prison sentence of three years or more, or an offence which involves the use of violence, results in financial gain or is conduct by a large number of people in pursuit of a common purpose. A breakdown on the use of RIPA in serious crime cases is not available centrally. General statistics on RIPA use are published each year by the independent Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioner, copies of which are in the House Library.

Tickets: Fraud

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints of ticket fraud have been received by Action Fraud in each of the last five years. [155393]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Action Fraud started recording specific reports of ticket fraud in January 2012. Prior to that reports were included in a more general category of fraud. Action Fraud received 3,217 reports in 2012 and 1,373 reports from January to April 2013.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of ticket fraud policing since the disbandment of the Operation Podium taskforce. [155396]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The report produced by Operation Podium, on tackling ticket crime during the London Olympics, has made a considerable contribution to the understanding of ticketing crime. Since its publication, the Home Office has remained in contact with the Metropolitan police to ensure that the lessons learned from securing this major event can be applied to other events in the future. The Government are currently considering the success of this work and its potential to further strengthen the work on tackling ticket fraud.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints of ticket fraud received by Action Fraud (a) were issued a crime reference number, (b) were categorised as crime-related, (c) were investigated and (d) resulted in a conviction in each of the last five years. [155397]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Action Fraud started recording specific reports of ticket fraud in January 2012. Prior to that reports were included in a more general category of fraud. The service issues crime reference numbers for both crime reports and information (crime related) reports. Action Fraud (a) issued crime reference numbers to 3,217 reports in 2012 and 1,373 from January to April 2013 (b) took 55 information (crime related) reports in 2012 and 19 reports from January to April 2013. No central record is held of how many cases reported to Action Fraud are subsequently investigated (c). Conviction data, held by the Ministry of Justice, record convictions for “fraud and forgery” and cannot be disaggregated further (d).

21 May 2013 : Column 697W

Culture, Media and Sport

European Union: Citizenship

Mark Reckless: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support she plans to give to the 2014 to 2020 Europe for Citizens programme. [156075]

Hugh Robertson: The EU's 2014-20 Europe for Citizens Programme—an extension of this long-running programme—will enable local UK organisations to bid for funds to support civic participation, such as town-twinning and remembrance activities, including for the Holocaust. As an article 352 measure under the European Union Act 2011 the extended programme must be approved by an Act of the UK Parliament before a UK Minister can support it in Brussels. The programme requires unanimous support from all European Union member states to be taken forward. The Government intend to recommend to Parliament that it approve the programme.

Public Lending Right

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received seeking her agreement to enact the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010 as it relates to the extension of public lending right to the lending of e-books and audio books. [156500]

Mr Vaizey: The Government commissioned an independent review of e-lending in public libraries in England last year and the panel, led by William Sieghart, received evidence on this and related matters from the parties listed in the review:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/an-independent-review-of-e-lending-in-public-libraries-in-england

The review recommended that Public Lending Right (PLR) be extended to e-books and audiobooks and the Government Response, published on 27 March 2013, sets out the Government's position in terms of extending PLR. Any proposal for the potential extension of PLR will be communicated in due course, following full consideration of this matter.

Public Libraries

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to ensure that local authorities properly reward writers and creators for the use of their works in lending e-books and audio books via public libraries in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. [156648]

Mr Vaizey: It is the responsibility of library authorities to reach appropriate agreements with non-print rights holders or with other parties on behalf of those rights holders in order to license the lending of their non-print works.

Sign Language

Sir Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the equality of access available for deaf people

21 May 2013 : Column 698W

whose first language is British Sign Language in terms of communicating with

(a)

cultural, media, sporting and business organisations and

(b)

the agencies and public bodies for which she is responsible; and if she will make a statement. [155497]

Mr Vaizey: We recognise the importance of removing the barriers deaf people face in accessing services. The Equality Act 2010 provides the protection which ensures disabled people can access goods, facilities and services, by requiring those with duties under the Act, including Government Departments, to make a reasonable adjustment so that their services and functions are accessible. For example, installing perimeter loops in museum galleries.

We also recognise that technology has a vital role to play in assisting disabled people to access information, advice and services especially as public services increasingly go online. That is why DCMS is encouraging organisations to explore how they can meet the needs of BSL customers, through developing a mix of accessible contact strategies for their disabled and older customers via e-mail, SMS, instant messenger, text relay and Video Relay Services (VRS). This will assist many people who are deaf and hearing impaired.

More generally, the cross-Government strategy ‘Fulfilling Potential' aims to make sure that all people, whatever their impairment, have the opportunity to receive a good education, obtain employment, access services and live as fully engaged members of a modern society in every aspect of day to day life.

Communities and Local Government

Business Premises: Change of Use

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the statement of 9 May 2013, Official Report, column 46, on planning: re-use of buildings, (1) whether, under the changes to his Department's policy, (a) existing betting shop chains and (b) pay-day lending shops will be able to make use of the freedom to open up in A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 or D2 premises without having to apply for planning permission; [156466]

(2) whether under the changes to his Department's policy a betting business could use the new permitted development rights to open up in a part of premises while it is still being used as a public house. [156467]

Nick Boles [holding answer 20 May 2013]: The new relaxations allow uses under A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, D1 and D2 to change use without the need for a planning application to A1, A2, A3 and B1 only, for a temporary period of up to two years. Financial and professional services, including betting offices, are in the A2 class, and change of use from A3, A4 and A5 to A2 is already permitted.

Betting premises are licensed through the Gambling Act 2005. Secondary legislation imposes a mandatory condition on the licenses of betting shops that the consumption of alcohol on the premises is prohibited. There is thus a legal prohibition on a betting shop from operating from a pub.

21 May 2013 : Column 699W

Carbon Monoxide

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what regulations govern the installation of solid fuel burners with respect to the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning. [156208]

Mr Foster: Requirements J1 to J6 of the Building Regulations 2010 SI No. 2214 (as amended) relate to the installation of combustion appliances and are designed, among other things, to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Requirement J3 provides for the provision of carbon monoxide alarms, where appropriate, in dwellings.

Families: Disadvantaged

Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities failed to identify and work with 75 per cent or more of their target families in 2012-13; which such authorities will have their funding cut in 2013-14 because of such failure; which other local authorities will receive less than 100 per cent of their provisional maximum funding for 2013-14; and for what reasons each such reduction in funding will occur. [153898]

Brandon Lewis: On Monday 13 May 2013, my Department published the latest progress information which details the cumulative totals of families identified and families being worked with as of end March 2013. This was posted on the gov.uk website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications

All 152 upper-tier local authorities have been invited to claim attachment fees for the number of families with whom they intend to commence working in their troubled families programmes during 2013-14 (year 2 of programme). The timing of the payments of those fees will differ according to which of two groups they fall into when considering their progress information as at the end of 2012/13 (year 1 of programme). The groups are as follows:

Group 1:

Areas working with 75% or more of their year 1 families as of 31 March 2013 will receive their year 2 attachment fees in full, in one payment in the first quarter of 2013-14.

Group 2:

Areas working with between 33% and 75% of their year 1 families as of 31 March 2013 will receive half of their year 2 attachment fees in the first quarter of 2013-14 with the remaining half to be paid in the second quarter of 2013-14 providing they have caught up (i.e. commenced working with remainder of year 1 families) by then.

There are no areas working with less than 33% of their year 1 families as of 31 March 2013.

Homelessness: Asylum

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many adults have become homeless as a result of eviction following a refusal of refugee status. [156210]

Mr Prisk: The Department does not collect the information requested.

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Right to Buy Scheme: Romford

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authority properties have been purchased through the Government's Right-to-Buy scheme in Romford constituency in each of the last five years. [156119]

Mr Prisk: Data on the sales of local authority properties through the Right to Buy scheme are not available at constituency level. Figures are available at local authority level and can be found in Tables 691 (quarterly data) and 685 (annual data) here:

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

The figures show that there were 95 sales through the Right to Buy scheme in Havering, the local authority that covers Romford constituency, in the four years between 2009-10 and 2012-13. Figures at a local authority level are only currently available back to 2009-10.

Since the new discounts were introduced in April 2012, Right to Buy sales have trebled in Havering compared to the year before. But there is more to do to help inform tenants about their new rights and the new London discount of up to £100,000.

It should be noted that these are sales from local authorities and do not include sales of social housing stock through Preserved Right to Buy made by Registered Providers (such as housing associations).

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to make tenants aware of deposit protection schemes. [156498]

Mr Prisk: It is a requirement of my Department's service concession agreements with the tenancy deposit protection scheme providers that they carry out publicity and marketing activities, aimed at tenants as well as landlords. There will be increased publicity following the recent launch of two new schemes in April this year, both from the new schemes in order to attract members, but also from the existing schemes in light of the additional competition.

There is also guidance for both landlords and tenants on tenancy deposit protection on the government's website gov.uk.

Transport

Aviation: Exhaust Emissions

Kwasi Kwarteng: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on discussions with the International Civil Aviation Organisation on carbon emissions. [156484]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government remain committed to tackling the climate change impacts of international aviation at a global level and will continue to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to push for an ambitious global agreement on measures to address emissions from this sector at this year's General Assembly (24 September-4 October).

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Since December 2012 the UK has actively participated in the ICAO High Level Group on Climate Change which has met three times so far. The High Level Group has sought to resolve some of the long standing issues which have blocked progress in ICAO in the past. The discussions have been relatively constructive to date and we are hopeful that new text on addressing aviation emissions through a basket of measures, including market based measures will be adopted at the General Assembly.

Biofuels

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many jobs have been created in the biofuels industry as a result of the Renewable Energy Directive's requirement to create 10 per cent of transport energy from renewable energy; [156582]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the biofuels industry on UK economic growth. [156579]

Norman Baker: Consideration of the impact on growth and employment of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will be included in an assessment of the Obligation which we will conduct later this year.

‘Advanced Biofuels: The Potential for a UK Industry, NNFCC 11-011’ was published in November 2011. The study, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport, estimated that strong development of advanced biofuels could create up to 6000 full-time construction jobs and over 2000 permanent jobs supplying and operating the plants by 2020.

According to recent industry figures it has been estimated that the biofuels sector sustains approximately 3,500 jobs. (REA/Innovas: ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’, 23 April 2012).

Bridges: River Thames

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings have been held between representatives of his Department and representatives of (a) the Department for Transport and (b) Transport for London to discuss East London river crossings in the last six months. [155940]

Stephen Hammond: In the last six months there have been no specific meetings to discuss East London river crossings. Departmental officials meet regularly with Transport for London representatives to discuss a range of policy and funding issues; some meetings have included brief discussion on the subject.

Bus Services: Corby

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) overall and (b) unit cost is of providing free bus travel to pensioners in Corby constituency. [156658]

Norman Baker: The Government does not hold information regarding the cost of providing free bus travel to pensioners for individual Parliamentary constituencies. The Department for Transport carries out annual surveys of local authorities which are Travel Concession Authorities (TCAs) and the information for spending by individual TCAs, including Northamptonshire,

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on concessionary travel is published in Table BUS0812b on the Government's web site at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/concessionary-travel-statistics-england-2011-12-and-2012-13

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the (a) total and (b) unit cost of providing free bus travel to 16 to 18 years olds in education or training in Corby constituency. [156659]

Norman Baker: There is no statutory bus travel concession for young people, although local authorities may decide to offer concessionary travel to young people on a discretionary basis.

The Government does not hold information regarding the cost of providing free bus travel to 16 to 18 year olds for individual Parliamentary constituencies. However, the Department for Transport carries out annual surveys of local authorities which are Travel Concession Authorities (TCAs) and the information for individual TCAs which enhance their concessionary travel schemes to provide some form of discretionary concession for young people is published in Table BUS0841 on the Government's web site. Information about concessions offered on a commercial basis by bus operators in individual TCAs is published in Table BUS0842. Both tables can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/concessionary-travel-statistics-england-2011-12-and-2012-13