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BRB: Residuary

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date BRB (Residual) Ltd will be wound up; and whether its functions, properties, rights and liabilities have been transferred to other bodies. [157574]

Mr Simon Burns: The draft order to abolish BRB (Residuary) Ltd (BRBR) was laid in Parliament on 15 May. Subject to the parliamentary process, BRBR is expected to be abolished on 30 September 2013 with the functions, properties, rights and liabilities transferred to other bodies at that time.

Bus Services: Concessions

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consideration his Department has given to introducing a national discount scheme for bus fares for young people; [156792]

(2) what assessment he has made of the recommendations of the Youth Select Committee report on Transport and Young People for (a) the age at which young people start paying full fares to be set at 18 for all transport operators in England and (b) the introduction of a national concessionary scheme to provide a discounted bus travel card. [156796]

Norman Baker: The Government has no plans to introduce a statutory bus travel concession for young people. Legislation provides for local authorities to offer concessionary travel to young people at their discretion and many bus operators offer some form of discounted fare for young people on a commercial basis.

However, I think that a simpler fare structure would help—and in some areas bus operators could be doing more to offer discounted fares to young people. Cheaper fares could make buses the mode of choice at an early age, locking in patronage for the future and helping to reduce car travel. That is why, at the Bus Partnership Forum in January, I asked the bus industry to consider offering travel discounts to all those aged 18 and under—and not just to those in education.

Also in January the Government responded to the British Youth Council following the Youth Select Committee's report ‘Transport and Young People’. The response is published on the British Youth Council's website at the following link:

http://www.byc.org.uk/media/200769/130128_-_conclusions_and_recommendations_-_final.pdf

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from (a) individuals and (b) organisations on proposals for a national youth transport card to offer young people discounted bus fares in England and Wales. [156801]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 970W

Norman Baker: Ministers at the Department for Transport have received around 60 letters from individuals, whether directly or through their constituency MP, from January 2012 to date, regarding young people's travel, including a campaign by the UK Youth Parliament for a national travel concession for young people.

I have had discussions on the subject of young people's travel with organisations including the British Youth Council, the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, the Campaign for Better Transport, the UK Youth Parliament, The Work Foundation, bus companies and local transport authorities.

Concessionary travel is a devolved policy area so the arrangements in Wales are a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.

Cherished Number Plates

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many personal plate transfers were completed in 2010; what the length of time taken for the majority of transfers to be completed was; what the average time for the completions was; and whether Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has a target time for personal number plate transfers. [157275]

Stephen Hammond: In 2010 291,298 personal plate transfers were completed. 98.93% were completed within an average of five working days against the published target of 95% in seven working days.

Conditions of Employment

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials in his Department are employed on zero-hour contracts. [156855]

Norman Baker: There are 9 officials employed in the Department for Transport on zero-hour contracts. All are qualified type approval engineers.

East Coast Railway Line

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) National Express and (b) National Express subsidiaries are permitted to submit bids to run passenger rail services on the East Coast Main Line. [157603]

Mr Simon Burns: National Express and its subsidiaries are permitted to submit for the pre-qualification process (PQQ) to run passenger rail services in all franchise competitions including the East Coast Main Line. If they are successful in the PQQ they will then, like all companies, be permitted to submit bids for those franchises.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total public subsidy was to National Express for the East Coast main line passenger rail franchise for each year that the company held that contract. [157612]

Mr Simon Burns: The National Express East Coast (NXEC) contract commenced 9 December 2007 and ended 13 November 2009. No subsidy was paid to NXEC under this contract.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 971W

East-West Rail Link

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the benefit-cost ratio was in the business case for building the new rail line between Oxford and Bedford via Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. [157297]

Mr Simon Burns: The promoters of the original scheme, the East West Rail Consortium, calculated the benefit-cost ratio to be 6.3 to 1 if expected economic growth was realised and over 11 to 1 if a 15% contribution was made towards the capital cost by the consortium, as has been committed. The benefit-costs ratios are currently being refreshed by Network Rail as the rail line will now also be part of the new ‘Electric Spine’ strategic route between the South Coast, the East Midlands and Yorkshire.

Ferries

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many UK-flagged ferries operate in UK waters. [156310]

Stephen Hammond: 159 UK registered ferries operate exclusively from UK ports. A further 23 UK registered ferries operate internationally from UK ports.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the likely effects of High Speed 2 on fares on other railway lines. [156744]

Mr Simon Burns: No assumptions have been made about the likely effects of HS2 on classic fares. The Economic Case for HS2 assumes that high speed fares are comparable to classic fares. The Department, working closely with HS2 Ltd, is considering the potential benefits that could be secured from more sophisticated pricing policies across both the HS2 and classic networks.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects of High Speed 2 on investment in areas near the line but not at the nodes. [156745]

Mr Simon Burns: The draft environmental statement published on 16 May 2013 includes an assessment of the socio-economic effects of the proposed High Speed 2 scheme. As part of this, the employment opportunities created by new business opportunities are considered at a route-wide and sub-regional level.

In addition, HS2 Limited is providing advice to the Department on the development and investment potential relating to proposed station sites. How HS2 impacts on investment in areas away from stations and depots but near to the line is very difficult to judge and will be highly specific to local circumstances. The Department is working with local partners to understand this better and to ensure that opportunities are fully explored.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 972W

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that in all cases where the price of a house is adversely affected by High Speed 2 the household concerned is adequately compensated. [156746]

Mr Simon Burns: For Phase One, we currently have an Exceptional Hardship Scheme. This is an interim scheme, currently available to property owners who have an urgent need to sell but have not been able to, except at a substantially reduced price, as a direct result of the announcement of the route.

Property owners who apply and meet the eligibility criteria can have their property purchased by the Government at its unaffected realistic open market value (the value the property would have had in the current housing market, if the High Speed Rail route had not been announced). The scheme's criteria are available at:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/sites/default/files/inserts/130402%20HS2%20Exceptional%20Hardship%20Scheme%20 Application%20Form%20WEB.pdf

We have proposed that this interim scheme is succeeded by longer term arrangements for discretionary schemes to help people along the Phase One route. We will reconsult later this year on our proposals for those longer term arrangements.

We consulted on our proposals to issue Safeguarding Directions for areas along the line of the Phase One route. That means that any planning applications within the safeguarded area must be referred to HS2 Ltd as part of the decision making process. Importantly, safeguarding also means that those within the safeguarded area can serve the Government with a "blight notice", asking the Government to buy their home for its unblighted value, plus 10% up to £47,000, and reasonable moving costs.

For Phase Two, we have also proposed to introduce an interim Exceptional Hardship Scheme. Consultation on those proposals closed on 20 May 2013. The consultation document can be found at:

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

We propose to replace the Phase Two EHS with longer term compensation arrangements when route planning is sufficiently advanced.

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the minimum acceptable distance between the High Speed 2 rail line and a school. [156936]

Mr Simon Burns: A minimum acceptable distance between the High Speed 2 rail line and a school has not been assessed. However, we are aware of the potential adverse effects a railway can have on a school, especially noise. Suitable noise mitigation measures will be incorporated for schools located close to the HS2 line as has been the case with HS1.

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost to the economy of all jobs and businesses directly and indirectly lost as a result of the construction of High Speed 2. [157028]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 973W

Mr Simon Burns: No assessment has been made of the cost to the economy of all jobs and businesses directly and indirectly lost as a result of the construction of High Speed 2.

However, HS2 Ltd estimates suggest that overall the construction of HS2 will support more than 100,000 jobs. The economic appraisal estimates that HS2 will deliver net positive benefits to business of £50 billion.

Where businesses are impacted by HS2, HS2 Ltd have and will continue to work with them to understand how best to mitigate their concerns.

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials had with Network Rail about the study of the potential capacity benefits for the existing rail network arising from High Speed 2; [157413]

(2) what progress he has made towards developing a strategy for maximising the potential benefits of released capacity arising from High Speed 2. [157414]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has regular discussions with Network Rail, including in relation to their study into potential opportunities for the existing rail network when HS2 phase 2 is operational. The results of this study are intended to be published alongside the public consultation on HS2 phase 2 later this year. This work follows on from the study published by Network Rail and Passenger Focus in January 2012 in relation to released capacity from HS2 phase 1 and will include consultation with local, regional and industry stakeholders.

ICT

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen from his Department in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [156435]

Norman Baker: The figures provided below are for the IT equipment recorded as lost or stolen in the financial years for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13; and are for the Department for Transport, its six Executive Agencies and shared service centre.

2010-11
ItemLostStolen

Computers

4

16

Mobiles

14

3

Blackberrys

14

7

Other IT Equipment

47

6

Total

79

32

2011-12
ItemLostStolen

Computers

5

11

Mobiles

11

1

Blackberrys

19

3

Other IT Equipment

53

13

Total

88

28

3 Jun 2013 : Column 974W

2012-13
ItemLostStolen

Computers

3

8

Mobiles

13

3

Blackberrys

25

3

Other IT Equipment

52

2

Total

93

16

My answer given to the Hon Member on 11 December 2012 [Official Report, columns 189-190W] which asked about lost or stolen items in 2010-11 and 2011-12 showed slightly different figures. Subsequent information held by the Department centrally has required corrections as further information has been received, including further information from third party suppliers and subcontractors and those reporting items lost or stolen. The tables above show the latest available figures. Some losses may not be identified immediately and some losses might be reported in haste with equipment later found or recovered. If this information had been available at the time, it would have been included in the answer to last year's Parliamentary Question (PQ).

For information, the figures provided in the response to the previous related PQ are as follows.

2010-11
ItemLostStolen

Computers

4

16

Mobiles

14

3

Blackberrys

16

8

Other IT Equipment

44

8

Total

78

35

2011-12
ItemLostStolen

Computers

2

7

Mobiles

9

1

Blackberrys

18

2

Other IT Equipment

51

12

Total

80

22

Since last year, a rise in the number of loses (from 88 to 93) has been offset by a reduction in thefts (from 28 to 16), resulting in a net reduction in the total number of IT items lost or stolen. Procedures and advice to staff and suppliers are reviewed periodically to improve the timeliness and accuracy of our information and to attempt to reduce losses further.

Mobility Scooters

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress his Department has made on its consultations on mobility scooter safety. [157451]

Norman Baker: Further to my written ministerial statement of 1 March 2012, Official Report, column 44WS, officials have developed with interested parties a standard assessment form to assist suppliers to assess users so that they get the right vehicle to meet their needs, and a vision testing protocol, developed with the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians, to assess users' eyesight standards to help ensure greater safety.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 975W

The Department is revising the unladen weight of powered wheelchairs to allow more medical equipment to help people with acute clinical needs.

The Department has also commissioned the development of a comprehensive database of mobility scooter models that are suitable for carriage on public transport.

London Midland

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of London Midland's recent performance. [157146]

Norman Baker: London Midland's performance for the most recent rail period represents its best for several months, with a PPM figure of 90.3%. However, the Department continues to monitor all aspects of the franchise closely to ensure that London Midland delivers the package of passenger benefits and service improvements announced by the Secretary of State for Transport to the House on 20 December 2012, Official Report, columns 128-30WS.

I have personally met with the managing director of the company to address performance issues and expect to do so again shortly. Though there are some encouraging signs of improved punctuality, the franchisee has much more to do to, including handling a significant backlog of correspondence from passengers affected by the disruption last year.

London, Tilbury and Southend Railway Line

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the estimated level of (a) public subsidy, (b) premium payments and (c) revenue support will be during the contract extension to September 2014 agreed between his Department and c2c Rail Ltd for rail passenger services on the Essex Thameside line. [157599][Official Report, 25 June 2013, Vol. 565, c. 3-4MC.]

Mr Simon Burns: Contracted subsidy for the interim franchise agreement is about £2.4 million. A profit share mechanism in place, which will capture any outperformance in revenue, thereby lowering subsidy requirement. Subsidy and premium payments are published regularly on the Office of Rail Regulation website.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department received assurances during negotiations for a contract extension on the Essex Thameside line for rail passenger services with c2c Rail Ltd that the train operating company would abide by existing collective bargaining agreements with recognised trade unions for the period of the contract extension. [157600]

Mr Simon Burns: Collective bargaining rights are a matter for the operator c2c and its employees, and were not addressed during the Department's negotiations for the Direct Award announced on 17 May 2013. The Department is not aware of any change to the current employment rights.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport under which contractual circumstances his Department would activate the contingency for further extensions up to April 2015 of the rail contract agreed

3 Jun 2013 : Column 976W

with c2c Rail Ltd for passenger services on the Essex Thameside line and announced on 17 May 2013. [157602]

Mr Simon Burns: There are no conditions specified within the Franchise Agreement with c2c Rail Ltd under which the contingency would be automatically activated. The available contingency can be called at the sole discretion of the Secretary of State for Transport. It is sensible to allow for the possibility of a delay to the completion of the competition for the next franchise and this contingency exists to accommodate such an event.

Motor Vehicles: Lighting

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the fitting of automatic lighting to new vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [157128]

Stephen Hammond: There have been no recent discussions with EU counterparts on the fitting of automatic lighting to new vehicles.

National Express

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in which years National Express was in receipt of revenue support to operate rail passenger services on the (a) East Coast Main Line and (b) Essex Thameside route; and what the total amount was in each such year. [157604]

Mr Simon Burns: National Express received no revenue support for either the Essex Thameside or Intercity East Coast franchise over this period.

Office for Low Emission Vehicles

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many meetings there have been between officials of the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and representatives of the petrol retailing industry in the last two months; [156940]

(2) what meetings have taken place between officials of the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and representatives of the National Franchised Dealers Association in the last 12 months. [156941]

Norman Baker: There have been no meetings between officials of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and representatives of the petrol retailing industry in the last two months. Officials from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles meet regularly with various interested parties. In the past 12 months this has included a meeting with two representatives of the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) on the 8th May to discuss the European Commission's Clean Power for Transport proposals. We will be inviting both of these organisations to comment on the forthcoming Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 977W

OLEV is in the process of arranging a future meeting with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (which is comprised of associations including the National Franchised Dealers Association) to discuss progress in the UKH2 Mobility project.

Railways: EU Action

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he and his officials have had regarding the Fourth Railway Package with (a) the European Commission and (b) other Government Departments. [157511]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport, and his official have held a number of recent meetings with the Commission and other Government Departments regarding the Fourth Railway Package to inform our UK position.

Railways: Fares

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average (a) regulated and (b) unregulated passenger rail fare was on the (i) East Coast Main Line and (ii) Essex Thameside route in each year since 1995-96. [157606]

Norman Baker: The Department does not hold this information.

The information may be available from the train operators themselves or from the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Railways: Franchises

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the improvement of service quality for passengers will be part of the evaluation criteria for bids to operate the proposed Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern Rail Franchise. [157457]

Mr Simon Burns: I can confirm that improvements to passenger services will be a key consideration when evaluating bids for TSGN.

As explained in the consultation document, which asked for views on the franchise in August 2012, the Department wants the franchisee to ensure the overall passenger experience improves through the life of the franchise, subject to value for money and affordability.

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with Integrated Transport Authorities since the restart of rail refranchising. [157496]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport has had no formal discussions with the Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) in this period. However, his officials from the Department regularly meet with a wide range of stakeholders including the ITAs.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what account his Department takes in his rail franchising policy of the circumstances under which National Express broke its contract with his Department for rail passenger services on the East Coast Main Line. [157626]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 978W

Mr Simon Burns: There are robust policies in place for financial deliverability which are being further strengthened with the implementation of recommendations from Richard Brown's review into rail franchising.

Railways: Havering

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of passenger numbers on the Romford to Upminster train service in each of the last five years. [157092]

Norman Baker: Franchised train operators are required by the Department to undertake passenger counts on their services as part of their franchise agreement. The Department for Transport holds passenger count data for services between Romford and Upminster collected by Greater Anglia and National Express East Anglia. However, data at a service or route level are commercially confidential and so cannot be released.

Greater Anglia may be able to provide more information. They can be contacted at the following address:

Customer Relations

Greater Anglia

Norwich Railway Station

Station Approach

Norwich

NR1 1EF.

Railways: North West

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the benefit-cost ratio was in the business case for the electrification of the North TransPennine route railway line. [157299]

Mr Simon Burns: North TransPennine electrification will deliver cleaner, greener and quicker trains between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle. The current benefit cost ratio for North TransPennine electrification is 1.92, which represents Medium Value for Money. The benefit cost ratio will continue to be updated as electrification costs, potential service pattern changes and possible journey time improvements emerge.

Railways: Repairs and Maintenance

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the resources available to Network Rail for surveying the stability of trackside banks. [157152]

Mr Simon Burns: Network Rail is a private sector company limited by guarantee. The stability of its earthworks is an operational matter for the company. The independent Office of Rail Regulation oversees and monitors Network Rail's activities, and has an ongoing remit to investigate the effectiveness of the company's expenditure on inspecting and maintaining the structural condition of its earthworks.

Road Signs and Markings: Tourist Attractions

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of brown signs use and deployment in supporting the tourist economy. [157417]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 979W

Norman Baker: The purpose of white-on-brown directional traffic signs is to guide visitors along the most appropriate route to a tourist destination.

The Brown Signs Working Group, set up by DCMS following the publication of the Government's Tourism Strategy in March 2011, is developing recommendations to take into account the importance the tourism industry places on them.

Scotland

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the legislation his Department has sponsored which has devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament and powers within such legislation since 1998. [156235]

David Mundell: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Scotland Office.

Scotland Office is responsible for maintaining and strengthening the devolution settlement; together with lead policy Departments we have delivered a programme of Scotland Act orders that have provided additional powers to the Scottish Parliament, as well as delivering the Scotland Act 2012 that enhanced the devolution settlement and provided the largest transfer of financial responsibility since 1999.

Further devolution to the Scottish Parliament is principally achieved by way of amendments to schedules 4 and 5 of the Act. Since 1998 the following changes to those schedules have been made. These are presented in summary form.

Amendments to schedule 4 of the Scotland Act 1998

Power to modify the Scotland Act 1998 regarding financial assistance for opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

Powers to modify certain provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 requiring any sum to be payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Power to provide that proceedings brought in a court or tribunal against a member of the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 1998 on human rights grounds have to be brought before the end of a limitation period (since repealed by Scotland Act 2012).

Amendments to schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998

Political parties

The making of payments to any political party for the purpose of assisting members of the Parliament to perform their parliamentary duties.

Referendum

A power to allow the Scottish Parliament to conduct a referendum on the independence of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, subject to certain conditions.

Financial and economic matters

Powers to set a rate of income tax to be paid by Scottish taxpayers, and taxes in relation to land transactions and landfill.

Home affairs

The interception of any communication made to or by a person detained at a place of detention.

The regulation of air weapons.

Trade and industry

Powers in relation to business associations which are social landlords, including in relation to winding up proceedings and procedures giving protection from creditors.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 980W

Powers to provide financial assistance for the provision of services (other than postal services and services relating to money or postal orders) to be provided from public post offices.

Transport

Powers to impose requirements on Scottish public authorities about the preparation and submission of strategies relating to the provision of rail services.

Powers to transfer functions of passenger transport executives or passenger transport authorities relating to rail services, and the allocation of such functions among relevant authorities.

The promotion and construction of railways which start, end and remain in Scotland.

Power to impose requirements on Scottish public authorities about the preparation and submission of strategies relating to the provision of air services.

Social security

Powers to provide occasional financial or other assistance to or in respect of individuals for the purposes of meeting an immediate short-term need, arising out of exceptional services, to avoid risk to the individual’s well-being, or enabling qualifying individuals to establish or maintain a settled home.

Employment

Fire safety on construction sites and on certain premises, including those concerned in the manufacture or storage of chemicals, explosives or flammable materials.

Amendment to part 1 of the Scotland Act 1998

Elections

Power to make provision as to the conduct of elections for membership of the Scottish Parliament, and the questioning of such an election and the consequences of irregularities. Made by the Scotland Act 2012 and yet to be brought into force.

Shipping: Conditions of Employment

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the time taken to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention on UK ships calling in foreign ports. [157269]

Stephen Hammond: The UK intends to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, and to ensure that UK ships have documentation attesting their compliance by 20 August 2013, when the convention comes into force internationally. Until that date there should be no impact on UK ships calling in foreign ports regardless of whether or not the UK has ratified the convention.

South West Trains

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2013, Official Report, column 173W, on Network Rail, whether South West Trains has (a) sought and (b) received consent from him to bid for Network Rail’s driving and maintenance of multi-purpose vehicle fleet contract. [156932]

Mr Simon Burns: South West Trains sought and were granted consent to carry out activities other than the provision and operation of the Franchise Services (as defined in the Franchise Agreement) in relation to Alliance Activities as defined in the Alliance Agreement between South West Trains and Network Rail.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 981W

Train Operating Companies

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 14 May 2013, Official Report, column 173W, on Network Rail, which train operating companies have (a) sought and (b) received consent from him or his predecessors to carry out business or other activities in the rail industry that fall outside the terms of an existing franchise agreement for passenger services. [156931]

Mr Simon Burns: The information is as follows:

(a) South West Trains

(b) South West Trains.

Defence

Afghanistan

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many instances of child abuse by Afghan security forces have been reported by (a) UK armed forces and (b) the International Security Assistance Force since 2001; [156588]

(2) how many meetings have been held between the UK and Afghan Governments to discuss child abuse by the Afghan security forces in the last three years. [156594]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence does not hold information on allegations of misconduct committed by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), whether reported by UK armed forces or other International Security Assistance Force partners, in the format requested.

Incidents of misconduct relating to ANSF personnel are treated very seriously by the UK. Any serious incident of misconduct by the ANSF witnessed by or alleged to UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan, whatever the nature of the offence, is reported back to the UK Permanent Joint Headquarters. Our forces in Afghanistan will engage with the ANSF on every allegation and encourage them to conduct their own investigation and take appropriate follow-on action unless it is explicitly disproved.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what code of conduct is taught by the British Army to Afghan security personnel in respect of reference to child abuse. [156593]

Mr Robathan: The core values and beliefs of our armed forces provide the foundations of any direction and guidance given to the Afghan national security forces. These underline respect for human rights and obligations under international law.

UK forces are no longer delivering training to the Afghan national army at the lowest levels in Central Helmand. The UK continues to deliver initial training to Afghan national police instructors at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre (LTC) in Helmand Province. The training delivered specifically covers topics such as values and ethics, the appropriate use of force, fundamental standards of human rights and how these are incorporated within the Afghan constitution.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 982W

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether UK forces use pattern of life analysis techniques when determining military targets on operations in Afghanistan. [157015]

Mr Robathan: Military targets are never identified solely through the use of pattern of life analysis. This is one in a number of assessments that UK forces may use in the process of identifying military targets, and distinguishing these from civilians, on operations in Afghanistan.

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what way incidents involving fatalities arising from UK unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Afghanistan are notified to (a) his Department and (b) media outlets. [157016]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence, my noble Friend, Lord Astor of Hever, to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, in another place on 4 December 2012, Official Report,House of Lords, column WA119.

In general we will not publish details of individual incidents in which insurgents are killed as this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Apache Helicopter

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to upgrading the Apache Helicopter fleet to Block 3 standard. [156777]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 January 2013, Official Report, columns 469-70W, to the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon).

Armed Forces: Domestic Violence

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allegations of domestic violence have been reported to (a) service police and (b) civilian police by (i) family members of serving personnel and (ii) serving personnel based (A) in the UK and (B) overseas since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [155262]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence holds the following information recorded by the Service Police or Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) on allegations of domestic violence involving service personnel or their family members made in the period between the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2012. The MOD cannot provide a response on behalf of the civilian police.

There were 320 allegations of domestic violence in this period, as recorded by the Service Police or MDP.

Number
 Allegations made by service personnel based in the UKAllegations made by family members based in the UK

2009

13

51

3 Jun 2013 : Column 983W

2010

7

27

2011

14

29

2012

8

21

Total

42

128

Number
 Allegations made by service personnel based overseasAllegations made by family members based overseas

2009

1

6

2010

15

50

2011

10

32

2012

8

28

Total

34

116

Armed Forces: Elections

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to (a) enable and (b) encourage (i) members of the armed forces and (ii) civilian staff of his Department who are serving overseas to register and vote in UK elections. [156526]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence is committed to members of the armed forces and civilian staff being able to take their full part in the democratic process when serving overseas.

In all defence establishments, both at home and overseas, awareness of voting registration procedures is raised through an annual campaign to promote them. As part of the annual campaign, a Defence Instruction Notice is issued, and its key messages reinforced at unit level through posted routine orders. In addition, unit registration officers are expected to hold Service Registration days at all units. Civilian staff overseas are also eligible to register as service voters.

The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 has provisions that will better support defence personnel overseas to have their postal ballots included in the count. However, we still encourage personnel overseas to vote by proxy as a preference.

Armed Forces: Hearing Impairment

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy, (c) Royal Air Force and (d) Royal Marines have a code for noise induced hearing loss indicated on their medical records. [157331]

Mr Francois: The number of serving UK armed forces personnel who had a code for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) entered in their medical record, as at 1 April 2013 is as follows:

Out of 24,540 Royal Navy personnel, 40 members had a NIHL code.

Out of 6,880 Royal Marines personnel, 90 members had a NIHL code.

Out of 93,940 Army personnel, 870 members had a NIHL code.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 984W

Out of 35,350 Royal Air Force personnel, 90 members had a NIHL code.

These data were extracted using Read Codes from the Defence Medical Information Capability Programme. Information relating to NIHL which has been entered in the patient's medical record as free text, has not been included. As such, the numbers presented are to be viewed as a minimum.

The Ministry of Defence takes seriously the protection of our troops from noise that can damage their hearing. We are continually looking at ways of monitoring and mitigating the risk of individuals developing hearing problems, including in the development of improved hearing protection.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Defence Budget included a withholding for the payment of pensions to members of the armed forces prior to the introduction of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. [156868]

Mr Robathan: Available records provide no indication that the Defence Budgets prior to the introduction of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 included a withholding for the payment of pensions.

Armed Forces: Scotland

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 18 December 2012, Official Report, column 708W, and the answer of 10 April 2013, Official Report, column 1125W, on armed forces: Scotland, for what reason the former answers made no reference to possible prejudice to commercial interests; and for what reasons he considers that placing in the Library a copy of the capacity review of the Army estate in Scotland would prejudice such interests. [156515]

Mr Robathan: The full capacity review on the Army estate in Scotland is commercially sensitive as to release it would place details of anticipated disposal receipts and forecast costs for sites into the public domain. This may prejudice the value that the Ministry of Defence would eventually achieve in any subsequent disposal.

This was not mentioned in the previous responses as at that time the capacity review was still being drafted.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 10 April 2013, Official Report, columns 1229-30W, on armed forces: sexual offences, what the (a) average length of an investigation is and (b) start date of each case was; and if he will make a statement. [155253]

Mr Robathan: The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Substantive answer from Mark Francois to Madeleine Moon:

3 Jun 2013 : Column 985W

In his answer of 21 May 2013 (Official Report column 718W) The Minister for the Armed Forces promised I would write in response to your question on the average length of an investigation in respect of allegations relating to the possession of indecent images and the start date of each case.

The average length has been calculated as 10 ½ months, using a sample of the investigations reported in the answer to your previous Question, 137687, under (Official Report 10 April 2013, columns 1129-1130W). However, this figure must be used with great caution, because the length of an investigation is determined by a number of different factors. For example:

the “possession of indecent images” might be one of many offences comprising a particular case and the other elements of the case may take longer to determine prior to referral or charge;

the quality of the images or quantity of devices requiring review;

time taken for forensic analysis of material holding the images;

high priority cases (e.g. if it appears a child is in imminent danger), and

the nature of operational deployments and/or Service life.

The start date for each of the cases detailed in response to Question 137687 is detailed in the table. However, this will not replicate the number of cases reported previously, as in some instances the case will relate to both allegations “by” and allegations "”against”.

2009

21 January

23 February

26 October

2 November

1 December

2010

22 February

25 February

26 February

26 February

3 March

7 June

7 June

10 August

17 August

23 September

6 October

29 October

8 November

8 December

2011

13 January

25 January

25 January

18 March

4 April

11 April

3 Jun 2013 : Column 986W

13 April

3 May

6 June

22 June

13 July

13 July

29 July

5 August

19 September

26 September

27 September

18 October

6 November

16 November

16 November

28 November

1 December

2012

19 January

26 January

28 January

9 February

25 April

15 May

11 May

26 July

21 August

28 September

5 November

16 November

26 November

13 December


Armed Forces: Training

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many people are undergoing training at (a) RAF Cranwell, (b) Britannia Royal College, Dartmouth, (c) Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and (d) the Defence Academy at Shrivenham; [156979]

(2) how many individuals underwent training at (a) Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, (b) Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, (c) the Defence Academy, Shrivenham and (d) RAF Cranwell in each year since 2000; and how many people are intended to undergo training at each establishment in each year until 2020. [156982]

Mr Robathan: The following information relates only to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC), Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and RAF Cranwell. The information relating to the Defence Academy, Shrivenham will take time to collate, and I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

As at 23 May 2013, the number of personnel undergoing training was:

3 Jun 2013 : Column 987W

 Number

Britannia Royal Naval College

226

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

576

RAF Cranwell

46

3 Jun 2013 : Column 988W

The number of personnel who have undergone or will undergo training at each establishment between 2000 and 2020 is shown in the following tables.

Where the number is marked as not available (BRNC and Cranwell in financial years 2000-01 to 2005-06), the data has not been captured in electronic form and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

 2000-012001-022002-032003-042004-052005-062006-072007-082008-092009-10

BRNC

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

345

370

343

433

RMAS

627

678

679

746

719

735

721

712

707

701

Cranwell

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

540

653

810

613

 2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-152015-162016-172017-182018-192019-20

BRNC

349

288

279

376

391

392

398

400

400

400

RMAS

771

682

593

591

591

591

591

591

591

591

Cranwell

348

174

199

329

350

363

376

398

386

387

Australia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 5 February 2013, Official Report, column 207W, on Navy: Australia, what further consideration he has given to the representation of the Royal Navy at the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review in Sydney in October 2013. [157084]

Mr Robathan: The United Kingdom will be represented at the Australian International Fleet Review in Sydney in October 2013 by Admiral Sir George Zambellas, the First Sea Lord and by HMS Daring, a Type 45 Destroyer.

Conditions of Employment

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in his Department are employed on zero hours contracts. [157130]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 January 2013, Official Report, column 802W, to the hon. Member for Sunderland Central (Julie Elliott).

Defence Equipment and Support

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with the US Administration on the proposal to establish a Government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) organisation to replace Defence Equipment and Support. [154646]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 13 May 2013]: Engagement with the US on the future of Defence Equipment and Support has been ongoing at ministerial and official levels since the materiel strategy programme began.

Last month I met Frank Kendall, the US National Armaments Director, to discuss the future of DE&S, and Bernard Gray, the Chief of Defence Materiel, has met him numerous times over the past year as part of a comprehensive engagement plan. In addition my team have been working closely with the taskforce established to consider the materiel strategy with us. We will continue to engage at all levels as the assessment phase of the programme develops.

I remain confident that we will continue to have a close and harmonious defence acquisition relationship with the US as we have had for decades.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the cost of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's contracts with Deloitte for the implementation of the restructuring programme in each of the last three financial years; [157405]

(2) what the total cost to the public purse has been of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's implementation of the D10 restructuring programme; [157410]

(3) what estimate he has made of the total cost of contracts with consultants employed in the restructuring of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012 and (d) 2013 to date. [157411]

Mr Francois: Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has an annual spend of approximately £3.3 billion and manages assets worth £21 billion across an estate of some 230,000 hectares. The DIO transformation programme is designed to deliver significant savings to the organisation’s running costs.

The total costs for transformation activity in the DIO, including work on the Footprint strategy, support to the procurement of the Information Management System, work investigating possible procurement of a Strategic Business Partner and costs for external assistance, including legal support, is shown in the following table:

Financial yearTotal costs (£ million)

2010-11

0

2011-12

7.8

2012-13

15.6

2013-14

(1)12

(1) Forecast.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 989W

As part of this Government’s commitment to increasing transparency, details of contracts with a value of £10,000 or more are available on the Contracts Finder website:

www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Gemma Doyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff holding positions deemed critical at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation took voluntary redundancy; and how many of these positions have not been replaced in each of the last three financial years. [157412]

Mr Francois: The criteria to consider any individual application for release under the departmental Voluntary Early Release Scheme (VERS) includes (among others) an assessment by a senior manager in the line management chain as to whether the post if vacated would require replacement, and the skills value of the individual to the business. While individuals were not specifically classified as being business critical, this was taken into account in the skills value consideration. The outcome of that assessment was used to determine which staff could be released. This was not a redundancy scheme.

The following numbers were agreed for release from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation:

Voluntary Early Release Scheme Number

1

2011

570

1 and 2

2012

266

2

2013

(1)65

(1) Actual and anticipated.

Defence Munitions Longtown

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the security of transporting munitions by train from Defence Munitions, Longtown; [156900]

(2) how much his Department has spent on transporting munitions from Defence Munitions Longtown since the theft of munitions in October 2012. [156975]

Mr Dunne: As a result of the theft of bar mines from a train in Warrington on 25 October 2012 a detailed and wide-ranging review of the procedures for transporting munitions was initiated. This work is ongoing. Immediately after the theft and pending the outcome of the review, Defence Equipment and Support stopped all rail movement of munitions and imposed tighter central control and enhanced security requirements on all road movement of munitions.

Information on the cost of transporting munitions from Defence Munitions Longtown is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Defence continues to transport munitions to meet all of its operational commitments and there has been no impact on our support to operations in Afghanistan.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 990W

Defence Support Group

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rental income has been earned from buildings at DSG Ashchurch in each of the last five years; what this income has been used for; and if he will make a statement. [156240]

Mr Dunne: The rental income earned from buildings at Ministry of Defence Ashchurch in each of the last five years is shown in the following table:

Financial yearTotal income (£ million)

2012-13

0.925

2011-12

0.841

2010-11

0.781

2009-10

1.538

2008-09

1.157

The income is used for the overall benefit of Defence.

Defence: Procurement

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of VAT on foreign military sale contracts in each of the last five years. [155370]

Mr Dunne: The VAT paid by the Ministry of Defence on foreign military sale contracts, i.e. goods, equipment and services imported from overseas, over each of the last live years is as follows:

 £

2008-09

61,350,282

2009-10

77,225,008

2010-11

99,244,435

2011-12

87,850,236

2012-13

66.156,686

Depleted Uranium

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 13 May 2013, Official Report, column 100W, if he will list the variants that do not include depleted uranium which can be test-fired for the propellant charge for the Charm-3 round and which will still inform the overall Life Extension Programme. [156280]

Mr Dunne: The variant of shell being fired to inform the Life Extension Programme for the Charm-3 round is the SX 230A ‘Shot Proof 120mm Tk’, which does not contain depleted uranium. It will be fired using the L16 and L17 variants of propellant charges.

European Union

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s top priorities are for changing the UK’s relationship with the EU. [157264]

Dr Murrison: As the Prime Minister made clear in his January speech on Europe, the European Union (EU) needs to change both to deliver prosperity and to retain the support of its peoples. The Government are committed

3 Jun 2013 : Column 991W

to help shape the future of a more competitive, flexible and democratically accountable EU.

The Government are currently carrying out the Balance of Competence Review, which is an evidence-based, objective analysis of what EU membership means for the UK and our national interest. Reports will not produce recommendations but will look at the impact of the EU in areas of EU policy.

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) will be debated for the first time since 2008 at the European Council in December 2013. The discussion will be a key opportunity to help shape the development of the CSDP and the UK’s role within the EU in a defence context.

The UK’s priorities for the Council are to focus CSDP on the comprehensive approach and complementarity with NATO, to improve cost-effectiveness and operational delivery, to enhance capabilities that benefit both NATO and the EU, and for this to be underpinned by a strengthened defence industrial base that will help boost longer term competitiveness and economic growth.

Hyde Park Barracks

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the recent refurbishment of Hyde Park barracks married accommodation cost. [155136]

Mr Francois: The Army Basing Plan announcement of 5 March 2013 confirmed as part of the continued scrutiny of the central London estate that the Department will be pursuing potential options to vacate Hyde Park barracks and re-provide for the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment elsewhere within central London. The investigation of options continues, and no decision has been made in relation to disposal.

Work to refurbish the service accommodation at Hyde Park barracks is due to be completed in July 2013 at a cost of £6.8 million. The contract was awarded in spring 2012 and, due to the nature of the building, undertaking the work involved a full scaffolding of the tower.

Inflation

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the purposes for which his Department uses (a) the retail price index measure of inflation, (b) the consumer price index measure of inflation and (c) any alternative measure of inflation. [154980]

Mr Philip Hammond: For planning our future overall budget the Ministry of Defence (MOD) uses the gross domestic product (GDP) deflator mandated by HM Treasury. We have also calculated a series of inflation indices for specific commodities, such as fuel or service personnel pay, based on wider industry indices or historic trends.

A variety of price indices are used in defence contracts depending on a range of factors. In 2010-11, the latest year for which the analysis is available, the MOD spent £9.3 billion on fixed price contracts containing a variation of price clause. Around 30% of expenditure on these

3 Jun 2013 : Column 992W

fixed price contracts was linked to the retail price index (RPI) series, principally RPI excluding mortgage interest payments, but consumer price index (CPI) and other rates of inflation were also used.

The MOD also produces an annual estimate of defence inflation, incorporating estimates for contract inflation, labour costs and cash office expenditure. RPI, CPI and a range of other inflation rates are used in calculating these estimates. Forecasts of inflation rates have also been developed in order to support policy and financial planning within the MOD.

Further information can be found in the Defence Inflation Estimates Statistical Notice 2011-12 document available online at the following address:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page=48&pubType=l&thiscontent=740&PublishTime= 09:30:00&date=2013-01-09&disText=2011%20/%2012&from=listing&topDate=2013-01-09

Libya

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which Ministers were present at the Defence and Security Industry Day in Tripoli on HMS Kent on 3 April 2013. [157608]

Dr Murrison: I was the sole Minister in attendance on the day.

Military Decorations: World War II

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when the (a) Arctic Star and (b) Bomber Command clasp will be issued to (i) living veterans, (ii) surviving spouses and (iii) other next of kin; [154090]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure the timely issue of the (a) Arctic Star and (b) Bomber Command clasp to (i) living veterans, (ii) surviving spouses and (iii) other next of kin. [154091]

Mr Francois: A dedicated project team of some 30 personnel has been formed within the Ministry of Defence medal office to deal solely with applications for the Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command clasp. The design of the star and clasp was completed much quicker than usual, with the first awards being presented in March 2013, just four months after the Prime Minister’s initial announcement.

Over 21,000 applications for the two awards have been received so far with more arriving daily.

Of this total, over 5,500 applications have been received from living veterans, and approximately 1,000 awards have already been made. It is planned that awards to the remaining eligible veterans who have applied so far will be issued during the summer.

Thereafter, applications from surviving spouses will take priority, followed by those received from next of kin. Given the volume of applications received and the detailed and time consuming nature of assessing each case, it is difficult to judge exactly how soon it will be before awards have been made to eligible relatives but officials will be working to achieve this as quickly as possible.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 993W

Pay

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees in his Department were paid in excess of (a) £80,000 and (b) £100,000 in (i) 2012 and (ii) 2013. [156747]

Mr Francois: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 30 November 2012, Official Report, columns 560-61W.

Pensions

Mr Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the combined additional cost to his Department expressed as an average percentage of salary of reducing the pension age of members of the (a) Defence Fire and Rescue Service and (b) Ministry of Defence police to 60 years of age. [157310]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 500W.

Mr Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the average proportion of salary that will be deducted from members of (a) the Defence Fire and Rescue Service and (b) the Ministry of Defence police in 2015-16 in the form of an abatement to contribute towards the cost of pension payments. [157335]

Mr Francois: It is not possible to state the net pay deductions for either the Defence Fire and Rescue Service or the Ministry of Defence police for financial year 2015-16 as they have not yet been calculated.

Reserve Forces

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many deduction of earnings requests from the Department for Work and Pensions for full-time volunteer mobilised reservists were deferred or suspended in financial years (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. [156713]

Mr Francois: Details of the number of deductions of earnings requests deferred or suspended in financial years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13, are not held in the format requested.

Sign Language

Sir Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the equality of access available for deaf people whose first language is British Sign Language in communicating with (a) the armed forces and (b) the agencies and public bodies which support his Department; and if he will make a statement; [157372]

(2) what specific measures his Department has in place to ensure that deaf people have the opportunity to communicate in British Sign Language with (a) the armed forces and (b) the agencies and public bodies for which he is responsible. [157586]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 994W

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is an equal opportunities employer and has a legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled staff, including the deaf, to enable them to maximise their potential and work as effectively as possible on an equal basis with their colleagues.

We provide policy guidance for disabled staff and their managers to identify what adjustments need to be made, whether those adjustments are reasonable and to comply with relevant legislation. In the case of deaf employees, this could range from the provision of a full-time interpreter to the training of a work colleague to enable such support.

When visitors notify us they suffer deafness, the MOD will provide a British Sign Language interpreter.

Training

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. [155425]

Mr Francois: Information on the number of officials enrolled in publicly-funded training courses and the 10 highest training course fees could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Comparative cost information about the provision of training to civilian staff in the Ministry of Defence is available for financial year 2010-11 and 2011-12. Information for financial year 2012-13 is still subject to audit. The figures are shown in the following table.

 £ million

2010-11

49

2011-12

35

These figures include external training, such as specialist training that cannot be carried out in-house, and the provision of training by the Defence Academy.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in which years UK forces embedded with the US Air Force have flown unmanned aerial vehicles in Iraq. [154581]

Mr Robathan: RAF personnel flew US Remotely Piloted Air Systems in Iraq while embedded with the US Air Force between 2004 and 2007.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what external legal advice he has commissioned to ensure that the provision of locational intelligence to facilitate unmanned aerial vehicle strikes by third parties is consistent with customary international law. [154983]

Mr Robathan: It has been the long-standing policy of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence matters.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 995W

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what external legal advice he has commissioned to ensure that UK unmanned aerial vehicle operations are consistent with the law of armed conflict. [154984]

Mr Robathan: All operations, including those involving unmanned aerial systems, are informed by appropriate legal advice and are conducted in accordance with applicable international humanitarian law.

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours each UK Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle has flown in each of the last 12 months. [157014]

Mr Robathan: I am withholding the information as disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance his Department issues on responsibility for civilian fatalities caused by unmanned aerial vehicles which are (a) the property of the US armed forces and piloted by UK service personnel and (b) piloted by both US and UK service personnel. [157017]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 May 2013, Official Report, column 220W, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Nicholas Soames).

UK service personnel operating US Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in Afghanistan operate under UK Rules of Engagement at all times. US and UK personnel operating UK Reaper as part of the Launch and Recovery Element in Afghanistan will also comply with UK Rules of Engagement.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the use of unmanned aerial vehicle strikes within the UK; and if he will make a statement. [157445]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence does not operate any armed unmanned aerial vehicles within UK airspace.

Veterans: Training

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces left the service without (a) level 1, (b) level 2 and (c) level 3 training in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012. [155305]

Mr Francois [holding answer 15 May 2013]: The services are among the largest training providers in the UK, with excellent completion and achievement rates. Service personnel are offered genuine progression routes which allow them to develop, gain qualifications and play a fuller part in society, either in the armed forces or subsequently as a civilian.

In total, more than 37,000 awards at all levels were gained as a result of service training in academic year

3 Jun 2013 : Column 996W

2011-12. However, we do not hold details of the qualifications held by personnel leaving the services in the format requested.

Scotland

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legislation his Department has sponsored which has devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament and powers within such legislation since 1998. [156225]

David Mundell: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Scotland Office.

Scotland Office is responsible for maintaining and strengthening the devolution settlement; together with lead policy Departments we have delivered a programme of Scotland Act orders that have provided additional powers to the Scottish Parliament, as well as delivering the Scotland Act 2012 that enhanced the devolution settlement and provided the largest transfer of financial responsibility since 1999.

Further devolution to the Scottish Parliament is principally achieved by way of amendments to schedules 4 and 5 of the Act. Since 1998 the following changes to those schedules have been made. These are presented in summary form.

Amendments to schedule 4 of the Scotland Act 1998

Power to modify the Scotland Act 1998 regarding financial assistance for opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

Powers to modify certain provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 requiring any sum to be payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Power to provide that proceedings brought in a court or tribunal against a member of the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 1998 on human rights grounds have to be brought before the end of a limitation period (since repealed by Scotland Act 2012).

Amendments to schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998

Political parties

The making of payments to any political party for the purpose of assisting members of the Parliament to perform their parliamentary duties.

Referendum

A power to allow the Scottish Parliament to conduct a referendum on the independence of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, subject to certain conditions.

Financial and economic matters

Powers to set a rate of income tax to be paid by Scottish taxpayers, and taxes in relation to land transactions and landfill.

Home affairs

The interception of any communication made to or by a person detained at a place of detention.

The regulation of air weapons.

Trade and industry

Powers in relation to business associations which are social landlords, including in relation to winding up proceedings and procedures giving protection from creditors.

Powers to provide financial assistance for the provision of services (other than postal services and services relating to money or postal orders) to be provided from public post offices.

Transport

Powers to impose requirements on Scottish public authorities about the preparation and submission of strategies relating to the provision of rail services.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 997W

Powers to transfer functions of passenger transport executives or passenger transport authorities relating to rail services, and the allocation of such functions among relevant authorities.

The promotion and construction of railways which start, end and remain in Scotland.

Power to impose requirements on Scottish public authorities about the preparation and submission of strategies relating to the provision of air services.

Social security

Powers to provide occasional financial or other assistance to or in respect of individuals for the purposes of meeting an immediate short-term need, arising out of exceptional services, to avoid risk

3 Jun 2013 : Column 998W

to the individual’s well-being, or enabling qualifying individuals to establish or maintain a settled home.

Employment

Fire safety on construction sites and on certain premises, including those concerned in the manufacture or storage of chemicals, explosives or flammable materials.

Amendment to part 1 of the Scotland Act 1998

Elections

Power to make provision as to the conduct of elections for membership of the Scottish Parliament, and the questioning of such an election and the consequences of irregularities. Made by the Scotland Act 2012 and yet to be brought into force.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 999W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 June 2013

Education

Academies

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many (a) sponsored and (b) converter academies there were in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority in England in May (A) 2010 and (B) 2013; [157035]

(2) what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools were academies in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority in May (A) 2010 and (B) 2013. [157036]

Mr Timpson: The information requested has been placed in the House Library.

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list each (a) sponsored academy, (b) converter academy and (c) maintained school in each (i) parliamentary constituency and (ii) local authority in England in May 2013. [157037]

Mr Timpson: The information requested has been placed in the House Library.

Academies: Inspections

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to introduce Ofsted inspection of academy chains. [156984]

Mr Timpson: There are no plans to introduce separate Ofsted inspections of academy chains. Ofsted can, in looking at the performance of individual academies, consider the role of their overarching governance structure and their formal links with other academies.

Childminding

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 13 May 2013, Official Report, columns 87-8W, on childminding, what the name is of each representative on the Task and Finish Group; and from which organisation each such representative comes. [157401]

Elizabeth Truss: The organisations invited to the Task and Finish Group are as follows:

Ofsted, the National College for Teaching and Leadership, 4Children, Family and Childcare Trust, national Day Nurseries Association, National Children’s Bureau, Pre-school Learning Alliance, the Northamptonshire Childminding Association, Norland College, the Independent Childminders Social Enterprise, Bright Horizons, Busy Bees, Kidsunlimited, the Association of Nanny Agencies, ARK Academies, Redgrave Children and Young People’s Centre, Trio Childcare and @Home Childcare.

Specific individuals attending from these organisations vary from meeting to meeting.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1000W

Children in Care: Coastal Areas

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of children are looked after in each of the principal seaside towns of England. [157452]

Mr Timpson: The number and proportion of children who are looked after by each local authority in England has been placed in the House Library. Information at individual town level is not available.

Children: Care Homes

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many full-time equivalent staff were employed in children's residential care homes in England and Wales in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [156820]

Mr Timpson: Information on the number of staff employed in children's residential care homes is not collected centrally. As part of the Department for Education's children's homes reform programme, we are commissioning a census of the children's homes workforce. This will provide up-to-date information on the numbers, qualifications and skill levels of staff in children's homes.

Child Poverty

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the recent report from the British Medical Association, Growing Up in the UK, on the effects of austerity on child poverty. [156722]

Mr Laws: The Government have read the British Medical Association's report with interest. We are committed to ending child poverty and to the provisions of the Child Poverty Act 2010. Improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities are key to ensuring that people are able to escape poverty, and poor health is one of the root causes of poverty.

We recognise that a sustainable approach to tackling child poverty needs to address many factors such as worklessness, health, educational failure and family stability. Our strategy to improve life chances includes improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities through the provision of more effective NHS, public health and social care services, from conception onwards across the life course.

Children: Social Services

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much children's social work departments spent on agency social workers in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [156818]

Mr Timpson: This information is held by individual local authorities and is not collected centrally.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many directors of children's services in England earn more than £150,000 a year. [156819]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1001W

Mr Timpson: The Department does not hold information on the salaries of directors of children's services, and to collect and provide this information would incur disproportionate costs.

Class Sizes: Corby

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average class size was in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in Corby constituency in each of the last three years. [156660]

Mr Laws: Data on class sizes in state-funded primary and secondary schools in England are published as part

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1002W

of the annual Statistical First Release ‘Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics'. The latest data are for January 2012 and are available on the government's website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2012

This information is also available on the Department's website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/inyourarea/results/nat_921_pcons_10.shtml

The information requested is given in the following table:

State-funded primary and secondary schools(1, 2, 3, 4, 5): Classes as taught(6) January 2010-12. In Corby parliamentary constituency
 201020112012
 State-funded primary(1, 2)State-funded secondary(1, 3)State-funded primary(1,2)State-funded secondary(1, 3)State-funded primary(1, 4)State-funded secondary(1, 5)

Average class size

25.1

19.8

25.6

20.8

25.7

20.2

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies (including all-through academies). (4) Includes primary academies and free schools. (5) Includes city technology colleges, secondary academies/free schools (including all-through academies/free schools). (6) One teacher classes as taught during a single selected period in each school on the day of the census in January. Source: School Census