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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Transport

Blue Badge Scheme

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department gives to local authorities on removing blue parking permits from circulation once the permit holders are deceased. [159399]

Norman Baker: Regulations require that the badge must be returned immediately to the issuing authority on the death of the holder. We advise local authorities to include details of how to return the badge in their death registry packs, and to cross reference deaths registered in their area against their Blue Badge records so that recall notices can be issued as required.

The Gov.UK website also includes a list of items about which a deceased individual's family may need to contact their local authority, as part of the process of registering the death. This includes Blue Badges.

In addition, we issue a “Rights and Responsibilities” booklet to badge holders which makes it clear that the badge should be returned to the issuing authority on the death of the badge holder and that it is a criminal offence for people other than the badge holder to take advantage of the parking concessions provided under the scheme. Similar information is included on the badge itself.

Rail Franchise Advisory Panel

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safeguards are in place to ensure that members of the Rail Franchise Advisory Panel are not subject to conflicts of interest. [154463]

Mr Simon Burns: The membership was appointed after consultation with the Chair of the Panel, Richard Brown. The code of conduct for board members of public bodies published by the Cabinet Office was followed to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest.

As part of their terms and conditions of employment panel members will be expected to declare any actual or potential conflicts of interest. Any conflicts will need to be managed and regularly reviewed to avoid any perception of bias, taking account of the need for the panel also to be populated by members with relevant expertise and experience.

Roads: Safety

Mr Khalid Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider introducing a national road safety awareness campaign aimed at children and young people similar to the Green Man campaigns of the past. [159300]

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Stephen Hammond: Recent years have seen record lows in the number of killed and seriously injured road accident casualties. Child pedestrian casualties have fallen considerably and are now at their lowest ever level. In 2011, there were 33 child (age 0-15) pedestrian fatalities, down 42% on the 2005-09 average and 1,569 serious injuries, down 15%. However, we know that one death is one too many, which is why we are focusing our THINK! road safety campaigns where they will have the greatest impact.

Instead of delivering child road safety messages through advertising, we are working more closely with local authorities and other partners who engage with children directly to ensure our messages are reaching children and teenagers in schools. We are encouraging partners to communicate road safety messages to a greater extent in PSHE lessons, assemblies, tutor times and the wider curriculum by enhancing the quality of resources provided to schools. We are making these resources, which include lesson plans, posters and booklets, easier to access and use in the classroom and are making them available to other groups who engage with children and young people including road safety officers and out of school group leaders.

Government marketing spend has been reduced since June 2010 to help deliver efficiency savings and only the most essential campaigns—including several THINK! road safety campaigns—are going ahead. In this new environment, the current priorities for THINK! advertising are motorcycling safety, where accident rates are highest and drink driving, where a small minority continue to flout the law.

Our THINK! communication campaigns are only one part of our road safety work. We are also investing in infrastructure to make our roads safer and more efficient; taking steps to make it easier for the police to enforce against drivers who break the law; and we have streamlined the process for councils to implement 20mph zones and limits on their roads.

Northern Ireland

Fuels: Tax Evasion

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the implications of Northern Ireland not being part of the National Crime Agency for measures to prevent fuel laundering and smuggling in Northern Ireland. [158333]

Mike Penning: The National Crime Agency will be able to operate in Northern Ireland in relation to matters that are not devolved, including investigations into smuggling by organised crime groups importing illicit commodities, and will continue to support HMRC activity to tackle fuel laundering, as SOCA does now.

The failure of the Northern Ireland Executive to agree a legislative consent motion in the Assembly, while very disappointing, only prevents the National Crime Agency undertaking operational activities which relate to transferred matters. However, NCA will be able to provide support and advice to the PSNI in relation to matters falling within devolved responsibilities. It will also be possible to designate National Crime Agency Officers in Northern Ireland with customs and immigration powers.

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Parades Commission

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) at how many party conferences the Parades Commission has been represented in each year since that body's creation; [158558]

(2) how much the Parades Commission has spent on attendance at political party events in Northern Ireland in each year since that body's creation. [158559]

Mrs Villiers: The Northern Ireland Office has recently reviewed its approach to Parades Commission attendance at party conferences in line with Cabinet Office guidance. In light of this, we have advised the Commission to consult with the NIO in advance of any future attendance at such events. For previous years, the right hon. Member may wish to write to the Commission directly in relation to their attendance at party conferences and charges paid in relation to such attendance.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much the Parades Commission has spent on (a) marketing and (b) press advertising in each year since its creation. [158560]

Mrs Villiers: The Parades Commission for Northern Ireland may procure marketing and press advertising services, without prior approval of the NIO, subject to being within approved control limits that are set by Cabinet Office. Given this level of operational independence from Government, the right hon. Member may wish to write to the Commission directly on these matters.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations his Department has received from individuals, groups, research bodies, consultants and other interested parties on its 2050 calculator energy modelling tool since it was launched; and what encouragement his Department has given for the calculator to be used by external parties. [158340]

Gregory Barker: The 2050 Pathways Calculator was first published in 2010. Over a hundred experts and organisations were involved in its development, and since publication several hundred organisations have engaged with the Calculator. In particular, individuals and organisations have engaged through the public Call for Evidence period in autumn 2010, the stakeholder presentations following launch, public energy debates— for example at Hay Festival and in the cities of Nottingham and Liverpool, online discussions, parliamentary events and committees, academic projects and through international collaborations.

The respondents to the Call for Evidence are listed online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/2050-pathways-analysis

In addition, many thousand individuals have accessed and used the 2050 Calculator online, with more than 80,000 unique visitors to the web tool, and 94,000 having used the My2050 simulation. Individuals and organisations have used the calculator to contribute their preferred pathway for the UK energy system. Some of those contributions are listed here:

https://www.gov.uk/2050-pathways-analysis#the-debate

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Organisations and experts have also engaged via the 2050 Wiki, which is designed to provide a free-flowing exchange of new evidence as technologies and their costs develop. Their responses are visible in the wiki at:

http://2050-calculator-tool-wiki.decc.gov.uk

The 2050 Calculator was built with an ethos of transparency and accessibility in order to create and share a platform for informed debate about the energy options facing the UK over the long-term. As such, the Department has welcomed and encouraged its use, both in the UK and abroad. This has included through its use to support parliamentary debate, as an educational resource in schools and universities, and its adaptation by foreign Governments to help develop energy policy overseas.

To encourage this we have developed a School's Toolkit to support teachers in providing informative and interactive lessons on how the UK can power itself and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is available online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/my2050-schools-toolkit

We have also trialled various approaches to facilitating public debate, the results of which are listed online at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130109092117/http://decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/tackling-climate-change/2050/3680-findings-from-the-decc-2050-deliberative-dialogues.pdf

The Department, working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has also undertaken significant international engagement to encourage other Governments to develop their own 2050 Calculators to enhance their ability to plan a low-carbon energy system. Calculators have now been completed by the People's Republic of China and South Korea, and are under development in nine further countries. The current state of this international outreach is listed online:

https://www.gov.uk/international-outreach-work-of-the-2050-calculator

Energy Company Obligation

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans his Department has to offer households living in privately-owned properties with gas central heating access to the same level of Energy Company Obligation funding as is available to similar households with electric heating. [159566]

Gregory Barker: The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an obligation on the main energy supply companies which they meet by promoting energy domestic efficiency measures. Both gas-heated and electrically-heated properties are eligible for support, but within the terms of the scheme how companies meet their obligations is a matter for them, including what measures they promote and where they make funding available.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the total tonnage of greenhouse gases emitted was in the UK in each year for which figures are available. [159059]

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Gregory Barker: The UK's total greenhouse gas emissions are available for the years 1990 to 2012. These are provided in the following table in millions of tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Further information on how these numbers are calculated can be found at the following website address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-uk-emissions-estimates

Table: UK Greenhouse gas emissions as reported in the 2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory and provisional statistics release—(includes emissions removals from land use, land use change and forestry)
 Total emissions (million tonne CO2 equivalent)

1990

769.7

1991

776.5

1992

753.4

1993

732.4

1994

720.3

1995

711.0

1996

731.4

1997

704.8

1998

703.1

1999

672.0

2000

675.2

2001

678.9

2002

658.6

2003

665.5

2004

665.2

2005

659.0

2006

655.0

2007

644.7

2008

630.5

2009

576.8

2010

594.0

2011

552.6

2012(1)

571.6

(1 )Provisional—Finalised February 2014 Source: DECC 2013

Renewable Energy: Corby

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will visit Corby and meet representatives of Electric Corby. [158047]

Michael Fallon: I would welcome a meeting with representatives from Electric Corby either in London or in Corby, depending on the constraints of my diary.

Wind Power: Tees Valley

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will estimate the proportion of the monetary value of the contract for the Teesside Offshore Wind Farm Project's (a) turbines, (b) rotors,

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(c)

transformers,

(d)

offshore cables,

(e)

onshore cables,

(f)

array cables and

(g)

subsea capability that is being provided by firms based in (i) Hartlepool constituency, (ii) Teesside, (iii) the North East and (iv) the UK; and if he will make a statement. [158117]

Michael Fallon: The Department is working with the Offshore Wind Industry Council to develop an agreed methodology to measure and report on UK content of future offshore wind farm projects.

The methodology will help us review progress towards a competitive supply chain in the UK, providing a much higher percentage content of offshore wind farm projects.

Deputy Prime Minister

Lobbying

Paul Flynn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many staff in his Department have worked on the creation of a Register of Lobbyists since May 2010; which (a) individuals and (b) organisations he has met to discuss developing such a register since May 2010; and what draft documents his Department has produced on the development of a Register of Lobbyists since May 2010. [158843]

Miss Chloe Smith: A number of staff members from various teams have contributed differing proportions of their time to the development of a statutory register of lobbyists. As a result it has not been possible to quantify the number of staff that worked on the creation of the register since May 2010.

Cabinet Office Ministers have met with, and received representations from, a wide range of organisations during the development of the register.

With regards to draft documents developed in relation to the register, the Government published a Green Paper in January 2012. The Government do not comment on internal draft documents,

Cabinet Office

Capita

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much his Department currently spends on contracts with Capita; and how much was spent in each year since 2008. [158459]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office contractual expenditure with Capita from 2008 to the present is detailed in the following table:

Amount spent by year (£)
Capita Company2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122012-132013-14(1)

Capita

11,200

131,845

46,202

Capita Business Services Limited

5,269,610

5,650,245

5,193,721

988,379

33,027

143,748

62,934

Capita Civil Superannuation

3,439

Capita Hartshead Ltd

39,317

15,863

Capita Health Solutions Ltd

7,441

11,426

453,137

2,220

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Capita Health Solutions plc

421

Capita Learning and Development

13,385

7,826

16,499

Capita Resourcing Ltd

44,844

66,943

2,691,561

3,862,112

9,400,16 1

2,182,078

Capita Symonds Health

12,156

36,372

19,494

 

Capita Symonds Ltd

2,422

499,535

486,468

27,972

5,950

Capita Tracing Solutions Ltd

1,093

Capita Trust Co Ltd

931

 

GBS Capita Civil Superannuation

500

Veredus c/o Capita Sourcing Ltd

120,326

13,084

(1) To 31 May

As part of my Department's transparency programme, details of all contracts with a value of £10,000 or more have been published on Contracts Finder since January 2011:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

In addition, Cabinet Office expenditure over £25,000 is published at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-spend-data

Childbirth

Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many live births there were in each constituent country of the UK in each quarter of 2012. [159569]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated June 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent question to the Minister for the Cabinet Office asking how many live births there were in each constituent country of the UK in each quarter of 2012 [159569].

The table below shows the number of live births in the constituent countries of the UK by quarter for 2012. Births data for quarter 4 England and Wales will be published in August 2013.

Number of live births by quarter, 2012 (provisional), UK and constituent countries
Number of live births (thousand)
Year and quarterUKEnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland

2012

     

March (Q1)

201.1

170.9

8.8

14.8

6.6

June (Q2)

201.0

171.8

8.6

14.3

6.2

September (Q3)

207.7

177.7

9.0

14.7

6.3

December (Q4)

n/a

n/a

n/a

14.2

6.2

n/a Denotes not yet available Note: Data are provisional Source: Office for National Statistics

For more information, quarterly births data are published on the ONS website at:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/vital-statistics--population-and-health-reference-tables/summer-2013-update/index.html

Safety

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what information his Department holds on the proportion of people who felt (a) fairly or (b) very safe walking alone after dark, by gender, in each year for which data are available. [159016]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated June 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for the Home Department asking for the proportion of people who felt (a) fairly or (b) very safe walking alone after dark, by gender, in each year for which data are available. (159016)

The Crime Survey for England and Wales has included the question ‘How safe do you feel walking alone in this area after dark?’ since the survey began in 1981. The proportion of people who said that they felt ‘fairly safe’ or ‘very safe’ walking alone after dark, by gender, is included in the following table for each year that the survey has taken place since 1981.

Table: Proportion of people who said that they felt ‘fairly safe’ or ‘very safe’ walking alone after dark by gender, 1981 to 2011/12, England and Wales
Percentage
 Very safeFairly safeTotal proportion feeling very or fairly safe
 MaleFemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemale

1981

45

12

41

37

86

49

1983

50

14

37

38

87

52

1987

45

12

40

38

85

51

1991

43

12

43

39

86

51

1993

39

10

44

36

84

46

1995

40

11

45

42

85

53

1997

41

11

44

40

85

52

1999

39

12

45

41

84

53

2001/02

41

14

42

38

84

53

2002/03

40

13

42

37

82

51

2003/04

42

15

42

39

84

53

2004/05

43

16

42

41

85

57

2005/06

40

15

43

40

83

55

2006/07

39

16

44

40

83

56

2007/08

40

16

43

40

83

56

2008/09

41

17

43

40

83

57

2009/10

45

19

40

42

85

61

2010/11

47

21

39

43

86

64

2011/12

48

22

40

43

87

65

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Note: Prior to 2001/02, CSEW estimates relate to the calendar year (January to December). From2001/02 onwards estimates relate to the financial year (April to March). Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales

The Crime Survey for England and Wales is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences and perceptions of crime and crime-related issues. Data for 2012/13 will be available from 18 July 2013.

Crime statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland are collected and published separately, and can be downloaded from:

Scotland:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice

Northern Ireland:

http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/statistics-research/stats-research-publications/northern-ireland-crime-survey-s-r/r--s-bulletin-1-2013-experience-of-crime-findings-from-the-2011-12-northern-ireland-crime-survey.htm

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Business, Innovation and Skills

Accountancy

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the names, job titles, area of work, term of appointment and civil service equivalent grade are of personnel currently seconded to his Department from the big four accountancy firms. [159037]

Jo Swinson: The information the Department holds on personnel seconded from KMPG; Ernst and Young; PWC and Deloitte from 1 January 2010 to the present has previously been published on the Department's website and is reproduced as follows. In accordance with data protection principles, the Department does not release personal data of staff below senior civil service grades.

Name of organisationRoleGroupDate seconded fromDate seconded toSalary (£)

PWC

Govt Property Unit

Shareholder Executive

May 2011

July 2011

53,543-67,313

Deloitte

Market Frameworks

Business Environment

June 2011

June 2012

53,543-67,313

KPMG

Govt Property Unit

Shareholder Executive

October 2011

At Cab Office

44,186-55,562

KPMG

Portfolio Unit

Shareholder Executive

November 2011

November 2012

58,200-117,750

PWC

Strategic Relations Project Manager

UKTI

December 2011

November 2012

44,186-55,562

Ernst and Young

Strategic Relations Project Manager

UKTI

January 2012

December 2012

32,241-40,701

Ernst and Young

Strategic Relations Project Manager

UKTI

February 2012

December 2012

27,070-32,866

PWC

Green Investment Bank

Shareholder Executive

February 2012

December 2012

53,543-67,313

PWC

Senior Manager

UKTI

May 2012

November 2012

Withheld

Deloitte

Portfolio Unit

Shareholder Executive

February 2013

October 2013

53,543-67,313

BIS uses secondments to improve its people capabilities, share knowledge and expertise with private sector organisations and key stakeholders; and give individuals a chance to learn how Government works.

Every effort is made to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest for either side as a result of the secondment, and the Department makes sure that we get the best value for money from the process.

Employment: Females

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to increase the number of women in the workforce; and if he will make a statement. [158970]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply as Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities.

There are more women employed in the UK than ever before with 13.8 million women in employment, 355,000 more women in employment since the Government came to power.

We are taking firm action to help women and families. Through Think, Act, Report we are working with business to tackle the gender pay gap and get more women into senior jobs. We are introducing a new system of shared parental leave so that men and women can share caring responsibilities for their children, and we are extending the right to request flexible working to everyone. We have also taken action to help families with the cost of child care to ensure that parents are not 'priced out' of the workplace.

The Women's Business Council has just launched its excellent report which is focused on maximising the economic impact of women in the UK. We have accepted their recommendations and will publish an action plan in the autumn. We have announced a series of early actions which will make a real difference in each of the four key areas identified in the report.

Additionally, the Work programme is providing unemployed men and women with unprecedented levels of personal support to get them into the workplace. Universal credit will help an estimated 300,000 workless households into work.

Higher Education: North East

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have (a) applied to and (b) accepted conditional or unconditional offers from each university in (i) the North East and (ii) Yorkshire and Humber for the 2013-14 academic year. [158337]

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Mr Willetts: The information is not held centrally. Data on applications and acceptances are collected by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), but they have not released any data for individual institutions for the 2013 application cycle. UCAS is an organisation independent from Government.

Regional Growth Fund

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many companies have been awarded loans from Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund; how many such companies are now in receipt of funds; and how many such companies have received in full the amounts indicated when the allocations for Round 2 were announced in October 2011. [159345]

Michael Fallon: One company has been awarded a loan from Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund; this has been paid in full.

Street Trading

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will give consideration to bringing forward legislative proposals to require pedlars to obtain a licence for peddling in each area from the local authority rather than a licence for the whole UK. [159249]

Jo Swinson: A consultation on the Government's proposals for reform of the street trading and pedlary regime was held between November 2012 and April this year and the consultation responses are currently being analysed. The purpose of the reforms is to ensure compliance with the EU services directive.

Defence

Accountancy

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the names, job titles, area of work, term of appointment and Civil Service equivalent grade are of personnel currently seconded to his Department from the big four accountancy firms. [159040]

Dr Murrison: There are currently no secondees in the Ministry of Defence from KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young or PWC.

Africa

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department is providing to US military operations in (a) Mali, (b) the Maghreb and (c) the Horn of Africa. [R] [158931]

Mr Robathan: The UK currently has less than five personnel embedded with the US in advisory roles within the US Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa.

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Armed Forces: Disciplinary Proceedings

Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of disciplinary processes in (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy, (c) the Royal Air Force and (d) the Royal Marines which took place in 2012 cited alcohol as a contributing factor. [158031]

Dr Murrison: Data are available on those disciplinary processes in which the charge is specifically about the individual having been drinking alcohol. In addition, when a charge is entered on the Joint Personnel Administration system, there is provision to indicate that alcohol was a contributory factor in the offence. The data derived from this process must be considered indicative, as listing of alcohol as a contributory factor is not validated.

The following table shows the proportion of disciplinary procedures in 2012 where either the charges specifically refer to alcohol or drinking, or alcohol is listed as having a contributory role in the offence.

 Percentage

Royal Navy (inc. Royal Marines)

31.6

Army

19.9

Royal Air Force

24.6

Armed Forces: Mental Health

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place to maintain and improve the mental awareness and combat readiness of (a) aircraft pilots and (b) other service personnel. [159020]

Mr Robathan: Every serviceperson, in any trade or branch, including pilots, has their own specific training and evaluations designed to ensure they are able to deliver full operational capability, relevant to their role, when called upon.

From initial training to specialisation training and career development, all training is tailored to develop an individual's knowledge, skills and attitude, combining the military knowledge required to operate, academic skills to underpin this training and holistic training and support to develop the individuals preparedness for operations. This approach enables the delivery of appropriately trained personnel and force elements at readiness in the right place, at the right time and in the most cost-effective manner.

In addition, we exploit every opportunity to deliver excellence in education and training. This includes the production of training methodologies to bring science to the training arena and develop innovative training technology, with civilian partners, to ensure that our personnel learn in the most up-to-date, effective and efficient fashion.

As such, all elements of training combine to make sure we develop an individual's mental awareness and readiness to deploy.

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Joint Forces Command

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Joint Forces Command will have in ensuring robust financial management in the armed forces. [158736]

Mr Robathan: The Defence Reform Review recommended that Service Chiefs take responsibility, and ultimately own the budget, for the detailed capability planning to deliver the strategic direction set by the Defence Board.

In addition to planning core Joint Forces Command functions, a key tenet of the subsequent design is the introduction of the Lead Command concept, nominating Commands to lead on the capability planning and financial management of pan-Defence capabilities. Joint Forces Command will act as the lead Command for Medical, Special Projects, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C41SR) and Cyber Defence.

Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which external (a) organisations and (b) individuals his Department has engaged with as part of the Scotland Analysis Programme; and what was discussed at each such consultation. [159231]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has engaged with other Government Departments and a range of external stakeholders. A wide range of defence issues relating to UK and Scotland were discussed.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials in his Department have been allocated to work on the Scotland Analysis Programme; and at what cost to the public purse. [159232]

Mr Robathan: Work on the Scotland Analysis Programme is being carried out by a small team from within existing departmental resources.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work his Department has commissioned by external consultants on the Scotland Analysis Programme; which consultants were used; and at what cost to the public purse. [159234]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has not commissioned any work by external consultants in relation to work on the Scotland Analysis programme.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average response time was of the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency to queries raised with them by veterans in the latest period for which figures are available. [159225]

Dr Murrison: The majority of queries received by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency are fielded in the first instance by the Veterans UK Freephone Helpline

12 Jun 2013 : Column 326W

and, to a lesser extent, the Veterans Welfare Service (VWS). The latest year to date (YTD) figures are shown in the following table:

 Call response times YTDWritten correspondence response times YTD

HELPLINE

1 minute 26 seconds

98.72% within five working days of receipt

VWS

Not held

99.47% within five working days of receipt

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place to escalate cases within the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency if they are not dealt with within a satisfactory period for a response. [159226]

Dr Murrison: Information on the complaints process for veterans, including the escalation tiers, is included in the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency website at:

http://www.veterans-uk.info/complaints/complaints.html

The Joint Personnel Administration system (JPA) details the complaints process for serving personnel.

Territorial Army

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in each Territorial Army infantry company in each location received a bounty in each of the last three years. [159287]

Dr Murrison: Figures at unit level are not collated and validated on a routine basis at present, so the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The numbers of Territorial Army Group A infantry personnel who received a bounty in the 12 month period to 1 April are as follows:

As at April each year:Number

2011

3,490

2012

3,330

2013

3,310

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether disciplinary measures have been brought against members of the Army in relation to the operation of unmanned aerial systems. [R] [158933]

Mr Robathan: As with any activity undertaken by military personnel, Commanders may initiate disciplinary action if they consider there to have been an offence committed under the Armed Forces Act 2006. Such action will depend upon how an individual has conducted themselves, and whether any applicable regulations have been breached. All crashes involving unmanned aerial vehicles are investigated and Defence Air Safety Occurrence Reports completed and, to date, no individual has been disciplined as a result.

12 Jun 2013 : Column 327W

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2013, Official Report, column 221W, on unmanned air vehicles, whether the UK-USAF airframe arrangement allows the US to use UK unmanned air vehicles should a US unmanned air vehicle be unavailable. [R] [158973]

Mr Robathan: Under the Reaper agreement the United States Air Force (USAF) may request use of a UK Reaper airframe. The UK airframes would be operated by the USAF in line with UK procedures and Rules of Engagement.

This option has not been taken up by the USAF. US pilots have not flown UK Reaper except during the launch and recovery phase, from Kandahar, in support of operations in Afghanistan.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 18 April 2013, Official Report, column 527W, on unmanned air vehicles, what the total cost of this training was; what the cost of training each pilot was; and by how much costs increased as a result of changes in training subsequent to the Hermes 450 ZK515 Service Inquiry. [R] [159084]

Mr Robathan: Unmanned aerial systems training is provided through a combination of industry delivered courses and military run training. It is not possible to separate training from wider activity costs. Since the Hermes 450 ZK515 Service Inquiry, airmanship development training has been enhanced for Hermes 450 pilots at a cost to date of £26,100.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many drone strikes carried out by UK armed forces have resulted in fatalities in each of the last three years; and how many such fatalities were subsequently found to have been non-combatants. [159194]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 July 2011, Official Report, column 52W, to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas).

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking in liaison with his international counterparts to regulate the use of armed drones; and who is responsible for the legality of their use. [159246]

Mr Robathan: No steps are being taken to regulate the use of armed drones, or remotely piloted air systems (RPAS), as the framework for their use is clear. The rules of engagement applied are identical to those used by crews of manned combat aircraft.

The selection and prosecution of all targets is based on rigorous scrutiny which is compliant with international humanitarian law, rules of engagement and targeting policy. Targets are always positively identified as legitimate military objectives. Every effort is made to ensure that harm to civilians or damage to civilian property is minimised; this may include deciding not to use a weapon at all.

The use of any of the weapons depends upon commands from the flight crew.

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Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the legal framework for attacks by unmanned aerial vehicles targeted at particular individuals. [159171]

Mr Robathan: None.

Treasury

Banks: Loans

David Morris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to ensure that vulnerable people are not missold loans they cannot afford to repay. [158770]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

As set out in the coalition agreement, the Government are committed to curbing unsustainable lending and improving consumer protections, particularly for the most vulnerable in society. The Government have taken a number of steps to deliver on this commitment.

All lenders are required by law, under section 55B of the Consumer Credit Act (CCA) to assess a borrower's creditworthiness before providing credit or significantly increasing the amount of credit extended.

Under the CCA, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is responsible for licensing lenders and can take action against businesses that engage in unfair practices or exploit vulnerable consumers.

The OFT sets out clearly in its ‘Irresponsible Lending Guidance’ the responsibility of lenders to conduct proper assessments of affordability before granting credit.

Further, the OFT has statutory powers to tackle non-compliance where there is evidence that a firm is in breach of the law or not meeting the required standards. The CCA 2006 made it explicit that evidence of irresponsible lending will call into question a firm's fitness to hold a consumer credit licence. More recently Government has given the OFT the power to suspend a lender's licence with immediate effect if there is serious risk of harm to consumers.

There are clear concerns about payday lenders providing loans to those who cannot afford them. The OFT is currently taking stringent action on non-compliant payday lenders as a top enforcement priority. The revised payday lending codes implemented last November also commit members of the main payday trade bodies to carry out sound, proper and appropriate affordability assessments and credit vetting before each loan application and before a loan is rolled over to check a customer's ability to repay.

Government are transferring the regulation of consumer credit from the OFT to the Financial Conduct Authority from April 2014. The FCA will have a wide range of strong powers to tackle consumer detriment including the ability to ban products, order redress to be paid to consumers and impose unlimited fines.

Revenue and Customs

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the system of relationship-building with big corporations carried out by the previous head of

12 Jun 2013 : Column 329W

HM Revenue and Customs, Dave Hartnett, is still being practised by HM Revenue and Customs; and if he will make a statement. [159054]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced its Large Business Strategy in 2006 following the Review of Links with Large Business. The model of large business relationship management pioneered by HMRC is the most efficient way of ensuring that these high-value, high-risk and complex taxpayers pay the tax that is due. Since 2006, HMRC's approach has increasingly been adopted by other countries and its benefits have been recognised by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This has enabled HMRC to recover £34 billion additional compliance revenue between 2006 and March 2013 from the 800 largest businesses (of which £5 billion was recovered last year alone).

Stationery

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what office supplies his Department purchased in each year between 2005 and 2010; and what the cost to the public purse was of such purchases. [158850]

Sajid Javid: The Department purchases a large range of office supplies (stationary) from various suppliers and it would not be possible to itemise the purchases within the disproportionate costs threshold. Total spending in each year between 2005 and 2011 can be found in the following table:

Stationary costs£

2005-06

257,513

2006-07

352,675

2007-08

318,715

2008-09

232,641

2009-10

344,492

2010-11

142,759

2011-12

117,474

Home Department

Asylum

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the current backlog is of (a) asylum cases and (b) general immigration cases. [157125]

Mr Harper: The Home Office publishes data on asylum work in progress. These can be found here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/further-key-data/

Caseloads in the general immigration system were published by The Home Affairs Select Committee, in its fourteenth report (The work of the UK Border Agency (July-September 2012). The report can be found here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/792/79206.htm

Asylum: Milton Keynes

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum legacy cases are outstanding and have not received a decision in postcode areas (a) MK40, (b) MK41 and (c) MK42. [159025]

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Mr Harper: The numbers of asylum legacy cases outstanding which have not received a decision in the named post codes are as follows;

 Number

(a) MK40

0

(b) MK41

0

(c) MK42

2

Results are based on person ID rather than case reference ID in line with Older Live Cases Unit reporting. As the query relies on postcodes, data quality in relation to formal addresses on the Home Office database may affect the accuracy of the figures.

The information has been provided from local management information and has not been quality assured to the level of published National Statistics. As such it should be treated as provisional and therefore subject to change.

Asylum: Young People

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the Children's Society report into asylum support for children and young people, published in January 2013; and if she will make a statement. [158539]

Mr Harper: The report made a number of recommendations, which I responded to during the Westminster Hall debate on asylum support for children and young people on 27 February 2013. Careful consideration has been given to the recommendations of the report in conducting a review of asylum support rates, the result of which was announced on 6 June 2013.

Correspondence

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department will respond to Philip Alliah's letter regarding his mother Diana Adzorker's application for entry clearance. [158694]

Mr Harper: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 5 June 2013.

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department will respond to the letter of Robert Kelly regarding his business partner, Shuai Feng Zhao's business visa application. [158695]

Mr Harper: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 6 June 2013.

Cybercrime

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the UK economy of cyber crime. [159065]

James Brokenshire: I refer my right hon. Friend to the reply given on 10 January 2013, Official Report, column 418W.

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Entry Clearances

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of decisions to refuse entry clearance were (a) the subject of appeals to HM Court and Tribunal Service and (b) reversed on appeal in each of the last two years for which figures are available. [159027]

Mr Harper: The Home Office publishes data on entry clearance visas on an annual and quarterly basis. A full breakdown of the number of visa applications received and their resolution, along with data on the numbers of appeals received and their outcomes, are all published. The data requested for 2011 and 2012, compiled from these published statistics, are shown in the following tables.

Table 1: Entry clearance visa applications, 2011 and 2012
 ApplicationsIssuedRefused

2011

2,607,142

2,275,417

320,771

2012

2,562,517

2,229,357

339,965

Note: Data compiled from Table "be_01_q" of the release “Immigration Statistics January-March 2013”, available from the Library of the House and from the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release
Table 2: Entry clearance appeals, 2011 and 2012
 ReceivedAllowedDismissed

2011

79,906

24,919

28,660

2012

46,071

16,636

21,831

Notes: 1. Data extracted from Table “be.07” of the release “Immigration Statistics January-March 2013”, available from the Library of the House and from the GOV.UK website above. 2. Appeals received do not necessarily relate to applications refused in the same period. Appeal outcomes do not necessarily relate to appeals received in the same period.

Hooliganism: Football

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps she has taken to ensure that banning orders on football hooligans are enforced; [154823]

(2) what steps she is taking to reduce levels of violence at and around football matches. [154822]

Damian Green [holding answer 13 May 2013]: A committed partnership approach is key to reducing football violence and disorder. The Home Office works with police, the football authorities, other Government Departments and fans' groups to ensure there are appropriate legislative tools available to minimise the threat of disorder, to plan for safe and secure matches, and to encourage self-policing by supporters. I chaired a meeting with police, football authorities and safety authorities on 1 May to ensure the continuing commitment of all responsible agencies to working together to reduce violence and disorder at football matches.

The large majority of football supporters are law abiding individuals. Although levels of football disorder have been significantly reduced and orchestrated football violence marginalised over the last decade, the risk of spontaneous alcohol-fuelled incidents, especially at high-risk

12 Jun 2013 : Column 332W

and high-tension matches remains. A range of football-specific legislation complements public order legislation which enables police to respond to incidents of violence and disorder. Police football intelligence officers share information with one another, clubs and other authorities involved in the security and safety planning, to minimise the risk of violence or disorder.

Football banning orders are the highly effective cornerstone of our preventative strategy, prohibiting those subject to an order from attending matches for between three and 10 years and addressing the individual offenders' behaviour with additional conditions if necessary. There are currently 2,426 individuals subject to orders imposed in England and Wales. Football intelligence officers know their local individuals subject to a banning order, and take enforcement action against anyone in breach of the conditions of their order. To prevent the spread of football-related violence outside the United Kingdom, the Football Banning Orders Authority requires banned individuals surrender their passport to nominated police stations before relevant overseas international and club matches. The Home Office continues to make funding available to support local police operations gathering evidence and seeking football banning orders against persons who have been involved in football-related violence or disorder matches.

Human Trafficking

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions (a) she and (b) the Minister for Immigration have had with the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice on human trafficking in the UK. [158724]

Mr Harper: 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.

Immigrants: English Language

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to ensure that immigrants are proficient in spoken and written English. [158952]

Mr Harper [holding answer 10 June 2013]: The ability to speak and understand English is key to integrating successfully into British society. Migrants applying to come to the UK to work or study under the Points Based System are required to demonstrate English language skills. The requirements were raised in April 2011. The minimum required varies according to route of entry but generally is at least equivalent to B1 (intermediate level) on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. At B1 level, users will be able to express opinions, understand factual reports in a newspaper and write accurate notes of a meeting.

Since November 2010, those seeking to come to the UK as partners of a British citizen or person settled here must demonstrate, as a minimum, basic speaking and listening skills at A1 of the Common European

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Framework. At A1 level, speakers are expected to be able to answer simple factual questions and understand basic instructions.

Migrants applying for indefinite leave to remain or for naturalisation as British citizens must demonstrate knowledge of language and life in the UK. From October 2013, this requirement will be strengthened to require applicants both to pass the Life in the UK test and to have speaking and listening skills at a minimum of B1 (intermediate level on the Common European Framework of Reference). Further details were published on 8 April 2013 in a Statement of Intent, which is available in the House Library and at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/knowledge-of-language-and-life-in-the-uk-for-settlement-and-naturalisation-statement-of-intent

Immigration

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the level of primary immigration was from (a) Somalia, (b) Congo, (c) Pakistan, (d) India, (e) Iraq, (f) Afghanistan and (g) Nigeria in the last year for which figures are available. [158857]

Mr Harper: The Home Office publishes data disaggregated by both visa type and by country.

The latest quarter's publication can be found in the Library of the House and on the following website:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-january-to-march-2013

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases a month on average a caseworker completes for (a) tier 1 (general), (b) spouse visas, (c) naturalisation, (d) FLR(O) discretionary leave and (e) long residency. [158914]

Mr Harper [holding answer 10 June 2013]: The Home Office does not hold information in a format that enables all aspects of this question to be answered readily. While I am providing data on caseworker productivity for tier 1 general and spouse/partner applications, the information for the other types of cases is not disaggregated to the level requested and cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost.

This information is set out in the following tables.

Table 1: Temporary migration caseworker productivity, 1 April to 2 June 2013
Cases
 Average completed per caseworker per dayEstimated monthly equivalent

Tier 1—General

6.32

136

Spouse/partner

3.17

68

HR/Complex casework

2.24

48

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. Figures relate to main applicants and dependants. 3. Figures relate to postal applications only. 4. Figures relate to Temporary Migration applications despatched between 1 April and 2 June 2013. 5. Monthly equivalent estimate based on five days per week and 4.3 weeks per month.

12 Jun 2013 : Column 334W

Table 2: Permanent migration caseworker productivity, 1 April to 2 June 2013
Cases
 Average completed per caseworker per dayEstimated monthly equivalent

Nationality

10.78

232

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. Figures relate to main applicants only. 3. Figures relate to postal applications only. 4. Figures relate to Permanent Migration nationality applications despatched between 1 April and 2 June 2013. 5. Monthly equivalent estimate based on five days per week and 4.3 weeks per month.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reconsideration requests were received by the UK Border Agency in respect of refusal decisions for each category of decision except entry clearance decisions in each of the last two years for which figures are available; and what proportion were outstanding after (i) six months and (ii) 12 months. [159026]

Mr Harper: Information on a request for reconsideration is only held at the level of co-ordinated paper case files, or within the notes section of an individual's records in the Home Office's Case Information Database, until a decision is taken upon the request. Consequently, the Home Office is unable to report on the number of reconsideration requests received, or the number outstanding, without incurring disproportionate costs.

Legal Costs

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the 20 highest amounts paid for external legal advice by her Department were in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; to whom such payments were paid; and for what reasons the legal advice was sought. [158621]

James Brokenshire: The information is not readily available and we would have to interrogate a huge number of files to identify the highest amounts paid in each of the three calendar years. This could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department spent on external legal advice from Queen's Counsel (a) between 7 May 2010 and 4 September 2012 and (b) since 4 September 2012. [158643]

James Brokenshire: Our enterprise resource planning system is unable to separate Queen's Counsel legal advice from external legal advice. The information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the highest day rate paid for external legal advice by her Department since 7 May 2010 was. [158678]

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James Brokenshire: The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Radicalism

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives funded by the Government are in place to prevent radicalisation in the UK. [159325]

James Brokenshire: Under the Government's Prevent Strategy, which aims to prevent people becoming or supporting terrorists, a number of initiatives are funded by Government to prevent radicalisation in the UK:

A network of co-ordinators in priority local authority work with community organisations, agencies and Departments, and support delivery of Prevent programmes. These include training for frontline staff, community outreach, and community based campaigns that rebut terrorist and extremist propaganda and offer alternative views to vulnerable individuals. Over 80 locally based projects were approved in 2012.

A specialist police unit that assesses internet content against the criteria set out in our terrorism legislation and collaborates with industry to remove or filter illegal content from the internet.

The Channel programme offers mentoring and practical support to help vulnerable young people disengage from extremist causes in England and Wales.

Support to sectors and institutions that may be targeted by radicalisers, or which have an important role to play in challenging terrorism and violent extremism.

Over 200 Prevent engagement officers connect counter-terrorism policing, neighbourhood policing and communities.

We report on the performance of Contest, the UK's counter terrorism strategy, of which Prevent is a part, annually. The latest Contest annual report was published on 26 March 2013 and has been placed in the House Library.

Regulation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what processes her 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 her Department. [155798]

James Brokenshire: The information requested is as follows:

(a) In accordance with Government policy, the Home Office publishes impact assessments which detail the costs and benefits for all major new measures and any measures that impact the private sector.

(b) The Home Office collates cost information through its contribution to the cross Government Statement of New Regulation. This is the publication used for monitoring new regulations and collating cost information. The most recent Statement can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fifth-statement-of-new-regulation-sonr

(c) As part of the Government's Red Tape Challenge, the descriptions of a number of Home Office regulations have been placed on the Red Tape Challenge website for comment by the public. Requests to amend regulations

12 Jun 2013 : Column 336W

resulting from this exercise are then considered and the resulting conclusions placed on the website.

(d) The Red Tape Challenge website publishes its responses to requests to amend or revoke regulation. The Red Tape Challenge website can be found at:

http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/home/index/

Travel

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what her Department's budget for ministerial travel for (a) the Government Car Service, (b) private hire vehicles, (c) taxis, (d) rail, (e) aviation and (f) other is for (i) 2013-14, (ii) 2014-15 and (iii) 2015-16; [157528]

(2) how much her Department spent on ministerial travel by (a) Government Car Service, (b) private hire vehicles, (c) taxis, (d) rail, (e) aviation and (f) other means in each year of the current parliament. [157549]

James Brokenshire: There is no separate budget for ministerial travel; instead this is funded through several different budgets depending on the type of transport used and the reason for travel. It is not possible therefore to provide a budget for ministerial travel from 2013-2016 or for each year of the current Parliament.

The Home Office ministerial transparency returns detail costs for overseas ministerial visits.

Costing for Government Car Services are published in an annual written ministerial statement, these can be located at:

2009/10:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101028/wmstext/101028m0001.htm#10102827000372

2010/11:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120116/wmstext/120116m0001.htm#12011611000194

2010/12:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121220/wmstext/121220m0001.htm#12122056000216

Details of the costs for 2012-13 will be published in the normal way later this year.

Communities and Local Government

Accountancy

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the names, job titles, area of work, term of appointment and Civil Service equivalent grade are of personnel currently seconded to his Department from the big four accountancy firms. [159038]

Brandon Lewis: There are currently no personnel seconded to the Department for Communities and Local Government from any of the big four accountancy firms.

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Emergency Services

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the potential for improved service levels and cost savings from enabling local fire and rescue services to take over responsibilities for emergency ambulance response red 1 and red 2. [159022]

Brandon Lewis: My Department has made no assessment of any improvement in service levels or cost savings which might arise from enabling local fire and rescue services to take over the responsibilities for emergency ambulance response red 1 and red 2. Notwithstanding, Sir Ken Knight's recent review recommended greater collaboration between the blue light services.

Fire Services

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of financial and other impediments arising from historical PFI arrangements to the achievement of efficiencies in the fire and rescue service. [159021]

Brandon Lewis: This Department, along with fire and rescue authorities with private finance initiative operational projects, is seeking operational savings and efficiencies as part of the Government's Operational Private Finance Initiative Savings programme. As part of this work the Government has commissioned the organisation, Local Partnerships to assess the potential savings and efficiencies to help fire and rescue authorities to deliver these.

Non-domestic Rates

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effect of business rates on shop vacancy rates; what his policy is on business rates; and if he will make a statement. [159230]

Brandon Lewis: We keep all taxes under review and have already taken action on business rates. We have made it easier for small firms to get the small business rate relief to which they are entitled. Our reforms in the Localism Act 2011 ensure all eligible ratepayers can automatically receive the small business multiplier, and we have removed the legal red tape requiring ratepayers to fill in significant paperwork to claim the relief. The last Administration failed to support simplification to help small firms when they were in office—6 March 2009, Official Report, columns 1141-42.

In turn, we have also doubled small business rate relief scheme, to help half a million small firms. From October 2010 to April 2014, small firms are receiving 100% rate relief (ie pay no business rates at all) on properties up to £6,000 Rateable Value, and a tapered rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000. An estimated 330,000 small firms are paying no rates at all.

The Localism Act 2011 also gives councils the power to introduce local discounts to business rates. Under the new system of local retention of business rates introduced by the Local Government Finance Act 2012, central

12 Jun 2013 : Column 338W

Government now funds 50% of the cost of any local discount granted. We would encourage local authorities to make creative and constructive use of these new powers.

Street Trading

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will give consideration to increasing the powers of local police and local authorities to take legal action against pedlars who commit offences. [159248]

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

This Department has recently consulted on reforms to the street trading and pedlary regime and the consultation responses are currently being analysed. The purpose of the reforms is to ensure compliance with the EU services directive.

Culture, Media and Sport

Radio Frequencies

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consideration her Department has given to sharing spectrum at 2.3GHz; and how soon she hopes to be able to share this spectrum. [157985]

Mr Vaizey: The spectrum at 2.3 GHz is currently managed by the Ministry of Defence. MOD plans to release around 40 MHz for sale or sharing as part of their contribution to our stated aim of releasing 500 MHz of sub-5 GHz public sector spectrum to new uses. Government is aware of the benefits of sharing spectrum as a most effective way to ensure efficient use of spectrum. Careful consideration is given to whether the spectrum should be released for new use or for sharing as both promote optimal use of spectrum and meet the target Government has set for release. When final decisions over this band have been taken we expect that MOD will publish details.

Skills Investment Fund

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when, and by what process, money allocated from the public purse in the 2012 autumn Statement and 2013 Budget statement will be distributed through the Skills Investment Fund. [156997]

Hugh Robertson: The autumn statement 2012 announced that Government will match fund industry contributions of up to £3 million in each year over the next two years to the Skills Investment Fund (SIF). In Budget 2013, this was increased to £8 million in each year. DCMS are in currently in discussion with Creative Skillset, the body responsible for administering the funds, to determine the process that money will be allocated to best support skills provision in the film, animation, television and video games sectors.

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Sports

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what information her Department holds on the proportion of the adult population that participated in 30 minutes of moderate or intensive sport once a week in the most recent period for which figures are available. [159014]

Hugh Robertson: Our latest Taking Part release showed that in January to December 2012 44.7% of adults participated in at least one session of 30 minutes of moderate intensity sport in the last week (including recreational walking and cycling).

Data are available on the DCMS website in the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/taking-part-2012-13-quarter-3-statistical-release

Education

Children in Care

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children's homes there are in each local authority in the UK. [159229]

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Mr Timpson: The Secretary of State has responsibility for the children's homes in England only. At 31 March 2013 there were 2,050 children's homes in England.

The 2,050 homes were made up of the following: children's homes (1,950); secure children's homes (16); and residential special schools registered as children's homes (84).

A table providing the breakdown of children's homes by local authority has been placed in the Library(1). These data are collected and published by Ofsted.

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/official-statistics-childrens-social-care-providers-and-places

GCSE

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what percentage of pupils in maintained schools achieved five or more GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and mathematics, (a) in London and (b) nationally excluding London in each year between 1998 and 2012. [159000]

Elizabeth Truss: The requested information is given in the table:

GCSE and equivalent results of pupils at the end of key stage 4—years: 1997-98 to 2011-12(1) (Final). Coverage: London and England (state-funded sector)(2)
 London(2)England (state-funded sector excluding London)(2)
 Number of end of key stage 4 pupilsPercentage of pupils at the end of key stage 4 achieving 5+ A*-C grades inc. English and Mathematics GCSEs(3)Number of end of key stage 4 pupilsPercentage of pupils at the end of key stage 4 achieving 5+ A*-C grades inc. English and Mathematics GCSEs(3)

1997-98

65,512

32.4

462,026

34.2

1998-99

66,173

33.9

467,557

36.2

1999-2000

66,980

35.1

467,363

37.6

2000-01

68,535

36.7

485,971

38.3

2001-02

69,058

38.5

488,944

39.7

2002-03

70,809

39.3

501,231

39.5

2003-04(4)

73,397

41.0

516,699

40.3

2004-05

72,921

43.1

510,344

42.3

2005-06

74,142

45.8

518,343

43.9

2006-07

74,304

48.0

524,463

45.6

2007-08

73,362

50.7

522,444

48.0

2008-09

73,721

54.0

502,700

50.5

2009-10

74,253

58.0

501,718

54.9

2010-11

74,229

61.9

490,634

57.8

2011-12

74,534

62.3

484,545

58.5

(1) Including attempts and achievements in previous academic years. (2) London and the England (state-funded sector) figures cover achievements in state-funded schools only. They do not include pupils recently arrived from overseas and so will not match with state-funded figures in the main key stage 4 Statistical First Release tables. (3) From 2009-10 iGCSEs, accredited at time of publication, have been counted as GCSE equivalents and also as English and mathematics GCSEs. (4) Percentages from 2003-04 include GCSEs and other equivalent qualifications approved for use pre-16. Source: Key Stage 4 attainment data