some default text...

6 Sep 2013 : Column 533W

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 6 September 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Arms Trade: Export Controls

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to his Department's Notice to Exporters 2013-18: Important Changes to the Strategic Export Control Transparency Initiative, for what reason exporters will not be required to (a) report the rating or goods description and (b) provide control list classifications or descriptions of the items exported. [167265]

Michael Fallon: The Government are committed to transparency in export licensing, which is why we regularly publish information about licences issued and refused through annual and quarterly reports. Comprehensive information is available at

https://www.exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk/eng/fox/sdb/SDBHOME

In extending this commitment to transparency it has become clear that we need to strike a proper balance between increased transparency and the need to minimise administrative burdens on business. The original proposals did not strike that balance. In making the final preparations for the launch of the Transparency Initiative we reviewed its scope and the potential for it to impose unnecessary burdens on business. Consequently, the requirement for exporters to report on the rating or goods description and to provide control-list classifications or descriptions of the items to be exported was removed.

Arms Trade: Trade Fairs

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to ensure that weapons or equipment which are banned by the UK will not be promoted at the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London in September 2013. [167272]

Michael Fallon: DSEI is a commercial event organised by the company Clarion Events. The Export Control Organisation has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with Clarion which sets out their role and responsibilities, and those of the exhibitor companies, in respect of export and trade control legislation. Clarion's terms and conditions for their exhibitors make clear that the responsibility for applying for any relevant export licences lies with the exhibiting companies.

BIS officials, alongside counterparts from other Government Departments, are working very closely with Clarion Events to ensure that the exhibitors comply as necessary with export and trade control legislation.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 534W

Comet Group

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by what date he expects to receive the Insolvency Service report on Comet. [168004]

Jo Swinson: The Insolvency Service's investigation has continued to progress. However, given the complexity of the issues and the size of the company under inquiry, it is not yet possible to set a date for completion without compromising the depth and thoroughness of the inquiry.

Conditions of Employment

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of non-zero-hours contracts on the flexibility of the work force. [167253]

Jo Swinson: Although no assessment has been made of the effect of non-zero-hours contracts on the flexibility of the work force, flexible working benefits businesses, society and individuals.

Flexible working allows businesses access to a wider pool of skills and talents in the work force, along with improved recruitment and retention rates, and increased staff morale and productivity.

The social benefit is seen where individuals are able to remain in employment when they are unable to maintain standard working hours or patterns of work. This supports the economy and reduces the number of people dependent on the state.

Individuals who are parents and carers are able to spend more time with their children and relatives alongside work and individuals are able to get more involved in community projects when they are able to adapt their work patterns.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his most recent estimate is of the number of people employed on zero- hours contracts, by region. [168001]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is using Labour Force Survey (LFS) data to estimate the numbers of people on zero-hours contracts. BIS estimates that there were 250,000 people on zero hours contracts in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The LFS sample sizes at regional level for zero-hours contracts are too small to provide reliable regional estimates of the numbers on zero-hours contracts.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by what date he expects to receive the findings of his Department's review of zero-hours contracts; and if he will place in the Library a copy of that review. [168002]

Jo Swinson: The information-gathering exercise on zero-hours contracts is near its conclusion. Officials have been reporting back periodically on the information they have gathered from a wide range of sources.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 535W

An announcement will be made when Ministers have considered all of the information and made decisions on next steps. This will include a decision on how the findings of the review will be published.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings took place between Ministers and officials of his Department and external stakeholders and others as part of his Department's investigation into zero-hours contracts; and on what dates each such meeting took place. [168003]

Jo Swinson: Throughout the review, officials carried out research drawing on a wide range of information sources including social media, published data and conversations within Government and with external stakeholders. The main conversations with external stakeholders took place in July and August. They are detailed as follows:

 Date

38 Degrees

22 August 2013

Alliance Boots

17 August 2013

Association of Colleges

29 July 2013

British Hospitality Association

31 July 2013

British Retail Consortium

10 July 2013

Chartered Institute of Personnel Development

14 August2013

Confederation of British Industry

22 July 2013 and 20 August 2013

Institute of Directors

16 July 2013

Low Pay Commission

25 June 2013

Manpower

29 August 2013

Roundtable Meeting of Recruitment Employment Confederation members

25 July 2013

Resolution Foundation

8 July 2013

Round Table Meeting at Trade Union Congress

24 July 2013

Tempo

20 August 2013

Universities and Colleges Employers Association

13 August 2013

University and College Union

7 August 2013

Exports: Government Assistance

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Government have made an application for approval under EU state aid rules in relation to the Exports Refinancing Facility. [168005]

Michael Fallon: No application has been made. The facility is being designed so that it does not breach EU state aid rules.

Exports: Syria

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many export licences were issued for the period 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2012 to companies seeking to export materials to Syria listed by company and description of material. [167717]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 536W

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: Information about export licences issued between 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2012 is available in the Annual and Quarterly Reports on Strategic Export Controls which are available to view on the Strategic Export Controls: Reports and Statistics website at:

https://www.exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk/eng/fox

These reports contain detailed information on export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination, including the overall value, type (e.g. military, other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The names of the companies granted the licences are exempt from disclosure because this information was provided in confidence and is commercially sensitive.

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether consultation took place with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence before export licences to Syria were granted for the period January 2011 to June 2012. [167718]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: All export licences to Syria were rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated European Union (EU) and National Arms Export licensing criteria, and final decisions are based on advice from other relevant Departments.

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment the Government made of the risk of exporting potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to Syria in the granting of export licences in 2011-12. [167719]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: All export licences to Syria were rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated European Union (EU) and National Arms Export licensing criteria, taking into account all relevant factors, including the prevailing circumstances in the recipient country, the nature of the goods, the identity of the end-user and the stated end-use. Export licences are not issued when they would be inconsistent with the criteria.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on how many occasions export licences for (a) sodium fluoride and (b) potassium fluoride have been granted for export to Syria in each of the last 10 years; who the customer was; what the intended use of the chemicals was; and how much was exported under each such licence. [167823]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: The information is as follows:

(a) Six licences have been authorised for sodium fluoride in the last 10 years—in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.

(b) One licence has been authorised for potassium fluoride in the last 10 years, in 2012.

Retrieving the information on the amount of chemicals exported over the last 10 years could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 537W

The 2012 licences had an intended end use for metal finishing in making aluminium showers and window frames for civilian end-use. All other licences were for the manufacture of toothpaste by commercial companies.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what advice (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have received from (i) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (ii) the Ministry of Defence and (iii) other Government agencies on the potential for strategic exports from the UK being used for internal repression in Syria since 2011. [167824]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: Officials in the Export Control Organisation (ECO) within BIS receive advice from a range of Departments, including those mentioned, when considering export licence applications for Syria. Advice on whether the proposed export would be used for internal repression or the abuse of human rights, i.e. Criterion 2 of the Consolidated Criteria, is principally received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information (a) he and (b) officials in his Department requested from other Departments and agencies when deliberating on the annual licences for the export of dual-use chemicals to Syria which were granted on 17 and 18 January 2012. [167825]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: There is a well-established process for taking decisions on export licence requests. Both licences were assessed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and by other Government Departments with an interest, against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export licensing criteria, including whether there was a clear risk that they might be used for internal repression or be diverted to another end-use.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department had with officials of EU institutions on the substances (i) sodium fluoride and (ii) potassium fluoride (A) before 17 and 18 January 2012 and (B) between 19 January 2012 and 17 June 2012. [167826]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable) and BIS officials had no such discussions.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what date (a) he and (b) officials in his Department were informed that no chemicals were exported under the export licences issued on 17 and 18 January 2012. [167827]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2013]: The export licences issued on 17 and 18 January 2012 were revoked on 30 July 2012 following the imposition of EU sanctions in respect of Syria. BIS was informed that the licences had not been used on 30 July 2012.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 538W

Overseas Companies: China

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the risks to British businesses operating in China; and what support his Department provides to assist such businesses in operating in that country without contravening the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010. [167523]

Michael Fallon: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), both in the UK and abroad, frequently advise companies on the specific risks of operating in overseas markets, including in China. Information can be found on the Overseas Business Risk section of the UKTI website

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/pt_pt/export/howwehelp/overseasbusinessrisk.html?null

including a section dedicated to risks around bribery and corruption

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/pt_pt/export/howwehelp/overseasbusinessrisk/briberycorruption.html?null

as well as country-specific risks in China

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/pt_pt/export/countries/asiapacific/fareast/china/overseasbusinessrisk.htmh

Additionally, as part of the FCO Charter for Business, FCO also regularly shares its political, economic and security analysis in written and oral briefings for UK business and publishes this analysis on the UKTI website to help companies understand and manage new and emerging risks in those markets.

On the specific question of the Bribery Act, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is a sponsor of the Business Anti-Corruption Portal. It is a comprehensive and practical business tool offering support to business to help it avoid and fight corruption. The portal is found at

http://www.business-anti-corruption.com/

It contains a number of country profiles, including China.

Royal Mail

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to make a statement to the Stock Exchange on the sale of Royal Mail; and if he will make a statement. [167967]

Michael Fallon: On 10 July, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable) announced the Government's intention to float shares on the London Stock Exchange via an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in this financial year.

The next step in taking forward the IPO will be the issue of an Intention to Float (ITF) announcement which we will do in line with normal market practice. No decision has been made on the timing of the ITF.

Cabinet Office

Communities First Fund

Mr Watson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much funding was allocated to the Community First programme in years (a) one and (b) two; what proportion of that funding has been spent by local Community First panels; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the programme. [167879]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 539W

Mr Hurd: The Community First programme costs for these years are published in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13 at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225980/HC_15.pdf

An evaluation of the Community First Neighbourhood Match Fund programme is being carried out by IPSOS Mori and NEF Consulting. A final report will be published in 2015.

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to include in the terms of reference of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund the effects of climate change, energy security and resource competition. [166009]

Miss Chloe Smith: The new Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) will bring together resources from across Government, and draw on the most effective combination of defence, diplomatic, development, security and intelligence, and other cross-Government capabilities. The CSSF will build on the Building Stability Overseas Strategy, and the National Security Strategy. These capabilities are at the heart of the Prime Minister's “golden thread” and can play a vital role in tackling the root causes and impacts of conflict and instability in fragile states. The National Security Strategy identified climate change, energy issues and resource competition as drivers of global insecurity. These are therefore clear priorities for the NSC (National Security Council) and will be considered in conjunction with other NSC conflict drivers and priorities.

Death: Drugs

John Woodcock: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many deaths occurred in each region in 2012 where novel psychoactive substances were mentioned on the death certificate. [167964]

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 September 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths occurred in each region in 2012 where novel psychoactive substances were mentioned on the death certificate [167964].

There is no official definition of the term ‘novel psychoactive substances’. However, the Office for National Statistics does monitor deaths from drug-related poisoning, allowing analysis of deaths by specific substances involved.

In recent years a number of new psychoactive substances have been controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These include gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and its precursor gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines (benzylpiperazine—BZP and trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine—TFMPP), pipradrols such as desoxypipradrol, and cathinones such as mephedrone. These types of drugs have been mentioned in association with the term ‘novel/new psychoactive substances’, and although they are also sometimes referred to as ‘legal highs’, many are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. A full list of drugs currently classified as ‘new psychoactive substances' by ONS is shown in Box 2 below.

Table 1 provides the number of deaths where the underlying cause was drug-related poisoning and a new psychoactive substance was mentioned on the death certificate in each region of England for deaths registered in 2012. It is important to note that around half of these deaths mentioned more than one substance on the

6 Sep 2013 : Column 540W

death certificate, and it is not possible to tell which was primarily responsible for the death. More information on how to interpret data on drug-related deaths can be found in the bulletin mentioned below.

The number of drug-related deaths registered in England and Wales from 1993 to 2012 are available on the ONS website:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/index.html

Table 1: Number of deaths where the underlying cause was drug-related poisoning and a new psychoactive substance was mentioned on the death certificate, by region, England, deaths registered in 20121,2,3,4
RegionDeaths

North East

3

North West

11

Yorkshire and The Humber

4

East Midlands

6

West Midlands

6

East of England

4

London

9

South East

3

South West

3

1 Cause of death related to drug poisoning was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD 10) codes shown in Box 1 below. 2 Deaths were included where the underlying cause was drug-related, and where one or more of the substances shown in Box 2 below was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. 3 Figures for regions are based on boundaries as of August 2013 and exclude deaths of non-residents. 4 Figures are for deaths registered, rather than deaths occurring in each calendar. Due to the length of time it takes to complete a coroner's inquest, it can take months or even years for a drug-related death to be registered. More details can be found in the ‘deaths related to drug poisoning’ statistical bulletin: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health3/deaths-related-to-drug-poisoning/index.html
Box 1. ICD 10 codes used to define deaths related to drug poisoning
DescriptionICD 10 Codes

Mental and behavioural disorders due to drug use (excluding alcohol and tobacco)

F11-F16, F18-F19

Accidental poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X40-X44

Intentional self-poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X60-X64

Assault by drugs, medicaments and biological substances

X85

Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances, undetermined intent

Y10-Y14

Box 2. Drugs classified as new psychoactive substances

1-(Benzofuran-6-yl)-propan-2-amine

2-(1H-lndol-5-yl)-1-methylethylamine

4-Fluoroephedrine

4-Fluoromethcathinone

4-Methylamphetamine

4-Methylethcathinone

Alpha-methyltryptamine

BZP

Cathinone

Desoxypipradrol

Fluoromethcathinone

GHB

Khat

Legal high

Mephedrone

6 Sep 2013 : Column 541W

Methiopropamine

Methoxetamine

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone

Methylone

Synthetic cannabinoid

TFMPP

Public Sector: Procurement

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what guidance his Department offers on the inclusion of contract bonds in the commissioning and procurement of public services. [167906]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Cabinet Office issued Procurement Policy Note 02/13 on 18 February 2013.

Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what discussions he has had with (a) ConservativeHome, (b) the Taxpayers' Alliance, (c) the Countryside Alliance and (d) charities about the draft Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. [168098]

Mr Maude: As part of my Department's transparency programme, details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on the Cabinet Office website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/cabinet-office/series/ministers-transparency-publications

Voluntary Work: Young People

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the total cost was of delivery per participant of the National Citizenship Service in (a) 2012 and (b) 2013 to date. [167983]

Mr Hurd: The NatCen evaluation of the 2012 programme was published in July and gives details of how many young people took part and the cost of delivery:

http://www.natcen.ac.uk/study/national-citizen-service-evaluation

The monetary benefits of the 2012 NCS programme were estimated at up to 2.8 times the cost of delivery. Details for the 2013 programme will be published in due course.

Communities and Local Government

Housing: Construction

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many new homes have been built as a result of the New Homes Bonus to date; [167769]

(2) by what date 400,000 additional homes will be built as a result of the New Homes Bonus. [167770]

Mr Prisk: To date, the New Homes Bonus has rewarded delivery of almost 470,000 net additions to the housing stock, including over 400,000 new homes and over 55,000 empty properties brought back into use.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 542W

Right to Buy Scheme

Mrs Lewell-Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what impact assessment his Department has produced on measures in the draft Deregulation Bill reducing the waiting period for right to buy. [167784]

Mr Prisk: The Department has produced an impact assessment on the proposed change to the Right to Buy qualifying period. We will shortly submit a copy of the impact assessment to the Joint Committee as part of its call for evidence on the Deregulation Bill and a copy will also be placed in the Library of the House.

Temporary Accommodation: West Midlands

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many families in (a) Birmingham, Hall Green constituency and (b) the west midlands are recorded as living in bed and breakfast accommodation; and how many such families were recorded as living in such accommodation in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012. [167495]

Mr Prisk: The Department collects figures on the numbers of households in temporary accommodation in individual local authority areas and so those which most closely relate to the Birmingham, Hall Green constituency are those for the whole area covered by Birmingham city council.

The latest figures on the number of households with dependent children or expectant mothers with no other dependent children recorded as living in bed and breakfast accommodation relate to 31 March 2013. The following table therefore includes figures for Birmingham city council, as at 31 March in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Birmingham city council
Number of households with dependent children or expectant mothers with no other dependent children in bed and breakfast accommodation
As at 31 March:Number

2010

72

2011

48

2012

28

2013

87

Source: PIE quarterly returns

As outlined in the written ministerial statement of 18 September 2012, Official Report, columns 32-33WS, my Department no longer publishes statistics by Government office region. I am placing in the Library of the House a table giving local authority figures from which regional estimates for the former west midlands Government region can be calculated.

The figures are the total numbers reported by local authorities as at each date. It is not possible from the information provided to identify individual households and so to track the number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation as at 31 March 2013 that had also been in bed and breakfast accommodation on any particular previous dates. Figures for 30 June 2013 will be published on 5 September.

We announced funding of nearly £2 million in June to support intensive work with seven local authorities

6 Sep 2013 : Column 543W

that account for almost 50% of families in bed and breakfast over six weeks. Birmingham is one of the successful bidders and will receive £297,500 of that funding. The lessons learned will be shared with other local authorities.

Defence

Chemicals: Exports

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the oral answer of 2 September 2013, Official Report, column 19, on what date it was considered that the sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride could be precursors in some other application; what these applications were considered to be; for what reason that consideration was not given before those export licences were issued; and if he will make a statement. [167924]

Mr Dunne: Export licences are approved by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The two standard individual export licences for sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride were revoked following a revision to the sanctions regime which came into force in June 2012. The revision introduced new prohibitions on certain chemicals, including sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride. In these cases the chemicals were to be used for metal finishing of aluminium showers and windows. There was no evidence at the time of granting the licences—and there has been no evidence subsequently—to suggest that the end-use was anything other than stated. Our system of export controls is robust, responsive and effective in protecting our interests and upholding the highest international standards.

The licences were not used before they were revoked.

HMS Dragon

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether HMS Dragon is accompanying the USS Nimitz to the Eastern Mediterranean. [167970]

Mr Robathan: No. HMS Dragon is currently returning from a routine deployment to the Gulf where it worked with the USS Nimitz and other international partners to promote regional security.

Military Bases: Germany

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel will be stationed in British Army bases in Germany in each year until 2019. [167920]

Mr Robathan: Before the strategic defence and security review in 2010 there were around 20,000 service personnel in Germany, of which approximately 19,000 were on Army bases.

There are currently 14,560 armed forces personnel in Army bases in Germany, which is expected to reduce to 12,480 by December 2014 and 6,800 by December 2015. This number will remain broadly consistent until the last major formation, 20 Armoured Brigade, begins its withdrawal towards the end of the decade.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 544W

RAF Akrotiri

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on improving armed forces accommodation in RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, in each year since 2010. [167921]

Mr Francois: It will take time to gather this information, I will write to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which military units have been deployed at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, in the last 12 months. [167922]

Mr Robathan: The UK has the following military units permanently deployed at RAF Akrotiri:

A squadron which operate Griffin helicopters to provide search and rescue for the Sovereign Base Areas and Republic of Cyprus;

The Cyprus Operational Support Unit which is responsible for managing the transit of military goods and personnel to and from operations in Afghanistan.

Separately, a number of military units have also conducted routine training at RAF Akrotiri in the past 12 months. The full list of military units, together with their deployment dates, is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Since 26 August 2013, the Ministry of Defence has deployed the following military assets with supporting personnel to RAF Akrotiri:

Six Typhoon fast jets in the air defence role.

Two Tri-Star air-to-air refuelling aircraft; one Tri-Star returned to the UK on 4 September 2013.

One E3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Command and Control aircraft.

A Type 101 Radar to increase air surveillance coverage in the region.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on the education of the children of armed forces personnel based at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, in each year since 2010. [167923]

Mr Francois: The amount spent on providing education for children attending school in Akrotiri in each year since 2010 is shown in the following table:

Financial yearAmount (£ million)

2010-11

1.978

2011-12

1.942

2012-13

1.971

These figures are for children attending Akrotiri primary school and include children of both Ministry of Defence service and civilian personnel.

Children of secondary school age living at RAF Akrotiri attend school in Episkopi. It would not be possible in the time available to extract the data required to determine the costs incurred for secondary school pupils whose parents are based at RAF Akrotiri.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which NATO member states have sent (a) maritime patrol aircraft and (b) high altitude surveillance aircraft to RAF Akrotiri since June 2013; which aircraft were sent; and what the purposes were of their visits. [167971]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 545W

Mr Robathan: No NATO member states have sent maritime patrol aircraft or high altitude surveillance aircraft to RAF Akrotiri since June 2013; however, an Italian Air Force Gulfstream G3 surveillance aircraft was deployed to RAF Akrotiri from 15 June until 15 July 2013 in support of UN operations in Lebanon.

Syria

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training of Syrian Army personnel has taken place in British Overseas Territories since 2001. [167972]

Mr Robathan: There is no corporate recollection of any training of Syrian army personnel taking place in the British Overseas Territories since 2001.

Territorial Army

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) current and (b) former units within the Territorial Army have had expertise in signals and cyber/electronic warfare; and from which locations such units were recruited. [167918]

Mr Robathan: The details of signals units in the Territorial Army prior to the changes under Army 2020 and those that will be part of the Army Reserve are shown in the following table:

UnitSub Unit and Detachment Locations Pre Army 2020Sub Unit and Detachment Locations Post Army 2020

32nd Signal Regiment

Belfast Darlington East Kilbride Edinburgh Glasgow Hartlepool Liverpool Londonderry Manchester

Aberdeen Belfast Dundee East Kilbride Edinburgh Glasgow Londonderry

   

37th Signal Regiment

Birmingham Cambridge Cardiff Colchester Coventry Redditch Stratford upon Avon

Birmingham Coventry Darlington Leeds Liverpool Manchester Nottingham Redditch Sheffield

   

38th Signal Regiment

Aberdeen Banbury Bletchley Coulsdon Dundee Kingston upon Thames Leeds Nottingham Rugby Sheffield

Withdrawn from the order of battle

   

39th Signal Regiment

Aylesbury Brighton Bristol Eastbourne Gloucester Windsor

Bath Bristol Cardiff Gloucester Windsor

   

71st (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment

Bexleyheath Chelmsford Lincolns Inn Southfields Uxbridge Whipps Cross

Bexleyheath Chelmsford Colchester Coulsdon Lincolns Inn Uxbridge Whipps Cross

In addition, the following Reserve signals elements formed part of the Territorial Army and remain in the Army Reserves order of battle. These elements recruit nationally and will continue to do so. They are fully integrated into Regular Army regiments or Joint (tri-service) organisations as shown:

6 Sep 2013 : Column 546W

Sub-UnitIntegrated with:Comment

81 Signal Squadron

10th Signal Regiment

Land Information Communications Support Group

15th Signal Regiment (Information Support)

Land Information Assurance Group

Joint Cyber Unit (Reserves)

Army contribution to tri-service unit

Joint Service Signals Unit (Reserves)

Joint Service Signals Organisation

Army contribution to tri-service unit

Education

Academies

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the role is of his Department's Academies Presumption Team. [167881]

Mr Timpson: Under Section 14 of the Education Act 1996, local authorities must plan and secure sufficient schools for their area. Where a local authority identifies the need to establish a new school, Section 6A of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (the ‘academy presumption'), requires it to seek proposals for an academy or free school. The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), decides the successful proposal.

The Academy Presumption Team's role within the Department for Education is to advise local authorities in meeting their obligations under the legislation and to advise my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State during the decision- making process.

Children: Day Care

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to reduce the cost of child care. [167130]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government published More Affordable Childcare in July, which set out the steps we are taking to reduce the costs of child care.

More Affordable Childcare sets out plans to:

1. help families to meet the costs of child care

2. increase the amount of affordable provision

3. give parents the right information so they can make informed choices about child care

Copies are available online at the Department for Education's website1 and in the Library.

1 Available at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/more-affordable-childcare

Lucy Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment has been made by his Department on the extent of provision of holiday child care for (a) all age groups, (b) disabled children and (c) children living in rural areas. [167299]

Elizabeth Truss: The latest available information is for 2011 when it is estimated that there were 7,900 holiday clubs offering child care1.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 547W

Table 1 provides national estimates of the age breakdown of children who attended holiday clubs in 2011.

Table 1
AgeHoliday club attendees (%)

Under 2 years old

7

2 years old

9

3 years old

11

4 years old

11

5 to 7 years old

30

8 to 10 years old

25

11 years or older

7

Source: Table 4.20b Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey 20112.

Table 2 provides national estimates of the proportion of holiday clubs caring for children with disabilities in 2011.

Table 2
Caring forHoliday clubs (%)

Minor disabilities

41

Moderate disabilities

35

Severe disabilities

13

Does not currently care for children with disabilities

43

Source: Table 4.20 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey 2011.

Data are not available on the extent of provision of holiday child care for children living in rural areas.

1 The Department for Education's Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey collects information on the number of holiday clubs in England that provide holiday care for children under the age of eight. Where these providers also offer care for children over eight, information on this is collected.

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childcare-and-early-years-providers-survey-2011

Conferences

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which external conferences he attended in an official capacity in 2012. [167841]

Elizabeth Truss: To retrieve and compile this information would exceed disproportionate cost.

Education: Finance

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he expects to announce the calculation of the return funds to local authorities following the 2012-13 top-slicing for academies; and when local authorities will receive this payment. [167279]

Mr Laws: I refer the hon. Lady to her previous question answered on 19 June 2013, Official Report, column 707W.

GCSE

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education with reference to Table 3 in his Department's publication, “GCSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics in England: 2011 to 2012”, if he will further disaggregate those results by ethnicity from the broad categories of ethnicity listed at (a) local authority and (b) Government office region level. [167449]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 548W

Mr Laws: A table containing disaggregated ethnicity breakdowns by (a) local authority and (b) region for the Department's headline indicator ‘pupils achieving 5+ A*-C grades inc English & mathematics GCSEs’, for the academic year 2011/12, has been placed in the House Library.

Information for the other achievement indicators presented in Table 3 in the Department's publication, “CSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics in England: 2011 to 2012”, could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Likewise a gender breakdown and data for past years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children in (a) England and (b) Kettering constituency failed to achieve a grade C in (i) mathematics and (ii) English at GCSE level in the last year for which figures are available. [167902]

Mr Laws: The requested information has been provided in the following table:

Number of pupils at the end of key stage 4 not achieving A*-C grades in English and in mathematics GCSE1 in 2011/122,3,4
 Number of eligible pupilsNumber of KS4 pupils not achieving an A*-C grade in EnglishNumber of KS4 pupils not achieving an A*-C grade in mathematics

England

559,076

184,061

170,589

Kettering

1,112

401

327

1 Figures include results in full GCSEs, double award GCSEs, accredited international certificates (iGCSEs) and their predecessor iGCSEs and AS levels. 2 Figures are based on the postcode of the school location covering all state-funded schools including academies and free schools. 3 Final data. 4 Figures do not include pupils recently arrived from overseas but otherwise include all those pupils at the end of KS4 regardless of whether or not they entered the subject. Source: National Pupil Database

Primary Education: South Yorkshire

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the number of primary school places available in (a) South Yorkshire and (b) Barnsley in (i) 2013, (ii) 2014 and (iii) 2015. [167904]

Mr Laws: The Department collects information from each local authority on the number of school places (school capacity) in state-funded primary and secondary schools (except special schools) via an annual survey1.

South Yorkshire consists of four local authorities: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. The following information relates to the position as at May 2012 and provides the number of places to be added by 2013/14 as advised by each local authority:

 2012 number of primary schools2012 capacityLA advised primary places to be added by 2013/14

Barnsley

80

19,187

0

Doncaster

100

27,106

360

Rotherham

98

23,218

617

6 Sep 2013 : Column 549W

Sheffield

133

44,400

444

1 Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-capacity-academic-year-2011-to-2012

Schools: Inspections

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will review the appeals process for Ofsted inspections; and if he will make a statement. [167140]

Mr Laws: Ofsted as a non-ministerial Government Department is responsible for its own complaints arrangements. The inspectorate introduced a revised complaints process in April this year following a public consultation exercise. Changes included strengthening the process to encourage resolution of concerns before the end of an inspection. Ofsted will review the effectiveness of these changes as part of its monitoring of the implementation of the new arrangements.

The Department for Education is responsible for managing the contract for the independent complaints adjudication service for Ofsted. The service handles complaints for complainants who remain dissatisfied with the outcome of Ofsted's internal complaints process. The contract for the adjudication service was awarded in January 2013 and there are currently no plans to review these arrangements.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what processes his Department has put in place to monitor the quality of Ofsted inspections carried out by sub-contracted companies. [167141]

Mr Laws: Ofsted as a non-ministerial Government Department has direct responsibility for its inspection arrangements. This includes the management of, and the monitoring of performance for, its contracts with inspection service providers who engage additional inspectors to deliver inspections on behalf of Ofsted. Where matters of concern are raised with the Department, these are passed to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector to investigate.

Schools: Playing Fields

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools and local authorities have (a) sought and (b) been granted permission to change the use of playing fields by putting school buildings on them since February 2012. [167024]

Mr Laws [holding answer 2 September 2013]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to parliamentary question number 167025, answered today.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools and local authorities have (a) sought and (b) been granted permission to change the use of playing fields by putting classrooms on them since February 2012. [167025]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 550W

Mr Laws [holding answer 2 September 2013]: Prior to 2012, no protection at all existed to prevent schools from putting school buildings on playing fields. Schools could build over playing fields without seeking consent and with impunity. This led to the disappearance of thousands of playing fields—Fields in Trust (formerly The National Playing Field Association) estimated 2,540 playing fields, or 26 sites a month, were lost between 1997 and 2005. This Government have introduced protections on playing fields where there were none before, so that schools and local authorities now have to seek permission if they want to change the use of public playing fields by putting school buildings on them. We now require schools to apply for consent even where the buildings are being used for education or recreational purposes.

When considering applications to place school buildings on playing fields we take into account the amount of playing field a school will be left with after the building work, whether there will be any impact on sport and play, and the reason for the proposed change.

Since February 2012, there have been 128 applications to change the use of school playing fields by putting school buildings on them. Of these: 104 applied to build classrooms and 24 applied to build other structures such as an extension to the school kitchens or the widening of a cycle path.

As the Minister responsible, I have approved 70 proposals to build classrooms, with 34 currently being considered and 18 other buildings with six currently being considered.

The vast majority of these applications seek consent to use small areas of outdoor space not used for sport, to extend school facilities in areas of severe pupil place pressure or to improve the school facilities, with no effect on the delivery of the curriculum or pupils' space to play. The average amount of playing field built on by the 88 schools given consent to do so since the new rules came into effect in February 2012 is 3.90% of their total playing field space. In every case the land is retained for educational use.

Schools: Vocational Guidance

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what the date and location was of each visit Ministers of his Department have made to maintained schools that have secured external provision of independent, impartial careers advice since September 2012; [167984]

(2) what the date and location was of each visit he has made to maintained schools that have secured external provision of independent, impartial careers advice since September 2012. [167985]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department does not collect data on how the maintained schools visited by the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), or his Ministers, secure and deliver careers guidance or the number or proportion doing so through different routes.

Teachers: Lancashire

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) teachers and (b) special educational needs support staff have been awarded

6 Sep 2013 : Column 551W

scholarships by the National Scholarship Fund to develop specialist knowledge and skills in (i) Pendle and (ii) Lancashire since May 2010. [167765]

Mr Laws: The National Scholarship Fund for teachers and special educational needs (SEN) support staff is administered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. The scholarships are awarded where applications are judged to be of sufficient merit.

In round one (2011/12) of the National Scholarship Fund the number of teachers who received a National Scholarship Fund award in Pendle was eight and the number of teachers who received a National Scholarship Fund award in Lancashire was 14.

In round two (2012/13), the National Scholarship Fund invited invitations from teachers and SEN support staff. The number of teachers who received a National Scholarship Fund award in Pendle was 0 and in Lancashire four. The number of SEN support staff who received a National Scholarship Fund award in Pendle was two and in Lancashire it was seven.

Round three (2013/14) of the National Scholarship Fund has recently made offers of funding to 514 teachers and SEN support staff. Until successful scholars accept their award, exact numbers for Pendle and Lancashire cannot be finalised.

Teachers: Qualifications

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will consider allowing early years PGCE students who have failed the Numeracy QTS skills test to resit that test within one year. [167371]

Mr Laws: On 1 September 2012, a limit to the number of attempts permitted at the skills tests in literacy and numeracy was introduced as part of wider Government policy to raise the standard of those entering the teaching profession. Students who do not meet the requirements within three attempts will not be able to attempt the tests again for a two-year period. There are no current plans to review this limit, but we will continue to monitor closely the impact of the tests.

Working Parties

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he is a member of any of his Department's ministerial working groups. [167900]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education's working assumption is that the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), is a standing member of all its ministerial working groups.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Visits: Constituencies

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, (1) on how many occasions in each year since the formation

6 Sep 2013 : Column 552W

of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority its

(a)

chairman,

(b)

board members,

(c)

chief executive and

(d)

chief officers have visited the constituency offices of hon. Members; and in each case if he will list those constituencies; [165744]

(2) on how many occasions in each year since the formation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority its (a) chairman, (b) board members, (c) chief executive and (d) chief officers have met individual hon. Members excluding Ministers to ascertain what the work of a Member of Parliament entails; and in each case if he will list the hon. or right hon. Members concerned. [165748]

Mr Charles Walker [holding answer 16 July 2013]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about meetings with MPs and visits to constituency offices.

IPSA Board Members and staff from across the organisation regularly meet and visit MPs as part of their duties. For example:

the four ordinary members of the Board of IPSA who took office in January 2013 have carried out a programme of induction, which has included the shadowing of MPs both in their constituencies and in Westminster as appropriate.

The policy team visited eight constituency offices in the winter of 2011/12 as part of the review of the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses.

It is not possible to provide the total number of visits and meetings, as not all of these are recorded centrally. Releasing only the centrally held figures would provide an incomplete and inaccurate picture.

Given the need for IPSA to maintain effective working relationships with MPs and their staff, I do not intend to release the names or constituencies of those MPs with whom we have met.

Members: Annual Reports

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, if he will make it his policy that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) should provide specific funds to enable hon. and right hon. Members to publish an annual report to constituents as suggested by IPSA. [165747]

Mr Charles Walker [holding answer 16 July 2013]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about the proposals of an annual reporting mechanism for MPs.

IPSA has proposed an annual reporting mechanism for MPs in the next Parliament in its consultation paper ‘MPs' Pay and Pensions: A New Package, July 2013’. The precise nature of any such report, or its means of communication, have not yet been agreed. Therefore it is too early to make any observations about funding.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 553W

Meetings

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority on how many occasions (a) Government Ministers and (b) Treasury officials have had meetings with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in each month of 2013 to date. [165128]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking on how many occasions IPSA has met with Government Ministers and with Treasury officials.

The information requested is set out in the following table. The figures shown do not include meetings where the participants were not acting in their capacity as members of the Board or staff of IPSA.

 Meetings with Government MinistersMeetings with Treasury officials

January

2

0

February

1

0

March

0

2

April

1

1

May

1

0

June

4

1

July

4

1

August

0

0

Members' Staff

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many hon. Members were given contingency payments to allow additional allocation to their staffing budget in the (a) last financial year and (b) current financial year; and what was the total sum paid out in such fashion. [167553]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about contingency funding.

MPs who believe they need more funding may apply to IPSA's contingency panel, demonstrating why their circumstances are exceptional.

In 2012/13, 36 MPs received uplifts to their staffing expenditure budgets. The total value of these uplifts was £182,497. In 2013/14 (to 30 August), 5 MPs have received uplifts to their staffing expenditure budgets. The total value of these uplifts was £27,991.

These figures represent approved uplifts and do not necessarily indicate that an MP will make claims equal to the amount of the uplift. The total sums actually claimed by each MP under each budget heading are published annually on our website:

www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk

The latest annual figures, for 2012-13, will be published on 12 September 2013.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 554W

The figures above do not include routine uplifts to provide cover for MPs' staff members on long-term sick leave or maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Those uplifts do not require approval by the Contingency Panel and are managed by the IPSA payroll team.

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in financial year ending 2012-13, how many hon. Members had more than £1,000 unallocated in their staffing allocation in financial year 2012-13; and how much of the total available for staff salaries remained unallocated at the end of that financial year. [167556]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about MPs' staffing expenditure.

As at 4 September 2013, there were 620 MPs whose staffing expenditure fell £1,000 or more below their budget limit for the 2012/13 financial year.

As of the same date, the total expenditure by all MPs on staffing expenditure (which includes staff salaries, employer's National Insurance Contributions, employer's pension contributions and other staffing costs) was £14,520,632.77 below the combined limit of all MPs' staffing expenditure budgets.

Selsdon Park Hotel

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority if he will publish a breakdown of the costs associated with the two-day gathering at the Selsdon Park Hotel to discuss remuneration proposals for hon. Members. [166767]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 213:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about the IPSA Board meeting in Croydon.

The total cost was £2,008.50 for 13 delegates, which equates to £154.50 per person. This cost included conference facilities, overnight accommodation and refreshments (including meals and hot drinks, but no alcoholic beverages).

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority on what dates (a) board members and (b) staff of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority attended the Selsdon Park Hotel to discuss remuneration proposals for hon. Members; whether other locations were considered for the meeting; and who attended. [166768]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 555W

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about the IPSA Board meeting in Croydon.

The meeting took place over 24 hours from lunchtime on Sunday 14 April to lunchtime on Monday 15 April. The venue was selected after a procurement exercise, in which other venues were considered, in line with best practice.

The meeting was attended by the IPSA Board and senior members of the IPSA Executive team.

Standards

Lindsay Roy: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority what steps IPSA is taking to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. [167908]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Andrew McDonald, 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about IPSA's efficiency and effectiveness.

IPSA is improving both its efficiency and effectiveness.

The Main Estimate for 2012-13 included a 6% reduction in resources over the previous year to fund IPSA's operating costs. We achieved these savings in 2012-13 by:

sub-letting part of our accommodation, yielding savings of over £500,000;

implementing new working practices to automate elements of the claims validation process; and

improving the operation of the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses by offering MPs the ability to purchase stationery on line, introducing a self service report allowing MPs to review current and projected spend on staffing, and introducing online timesheets for MPs' staff.

One example of the improved efficiency is the reduction in the time taken to process claims. In the financial year 2012-13 processing a claim for payment took, on average, 9.6 days from the receipt of the supporting evidence. Our current performance is 7.13 days.

The Estimate for 2013-14 includes a further 5% reduction in resources to fund IPSA's operating costs. IPSA is currently implementing changes to deliver the efficiency savings of 5% and to continue with operational improvements to the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses.

Treasury

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, on which dates the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has held meetings with (a) Ministers and (b) officials of HM Treasury since 1 January 2013; which Ministers and officials attended each such meeting; and what subjects were discussed at each such meeting. [168176]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 556W

Letter from Andrew McDonald, dated 5 September 2013:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about meetings between representatives of IPSA and HM Treasury.

Since 1 January 2013 the following meetings between representatives of IPSA and HM Treasury took place.

On 7 March, the Director of Finance and Operations met Treasury officials.

On 6 April, an IPSA official met Treasury officials.

On 25 June, an IPSA official met Treasury officials.

On 6 April, an IPSA official met Treasury officials.

On 10 July, the Director of Policy and Communications and another IPSA official met Treasury officials.

On 19 April, the Director of Finance and Operations met Treasury officials.

On 19 July, the Chair and Chief Executive met the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. HM Treasury officials were also present.

These meetings covered a variety of issues relating to IPSA's statutory responsibilities.

I do not intend to provide further details of these meetings as to do so may inhibit free and frank discussions in the future.

International Development

Developing Countries: Taxation

Pauline Latham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions relating to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund or World Bank tax-related rules and guidance his Department places on developing nations in receipt of UK official development assistance. [167851]

Mr Duncan: The UK does not place specific conditions relating to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund or World Bank tax-related rules and guidance on developing nations in receipt of UK official development assistance.

Justice

Electronic Government: Welsh Language

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he plans to make it possible to pay fines on the Government website www.gov.uk/Cymraeg through the medium of Welsh. [164096]

Mrs Grant: There are no immediate plans to translate the fine payment webpage into Welsh. The Government Digital Service will be evaluating data on Welsh-language pages and searches on GOV.UK in December 2013 and will consider adding more pages based on evidence of demand.

Electronic Tagging

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the timetable is for awarding the new tagging contracts. [165793]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 557W

Jeremy Wright: Having announced preferred bidders on 20 August, we hope to be in a position to award contracts towards the end of the year.

Juries: Mental Illness

Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review policy on the disqualification for life from jury service of people who have had mental health problems. [167845]

Mrs Grant: Eligibility for jury service is regulated by the Juries Act 1974. It does not disqualify for life those who have had mental health problems.

Furthermore, the Government recently supported a private Member’s Bill—now the Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013—which provides that those voluntarily receiving treatment for a mental health condition are no longer disqualified from jury service.

Legal Aid Scheme

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effect of his proposed changes to legal aid on victims of human trafficking. [166462]

Jeremy Wright: At around £2 billion a year we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems of its type in the world. The consultation paper, “Transforming Legal Aid: delivering a more credible and efficient system”, contained a range of measures aimed at reducing the cost of and promoting public confidence in the legal aid scheme, including a proposal that those applying for civil legal aid should have a strong connection to the UK (with exceptions for asylum seekers, serving members of Her Majesty's armed forces and their immediate families).

We have analysed responses to our consultation carefully and will publish our response shortly.

Offenders: EU Nationals

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many non-UK EU nationals in (a) Bassetlaw constituency and (b) England received prison sentences of two or more years in each of the last five years; and how many such nationals were (i) recommended for deportation, (ii) deported and (iii) not deported. [154157]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database holds information on defendants proceeded against, found guilty and sentenced for criminal offences in England and Wales. This database holds information on offences provided by the statutes under which proceedings are brought but not the specific circumstances of each case. It is not possible to identify from this centrally held information the nationality of offenders sentenced for criminal offences.

However, the best alternative for these figures are the prison statistics in the following table, which presents the number of sentenced receptions into custody of non-UK EU nationals between 2008 and 2012 in England. There were no receptions of non-UK EU nationals into prisons in Bassetlaw constituency between 2008 and 2012.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 558W

It is Government policy to extend or negotiate compulsory prisoner transfer agreements with other countries.

We have voluntary prisoner transfer agreements with more than 100 countries, allowing prisoners to serve their sentences in their home countries.

EU sentenced receptions, sentences of two years or more, 2008-2012, England
 All

2008

658

2009

776

2010 (July to December)1

412

2011

822

2012

928

1 Data for January to June 2010 are not available

Pornography

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make the possession of pornography depicting rape a criminal offence. [161563]

Mrs Grant: The Prime Minister has recently announced plans to extend the existing extreme pornography offence to cover the possession of images of rape. We will bring forward legislation on this issue when parliamentary time allows.

Regulation

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the title is of each regulation his Department (a) introduced and (b) revoked in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011, (iii) 2012 and (iv) 2013 to date; and if he will make a statement. [165917]

Mrs Grant: The information is as follows:

(a) Since 2010, the Ministry of Justice has introduced the following regulatory measures as set out in the Government Statements of New Regulation (SNR):

EU Maintenance Order;

Implementation of the Legal Services Act 2007;

Amendment of the Client Specific rule 6(b) of the Claims Management Regulator's Conduct of Authorised Persons Rules 2007;

Claims Management Rules Review (Phase 2);

Referral Fees in Personal Injury Claims;

Reform of Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales (Jackson);

Scheme Rules for the Office of Legal Complaints (Legal Ombudsman).

(b) The Ministry of Justice has not revoked any regulation since 2010 to date.

The latest Statement (SNR6) covering the period July to December 2013 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211164/bis-l3-p96a-sixth-statement-of-new-regulation.pdf

Squatting

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of changes in the prevalence of squatting in commercial premises

6 Sep 2013 : Column 559W

following the introduction of the criminal provisions contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. [165181]

Damian Green: We are aware of reports that the offence of squatting in a residential building, which came into force last September, might be encouraging squatters to occupy non-residential buildings. We are monitoring this situation closely and are not ruling out further action if needed. If my hon. Friend is aware of evidence to suggest that instances of squatting in non-residential buildings have increased in the Shipley area since the offence was introduced, we will look closely at any information he has.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to answer question 161697, tabled by the hon. Member for Bristol North West (Charlotte Leslie) on 20 June 2013 for answer on 25 June 2013. [165844]

Jeremy Wright: I understand that you have now received a response to your parliamentary question and I apologise for the delay.

Leader of the House

Adjournment Debates

Mr Amess: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the contribution of the hon. Member for Southend West (Mr Amess) of 18 July 2013, Official Report, columns 1381-3, when he will receive replies from the Government relating to the issues which he raised. [167991]

Tom Brake: Following the hon. Gentleman’s excellent contribution at the pre-recess Adjournment debate of 18 July, my office commissioned a response from Her Majesty's Treasury. The Department responded to the hon. Gentleman on 16 August 2013. My office will be able to assist him should he have any further queries on this matter.

Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill

Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Leader of the House (1) what discussions he has held with Ministers of the Northern Ireland Executive on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill; [167974]

(2) how many meetings he has held with representatives of (a) FTSE 100 companies, (b) charities, (c) non-governmental organisations and (d) trades unions on the Transparency of Lobbying, Non- Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. [167975]

Mr Lansley: Officials in the Cabinet Office have worked closely with their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Office prior to introduction of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. The Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, my hon. Friend the Member

6 Sep 2013 : Column 560W

for Norwich North (Miss Smith), subsequently wrote to the Northern Ireland Executive after the introduction of the Bill.

Details of my meetings with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis and can be accessed on GOV.UK at

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/cabinet-office/series/ministers-transparency-publications

Information for the period April-June 2013 will be published shortly.

Prime Minister

Russia

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Prime Minister if he will raise the matter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights with President Putin at the forthcoming G20 meeting in Russia. [167973]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) on 4 September 2013, Official Report, column 381W.

Transport

Blue Badge Scheme

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the automatic renewal of blue badges for eligible persons whose disability will not improve. [167600]

Norman Baker: The Government seeks to address the needs of severely disabled people by providing automatic badge eligibility to people who are already in receipt of certain mobility awards (including, for example, under Disability Living Allowance). Badge renewal for these people should involve little more than verifying that their award and personal details are correct.

To improve the scheme, we have introduced a new, joined up system across Great Britain and all badge details are now held electronically. Therefore, even for those who do not have automatic eligibility, where the disability will clearly not improve the renewal process should be a straightforward process.

Blue Badges are issued for a period of 3 years as there is a need to ensure on a regular basis that personal data remain up to date so that the scheme remains both efficient and secure.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what comparison his Department has made between investment in High Speed 2 and investing the same amount in upgrading track gauges and associated works across the network in order to increase capacity. [167999]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has considered, on several occasions, a range of high-level alternative packages to HS2, most recently in the Atkins study

6 Sep 2013 : Column 561W

“High Speed Rail Strategic Alternatives: Update Following consultation' which is available on the Department's website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3664/hs2-strategic-alternatives-study-update.pdf

Alongside HS2, the Government are investing heavily in the conventional rail network. Network Rail will invest £37.5 billion in the UK's rail infrastructure in Control Period 5 (2014-19).

Marine Management Organisation

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with their ministerial colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to resolve outstanding issues in relation to the Marine Management Organisation. [167450]

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport is not aware of any outstanding issues relating to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Department for Transport (DFT) is a sponsoring Department of the MMO, and as such we have interests in most aspects of the organisation's work, which includes marine planning and licensing, conservation, and fisheries management.

A ministerial roundtable is currently being set up to discuss ports planning and environmental matters. This will include MMO and relevant Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

I meet the MMO's chief executive on a quarterly basis to discuss all matters of interest to the DFT. In addition, a senior official from this Department is a member of a cross-Government Sponsorship Group which provides support and advice to DEFRA's Secretary of State on the discharge of the MMO's responsibilities under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Rolling Stock

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to British Standard BS EN15663:2009, Railway applications, what the (a) usable standing area vehicle reference and (b) definition of vehicle reference masses is for (i) long distance and (ii) other rolling stock currently in use on the UK rail network or on order for future use; when that standard was last revised; and what the usable standing area vehicle reference and definition of vehicle reference masses were under the previous version of that standard. [167898]

Mr Simon Burns: Standing area is defined as: the unobstructed area which can be used by passengers (e.g. vestibule, corridor, stairways, wheelchair area…).

The definitions of mass are contained in section 2.1 of the standard. These include: dead mass, design mass, design mass in working order, design mass under normal payload, design mass under exceptional payload, operational mass, operational mass in working order and operational mass under normal payload.

6 Sep 2013 : Column 562W

These characteristics are the same for both long distance and other rolling stock. The standard applies appropriate values to each of the mass definitions for each type of train. This standard was approved on 23 April 2009 and came into force by November (each member state has to individually adopt the standard).

This was the first issue of the standard, prepared under a mandate given to CEN by the European Commission and the European Free Trade Association, and supports essential requirements of EU Directive 2008/57/EC so does not directly replace any previous standard.

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to which enterprise zones superfast broadband has been made available to date. [168044]

Mr Vaizey: Superfast broadband is available in part, or throughout, the following enterprise zones:

Enterprise zoneCurrent superfast broadband availability

Cornwall Aerohub

Available

Sandwich Discovery Park

Available

MIRA Leicestershire

Available

Sci-Tech Daresbury

Available

London Royal Docks

Available

Manchester Airport City

Partial availability

New Anglia

Partial availability

Nottingham

Partial availability

Black Country

Partial availability

Bristol Temple Quarter

Partial availability

Tees Valley

Partial availability

Hereford Skylon Park

Partial availability

North Eastern

Partial availability

Humber

Partial availability

Birmingham

Partial availability

Northampton Waterside

Partial availability

Broadband: North Yorkshire

Nigel Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people in rural areas of North Yorkshire who have access to superfast broadband have been provided with such access through Government programmes since May 2010. [R] [167997]

Mr Vaizey: The Government-supported project in North Yorkshire has to date increased superfast broadband availability for over 50,000 premises.

Creative Industries Council

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how often the Creative Industries Council has met in the last 12 months; and how often that body will meet in the next 12 months. [167965]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 563W

Mr Vaizey: In the last 12 months, the industry-led Creative Industries Council met on 31 January and 5 June. It is scheduled to meet on 27 November this year, and three times in 2014. Minutes from all CIC meetings are placed on the gov.uk website. Sub-groups have been set up for each of the priority areas identified by the CIC, who each meet on a regular basis to take forward work programmes for their areas. In addition, Ministers and officials hold regular meetings with the chair and individual member organisations of CIC, and those in the wider creative industries.

Gambling

Mrs Lewell-Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many gambling operators (a) were investigated and (b) received warnings or punitive action as a result of breaching self-exclusion agreements in each year since 2009. [167780]

Hugh Robertson: To date, no operators have received formal regulatory sanctions as a result of self-exclusion agreements being breached. However, as part of the Commission's ongoing compliance work, it regularly engages with licensed operators on this issue and has worked with them, on particular cases, to improve effectiveness. The Gambling Commission requirements are that operators have effective procedures for self-exclusion as part of their licence conditions and that they, take all reasonable steps to refuse service or otherwise prevent an individual who has entered a self-exclusion agreement from participating in gambling.

Mr McKenzie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps is she taking to tackle problem gambling; and if she will make a statement. [167926]

Hugh Robertson: All commercial gambling in Great Britain is subject to extensive regulatory controls, based on the three statutory objectives of keeping crime out of gambling, making sure it is fair and open and protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited. All licensed gambling operators are required to put in place effective policies and procedures to achieve these objectives. While we recognise that gambling problems can have a very serious impact on individuals, their friends and families and their communities, our system of gambling regulation has contributed to a relatively low rate of problem gambling in the adult population of around 0.9%. Nevertheless, we will continue to bring pressure to bear on the gambling industry to ensure the right balance is struck between the need to protect the vulnerable and the position of gambling as a mainstream leisure activity.

Internet: Bullying

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment analysis her Department has made of the effect of sexist abuse online on the numbers of women entering (a) journalism, (b) politics and (c) other areas of public life; and if she will make a statement. [167665]

6 Sep 2013 : Column 564W

Mr Vaizey: The Director of Public Prosecutions published guidelines on cases involving communications sent by social media in June this year. This guidance makes clear that in cases where communications constitute credible threats of violence or specifically target an individual or individuals should be robustly prosecuted.

There are instances where content does not cross the criminal threshold but may not meet the acceptable use policies social media platforms have in place. Where this is the case, Government expect social media companies to have robust processes in place for enforcing such policies, including the removal of content and the suspension or termination of accounts as appropriate.

Online abuse does not just affect the individuals directly involved, but the wider community of women and men. Ministers in my team have met with a number of stakeholders who campaign against sexist abuse online, and we will continue to listen to proposals for positive action in this area through the women's engagement programme.