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Speed Limits

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has commissioned since 2010 on the effect of reducing speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph. [169802]

Mr Goodwill: The only project we have commissioned of relevance is for the speed limit appraisal tool. The guidance can be viewed at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-local-speed-limits

We are considering commissioning research on the effect of reducing speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph in the future.

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Walking: Children

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to encourage more children to walk to school. [169496]

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport has provided £600 million of funding through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to enable local transport authorities to identify and implement the right solutions to meet the economic and environmental challenges faced in their areas. They include a variety of sustainable transport measures such as suitable infrastructure improvements for cycling and walking.

59 of the 96 funded projects contain an element promoting walking to schools. Of particular note is the ‘Walk to School Outreach’ project, which received £4.8 million from the Department via the Local Sustainable Transport fund. The programme is a partnership of 11 local authorities, led by Durham county council. The partnership is supported by national charity Living Streets to roll out an outreach programme, aimed at increasing levels of walking to school at primary and secondary schools in target locations. The Department has a close working relationship with Living Streets, and carefully considers advice from Living Streets when developing policy.

The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), spoke at the parliamentary launch of Walk to School week in 2013 and met children from a number of schools that had achieved success in making it easier to walk to school.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Palestinians

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the case of the five schoolboys from the village of Hares in Palestine who were arrested by the Israeli authorities in March 2013. [169867]

Hugh Robertson: Officials from our consulate general in Jerusalem and the embassy in Tel Aviv are following this case closely.

Abortion: Gender Selection

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking in response to the Fourth United Nations Conference on Women Platform for Action, which called for Governments to take steps to eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child which result in harmful and unethical practices such as prenatal sex selection, compounded by the increasing use of technologies to determine foetal sex resulting in abortion of female foetuses; what recent representations he has received on prenatal sex selection and abortion; what response his Department made to such representations; and if he will make a statement. [169732]

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Mr Lidington: We fully support the UN Fourth World Conference for Women Platform for Action and its reaffirmation that the human rights of women and girls are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. We are fully committed to the realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women and girls.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not received any representation on prenatal sex selection and abortion.

The UK Government strongly oppose sex-selective abortion. I condemn the unethical abortion of female foetuses. The UK does not fund programmes which contribute directly or indirectly to sex-selective abortion. Through our own reproductive health programmes, and through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), we support partner Governments' efforts to prevent it.

Arctic

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he plans to give to the World Economic Forum Arctic Council. [169939]

Mark Simmonds: There are no specific plans to support the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Arctic. However, I welcome the work of the forum in advancing thinking on the complex issues at play in the Arctic. My officials will continue to engage with the international discussions, primarily through fora such as the Arctic Council and Arctic Circle.

Ascension Island

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the future of Ascension Island. [170577]

Mark Simmonds: Ascension Island will continue to operate as a UK Overseas Territory with a resident Administrator, under the provisions of the 2009 Constitution. The British Government are committed to the effective running and stewardship of Ascension and will continue to work closely with the US Government and the other users of the Island to achieve this.

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of press freedom in Bahrain. [169843]

Hugh Robertson: We welcome the steps taken by the Government of Bahrain in implementing reforms based on recommendations by the Independent Commission of Inquiry. However, one area where we would encourage greater process is relaxing censorship and allowing the opposition greater access to the media. We continue to raise this issue with the authorities, underling the importance press freedom has for reconciliation.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the detention of Ahmed Humaidan in Bahrain. [169844]

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Hugh Robertson: We are aware of the case of Ahmed Humadan. We understand that Ahmed Humadan is among 32 defendants charged with public order offences in relation to an incident in the town of Sitra. The court was due to hear reports about allegations of mistreatment in this case on 9 October. We remain in contact with the Bahraini justice authorities.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the detention of Mohammad Sudayf and Hussain Hubail in Bahrain. [169845]

Hugh Robertson: We are aware of the cases of Mohammad Sudayf and Hussain Hubail. We understand that both individuals were detained in connection with charges related to protests on 14 August this year. We have received reports from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights that allegations have been made of mistreatment in detention. We urge the Bahraini authorities to investigate any allegations of mistreatment promptly, thoroughly and impartially.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his answer of 4 September 2013, Official Report, column 383W, on Bahrain, if he will raise the treatment of Ms Rihanna Al-Mosawi directly with the Bahraini Government. [169929]

Hugh Robertson: Rihanna Al-Mosawi was charged with activities relating to terrorism following her arrest on 20 April 2013 at the Grand Prix circuit. We understand she has now been sentenced to five years on charges relating to terrorism. We continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure that due legal process is followed. The UK takes all allegations of mistreatment against detainees seriously. We expect the Government of Bahrain to meet all of their human rights obligations and adhere to international standards.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the trial of Dr Saeed Al Samahuji; and if he will raise the case with his Bahraini counterparts. [169931]

Hugh Robertson: We are aware that Dr Saeed Al Samahuji is currently on trial for charges relating to freedom of expression. The first hearing took place on 23 September 2013. We understand that he has denied all charges, and his case has been postponed until 13 October 2013. We have made it clear to the Government of Bahrain that the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression is a fundamental part of any modern democracy, and must be respected. We respect the sovereignty of the Bahraini judicial system though we continue to urge the Government to act proportionally in all cases, ensure that due process is transparently followed, and that liberties are protected.

Burma

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Burmese counterparts to end the ongoing clashes between the Burmese military and the

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Kachin Independence Army in northern Shan State following the agreement signed by the Government of Burma and the Kachin Independence Organisation following the peace talks held in late May 2013. [170165]

Mr Swire: While we have not specifically raised the issue of recent fighting in northern Shan State with the Burmese Government, we regularly raise our concerns about Burma's ongoing ethnic conflict, particularly in Kachin State—as Ministers did with President Thein Sein during his visit to London in July 2013. As I said to the House during the Adjournment Debate on 8 October 2013, Official Report, columns 138-40, we are concerned about recent outbreaks of fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese military in Kachin and Shan States. We have consistently emphasised the importance of ending fighting across Burma and moving to political dialogue. We welcome the commitment of the Kachin Independence Organisation and the Burmese Government to the process of dialogue. British embassy officials remain in close contact with both sides, most recently having visited Kachin State in late September.

British experts with experience of the Northern Ireland peace process have been sharing expertise with the Burmese Government and the ethnic groups, including the Kachin Independence Organisation. We continue to offer our support to both sides, if requested to provide it.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will consider sending an observer to the next round of Kachin peace talks. [170169]

Mr Swire: We welcomed the agreement between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the Burmese Government in late May, which included a commitment to further political dialogue; we are keen to see talks progress.

We have always said that we stand ready to assist the peace talks between the KIO and the Burmese Government in any way we can, but that we would consider sending officials to talks only if requested to by all sides. British experts have shared lessons from our experiences in Northern Ireland and we will continue to offer our support to all parties.

Carbon Emissions

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on the Government Carbon Offsetting Framework in the latest year for which figures are available. [169893]

Mr Lidington: In its 2012-13 Accounts, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) set aside £26,419 for purchasing estimated carbon offsets for 2012-13 from the Government Carbon Offsetting Facility (GCOF). This figure includes an adjustment to reconcile estimated emissions in the fourth quarter of 2011-12 and also an estimate for 2012-13 fourth quarter flight emissions. The figure is based on an estimated carbon offset price.

The FCO intends to purchase GCOF offset credits, in order to off-set carbon emissions from flights originating in the UK taken by FCO staff who are travelling on official business.

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Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent conversations he has had with the Secretary of State for (a) Energy and Climate Change and (b) Business, Innovation and Skills on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report published on 27 September 2013 on the upper amounts of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources compatible with limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius global temperature rise; if he will make an assessment of implications of the IPCC's findings on upper amounts of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions on the proportion of known fossil fuel reserves that can be exploited (i) globally and (ii) domestically; and if he will make a statement. [170488]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), regularly discusses climate change with his Cabinet colleagues.

The Secretary of State welcomed the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fifth assessment report on 27 September, commenting that the report confirmed that climate change as a result of human activity is already taking place, and that it will continue to worsen unless we act now to reduce carbon emissions.

The Government accept the IPCC's recent assessment of the global carbon budget consistent with limiting global average temperature rise to two degrees Celsius above 1861-1880 levels. The UK's national carbon budgets have been designed to be consistent with this same objective, on the basis of expert advice from the Committee on Climate Change established by the Climate Change Act 2008. The Government do not take a view on what exact proportion of global fossil fuel reserves this represents.

Chemical Weapons

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has independently evaluated reports of rebel use of chemical weapons which have come from sources including the Russian Federation Government, the United Nations and the Turkish state newspaper. [169568]

Hugh Robertson: Russia produced an assessment of the 19 March Khan Al Assal attack and have shared this with the UN. This report has not been published in full, but we have access to an evaluation of the pages. We have seen no credible evidence to suggest that the Syrian opposition was behind the 19 March attack. Russia and Syria continue to claim that the opposition were also responsible for the 21 August Ghouta atrocities.

The Joint Intelligence Committee assessment confirmed that it was not possible for the opposition to have carried out an attack on the scale of 21 August and this has been backed up by the UN inspectors' report, which leaves no doubt that the Syrian regime is the only party that could have been responsible.

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Christianity

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to assist Christians in foreign countries where they are in danger of persecution. [170134]

Mr Lidington: The British Government are committed to defending the rights of Christians, and indeed people of all faiths or no faith, from discrimination, violence and persecution. We speak out against violence perpetuated against Christians. For example, the Senior Minister of State, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi, condemned the recent attacks that took place in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, which killed and injured so many innocent people. We also lobby for changes in discriminatory laws and practices that affect religious minorities, including Christians, and support UN resolutions on the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. Freedom of religion or belief is also one of the human rights priorities on which we target our programme funds. Among the variety of projects we have funded is a series of grass- roots meetings in Iraq, led by Canon Andrew White, bringing together people from different faiths to combat sectarian violence, as well as training for Government officials on international norms on religion or belief.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department’s policy is on the proposed exploration for oil by SOCO International plc in the Virunga National Park and world heritage site, Democratic Republic of Congo. [169960]

Mark Simmonds: The UK continues to oppose oil exploration in the Virunga National Park. The park is a world heritage site listed by UNESCO as being ‘in danger’. The UK embassy in Kinshasa has raised oil exploration in the park at various levels in the DRC Government and we have made it clear to them that we oppose such activity.

Israel

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all bilateral project and programme agreements between the UK and Israel. [170149]

Hugh Robertson: We are unable to answer the question in the time available with reference to all bilateral projects and programme agreements between the UK and Israel, as the information is not held in the form requested. However, details of bilateral treaties between the UK and Israel can be found through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's UK Treaties Online website:

http://treaties.fco.gov.uk/treaties/treaty.htm

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel concerning the treatment of Issa Amro. [170576]

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Hugh Robertson: We have asked our posts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to look into his case.

Japan

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Japanese counterpart about developments at the Fukushima nuclear power station. [170611]

Mr Swire: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has not had recent discussions with his Japanese counterpart about the Fukushima nuclear power station.

However, we do remain in close contact with the Japanese authorities at official level through our embassy in Tokyo.

Kashmir

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the recent tensions on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir; and what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Indian and (b) Pakistani counterparts on this matter. [169889]

Mr Swire: UK officials in Islamabad and Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with both Governments, including incidents on the line of control and concerns about human rights abuses. We encourage India and Pakistan to take further steps to strengthen their relationship, but recognise that a solution to the Kashmir dispute is something that both sides will need to develop.

Libraries

Mr Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what proportion of his Department's former library currently resides within other Government institutions; what measures are being planned to restore this material to his Department; what proportion of the Library material has been sold; what revenue was generated from such sales; what the assessed value of that material was; what proportion of the material has been destroyed; and what the replacement value of such destroyed or sold material is; [169731]

(2) what his policy is towards reconfiguring the departmental archives to facilitate access by staff from across Whitehall deploying overseas; [170007]

(3) how many unique archives were broken up during the process of emptying his Department's library; [170011]

(4) on how many occasions prior to the closure of his departmental archives foreign Governments had recourse to the material in relation to the settlement of boundary disputes. [170012]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s historical library collection was transferred to King’s College London in 2007 under the terms of a Trust Deed. A departmental minute laid before both Houses of Parliament noted the value of the collection at £4.5 million. Following the closure of the physical

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library in 2008, some items were selected by the National Archives and then most of the remaining collection was also transferred to King’s College. The last few remaining items of the working library collection were offered to other institutions, or disposed of. The remainder of unwanted items were sold for £2,500.

Except for a few items retained by the National Archives, no other elements of the FCO's former Library reside within other Government institutions.

Upon taking up office in 2010, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), personally committed to undertaking work to address the consequences of breaking up the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) historical library. This has included re-opening the old Home Office library in the main building, opening the legal library and setting up a language library within the new language school which was opened in September 2013, and approving plans to establish a new diplomatic academy. Alongside the work to improve standards through diplomatic excellence and learning from history, these steps take us towards our goal of having the best diplomatic service in the world.

The FCO library spaces have now been restored. The books within them mainly comprise the historians' and legal directorate's working collections.

There are no plans to restore the other material to the FCO. The FCO is confident that all unique and valuable items were carefully handled, and that King's College London is proving to be an excellent custodian for its unique historical library collection. This collection is also accessible to staff from across Whitehall, via the information management department in the FCO.

Staff across Whitehall benefit from information services managed locally through departmental libraries. These services are co-ordinated through a Committee of Departmental Librarians, with reciprocal agreements in place to access each other's collections. Pre-posting reading for our diplomats is further complemented by relationships with other academic and public libraries.

The library at the FCO did not provide information to foreign Governments in the settlement of boundary disputes, prior to its closure.

Libya

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the increase in illegal immigration transiting through Libya since the fall of the Gadaffi regime. [170212]

Hugh Robertson: The British Government closely monitor illegal migration transiting through Libya and North Africa more broadly. The Home Office gathers information from a number of different sources, including other EU member states and Frontex, in order to assess the risk that illegal migration transiting through Libya poses to the United Kingdom.

Throughout 2012, detections of irregular migrants in the central Mediterranean region gradually increased, reaching an annual total of just over 10,000. Most irregular migrants departed from Libya's coastal areas and primarily originated from sub-Saharan countries.

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The institutional capacity to tackle irregular migration in Libya is limited; however, the UK is providing bilateral assistance and support to the EU Border Assistance Mission in order to help the Libyan Government monitor their own borders.

Mauritius

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last held discussions with his Mauritian counterpart. [170160]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), last held discussions with his Mauritian counterpart on 23 February 2012 during the Somalia Conference and with the Prime Minister of Mauritius on 17 April 2013.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a representative of the Government last visited Mauritius. [170161]

Mark Simmonds: My hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton), then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, visited Mauritius in September 2012 to attend the 18th Conference for Commonwealth Education Ministers Stakeholders Forum. We continue to be represented by a resident high commissioner in Port Louis.

Middle East

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps his Department has taken to support recent peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders; [169779]

(2) what recent progress has been made on peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians; and if he will make a statement. [169780]

Hugh Robertson: I refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), in the House on 8 October 2013, Official Report, columns 25-28.

Occupied Territories

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2013, Official Report, column 355W, on Occupied Territories, when he will publish specific human rights guidance for businesses on involvement with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the Business Risk Service website. [169923]

Hugh Robertson: We are in the process of developing the country specific pages on the Overseas Business Risk website, including country specific advice to businesses on human rights issues, bribery and security (including terrorism threat).

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Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what safeguards have been included in bilateral project and programme agreements with Israel to exclude participation from businesses or institutions wholly or partly based in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [170148]

Hugh Robertson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not aware of any businesses or institutions based in Israeli settlements participating in bilateral projects and programme agreements.

Pakistan

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the security situation in Peshawar, Pakistan following recent violence; and if he will make a statement. [170455]

Hugh Robertson: Regrettably, Peshawar suffers frequent terrorist attacks directed against a wide range of targets. Recent attacks, including against a Church, a bazaar, health workers and police have resulted in a high number of casualties. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has longstanding advice against all travel to Peshawar.

Tackling terrorist groups is a tough battle, and Pakistan has made great sacrifices in fighting terrorism. The Government continue to work closely with the Pakistani Government to combat this menace, which threatens the people of both our countries.

Piracy

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Mauritian Government on joint efforts to reduce piracy in the Indian Ocean. [169813]

Mark Simmonds: Government Ministers and officials regularly correspond with Mauritius on maritime security. We have a Memorandum of Understanding for the transfer of suspected pirates, from UK vessels, to Mauritius for prosecution. We have been working to build the judicial and penal capacity to enable Mauritius and other regional states to prosecute pirates locally. The first Mauritian prosecutions of pirates captured by the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) are currently taking place.

Rape

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to adopt the international humanitarian law methods of war procedures in respect of acts of rape carried out during times of war. [170132]

Mr Lidington: Use of rape as a method of war is clearly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Furthermore, the UK is committed to the G8 Declaration and recent Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative UN General Assembly Declaration, both of which state that rape and other forms of serious sexual violence in conflict constitute grave breaches of the Geneva conventions and their first protocol.

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The UK is committed to upholding and promoting international humanitarian law and we are clear that all breaches, including use of rape, should be prosecuted.

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to work with (a) the UN and (b) international partners to improve access to abortion services for women who have been raped. [170133]

Lynne Featherstone: Tackling violence against women and girls, including ensuring access to services and support for survivors of rape, is a central part of the UK's development policy There are many barriers to the provision of safe abortion services, including legal and policy restrictions and the political, religious and personal beliefs held by individuals and agencies. DFID's position is clear: we believe that access to safe abortion reduces recourse to unsafe abortion and thus saves women's and adolescent girls' lives. Girls and women must have the right to make their own decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and well-being, and be able to choose whether, when and how many children to have. Our position is consistent with the benchmark Cairo Programme of Action, agreed at the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development.

We work with a range of partners including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), other bilateral donors and key implementing partners such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International to improve access to safe abortion, including post abortion family planning services, including for survivors of rape.

Redundancy

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff were made redundant from non-departmental public bodies accountable to his Department in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and how many redundancy payments were made in lieu of notice. [170351]

Hugh Robertson: The British Council have made the following compulsory redundancies1.

 Redundancies

2010-11

15

2011-12

2

2012-13

3

There have been no payments in lieu of notice in any of the three years.

No other non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) have made any compulsory redundancies in the last three financial years.

1 The figures cover UK appointed staff only, figures for locally appointed staff are not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department were made redundant in (a) 2010-11,

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(b)

2011-12 and

(c)

2012-13; and how many such staff received payments in lieu of notice. [170369]

[Official Report, 24 October 2013, Vol. 569, c. 5MC.]

Hugh Robertson: In 2010-11, 131 staff left the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), at a cost of £15.3 million. 118 of these left under old exit schemes.

In 2011-12, 89 staff left the FCO, at a cost of £5.3 million.

In 2012-13, 55 staff left the FCO, at a cost of £4 million.

Religious Freedom

Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will assess what implications there may be for his policy of the recent report published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union entitled, Freedom of Thought 2012: A Global Report on Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious. [170396]

Mr Lidington: Our freedom of religion or belief policy is consistent with the key message of the International Humanist and Ethical Union's (IHEU) report: that international human rights law exists to protect the rights of individuals to manifest their beliefs, not to protect the beliefs themselves. The report records a sharp increase in the number of prosecutions for alleged criticism of religion by atheists on social media. Protecting freedom of expression online is a priority for the British Government and we have consistently argued against attempts to create a new international standard in order to protect religions from criticism.

We look forward to the 2013 IHEU report, which, like their 2012 report, we anticipate will provide useful information to help protect the rights and freedoms of people of all religions or beliefs including those who have no religion or belief.

Syria

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress he has made in instituting, with the UNHCR, an immediate programme of emergency humanitarian evacuations from Syria. [169995]

Hugh Robertson: As part of wider contingency planning, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is actively looking at the possibility of emergency humanitarian evacuations in case of a further serious deterioration in the situations in Syria or Lebanon. The UK is leading international efforts to alleviate human suffering in Syria and has regular meetings with representatives of the UNHCR. Our total humanitarian funding for Syria is now half a billion pounds, the largest total sum the UK has ever committed to a single crisis. We support the EU plan to establish a Regional Development and Protection Programme that ensures support is given to the neighbouring countries that need additional help.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether chemical weapons originally imported by the Libyan Government under President Gadaffi have been identified in the possession of forces opposed to President Assad in Syria. [170608]

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Hugh Robertson: We have seen no credible evidence to suggest that chemical weapons imported by the Gaddafi regime are now in the possession of the Syrian opposition forces. Following the 21 August chemical weapons attack, the Joint Intelligence Committee stated that there was no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate claims that the opposition was responsible for that incident. It concluded that there were

"no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility."

United Arab Emirates

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what controls there are on arms sold by UK firms to the UAE to prevent them being passed on to Egypt. [169866]

Hugh Robertson: All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in light of the prevailing circumstances. This includes an assessment of the risk of the goods or equipment being re-exported under undesirable conditions (Criterion 7). Exports to the UAE are subject to this assessment. We have no evidence of any UK arms exported to the UAE being diverted to Egypt.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consular support his Department has provided to Peter Margetts in Dubai Central Jail. [169937]

Hugh Robertson: Consular officials, both at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and at the British embassy in Dubai, have been providing Mr Margetts with consular assistance since his initial detention. Mr Margetts' welfare continues to be our main priority and I would like to reassure you that consular officials continue to monitor his case closely and will follow up on any welfare concerns.

Consular officials most recently spoke to Mr Margetts on 8 October. During this call Mr Margetts informed consular officials that he did not need a visit and that he would call when he needed assistance. He also requested that consular officials send a message to your office, which they have subsequently done.

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of the United Arab Emirates on the hunger strike of Peter Margetts in Dubai Central Jail. [169938]

Hugh Robertson: Consular officials, both at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and at the British embassy in Dubai, have discussed the hunger strike at regular points with the prison authorities. More widely, consular officials continue to monitor his case closely and will follow up on any welfare concerns.

Consular officials most recently spoke to Mr Margetts on 9 October. He has also requested that consular officials update your office, which they have subsequently done.

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Zimbabwe

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work the Department undertook in the period leading to the presidential election in Zimbabwe in August 2013 in relation to the voting rights of dual nationals of the UK and Zimbabwe. [169721]

Mark Simmonds: The UK supported the 2013 Zimbabwean constitution making process, which included progress towards the right to dual nationality through its embassy in Harare. The legal position on dual nationality under the new Zimbabwean constitution is still being established, however, as dual nationality was illegal under the previous constitution and underlying Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act. Ahead of the elections, we made clear to the Zimbabwean Government and partners from the Southern Africa Development Community our concern over flaws in the preparations for the elections, particularly concerning the voters roll and key legislative reforms.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions Ministers or officials of her Department had with their counterparts in Zimbabwe on the voting rights of dual citizens of Britain and Zimbabwe in relation to that country's presidential election in August 2013. [169723]

Mark Simmonds: The UK supported the 2013 Zimbabwean constitution making process, which included progress towards the right to dual nationality through its embassy in Harare. The legal position on dual nationality under the new Zimbabwean constitution is still being established, however, as dual nationality was illegal under the previous constitution and underlying Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act. Ahead of the elections, we made clear to the Zimbabwean Government and partners from the Southern Africa Development Community our concern over flaws in the preparations for the elections, particularly concerning the voters roll and key legislative reforms.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Carbon Emissions

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much has been spent by his Department on offsetting costs for energy-related carbon dioxide in the last year for which figures are available. [169502]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not currently offset any costs for energy-related carbon dioxide. However, the Department spent £2,910.00 on the Carbon Offsetting Framework (GCOF) in July 2013.

This represented 4,279 Certified Emissions Reduction (CER) credits relating to air travel undertaken within the Department during 2011-12.

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department spent on the Government Carbon Offsetting Framework in the latest year for which figures are available. [169857]

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Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) spent £2,910.00 on the Carbon Offsetting Framework (GCOF) in July 2013. This represented 4,279 Certified Emissions Reduction (CER) credits relating to air travel undertaken within the Department during 2011-12.

Companies House

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if Companies House will publish a fully open register which is accessible to the general public without charge; [169824]

(2) whether Companies House intends to become a fully open public register. [169827]

Michael Fallon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Gordon (Sir Malcolm Bruce), on 10 October 2013, Official Report, column 364W.

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans Companies House has to move towards digital data collection and publishing. [169825]

Michael Fallon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Gordon (Sir Malcolm Bruce), on 10 October 2013, Official Report, column 364W.

Conditions of Employment

Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what statistics his Department is collecting on the number of people employed on zero-hours contracts as part of its review of the use of such contracts; at what geographical levels and for which sectors those statistics will be collected; and when those statistics will be published. [170537]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is not collecting any statistics on zero-hours contracts from employers or individuals as part of its review of such contracts. We have, however, considered existing information on such contracts.

There is no legal definition of zero-hours contracts. There are, therefore, a range of different groups of workers who could be considered to be on a zero-hours contract (those directly employed by an organisation, but not guaranteed any hours of work). These might include casual workers, or temporary agency workers in various relationships with the agency they are engaged by.

Therefore, if people include different groups within their statistical estimates, the estimates will differ. These differing definitions, as well as differing survey methodologies, have led to the divergence of estimates for the number of zero-hours workers.

As part of its review, BIS looked at statistics from a number of published sources, the main estimates from which are set out below:

On 26 July this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provided new estimates of the number of people who believe that they are working on zero-hours contracts

14 Oct 2013 : Column 551W

using data from the labour force survey. These figures estimated that 250,000 people worked on zero-hours contracts in the 4

th

quarter of 2012.

The labour force survey includes responses from around 42,000 households and 100,000 people each quarter. It is the main source of labour market data for Government and other analysis. It records information from the perspective of the individual and/or household, and therefore relies on the individual’s awareness of their employment status and their workplace.

On 5 August, CIPD published results of a YouGov/CIPD survey of 1,034 HR professionals. Based on the survey results, CIPD said that

“there could be about 1 million workers on zero hours contracts in the UK”1.

The survey suggested that 19% of employers employed people on zero-hours contracts. Among these employers, the survey suggested that a mean average of 16% of employees were on zero-hours contracts. As details of the methodology used to carry out the survey and conduct the analysis are not readily available, it is not possible to properly assess the robustness of the results.

The Trade Union Unite reported on 8 September that an independent survey involving 5,000 of its members in the private sector found that 22% of respondents were on zero-hours contracts.

Again, information made available does not enable a complete assessment of the robustness of the results, or their applicability to the work force in general.

Skills for Care (the partner in the sector skills council for social care) estimates that 307,000 adult social workers in England were employed on zero-hours contracts in May 2013.12 zero-hours contracts are particularly common for staff in domiciliary care services. 61% of domiciliary care workers in England were employed on zero-hours contracts in September 2011, compared to 30% of all adult social care workers.

On 22 August, the ONS announced that from autumn 2013 it would collect information on zero-hours contracts directly from employers on a quarterly basis using one of its large-scale employer surveys. The first estimates from this source of the number employed on zero-hours contracts will be available in early 2014.

Some of these sources publish information at regional and broad sector level, depending on what is considered appropriate by the organisation responsible for the statistics.

1 CIPD, zero-hours contracts more widespread than thought, CIPD press release, 5 August 2013 at:

http://www.cipd.co.uk/pressoffice/press-releases/zero-hours-contracts-more-widespread-thought-050813.aspx

Credit: Interest Rates

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the revised codes of practice of the trade associations representing the payday and short-term loan industry published on 25 July 2012. [170490]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills carried out two surveys over the summer to test how well payday lenders have been complying with their customer charter and improved codes of practice.

14 Oct 2013 : Column 552W

The first survey was targeted at payday lending customers and we received over 4,000 replies. The second survey was aimed at payday lenders and 44 lenders responded.

On 3 October, BIS published a report setting out the findings of the survey. This report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/payday-lending-research-reports

The report confirms that, overall, most payday lenders are failing to comply with the key provisions of the charter and codes of practice. On none of the key measures tested do consumers say that industry is complying fully. There were particularly poor customer responses when it came to some key features of payday loans, notably on rollovers and the use of continuous payment authority and also when it came to how lenders treat consumers struggling to repay their loans. Consumers generally rated smaller lenders less well than larger lenders in living up to the code commitments.

The results of the surveys show that self-regulation in the payday sector has not been working across the board. The Government strongly welcome the tough new rules announced by the FCA on 3 October:

http://www.fca.org.uk/news/firms/consumer-credit-detail

They will provide targeted interventions to address the key problems highlighted in our report—with new rules in the regulation of advertising, affordability checks, rollovers, and use of continuous payment authority.

Dietary Supplements

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which food supplements have been introduced into the UK under mutual recognition since 2005. [170244]

Michael Fallon: The UK does not have a registration requirement for food supplements, whether introduced under mutual recognition or not.

Employment Tribunals Service

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Government have any further plans to introduce measures to reduce the number of vexatious employment tribunal claims. [170172]

Jo Swinson: The Government have made a number of changes recently to the employment tribunal system to address weak or vexatious claims. Following Lord Justice Underhill's review of the employment tribunal rules of procedure, judges now have enhanced powers to apply deposit orders on weak elements of claims. An initial sift process, conducted by judges, has also been introduced to help identify and manage weak claims earlier in proceedings. In addition, claimants now have to pay a fee to bring an employment tribunal case. Fees will help claimants consider whether alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as the free conciliation service provided by ACAS, are more appropriate for resolving workplace disputes. From next year, claimants will be required to contact ACAS in the first instance and consider early conciliation before being able to proceed to an employment tribunal.

14 Oct 2013 : Column 553W

Both the changes to the employment tribunal process were implemented on 29 July this year. Early conciliation will be introduced on 6 April 2014. The Government will need to monitor and evaluate the effect of these changes before considering any further action.

EU Grants and Loans

Mr Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will set out full details of the methodology and indicators used by his Department to allocate EU structural funds to UK regions between 2005 and 2010. [169753]

Michael Fallon: Prior to 2007 EU structural funds came under the 2000 to 2006 period for allocations. We do not have any information on the allocations methodology used for this period.

The period from 2007 to 2010 is covered by the 2007 to 2013 period for allocations. Allocations for 2007-13 were made in respect to the EU budget categories of:

Convergence regions (i.e. poorest regions, West Wales and Cornwall)

Phasing Out (of Convergence) regions (i.e. graduating out of being poorest, Highlands and Islands)

Phasing In (to Competitiveness) regions (i.e. in transition to enjoying GDP levels in line with the EU average)

Competitiveness regions (i.e. other areas which were relatively wealthy in relation to the regions in the other categories)

1. All regions of the UK which fell into the Convergence (i.e. Cornwall and West Wales), Phasing Out (i.e. Highlands and Islands) and Phasing In categories (i.e. Merseyside and South Yorkshire) all received an allocation according to the EU's formula for those regions for 2007-13.

2. Allocations to all other wealthier (i.e. Competitiveness) areas outside of the ‘special status’ regions were based on a UK-determined basket of indicators—including population, R&D spend, business start-up rate, academic qualification rates, GVA per capita and the level of worklessness.

3. A safety net was also applied to Competitiveness areas, based on 2000-06 allocations in order to curtail any sharp reductions. This was set at 20% for ESF and 6.7% for ERDF.

4. The combination of the Government's application of a basket of indicators and a safety net had the effect of directing relatively high levels of funding to northern areas outside Merseyside and South Yorkshire compared to some southern areas facing similar economic profiles. This was in recognition of the greater development challenges faced by the north. These disparities have not dramatically changed in the past seven years.

Due to a judicial review brought by interested local authorities in Merseyside and South Yorkshire we are unable to provide further details at present but I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible. A copy of my letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Foreign Investment in UK

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he has taken to ensure that UK Trade & Investment continues its work on maximising inward investment in enterprise zones. [170110]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) launched a web-based platform to showcase the sectoral offers of enterprise zones to inward investors on 20 September 2013.

14 Oct 2013 : Column 554W

UKTI is supporting delivery of the Department for Communities and Local Government enterprise zone action plans by working with enterprise zones to identify specific actions to enable them to increase their attractiveness to foreign investors; for example, to articulate clearly their assets to investors in relation to those sectors in which they have the potential to compete for inward investment, and to benchmark their sectoral offer against other European locations.

Fossil Fuels

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the implications for the policy of the Natural Environment Research Council on funding for fossil fuel exploration and extraction of the findings of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published on 27 September 2013, on the upper limits on the amount of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources compatible with limiting global warming to below two degrees celsius global temperature rise; and if he will make a statement. [170255]

Mr Willetts: The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funds research in environmental science, including research in hydrocarbons and energy, as laid out in its Further Supplemental Charter of July 2003. NERC science provides the knowledge, skills, technology and innovation that helps deliver sustainable economic growth and public wellbeing.

NERC-funded UK environmental scientists constitute over 10% of the authors quoted in the findings of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Hibu

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations he has received in respect of Hibu following suspension of its shares in July 2013. [170415]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has received 27 items of correspondence in respect of Hibu, which officials have forwarded to the Insolvency Service. The Insolvency Service has discretionary powers under the Companies Act to conduct enquiries on behalf of the Secretary of State where it appears that there has been misconduct in relation to the affairs of any company, including those not subject to formal insolvency. In order to maintain confidentiality and to avoid prejudicing any potential court proceedings the Insolvency Service is not able to confirm whether an investigation of a particular company is taking place.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects of the abolition of the national scholarship programme on widening access to higher education in England. [170147]

14 Oct 2013 : Column 555W

Mr Willetts: The Government have been very clear about the importance of widening participation and improving fair access in higher education—all those with the ability have access to higher education, irrespective of family income.

The Government are establishing a new framework, with increased responsibility placed on universities to widen participation. This includes arrangements for annual access agreements. Universities plan to spend over £700 million in 2017-18 on measures to widen participation through their access agreements.

To make sure that we are doing everything possible to widen participation and promote fair access BIS Ministers asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) to develop a shared strategy for access and student success which will include advice to ensure we achieve the maximum impact from spending by Government, HEFCE and institutions. HEFCE and OFFA are due to deliver the strategy in autumn 2013. An interim report was published on 7 March.

Independent evaluation has shown that there is a low awareness of the National Scholarship Programme. In addition, it was found to have limited impact on students' decision making because funding is not generally guaranteed at the point of application to university.

As part of the spending review, in June 2013 the Government announced that, from 2015-16, the National Scholarship Programme will be refocused to provide support to postgraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The £50 million fund will be administered by HEFCE. They will allocate the money competitively to higher education institutions, and will attract additional scholarship funding from the private sector or from the institutions' own resources.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate expenditure on (a) widening participation grant, (b) National Scholarship Programme and (c) widening access as required by the Office for Fair Access in 2014-15 and 2015-16. [170187]

Mr Willetts: From 2013-14, HEFCE introduced a new, variable, targeted allocation for student opportunity. This replaces the separate allocations previously provided for widening participation and improving retention. The new Student Opportunity Fund contains an element for widening access to higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The amounts set aside for the Fund and its constituent elements are decided annually by HEFCE following receipt of the annual grant letter from the Secretary of State. The Student Opportunity Fund is £332 million in 2013-14. The 2014-15 allocation will be determined later in the year.

In 2013-14, an estimated £200 million will be spent on the National Scholarship Programme. The Government's contribution is £100 million, with the rest being provided through match funding from universities. Allocations for the 2014-15 National Scholarship Programme will be confirmed in due course. Following the spending review in June 2013, the Government announced that, from 2015-16, the National Scholarship Programme would no longer provide support to undergraduate students. It would be re-focused and become a £50 million programme providing support to postgraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

14 Oct 2013 : Column 556W

According to the Office for Fair Access, institutions currently estimate that they will spend £685 million in 2014-15 on measures to widen access for students from disadvantaged groups through their access agreements. In 2015-16 institutions estimate that they will spend £694 million.

Higher Education: Finance

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate expenditure on (a) Higher Education Funding Council for England teaching grants, (b) maintenance grants, (c) Resource Accounts and Budgetary charges for tuition fee loans and (d) RAB charges for maintenance loans for (i) 2014-15 and (ii) 2015-16. [170186]

Mr Willetts: Estimates of expenditure will be available later this year. Estimated costs for 2015-16 are subject to final decisions on Spending Review allocations.

Higher Education: Student Numbers

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) UK-domiciled and (b) England-domiciled students at higher education institutions studied (i) full-time and (ii) part-time in each of the last five years. [170189]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes information on students at UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Information on the number of full and part-time enrolments is provided in the following table.

Information for the 2012-13 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2014.

Enrolments1 by domicile2 and mode of study: UK higher education institutions academic years 2007-08 to 2011/12
 Full-timePart-time
 English domicileAll UK domicilesEnglish domicileAll UK domiciles

2007-08

986,690

1,201,975

623,915

762,340

2008-09

1,015,910

1,234,150

654,075

792,935

2009-10

1,068,025

1,292,460

660,240

795,160

2010-11

1,087,255

1,312,295

632,175

760,775

2011-12

1,121,010

1,344,810

596,830

716,600

Notes: 1. Enrolments refer to students in all years of study. 2. Domicile refers to a student's permanent or home address prior to entry to their course. 3. Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency

Migration Observatory

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reasons his Department provided indirect funding to the Migration Observatory in each year since 2010; and if he will make a statement. [170250]

14 Oct 2013 : Column 557W

Mr Willetts: The Migration Observatory is a website based at COMPAS located at the University of Oxford, funded by Unbound Philanthropy, the Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

As a non-departmental public body established by Royal Charter in 1965, ESRC receives most of its funding through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The ESRC's role is to promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research in the social sciences, and to provide advice on, disseminate knowledge of, and promote public understanding of, the social sciences. Under the Haldane Principle BIS is content for ESRC to determine how best to apply its funding to projects such as the Migration Observatory and the ESRC is satisfied that COMPAS is fully in accord with ESRC responsibilities and remit under its Royal Charter.

Offshore Industry

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers in the offshore oil and gas industry who are currently employed on zero-hours contracts; [170654]

(2) what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers in the offshore oil and gas industry who are employed using daily agreements with (a)employers and (b) employment agencies. [170655]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

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

Letter from Director, Head of Operations:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions:

(i) what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers in the offshore oil and gas industry who are currently employed on zero hours contracts (170654); and

(ii) what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers in the offshore oil and gas industry who are employed using daily agreements with (a) employers and (b) employment agencies. (170655)

The requested information is not available. Estimates of people in employment on zero hours contracts are available from the Labour Force Survey but the sample size prevents reliable estimates being produced for individual industry sectors. Information on people who are employed using daily agreements is not collected. According to the ONS Business Register and Employment Survey, the total number of people in the UK employed in businesses whose main activity is the extraction of crude petroleum and/or natural gas was estimated to be 15,600 as at September 2012.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many workers in the (a) rail, (b) maritime and (c) offshore oil and gas industry are currently classified as self-employed. [170657]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

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

14 Oct 2013 : Column 558W

Letter from Director, Head of Operations, dated October 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question, how many workers in the (a) rail, (b) maritime and (c) offshore oil and gas industry are currently classified as self-employed.

The requested information is not available. Estimates of people who are self-employed are available from the labour Force Survey but the sample size prevents reliable estimates being produced at the level of detail requested.

Overseas Trade: Ethiopia

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent support the (a) Export Credits Guarantee Department and (b) UK Trade & Investment have given to UK companies that wish to do business in Ethiopia. [169795]

Michael Fallon: In recent years UK Trade & Investment has provided a range of services for UK companies that wish to do business in Ethiopia. These include undertaking market research, finding potential agents and distributors, organising visit programmes and events at our embassy, providing strategic advice on investments, and arranging programmes for trade missions. From April 2012 to March 2013 UKTI Ethiopia assisted over 200 UK companies.

In the past five years UK Export Finance (formally Export Credits Guarantee Department) has not provided any support for exports to Ethiopia.

Performance Appraisal

Mrs Lewell-Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of (a) disabled and (b) all other staff employed by his Department received each level of performance rating in their end of year performance assessment for 2012-13. [170471]

Jo Swinson: The proportion of disabled and all other staff receiving each level is not yet available as some data are yet to be received and analysed. The information will be published as soon as possible on:

http://data.gov.uk/dataset/bis-staff-performance-markings

It will be difficult to provide a complete answer to question (a) as declaration rates of diversity information are currently very low. BIS HR are working to identify ways to address this and encourage staff to complete their diversity information.

Redundancy

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff in his Department were made redundant in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and how many such staff received payments in lieu of notice. [170360]

Jo Swinson: The following table shows the number of staff in Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) who were made redundant and the number who received payment in lieu of notice.

 Number of exitsNumber of payments made in lieu of notice

2010-11

330

0

14 Oct 2013 : Column 559W

2011-12

204

6

2012-13

16

1

The figures above also include those who left on voluntary exit schemes.

These paid exits were necessary in order to achieve the significant reduction in headcount as part of the Department's restructuring since 2010 so that the organisation can become smaller, more flexible and more focused on priorities. This has resulted in reduced total pay costs which are delivering year-on-year savings.

Royal Mail

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much will be paid in fees by the Government for all aspects relating to the stock market flotation of Royal Mail; and what estimate he has made of how such money will be spent. [169883]

Michael Fallon: The Government's estimated fees were set out in the Royal Mail Prospectus as follows:

 £ million

Transaction advisory and retail offer expenses including intermediaries commission

10.3

Underwriting fees

11.4

Stamp duty

6.8

Total

28.5

  

Total (without stamp duty)

21.7

The final figure will depend on the offer size and the offer price.

In setting the fees for the banks that are managing the Initial Public Offering (IPO), the Government have taken an aggressive approach to ensuring good value for the UK taxpayer. The underwriters' fee, at 1.2%, is less than half that of the most recent privatisation, QinetiQ, conducted under the last Government.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his

14 Oct 2013 : Column 560W

Department has made of the effects of including the Postcode Address File in the privatisation of Royal Mail on businesses and public bodies. [170252]

Michael Fallon: The Government have ensured access to the Postcode Address File (PAF) through primary legislation. The Postal Services Act 2000 (as amended by the Postal Services Act 2011) specifies that PAF must be made available to anyone who wishes to use it on reasonable terms. This will continue to apply regardless of Royal Mail's ownership.

The Government and Royal Mail have previously announced the intention to introduce a PAF Public Sector Licence to cover all uses of PAF by the Public Sector. Royal Mail recently consulted on proposed changes to the PAF licensing regime and is currently considering the responses. The resulting changes to the licensing regime will help identify the future direction of the PAF Public Sector Licence discussions and work.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with Welsh Government Ministers on the privatisation of the Royal Mail. [170438]

Michael Fallon: We have had no discussions with Welsh Government Ministers on the sale of Royal Mail.

Students

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of English domiciled students at English higher education institutions were aged (a) under 22, (b) 22 to 25, (c) 26 to 30 and (d) over 30 in each year since 2001. [169717]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes information on students at UK higher education institutions (HEIs). Information on the number and proportion of undergraduate English domiciled students enrolled in full-time higher education at English HEIs by age is provided in the following table.

Information for the 2012/13 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2014.

English domiciled1 full-time undergraduate enrolments2 by age. English higher education institutions. Academic years 2001/02 to 2011/12
 Under 22 years22 to 25 years26 to 30 yearsOver 30 yearsKnown ages 
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentageTotalUnspecified or missing

2001/02

548,950

74

91,920

12

35,025

5

63,425

9

739,320

220

2002/03

563,460

73

101,480

13

35,480

5

67,965

9

768,390

240

2003/04

572,135

73

107,070

14

36,380

5

72,205

9

787,785

355

2004/05

582,230

72

109,315

14

37,395

5

74,330

9

803,275

185

2005/06

604,810

73

110,330

13

39,350

5

75,840

9

830,330

240

2006/07

614,295

73

108,875

13

39,815

5

72,835

9

835,820

65

2007/08

629,600

74

112,895

13

40,775

5

70,925

8

854,195

45

2008/09

651,385

74

115,730

13

42,400

5

70,125

8

879,640

40

2009/10

683,470

74

119,850

13

44,185

5

71,155

8

918,655

35

14 Oct 2013 : Column 561W

14 Oct 2013 : Column 562W

2010/11

697,705

75

124,185

13

44,305

5

69,415

7

935,615

10

2011/12

730,370

76

123,845

13

43,460

5

67,790

7

965,465

10

1 Domicile refers to a student's permanent or home address prior to entry to their course. 2 Enrolments refer to students in all years of study. Note: Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five, so components may not sum to totals. Percentages are calculated from unrounded figures based on data where ages are known. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) UK domiciled and (b) English domiciled students received (i) maintenance grants and (ii) loans and were (A) living at home and (B) living away from home in each year since 2001. [169719]

Mr Willetts: Statistics on the number of English domiciled students who were awarded maintenance loans and grants by whether they were living with their parents or elsewhere are shown in the following tables. The figures are provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC). Data relating to non-English domiciled students are available from the respective administrations.

The data include students at all types of higher education provider designated for student support, which includes further education colleges and alternative providers of higher education. Statistics prior to 2004/05 are not available.

Statistics on student support awards and payments are published annually by the Student Loans Company. Final figures for the academic year 2012/13 will be available from November 2013.

Maintenance loan awards1 to student support applicants by term time residency. English domiciled applicants. Academic years 2007/08 to 2011/12
 Number of applicants (thousand)
Academic yearLiving with parentsLiving elsewhereCombinedUnknownTotal

2004/05

129.3

528.1

2.8

36.4

696.6

2005/06

134.8

584.9

4.0

723.8

2006/07

131.6

595.3

3.8

730.8

2007/08

129.6

616.5

4.0

750.2

2008/09

130.6

640.6

4.4

775.5

2009/10

143.5

679.6

4.3

827.5

2010/11

143.1

714.3

5.0

862.3

2011/12

150.2

756.5

5.7

912.4

1 Data refer to awards recorded by October 2013 and are therefore higher than the awards statistics presented in the Statistical First Release “Student Support for Higher Education in England”, which makes mid-academic-year comparisons of student support awards. Source: Student Loans Company.
Maintenance grant awards1 to student support applicants by term time residency. English domiciled applicants. Academic years 2007/08 to 2011/12
 Number of awarded applicants (thousand)
Academic yearLiving with parentsLiving elsewhereCombinedUnknownTotal

2004/05

28.7

63.1

0.5

7.6

99.8

2005/06

55.2

136.2

1.2

192.7

2006/07

86.5

229.3

1.8

317.6

2007/08

101.2

289.5

2.2

392.8

2008/09

120.0

370.4

2.8

493.2

2009/10

128.7

413.2

2.7

544.6

2010/11

125.3

425.7

2.9

553.9

2011/12

129.3

444.4

3.5

577.2

2012/13

130.2

444.8

3.7

578.6

1 Data refer to awards recorded by October 2013 and are therefore higher than the awards statistics presented in the Statistical First Release “Student Support for Higher Education in England”. Source: Student Loans Company.

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many full-time students at English higher education institutions were (a) living away from home and (b) living at home in each of the last 10 years. [169720]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes information on students at UK higher education institutions (HEIs). Information on the term-time living arrangements of English domiciled students enrolled in full-time higher education at English HEIs is provided in the table.

Information for the 2012/13 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2014.

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14 Oct 2013 : Column 564W

English domiciled full-time enrolments1 by term-time living arrangements
English higher education institutions, academic years 2002/03 to 2011/12
 UndergraduatesAll enrolments
 Students living with parents2Students living away from home3Other4TotalStudents living with parents2Students living away from home3Other4Total

2002/03

153,780

539,460

75,385

768,625

165,550

603,165

85,480

854,195

2003/04

160,085

545,650

82,405

788,140

173,040

612,305

91,660

877,005

2004/05

168,885

567,820

66,750

803,455

181,645

634,455

75,650

891,750

2005/06

178,565

594,215

57,790

830,570

192,170

664,500

65,570

922,240

2006/07

178,965

605,160

51,760

835,885

192,580

676,220

58,285

927,085

2007/08

195,600

595,405

63,235

854,240

210,695

659,775

73,005

943,475

2008/09

202,105

609,485

68,090

879,680

218,380

677,825

76,435

972,640

2009/10

223,970

632,520

62,200

918,690

244,620

706,940

70,960

1,022,520

2010/11

227,025

649,065

59,535

935,625

248,395

723,340

68,020

1,039,755

2011/12

237,265

671,945

56,270

965,480

259,385

748,010

63,500

1,070,895

1 Enrolments refer to students in all years of study. 2 Students who report term-time accommodation as living with parent(s) or guardian(s). 3 Students living in own home, other rented accommodation, private-sector halls of residence or in an institution-maintained property. 4 Term-time accommodation is unknown, missing, unspecified or simply the student is not in attendance at the institution during the reported academic year. Note: Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency

Students: Fees and Charges

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the average fee charged by English higher education institutions in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14 (i) including the effect of reduced fees and bursaries and (ii) excluding the effect of reduced fees and bursaries. [170522]

Mr Willetts: The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) publishes estimates of the average full-time undergraduate tuition fee level at English Higher Education Institutions and Further Education Colleges for people starting their courses in September 2012 or later.

Estimated average fees per new system full-time student in 2012-13 and 2013-14
 Average fee (£)Average cost after all institutional financial support (£)1
 2012-132013-142012-132013-14

HEIs2

8,527

8,619

7,894

7,959

FECs with access agreements

6,836

6,861

6,352

6,356

All FECs3

6,333

6,398

6,140

6,118

Total

8,414

8,499

7,803

7,860

1 'Institutional financial support includes fee waivers, bursaries, scholarships and other in-kind support offered under access agreements. 2 All English Higher Education Institutions. 3 All English Further Education Colleges. Only institutions that charge tuition fees above the basic fee threshold to home and EU students (£6,000 for full-time new system students) are required to have access agreements and provide OFFA with fee level data. OFFA's analysis assumes a flat fee of £6,000 for those FECs without access agreements. Note: Information on institutional fee levels for both years is available from; http://www.offa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013-04-Access-agreements-2014-15.pdf http://www.offa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/OFFA-2012.07-access-agreement-2013-14-doc-FINAL-FOR-WEB.pdf

Students: Finance

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) UK-domiciled and (b) England-domiciled students received (i) maintenance grants only, (ii) maintenance loans only and (iii) maintenance grants and loans in each of the last five years. [170188]

Mr Willetts: Statistics on the number of English domiciled students who were awarded maintenance loans and grants are shown in the table. The figures are collected by the Student Loans Company (SLC). Data relating to non-English domiciled students is available from the respective administrations.

The data includes students at all types of higher education provider designated for student support, which includes further education colleges and alternative providers of higher education.

Statistics on student support awards and payments are published annually by the Student Loans Company. Final figures for the academic year 2012/13 will be available from November 2013.

Maintenance Awards1 to Student Support Applicants, English domiciled applicants, academic years 2007/08 to 2011/12
 Number of awarded applicants (000)
Academic YearReceived Maintenance Grant OnlyReceived Maintenance Loan onlyReceived both Maintenance Grant and Maintenance Loan

2007/08

1.2

441.8

386.5

2008/09

1.5

377.9

486.9

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14 Oct 2013 : Column 566W

2009/10

1.6

377.3

536.5

2010/11

2.0

394.1

547.5

2011/12

1.3

407.9

574.4

1 Data refer to awards recorded by the November following the end of the academic year and are therefore higher than the Awards statistics presented in the Statistical First Release ‘Student Support for Higher Education in England’, which makes mid-academic-year comparisons of student support awards. Source: Student Loans Company

Students: Loans

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the RAB charge to be applied to student loans for students commencing studies in 2013-14. [169718]

Mr Willetts: The RAB charge for new students commencing their studies in 2013/14 is currently expected to be around 35%.

Tobacco: Children

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many traders were found to be selling tobacco to children in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the UK in each of the last three years; [169520]

(2) how many shops were found to be selling tobacco to children in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the UK in each of the last three years; [169521]

(3) how many traders were given a restricted sales order as a result of being caught selling tobacco to children in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the UK in each of the last three years; [169522]

(4) how many shops were given a restricted premises order as a result of being caught selling tobacco to children in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the UK in each of the last three years. [169523]

Jo Swinson: Tobacco enforcement in England, Scotland and Wales is undertaken by local authority trading standards services and in Northern Ireland by local authority environmental health officers. The Trading Standards Institute (the professional body representing trading standards professionals) commissioned a survey of tobacco control activity carried out by English authorities for 2012-13 (on behalf of the Department of Health). Similar surveys are conducted in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The following table shows the number of businesses (independent newsagents; small retailers; petrol station kiosks; off licences; large retailers; national newsagents) found to be selling tobacco to young people under the age of 18 years (ie tobacco sold to the young volunteer).

 2012-132011-122010-11

England

506 failures from 4,477 retailers1

n/a2

770 failures from 4,577 retailers

Scotland

241 failures from 1,408 retailers

291 failures from 1,468 retailers

267 failures from 1,735 retailers

Northern Ireland

206 failures from 1,408 retailers (three year total)

Wales

n/a3

57 failures from 536 retailers

74 failures from 518 retailers

Lancashire

48 failures from 493 retailers

33 failures from 291 retailers

30 failures from 223 retailers

Pendle

5 failures from 35 retailers

6 failures from 29 retailers

3 failures from 22 retailers

1 Tested for compliance. 2 No survey carried out in 2011-12. 3 Data are still being collected Sources: Trading Standards Institute; Trading Standard North West; Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), the Wales Heads of Trading Standards and Northern Ireland Tobacco Task Group (comprised of lead Environmental Health Officers).

Retailers found to be selling tobacco products to under-age buyers are liable to prosecution or caution under section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 as amended by the Children and Young Persons (Sale of Tobacco etc.) Order 2007.

In England in 2012-13 local authorities applied for four restricted sales orders (RSO)—two of which were granted by the court—and two restricted premises orders (RPO)—neither of which were granted. I will write to the hon. Member with details of the locations of the two RSO orders shortly, and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.

Data on RSO and RPO outcomes in England for 2011-12 are not recorded. In 2010-11 local authorities applied for four RPOs (three awarded) and two RSOs (one awarded). Data on the localities of the RPO/RSO awards for 2010-11 are not held centrally.

There have been no RSO or RPOs in Wales in the last three years.

In Scotland, the equivalent enforcement mechanism is a Banning Order. These can be issued to any tobacco premises that are the subject of three or more fixed penalty notices or prosecutions, with one occurring at least two months before the Banning Order application.

Fixed penalty notices were first introduced in Scotland on 1 April 2011 for most tobacco-related offences. There were 212 fixed penalty notices in 2011/12, of which 202 were for the sale of tobacco to a person under 18 years old. In 2012/13 there were 285 fixed

14 Oct 2013 : Column 567W

penalty notices issued, of which 269 were for the sale of tobacco to a person under 18 years old. The first banning order was issued in 2012/13 in South Ayrshire.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has issued a draft Tobacco Retailers Bill which will strengthen sanctions against retailers who sell tobacco products to children. The Bill, which is currently at Committee Stage, contains proposals that would allow for a restricted sales order to be applied to an individual, and/or a restricted premises order to be applied to a premise. The Bill also proposes the introduction of a Fixed Penalty Notice Scheme for retailers caught selling to under-age children.

Of the 206 failures cited above, 70 retailers were successfully prosecuted at local magistrates courts. An additional 83 formal cautions were accepted.