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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 24 October 2013

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

China

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of human rights in China. [171968]

Mr Swire: We published our quarterly human rights report update, giving our latest assessment of human rights in China, on 17 October on

www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk.

We welcome recent announcements made by Chinese leaders regarding reform in several areas including anti-corruption and rule of law and the recent announcement that the Re-education Through Labour system will be abolished. However, we remain concerned about restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the rule of law, minority rights and the treatment of individual human rights defenders. We encourage China to lift the barriers that still remain with regards to ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

We believe dialogue with the Chinese Government on these issues is the best way to help bring about positive change. Ministers and officials are consistent in raising their concerns on human rights in public and in private with China at the highest political levels, and jointly with our international partners. We most recently raised our concerns about human rights issues on 16 October with the Chinese authorities. We are seeking to agree dates for the next Human Rights Dialogue with the Chinese Government.

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterpart in China on the use of organs taken from executed prisoners. [171971]

Mr Swire: I refer the hon. Member to my previous answer to the hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr Campbell) dated 22 April 2013, Official Report, column 633W. Our position has not changed.

A quarterly update to the human rights report was published on 17 October and can be found at:

www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk

Iran

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of patterns of violence perpetrated against the Baha'i community in Iran; and what assessment his Department has made of the level of threat to members of the Iranian Baha'i community. [172211]

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Hugh Robertson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly receives reports about the situation of the Baha'i in Iran from a wide-range of sources. The most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran highlights a worrying escalation of the systematic persecution of Bahai's in Iran, including their arbitrary detention and torture. I call again on the Government of Iran to end human rights abuses perpetrated against the Baha'i and other religious minorities.

Maldives

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his latest assessment of the situation in the Maldives is. [172040]

Mr Swire: As outlined in the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ statement of 19 October 2013, the British Government are deeply dismayed by further delays to the Maldives presidential elections. There is currently uncertainty over when the electoral process will be resumed. As the Secretary of State stated,

‘continuing challenges to prevent elections taking place will be seen as nothing less than an attempt to frustrate the democratic process.'

We are concerned that further delays could result in damage to Maldives international reputation and economy, despite the best efforts of the Maldives Elections Commission to get the process back on track.

The UK, with our international partners, has offered support to the process throughout, as well as by sending electoral observers. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and to urge all parties to act in the interests of Maldives and work to strengthen democracy in that country. It is important that the Elections Commission, as an independent body, are given the space needed to make preparations for elections.

Telephone Numbers

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what geographic telephone number his Department advertises for use by the general public. [171892]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advertises London telephone numbers for use by the general public on gov.uk/fco. Local numbers for many of our overseas posts can also be found there. In addition the Legalisation Office advertises a non-geographic UK wide hotline number.

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax: Arrears

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people have been in council tax arrears since April 2013; and what the total amount of such arrears is. [172290]

Brandon Lewis: I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 17 October 2013, Official Report, column 866W.

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Empty Property: Shops

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of high street vacancy rates. [900688]

Brandon Lewis: My Department does not collect or publish data relating to high street vacancy rates. There are several commercial sources of shop vacancy rates data available, including from the Local Data Company and Springboard, which publishes overall trends in the public domain.

Culture, Media and Sport

Betting Shops

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will bring forward legislative proposals to prohibit single-staffing of betting shops. [900673]

Mrs Grant: Like any workplace, betting premises must operate within the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999. In addition, powers to prohibit single-staffing in betting shops already reside with local authorities who can impose specific licence conditions at an individual premises if there is evidence that single-staffing poses a risk to the licensing objectives set out in the Gambling Act. The Government therefore have no plans to bring forward additional legislative proposals at this time.

Broadband: East Riding

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding her Department has granted in 2013 to help deliver or improve rural broadband in East Yorkshire. [171617]

Mr Vaizey: Broadband Delivery UK signed a grant agreement with the East Riding of Yorkshire project for £5,570,000 on the 16 September 2013.

Telecommunications: Billing

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with Ofcom on preventing broadband, media and mobile telephone companies from charging vulnerable customers for receiving billing and statements through the post. [172108]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State has not discussed with Ofcom measures aimed at preventing broadband, media and mobile telephone companies from charging vulnerable customers for receiving billing and statements through the post. However, a range of measures exist to protect vulnerable consumers, in particular, from charges associated with paper billing and statements. For example, across the telecoms sector, blind or visually impaired consumers who have requested paper bills in an accessible format such as large print and Braille, and consumers on social tariffs such as BT Basic and in receipt of certain means-tested benefits, are not charged for paper bills.

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In other cases, Ofcom rules require that suppliers should make sure that terms relating to charges for itemised and paper billing are presented to customers up front when entering a contract and are clear, transparent and easily accessible. Generally, charges for paper bills from the main providers are about £1.50 to £2.50 a month.

Telephone Numbers

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Department's policy is on the use of geographical telephone numbers to allow the public to contact her Department. [172269]

Mrs Grant: DCMS does not have a policy; all our numbers are 020.

Prime Minister

Oil: Scotland

Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister what meetings he has had with representatives from the oil import and distribution companies with regard to increasing the amount of oil imported into Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [R] [172250]

The Prime Minister: Details of my meetings and those of my ministerial colleagues with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis. Details can be accessed on the gov.uk website.

Northern Ireland

North-south Review

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what steps she is taking with her Irish counterpart to ensure the completion of the North-South Review; and if she will make a statement; [172239]

(2) what recent discussions she has had with her Irish counterpart on the North-South Review. [172243]

Mrs Villiers: I understand that a review as set out in paragraph 19 of Annex A of the St Andrews Agreement is still taking place. The conduct of the review is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government.

Home Department

Asylum: Syria

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with her European counterparts on establishing a co-ordinated European resettlement programme for the most vulnerable refugees from the Syrian conflict. [170594]

Mr Harper: The Government share the deep concerns of other member states regarding the continuing humanitarian crisis in Syria. However, the Government have no current plans to resettle Syrian refugees.

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We continue to believe that the EU's immediate priority should be to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people in partnership with neighbouring countries and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The UK has now increased its pledge for the Syrian relief effort to £500 million. This represents the UK's largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

We continue to discuss the Syrian crisis with our European partners and the Minister for Security reiterated our position at the recent Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8 October.

Christopher Tappin

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the extradition of Christopher Tappin. [170287]

Mr Harper [holding answer 10 October 2013]: The Secretary of State for the Home Department has not made any estimate of the cost of this particular case.

It has been estimated that the average cost to execute a European arrest warrant is £20,000. Work is currently under way to estimate the average cost of a Part 2 (non-EU) case.

Detention: Young People

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been detained by the UK Border Agency from 1 October 2012 to 31 March 2013 who were subsequently found to be under the age of 18. [170686]

Mr Harper: It is not possible to provide the number of individuals detained as adults who were subsequently found to be under the age of 18 without the examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.

We have radically changed the immigration system to ensure that the welfare of children is at the heart of the decision and removals process. On occasion, new information may come to light which indicates that a person we are treating as an adult is in fact a minor. In these exceptional circumstances, we would seek to release them to social services at the earliest opportunity, pending an age assessment.

Entry Clearances: Syria

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on (a) the closure of the visa service in Syria, (b) the visa application centres in Turkey now accepting applications for entry clearance from Syrian nationals and (c) additional support to be given to the visa application centres in Turkey in light of this policy change. [171402]

Mr Harper [holding answer 18 October 2013]: My officials are in regular contact with colleagues from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regarding the current situation in Syria and the closure of the Visa Application Centre (VAC) for security reasons remains under review.

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Any applicant can apply for a visit visa at any post in the world. When the VAC in Syria was closed, Amman (Jordan) and Beirut (Lebanon) were designated as the VACs where Syrian nationals could apply for all categories of entry clearance.

In the latest published figures (for decisions made in August 2013), both posts were meeting their customer service standards.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/general-info/processing-times/#resultTableAnchor

My officials closely monitor application rates globally and staffing is reinforced if demand affects our ability to meet our published customer service standards.

Ibrahim Magag

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the threat posed to the UK by Ibrahim Magag. [172253]

James Brokenshire: We do not routinely comment on intelligence matters.

Illegal Immigrants

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish the responses received by her Department to the consultation on tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation. [171277]

Mr Harper [holding answer 18 October 2013]:A response to the consultation was published on 10 October 2013. It is available for downloading on the Government's website:

www.gov.uk

with a range of other documentation relating to the introduction of the Immigration Bill on the same day. The response summarises the responses received to the consultation, but does not entail publishing the many hundreds of responses received.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to increase the collection of fines from employers of illegal migrant workers. [170888]

Mr Harper [holding answer 15 October 2013]:The Immigration Bill, introduced to Parliament on 10 October, proposes some specific steps to make it easier to enforce the recovery of unpaid civil penalty debts in the civil courts.

In the meantime, our officials are active members of a cross-Government effort looking at driving down the levels of unpaid debt and so have some initiatives in train to drive up levels of payment in advance of the enactment of new legislation.

Immigrants: English Language

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what current level of English language proficiency is required for those arriving on

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(a)

ICT Long term staff,

(b)

ICT Short term staff,

(c)

ICT Graduate Trainee and

(d)

ICT Skills Transfer visas; and what such levels will be following the upcoming implementation of changes to immigration rules announced on 6 September 2013. [170397]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: The changes in Immigration Rules laid on 6 September (HC 628) came into force on 1 October.

Before that date, the only English language requirement for Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) was for those in the ICT Long Term Staff category applying to extend their stay in the UK beyond three years. This was set at a basic user standard—level A1 on the Council of Europe's Common European Framework for Language Learning.

From 1 October, that language requirement has been removed, so there are now no English language requirements for ICT categories. This provides additional flexibility for employers and reflects ICT’s' temporary status. Since 2010 we have reformed the ICT route so that it is now time-limited, and we have brought in a cooling-off period to ensure that migrants do not undertake repeated ICT periods in the UK. For these reasons, English language is less relevant than it is for those intending to migrate to the UK permanently.

Immigrants: Syria

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people with Syrian nationality are currently held in each immigration detention centre. [171070]

Mr Harper: The following table shows nationals of Syria detained solely under Immigration Act powers in immigration removal centres (IRC), short term holding facilities (STHF) and pre departure accommodation (PDA), as at 30 June 2013, the latest date for which information is available is as follows:

Place of detentionNumber of detainees

Brook House IRC

4

Campsfield House IRC

1

Colnbrook IRC

1

Dover IRC

11

Dungavel IRC

2

Harmondsworth IRC

0

Haslar IRC

1

Morton Hall IRC

2

Tinsley House IRC

3

Yarl’s Wood IRC

1

Colnbrook STHF

0

Larne House STHF

0

Pennine House STHF

0

Cedars PDA

0

Total detainees

26

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the number of people detained in the UK, within Immigration Statistics. The data on people in detention by nationality are readily available in the latest release, Immigration Statistics: April to June 2013, table dt_11_q from the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

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Published figures on people held are those detained in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers, including short term holding facilities and pre departure accommodation in addition to immigration removal centres but excluding those in police cells, Prison Service establishments, short term holding rooms at ports and airports (for less than 24 hours), and those recorded as detained under both criminal and immigration powers and their dependants.

Immigration

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether security checks for further leave to remain applications are made to (a) UK authorities or (b) external authorities. [172131]

Mr Harper [holding answer 23 October 2013]:Security checks for further leave to remain applications are made to UK authorities.

Immigration: Greater London

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration raids were carried out on businesses in (a) Rupert Street, (b) Wardour Street, (c) Dansey Place, (d) Macclesfield Street, (e) Gerrard Street, (f) Horse and Dolphin Yard, (g) Gerrard Place, (h) Newport Place, (i) Little Newport Street, (j) Leicester Place, (k) Leicester Court, (l) Leicester Street and (m) Lisle Street in London W1 between 1 January and 30 September 2013. [170650]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: It is not possible to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate costs.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at how many raids in (a) Rupert Street, (b) Wardour Street, (c) Dansey Place, (d) Macclesfield Street, (e) Gerrard Street, (f) Horse and Dolphin Yard, (g) Gerrard Place, (h) Newport Place, (i) Little Newport Street, (j) Leicester Place, (k) Leicester Court, (l) Leicester Street and (m) Lisle Street between 1 January and 30 September 2013 Capita staff were present; and how much in total was paid to Capita for those raids. [170652]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: Capita staff have not accompanied the Immigration and Compliance Enforcement Team on any raids in the W1 area between 1 January and 30 September 2013.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were found to be illegal immigrants at raids in (a) Rupert Street, (b) Wardour Street, (c) Dansey Place, (d) Macclesfield Street, (e) Gerrard Street, (f) Horse and Dolphin Yard, (g) Gerrard Place, (h) Newport Place, (i) Little Newport Street, (j) Leicester Place, (k) Leicester Court, (l) Leicester Street and (m) Lisle Street between 1 January and 30 September 2013; how many of them were released after arrest; how many of them have been deported; how many fines were issued to businesses as a result of those raids; what the total amount of fines was; and how much has been recouped in fines. [170653]

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Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: The data held required to respond to this question are held on multiple IT systems. Therefore we are not able to provide the information required without incurring disproportionate costs.

Immigration: Married People

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department following the High Court judgment of 5 July 2013 on the minimum income threshold for spouses or partners and children applying in the family route, what guidance her Department has issued regarding passports and other documents that have been submitted with applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules that have been subject to the hold on decision-making. [170617]

Mr Harper: The Home Office has issued guidance to applicants on its immigration website (at the following link) which includes advice for those whose case is subject to the hold on decision-making and who want their passport returned because they need to travel.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/88-min-income-update

The Home Office's immigration website contains guidance for applicants (at the following link) on how to ask for the return of other documents.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/return-of-documents/

Immigration: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many outstanding asylum and immigration cases initiated since May 2010 remain to be concluded in each (a) parliamentary constituency in Scotland and (b) local authority area in Scotland. [167370]

Mr Harper: We are not able to provide the data in the format requested since we do not capture information based on parliamentary constituencies. The following data relate to main applicants with a postcode in the Scotland Government Department area by local authority where there is a valid postcode on the Case Information Database (CID) which matches the ONS Postcode database.

The data are not available as a National Statistic.

The data used to supply this response is taken from the Case Information Database (CID). Data taken from CID are completely reliant on the quality and timeliness of the information held on the database. As such this is Management Information which is subject to change. This data have been provided by and assured by the Home Office Performance and Compliance Unit.

Permanent migration
Local authorityNumber of cases

Aberdeen City

294

Aberdeenshire

51

Angus

16

Argyll and Bute

20

Clackmannanshire

10

Dumfries and Galloway

19

Dundee City

73

East Ayrshire

12

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East Dunbartonshire

26

East Lothian

22

East Renfrewshire

22

Edinburgh, City of

427

Eilean Siar

2

Falkirk

35

Fife

91

Glasgow City

593

Highland

77

Inverclyde

15

Midlothian

18

Moray

20

North Ayrshire

12

North Lanarkshire

56

Orkney Islands

2

Perth and Kinross

35

Renfrewshire

42

Scottish Borders

15

Shetland Islands

7

South Ayrshire

17

South Lanarkshire

65

Stirling

24

West Dunbartonshire

13

West Lothian

42

Total

2,173

Temporary migration
Local authorityNumber of cases

Aberdeen City

118

Aberdeenshire

7

Angus

5

Argyll and Bute

10

Clackmannanshire

3

Dumfries and Galloway

7

Dundee City

53

East Ayrshire

3

East Dunbartonshire

7

East Lothian

5

East Renfrewshire

9

Edinburgh, City of

286

Falkirk

23

Fife

45

Glasgow City

481

Highland

14

Inverclyde

1

Midlothian

4

Moray

6

North Ayrshire

4

North Lanarkshire

41

Perth and Kinross

24

Renfrewshire

46

Scottish Borders

5

South Ayrshire

13

South Lanarkshire

35

Stirling

23

West Dunbartonshire

8

West Lothian

19

Total

1,305

Asylum
Local authorityNumber of cases

Aberdeen City

12

Aberdeenshire

4

Angus

3

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Argyll and Bute

1

Dumfries and Galloway

5

Dundee City

5

East Ayrshire

1

East Dunbartonshire

1

East Lothian

1

East Renfrewshire

2

Edinburgh, City of

41

Falkirk

6

Fife

9

Glasgow City

996

Highland

6

Moray

1

North Ayrshire

5

North Lanarkshire

9

Perth and Kinross

2

Renfrewshire

4

Scottish Borders

1

South Ayrshire

5

South Lanarkshire

10

Stirling

2

West Dunbartonshire

1

West Lothian

6

Total

1,139

Immigration: Stratford

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she made of the potential impact on community cohesion ahead of her Department's immigration status checks in Stratford. [167344]

Mr Harper: British Transport police were the lead agency and as such are responsible for a community impact assessment.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what risk assessment was undertaken before her Department instigated immigration status checks in Stratford. [167663]

Mr Harper: British Transport police were the lead agency and as such are responsible for the completion of a risk assessment.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 2 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr Christian Felix Okafor. [170853]

Mr Harper: My noble Friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Minister for Criminal Information, replied on my behalf on 14 October 2013.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 2 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr S. D. Amawu. [170854]

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Mr Harper: My noble Friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Minister for Criminal Information, replied on my behalf on 10 October 2013.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 2 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms Karen Faith; [170855]

(2) when she intends to reply to the letter of 4 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr Arif; [170857]

(3) when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 9 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms Shasta Parveen Fazalbad. [170858]

Mr Harper: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 8 October 2013.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to her dated 4 September 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms N. Kona. [170856]

Mr Harper: The Minister for Criminal Information, my noble Friend Lord Holbeach, replied on my behalf on 10 October 2013

Syria

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions she has had with her counterparts in EU countries about the need to share responsibility for Syrian refugees and resettling refugees across Europe; [171818]

(2) if she will begin an immediate programme of emergency humanitarian evacuations for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in conjunction with the UNHCR and other countries. [171819]

Mr Harper [holding answer 21 October2013]: The Government share the deep concerns of other member states regarding the continuing humanitarian crisis in Syria. However, the Government have no current plans to resettle Syrian refugees. We continue to believe that the EU's immediate priority should be to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people in partnership with neighbouring countries and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UK has now increased its pledge for the Syrian relief effort to £500 million. This represents the UK's largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis.

We continue to discuss the Syrian crisis with our European partners and the Minister for Security reiterated our position at the recent Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8 October.

UK Visas and Immigration

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will arrange for the hon. Member for Walsall North to receive a reply to her letter of 2 September 2013 to the interim director general of UK Visas and Immigration on behalf of a constituent, CTS ref B23798/13. [170246]

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Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: The Director of Immigration Operations replied to the hon. Member on 9 October 2013.

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will arrange for the hon. Member for Walsall North to receive a reply to his letter to the Interim Director General, UK Visa and Immigration of 3 September 2013 on behalf of a constituent, CTS ref M11944/13. [170664]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 October 2013]: The Director General responsible for UK Visas and Immigration responded to the hon. Member on 11 October 2013.

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will arrange for the hon. Member for Walsall North to receive a reply to his letter to the interim Director General UK Visas and Immigration of 16 September 2013 on behalf of a constituent CTS ref B25111/13. [171613]

Mr Harper [holding answer 21 October 2013]:UK Visas and Immigration wrote to the hon. Member on 17 October 2013.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Badgers: South West

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the cause of the changes in estimate of the badger population in the Gloucestershire and Somerset cull zones between October 2012 and February 2013; and if he will make a statement. [172257]

George Eustice: All wildlife population estimates have some degree of uncertainty around them. The estimates made in February 2013 were based on fieldwork carried out in autumn 2012 and were the best estimates available at that time of the badger population in 2012. Further hair trapping fieldwork was carried out immediately prior to the commencement of the culls earlier this year which allowed more up-to-date estimates to be made, based on the best available information, of the badger population in 2013.

The fieldwork does not provide any information on the reason for the population decline between the two studies.

Gangmasters

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress he has made on introducing civil penalties for gangmaster-related offences. [172176]

George Eustice: DEFRA consulted earlier this year on proposals to make available to the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) civil sanctions under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008. Discussions continue with the GLA on the use of these additional powers.

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The Government response to the consultation is available online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-scope-and-governance-of-the-gangmasters-licensing-authority

Marine Conservation Zones

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to announce his decision on which areas to designate as marine conservation zones. [171908]

George Eustice: We aim to announce the decision on designation of the first set of new Marine Conservation Zones shortly; along with a summary of site-specific issues raised in the consultation.

Redundancy

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural 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. [170350]

Dan Rogerson: The number of staff made redundant from DEFRA non-departmental public bodies are published in DEFRA's Annual Report of Accounts (ARA). Links to the years requested are provided as follows:

DEFRA Annual Report 2012-13 (pages 118 and 119)

DEFRA Annual Report 2011-12 (pages 115 and 116)

DEFRA Annual Report 2010-11 (page 91).

Further details for each of the bodies will be in their ARAs, as published on their websites.

Compensation in lieu of notice is paid if an agreed departure date is before the end of the contractual notice period. Records of compensation in lieu of notice are not kept centrally and therefore any attempt to collate this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. [170368]

Dan Rogerson: When a role comes to an end, redeployment or voluntary departure is considered before compulsory redundancy for the member of staff carrying out that role.

The following information shows numbers of compulsory redundancies and voluntary departures (voluntary exits or voluntary redundancies) from core DEFRA.

Core DEFRA
 Number of compulsory redundanciesNumber of voluntary departures

2010-11

3

321

2011-12

0

20

2012-13

0

52

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A total of 15 staff received payments in lieu of notice in 2012-13. To obtain numbers for previous years records would have to be extracted manually and therefore any attempt to collate this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Weed Control

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many enforcement notices have been served on occupiers of private land under the Weeds Act 1959 on owners failing to prevent the spread of weeds including ragwort in each of the last five years. [171614]

George Eustice: The table shows the number of enforcement notices for failing to prevent the spread of weeds for the last five years.

The 2009 and 2010 figures are all encompassing as they were not, at the time split between categories of land owners. From 2011 onwards the figures only relate directly to enforcement notices served on private landowners.

 Enforcements

2009

40

2010

24

2011

51

2012

32

2013

28

Enforcement is very much a last resort method to encourage compliance with the Weeds Act. Where possible we encourage and facilitate communications between complainants and the landowners to take action. In the vast majority of cases this approach is successful.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Business: Carbon Emissions

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of carbon pricing on businesses in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [900692]

Michael Fallon: The Government analyse the impact of energy and climate change policies on all consumers including businesses, and publish this assessment in DECC's annual Price and Bill Impacts Report. The latest version was published in March this year.

For medium and large energy users the price impact is £3 per MWh in 2013 rising to £15 per MWh in 2020.

To address this, Government have in place a £420 million compensation package for energy intensive industries. We have received 64 applications, made decisions on 21, including two steel companies in Wales, and paid over £13 million in compensation. We are awaiting information from the remaining applications but expect to make decisions on them by mid-November.

Employment: Parents

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department is providing for parents in the workplace. [900690]

24 Oct 2013 : Column 234W

Jo Swinson: The coalition Government have made working parents a central part of our agenda by introducing a radical new system of shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working. We are empowering both parents to make decisions on how best to care for their child in the first year of life and enabling all employees to balance their work with their personal responsibilities.

Engineers: Women

Alec Shelbrooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage more women to become engineers. [900675]

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage more women to become engineers. [900682]

Mr Willetts: On 30 September 2013, I announced a £400 million boost for English universities to promote science and engineering. A £200 million fund from Government will be matched by universities on at least a one to one basis. This will help more women into these disciplines by requiring universities to provide evidence of a commitment to equality and diversity, such as an Athena Swan award, in order to access government funding.

Also, in November the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will jointly host Tomorrow's Engineers week, which will challenge negative perceptions and aims to excite young people, specifically girls, about a career in engineering.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that students receive transparent information on how applications will be assessed for different courses at different universities. [172177]

Mr Willetts: Universities are independent and autonomous organisations and as such are responsible for their own admissions decisions. The Government have no legal power to interfere in university admissions.

Following a recent consultation, the independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education will shortly publish a revised chapter on admissions in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education. This will make clear what institutions are required to do, based on the key principle that recruitment, selection, and admission policies and procedures should adhere to the principles of fair admission, being transparent, reliable, valid, inclusive and underpinned by appropriate organisational structures and processes.

The sector led Supporting Professionalism in Admission Programme (SPA) also promotes fair and professional admissions across the HE Admissions sector in the UK. SPA strongly encourages transparency on admissions policy, and particularly the publication of an admissions policy that is clear and comprehensible to applicants and their advisors. In particular, SPA suggests that details of the qualifications, knowledge, qualities and skills applicants should have, and how the institution

24 Oct 2013 : Column 235W

interprets or assesses merit and potential should either be specified within the official admissions policy or attached to it.

Information is also available, at course level, on the Unistats website showing the entry qualifications and UCAS tariff scores of previous applicants.

Mr Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of university admissions for the current academic year. [900683]

Mr Willetts: UCAS will publish their end of cycle report on accepted applicants in December. Data already published by UCAS show that more students than ever before are getting their first choice at university and there is a higher participation rate among 18-year-olds than ever before. The proportion of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds applying to university had also increased to the highest level ever recorded.

Minimum Wage: Apprentices

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will undertake an assessment of how many apprentices in the UK are paid no more than the apprentice national minimum wage. [172249]

Matthew Hancock: We undertake a regular pay survey on apprenticeships. On 4 October the Government published the 2012 apprenticeship pay survey. This found that the median rate of gross hourly pay received by apprentices in England was £6.09. By age group, median gross hourly pay was £3.00 for under 19-year-olds, £5.37 for 19 to 24-year-olds, and £7.15 for those aged 25 or more.

Royal Mail

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2013, Official Report, column 876W, on Royal Mail, what total amount of interest is being retained by the Government; and whether such interest will be retained in a separate account or the general fund. [172172]

Michael Fallon: The interest accrued by 21 October 2013 was approximately £78,000. This will be paid into the Consolidated Fund. The retention of interest accrued on retail applications is in line with that taken in privatisations under previous governments.

Trade Competitiveness

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to improve the competitiveness of British industry. [900676]

Michael Fallon: The Government have taken a range of measures through our Plan for Growth, including cutting corporation tax and reducing regulation, in order to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 236W

We have set out our Industrial Strategy, a long-term, whole-of-Government approach to give business the confidence to invest. We are also implementing recommendations from Lord Heseltine’s report to transform the environment for UK businesses.

Training: Older Workers

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of people aged over 55 have been assisted in learning new job skills in each of the last three years. [171920]

Matthew Hancock: Information on the number of apprenticeship starts and achievements in England by age (including those aged 45-59 and 60 and above) is published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR):

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/3DA49EDD-EC1F-4F37-8D7A-AC7A0F20E3E8/0/Oct2013_Apprenticeship_Starts.xls

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/60297A67-6111-4D21-B0C1-0FF90B108012/0/June2013_Apprenticeship_Achievements revised.xls

We do not produce figures on the numbers aged 55 and over.

Education

Education Endowment Foundation

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many times Ministers in his Department have met the Education Endowment Foundation since May 2010. [172244]

Mr Laws: The Department publishes quarterly reports on the gov.uk website, which detail meetings between Department for Education Ministers and external organisations. This includes meetings with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The reports can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-ministers-quarterly-returns

GCSE

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2013, Official Report, columns 746-7W, on GCSE, what those figures are for (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [171983]

Mr Laws: The following table provides information as requested for the percentage of Pakistani pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C or equivalent including English and mathematics GCSEs1 for pupils2, 3 in London and England (excluding London) in 2009/10 and 2010/114. Coverage is for all state-funded schools (including academies and city technology colleges) in England.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 237W

24 Oct 2013 : Column 238W

  PakistaniAll pupils5
  Number of eligible pupils2Percentage achieving 5+A*-C grades inc. English and mathematics GCSEs1Number of eligible pupils2Percentage achieving 5+A*-C grades inc. English and mathematics GCSEs1

2010/11

London

2,782

62.2

74,229

61.9

 

England (excluding London)

13,566

50.9

490,634

57.8

      

2009/10

London

2,717

60.8

74,253

58.0

 

England (excluding London)

13,452

47.5

501,717

54.9

1 From 2009/10 iGCSEs, accredited at time of publication, have been counted as GCSE equivalents and also as English and mathematics GCSEs. 2 Pupils at the end of Key Stage 4, in the academic year. 3 The figures in this table do not include pupils recently arrived from overseas. 4 Figures are based on final data. 5 Includes pupils of any other ethnic group, also those pupils for whom ethnicity was not obtained, refused, or could not be determined. Source: National Pupil Database

Schools: Admissions

Mr Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools made applications to the Education Funding Agency fund for enabling popular schools to expand to meet parental demand in the last 12 months; and how many such applications were approved. [171515]

Mr Laws: The Education Funding Agency funds the physical expansion of academies to meet popular demand through the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund. This is a competitive process. Since June 2012, 518 academies have applied for expansion projects, of which 142 have been approved.

Young Offenders: Employment and Training

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many young people leaving custody have taken part in the Youth Contract since February 2013; [171665]

(2) how many young people leaving custody since February 2013 have been eligible for entry into the Youth Contract. [171666]

Matthew Hancock: The Government do not collect data on the number of young people leaving custody who are eligible for entry to, or who take part in, the different elements of the Youth Contract.

There is, however, one exception to this. The programme of additional support aimed at 16 to 17-year-olds was previously open only to young people not in education, employment or training and who have no GCSEs at grades A*-C. From February 2013, the Government extended eligibility for this programme to include young offenders who are not in education, employment and training and who have one or more GCSEs at grades A*-C. We are collecting data on numbers benefitting from this extension of the eligibility and, since February 2013, 139 young offenders with one or more GCSEs at grades A*-C have enrolled on this part of the Youth Contract programme.

House of Commons Commission

House of Commons Galleries

Luciana Berger: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, on how many sitting days the seating areas in front of the security screen in the (a) Special Gallery East and (b) Special Gallery West have been closed this calendar year. [172187]

John Thurso: The front of screen seats in the House of Commons Gallery have not been closed on any day this year, with the exception of the Syria debate during the September recall when the West side was closed for security reasons. The East side remained open for Peers.

Parliamentary Tours

Luciana Berger: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the answer of 10 October 2013, Official Report, column 323W, on Parliament: visits, how much has been paid to Ticketmaster for standard tickets (a) bought online and (b) collected at the box office to date. [172170]

John Thurso: Charges of £174,000 (net of VAT) were paid to Ticketmaster for tickets sold via Ticketmaster and through the Ticket Office between 1 April and 30 September 2013. Total ticket revenue to the two Houses for the same period was £1,318,000 (net of VAT and charges). Splits of charges between ticket types and collection methods, and figures for previous years, are not readily available. Approximately 66% of all ticket sales are made via Ticketmaster.

Visitor Services are a shared service with the House of Lords and as such revenue and costs are shared.

Wales

Armed Forces

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he has taken to meet his objective in the Wales Office Business Plan of acting as a champion of armed forces in Wales. [172134]

Mr David Jones: The Wales Office takes every opportunity to promote the work of the armed forces in Wales and to act as a Champion for our Service Personnel.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 239W

I have regular bilaterals with Brigadier Napier the head of the Army in Wales. In addition, I regularly meet with armed forces personnel throughout Wales, for example, I will be attending and speaking at the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum Trusts in Brecon; I have visited Search and Rescue Teams and Service Families at RAF Valley; and held an event to mark HMS St Albans visit to Wales.

Wales Office Ministers are proud to mark the hard and dedicated work of the Armed Forces in Wales, and always attend the Armed Forces Day Celebrations. In November, I will represent Wales at the Cenotaph and my ministerial team will attend official Remembrance Day Services to remember those who have served their country.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales, my hon. Friend the Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Stephen Crabb), is a member of the Armed Forces Covenant Cabinet Sub-Committee and I was delighted when the Vale of Glamorgan was the first local authority in Wales to sign the covenant. To mark the occasion the Minister visited the Contact One Vale Centre as well as a Community Covenant Play Scheme to see the excellent work that is happening in Wales.

Buildings

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the Wales Office move to Caspian Point was completed within budget; and what the total cost of this move was. [171999]

Stephen Crabb: The lease at Discovery House was for a term of 10 years commencing in March 2003 and due to expire in March 2013.

In March 2012, the Wales Office, following representations from the Welsh Government and the landlord, agreed to early termination of its lease in order to make way for an inward investor. As a consequence, the Wales Office—with the approval of the Cabinet Office's Government Property Unit (GPU)—agreed to exit the lease early and sign a new lease at Caspian Point. The move was completed in August 2012.

The gross cost of the move to Caspian Point (utilising a Welsh Government call-off-contract) was £564,971, broken down as follows:

 £

Contractor Costs

297,550

Fixture and Fittings

157,578

Legal Costs

41,007

Relocation costs (including IT equipment)

68,836

Total

564,971

However, the Department as a consequence of its relocation in August 2012, estimates efficiency savings of £302,285 over the 10 year term of the new lease, resulting in an estimated net cost to the Department of £262,686.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 240W

Devolution

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 15 July 2013, Official Report, column 464W, on devolution, what progress has been made towards the publication of the draft Wales Bill. [171994]

Mr David Jones: We have made good progress in preparing the draft Wales Bill and intend to publish it for pre-legislative scrutiny later in the year.

Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2013, Official Report, columns 425-26W, on Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measures 2011, parliamentary question 170435, what discussions or correspondence he has had with (a) Carl Sargeant and (b) John Griffiths AM on the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011. [171985]

Mr David Jones: I have not had any discussions with the Welsh Government on this matter. The measure was brought forward by an Assembly Member, and I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 14 October 2013, Official Report, column 425W.

Exports

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the role devolution has played in increasing exports from Wales. [172133]

Mr David Jones: The Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne), has affirmed our target of increasing the value of UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. It is vital that both the UK Government and the Welsh Government work together to achieve this, and I encourage all businesses looking to export to take full advantage of the services available through UK Trade & Investment to gain access to international markets.

The eighth report from the Welsh Affairs Select Committee "Inward Investment in Wales" made a number of important recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider how

“Wales's visibility in the global market place”

has been reduced as a consequence of the abolition of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), recognising that it

“remains one of the most recognisable of all Welsh brands”

and

“how existing recognition of the WDA brand can be used to improve and increase Wales's global identity.”

Official Engagements

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many official engagements he has held in the Wales Office in the last three months. [171995]

Mr David Jones: The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Wales Office publishes on a quarterly basis our transparency returns of ministerial activity with a wide range of stakeholders.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 241W

Meetings

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had in the last six months with Cabinet Ministers in the Welsh Government. [172132]

Mr David Jones: Over the past six months discussions with Welsh Ministers have taken place on a regular basis.

Wales Office Business Plan

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what progress he has made on implementing the objectives of the Wales Office Business Plan in the last three months; [171996]

(2) which deadline for the objectives in the Wales Office Business Plan he expects to meet. [171997]

Mr David Jones: My priority is to promote economic growth and boost enterprise in Wales, the first objective in the Wales Office Business Plan. In recent months I have worked to bring a new prison to North Wales, which will boost the local economy by £28 million a year; announced during my visit to Toulouse a second round of bidding for National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme funding—a scheme that will help to create or retain 1,200 jobs UK-wide in the aerospace supply chain; worked with others to identify and secure infrastructure investment, particularly to upgrade the M4; continued to promote UK Government support for super fast broadband and for Cardiff and Newport to become super-connected cities; and taken forward work on the business cases for the electrification of the North Wales Coast railway line and the link between Wrexham and Bidston.

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

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what meetings he has held with third party campaigning groups regarding the effect of the provisions of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act. [171998]

Mr David Jones: None.

Defence

Contractorisation

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department has (a) sought and (b) received on the GoCo model from (i) Deloitte, (ii) PwC, (iii) Ernst & Young and (iv) KPMG; and if he will place a copy of any such advice in the Library. [R] [172160]

Mr Dunne: The advice that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has sought and received on the GoCo model, from the companies of interest is as follows:

Deloitte took part in the first part of our Soft Market Testing in 2012, the purpose of which was to assess whether the private sector had the appetite and capacity to undertake such reform.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 242W

PwC were one of a range of companies involved in the final part of our Soft Market Testing in March 2013, before the commercial process began. This exercise, which included suppliers and potential bidders, sought feedback on draft documents for use during the commercial negotiations.

The MOD has not sought or received advice from Ernst and Young on the GoCo or DE&S+ models.

KPMG are acting as financial advisors to the Materiel Strategy programme, providing assistance and advice to both the GoCo and DE&S+ teams. This advice is commercially sensitive.

Syria

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make representations to Clarion Events Limited on the attendance of suppliers to the Syrian government at the recent Defence and Security Equipment international arms exhibition. [171910]

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

The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition is a commercial event organised by the company Clarion Events. The attendance of UK and overseas companies at DSEI 2013 was a matter for the exhibition organisers, Clarion Events. Shortly before the exhibition opened, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Export Control Organisation agreed a memorandum of understanding with Clarion which set out their role and responsibilities, and those of exhibitor companies in respect of export and trade control legislation.

Treasury

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Nick de Bois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether his Department has revised its estimates first made in the 2013-14 Budget Red Book for the collection of land tax stamp duty; [172275]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the collection of land tax stamp duty in the 2013-14 financial year. [172276]

Mr Gauke: Forecasts of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) revenue are produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and published in Table 4.7 of their “Economic and Fiscal Outlook” (EFO). The latest forecasts were published in March 2013 and can be found in the table or by following the link.

Stamp duty land tax£ billion

2013-14

7.7

2014-15

8.4

2015-16

9.3

2016-17

10.5

2017-18

11.7

http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2013/

The OBR will release revised estimates of expected SDLT revenue for 2013-14 as part of their next EFO, due to be published alongside the autumn statement on 4 December 2013.

24 Oct 2013 : Column 243W

VAT: Energy

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the revenue foregone by the Exchequer of a zero per cent rate of VAT on domestic gas and electricity; [172167]

(2) what criteria are used to determine which rate of VAT applies to particular items or services; [172185]

(3) for what reason domestic gas and electricity bills are subject to a five per cent rate of VAT; [172186]

(4) if he will make it his policy to apply a zero per cent rate of VAT to domestic gas and electricity; [172188]

(5) what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on repatriating control of VAT rates from the EU. [172189]

Mr Gauke: The application of VAT in the EU, including rates and flexibilities afforded to member states in this regard, is governed by EU law.

A reduced rate of VAT of 5% currently applies to domestic fuel and power. This has been in place since 1997 and is the lowest rate possible under EU law. The existing law means that Government cannot introduce a new zero rate, nor can we unilaterally extend the scope of our existing zero rates as this would require a change to EU VAT legislation. Any change to legislation would require a proposal from the European Commission and the unanimous agreement of all 28 member states.

Given the current reduced rate of VAT of 5% which applies to domestic fuel and power is the lowest rate possible under EU law, no assessment has been made of the cost to the Exchequer of a zero per cent rate of VAT on domestic gas and electricity.

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what criteria were used to decide the amount of additional funding each hospital trust will receive to support the work of accident and emergency departments; what consideration was given to health inequalities when allocating such funding; for what reasons Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital Trust received no additional funding to support the work of its accident and emergency departments; and if he will make a statement; [172251]

(2) what funding his Department is giving to ambulance trusts to ease pressure on accident and emergency departments. [172252]

Jane Ellison: Information on funding for ambulance trusts to ease pressure on accident and emergency (A&E)

24 Oct 2013 : Column 244W

departments is not held. It is the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to commission services to meet local needs. The funding that CCGs allocate for provision of services is not broken down by service or policy area.

Decisions on which high risk trusts to concentrate the resources for the upcoming winter were made jointly by NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA). They were made on the basis of a number of factors including risk to delivery of the A&E standard, challenging local circumstances and the needs of local populations. This gave a picture of those facing the greatest compound risk and identified the trusts thought most likely to benefit most from additional funding.

Where trusts, such as Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital Trust, have not been identified to receive a share of these winter monies it is because NHS England, Monitor and NHS TDA believe there are other organisations that face greater risks and are most likely to benefit from the additional funding. Nonetheless we are not complacent; any areas that did not receive funding will receive the constant support of NHS England, NHS TDA and Monitor to make some of the lower-cost changes that can still make big improvements.

Each of the 143 urgent care working groups have presented specific plans for initiatives to alleviate pressures on local A&E departments, and NHS England, Monitor and the NHS TDA are working with hospitals across the whole country, including Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals, to ensure that emergency services are ready for winter.

Ambulance Services

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average response time of each English NHS ambulance trust has been in each of the last three years. [172235]

Jane Ellison: The information is not collected in the format requested. Information is collected centrally on the average (median) time to treatment for category A calls at individual ambulance trust level. Treatment is defined as the arrival of a health professional dispatched by the ambulance service for immediately life-threatening calls. Category A calls are divided into Red 1, immediately life threatening, and Red 2, serious but less immediately time critical; however average response times are only collected at the level of category A. It is not statistically correct to combine medians to get an annual position.

The following tables show the average time to treatment for category A calls at each English NHS ambulance trust in each month since data were first collected in 2011-12.

Information on the average response times for category C calls in not collected centrally.

Median time to treatment for Category A callsSplit byambulance service
Minutes and seconds
 North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation TrustNorth West Ambulance Service NHS TrustYorkshire Ambulance Service NHS TrustEast Midlands Ambulance Service NHS TrustWest Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation TrustEast of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2011

      

April

5.10

4.09

5.22

5.38

5.34

4.36

24 Oct 2013 : Column 245W

24 Oct 2013 : Column 246W

May

5.05

4.59

5.14

5.48

5.32

4.38

June

5.08

5.09

5.13

6.01

5.45

4.38

July

5.15

4.58

5.19

5.57

5.32

4.37

August

5.16

4.41

5.13

6.02

5.34

4.28

September

5.29

4.49

5.09

6.02

5.38

4.35

October

5.28

4.52

5.20

6.07

5.35

4.31

November

5.11

4.52

5.09

5.56

5.31

4.45

December

5.30

5.01

5.23

6.12

5.33

4.55

       

2012

      

January

5.17

4.49

5.00

5.54

5.20

4.45

February

5.39

5.03

5.18

6.17

5.47

4.58

March

5.44

5.00

5.04

5.46

5.46

4.39

April

5.33

5.35

4.56

5.53

5.28

4.45

May

5.41

5.40

5.00

5.58

5.35

4.30

June

5.59

5.08

5.04

6.08

5.54

4.51

July

6.07

5.07

5.20

6.15

5.56

4.39

August

5.56

5.12

5.19

6.10

6.02

4.33

September

5.47

5.19

5.28

6.16

6.03

5.06

October

5.59

5.22

5.30

6.18

5.50

5.00

November

6.01

5.26

5.28

6.38

5.48

4.54

December

6.42

5.39

6.02

7.09

6.10

5.26

       

2013

      

January

6.11

5.27

5.39

6.35

5.51

5.13

February

5.39

5.33

5.40

6.24

6.12

5.25

March

5.40

5.33

5.28

6.47

6.34

5.25

April

5.45

5.20

5.18

6.26

6.12

6.13

May

5.49

5.11

5.14

6.16

5.51

6.07

June

5.42

5.06

5.17

6.19

5.50

6.17

July

5.53

5.21

5.34

6.36

6.16

6.36

August

5.48

5.14

5.35

6.40

6.06

6.00

Minutes and seconds
 London Ambulance Service NHS TrustSouth Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation TrustIsle of Wight NHS TrustSouth East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation TrustSouth Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation TrustGreat Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

2011

      

April

5.36

5.51

3.00

5.38

5.06

5.36

May

5.42

5.54

4.00

5.37

5.06

5.24

June

5.54

5.59

4.00

5.32

5.18

5.30

July

5.36

5.54

7.00

5.22

5.06

5.24

August

5.24

5.53

6.00

5.25

5.06

5.24

September

5.48

6.04

5.36

5.31

5.12

5.30

October

5.36

6.03

6.17

5.23

5.18

5.29

November

5.30

6.05

6.06

5.10

5.06

5.28

December

5.48

6.29

6.22

5.21

5.12

5.36

       

2012

      

January

5.18

6.05

6.16

5.09

5.18

5.24

February

5.42

6.22

5.23

5.37

5.24

5.40

March

5.36

6.50

5.30

5.28

5.24

5.28

April

5.36

5.58

6.06

5.20

5.18

5.30

May

5.54

6.06

6.05

5.24

5.18

5.24

June

5.48

6.01

6.16

5.48

5.18

5.24

July

5.42

6.24

6.05

5.36

5.36

5.36

August

5.24

6.05

6.13

5.31

5.24

5.30

September

6.06

5.49

6.13

5.46

5.42

5.36

October

6.00

6.01

6.09

5.38

5.42

5.42

24 Oct 2013 : Column 247W

24 Oct 2013 : Column 248W

November

6.06

5.59

6.06

5,29

5.36

5.48

December

6.36

6.28

6.11

5.53

5.48

5.54

       

2013

      

January

5.30

5.57

6.12

5.47

5.42

5.54

February

5.36

5.59

6.01

5.48

5.36

March

5.36

6.08

6.00

6.06

6.00

April

5.52

5.53

5.28

5.54

5.48

May

5.42

5.41

5.33

5.41

5.42

June

5.54

5.47

5.25

5.46

5.48

July

6.06

6.21

5.35

5.58

6.06

August

6.00

5.57

5.23

5.51

5.54

Note: In February 2013 Great Western merged with South Western. Source: Ambulance Quality Indicators, NHS England.