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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 20 January 2014

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of progress on the implementation of each recommendation in the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. [183076]

Hugh Robertson: The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry provided 26 recommendations. We assess that the Bahraini Government have made some progress in implementing these recommendations, particularly in the areas of judicial and security sector reform. We welcome the steps already taken and encourage the Bahraini Government to ensure that the remaining recommendations are implemented soon.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends to meet the delegation from Al Wefaq and other National Democratic Opposition parties of Bahrain during its January 2014 visit to the UK. [183077]

Hugh Robertson: The Director, Middle East and North Africa Directorate, will meet the delegation from Al Wefaq and the other National Democratic Opposition parties of Bahrain.

British Overseas Territories

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has (a) written or (b) spoken to the leaders of any of the Overseas Territories to encourage them to create public registries of beneficial company ownership. [183413]

Mark Simmonds: The Prime Minister met the leaders from those Overseas Territories with a financial services industry on 15 June 2013 and informed them that the UK was going ahead with a central registry of beneficial ownership.

Since 28 October 2013 when the Government announced that the UK central registry will be publicly accessible, I, together with the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke), met Leaders and representatives from the Overseas Territories at the Joint Ministerial Council in November. The Leaders agreed to launch (or have already launched) consultations on the question of establishing a central registry of beneficial ownership and whether this information should be publicly available. The Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands have already published their consultations and the other Territories are expected to launch theirs shortly.

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Over recent months the Territories have made unprecedented progress on the tax and transparency agenda and we will continue to work with them to tackle the global challenges of corporate secrecy.

Burma

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to ensure that Burmese army soldiers committing acts of sexual violence in conflict are held accountable for their crimes. [183564]

Mr Swire: We regularly lobby the Burmese Government on the rights of women, particularly on preventing sexual violence in conflict areas. We continue to make clear that where serious crimes have been committed, those who have perpetrated them should be held accountable for their actions. During his visit to the UK last year, President Thein Sein welcomed the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict (PSVI). We continue to encourage Burma to join 138 nations and endorse the declaration on PSVI.

More specifically, the focus of our defence engagement in Burma is adherence to the core principles of democratic accountability, international law and human rights. We have used initial discussions to encourage the Burmese military to step back from politics, address issues such as the use of child soldiers, and take firm and decisive action to tackle sexual violence in conflict areas.

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the firing on civilians by the Burmese army at Nam Lin Pa internally displaced person camp in Kachin state when they attacked it in November 2013. [183580]

Mr Swire: We were deeply concerned by the fighting in the vicinity of Nam Lin Pa during November 2013 which led to the displacement of many people. In November, while welcoming the UN resolution on human rights in Burma, I expressed concern at the situation in Kachin state. My statement is available online at:

www.gov.uk/government/news/fco-minister-welcomes-un-resolution-on-human-rights-in-burma

Our ambassador raised specific concerns about Nam Lin Pa during his meeting with the Burmese army’s northern commander in December, and urged restraint and an end to the violence. He also specifically called for immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to those affected in the area, including those displaced from Nam Lin Pa.

Central African Republic

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the recent mass emigration from the Central African Republic on stability in that country and the wider region. [182918]

Mark Simmonds: The appalling and deteriorating situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is largely confined within its borders but it has had an impact on its neighbours through refugee flows and cross-border

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violence. The return of a constitutional and effective Government is vital for the long-term stability of CAR and is in the best interests of the region as a whole, and together with regional and international partners, we continue to monitor the situation closely. The UK has already contributed £15 million to humanitarian efforts in-country, and we continue to support international organisations such as the WFP and UNHCR who are assisting refugees in the region.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions (a) his special advisers or (b) officials in his private office have met senior staff of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and what was discussed on each such occasion. [183688]

Mr Lidington: Special Advisers and officials in the private office of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), accompany the Secretary of State to meetings regularly, including the Foreign Affairs Council, and have met senior staff of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Discussions in these meetings have covered a wide range of EU issues.

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions he has met the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and what was discussed on each such occasion. [183689]

Mr Lidington: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has met the High Representative on many occasions. They meet regularly at international meetings, including the Foreign Affairs Council, which meets most months. They met most recently at the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 December at which Iran, the Southern Neighbourhood, the Middle East Peace Process, Russia, the Central African Republic and Burma were discussed.

Iran

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to open discussions with Iran on releasing prisoners of conscience and those jailed for promoting Christianity. [182852]

Hugh Robertson: The Foreign Secretary raised Iran's appalling human rights record with his new Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Zarif, when they met in September. The appointment of a non-resident chargé d'affaires gives us a channel for more detailed and regular discussions with Iran, including on human rights issues. The UK will continue to press Iran to end human rights abuses perpetrated against all religious minorities, including Christians.

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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his P5+1 counterparts the involvement of Saudi Arabia in future discussions of Iran’s nuclear programme. [183457]

Hugh Robertson: Countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia, naturally have an interest in developments concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, and we engage regularly with them on this issue and will continue to do so. There is, however, no feasible mechanism for including regional countries formally in the process.

Israel

Dame Tessa Jowell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make urgent representations to the Israeli authorities concerning the conditions under which Palestinian children are arrested and detained within the first 24 hours of their arrest; [183583]

(2) what representations he has made to the Israeli authorities about the 40 recommendations made in the report, “Children in Military Custody”, published in June 2012; [183584]

(3) what steps the Government have taken to ensure that specific legal duties and obligations under article 1 of the Fourth Geneva convention, to respect and to ensure respect for the convention in all circumstances, are being honoured in relation to the detention of children in military custody in the occupied territories. [183585]

Hugh Robertson: We regularly urge the Israeli authorities to act in accordance with international law, including their legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva convention, and to adopt recommendations of the report—including recommendations relating to the first 24 hours of arrest and detention such as not making arrests at night, informing parents of a child’s arrest in Arabic, ending shackling, allowing a parent or lawyer to accompany the child on arrest and audio-visual recording of interviews —and will continue to do so. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv discussed the issue and recommendations with the Israeli Attorney-General, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice on 31 December. The UK also raised this issue at Israel’s Universal Periodic Review session at the UN Human Rights Council on 29 October.

Mauritania

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent reports of human rights abuses in Mauritania. [182915]

Hugh Robertson: The UK remains concerned about human rights in Mauritania, and in particular about the prevalence of practices resembling slavery—despite their illegality—as well as freedom of speech and discrimination. I am, however, encouraged by the Mauritanian Government's recent decision to establish a tribunal to eradicate the practice of slavery and the UK fully supports these efforts. Our nascent dialogue with the country is developing, bolstered by the visit of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond

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(Yorks) (Mr Hague), in 2011 and the visit of the then Minister of State for North Africa, my right hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), in 2013. The UK continues to look for opportunities to encourage reform on these critical matters.

Procurement

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff of each grade in his Department have the authority to make a purchase; what proportion of those staff have professional procurement qualifications; and what the key indicators used to assess procurement officers' performance are. [183475]

Mr Lidington: All Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) procurement is subject to systems and controls to ensure value for money is delivered, including separating budgetary and procurement authority and ensuring budgetary approval is provided before a procurement commences.

Any procurement over £80,000 is managed or overseen by the Operations Team of the Corporate Procurement Group and each officer within that team has their own delegated procurement authority, the maximum level being dependent on the officer's grade. The procurements they manage are subject to additional governance and scrutiny starting at the Business Case stage before procurement commences. Dependent on the value of the procurement approval may be subject to additional internal approval and oversight from our Operations Committee and Management Board or external approval from the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury in line with spending controls. For purchasing valued under £80,000 the FCO delegates authority up to fixed sums against each grade of staff in the FCO structure.

All FCO staff have objectives and personal development plans agreed with their managers and aligned with the current FCO Competency Framework. FCO staff who are dedicated to purchasing will have objectives reflecting this work.

Rwanda

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will work with UN Security Council members and the UK's allies in the Southern African Development Community to ensure a resolution is passed to mandate a neutralisation of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the Hutu militia group. [182811]

Mark Simmonds: UN resolution 2098 mandates UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO, including through its Intervention Brigade, to neutralise all armed groups active in DRC, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda. It is important to note that protection of civilians remains the main objective of the mission, and any consideration of military action is within this context.

South Sudan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the conflict in South Sudan. [182913]

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Mark Simmonds: I am deeply concerned about the widespread violence in South Sudan. There are extensive reports of human rights abuses and killings, many of them ethnically targeted. Fierce fighting is continuing in a number of areas. Over 400,000 people have fled their homes. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) has spoken to President Kiir and former Vice-President Machar to urge them to agree an immediate cessation of hostilities, ensure unfettered humanitarian access to those in need, and—in the case of President Kiir—to release political detainees. I have also spoken to a number of regional leaders. We are coordinating closely with the US and Norway as our partners in the Troika, and with the EU, in support of the talks led by regional leaders through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on (a) the intervention of US Special Envoy Donald Booth in South Sudan and (b) current preparations for ceasefire negotiations between the South Sudanese Government and rebel forces. [182919]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has sent a senior diplomat to engage with the parties to the conflict and support the mediation process led by the International Authority on Development (IGAD). He and other British officials are co-ordinating closely with US Special Envoy Booth, as well as with the Norwegian and EU envoys. We share the common goal of ensuring the talks achieve a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible. A proposal for a ceasefire agreement, including independent monitoring and verification, is under discussion by the parties. We will continue to work closely with Troika partners to urge both parties to fully commit to a cessation of hostilities, and to offer our full support to the IGAD team.

Sudan

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK has made to the Government of Sudan on ending its policies that remove Christian missionaries and persecute those who convert to Christianity from Islam. [182809]

Mark Simmonds: We regularly press the Sudanese Government to respect freedom of religion for all their citizens, and raise this both bilaterally and in relevant multilateral organisations. We have raised specific incidences of restrictions on religious freedom, including our concerns at the expulsion of foreign nationals connected to Christian groups. We are encouraging the Government to embark on a process of political reform, including adoption of an inclusive constitution that respects freedom of religion and other human rights. Urging a greater respect of human rights was a core objective in my recent visit to Sudan.

Thailand

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legal assistance his Department is providing to Andy Hall who has been accused of criminal defamation in Thailand. [182815]

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Mr Swire: We are aware of Mr Hall's case and are in regular touch with him. As set out in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) consular guidance, we provide general information about local police and legal procedures, but we cannot provide legal assistance or advice to British nationals. Officials at the British embassy in Bangkok have met with Mr Hall to listen to his concerns and advise him of the consular assistance we can offer.

Information about the consular services the FCO provides can be found at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment _data/file/35519/support-for-british-nationaIs-abroad.pdf

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what EU mechanisms for supporting human rights defenders are being applied in the case of Andy Hall. [182816]

Mr Swire: Officials at the British embassy in Bangkok and in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London are aware of Mr Hall's case and have been in regular touch with him since March 2013.

During my visit to Thailand in May 2013, I raised Mr Hall's case with Thailand's Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jullapong Nonsrichai. British embassy staff have also raised the importance of Mr Hall receiving an independent trial with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Attorney-General

Criminal Investigation: International Co-operation

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether decisions by the Serious Fraud Office to comply with requests from overseas jurisdictions for mutual legal assistance are subject to a binding assessment of whether they comply with the Human Rights Act 1998. [183437]

The Solicitor-General: The decision to accept a request for mutual legal assistance is one for the UK Central Authority in the Home Office taking into account all applicable domestic and international law obligations (including human rights obligations) and any wider policy issues which may apply. If a request is accepted by UKCA it may be formally referred to the SFO for execution. Both the Home Office and the SFO are public bodies for the purpose of the Human Rights Act.

EU Law

Mr Redwood: To ask the Attorney-General how many EU directives the Law Officers' Departments have transposed into UK law since 2010; and how many directly acting EU regulations have come into effect in his Department's area of responsibility in the same period. [183858]

The Solicitor-General: None; the Law Officers' Departments have no responsibilities for any EU directives or regulations.

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LIBOR

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent discussions the Serious Fraud Office has had with its US counterparts about co-ordinating their investigations into Libor manipulation. [183287]

The Solicitor-General: The SFO and US Department of Justice liaise regularly in relation to Libor. It is not SFO's policy to comment on current investigations.

Missing Persons: United Arab Emirates

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent representations (a) he and (b) the Director of the Serious Fraud Office have received on the safety and whereabouts of Abbas Yazdi. [183435]

The Solicitor-General: Any issue as to the safety and whereabouts of British citizens abroad are primarily a matter for the FCO. It would not be appropriate to make public any representations that may have been made.

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for the Home Department, (b) the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and (c) the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the disappearance of Abbas Yazdi. [183436]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General and I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and the Director of the Serious Fraud Office to discuss a variety of issues. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's policy to provide details of all such meetings.

Treasury

Building Societies

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to increase the provision of current accounts and credit cards through building societies. [183501]

Sajid Javid: Decisions about whether to offer current accounts or credit cards remain commercial decisions for building societies. Societies traditionally focus on providing vital mortgage and savings services.

However, several building societies already offer current accounts and credit cards. A key task of the new Payments Systems Regulator for which the Government have legislated in the Banking Reform Act, will be to ensure new entrants can access the payments systems on fair and transparent terms. A key benefit of this will be to make it easier for new firms, including building societies, to enter the current account market.

Building Societies and Credit Unions

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to encourage the development of building societies and credit unions as a method of increasing competition within the retail banking sector. [183502]

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Sajid Javid: The Government committed in the coalition agreement to promote building societies and credit unions and foster diversity in financial services.

This has led to significant action. For instance the Government are making a £38 million investment in credit unions over the next three years, alongside increasing the maximum interest rate from 2% to 3% per month. The aim is to support the credit union sector to modernise and provide sustainable financial services for up to 1 million additional people.

The Government have also legislated via the Banking Reform Act to carve out the entire building society sector from ring-fencing requirements, as well as taking steps to modernise building societies legislation to help them compete on a more level playing field with banks.

Chiefs of Staff

Mr David Davis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what dates he met the Chief of the Defence Staff between 11 May 2010 and 31 May 2011. [183118]

Danny Alexander: Treasury Ministers and officials receive a wide variety of representations from organisations in both the public and private sectors.

Details of ministerial and permanent secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/minister_hospitality.htm

Companies: British Overseas Territories

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice his Department has given to the Overseas Territories on public registers of beneficial ownership. [183412]

Mr Gauke: We are working closely with the Overseas Territories on beneficial ownership. The issue was discussed at the Joint Ministerial Council on 26 November where I explained why the UK firmly believes that a public registry of company beneficial ownership provides the best outcome for sound corporate behaviour; more effective law and tax enforcement; and helping authorities prevent misuse of companies for illicit purposes. We will continue to work with them as we implement our action plans and further develop policy.

Legal Costs

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated cost to his Department is of (a) internal counsel and legal cost and (b) external counsel and legal costs in the matter of the legal challenge to the remuneration provisions of the EU capital requirements legislation. [182997]

Nicky Morgan: The Government launched a legal challenge to the bonus cap and related provisions in the EU capital requirements directive 4, and capital requirements regulation in September 2013. Costs are expected to be in line with the information presented in the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee report (HC671) “Subsidiarity—monitoring by national parliaments: challenging a measure before the EU Court of Justice”, in September 2013.

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Minimum Wage

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers have been (a) recorded by HM Revenue and Customs, (b) prosecuted and (c) convicted for failure to pay eligible employees the national minimum wage in each of the last three years. [182832]

Mr Gauke: The Government take the enforcement of NMW very seriously and HMRC enforces the national minimum wage legislation on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and has done so since the introduction of NMW in April 1999. It does that by investigating all complaints made about employers suspected of not paying the minimum wage, in addition carrying out targeted enforcement where it identifies a high risk of non-payment of NMW.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) on 23 Apr 2013, Official Report, column 814W, for details of the number of non-compliant employers for the period requested.

I further refer the hon. Member to my answer to the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy) on 8 October 2013, Official Report, column 152W, with regard to prosecutions. There have been two successful criminal prosecutions pursued in the last four years, both under this Government.

Tax Allowances: Cultural Heritage

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) value of tax exempt heritage assets in Scotland. [183349]

Mr Gauke: Information about the number of tax exempt heritage assets in Scotland is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information about values of assets qualifying for conditional exemption are not recorded because there is no operational reason to do so.

Tax Allowances: Pensions

Mr Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the distributional effects of tax relief on pension contributions; [183439]

(2) what proportion of total tax relief on pension contributions is attributable to contributions to (a) defined benefit schemes and (b) defined contribution schemes; [183440]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effect of the annual allowance for pension contributions on (a) defined contribution schemes and (b) defined benefit schemes. [183441]

Mr Gauke: Tax relief on pension contributions is given at an individual's marginal tax rate as the primary incentive through which the Government encourage pension savings. In 2011-12 an estimated £34.9 billion of tax relief was provided on contributions to approved pensions schemes:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/pension-stats/pen6.pdf

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It has been estimated that around one third of this relief goes to Basic Rate taxpayers; the remainder to Higher and Additional Rate taxpayers.

HMRC publishes statistics on contributions to personal pensions at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/pension-stats.htm

However, robust estimates of the proportion of relief which is attributable to contributions to defined benefit and defined contribution schemes are not available.

The annual allowance limits the total amount of tax relief that an individual may receive on their pension savings in any single year (subject to the provision of three years carry forward). The rules that are used to test contributions against the allowance have been designed to ensure fairness between those contributing into defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. HMRC does not have an assessment of the effect of the annual allowance depending on the scheme type.

Taxation: Crown Dependencies

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much he expects the International Tax Compliance Regulations 2013 to raise from each of the individual Crown Dependencies in (a) Guernsey, (b) Jersey, (c) Isle of Man and (d) Gibraltar in (i) 2013-14, (ii) 2014-15, (iii) 2015-16, (iv) 2016-17 and (v) 2017-18. [181854]

Mr Gauke: As published at autumn statement 2013, the yield from the Crown Dependencies agreements and the disclosure facilities is forecast to be over £1 billion over the next five years.

Thames Garden Bridge

Mary Creagh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) capital and (b) revenue costs of the proposed Garden Bridge in London; and if he will provide a breakdown of those costs. [183357]

Danny Alexander: The Government have committed to provide £30 million towards the cost of the Garden Bridge. This is conditional on a business case demonstrating that the project represents good value for money. Transport for London will match this £30 million contribution.

The remaining funding will be secured through private sources by the Garden Bridge Trust.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public funding has been allocated to the proposed Garden Bridge project in London; and how much private funding has been secured for that purpose. [183358]

Danny Alexander: The Government have committed to provide £30 million towards the cost of the Garden Bridge. This is conditional on a business case demonstrating that the project represents good value for money. Transport for London will match this £30 million contribution.

The Garden Bridge Trust is responsible for securing the necessary private funding for the scheme.

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Tonnage Tax

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much corporation tax was paid each year for the last five years under the tonnage system by UK-based shipping companies. [182923]

Mr Gauke: The following table shows estimated tax liabilities due to tonnage tax for each year from 2007 to 2011 (the latest year for which full data are currently available):

Calendar yearTax liabilities rounded (£ million)

2007

4.3

2008

4.4

2009

4.6

2010

4.6

2011

4.4

VAT: Exports

Mr Blunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the role the VAT Retail Export scheme plays in attracting tourists to the UK. [183098]

Mr Gauke: HMRC carried out a formal consultation on the VAT Retail Export Scheme between 1 July and 30 September 2013. Many respondents felt that tax free shopping makes a positive contribution to making the UK an attractive destination for shopping and promotes the retail sector. There is more information in the Summary of Responses to the consultation at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/vat-retail-export-scheme

Transport

Bank Services

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with what bank his Department's bank overdraft is held; and what fees and charges were payable on the core Department's bank overdraft in the last financial year. [183257]

Stephen Hammond: Unless there is a commercial reason, the Department for Transport's banking is done through the Government Banking Service (GBS), the banking shared service provider to government and the wider public sector.

GBS bank accounts do not have a standard overdraft facility and the Department is governed by HM Treasury's publication "Managing Public Money". This explains how to handle public funds with probity and in the public interest.

Guidance at Annex 5.6 provides the following:

A5.6.6 As a matter of good financial management, public sector organisations should never go overdrawn. Exchequer costs rise if unplanned large payments are not forecast in advance. So overdrafts will normally bear penalty interest at current base rate plus 2%.

Overdraft fees for the last financial year were zero.

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Buildings

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which buildings occupied by his Department are owned or part-owned privately; what the total value is of the rent paid to private landlords for the use of such buildings for official duties; and to whom such rent is paid. [183646]

Stephen Hammond: As part of the Government's transparency agenda information about Department for Transport properties is published on the data.gov.uk website. Information on the properties owned and leased by the Department, as well as total property costs, is available via the following weblink:

http://data.gov.uk/dataset/epims

The specific information requested on rental payments is not centrally recorded and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Driving: Licensing

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to introduce legislative proposals to implement EU Directive 2012/36/EU. [182830]

Stephen Hammond: We shall be introducing legislative proposals to implement EU Directive 2012/36/EU before spring 2014.

Driving: Young People

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to reduce the cost of car insurance for young drivers. [183438]

Mr Goodwill: The setting of premiums is a commercial decision for individual insurers based on their underwriting experience. The Government are concerned about the increase in insurance costs.

The Government are considering how to improve the way people learn to drive and are tested; to improve the road safety education of young people; and to provide opportunities for additional training for newly-qualified drivers.

Young drivers continue to be some of the most “at risk” road users and are seeing some of the highest premiums. However, we have noted that in recent months all insurance premiums, including those for young drivers, appear to be falling. We are looking at ways to improve safety and thus drive down the costs of their insurance.

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2013, Official Report, column 629W, on driving: young people, what his timetable is for consideration of the issue of young driver safety. [183503]

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department plans to publish the Green Paper on young driver safety. [183408]

Mr Goodwill: At present, there is no timetable for issuing the Green Paper on the safety of young drivers. It is vital that the Government strike the right balance

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so that young drivers remain safe on our roads but at the same time their freedom is not restricted. We feel that it is important that all views are considered and the right decision is made. We will issue a paper when we have considered this further.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many prosecutions have been undertaken by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency against owners of foreign-registered vehicles that have remained in the UK beyond registration deadline in the last year. [183615]

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has not taken forward any prosecutions against owners of foreign-registered vehicles that have remained in the UK beyond the six-month exemption period in the last year.

Motorways

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to implement recommendation 10 of the preliminary report of the Review of Investigation and Closure Procedures for Motorway Incidents, published in May 2011. [183704]

Mr Goodwill: In April 2013, a Performance Specification for the Highways Agency was introduced in which specific outputs for Incident Management are set out. This includes the expectation to reduce the overall mean duration of incidents on motorways compared to 2012-13. The Highways Agency produces detailed performance data by geographic region and by route to assess the performance of its incident management operations. This is then monitored regularly by officials in the Department for Transport.

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of three-dimensional laser scanning technology in reducing motorway closure times; and if he will provide further roll-out to police forces subsequent to the funding awards made in December 2011. [183707]

Mr Goodwill: Monitoring of laser scanner use by police forces shows a time saving of over 40 minutes. Police forces have been challenged recently by Ministers to use scanners more and we will consider further funding awards in due course.

Offshore Industry

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 2 December 2013, Official Report, column 506W, on offshore industry, for what reasons the (a) Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma Mk 1 and (b) Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma models do not feature in the table provided; and if he will provide the information requested in relation to these helicopter models. [182819]

Mr Goodwill: The table published on 2 December sets out that there are 21 Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma (Mk 1) helicopters operated from Aberdeen. The table also

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sets out that there are 20 AS332 Super Puma (Mk II) helicopters operated from Aberdeen. A transcription error in the description of the Super Puma Mk IIs incorrectly attributed a Eurocopter type AS332, which should be replaced with type EC225.

Railway Network

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what improvements to the UK rail network are required by the Trans-European Conventional Rail Network. [182856]

Mr Goodwill: The new TEN-T regulation has a dual layer network from 2014: a Comprehensive Network (defined by member states), providing connectivity into a more focused Core Network (defined by the Commission) which brings together routes, nodes and hubs of strategic importance for transport flows within the internal market and between the EU and its neighbours. There is no Conventional Network.

The regulation has four main standards which the Commission sees as key to delivering interoperability and better modal integration for the rail network:

full electrification of the TEN-T Network;

deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS);

the ability to accommodate 740 m freight trains on Core Network freight lines; and

core ports and airports identified in the TEN-T regulation to be linked to the TEN-T rail network by 2030 and 2050 respectively.

We believe that the final compromise text contains sufficient flexibility in relation to technical standards, infrastructure developments and deadlines by recognising the need to take account of member states' finances and to consider the economic viability of projects.

Energy and Climate Change

Electricity Generation

Sir Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what comparative assessment he has made of outage times and percentages for large efficient electricity-generating plant in the UK and similar plant (a) in Hong Kong and (b) internationally. [183700]

Michael Fallon: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey) has made no such comparative assessment.

Sir Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that the most efficient plants are operating for a best-in-class proportion of time by international standards; and if he will make a statement. [183713]

Michael Fallon: It is for power station operators to schedule the running of their plant, as they are incentivised through the market to maintain efficient operations.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 16W

Energy: Industry

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of jobs that will be created in the UK supply chain for the energy industry as a result of the provisions of the Energy Act 2013. [183326]

Michael Fallon: The Electricity Market Reform programme, which is implemented through provisions in the Energy Act 2013, could support up to a quarter of a million jobs by 2020 in the UK directly and through supply chains. The Department has not made an assessment of the split between jobs supported directly and through the supply chain.

Electricity market reform is already having an impact on investment and therefore employment. In October 2013 the key terms of an investment contract were agreed for Hinkley Point C, paving the way for construction of the first new UK nuclear power station in a generation. There has been a high level of interest in the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process and DECC has sent draft investment contracts to the 16 projects progressing in this process.

Fracking

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the research conducted by the University of Missouri School of Medicine into the release of endocrine-disrupting chemicals from fracking drilling in the US and its relevance for the regulation of the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reserves in the UK. [183104]

Michael Fallon: Public Health England will consider the University of Missouri School of Medicine's research as part of its review of the potential public health impacts of exposures to chemical land radioactive pollutants as a result of shale gas extraction. Public Health England's final report is due to be published in the summer of this year.

Operators will not be able to use chemicals for well stimulation unless the Environment Agency considers them acceptable for use. Any substances, including endocrine disruptors that are sufficiently persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic would be defined as hazardous. The Environment Agency will not permit the use of substances that are hazardous to groundwater in hydraulic fracturing, where there is a risk that these will, or might enter groundwater. The chemicals proposed for use will be listed in the operator's waste management plan, which will be publicly available.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the evidential basis is of the Prime Minister's statement on 13 January 2014 that the UK has the strongest environmental controls over the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas. [183143]

Michael Fallon: The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering's report “Shale Gas Extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing”, published in June 2012 concluded that environmental (and health and safety) risks associated with hydraulic fracturing could be managed effectively in the UK

“as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation”.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 17W

They also commended the UK's goal-based approach which fosters innovation and continuous improvement to risk management.

The UK has over 50 years of experience of regulating the onshore oil and gas industry nationally, and the Health and Safety Executive and UK environmental regulators are widely recognised as excellent organisations. We have a strong regulatory regime for exploratory activities and we will look continuously to improve it as the industry develops.

Warm Home Discount Scheme: Coventry

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in (a) Coventry and (b) Coventry North East constituency have received assistance from the warm home discount scheme. [183516]

Gregory Barker: Regional or constituency data are not available for the number of people applying for or receiving assistance under the warm home discount.

In 2012-13, an overall total of 1,157,879 pensioners received a core group rebate of £130 under the warm home discount scheme across Great Britain.

In addition to the core group rebates in 2012-13, 489,494 low income and vulnerable households received a £130 rebate by applying to their energy supplier under the broader group.

Furthermore, 966,823 customers received bill support under the legacy spending elements of the scheme.

A full annual report on the operation of warm home discount in 2012-13 has been published by Ofgem and is available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/warm-home-discount-annual-report-scheme-year-2

Leader of the House

Bank Services

Chris Leslie: To ask the Leader of the House with what bank his Office's bank overdraft is held; and what fees and charges were payable on the core Department's bank overdraft in the last financial year. [183253]

Mr Lansley: The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office. All core Departments bank with the Government Banking Service (GBS). This ensures that balances held in these accounts are held within the Exchequer at the Bank of England. The GBS does not offer overdraft facilities.

Training

Chris Leslie: To ask the Leader of the House which Ministers in his Office have undertaken training courses; and in the case of each such course what the (a) name of the course provider was, (b) purpose of the course was and (c) cost of each session in the course was. [183230]

Mr Lansley: The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office. Our answer will be included in the response by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, shortly.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 18W

Wales

Bank Services

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales with what bank his Department's bank overdraft is held; and what fees and charges were payable on the core Department's bank overdraft in the last financial year. [183259]

Stephen Crabb: All core Departments bank with the Government Banking Service (GBS). This ensures that balances held in these accounts are held within the Exchequer at the Bank of England. The GBS does not offer overdraft facilities.

Training

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which Ministers in his Department have undertaken training courses; and in the case of each such course what the (a) name of the course provider was, (b) purpose of the course was and (c) cost of each session in the course was. [183235]

Stephen Crabb: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales has undertaken Welsh language tuition since November 2012. The tuition is provided by City Lit, and its cost forms part of a broader package of Welsh language tuition provided to Wales Office Ministers and staff. These costs are not itemised by individual.

Work Experience

Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people aged (a) 16 and under and (b) over 16 years old undertook work experience in his Department in each of the last three years. [183672]

Stephen Crabb: In 2011, two people over 16 years old undertook work experience in the Wales Office. No work experience was undertaken in 2012 or 2013.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture: Subsidies

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the Common Agricultural Payment compulsory standard for the single farm payment on flood risks. [183110]

George Eustice: Farmers applying for payments under the common agricultural policy are required to meet certain rules under cross-compliance. Assessment of flood risk does not form part of the general considerations for setting these rules. However, rules covering soil issues such as run-off and compaction do contain measures which can contribute towards reducing flood risk.

Bovine Tuberculosis: South West

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to publish the Independent Expert Panel report on the recent pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire. [183504]

20 Jan 2014 : Column 19W

George Eustice: The Independent Expert Panel continues to consider the results of the pilots and prepare its report. As an independent body the timing of its report's completion and submission to Ministers is ultimately a matter for the panel.

Floods: Yorkshire and the Humber

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy and its ability to better protect local communities from flooding in the future. [183617]

Dan Rogerson: The Environment Agency is currently reviewing and updating the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy with the six local authorities in the area: Hull, East Riding, North and North East Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, East Lindsey. The update will ensure that learning from the recent and historic flood events, as well as the effects of climate change, and potential future impacts of flooding on communities are considered.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department issues to medical establishments who use horses on the regulation and disposal of carcasses. [182621]

Norman Baker [holding answer 14 January 2014]: The release of all animals from the controls of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is given in section 17A and standard condition 24 of the project licence. The Act states that:

(3) The Secretary of State must not consent to the setting free or re-homing of a relevant protected animal unless satisfied

(a) that the animal's state of health allows it to be set free or re-homed;

(b) that the setting free or re-homing of the animal poses no danger to public health, animal health or the environment;

(c) that there is an adequate scheme in place for ensuring the socialisation of the animal upon being set free or re-homed; and

(d) that other appropriate measures have been taken to safeguard the animal's wellbeing upon being set free or re-homed.

Our advice to establishments is that they need to comply with all relevant legislation, which includes that administered by the Food Standards Agency, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many medical research establishments in the UK are licensed to use horses in procedures. [182722]

Norman Baker [holding answer 14 January 2014]: There are approximately 20 establishments licensed to hold horses for regulated procedures. Not all of these carry out such work on a regular basis. During 2012 there were 11 licensed establishments that used horses or other equids in scientific procedures.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 20W

Bovine Tuberculosis

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to the public purse has been of policing the badger cull for the (a) original six-week period and (b) extension period in (i) Gloucestershire and (ii) Somerset. [183823]

Damian Green: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 14 January 2014, Official Report, column 462W.

Cannabis

Sir Roger Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will bring forward legislative proposals to make over-the-counter retail sales of cannabis seed illegal; and if she will make a statement. [163719]

Norman Baker [holding answer 9 July 2013]: There are no current plans to bring the seeds of the cannabis plant under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

They do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes the unauthorised cultivation of cannabis, for whatever purpose, a criminal offence punishable with up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine. Any attempt therefore to germinate cannabis seeds is illegal. It is also an offence to incite a person to cultivate cannabis.

We do not condone the use, supply or cultivation of cannabis and have an open dialogue with law enforcement and other partners to ensure our legislative framework is robust.

Corruption

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department plans to complete and publish the national anti-corruption action plan. [183394]

James Brokenshire: The UK Government will, for the first time, bring together all of the UK's anti-corruption efforts under one cross-departmental anti-corruption plan. We aim to complete the plan by the summer.

Crime: Havering

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of recent trends in the level of crime in the London borough of Havering. [183039]

Norman Baker: The Home Office collects data on offences recorded by police at Community Safety Partnership (CSP) level. The table provided shows the total number of offences (excluding fraud) recorded in the Havering CSP in each of the last five years.

Total offences in Havering CSP (excluding fraud offences), last five years to June
Year toNumber

June 2009

16,551

June 2010

16,477

June 2011

16,767

June 2012

16,140

20 Jan 2014 : Column 21W

June 2013

15,494

Note: For the year ending June 2013 figures, ONS published headline national crime figures that include centralised (Action Fraud) recording of fraud and a separate series which excluded fraud. Due to the staggered move of recording fraud offences by forces to Action Fraud, the figure excludes fraud offences to allow for consistent comparisons.

Driving Offences

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-UK registered vehicles were found to be on UK roads illegally because (a) the driver was not insured, (b) the vehicle lacked a valid tax disc and (c) the vehicle lacked a valid MOT by (i) county and (ii) police force area in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [182605]

Norman Baker [holding answer 14 January 2014]: The Home Office does not collect this information.

Drugs: Misuse

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking in response to the UN Secretary General's call for member states to conduct a wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options on drugs policy. [182884]

Norman Baker: The UK coalition Government is committed to working with the international community, including through the UN and EU, to address the significant harms drugs cause to individuals, families and communities.

The March 2014 UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs will be an important forum for the debate on how the international community can work together to ensure the global approach to drugs is as effective as it can be. We will continue to advocate a balanced and evidence-based international response that combines effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery.

We are building on the commitment in the 2010 Drug Strategy to “review new evidence on what works in other countries and what we can learn from it” by undertaking a study that will gather evidence on best practice in other countries.

As part of the study, the former Minister for Crime Prevention, Jeremy Browne MP, visited Portugal, Denmark,

20 Jan 2014 : Column 22W

Sweden, South Korea, Japan, USA and Canada. I visited the Czech Republic and officials went to Switzerland in December last year and we plan to hold a video conference with New Zealand in the near future.

Immigrants: Detainees

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals are currently held in prisons solely on immigration grounds. [178356]

Mr Harper [holding answer 11 December 2013]: For the week commencing 2 December 2013, there were 957 immigration detainees held in prisons.

Primates: Imports

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-human primates by (a) species and (b) country of origin were imported into the UK for the purposes of scientific research in each month of (i) 2012 and (ii) 2013; and how many such non-human primates in each category were (A) wild-caught, (B) F1 generation and (C) captive-bred. [182703][Official Report, 29 January 2014, Vol. 574, c. 3-6MC.]

Norman Baker: During 2012, a total of 1,367 non-human primates were imported into the UK for use in regulated procedures. This number comprised 38 rhesus macaques bred in China and 1,329 cynomolgus macaques bred in China, Vietnam and Mauritius. All 1,367 animals were captive-bred including 676 which were F1 generation (the offspring, bred in captivity, of at least one wild-caught parent). No wild-caught animals were imported from any source. These figures, by month, are summarised in the following table.

Since 1 January 2013, when the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (the Act) was amended to transpose European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, there has been no requirement to notify the Home Office of the acquisition from overseas breeding centres of non-human primates for use in regulated procedures. Hence we do not hold any information relating to the numbers of such imports for 2013.

Nevertheless, the Act requires that non-human primates used in procedures must have been bred for that purpose unless an exemption has been granted to use animals taken from the wild. No such exemption was granted during 2013 and therefore all those imported must have been captive bred for use in procedures.

Number of non-human primates imported into the UK for use in regulated procedures by species, country of origin, month of year and captive-bred status
SpeciesCountry of originNo. of animalsJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal

Rhesus macaque

China

Wild-caught

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

F1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

Total Captive-bred

42

0

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

30

0

80

                

Cynomolgus macaque

China

Wild-caught

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

F1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

20 Jan 2014 : Column 23W

20 Jan 2014 : Column 24W

  

Total Captive-bred

0

0

0

0

0

43

26

0

0

0

0

0

69

                
 

Mauritius

Wild-caught

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

F1

135

0

58

39

82

38

0

145

83

52

87

92

811

  

Total Captive-bred

148

0

90

60

90

38

0

185

90

52

100

100

953

                
 

Vietnam

Wild-caught

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

F1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

  

Total Captive-bred

0

0

80

0

0

47

80

88

80

0

80

0

455

Procurement

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff of each grade in her Department have the authority to make a purchase; what proportion of those staff have professional procurement qualifications; and what the key indicators used to assess procurement officers’ performance are. [183476]

James Brokenshire: The number of staff broken down by grade in the Home Department that have the authority to make a purchase as at September 2013 is provided in the following table.

Staff gradeTotal

SCS

6

Grade 6/7

64

HEO/SEO

93

EO

33

AA/AO

7

Total

203

Of the total number of staff that have the authority to make a purchase (as at September 2013) 71 staff have professional procurement qualifications.

The key indicators used to assess procurement officers’ performance are based on the Government Core Competencies, including commercial competencies, which form part of the annual performance development review.

Sexual Offences

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 6 January 2014, Official Report, column 42W, on sexual offences, how many sexual offences were reported to the police in the most recent year for which figures are available; what the proportion of historical sexual offences are not yet on the data hub; and if she will publish all such figures not on the data hub. [182598]

Norman Baker: Data held centrally refer to crimes recorded by the police as opposed to crimes reported to the police. Police forces in England and Wales recorded 55,812 sexual offences in the year to June 2013.

The historical sexual offences analysis referred to in the question was calculated using available Home Office Data Hub (HODH) data for the 23 forces already supplying the detailed data via this method. In the year to June 2013, these forces accounted for around a half of police recorded sexual offences.

Consequently, around half of the sexual offences recorded in the year to June 2013 are recorded by forces that are not currently on the HODH.

Forces not currently supplying data to the HODH do not provide information on the date the offence took place. Therefore, the Home Office does not hold such figures for those forces.

Sexual Offences: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to support (a) Peterborough city council and (b) other statutory bodies in their efforts to combat grooming and sexual exploitation of young women in Peterborough constituency; and if she will make a statement. [182483]

Norman Baker [holding answer 13 January 2014]: The Home Office has established a National Group to tackle sexual violence against children and vulnerable people. This brings together agencies including the Crown Prosecution Service, the police and key organisations such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Rape Crisis and Barnardo’s to better identify those who are at risk and to urgently address missed opportunities by agencies to protect the most vulnerable. The National Group’s first progress report and action plan was published in July 2013 and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/230443/Sexual_Violence_against_ Children_and_Vulnerable_People.pdf

In addition, specific work is being undertaken to support local areas to tackle sexual exploitation. The National Group has overseen the publication of an early findings report for local areas, such as Peterborough, to consider key themes and barriers encountered in delivering multi-agency working and information sharing models. These approaches bring together key agencies to provide early intervention to combat a range of

20 Jan 2014 : Column 25W

safeguarding risks to vulnerable people, including the risk of grooming and sexual exploitation of at risk children and adults.

Training

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which Ministers in her Department have undertaken training courses; and in the case of each such course what the (a) name of the course provider was, (b) purpose of the course was and (c) cost of each session in the course was. [183227]

James Brokenshire: Home Office Ministers have not undertaken any training courses in this current Session of Parliament.

Vetting

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employers and organisations are registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS); how many such employers and organisations have registered with the DBS Update Service; and how many have requested a certificate check through the Update Service in the last six months. [182890]

James Brokenshire: There are currently 3,533 bodies registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). 77,341 individuals had subscribed to the Update Service by the end of December 2013. Using the Update Service, with an individual’s permission, employers and organisations are able to check whether any new information has been recorded since the date the DBS certificate was issued.

56,768 such status checks had been made by the end of December 2013.

Justice

Bank Services

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with what bank his Department's bank overdraft is held; and what fees and charges were payable on the core Department's bank overdraft in the last financial year. [183252]

Mr Vara: The Ministry of Justice banks with the Government Banking Service. There is no overdraft facility and therefore no bank charges relating to this in the last financial year.

Employment Tribunals Service: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) which body has statutory responsibility for the independent reviewing of complaint handling in relation to employment judges sitting in Scotland; and if he will make a statement; [183121]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Lord President of the Court of Session on responsibility for the independent review of complaints handling in relation to employment judges sitting in Scotland; and if he will make a statement; [183122]

20 Jan 2014 : Column 26W

(3) what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the responsibility for independent review of the handling of complaints in relation to employment judges sitting in Scotland. [183126]

Mr Vara: The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), has not had any discussions with the Lord President or the Scottish Government; however, he is aware that an issue currently exists in relation to Employment Judges in Scotland in that they are not covered by the judicial conduct and discipline process provided for under the Judiciary Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 (Scottish courts judiciary) or the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (England and Wales courts and tribunals judiciary and UK tribunals). The matter has also been raised by the Lord President with the Advocate General for Scotland and will be brought to the attention of the relevant departmental interest.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what consideration he has given to widening the application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to cover examination boards. [182482]

Simon Hughes: The coalition agreement contains a commitment to extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act (the Act) to provide greater transparency. We have extended the Act to companies wholly owned by more than one public authority, academies, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Financial Ombudsman Service, and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. We continue to consider whether the scope of the Act should be further extended, including to awarding bodies (examination boards) in respect of any functions of a public nature that they may perform.

Government Procurement Card

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when his Department last published details of expenditure of over £500 using Government procurement cards. [183066]

Mr Vara: The Ministry of Justice has published details of all GPC transactions of £500 and above from April 2011 up until, and including, December 2012.

Work to update our transparency data to ensure their accuracy is ongoing and we will publish our 2013 figures in due course.

Human Trafficking: Victim Support Schemes

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice where each of the referrals to the Government-funded support service for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales administered by the Salvation Army is now located; what contact is made with such people at the end of the 45-day reflection period; and if he will make a statement. [182091]

Damian Green: Since 1 July 2011 the Salvation Army has been contracted to provide support and assistance to adult victims of human trafficking for a minimum of 45 days or until a victims receives a “Conclusive Grounds”

20 Jan 2014 : Column 27W

decision. Under the terms of their contract with the Ministry of Justice, the Salvation Army is not required to maintain contact or record information on the location of victims once they have exited contract services. However TSA and its sub-contractors work closely with a range of other partners to ensure that victims continue to receive support if it is needed.

If victims have a right to reside in the UK they may have access to mainstream benefits and will receive support services as needed from local authorities and other mainstream support provision. If a victim wishes to return to their home country, and it is safe to do so, they will be supported in their return by the appropriate authorities.

NHS: Freedom of Information

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward legislative proposals to broaden Freedom of Information legislation so that the same transparency requirements apply to private providers who deliver NHS services as the public sector. [182300]

Simon Hughes: The Government recognise the importance of maintaining transparency in relation to outsourced public services. The NHS Standard Contract already includes a provision requiring private providers to assist and co-operate with Commissioners to enable them to meet their obligations under the Freedom of Information Act (the Act). In our response to the Justice Select Committee's Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Act we also made clear that guidance will be provided in a revised Code of Practice to be issued under section 45 of the Act to promote openness by all contractors providing public services, including through the use and enforcement of contractual transparency provisions to encourage still greater openness.

Copies of the response to Post-Legislative Scrutiny can be found in the House Library and at the following web address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/217298/gov-resp-justice-comm-foi-act.pdf

Oakwood Prison

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on which occasions HMP Oakwood has called on Tornado-trained staff from other prisons to deal with disturbances since first opening. [182760]

Jeremy Wright: Operation Tornado is terminology used by the National Offender Management Service to describe mutual aid arrangements across the prison estate in England and Wales. These arrangements are in place to assist establishments responding to serious incidents, such as acts of concerted indiscipline, by providing specially trained resources above and beyond those already available at an establishment.

HM Prison Oakwood has called on Tornado-trained staff from other prisons on one occasion since opening, on 5 January 2014 for an act of concerted indiscipline. Tornado-trained staff were deployed mainly from G4S-run prisons with some additional support from public sector prisons.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 28W

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what qualifications, experience and expertise are required of those providing treatment for alcohol and drugs misuse to offenders upon release. [182882]

Jane Ellison: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Health.

For most people who provide drug and alcohol treatment, the qualifications required will depend on the job that they are doing.

Local authorities are responsible for commissioning a range of services to meet their local drug and alcohol treatment needs, including those of offenders leaving prison. Each of these commissioned agencies are responsible for developing the skills of their own staff to ensure they deliver effective treatment that responds to the recovery ambitions of service users. Royal colleges and other professional groups have guidance, training and certificates for their members who deliver alcohol and drug interventions. The Substance Misuse Skills Consortium has published a national skills framework, describing the treatment interventions that can be offered at different stages throughout a substance misuser's journey to recovery and where available the competencies needed to deliver these.

The consortium works with local areas and Public Health England, to enable employers and others to pursue a workforce strategy that is effective for recovery in the new locally-led public health landscape.

Prisoners’ Release

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department gives to companies who manage people on release from prison on steps to be taken to monitor the deaths of those under supervision. [183067]

Jeremy Wright: Probation trusts are currently responsible for managing offenders on release from prison while they are on licence. Guidance to trusts is contained in probation circular 37/2007: Revised Procedures for Monitoring Deaths under Supervision. This is available on the National Archive’s website at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20101216070244/http://www.probation.homeoffice.gov.uk/output/page31.asp

Under the transforming rehabilitation programme, the responsibility for managing offenders on licence in the community will be transferred to the national probation service (NPS) and community rehabilitation companies (CRCs). Updated guidance for NPS and CRCs will be published in due course.

Prisoners: Clothing

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that female prisoners have sufficient clothing; [183068]

(2) what steps he is taking to make sure that the restrictions imposed on parcels being sent to prisons do not prevent (a) male and (b) female prisoners from having sufficient clothing. [183069]

20 Jan 2014 : Column 29W

Jeremy Wright: There is a statutory requirement, under the prison rules, for convicted prisoners to be provided with clothing adequate for their warmth and health.

On 1 November 2013, the revised incentives and earned privileges (IEP) policy framework came into effect in all prisons in England and Wales. Prisoners who comply with the requirements of the framework can gain increased access to privileges, including greater access to their private cash and eligibility to obtain better paid work; such prisoners are also permitted to have a greater range of items in their possession. Prisoners who do not comply have reduced access to private cash and are allowed fewer items in their possession.

To allow families and friends to bring or send in property, including clothing, would undermine our efforts to ensure that prisoners are rewarded for positive behaviour and engaging with efforts to rehabilitate them. Governors have discretion to allow a one-off parcel of clothing to be handed in or sent in to prisoners (both male and female) following conviction.

However, it is generally presumed that items for convicted prisoners should not be handed in or sent in by their friends or families unless there are exceptional circumstances. Governors have discretion to determine what constitutes exceptional circumstances; this could include, for example, where there is a need to replace clothing where laundry facilities are temporarily restricted.

Prisons

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to improve performance at new prisons and implement lessons learnt from HM Prison Oakwood since that establishment's opening. [181675]

Jeremy Wright: We are constantly seeking to learn lessons to improve the running of the prison estate, both to improve security and to promote the rehabilitation of offenders.

Opening a new prison is a hugely complex operational and logistical task and the first two years of operation for any new prison are invariably challenging. The majority of prisons that have opened in the past 15 years have a mobilisation phase with performance improving over time.

The Ministry of Justice is working closely with the contractors managing the new prisons, to ensure that good practice is shared and that the contractors deliver to their contractual requirements, so that new prisons mature into well-run establishments that reduce the risk of future reoffending by those detained in them.

Prisons: Wrexham

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what effect the recent disturbance in HMP Oakwood will have on his Department's decision on whether the planned prison in Wrexham will be privately-run in part or in full; and if he will make a statement; [182206]

(2) how many jobs will be created when the new planned prison in Wrexham opens; [182208]

(3) whether the proposed prison in Wrexham will be run by the public sector. [182210]

20 Jan 2014 : Column 30W

Jeremy Wright: We are considering a full range of options relating to the operation of the new prison but no decisions have been made on whether the establishment will be operated by the public or private sector. We will identify a provider(s) for the prison who is able to deliver the best value for the public as well as providing a safe, secure and decent environment.

Final decisions on the staffing profile are dependent on the operator but we estimate that between 800 and 1,100 jobs will be created directly at the prison.

It is estimated that approximately 100 jobs will come from those staff working in the new prison and visitors to the prison spending on local goods and services.

In addition, (and based on previous experience), the new prison will provide significant job opportunities during the construction phase, many of which will be filled by local small to medium enterprises.

Probation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what staff turnover was in each probation trust in England and Wales in each month since 2010. [182864]

Jeremy Wright: Information on the number of staff leaving the Probation Service is not collected centrally. The 35 probation trusts are non-departmental public Bodies (NDPBs) and have their own HR systems. In order to answer the question it would be necessary to obtain the information from each probation trust and this would incur disproportionate costs.

Information on staffing levels at probation trust level is published in the Quarterly Probation Service Workforce Information reports. The link to the reports on GOV.UK is as follows:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/probation-service-workforce-quarterly-reports

Thameside Prison

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what account he took of recent fines for fraud when awarding Serco its contract to run Thameside Prison. [182327]

Jeremy Wright: The contract to run Thameside Prison was awarded to Serco in June 2010. Construction of the new house block at the prison is taking place following a variation to the existing contract.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to write to the hon. Member for Tooting with a full response to question (a) 178975, (b) 179774, (c) 180654, (d) 180660, (e) 180670 and (f) 180671. [182807]

Jeremy Wright: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave on 18 December 2013, Official Report, column 690W, to parliamentary question 179774.

In relation to the remaining questions; we are seeking information and I will reply to the right hon. Member as soon as possible.

20 Jan 2014 : Column 31W

Cabinet Office

Codes of Practice

Dr Huppert: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) with reference to his Department's freedom of information case FOI318708, on what date he plans to publish the latest review of the Precedent Book; [183404]

(2) from whom clearance for his Department's response to freedom of information case FOI318708 was required; and for what reason such clearance was required. [183405]

Mr Maude: Transfer of the 1993 version of the Precedent Book to the National Archives is expected to take place in 2014. The nature of the information contained in the Precedent Book requires consultation with interested parties.

Employment: Upper Bann

David Simpson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of people in Upper Bann constituency were employed in the (a) private and (b) public sector in each of the last three years. [182859]

Mr Hurd: This is a devolved matter that is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Honours: Durham

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which officials honours were bestowed upon people from County Durham in each of the last five years. [183018]

Greg Clark: The following table sets out the official honours on the Prime Minister's List awarded to those with addresses in Country Durham in 2009-14.

 KtDBECB/CBEOBEMBEBEMTotal

NY14

2

6

4

12

BD13

2

3

5

NY13

1

4

7

3

15

BD12

5

3

8

NY12

1

3

6

10

BD11

1

1

6

8

NYU

2

3

11

16

BD10

1

3

12

16

NY10

6

14

20

BD09

3

6

9

NY09

1

1

6

8

Total

1

6

26

81

13

127