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Emergency Services

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to promote the sharing of services between fire brigades and (a) police forces and (b) other local authorities. [186804]

Brandon Lewis: The Government support collaboration to drive efficiencies and a better, more joined up service to communities. We are committed to helping the sector to do this. My Department is making available to fire and rescue authorities £75 million of transformation funding for 2015-16 to drive transformational reform and deliver further efficiencies, including encouraging greater collaboration between fire, police and other authorities. A six-week technical consultation on the bidding process closed on 14 January 2014 and we expect the actual bidding process to commence shortly.

Equality

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) total departmental expenditure, (b) number and (c) cost of people employed for the purpose of promoting equality and diversity was for each of the last five years. [187654]

Brandon Lewis: In 2008-09, DCLG had a defined budget of £69,000 and £72,000 for 2009-10 and 2010-11 for promoting equality and diversity. This budget no longer exists.

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The Department for Communities and Local Government considers equality issues in exercising its functions, to comply with legislation and to ensure it understands how its activities affect specific groups in society. All staff working on policies and programmes therefore contribute to addressing equality and diversity issues through their day to day jobs and hence the overall total and total staff costs are not available centrally.

Fires: Death

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the full actuarial cost of fire deaths was in each of the last 10 years; [187224]

(2) how many fire deaths there were in each of the last 10 years. [187225]

Brandon Lewis: The Department has not calculated costs of fire fatalities.

The numbers of fire fatalities in England for each of the last 10 years are shown in the following table. This shows a sustained downward trend. In 2012-13 the number of fire fatalities was half that of the early 1990s. This is largely due to an increasing proportion of households owning a working smoke alarm.

Fire fatalities, England, 2003-04 to 2012-13
 Fire fatalities

2003-04

454

2004-05

371

2005-06

386

2006-07

364

2007-08

358

2008-09

323

2009-10

336

2010-11

331

2011-12

314

2012-13

286

Source: Fire Statistics Monitor, Department for Communities and Local Government: www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-statistics-monitor-april-to-september-2013

My Department's Fire Kills campaign directly seeks to raise and maintain public awareness of the importance of having a working smoke alarm.

First Time Buyers

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by the Government to assist first-time home buyers. [186780]

Kris Hopkins: This Government are committed to supporting people's aspirations to own their own home.

Since spring 2010, the Government have helped, or are now helping over 106,000 households to buy or reserve a property through a range of Government-backed home ownership schemes. A large portion of these are first time buyers. For example, by December 2013, around 90% of sales through the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme were to first time buyers. Moreover, by tackling the budget deficit inherited by the previous

13 Feb 2014 : Column 804W

Administration, this Government are helping first time buyers by enabling them to access low interest rates, making mortgages more accessible and affordable than would otherwise be the case.

In addition, the number of mortgages lent to first time buyers in November 2013 was 27,000—over 60% higher than May 2010 (16,300). The value of residential loans advanced to first time buyers is at its highest rate since 2007 (Bank of England, “Mortgage Lenders and Administrators Statistics”, 10 December 2013).

Floods

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of local authority (a) chief executives and (b) leaders in providing public reassurance and advice through local media during a flooding emergency. [186940]

Brandon Lewis: I have made no assessment of local authority leaders' or chief executives’, effectiveness, but I have been having discussions in the last few weeks with leaders of the all the local authorities affected by the 5 and 6 December severe weather and east coast tidal surge, and I and other Ministers are meeting councillors, local authority staff that are working with the emergency services, Environment Agency and a range of other agencies in many areas still experiencing flooding.

I have been impressed with the work that is being done by local authorities to help those communities that are suffering and we have pledged to give them all the support they need.

A meeting with the chairman of the Local Government Association is being convened shortly to discuss with leaders of some of the local authorities that suffered from the recent severe weather what has been learnt about effective local government response and how the lessons can be shared across all councils.

Housing: Older People

Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance he has given to (a) the Homes and Communities Agency and (b) other Government Departments on consideration of demand for retirement housing when disposing of public land assets. [186750]

Kris Hopkins: This Department has not issued guidance to either the Homes and Communities Agency or any other Government Department about the types of housing that should built when selling public land. The future use of public land sold by Government is determined by the local planning authority, which decides what type of housing the local area needs.

In August 2013, my Department published draft planning practice guidance on providing housing for older people and planning for an ageing population.

Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps he is taking to encourage the delivery of retirement housing for home-owners; [186753]

(2) if he will develop a national strategy for the delivery of retirement housing. [186755]

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Kris Hopkins: ‘Laying the foundations: a housing strategy for England (2011)’, set out the Government's new deal for older people's housing, with a better offer to support older people to live independently for longer.

The Government are investing £11.5 billion of capital in getting Britain building in the four years to 2015 supported by further private investment. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly requires local planning authorities to assess and then plan for the needs of older people, and introduced a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development.

The Government are also making available up to £315 million for the development of specialist housing for older people and disabled adults in addition to private investment. Phase 1 will deliver more than 3,000 homes across the country, and phase 2 will focus on stimulating the private market for developing housing to buy.

Planning Permission: Crystal Palace

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he, Ministers or officials of his Department have had with the Mayor of London and officials or members of the Greater London Authority and the London borough of Bromley on development of the upper site at Crystal Palace; and what the outcome of those discussions was. [187428]

Brandon Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Croydon North (Mr Reed), on 11 November 2013, Official Report, column 482W. I also refer the hon. Member to the speech I gave on 29 October 2013, Official Report, columns 898-900.

Officials from my Department have met representatives from the Greater London Authority and the London borough of Bromley on several occasions to discuss the initial proposals to recreate the Crystal Palace. These discussions have included the consideration of the existing legislation governing the Crystal Palace Park and what type of legislative options might be required to enable the rebuilding of the Crystal Palace.

No decisions have been made at this stage. My Department will remain engaged and further examine these issues over the coming months, once the ZhongRong Group have developed more detailed plans and consulted the public.

Right to Buy Scheme

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of preserved right-to-buy sales on affordable housing policy; [187164]

(2) how many replacement homes (a) are under construction or (b) have completed as a result of preserved right-to-buy sales subsequent to the enhanced discount introduced on 2 April 2012, by local authority; [187166]

(3) what plans he has to replace housing stock as a result of preserved right-to-buy sales. [187170]

Kris Hopkins: This Government wants to ensure that as many social tenants as possible are helped to achieve their home ownership aspirations. The preserved right-to-buy ensures that social tenants who were living in their homes at the time of a stock transfer maintain

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their important right to home ownership. Figures for preserved right-to-buy sales are collected by the Department on an annual basis. In the first year of the reinvigorated scheme (2012-13), there were 2,458 preserved right-to-buy sales. Sales data for previous years (table 648) can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-social-housing-sales

It is the Department's expectation that receipts from preserved right-to-buy sales should be used to help fund new homes for affordable rent, and we would encourage housing associations to work in partnership with local authorities.

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many replacement homes (a) are under construction or (b) have completed as a result of all right-to-buy sales subsequent to the enhanced discount introduced on 2 April 2012, by local authority. [187167]

Kris Hopkins: There were 1,662 homes started on site or acquired as a result of the right-to-buy scheme in England from April 2012 until September 2013. Figures are available at local authority level for the number of starts on site and acquisitions, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/259931/LT693.xls

There were 142 homes completed with local authority recycled right-to-buy receipts in England in 2012-13. Figures for the number of affordable homes completed with local authority recycled right-to-buy receipts by local authority in 2012-13 can be found in sheet I, columns BN and BO at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269847/lahs-data-returns-for-2012-13.xls

The Department therefore does not collect data on replacement homes as a result of the preserved right-to-buy scheme.

There will invariably be a certain time lag between the right-to-buy sale and the construction of the new build home, but the replacement timetable is in control of the local authority. If a council were to fail to spend the receipts within three years, it would be required to return the unspent money to Government with interest. This provides a strong financial incentive for any slow-coach councils to use this new funding and get on with building more homes for local people.

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what total amount of discount has been applied as part of the preserved right-to-buy sales in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13; [187169]

(2) what the total amount of discount is that has been applied as part of all right-to-buy sales in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13. [187171]

Kris Hopkins: The total amount of discount applied by local authorities in England as part of the right-to-buy scheme, and by private registered providers (housing associations) as part of the preserved right-to-buy scheme is as follows:

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£000
 Right-to-buy discountPreserved right-to-buy discount

2009-10

63,130

22,520

2010-11

73,115

26,890

2011-12

69,730

31,420

2012-13

307,687

123,195

Notes: 1. Figures on the total discount through right-to-buy in 2009-10 and 2010-11 have been estimated using the average discount per dwelling and the number of local authority dwellings sold, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249039/Table_682.xls 2. Figures for the total discount through right-to-buy in 2011-12 can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/274824/lahs-data-returns-for-2011-12_REVISED.xls 3. Figures for the total discount through right-to-buy in 2012-13 can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269847/lahs-data-returns-for-2012-13.xls 4. Figures on the total discount through preserved right-to-buy have been estimated using the average discount per dwelling and the number of private registered provider dwellings sold, which can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249039/Table_682.xls

This Government wants many more people to achieve the dream of home ownership. In the 1980s, the right-to-buy helped millions of people living in council housing achieve their aspiration of owning their home.

The right-to-buy gives something back to families who worked hard, paid their rent and played by the rules. It allows them to do up their home, change their front door and improve their garden, without getting permission from the council.

It gives people a sense of pride and ownership not just in their home, but in their street and neighbourhood, helping to build strong families and stable mixed communities. But the Labour Government made a succession of cuts to the right-to-buy, and this vital rung on the property ladder was all but removed. This Government are now putting it back by dramatically increasing the discount rates and eligibility, so that we support the dreams of those council tenants who to want to own the roof over their head.

The reinvigorated right-to-buy scheme will see any additional homes bought under the scheme leading directly to the provision of new affordable homes for rent, increasing the overall size of the housing stock and supporting construction and new house building.

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties have been sold under the preserved Right-to-Buy scheme in each of the last five years; what the average discount given to house buyers was under the scheme in those years; and if he will list this information by local authority area. [187334]

Kris Hopkins: Figures are not available at local authority area level for the number of dwellings sold by private registered providers (housing associations) and average discount under the preserved right to buy scheme. The national figures are as follows:

13 Feb 2014 : Column 808W

 Number of dwellingsAverage discount per dwelling (£)

2008-09

996

26,940

2009-10

804

28,010

2010-11

956

28,130

2011-12

1,106

28,410

2012-13

2,458

50,120

Note: Figures can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249039/Table_682.xls

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many properties were sold under the right-to-buy scheme in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12 and (d) 2012-13; and what the average discount given to house buyers was under that scheme in those years in each local authority area. [187163]

Kris Hopkins: Figures are available at local authority level for the annual number of dwellings sold under the right to buy scheme, and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249042/Table_685.xls

Figures for the average discount given under the right- to-buy scheme by local authorities are available at a national level at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249039/Table_682.xls

Local authority level data are available for total discount given under the right-to-buy scheme and number of sales. For 2012-13 total discount can be found in sheet B, column J, and number of dwellings sold in column H of the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269847/lahs-data-returns-for-2012-13.xls

For 2011-12 total discount can be found in sheet B, column H, and number of dwellings sold in column F of the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/274824/lahs-data-returns-for-2011-12_REVISED.xls

These data are not available prior to 2011-12 at local authority level.

This Government want many more people to achieve the dream of home ownership. In the 1980s, the right to buy helped millions of people living in council housing achieve their aspiration of owning their home.

The right-to-buy gives something back to families who worked hard, paid their rent and played by the rules. It allows them to do up their home, change their front door and improve their garden, without getting permission from the council.

It gives people a sense of pride and ownership not just in their home, but in their street and neighbourhood, helping to build strong families and stable mixed communities. But the Labour Government made a succession of cuts to the right to buy, and this vital rung on the property ladder was all but removed. This Government are putting it back by dramatically increasing the discount rates and eligibility, so that we support the dreams of those council tenants who want to own the roof over their head. The reinvigorated right to buy

13 Feb 2014 : Column 809W

scheme will see any additional homes bought under the scheme leading directly to the provision of new affordable homes for rent, increasing the overall size of the housing stock and supporting construction and new house building.

Travellers: South Staffordshire

Gavin Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to gain a more accurate representation of Gypsy and Traveller numbers in South Staffordshire constituency; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the duty of pitch provision is more evenly spread across all nearby local authority areas. [187181]

Brandon Lewis: The Government's planning policy for travellers is set out in “Planning policy for traveller sites” published in March 2012.

We are currently reviewing the associated practice guidance on Traveller site provision.

The Localism Act 2011 introduced a duty to co-operate, and we would encourage local authorities to work constructively with their neighbours on all aspects of planning.

I also refer my hon. Friend to my written ministerial statement of 17 January 2014, Official Report, column 34WS, which outlines our intention to consider the case for changes to the planning definition of Travellers.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Badger Cull

12. Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the findings of the badger cull pilots. [902570]

George Eustice: We are waiting for the Independent Expert Panel to report their findings. We will consider all the information these pilots have generated and decide on next steps in due course.

It is clear that should additional areas be culled this year, preparatory work needs to be started now. Natural England has published information and guidance on an Expression of Interest process as a first step in the preparations needed.

Flood Protection Schemes

13. Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many flood protection schemes are going ahead as a result of partnership funding. [902572]

Dan Rogerson: Of the 55 major schemes starting construction in 2014-15, 32 are going ahead as a result of partnership funding contributions.

Rabies

14. Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of existing arrangements to protect against rabies. [902574]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 810W

George Eustice: A comprehensive risk assessment carried out in 2011 prior to harmonisation with the EU Pet Travel Scheme concluded that the risk of a pet with rabies coming into the UK would remain very low and the risk of rabies being passed from a pet to a person would be lower still. We maintain a robust checking regime and constantly monitor the prevalence of rabies, as well as other high impact diseases, around the world.

Sea Angling

15. Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the economic value of sea angling. [902575]

George Eustice: The most recent assessment of the economic value of sea angling in England was published last November in Sea Angling 2012. This found that in 2012 English anglers spent £831 million on the sport. When indirect and induced effects are accounted for, this could support a total of £2.1 billion of spending. The report is available on the Marine Management Organisation website.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

16. Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his aims are for the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. [902576]

George Eustice: Today's conference (13 February 2014) aims to secure the high-level political commitment needed to tackle successfully the scourge of the illegal wildlife trade. It will address three interlinked issues: improving law enforcement; reducing demand; and supporting sustainable livelihoods for affected communities. The Government have convened this conference, but it is for all the Governments represented to demonstrate collective will by agreeing ambitious actions that will make a real difference on the ground.

British Produce

17. Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress he is making in opening new markets to imports of British produce. [902577]

George Eustice: In 2013 we opened 112 markets for animals and animal products including beef to Singapore; poultry, beef and lamb to Russia; pork, lamb and beef to the Dominican Republic; hatching eggs/day old chicks to Thailand. We also extended our access to Chinese markets for porcine products. This contributed to growth in exports of such products to non-EU markets of approximately £200 million.

Anaerobic Digestion

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance his Department issues to the Planning Inspectorate on what it should accept as the minimum proximity between anaerobic digester plant developments and non-agricultural residential properties. [187580]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 811W

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA has not issued any guidance to the Planning Inspectorate on the proximity between anaerobic digester plant developments and non-agricultural residential properties.

However, the Environment Agency has in place a position statement for biowaste treatment plants handling more than 500 tonnes of waste that are located within 250 metres of a dwelling or workplace. The position statement requires a site-specific bio-aerosol risk assessment to be carried out as part of the application for an environmental permit. Subject to this assessment, the Environment Agency may grant a permit imposing conditions to prevent the emission of bio-aerosols, in order to prevent harm to human health and the environment.

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to encourage an increase in on-farm anaerobic digestion. [902559]

Dan Rogerson: Last year DEFRA allocated £3 million from our Anaerobic Digestion Loan Fund to small-scale on-farm anaerobic digestion projects. As a first stage, the Waste and Resources Action Programme is providing grants to help farmers develop business cases. This will help farmers decide if anaerobic digestion is right for their farms. If so, the farm business can apply to the Waste and Resources Action Programme for a loan of up to £400,000.

Floods

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps he has taken to help local resilience forums (a) improve door-knocking in times of flood threat, (b) enhance flood warnings, (c) provide information and (d) assess welfare needs of those who have been affected by flooding. [186942]

Dan Rogerson: The Environment Agency works closely with local resilience forums (LRFs) to prepare for flooding and prepare multi-agency flood plans. The Environment Agency also works with LRFs to help communities prepare in advance of flooding, by developing volunteer flood warden and community self-help schemes.

In some situations LRFs support Environment Agency flood warnings with door-knocking. Environment Agency staff aim to visit before flooding, working alongside LRFs to provide advice and information.

The Environment Agency shares information with LRFs to enable them to plan for floods and assist communities. This includes flood risk maps, knowledge of anticipated flood impacts, live river and sea levels data and flood forecasts.

Floods: Shrewsbury

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what flood prevention measures have been undertaken in Shrewsbury in the last three years; and how many staff of (a) his Department and (b) the Environment Agency have been so employed. [197616]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 812W

Dan Rogerson: The Environment Agency constructed the £2.4 million Coleham Head flood risk management scheme in 2010, which reduces flood risk for 80 properties. Over the last three years this and the Environment Agency's Frankwell flood defence have been operational 11 times, protecting 150 properties.

The flood risk in Shrewsbury is managed by an integrated team of 72 that covers Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. It is therefore not easy to give an accurate number for Shrewsbury alone.

There are no DEFRA staff working on flood risk management who work specifically on flood prevention measures in Shrewsbury.

Floods: West Midlands

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on flood defences and flood prevention measures in (a) the West Midlands and (b) Shrewsbury in each of the last three years; and if he will provide additional funding to dredge the River Severn at Shrewsbury. [197615]

Dan Rogerson: £52.5 million has been spent in the West Midlands region over the last three years.

£2.8 million has been spent in Shrewsbury over the last three years. This includes £2.4 million on the Coleham Head flood risk management scheme in 2010, £62,000 on property level protection schemes and £341,000 on maintenance (£95,000 in 2011-12; £101,000 in 2012-13; £145,000 in 2013-14).

Funding is made available to reduce the risks of flooding rather than for any particular means of achieving that objective, such as dredging.

Fracking: Fylde

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what on-the-ground inspections have been planned by the Environment Agency for the two new proposed shale gas drilling sites in Fylde. [187304]

Dan Rogerson: If the sites identified by Cuadrilla at Little Plumpton and Roseacre are granted planning permission along with the required permits from the Environment Agency, the Agency would inspect the sites during the preparatory works and the operational life of the sites, as well as at the end of operations. This would be done at a frequency appropriate to the risks that the sites present to the environment.

Once operational work has begun, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency will conduct joint inspections of the key operations at the sites. These meetings and visits may include other licensing or statutory bodies as appropriate.

Insecticides: Inland Waterways

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what investigation his Department has carried out on the effects of neonicotinoids on waterways; and what monitoring the Government undertake on the effects of the neonicotinoids moratorium on the aquatic environment. [187007]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 813W

Dan Rogerson: The Environment Agency employs general surveillance monitoring at a range of sites which can detect the following neonicotinoids:

imidacloprid;

clothianidin;

thiacloprid;

acetamiprid; and

thiamethoxam.

A review of all monitoring data collected since 2009 (from a total of 3,400 surface and groundwater sites) was conducted in May 2013. There were no surface water detections for any of these neonicotinoids except thiamethoxam (detected in 15 samples at 12 sites).

Concentrations of thiamethoxam detected in surface water are below levels that are reported to have an effect on aquatic life. The Environment Agency is continuing to collect surveillance data for the aquatic environment and a future review of these data can be undertaken to check for the presence or absence of neonicotinoids.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will reply substantively to the letter from the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire of 25 July 2013, acknowledged by his Department on 2 October 2013, about Hartlebury Parish Council and the proposed main burn incinerator. [187545]

Dan Rogerson: My ministerial colleague, Lord de Mauley, replied to the hon. Member on 10 February.

Pay

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many civil servants are on each pay grade in (a) his Department and (b) agencies and public bodies accountable to him. [187245]

Dan Rogerson: The following table shows the number of civil servants (headcount) employed by core DEFRA and its five Executive Agencies in each grade on 31 January 2014.

 Core DEFRAAgencies

Apprentice

0

16

AA

12

142

AO

154

1,999

EO

334

1,516

HEO

595

977

SEO

356

647

Grade 7

426

507

Grade 6

96

190

SCS Pay Band 1

77

28

SCS Pay Band 2

16

5

SCS Pay Band 3

4

1

Permanent Secretary

1

0

Total

2,071

6,028

DEFRA's public bodies do not employ civil servants.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 814W

Rural Areas: Economic Growth

Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to promote economic growth in rural areas. [902571]

Dan Rogerson: Stimulating economic growth is the top priority for this Government. We want to see rural areas contributing to and benefiting from that growth. We are working to improve superfast broadband and mobile infrastructure in rural communities; piloting Rural Growth Networks to test different ways of helping businesses stimulate economic growth in rural areas; and boosting key sectors such as tourism. We are also increasing export potential and unblocking barriers to growth by removing red tape.

Winter Fuel Payments

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward winter fuel payments in order to protect pensioners from the price rise associated with off-grid energy at the onset of winter. [187116]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Government are currently investigating with the energy industry and MPs via the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Off-Gas Grid the feasibility of bringing forward the winter fuel payment date.

Education

Academies: Chelmsford

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the (a) take-up of places in and (b) performance of academies in the Chelmsford constituency. [187457]

Mr Timpson: There are 12 open academies in the Chelmsford constituency comprising five primary converter academies, five secondary converter academies and two special academies. Information on the capacity of schools is collected via the school capacity survey and the number of pupils on roll is collected via the school census. The latest data are available at school level in the publication ‘School capacity: academic year 2012 to 2013’.1

Data on the performance of academies in Chelmsford are available via the school performance tables.2

1https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-capacity-academic-year-2012-to-2013

2 http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance

Adoption

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on increasing the number of children adopted in England. [187220]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 815W

Mr Timpson: We are reforming the adoption system so that, where adoption is in the best interests of the child, children can be placed quickly in a stable and loving home.

Our reforms1 are designed to encourage more people to adopt and to reduce the time it takes for children to be placed with a loving family. This includes addressing a national shortage of adopters by recruiting and assessing adopters more quickly, working with local authorities to eradicate unnecessary delay highlighted by scorecard data, and improving support services to adoptive families.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/an-action-plan-for-adoption-tackling-delay

Buildings

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of the office space owned or leased by his Department is not in regular use; what the total (a) rental and (b) retail value is of all such unused office space; and if he will place in the Library a copy of his most recent departmental real estate valuation. [186863]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education assesses its properties as either being required to deliver departmental functions (core estate) or surplus to this requirement (non-core). The current classification system does not relate to the frequency of use and as a consequence we do not hold this information.

The Department does not hold the value of properties that it occupies under leasehold or memorandum of terms of occupation agreements. Due to commercial sensitivity and disposal plans, we are unable to release the values of freehold properties.

Since May 2010 the Department has reduced the size of its estate from 30 properties, at a cost of c. £51 million per annum, to 12 properties costing c. £34 million per annum. This is a saving of c. £17 million per annum. The Department’s current estate strategy includes further consolidation, reducing the size of the estate to six properties. During 2014, the Department will vacate Trust Court, Histon, realise additional sublet income to offset the rental costs of Earlsdon Park, and transfer surplus space in Piccadilly Gate, Manchester to another Government Department. These activities will achieve further savings to the Department of c. £600,000. The Department also plans to vacate Sanctuary Buildings at lease expiry in 2017.

When we complete our reduction programme in 2017, the Department will not lease or own any non-core property.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) name, (b) location, (c) floor space, (d) tenure status and (e) value is of properties (i) owned and (ii) occupied by (A) his Department and (B) agencies and public bodies accountable to him. [187284]

Elizabeth Truss: Details of the Department, agencies and public bodies’ properties owned and occupied can be found at the Government’s property and land asset database, available at:

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

13 Feb 2014 : Column 816W

The Department for Education does not hold the value of properties which it occupies under leasehold or memorandum of terms of occupation agreements. Due to commercial sensitivity and disposal plans, we are unable to release the values of the freehold properties.

Since May 2010, the Department has reduced the size of its estate from 30 properties, at a cost of circa £51 million per annum, to 11 properties costing circa £34 million per annum. This is a saving of circa £17 million per annum. The Department’s current estate strategy includes further consolidation, reducing the size of the estate to six properties. During 2014, the Department will vacate Trust Court, Histon, realise additional sub-let income to offset rental costs of Sanctuary Buildings and Earlsdon Park, as well as transfer surplus space in Piccadilly Gate, Manchester to another Government Department. These activities will achieve further savings to the Department of c. £2.5 million. The Department also plans to vacate Sanctuary Buildings at lease expiry in 2017.

Children: Internet

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what meetings he has had with individuals and representatives from organisations on online safety for children since 1 January 2013. [186788]

Mr Timpson: Responsibility for internet safety transferred to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in September 2013. However, the Department for Education maintains an interest in internet safety as I co-chair the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

The Council has met four times since 1 January 2013. In addition I met representatives of Apple on 12 February 2013. I have placed a copy of the letter following this meeting in the House Library.

Officials met UK Council for Child Internet Safety industry members frequently during 2013 to take forward progress on parental internet controls and other measures to keep children safe online.

Community Schools

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment his Department has made of the capacity of existing multiple academy trusts to take on the remaining community schools in (a) England and (b) Yorkshire. [187191]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education’s assessment is that there is currently sufficient sponsor capacity to support underperforming maintained schools in England and in the Yorkshire and Humberside region.

Maintained schools that are performing well can convert to become academies without the support of multi-academy trusts, although they may choose to join one.

When a school is underperforming, particularly when it is judged by Ofsted to have serious weaknesses or require special measures, the Department will attempt to find a sponsor capable of providing the support needed for transformational improvement.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 817W

Education: Fraud

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on how many occasions whistleblowers have reported alleged financial impropriety to the Education Funding Agency in each year of its operation. [186078]

Mr Timpson: Whistleblowers have reported alleged financial impropriety to the EFA on 36 occasions since April 2012; 10 in 2012 to 2013 and 26 in 2013 to 2014. We looked at each of these cases closely. Of these, 13 have resulted in a formal investigation and six are currently being assessed. In the other 17 cases, there was no evidence of financial impropriety. Appropriate advice or follow-up work was undertaken to address any residual concerns.

For comparison, 191 cases of fraud in local authority schools were reported to the Audit Commission last year.

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on how many occasions an Education Funding Agency (EFA) investigation into alleged financial impropriety has been undertaken in each year of the EFA's existence. [186117]

Mr Timpson: Since its inception on 2 April 2012, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has commissioned a total of 13 investigations into alleged financial impropriety. In 2012-13, there were six investigations and, to date, in 2013-14 there have been seven investigations.

Of these 13 cases, to date three have published investigation reports available online. Six cases are ongoing. In the remaining four cases, no financial impropriety was found. These four investigations were completed before new requirements came into force in the Academies Financial Handbook on 1 September 2013, stating that

“the EFA will publish reports into investigations it undertakes”.

Equality

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the (a) total departmental expenditure, (b) number and (c) cost of people employed for the purpose of promoting equality and diversity was for each of the last five years. [187637]

Elizabeth Truss: During the last three years the Department for Education has spent the following amount fulfilling its legal duties as an employer on equality and diversity:

Financial yearExpenditure (£)

2009-10

327,280

2010-11

152,605

2011-12

164,981

2012-13

184,953

The majority of this expenditure relates to providing reasonable adjustments for staff considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010, for example, providing assistive software and related training for staff with a visual impairment and adjustment of office equipment or furniture for staff with limited mobility.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 818W

During the last four years the numbers of officials who advise on equality and diversity matters and put in place reasonable adjustments are set out in the following table:

Financial yearStaff numbers (full-time equivalents)

2009-10

5

2010-11

4.25

2011-12

4.5

2012-13

3

Free Schools

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to ensure that free schools demonstrate compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty by publishing their equality information and objectives. [187140]

Mr Timpson: All academies, including free schools, are public authorities and must therefore publish relevant, proportionate information showing compliance with the equality duty, including their equality objectives. It is a condition of free school funding agreements that they fulfil their responsibilities under equality legislation. Where there is clear evidence that an academy is in breach of its obligations, the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), can take action, including the termination of the funding agreement. The Department for Education has issued advice to help all schools and academies on how the Equality Act 2010 affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act.1 Free schools are also made aware of their responsibilities as part of the pre-opening process.

In addition, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is responsible for ensuring that public authorities comply with their specific duties to publish information and can take action through the courts to enforce these duties if necessary.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment his Department has made of the per pupil place value for money of free schools; and what effect the acquisition of sites (a) in London and (b) outside London has on that value for money. [187184]

Mr Timpson: The per pupil place value for money of each free school is assessed before the capital budget is approved.

The Department for Education considers carefully how to maximise value for money on a project by project basis, including where there are a limited number of available sites, such as in some parts of London and other areas.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupil vacancies there are in free schools in (a) London and (b) England; and what proportion of free schools opened in (i) 2012 and (ii) 2013 have vacancies. [187185]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 819W

Mr Timpson: Information on pupil numbers is collected in the School Census.

The results of the spring 2014 collection, which will include up to date figures for free schools that opened in 2012 and 2013, are likely to be released in June 2014.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether any consented free school applications have been withdrawn to date by (a) the proposers in the community or (b) the proposed provider. [187186]

Mr Timpson: At 10 February 2014, 18 approved free school applications had been cancelled or withdrawn during the pre-opening process.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate his Department has made of the capital and revenue costs of free schools that (a) have been provided to date, (b) are to be provided in 2013-14 and (c) are projected to be provided in 2014-15. [187187]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education provides per-pupil revenue funding to free schools on the same basis as it does to all state schools. Free schools also receive funding during pre-opening intended to cover essential costs in developing the school, and post-opening funding to enable schools to cover their initial costs while they are growing their pupil numbers.

As the recent NAO report, ‘Establishing Free Schools (December 2013)' commented, free schools are being opened faster and with much lower capital costs than in previous programmes under the last Government.

General Annual Grant (per pupil) allocations for free schools open to date have been published on the Department's website at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/executiveagencies/efa/b00213953/academies-funding-2013-14/academyallocations1314

Details of the funding provided to free schools for pre and post-opening are in the Department's ‘How to apply guide' at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/free-schools-in-2014-how-to-apply-mainstream-and-16-to-19-free-schools

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many additional school places have been created by the free schools that (a) have been provided to date and (b) are projected to be provided in 2014-15. [187188]

Mr Timpson: 82,000 places will be provided by the 174 free schools opened so far.

This will increase by an estimated 62,000 once schools in the pipeline are open.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department's estimate of December 2012 that the 79 open free schools would create at least 34,000 additional school places was accurate. [187189]

Mr Timpson: It was.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average class size is in free schools open to date. [187190]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 820W

Mr Timpson: Information on class sizes, including those in free schools, is provided in the publication “Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2013”, which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2013

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what estimate his Department has made of the number of children with a statement of special educational needs being educated in free schools; [187192]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the number of children with (a) dyslexia and (b) dyspraxia being educated in free schools; [187193]

(3) what estimate his Department has made of the number of children being educated in free schools who qualify for free school meals. [187195]

Mr Timpson: Statistics on the number and percentage of pupils with a statement of special educational needs have been published in ‘Special educational needs in England: January 2013’.1 Table 1d (national tables) shows these statistics by type of academy, including free schools.

We do not collect information specifically on the number of pupils with dyslexia or dyspraxia. Where the pupil is identified as being at School Action Plus or has a statement of special educational needs, their primary need is collected. The category of primary need collected which covers dyslexia and dyspraxia is ‘Specific Learning Difficulty'. Data for the number and percentage of pupils with this primary need, by type of academy, are shown in Table 10b of the publication.

Statistics on the number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals have been published in ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2013’.2 Table 3c (national tables) shows these statistics for free schools.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/special-educational -needs-in-england-january-2013

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and -their-characteristics-january-2013

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of free schools which participate in the relevant local authority's admissions process to enable pupil place planning. [187194]

Mr Timpson: A number of the 174 open free schools chose to participate in the local system of co-ordinated admissions as soon as they opened despite all of them having the option of being outside of co-ordination in their first year. They will normally have their arrangements published in the local authority composite admissions prospectus for parents to see. All schools must participate in the local system of co-ordination after their first year of opening.

Whether or not a school is within the system of co-ordinated admissions will not affect the ability of a local authority to plan its pupil places. As free school capacity figures are published, local authorities will be able to take them into account in planning places in their areas.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 821W

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions he has had with HM Chief Inspector of Schools about the performance of free schools. [187196]

Mr Timpson: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), meets regularly with Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to discuss a wide range of issues, including the performance of free schools.

Further Education: Finance

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2014, Official Report, column 540W, on further education: finance, if he will report to the House the options his Department is considering by the end of the 2013-14 session of Parliament. [186851]

Matthew Hancock: As the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), told the Education Committee recently, he will consider options to mitigate the impact of the decision, but he has made no firm commitments.

GCSE: Chelmsford

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of pupils in Chelmsford constituency achieved no GCSEs at A* to C grade in 2012-13. [187459]

Mr Laws: The proportion of pupils in Chelmsford constituency achieving no GCSEs (including equivalencies) at grades A* to C was 4.8% in 2012/13. In 2009/10, 15.2% of pupils in Chelmsford constituency achieved no GCSEs (including equivalencies) at grades A* to C.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North of 7 January 2014 on funding for 18-year-old full-time students in further education colleges; and for what reasons that letter was transferred to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and then transferred back to his Department. [187465]

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he received the letter from the hon. Member for Birkenhead of 18 December 2013 regarding Education Funding Agency guidelines for funding for 2014-15; and when he plans to reply to that letter. [187537]

Matthew Hancock: I replied to both letters on 10 February. The letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) had not been transferred between Departments. My role as Minister for Skills and Enterprise meant that officials in both the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had an interest in it.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 822W

Ofsted

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding his Department has provided to Ofsted in each year since 2010; and how much such funding he plans to provide in each year to 2015-16; and what proportion of such funding is used for inspection of (a) early years and childcare, (b) children and family services, (c) schools and (d) further education and skills. [186684]

Mr Laws: The Ofsted settlement was:

 £ million

2010/11

186

2011/12

176

2012/13

168

2013/14

170

The reduction shown above was in line with savings made to administration and programme budgets held centrally by the Department for Education and its arm’s length bodies, which allowed the Department to protect universal front-line services. The figure for 2013-14 includes an additional £10 million above the settlement towards the reform programme. Figures for 2014-15 are still being finalised.

An estimated breakdown showing the proportion of the 2013-14 budget allocated against each area for inspection, and inspection support is shown as follows. Due to reorganisation within Ofsted, similar information for previous years is unavailable.

Ofsted 2013-14 Budget£ million

Schools

59.9

Further Education and Skills

15.1

Early Childhood

25.5

Social Care

10.4

Front-line support (includes support for inspection and registration of childminders).

38.4

Other costs

20.2

Pay

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many civil servants are on each pay grade in (a) his Department and (b) agencies and public bodies accountable to him. [187243]

Elizabeth Truss: The information requested is available as part of published data which can be found at:

www.data.gov.uk/dataset/workforce-management-information-department-for-education

Priority School Building Programme

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will place in the Library a copy of the initial advertisement which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union for the Priority School Building Programme. [187373]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 823W

Mr Laws: The Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is being procured using both capital and private finance funding. Schools are grouped in “batches” of 4-12 schools, taking into consideration geography, commercial viability and condition need.

Capital funded batches are being delivered using the Education Funding Agency's (EFA's) Contractors Framework. The notice placed in the OJEU for the EFA Contractors Framework is available online at:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:132773-2013:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

Private finance batches are advertised separately via the OJEU procedure. The OJEU notices for the Herts, Luton and Reading, North East and North West private finance batches are available online.

Herts, Luton and Reading:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:212992-2013:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

North East:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:257729-2013:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

North West:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:375997-2013:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

EFA has developed a financing model for the private finance batches based upon the establishment of a funding vehicle, known as the Aggregator. The OJEU for the Aggregator is available online at:

http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:203423-2013:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2013, Official Report, columns 722-23W, on Priority School Building Programme, what proportion of the total cost of the priority schools building programme will be funded by the (a) European Investment Bank and (b) European Investment Fund. [187544]

Mr Laws: The Department for Education is in discussions with the European Investment Bank. Procurement for the Aggregator Financing Vehicle, which will fund the privately financed Priority School Building Programme, is ongoing.

Public Appointments

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) which paid public appointment contracts he has (a) renewed and (b) not renewed since May 2010; and how many posts were held by (i) women and (ii) men; [187016]

(2) what the titles are of the individual public appointments that have been made by his Department since May 2010; and which of those appointees were women. [187077]

Elizabeth Truss: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), on 11 February 2014, Official Report, column 607W.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 824W

Schools: Collective Worship

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what steps he has taken to ensure that schools provide a daily act of worship as required by the Education Act 1944; [187696]

(2) how many schools have opted out of the daily act of worship required by the Education Act 1944; and what criteria are used to grant that exemption. [187697]

Elizabeth Truss: Schools remain legally required to provide a daily act of worship for all registered pupils up to age 18. Some maintained schools and academies serve communities where the majority of pupils are of a religion other than Christian. In this situation, a maintained school can apply to the local Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) for a determination which allows the school to provide collective worship based on a non-Christian religion. We do not collect data on these applications or specify criteria that SACREs should use in making decisions. Academies in this situation would apply to the Secretary of State, and no applications have been received.

Schools: Construction

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration his Department has given to allowing local authorities to open a new school to meet school place demand; and what representations he has received on this issue. [187199]

Mr Timpson: Local authorities are under a statutory duty to plan and secure sufficient school places for their area. The Department recently announced an additional £2.35 billion in basic need funding, to support local authorities to create the additional places that will be needed by September 2017, in addition to the £5 billion already committed for the period 2011-15. Where an authority identifies the need to establish a new school, legislation requires it first to seek proposals for an academy or free school.

Where a suitable academy/free school proposal is not identified, the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), will give consent for the local authority to hold a competition, inviting bids for academy/free schools and maintained foundation and voluntary schools.

Where an academy or free school proposal is not considered to be appropriate, local authorities can apply to the Secretary of State for Education for consent to publish proposals for replacement community schools, or brand new or replacement foundation or voluntary controlled maintained schools.

Local authorities or other bodies (eg dioceses) may also publish proposals for maintained schools at any time—without the consent of the Secretary of State—if seeking to establish:

1. a new voluntary aided school;

2. a new community or foundation primary school that is to replace a maintained infant and a maintained junior school;

3. a new school resulting from the reorganisation of existing faith schools in an area, including an existing faith school losing or changing its religious designation;

13 Feb 2014 : Column 825W

4. a new foundation or community school, where a suitable academy/free school proposal has not been identified and a competition has been held but did not identify a suitable provider.

Students: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many people in (a) Barrow and Furness constituency and (b) Cumbria will be affected by the reduction in funding for 18-year-olds announced by the Education Funding Agency. [187632]

Matthew Hancock: There are 123 students aged 18 living in Barrow and Furness constituency who are affected by the reduction in funding.

There are 533 students aged 18 living in Cumbria who are affected by the reduction in funding.

The data are based on the 2012/13 R14 individualised learner record. This is the latest available full year of data. The data refer to 18-year-old non-high needs students on full-time (540+ hours) programmes in post-16 institutions (including school sixth forms). This will not include any students receiving apprenticeship provision. Students who live in Barrow and Furness constituency or Cumbria (upper tier local authority) do not necessarily study there.

Students: Finance

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects of the reduction in funding for full-time education places for 18-year-olds on students from disadvantaged backgrounds. [187347]

Matthew Hancock: The Department for Education has published an impact assessment, which can be found here:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/i/impact%20assessment.pdf

The impact assessment shows that there is no disproportionate impact on students from disadvantaged areas.

Treasury

Corporation Tax

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2014, Official Report, columns 728-29W, on corporation tax, if he will provide figures for all penalties imposed that were (a) paid, (b) discharged on successful appeal and (c) remitted as uncollectable debt for each of the last four tax years; how much remained unpaid at the end of each such year; and if he will make a statement. [184087]

Mr Gauke: Over the period, fewer companies have been failing to file returns on time, and HMRC has improved the way it identifies companies that are asked to file a return so that returns are not requested from companies that are not active.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 826W

The information is provided in respect of years running from 1 April to 31 March. Amounts are rounded to the nearest £100,000.

(a) The net amounts of penalties paid were as follows:

As at 1 April to 31 March each year£

2009-10

31,800,000

2010-11

29,900,000

2011-12

24,200,000

2012-13

22,900,000

(b) Figures for penalties discharged on successful appeal are not centrally collated and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

(c) The amounts of penalties remitted as uncollectable debt were:

As at 1 April to 31 March each year£

2009-10

91,000,000

2010-11

99,800,000

2011-12

58,800,000

2012-13

53,400,000

Information on the amounts of penalties unpaid at each year end is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Financial Services

Nic Dakin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2014, Official Report, column 665W, on financial services, whether any business has yet been compensated; and what the timetable is for compensation to be paid. [187468]

Sajid Javid: The latest progress report published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) showed that 2,092 redress offers worth over £300 million have so far been accepted by businesses under the review process.

The Financial Conduct Authority has not set a timetable for compensation to be paid. However, as set out in my answer of 30 January 2014, the FCA has published each individual bank's projections for when they expect to finish the redress scheme. The projections show that the banks expect to finish reviewing all cases by June 2014, with some banks likely to complete the scheme before this date.

Fracking

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of providing companies investing in the exploitation of onshore oil and gas and including shale gas an allowance equal to 75 per cent of their capital spend on such projects; [186263]

(2) how much the recently announced tax allowance for the exploitation of onshore oil and gas and shale gas will cost the public purse in tax year (a) 2015-16, (b) 2016-17 and (c) 2017-18; and how such figures have been calculated. [186265]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 827W

Nicky Morgan: The estimated cost of the onshore oil and gas allowance, which was certified by the Office for Budget Responsibility, can be found on page 79 of the autumn statement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263942/35062_Autumn_Statement_2013.pdf

In 2015-16 the estimated cost is negligible, in 2016-17 it is £5 million and in 2017-18 it is £20 million.

The assumptions and methodology underlying these costings can be found on page 46 of the policy costings document:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263434/autumn_statement_2013 _policy_costings.pdf

This document highlights that beyond the forecast period, additional production and profits which would arise from successful onshore developments would be expected to increase Exchequer yield.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 237W, on fracking, (1) what his policy is on the use of non-public research in his Department's publications; [186659]

(2) if he will publish a summary of the evidential basis for the statement that independent analysis shows that this allowance makes the UK tax regime for shale gas the most competitive in Europe; [186660]

(3) whether his Department commissioned the report from Wood Mackenzie; and whether it commissioned any other reports on this matter. [186735]

Nicky Morgan: The Government use a wide variety of resources in the process of policy development.

The Wood Mackenzie report cited in the autumn statement document was not commissioned by HM Treasury and the Department has not commissioned any other reports on this matter. While the report is currently only available to Wood Mackenzie subscribers, it has confirmed that anyone interested in seeing a copy should contact it directly.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 237, on fracking, what other independent analysis concludes that this allowance makes the UK tax regime for shale gas the most competitive in Europe. [186853]

Nicky Morgan: The Wood Mackenzie review is the only one the Government are aware of that directly compares the new onshore allowance with other European tax regimes. However, there are several publically available sources that compare global oil and gas tax regimes which could be used to conduct this analysis independently.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 237W, on fracking, whether any other organisation has published a summary of Upstream Insight: UK advances shale gas fiscal incentives. [187547]

13 Feb 2014 : Column 828W

Nicky Morgan: The Government are not aware of any other organisation having published a summary of the Wood Mackenzie report on shale gas fiscal incentives, but Wood Mackenzie has confirmed that anyone interested in seeing a copy of the original report should contact it directly.

Fuels: Excise Duties

Mr Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission on the rural fuel rebate scheme; [186985]

(2) what discussions he has held with members of the European Parliament representing (a) English, (b) Scottish, (c) Welsh, (d) Northern Ireland constituencies and (e) the European Committee of the Regions on the rural fuel rebate scheme. [186986]

Danny Alexander: At the end of January 2014, the Government submitted an application to the European Commission requesting an extension of the rural fuel rebate scheme to 17 areas on the UK mainland. The Chancellor routinely discusses a range of issues with members from the devolved Administrations, the European Commission and European Committees.

Individual Savings Accounts

Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate his Department has made of the value of ISA financial products held by people living in (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK; [186828]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the value of ISA products issued by UK companies registered in (a) Scotland and (b) other parts of the UK in each of the last 10 years. [186844]

Mr Gauke: The numbers of individuals holding ISAs and the average values of funds held broken down geographically is provided in HMRC table 9.12:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/market-value-of-individual-savings-account-isa-funds-by-country-and-region

As of 5 April 2011, the total value of ISAs held by individuals living in Scotland was £30.2 billion (total ISA holdings at that point in time are estimated to have been worth £375 billion).

A breakdown of market values by Scottish-based ISA providers and rest of UK-based ISA providers can be found in this table:

(£ billion)
  Of which
 Total market values of funds in ISAs as of 5 Aprilis held with Scottish ISA providersis held with rest of UK ISA providers

2007

287.0

31.5

255.5

2008

289.1

30.4

258.6

2009

274.4

39.7

234.7

2010

342.9

51.1

291.8

2011

374.9

59.0

315.8

2012

388.1

60.2

328.0

13 Feb 2014 : Column 829W

2013

442.8

75.4

367.5

Note: Comparable figures prior to 2007 are not available.

Mortgages: Chelmsford

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many house sales have been completed in Chelmsford constituency using the Help to Buy scheme since the introduction of that scheme. [187456]

Sajid Javid: On 2 January, the Prime Minister announced that in the first three months of the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme more than 6,000 people had put in offers on homes and applied for a Help to Buy mortgage. The mortgages, once approved, would represent nearly £1 billion of new lending to aspiring home owners who may have previously found the property market out of reach because of the size of the deposit required.

The Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme continues to support responsible lending. On average households are looking to buy homes worth £160,000 which remains below the UK average house price of £247,000.

Now the scheme is open, the Government are collecting data on the mortgages supported by the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme and will report in due course.

National Insurance Contributions

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people earning less than the annual equivalent of the primary threshold had a class 1 national insurance contribution liability in each of the last seven years. [186823]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is in the following table.

Tax yearPrimary threshold (annualised) (£)Number with earnings below annualised PT paying NIC (million)

2009-101

5,715

3.31

2010-111

5,715

3.39

2011-122

7,225

3.73

2012-133

7,605

3.48

2013-143

7,755

3.53

1 These estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes for the year concerned. 2 This estimate is based on a 1% sample of end of year tax returns in respect of the tax year ending 5 April 2012. 3 These estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes for the year 2011-12 projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's December 2013 economic and fiscal outlook.

This information is not available for years prior to 2009-10.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 830W

Non-domestic Rates: Cash Dispensing

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue accruing to the Exchequer through the application of business rates on ATMs in each year to 2018-19. [187501]

Brandon Lewis: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

This information is not held centrally.

Property

Ian Austin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) name, (b) location, (c) floor space, (d) tenure status and (e) value is of properties (i) owned and (ii) occupied by (A) his Department and (B) agencies and public bodies accountable to him. [187294]

Nicky Morgan: The information is as follows:

Department/AgencyLocationFloor Space m2Tenure statusOwned/occupied

HM Treasury1

1 Horse Guards Road, London

22,856

Freehold

Owned and occupied

HMT

Rosebery Court, Norwich

407

Leased

Occupied

HMT

Eastcheap Court, London

172

Leased

Occupied

HMT

Melville Crescent, Edinburgh

28

Leased

Occupied

Debt Management Office

Eastcheap Court, London

1,290

Leased

Occupied

Office for Budget Responsibility

Victoria Street, London

247

Leased

Occupied

1 Core HM Treasury includes HM Treasury, Office of Tax Simplification, Infrastructure UK and Infrastructure Finance Unit Ltd, all of whom are based in the Treasury building at Horse Guards Road and included in the figures above, together with the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Information on the value of 1 Horse Guards Road appears in the Treasury's Annual Report, copies of which have been deposited in the Library but it should be noted that this is a “book value” only and does not necessarily represent the final sale value of the property asset.

The Treasury does not hold information on the value of its leased properties.

Public Appointments

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which paid public appointment contracts he has (a) renewed and (b) not renewed since May 2010; and how many posts were held by (i) women and (ii) men; [187029]

(2) what the titles are of the individual public appointments that have been made by his Department since May 2010; and which of those appointees were women. [187089]

Nicky Morgan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), on 11 February 2014, Official Report, column 608W.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 831W

Taxation: Domicile

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many taxpayers were registered with HM Revenue and Customs as non-domiciled in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; [187604]

(2) how many taxpayers registered with HM Revenue and Customs as non-domiciled were liable for the annual charge of £30,000 in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; [187605]

(3) how many taxpayers registered with HM Revenue and Customs as non-domiciled will be liable for the increased annual charge of £50,000; [187606]

(4) if he will estimate how much revenue accrued to the Exchequer in 2012-13 from taxpayers registered as non-domiciled and liable for the annual charge of (a) £30,000 and (b) £50,000. [187607]

Mr Gauke: The information is as follows:

1. Within the self-assessment system, there were 116,000 taxpayers recorded as non-domiciled for 2010-11 and 123,000 recorded as non-domiciled for 2011-12. Data for 2012-13 are not yet available.

2. There were 5,600 Remittance Basis Charge payers recorded in 2010-11 and 5,900 in 2011-12. Data for 2012-13 are not yet available.

3. Data for 2012-13 are not yet available.

4. Data for 2012-13 are not yet available.

VAT: Rescue Services

John Woodcock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with European Commission officials on VAT exemptions for mountain rescue teams. [187631]

Mr Gauke: Officials discuss a variety of VAT issues with the European Commission, as a matter of course for Treasury business.

Additional funding is available for mountain rescue teams across the UK as announced in 2011 by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Welfare Tax Credits

John Woodcock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many new applications for child tax credits were made online in (a) England, (b) Cumbria and (c) Barrow and Furness constituency in the last 12 months; and what proportion this represents of total new claims in each case; [182245]

(2) how many and what proportion of new applications for working tax credits were made online in (a) England, (b) Cumbria and (c) Barrow and Furness constituency in the last 12 months. [182246]

Nicky Morgan: Under the system this Government inherited, applications for child tax credits and working tax credits can be made with a physical claim form, available from the tax credit helpline pack.

Universal credit (UC) will gradually replace tax credits and the majority of people will make their claim for UC online.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 832W

In addition, more than £200 million is being invested in the further digitisation of HMRC's services, making it easier and cheaper individuals and small businesses to deal with their tax affairs. For example, by April 2015 up to 2 million people will be able to take control of their tax affairs through their own online accounts. This builds on existing digital services, such as the online tax calculator and phone app that allows individuals who pay tax through PAYE to see how much income tax and national insurance they can expect to pay, and an illustration of how their taxes contribute to public spending.

Health

Abortion

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2014, Official Report, column 227W, on abortion, (1) under what conditions and what other factors may influence gender being considered a relevant criterion for an abortion under the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended); and if he will make a statement; [186308]

(2) what measures are in place to prevent a registered medical practitioner forming an opinion in good faith that the baby's gender would cause a greater risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman than if the pregnancy were terminated; and if he will make a statement. [186309]

Jane Ellison: The chief medical officer has written to all doctors involved in abortion care on two occasions (23 February 2012 and 23 November 2013). Both letters stated that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal.

We consider that registered medical practitioners should be able to evidence how they have considered the particular facts of the case when forming their opinion, for example, by making notes in the patient record. They should be able to defend how they reached their decision if challenged.

Sir Edward Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2014, Official Report, columns 650-51W, on abortion, if he will publish the available data on how many women seeking an abortion met the authorising medical practitioner in each year since 1984. [187683]

Jane Ellison: In light of the answer of 30 January 2014, Official Report, columns 650-51W, it is not possible to specify accurately in how many cases an authorising doctor met or examined the woman seeking the abortion.

Ambulance Services: East of England

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many East of England Ambulance Trust vehicles were diverted to hospitals in North London between 1 January and 9 February 2014. [187532]

Jane Ellison: The information requested is not centrally held.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 833W

Barnet Hospital

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital Trust Accident and Emergency unit at Barnet hospital was put on divert between 1 January and 9 February 2014. [187533]

Jane Ellison: In the period 1 January 2014 and 9 February 2014, Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital NHS Trust reported two accident and emergency diverts. These occurred on the dates 31 January 2014 and 2 February 2014.

Source:

NHS England

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on how many occasions Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital Trust Maternity unit at Barnet hospital was put on divert between 1 January and 9 February 2014. [187534]

Jane Ellison: The NHS Trust Development Authority has advised that there were no maternity unit diverts at Barnet hospital between 1 January 2014 and 9 February 2014.

Compulsorily Detained Mental Patients

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the reasons for changes in the number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 over the last five years; and what plans he has to reduce instances of mental health patients being detained in police custody rather than a health care setting. [187473]

Norman Lamb: There were 50,408 detentions under the Mental Health Act 1983 in national health service and independent hospitals during 2012-13. This number was 4% (1,777) greater than during the 2011-12 reporting period.

However, in 2013 (for the first time in the last five years) the number of patients detained in hospital on 31 March significantly reduced by 514 from 17,503 to 16,989 (3%).

This suggests that although there were more detentions in the year 2012-13, they lasted for (on average) shorter periods.

The Government's priority is to ensure that people in mental health crisis get speedy access to safe and compassionate care in the right environment.

Our forthcoming mental health “Crisis Care Concordat” is a shared agreement produced by the Home Office and the Department of Health working in association with 20 national organisations including NHS England, the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The concordat will set out how police, health, social work and ambulance professionals should work together to help people going through a mental health crisis. It describes the principles and best practice that need to be in place to make sure that crisis services work together to give vulnerable people an appropriate response that provides safe care and support in the right setting.

13 Feb 2014 : Column 834W

It follows the refreshed Mandate for NHS England (November 2013) which includes a new requirement on the part of the NHS that

“every community has plans to ensure no one in mental health crisis will be turned away from health services”.

The Department is also funding mental health “street triage” in nine police force areas. The forces involved are the Metropolitan Police Service, British Transport police, West Yorkshire police, West Midlands police, Thames Valley police, North Yorkshire police, Sussex police, Derbyshire constabulary, and Devon and Cornwall police. In these schemes mental health professionals are advising and supporting police officers directly when they deal with people who may have a mental health need, and are helping to make links with health services. The Department expects these schemes, and others now running besides these nine pilots, together with the concordat principles, will help reduce the unnecessary use of police cells for detentions under the Mental Health Act.

Dental Services

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the quantity and capacity of NHS dental provision is determined; and what requirement there is to plan provision based on population. [187464]

Dr Poulter: NHS England is responsible for commissioning national health service dentistry and has a statutory duty to commission primary dental care services to reflect local needs. The latest access data show that 1.4 million more patients have been able to see an NHS dentist since May 2010. In the 24 months ending 31 December 2013, 29.9 million patients were seen by an NHS dentist. How far demand for services is being met is measured regularly through the national GP Patient Survey. The latest survey showed that nationally, 95% of patients who had tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the last 24 months were successful.

A copy of ‘Summary of the Dental Results from the GP Patient Survey’ has been placed in the Library. The GP Patient Survey dental result, published in December 2013, is also available to download from NHS England's website at:

www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/2013/12/12/2345gppsw1201314/

Department of Health

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to rename the Department of Health as the Department for Public Health. [187572]

Dr Poulter: We have no plans to change the name of the Department.